Random Thoughts

Tech, words and musings from an Englishman in Seattle

Photos From Google I/O

I've uploaded some photos from Google I/O to your favourite photo sites. I can't believe I took so few pictures…

You can find them here, here and here. All identical. Randomly pick one.

In The Seattle Business Monthy

A couple of months ago I was interviewed by the Seattle Business Monthly magazine for an article on Google. The author was trying to write an article that focussed more on the eccentric side of the company and I believe he succeeded :-)

The article shipped this month and we got the cover story:

Huge data streams. Snoring canines. Gourmet food. Secret projects—even unspoken team names. How do you describe such a workplace?

“Random,” says software engineer Steve Lacey. “Non-repeatable.”

OK, so what is the statistical probability that a better engineering workplace exists than Google? “Zero percent,” says software engineer Poorva Arankalle.

“Square root of minus 1,” says Lacey, in the classic nerd argot that is considered cool at the mega-search giant. “It's an imaginary number.”

Lacey, transported Brit, and Arankalle, transplanted from India, are part of the Google engineering team in Kirkland, where most of the company's troops are located; by Q4 of this year, the Eastside employees are slated to move to new Kirkland digs. Last year, Google opened new sales and engineering offices in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood.

Nerd? I prefer geek… Anyhow, check out the rest over here (scroll down to the bottom).

On Camera at Google I/O Party

I was wandering around the birds of a feather tables last night at the Google I/O party when I bumped into Robert Scoble who was, as usual, filming people with his cellphone.

I just wanted to say hi, but ended up in the video doing my usual “Sorry Robert, can't tell you a thing about what I'm working on!” - I can't wait to finally let him know what I'm working on… soon.. soon…

Anyhow, it's not often that I appear in the same frames of video with luminaries such as Steve Gilmor and Mark Lucovsky.

You can see me at around the 4:40 mark:


In San Francisco

I'm downtown in San Francisco for the Google I/O conference, staying at the Marriot on 4th Street (the cool one with the 39th floor bar) and realizing that I haven't been here since the 2005 Game Developer Conference.

That's a long time.

Right next door is the Metreon, which is kinda cool and the hotel is handily very close to the conference center.

I recognize this is old hat for most folks, but it's actually kinda nice hanging out in a real city, with things like public transport that work. The BART (which whisked me from the airport to the hotel) is fast, clean and comfortable - if a bit loud. My noise cancelling headphones went into overdrive. I'd been watching Cloverfield (highly recommended btw) on the short flight down, but we landed with 15 minutes of the movie to go. I attempted to watch the rest on the train, but the noise cancelling gubbins was going wild with the ever-changing track/tunnel noise and driving me insane…

Oh, and yes. You need to watch Cloverfield. It's quite excellent :-)

Google Treasure Hunt

I love programming puzzles - you get to stretch your coder muscles :-) Anyhow I really liked the first question in the 2008 Google Treasure Hunt - the Robot puzzle. Writing code to solve it was an nice little challenge as there's a couple of interesting real-world problems in there - especially if you write the code in C/C++…

I thought I'd done pretty well until a collegue of mine pointed out that there was a, ahem, tangential way of solving it…

Google Treasure Hunt.

Money As Debt

This is seriously one of the best explanations of how the banking system, and money in general, works.

Do yourself a favour and carve out 45 minutes to watch this. You'll thank me.

Downgrading To XP…

I'm a huge audio geek, but just prior to the house move last June, I upgraded to Vista. I've been very happy with Vista - it's worked well.

But with one exception.

I can't get any of my audio gear to run with it.

This hasn't been a problem up until now, as I've been way busy with other stuff. I've been letting my podcasts lapse and just noodling around with my guitar and other audio gear offline, not recording anything. But now, my esteemed amigo and I plan on collaborating long distance on some song writing.

This means I need to get it all running again.

The hub is the EMU 1820 which I use to get all audio into and out of the PC. First of all there weren't any drivers, but now the drivers exist but bluescreen my Vista box during install. I've never managed to get drivers installed for the UAD-1 either. I haven't even tried to get Cubase running.

Which leaves me with a conundrum.

Do I just downgrade to XP? I know it will all work, but I do love the UI in Vista. Do I actually use Vista though? Nope. Just a few games, Skype and Firefox. For everything else I use my MacBook Pro and my Linux box.

Downgrade I go… See you on the other side…

Googling Kirkland

The Seattle Times ran a story on Google Kirkland this morning and our new, upcoming, office.

By early next year, some 195,000 square feet of offices along Sixth Street South, on the site of a former Navy depot and door company, will be occupied by Googleites. They will move into three office buildings in a campuslike setting near downtown Kirkland between Lake Washington and Interstate 405.


© 2001 to present, Steve Lacey.