Rom Coms

February is the month of Valentines Day. If there was a RomCom (Romantic Comedy) month, February would be it. To that end I spent some time thinking about my favorite RomComs. Below is a list of my favorite RomComs. I was trying to put them in order, but they each have a special meaning to me. If there is one you feel is missing leave it in the comments.

  • Roxanne
  • 10 Things I Hate About You
  • 27 Dresses
  • Wedding Date
  • Along Came Polly
  • Love Actually
  • Wedding Crashers
  • Failure to Launch
  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 days
  • Serendipity
  • Definitely, Maybe
  • Grosse Point Blank
  • The Princess Bride

For more information on RomComs feel free to check out this great episode of This American Life: Rom-Com.

Spelling my name

Many of you will note that my name is Zachary. I spell Zachary with an ‘H’. What you may not know is that many of my friends call me Zack. Notice how I spell Zack with a ‘k’. There are many reasons for this, but lets just say that Zack with a ‘k’ sounds more correct to me. Sorry for any confusion.

Five Dollar Fifth, ACLU

Today is the fifth of January. I’ve started taking the position that each month I’d like to doante to something related to national holiday of the month. Not all months have holidays, but most do. This month’s is Martin Luther King Day. There are lot of charities, but I’m particular about where I want to donate. I don’t want to donate to any charity’s whose focus is about increasing one group’s “power”, or “influence”. I’m about equal rights, about getting to the point where race is not the consideration, but peopel are evaluated on more fair criteria.

This belief in supporting freedom led to me to ACLU. If you would like to join me, please visit them at:

https://www.aclu.org

Career Fair Tips

The past couple of months I’ve been doing some recruiting for my awesome company SalesforceIQ. Part of it has taken me to some career fairs. While I’ve met some really great candidates, there are several things I’d like to share from the recruiter perspective.

Firstly, there is always a hot topic of the day. Currently, it’s Machine Learning. There are several other ways of saying it, Data Science, or NLP (Natural Language Processing) for example. They all refer to the same thing. Working with large amounts of data and discerning information from it.

It makes sense because one of the biggest problems facing computer scienctists these days is how to make sense of all this data we have. It’s a big problem. It appears like a fun problem, because no one really has a certain way of solving it yet.

The issue is, everyone says they want to work on it.

As a tech recruiter in a career fair, I may talk to 30+ people an hour. If you are saying the exact same thing as everyone else, it’s going to be hard for that recruiter to remember you. If you express interest in an area that everyone else is also interested in, you are in a larger group of candidates. Recruiters will naturally find a way to shorten the stack of resumes they need to consider to make it managable. Maybe they will exclude base on degree level (in Machine Learning, PhD is starting to be something we look for). Maybe, they will look for super high GPAs. The thing is, you don’t know the criteria, and the only thing you’ve done is lump yourself in the group with everyone else. You aren’t doing anything to give yourself an advantage over other candidates. You want to find a way for the tech person to turn to a recruiter after words asking if they followed up with “that person you remembered had interest in….”

Not all remembering is good. You don’t want to remembered as that person who kept asking the same question for 30 minutes. In general, however, you do want to make a memorable positive impression on the recruiter.

One way to do this is to talk about a specific interest you have that may differenciate you. Lets say you have a strong interest in Human Computer Interaction, and you have done some research on density of information. Distilling your interest and beliefs down to a 30 second talk on the subject may be the ticket to making a positive impression which can help move you along quicker to the next step in the interview process.

Five Dollar Fifth: BCRF

It’s the fifth of the month. I started a thing a while back and have stopped doing it. I give $5 to charity on the fifth of every month. It makes me feel better. Five dollars isn’t that much.

This month, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I’ve donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. They are rated A+ from Charity Watch.

You can donate here. You can see information about the charity here.

The whole concept behind $5 fifth is that if we all did it would make a difference. If you can, please consider donating.

Break Time

When I first started this blog many years ago, my intention was to publish here regularly. I have never kept that schedule. My posts are sporadic at best. I’m often quite busy and when push comes to shove writing hasn’t been as big a focus for me. Sometimes I take my notes in paper journals, other times just in my head. Well, I’m going to make an effort to return here. Make an effort to contribute more. I’m also going to make an effort to consolidate my different personalities here. I have a bunch of websites where I post photos. I have a several places where I post personal thoughts. I’d like this place to be a hub for all of it. Hopefully you will be hearing a lot more from me soon.

Break time… is over. 

I Work For Flywheel

Over a year ago I switched roles in the software engineering field. I started working as an iOS developer for a company called Flywheel. We are a start up in the transportation industry. Our goal is to provide safe, reasonably priced rides from professional drivers with the entire hailing and paying process handled from your personal mobile device.

flywheel logo

The goal is to make the experience as seamless as possible for the end user. You take out your phone, find a pickup location, the app hails available cabs, and you are notified when a car is on it’s way. When you get to your destination you can adjust the tip or just leave your default. Your credit card is automatically billed so you can worry about what you need to do next.

Making this process simple is a lot more tricky than it sounds. We’ve been working hard to make the experience better for the passenger and there will continue to make improvements over the next couple of months.

We have a blog that covers our feature set on a higher level as well as current promotions. I hope to cover some of the more interesting technical challenges and solutions we have run into.

New Footer, Phase 1

I’ve been working on a new footer for this site. For a while I’ve wanted a fat footer with more information. Today, you’ll see, I have one. It still needs a lot of work, but at least it’s there.

Areas for improvement:

  • Remove the stupid 1px border
  • Put in some social media icons

Cheerleader CSV Parser

The other week we decided to send out a mass email to our cheerleading team in order to get information from each cheerleader. The problem was that we didn’t want to send sizing data about other cheerleaders. This meant a custom written emails for each cheerleader. We had an excel spreadsheet, I exported it to CSV and then wrote a ruby parser to generate custom email files for each cheerleader.

https://gist.github.com/2568583.js

There is some room for improvement:

  • Parameterize the inputs. Pass in the CSV, destination folder, a template file
  • Use a template file for emails. Instead of manually including the message