Sep 08 2017

So I read the Google manifesto…

Category: English posts,TechnicalIuliana @ 12:12

Before going on vacation the Google scandal of the 10-page “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” document was just starting. A guy at Google created this document in which he criticised the politically correct Google environment and the discrimination happening in the name of the political correctness. And that manifesto made it to the internet. I was preparing for a vacation like no other, in which I was to detach myself completely from my working environment and from the passion that I dedicated myself to for the last 16 years of my life. So I postponed reading the Google manifesto until getting back.

I read the document on the plane on my way back and I realised there is a lot of blogging material in there. Because here we are in the time where political correctness dictates which people are allowed to speak their minds out loud and which are not, unless they want to risk being fired.
Continue reading “So I read the Google manifesto…”

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Sep 05 2017

I love writing technical books…

Category: TechnicalIuliana @ 23:23

… and messages like the ones below make all the effort worth it.

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Apr 08 2017

git unpack failed: error Missing tree solution

Category: English posts,TechnicalIuliana @ 19:18

More than a year ago, I convinced the company that I work for to switch from CVS to Git. This was not done as I wanted it, because … management… and thus a lot of stupid issues appeared. I did Git support for more than a year, and all this time 80% was Eclipse support, because the EGit Eclipse plugin is … a mess.  Now after more than a year later, a new problem appeared. When people tried to push their changes, a nasty pop-up appears:

And after you get this pop-up, doing it from the command line, doesn’t do it either:

C:\work>git push -v
Pushing to ssh://gigi.pedala@git:29418/gmp-parent
Counting objects: 91, done.
Delta compression using up to 8 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (85/85), done.
Writing objects: 100% (91/91), 44.68 KiB | 0 bytes/s, done.
Total 91 (delta 41), reused 0 (delta 0)
remote: Resolving deltas: 100% (41/41)
fatal: Cannot receive pack: error: unpack failed: error Missing tree 07b3431321048e15dccc9e022e258b93252894ef
To ssh://gigi.pedala@git:29418/gmp-parent
! [remote rejected] HEAD -> hotfix/H5.14.0.XX_ADV_XMW_branch (n/a (unpacker error))
error: failed to push some refs to ‘ssh://gigi.pedala@git:29418/gmp-parent’

If you search for a solution on the internet for this, you will most probably be told that your repository is corrupted and that the only solution is to re-clone it. Or you will be required to execute a lot of commands… that might do nothing for you.

Two days ago a colleague of mine from Frankfurt had it. As I was in the office I took the other Git expert in the company with me and went to his computer to dissect his repo. And being the nice person that I am, I will share the solution with you. We ran a git gc

git gc
Runs a number of housekeeping tasks within the current repository, such as compressing file revisions (to reduce disk space and increase performance) and removing unreachable objects which may have been created from prior invocations of git add.

Basically, when you do a push, git packages the information and tries to send it to the remote. Problem is that, whatever is sent to the remote in this case, cannot be unpacked because a git tree is missing for some reason. If you try to do a git show on the tree with the SHA1 code mentioned in the error, all the information is there. So what is happening? Well, git gc will help you here, because when trying to repack the information, you will get a set of errors like these:

cannot unlink file .git/objects/pack…”

Apparently Eclipse, or any other program, or even Windows holds a lock on the repository files, which prevents packing, and obviously incomplete information is send to the remote which cannot unpack it, thus the upacker error problem. I mentioned Windows here, because I haven’t heard anybody having this problem on a Unix system yet.

The solution for my colleague was to restart his computer(we closed Eclipse, but some java processes were still hanging and keeping the files locked so we took the easy way out) and before opening any other program execute git gc. The operation executed without any errors and he was able to continue his work, and do any remote operations he needed.

So this is the easiest solution: restart the computer, do a git gc and go about your work as usual.

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Apr 04 2017

Head Hunters … I despise them

Category: TechnicalIuliana @ 23:14

For the following two months I will be replacing my manager, so I’ll do less code(he hopes none at all) and more people/project managing. I’m scared like hell, but I’ll do my best to fill his shoes and make sure all the projects will be stable and maintainable in his absence.

While he in on parental leave, apparently I should hire two more people in Frankfurt. Until now, the way people are hired here was a mystery to me. And I was quite confused how some people ended up working here when they seemed quite .. unsuitable for the job. It’s not a critique, it’s an observation. The bigger the company, the bigger the chances some people do not fit their role, and even bigger the chances for nobody to notice it. But I digress. So, this company is using a head hunting company to find potential candidates.

I hate head hunters. Even the term “head hunter” seems aggressive and sends me into defensive mode. I’ve been “hunted” on LinkedIn and it always felt like an invasive process. It’s a weird sensation, because they seem amiable and diplomatic, almost likeable, but pushy in a way. They push you for a meeting, they push for an answer and so on. They are oblivious to the kind of person you and they do not seem to care if you are going to fit in an existing team or not. All they care about is the technologies you know and the number of years you have in the field. If you worked for a renowned company, even better. These are they details they flash in front of their clients and they push them too for a contract, because the commission for a successful interaction is about two salaries of the person they delivered. So yeah, I guess they are quite motivated.

Unfortunately, head hunter companies are useful in a big city, with busy people with no time to maintain a LinkedIn or Xing account and no way  for companies of verifying their credentials. Head hunters are for people, what real estate agents are for houses. They are mischievous and elusive because they want to sell you something that you might discover later it does not fit you. It’s like a shop keeper selling you pants two sizes small and with a no return policy.

They are despicable indeed, but you, the professional that do not want to invest a little time in your career are to blame for this. Wrong people will get a job and wreck projects, and drive other people to desperation and  onto other jobs. Because you cannot find it the motivation within yourself, if you are not satisfied with your job, to invest a little time in creating  a proper LinkedIn or Xing profile. Or a personal site, why not do it if you have the expertise?

The “Iuliana Cosmina” brand was not born in a day. It is the consequence of more than 10 years of work. But Google knows who I am. Of course, Google only knows what I want it to know. There is no need for a head hunter to hunt me or convince me. There is no need for a company to hire a head hunter to “get” me. They just have to send me an email, or a message on LinkedIn or Xing. Because I am currently at a certain level in my career that allows me to choose my employer. I will do this based on a set of criteria. Money is important as long as it provides a comfortable lifestyle in the job area. But if I do not like the project, the team leader and feel like I do not fit the company culture or the team, I will never say yes to a job. Interaction through a head hunter is unfair, because I cannot meet the team I would be working with, I cannot test the chemistry, the “feel”. And this is important for me, because people are “feeling-based” creatures. And the difference between feeling comfortable and uncomfortable in a team, shows its teeth in a person’s productivity.

So dear head hunter, if you want to create a brand for yourself as a competent professional and be sought for your services, allow the people you propose for a job to meet the team without asking for money. Pretend that you actually want for both parties to be satisfied with their arrangement. Dear head hunter, I know you have to survive too and pay rent. But if you play the game right and build a reputation of integrity you will win much more on the long run.

And reputation gets you really-really far. And sometimes you can learn things from movies too.

“When I propose a candidate for a job I don’t do it because the person in question is the best but because he is the one the client will employ. I provide them with a head that is good enough, placed on a body they want. […] The world is full of people who pay serious money for bad pictures by good artists. And mediocre heads on tall bodies.”

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Jan 27 2017

The one with the password

Category: English posts,TechnicalIuliana @ 21:14

Today I made the internet go crazy by posting a picture of my desk. You would wonder, how? Was I naked on top of it? Was somebody else naked on it? Was my cat on it? Well… no. See for yourself.

The first reason was because there were some nail clippings on it. Somebody called them “gross”. Because nail clippings are gross nowadays apparently. For me, they are gross only if I know for sure if the nail was stuck in the ass first, otherwise they are just pieces of keratine. But that’s just me, I know a little anatomy and there are not many things I can consider gross about the human body. If you think I have a habit of clipping my nails and using my desk as a clippings collector, allow me to explain. On the bottom right corner there is a leather container, that is my manicure set. I was fixing a nail, while reading, and he asked for a picture of our desks. I did not think too much, Cetin wants, Cetin gets.

The second reason is that my router password is there. I did not “not notice it”, nor forgot about it. And I assure you I am not stupid either. I just snapped the picture and thought about blurring the router password for about 1 second. But what would have been the use? The router can only be accessed if you are connected to the network already and I don’t have a real IP, nor a publicly available passwordless wireless. So I uploaded the picture on imgur and hell broke loose.

There were a lot of considerate people too, that notified me about the password and one of them, a security expert, he actually expressed his concern that I might have used the password somewhere else, and maybe somebody could use it to hack me. Rest assured guys, the router password is unique. The reason is on that post-it is because I only used it once, when I set up the router.

And there is another thing that got the internet interested: the 696969 number. :D (I know what you are thinking about)  I won’t tell you what’s that was for, but indeed it was a password for something at some point. No I  do not usually use kinky passwords. Or maybe I do. You will never know that either.

So, are we cool internet?

Stay safe, stay happy!

Jan 21 2017

My own Git meme

Category: English posts,TechnicalIuliana @ 19:30


Jan 05 2017

Negative feedback management

Category: English posts,TechnicalIuliana @ 23:03
In the software development world we have a lot of processes, standards and ways to measure quality. When it comes to code quality the  standard measurement is the WTF/minute, depicted in the image on the left. The result of such measurement is usually a feedback given to you by a superior. If the feedback is positive, you will receive a pat on the back, the responsibility of teaching your mastery to others and if you are lucky, a bonus or a raise. Giving and receiving positive feedback is a easy, but life is not only milk and honey and sometimes negative feedback has to be given and received. And it can be quite uncomfortable for both parties involved. But fear not, I took a little of my precious time to write a post about it.  Because even if you are a genius, you are human and you are most probably doing at least one thing wrong. And negative feedback is not only given for the quality of your work, but for your overall behaviour during working hours as well.
This being said, let’s begin. There are three ways to give negative feedback:

  1. officially, via a review that will affect your future career path
  2. privately in a professional/unprofessional manner
  3. publicly in a professional/unprofessional manner

Officially, negative feedback is given to you in the best way possible, wrapped up as an “ability you need to improve” (or more). The fact that you are given negative feedback, means that you actually matter to the company and somebody above you in the company hierarchy believes you can improve. The first time when you receive negative feedback might be a drama, because if you are passionate about your job you cannot stop yourself from taking it personally and feel like a failure. The emotion is similar to what you feel when you let down someone you love, only in this case this someone is you. Just allow yourself to breath, to think about it and then start working on improving the mentioned point. And the most important, ask guidance in how to do this from the one that gave you the negative feedback.

Negative feedback given privately, is a warning sign. It is one of the most embarrassing ways to receive a negative feedback and it usually means you screwed up badly, but somebody wants to understand what happened and try to help you make things better. When given such feedback, try to pay attention to what it is being said to you, hold your ground and emotions in check and try not point the finger to somebody else, not without accepting your own fault in the matter. Negative feedback given privately is usually the result of some behavioural issues, usually harassment of any kind. Depending on how badly you screwed up and depending on how short tempered your manager is, the negative feedback can be delivered professionally or unprofessionally. If the negative feedback is provided unprofessionally, the same as said before applies, there must be at least one person in that room to hold their shit together, it is better that is you. Because even if the discussion is private, the outcome will be in an official review. So, obviously it is better to say in your review that you admitted your part of the guilt, you are sorry about it and will work on improving in the future. And you can also report the short tempered manager to his manager.

Negative feedback given publicly, is clearly inappropriate. It is a warning sign for the provider of the feedback and for the receiver as well. It means there is a clash of egos there, maybe some issues that were never resolved or reported. Whether provided professionally or unprofessionally, this is one of the most uncomfortable things that can happen in a company. It reveals that the two persons involved both as problem employees. Maybe they either do not know or do not care about the internal hierarchy, or they do not trust the matter can be solved by official channels. If you are being scolded publicly, just remember school. Even if you have never been scolded by a teacher, you have witnessed it and you probably remember, that answering and defending yourself in the heat of the moment, did not do much. The same advice as in the previous case applies: hold your ground, keep your emotions in check and just take it. Just let it pass. Then think, raise the issue to the next person higher on the hierarchy and show yourself open to make things work.

No matter how good at your job you are, the fact is that we are all humans. We all make mistakes and we all have our moments when our mind plays tricks with us. When you work with the same people for a long time, conflicts are unavoidable. But you must remember why you are there for: you are there to excel at your job, you are there to teach others what you know, work with your team and make work more efficient for everybody so in the end the company will flourish and so will you. Unless the negative feedback is a backlash caused by personal issues with the person providing it, the negative feedback should always be considered an opportunity to improve yourself and others too. If the matter is personal, well… in this case things get complicated, unless you find a way to put it aside and separate personal from professional issues. Not all persons have the ability to separate professional from personal issues, but you can get better at this by talking to a counselor, for example.

I’ve written the above from my professional experience. I remember my first negative feedback and I remember my last. There is one recurring recommendation managers keep giving me: to be less blunt. But from overall personal experience I know that some people do not react unless they are hit with the naked truth. The best I can do is to try to know my colleagues as best as I can, thus I can modify my behaviour depending on them. I guess, we all just have to be understanding, considerate and flexible after all.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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