More Pablo

Posts tagged engineering

An anecdote on runtimes

:: engineering, pablolife

Adobe AIR!

My first gig was working on Adobe AIR, a (comparably) little-loved app runtime that was ahead of its time; I’d argue its fate as a faded silhouette of its potential was, as with most products, due to People Issues and changes in the context, in this case related to Macromedia’s acquisition that touched everything in the Flash family, and many of the same “world changed around us” issues that hit Windows Vista. But that’s a deeper post for another time that I’m absolutely not qualified to write. Here, I just want to go into a cute engineering anecdote that tickled me.

Note that all the following is entirely from memory; this was also my first gig out of college and I’d only been coding about 2 years, so please take this as lightheartedly as I’m writing it!

Advent of Code 2016

:: pablolife, engineering

A co-worker linked a few of us to Advent of Code, a coding challenge that released a new puzzle every day for December, leading to the 25th.

I participated as best I could, with a twist: try to write every day’s solution in a different programming language. I didn’t finish (some explanation follows), but I’m proud of my entries. The list of languages is:

Observations after another go-round of tech interviewing

:: pablolife, engineering

Ha! So I’m leaving Reonomy. Not what I thought I’d write after the way that last post ended. But we muster the most hope when it’s most desperately needed, and I was needing it then.

This means, hopefully for the last time, I went through the famed Tech Interview Experience again. Here are some findings and reactions; most of this is old hat for anyone with the ear to the ground, but hopefully someone finds this interesting.

Augmenting Dropwizard with Swagger and Rollbar

:: engineering, pablolife

The following is a cross-post with the Reonomy blog. It was made to soar and look good there, but figured I’d put it here since it’s still my writing. 😛

These days, we do things a bit differently in the company, as do I personally. I use Kotlin with Dropwizard and a host of slightly different techniques than in the example project. Nonetheless, hope it’s helpful to someone!

Hi Comrades! I’m Pablo 😄

I was responsible for writing the server layer for a new product under a tight deadline. I ended up writing it in Java with Dropwizard, and thought I’d share where I hit a pitfall or two in implementing the server to have certain features not specific to the domain logic of our app.

If you’re considering implementing your next REST service with a powered-up deployment of Dropwizard, read on!

(follow along with the example project demonstrating these integrations!)

My favorite hypothetical virus

:: engineering, pablolife

I took and TA-ed my college’s Computer Security course, where we did things like write malware and put it on VMs, or sillier projects like port knocking. Who knows what they’re doing now.

Anyways, I always had one idea for a virus I wanted to write to maximize chaos:

Every n hours, the virus finds two files on the filesystem that have identical filetypes. Then, it swaps the files, but also swaps their filenames. Let’s see this in action:

# Find two files of similar types, then do something like:


mv $File1 $HOME/secret/gigli_ben_afflect_j_lo.mp4.tmp
mv $File2 $HOME/Videos/wedding_video.mp4
mv $HOME/secret/gigli_ben_afflect_j_lo.mp4.tmp $HOME/secret/gigli_ben_afflect_j_lo.mp4

What this does is: over time, the user’s filesystem will appear identical by most human measurement (the ‘Movies’ directory will contain a bunch of video files, with the same names as it’s ever had), but when if and when the user ever tries to open/use it, it contains something else entirely. In the example above, when the owner wants to watch Bennifer’s Gigli, they’ll see a wedding video instead. When they want to watch their wedding video, they’ll get Gigli. Do this slowly, across the entire filesystem and any filetypes.

I never even wrote a prototype, but when I considered doing anything like that, I always envisioned keeping something like a ‘transaction table’ so it would be easy to roll back.

I like Java fine

:: engineering, pablolife

Statement: I am plenty happy to use Java in a large number of contexts.


Neo dodging bullets

Yes, I’ve read what jwz and Paul have written about it. In fact, I largely agree with all of it.

Neo dodging bullets, again

No, I’m not unqualified to say that. I’m not a defensive graduate from a so-called JavaSchool, I graduated from a pretty renown program. Like many engineers I often doubt my ability, but I’ve made it on the winning end of the Google Interview, and have written side projects in Erlang, Go, Racket, and Ruby. No company has ever fired me for technical ability or lack of contribution (one laid me off when they stopped making software); most have worked hard to keep me. It’s very, very hard to evaluate engineering ability but for the most standard (often bullshit) metrics, I pass.

Neo continuing to dodge bullets

I acknowledge that even in the game Java is playing, C# often does it better. I’ve never had the opportunity to use C# given it’s close association with Windows and the CLR; no firm I’ve worked with was using those, and when I choose technologies for my side projects, I usually use more obscure ones.

Neo falls

But frankly, I’ll go further and say it’s a damn good choice for many modules/projects.

Let’s break it down…