StackOverflow – a missed opportunity

Back when I was young and mostly stupid, I discovered StackOverflow. The site struck me hard. There were a lot of “Wow” moments for a third year student. I still remember the first time I asked the first question, then even think about the questions to ask (so I can gain some precious reputation – yeah, I was young and stupid, remember?), and the first time I tried to answer a question myself.

It has been a long time since those days.

I still use StackOverflow, even at this very moment. But it’s on demand, instead of browsing it everyday as a habit. I search for a question, read the answer, possibly vote it up, then leave. Sometimes, when I have absolutely nothing to do, I try to review the suggested edits from other users. And that’s it.

I don’t entirely leave StackOverflow, I just don’t actively use it any more.

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Upgrading to TeamCity 9.x: the JRE headaches

Today I updated our TeamCity server from 8.15 to 9.17. We need to support C# 6.0 so it’s an essential move. TeamCity 10 is still EAP and we would wait a couple of months after it comes out to make sure all the plugins are supported.

The installation was a breeze – the installer detected there was a previous version and offered to uninstall it. All good. Until there was a browser window opened so I can continue the configuration, but http://localhost/ only returned time out.

When I opened the Service Management (services.msc), it looked like the service was not running. I tried to start it, but then it stopped immediately. Events viewer was not exactly helpful, it gave a very obscure information:

The description for Event ID 404 from source TeamCity (see below) cannot be found. Either the component that raises this event is not installed on your local computer or the installation is corrupted. You can install or repair the component on the local computer.

If the event originated on another computer, the display information had to be saved with the event.

The following information was included with the event:

===============================================================
TeamCity JetBrains JetService v1.1.755.777
c:\TeamCity\bin\TeamCityService.exe
Service process exited without service stop request
===============================================================
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Why don’t I reply to your recruitment emails?

This post is about a (I hope) small portion of recruiters. If you have never sent an email like this, congratulations, I think you can consider yourself as a professional recruiter. If you did, might be you can changed the way you communicate with candidates to be more effective? I don’t want to burn any bridge here – I have high respects for recruiters, who are working hard to connect companies with potential employees, making the world a better place.

Most of the recruiters I’ve had chances to work with are great specialists and it’s been a pleasure working with them, even that I have to turn down all of the offers because I don’t want to change jobs now (While I’m not seeking for new job at the moment – have I ever mentioned that I have a great team at Episerver? – I think it’s not harmful to build up a network, just in case). However, there were times I feel annoyed when I receive a recruitment email. Initially, I would kindly reply to that email, saying I’m not interested in the positions. Later, I simply delete those emails. And I even marked some as spams.

It should not have to come to that end.

Why?

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Joel test scores are (somewhat) outdated – you should ask something else

Joel test scores are widely accepted as the “12 golden checks” for interviewee to ask interviewer during an interview. They were originated by Joel Spolsky – and his blog was famous among developers, they were quite well-known – and have been popularized even more with StackOverflow (where Joel Spolsky is one of the founders). StackOverflow Jobs even have a check list for recruiters when they post their job vacancies. Here’s the list:

  • Do you use source control?
  • Can you make a build in one step?
  • Do you make daily builds?
  • Do you have a bug database?
  • Do you fix bugs before writing new code?
  • Do you have an up-to-date schedule?
  • Do you have a spec?
  • Do programmers have quiet working conditions?
  • Do you use the best tools money can buy?
  • Do you have testers?
  • Do new candidates write code during their interview?
  • Do you do hallway usability testing?

The list served its purposes for a long time – and I can say it, to a point – contributed to software industry. When developers are aware of such things, companies need to adapt to attract talents – resulting in better work environments and processes (again, there are companies which do that well before the list, and there are companies do not care about it at all).

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Lessons learned from running a blog

Expect yourself to do many things, if not everything. You’ll be an administrator, a developer and a writer, all at the same time. This blog is the first time I install WordPress, first time I install and configure Apache, first time I configure CNAME or so, first time I use Google Adsense. It was not smooth all the way, but it’s not that hard and it’s really rewarding when I got it works. One after one. I failed sometimes, like when I tried to make WordPress runs on PHP7 (I’m not a PHP developer after, so I run away when the problem gets out of hand), but for most parts, I can find an answer from here and there on the Internet. Thank you, internet.

Attracting visitors is hard. Internet is full of things and no matter how you try, there are always other content somewhere more interesting than yours. Except if you are exceptional good at writing, or you are famous person, most of the people will not visit your website. Not even one. And sadly enough, many of your visitors will not return, even if your website was helpful to them. You helped them to solve a problem and that’s it. Attracting visitors is already hard enough, and keeping them coming back is even harder.

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