Working Here — Week Four

So moving to California (and coordinating with my fiancé, who is not QUITE out here full time yet), starting a new job at SpaceX, and trying at ALL to do homework/research/thesis work for school has me rather busy!

But I wanted to do a quick update… this place is insanely cool.

The philosophy that seems to permeate the culture here is one of “of course we can do that”, coupled with pushing ourselves and each other to answer “how quickly can we do that, and do it well”?

Every barrier I’ve seen in other companies is torn down. Meetings are pretty efficient and only as long as necessary. No one gets upset if you don’t attend; you’re an adult, you know how your time is best used… if someone NEEDS you to attend, they’ll make it very clear. They’re adults too.
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California – Week One

Wow, so, let me catch you up:

  • Got engaged to Mary Ann
  • Moved to Los Angeles, CA last week and started a new job at SpaceX

Ok, I guess it’s just two things, but they’re REALLY big things!

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Once More Into the Bitcoin…

Last time I talked about Bitcoin, in 2011, I said this:

Prices quickly went from a few dollars to around $30, although they’ve now backed off a bit to around $20/BTC (Bitcoin).

And, you will notice, I was not predicting great things from Bitcoin (although I DID admire the underlying blockchain and proof of work technology).

Seven years later, let me follow up.

First, despite what I said, I did do some bitcoin speculation myself. I ended up losing thousands, not because I didn’t make the right choices in market timing and investment… but because I was part of the MtGox Hack. I lost several thousand dollars, the equivalent of about five bitcoin at the time, which would have been worth $50,000 today.

So that sucked.

Despite that, I got back in a few months ago, using Coinbase, gained back about the amount I lost in MtGox, sold all my bitcoin and bailed. I’m completely out now.

I’m not saying that Bitcoin prices won’t go higher. They might.

But I AM still saying that I don’t believe in its long-term stability. And let me tell you why.
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Best Reddit Yet…

Ok, I’ve only posted to reddit a couple of times, but this one will be my favorite for probably forever I expect…

I posted this thread on reddit asking about an MP3 song I’ve had lying around since college, or shortly thereafter (1997? 98? 99?).

It’s on the “Name That Song” subreddit because I wasn’t sure I had the name of the artist or the song correct. I’d transcribed the lyrics, searched the internet as best I could (and I generally consider myself fairly adept at that), and finally resorted to posting to reddit.

A few weeks go by… crickets. No comments; just a few views.

Until I woke up this morning to not only a comment on the thread, but an email from the comment-writer, who was none other than the original artist, excited to have googled himself and found me posting about a song he wrote 20 years ago!

Made his day, and it made mine too. It’s a fun little thread; check it out. Good times.

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Greedy Test Case Algorithm in a SQL Stored Proc

Here’s a straightforward problem: I have a table with a lot of fields in it (in this case, several tables — new Fact and Dimension tables in a star schema data warehouse, but, you know, any wide table will do).

I want to extract a few real world test records that exercise the entire table… a “covering set” of test cases… so if I have 100 columns, and record A has non-zero, non-null values in columns 1-50 and record B has good values in columns 51-100, then I only need to test those two records. How great is that?!

Ok, I should probably BUILD test cases, but I like using real data since there are always unseen business rules lurking about. Anyway, this is a pretty basic math problem: Select the minimal number of objects from the set of rows where the union of the viable (non-null, non-zero) columns across the subset covers all possible columns.

There’s some code below.  Note that it is very bad code.  I use the wrong scope on global temporary tables, I don’t do lots of checking of things, I generate SQL and execute it, I debug with print statements.  It is also formatted poorly, but that’s actually more of a wordpress/plugin issue than anything else.

But it’s mine, and I love it…

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