Work at Home Setup

I have been meaning to capture my work setup for a bit, so here is a quick note on it:

Physical Setup

Standing desk from Fully: a Jarvis bamboo adjustable.  I have a 48”x30” tabletop as I didn’t have space for a wider desk at the time but I would get a 60”x30” next time.  Desk is adjustable with electric motor w/ 4 presets. Totally worth the price.

Monitor is an old Apple 27 inch Thunderbolt.  I have two but I am currently running with a single one, with a tray for my laptop.  When I was using two monitors I had the right in landscape and the left in portrait with my laptop closed on a Kradl vertical stand, but I found I spent too much time moving windows around the screens and I like the cleaner setup of the current arrangement.   The monitor arms can handle the weight of the 2 monitors (23.5lb each), they are Chief Kontour K1D.

Keyboard (MS Natural Ergonomics 4000) and Mouse (Logitech) wired.  Cheap and reliable.

Chair from Ikea (Vagsberg).  Height is adjustable but tilt is not.  The dimensions works for me and its a very cheap chair.  I upgraded the castors with non-marking polyurethane wheels upgraded.

Dedicated “Spare” room, shared with pets (1 dog, 2 cats).

Geography

US West Coast.  Team ranges 9 TZs; I’m at the West side of the range.  I work from home close to 100% of the time, plus trips for meetings (elsewhere in the US, Europe).

Connectivity

Sonic.net (local, running on ATT Uverse).  50Mb/5Mb. I wish I had Fiber but there is no fiber in our area and I like the service from Sonic.  NetGear Orbi tri-band (not really) “mesh” router.   WiFi is available throughout the house.

Social Setup

Kids are grown up and living on their own.  Most of my social interaction is with the team (video, Slack) and with neighborhood, which has plenty of dog walking folks and kids walking to/from school.

Join us! Looking for a RSE/OPS/Cloud Engineer for DevOptics

The DevOptics team has an opening for an OPS person to contribute to our architectural, operational and implementation activity as a modern SaaS.  We are a distributed team operating across multiple time-zones.  We are looking for somebody that will work in Eastern / Central US Time-Zone.

We interact continuously online, synchronously and asynchronously, we complement this with F2F meetings.  Below is a photo from our last F2F, in Malahide, IRL.

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Our last F2F in Malahide

Job details HERE.  Looking forward to meet you!

PS.  We collectively speak (at least) 6 languages, have 8 nationalities, and live in 7 countries.  We value diversity although, as you can see from the photo, our efforts have not been fully successful.  Apply!

Join us – DevOptics Team

CloudBees DevOptics provides actionable insights on your software development cycle, leveraging Jenkins as the industry’s premier automation engine.  DevOptics was announced last year, at JenkinsWorld 2017 and is a growing family of offerings.  The first one, DevOptics Deliver, provides information on your Value Stream  (see Ben’s post) and there are more to come.

I am the engineering manager for the DevOptics team.   We are a geographically distributed team, with engineers in the US, Ireland, England, France and Switzerland.  Our largest offices are in Raleigh, NC, in SJ, CA, in Boston, MA, and Seville, Spain. We meet F2F regularly through the year – the photo below is from our most recent get-together, in Malahide.

Our product family is a modern, SaaS, offering.  Back end is mostly Java; frontend is currently mostly JS.

I have openings for senior and junior engineers.   Check our job page and contact our recruiting team – or send me a holler.

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And now at CloudBees

Cloudbees

 I’m overdue for an update on my work status.  I started working at CloudBees in March but I’ve been going full speed since then and I’ve not had much time to write.  JenkinsWorld is at the end of the month, so we are not exactly slowing down, but I want to get my update before then.

Progress Software announced a New Strategic Plan during its FY Year End report (link) and: “Progress intends to reduce headcount by approximately 450 employees, totaling over 20% of the Company’s workforce.”  So, I went looking, found different options and… CloudBees, I choose you!

There are many reasons for choosing CloudBees…

  • CloudBees is the commercial home for Jenkins (home, wikipedia), the ubiquitous Automation Server,
  • Software is Eating the World  and Jenkins is the main automation engine driving this,  There are many great opportunities around CloudBees and Jenkins…
  • I know, have worked with, and I am friends with many of the CloudBees folks.  Kohsuke, the creator of Hudson/Jenkins used to work for me,  I have worked with HarpreetVivek,  Dave, Alyssa, John (and others?) at Sun, with Steve at Oracle, and over the years I’ve been at the other side of many chats with Sacha and others.

and…

  • I had an opportunity to try a new role, engineering manager, with a great team, in a great product…

So, here I am, at CloudBees.  I work from the San Jose office, by the SJO airport

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Kohsuke and Harpreet are also based there, and so is Womby (Why Wombats?)

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We have a great team!  And, and we have some openings.  We need:

Ping me if you want to work with me and us.  As somebody said: Kick Butt and Have Fun!

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Time Zones Don’t Matter in the BlogSphere

(Reformatted and relinked from the original post on February 19th, 2006 at Java.Net – Also see Distance in the Internet, Time Zones and Geos and The Impact of Blogs.Sun.Com)

The World is smaller and it only takes a few minutes to get an email message across almost any two points. Geographic distance does not matter, but in one of my earliest blogs I argued that Time Zones Still Matter in the Internet. But that statement was based on email interactions and for the last few months I’ve had quite a bit of experience in the use of blogs over distant Time Zones. Based on this new experience, I now believe that Time Zones Don’t matter in the BlogSphere.

The contributors to the GlassFish Community are from many locations across the globe. Over the last few months these engineers have started blogging with increased frequency, and since late November, several of us have been using these blogs as sources to create a news blog (The Aquarium). Most of the blogs are very informative and, somewhat to my surprise, the geographic origin of the blog – and its Time Zone of origin – is totally irrelevant to its relevance and impact.

I think that what happens is that the communication style encouraged by blogs encourages a careful writeup that is self-contained, which is exactly what is recommended for communication across distant Time Zones. Also, the comments of a thread create a stream of communication that is directly tied to that content, and in most cases, it is quite acceptable to the author of a comment if the response happens many hours after the posting. All of this means that the author of a blog can be many TZs apart from the reader, with no substantial impact on the quality of their interaction. As a typical example, Sahoo is located in Bangalore, and I am located in SantaClara, California but, as an editor and a reader at TheAquarium, he is just one of the good contributors at TA.

There are many types of blogs, and I don’t want to make a universal statement, but our technical blogs have proven to be quite immune to the Time-Zone problems that are very evident in email. In the new world of global communities, blogs are proving to be a very useful tool.

Distance in the Internet… Time Zones and Geos

(Reformatted and relinked from the original post on August 25, 2003 at Java.Net – Also see Time Zones Don’t Matter in the BlogSphere and The Impact of Blogs.Sun.Com)

I recently attended a presentation on a study corelating the mode of interactions (face to face, phone, email) between participants with the distance between them. The study used geographic distance and reported that people geographically close to each other would use face to face communication and that they would start using phone and email as people got farther away . This may be correct for the community used in that study but the results do not match my experience: we use email much more often than that and I believe geographic distance is not a good way to measure distance in the internet.

I interact with many people, some have offices in my building but others are located in other sites in the West Coast (of the USA) and elsewhere in the world. Most of my interactions with other software engineers are through email, regardless where the recipient is.

Email is the prefered medium for our engineering community. Email is asynchronous, fast, and can be scanned quickly. We complement email with (synchronous) meetings where people are seated around a virtual room, some face-to-face, some teleconfering using phone, video and VNC. Some groups also use IM and chat rooms.

My experience is that geographic distance is much less important than time-zone distance. When the time-zone distance is small, email and even teleconfs hide any geographic distance. You can engage in a sequence of email messages and solve a problem. Or you can arrange for a virtual meeting and do high-bandwidth exchanges. Sure, there are some problems with virtual meetings and one needs to pay attention to the non-local participants, but the problem is manageable.

Start increasing the time-zone distance and communication becomes more complicated: the number of mail exchanges in a day are reduced; there are fewer overlapping hours in the work day. Increase the time-zone distance, or include multiple sites (say India, USA and Europe) in the conversations and email exchanges slow to one a day, and meetings just can’t happen.

So, what works for collaboration over large time-zone distances?

Here are some ideas that we have used:

  • Design out the problem: rearrange the tasks so that where fast turnaround is required the time-zone distance is low.
  • Complement with additional interaction mechanisms: I’ve found web sites, Wiki and bulletin boards to be less susceptible to time zones as they are more static and capture snapshots of exchanges. These mechanisms are not a complete solution; if you have suggestions and/or expererience, please share it.
  • Kick-start the relationship. The effect of time-zone distance makes it specially hard to “figure out” the other party so one can translate idioms (typed or vocal) into their intended meaning. One trick that we have used is to ask for a picture and for some short biographical blurb of the other party and then we post this in an internal site. Then it may be easier to add other bits of information to that core to “figure out” the party. Another, more traditional mechanism in the business world, is to fly some people across the time zone.