Friday, April 25, 2008

College fair... starting young

So, this week I participated in a college fair which I thought was going to be for high school students (possibly because the email invitation I received said it was going to be for high school students). Yes, I did find it a little confusing that the location was the middle school next door to the high school I thought it was going to be for... and didn't I already do a college fair for this high school's district, last fall?

Things started to make more sense when students arrived and turned out to be middle schoolers.

I think the other college representatives at the fair, of which there weren't many really, may have felt a little baited-and-switched. I sure did, at first.

But for me, this was a great opportunity. I actually prefer, in some ways, to do recruiting among younger students. In this part of the state, and in this part of the country generally, parents and counselors have almost no good information about how to prep for admission to a highly competitive college. It's very satisfying to give them advice while there's still time to use it. (Take the PSAT early and often! IB is preferable to Running Start in most cases! There's such a thing as need-based financial aid! Look out of state!) It just took me a few tries to get my spiel switched over and figure out how to talk to these much younger kids and their parents.

I think the community outreach organization that helped put on this college fair is in a bit of a bind... baiting and switching isn't cool, but if they worried that most colleges wouldn't bother to come for middle schoolers, they're probably right. A companion problem, however, is that most full-time professional college recruiters don't have a spiel for younger kids and their parents. I'll be interested to see whether this particular fair takes off or crashes next spring.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Notice to stalkers and potential stalkers

All those interested in following me around creepily, and/or assembling all the small bits of my online presence/identity into a vast and totally self-incriminating profile guaranteeing I can never run for public office, and/or selling my soul to Google (wait, I already did that), I present for your edification....

I spend a lot of time on Facebook, and that's a really good way to stay in touch with me. I just started using Twitter, which I automatically sync over to my Facebook status.

I share lots and lots and lots of photos on Flickr.

I link to loads of things on, which is much quicker and usefuller than posting nothing but interesting links on this blog. Yes, you will notice at least one unhealthy obsession there, and Flickr will help illustrate my reason for it. :)

I have accounts on all the major instant messengers, except Google (I use Trillian and am cheap); all are visible to friends via my Facebook profile. I have to keep ICQ... I have a 7-digit user number on it.

Um, I guess you found my blog. :) I have a WordPress one, too, but I never blog there... I just grabbed my name before somebody else did.

I'm on MySpace, where someone else has my proper name and this gravely offends me, but I got a reasonably close variant. I almost never log in there.

I'm on Xbox Live, with another reasonably close variant of my proper name. Watch me rock.

I'm on LinkedIn. Somebody just invited me to something called Blue Chip Expert, which I joined, but it seems a little MLMmy, so I'm not inviting others.

I'm on Classmates and Reunion and Alumnisomethingoranother and probably a few variants, but I don't have a premium account on any of them (because I'm cheap), so they're less useful as a means of finding me, but if you're reading this you probably don't need a way to find me.

Orkut pissed me off. A lot. I'm not there any more. Does it even still exist?

I have at least 15 distinct email addresses, probably more like 20, nearly all of which forward to the exact same inbox, but which are useful for sorting incoming spam, I mean messages.

I own my own domain (since the mid-1990s) and host a sad little website on it, only one page of which is ever routinely updated. Exceptionally clever readers of this blog might notice a way to find said website. My staff page at work is actually even more pathetic than my personal site; please pity it.

I've had my nickname since high school, it became my online identity and alter ego in 1992, and it's had its unusual spelling since I got a commercial email account in 1993, when email accounts were routinely still limited to 8 characters.

Within the last few months I've had a deluge of re-connections with long-lost really great friends from high school, college, and other places, with prospects of maybe kinda keeping connected in the future. This is largely thanks to all my online presences, and I'm incredibly grateful for it, so I guess I feel it's finally time to celebrate and wallow in said presences instead of being vaguely geekily ashamed of how many there are. :)

Happy Googling, or whatever.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Obscure skillz. I has them.

Jobs that no longer appear on my résumé:
  • Copy center assistant at the University of Washington
    • Allows me to claim that I've worked at UW since age 16
  • Barista before they were called baristas, in Seattle of course
  • Garageman at a SeaTac Airport rental car agency
    • Officially "vehicle service attendants" by then, but I demanded to be called the old-school term
  • Salmon processor in Bristol Bay, Alaska
    • Not recommended; mostly a scam
  • Industrial laundry attendant in Anchorage
  • Temp
  • Starbucks barista in Plano, Texas
  • Credit card call center associate
  • Home mortgage and community reinvestment data analyst
  • FoxPro programmer
    • Sometimes I do admit to this one on the résumé
  • Veterinary assistant at after-hours emergency clinic
  • Veterinary receptionist at day clinic
    • Zzz
Not so much an interesting memoir as a source of nearly endlessly annoying anecdotes and trivial knowledge. Altogether, a good reason to keep me away from a second drink at parties.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

More unit testing tips

You don't need to write unit tests for private methods, as long as you write unit tests for all public methods and then make sure every private method is getting called by something that's tested....

We finally get an opportunity to learn VSTS....

... and it turns out I haven't bought my team the proper licenses. No hands-on for us!

I guess this is where all those VSTS planning meetings I skipped might have come in handy.

This is so going on my perf eval....

Update: Proper licenses (and my job) secured. Now get to work. :)

Tips for a successful LD caucus

  1. Make sure to be a full delegate, not an alternate.
  2. Do not aspire to state or national delegate status.
  3. Have a firm presidential preference.
  4. Sign in.
  5. [optional] Buy candidate swag.
  6. GTFO.
Following these handy instructions can save you an entire day. It was a bummer to discover, at 4:00 PM*, that I had accomplished exactly the same amount at the caucus as I would have by signing in and leaving at 10:30 AM.

* And all indications were that they had at least 2 hours to go.

Introducing TDD to an existing codebase

When you find a bug, prove it's a bug by writing failing unit tests for it, then fix the bug. Now you've got unit tests around pre-existing code. Magic!