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November 16, 2007 / jnolen

Can’t judge a book by it’s…

I find it quite interesting that I just bought four books from a list of the twenty-eight best book covers of 2007. These works had no relationship at all, in genre, topic or style, save the fact that they were well-designed. Amazon's own recommendations — with all of their domain knowledge, understanding of subject matter and customer data — rarely has a hit-ratio that high.

October 1, 2007 / jnolen

Worst Technology Weekend Ever

Friday, Jenn's iBook refused to start up. Then her iPhone died during a software update an lost all it's data. I couldn't recover the data because the iBook refused to start. Saturday, my iPod wouldn't sync, and then died totally during a software restore. Sunday, my MacBook Pro shut down in the middle of a sentence, and refused to run off off its battery. This is the worst technology weekend ever — every piece of electronics I touch seems to die.

Update: Well, chalk one up for good luck. I just installed the Apple Battery Update and my laptop is back to functioning normally. Wow, I've never had a Software Update come at a better time!

September 26, 2007 / jnolen

This is refreshing…

Via Kottke. The coolest thing I've seen in a while. If he worked in San Francisco, Jay Parkinson, MD would have my business in a heartbeat (and I have good insurance). Anyone know of an similar practice out here?

August 20, 2007 / jnolen

Jive Software takes $15mm

It's been a long while since I posted anything much about wikis or the wiki market in general. However, this is certainly worth mentioning.

August 17, 2007 / jnolen

Litmus test

The new service Litmus* is a terrific idea, attempting to alleviate a pain with which every web-developer is intimately familiar. The site beautifully designed. If it works as advertised, it would be a huge win for me.

But wow is it expensive. There's no way I can justify that subscription fee. I've used similar services on a pay-per-use basis in that past, which admittedly got me in the door, but the experience sucks. When you know that each change-and-test cycle is going to cost you $10, your incentive is to figure out the simplest thing that you can get working in the least number of round-trips, and once you get it "good enough", you stop.

So anyway, no real point here. I just wish there were a more affordable option for this service. If anyone knows of a good alternative, I'd love to learn about it.

* found via DaringFireball: see, feed sponsorships do work.

July 22, 2007 / jnolen

WishRadar on the iPhone

So yeah, I bought an iPhone. I thought that maybe, this time, I was above it all. I had a decent phone that was a lot smaller than an iPhone. I had a decent iPod (several, actually) that stored way more music than an iPhone does. I didn't wait in line on Friday with the rest of the fanboys. I thought to myself, "Wow, maybe I'm getting old." But I really didn't think that I needed this first generation. And then I held one.

When I came in to work that Monday, a few folks had gotten iPhones over the weekend, and I was able to try it out in person. That's when I decided that I had to have it. I spent Monday and Tuesday calling all over the city trying to find one in stock, and finally got lucky on Tuesday afternoon at the Stonestown mall.

My review so far? 99% wonderful. There are, of course, a few annoyances. Luckily they're all software- based, and I'm reasonably hopeful that they will be corrected in short order. It really is an amazing piece of technology.

But I think the biggest change that the iPhone brings (and most other folk seem to agree) is having the real internet in your pocket, anywhere, anytime. And I thought, "what better way to use WishRadar in the real world? Why bother with clunky text-messages if you don't have to?"

So after a quick Sunday's work, I present you with http://wishradar.com/iphone.

WishRadar_iPhone.png

As you can see from the screenshot, WishRadar for iPhone is optimized for two things:

1. Viewing your wishlist: How many times have you been standing, bewildered in a book store thinking of the dozens of books you know you want to read, unable to remember a single title? Well, suffer no longer, frustrated reader! Keep your wishlist in your pocket.

2. Checking prices and adding items: So you're standing in that store, and you find a new book you'd like to read. Enter the title into WishRadar and we'll immediately let you know how much it costs online. More than likely, you'll get a much better deal than in the physical store. And we'll add the item to your list, so you don't forget.

I've already used WishRadar for iPhone several times in the last couple of weeks, saving me a chunk of change in the process. So if you have your iPhone already, check it out. Right now, you have to visit the URL directly, but pretty soon I think we'll just direct anyone using an iPhone straight to that page.

Hope you like it, and let us know what you think.

* Two Sundays ago, actually, I'm just now getting around to blogging about it.

June 21, 2007 / jnolen

Transparency is a company value

The path to success lies not in hanging signs on walls or writing mantras and slogans. It's reinforcing to your team that a) there is only one 'constituency', the customer, and that transparency is a company value.

Dick Costolo, founder of FeedBurner

June 14, 2007 / jnolen

Quote of the day

The Wiki only has one trick — hierarchal arrangement in a very pedestrian way. It's the new Gopher.

Good to know my work hours are being well-spent. Long live Gopher!

May 29, 2007 / jnolen

Captcha as OCR error correction

This is brilliant.

May 24, 2007 / jnolen

Hiring developers at Atlassian, San Francisco Office

We, like everyone else in the industry right now, are trying to hire developers. In addition to the main engineering teams in Sydney, (for which we need many developers — go apply!) we are trying to hire two developers in the San Francisco office, which is a new thing for us. As such, I've poured through dozens of résumés in the last few weeks with very little success.

So, in an act of sheerest optimism, I'm going to tell you the kind of résumé I'd like to see. If you happen know such a person, or if you happen to be such a person, please get in touch. Atlassian is a great place to work.

To start with, here's the a fairly generic job description for one of our development spots. Second, here are the things we look for in all employees. Now that that's out of the way, here are some additional signals I look for when reviewing résumés. A candidate with any of the qualities would have an advantage. A candidate with all of them would be a dream come true.

You have a blog

If I could ask only one extra question, this might be the one. The blog can stand as a proxy for so many other important qualities.

  • It means that you have opinions, and are not afraid to share them. And I can even read those opinions in what should be their best light.
  • It lets me get a sense of your ability to write and make an argument.
  • It demonstrates that you're comfortable communicating through blogs (which, with three offices in three timezones, we do a lot). Also, we encourage developers to blog publicly.
  • It likely means that you're interested in technology for its own sake and that you stay abreast of the latest developments in the industry and new technology.
  • It demonstrates that you like communicating with others. There's plenty of room for the programmer who wants to be a heads-down coder all of the time, but for the developers in San Francisco, there will be a lot of interacting with the community.

You've coded something for fun

Writing code of your own initiative is a huge indicator that you're the kind of developer we're looking for. It doesn't particularly matter what you've built: you could have a start-up project or side business. You could have written or contributed to an open-source project. You could have built a vanity site. Creating technology for it's own sake and taking that to a significant level of completion (like launching a application, or getting a patch accepted, or publishing your site) demonstrates exactly the qualities we look for.

You're involved in the Open Source community

Much of what we do at Atlassian depends heavily on open source. We do our development largely in the open. We follow open-source practices as best we can. And in turn, we try to support the community: we give free licenses to OS projects, commit back to OS libraries wherever we can. The ideal candidate will understand the open source community and respects its values and principles.

You're an advocate of agile development

We don't practice strict XP at Atlassian, but we've found enormous benefits from following certain XP practices. And as time goes on, our developers are becoming more XP rather than less. It seems every problem we run into has a potential answer in agile programming, and the more we encourage the behaviors, the better we do (though, admittedly, the jury is still out).

But in any case, an ideal Atlassian would believe in agile programming and want to work in that kind of environment. Someone who has previously worked on a successful agile team would be valued; someone who would advocate for good agile practices even more so.

And that's my dream candidate. So if you fit the model and are interested in working at the coolest companies in Australia without having to move around the globe, you know where to find me.