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All the Drinks

I currently have 66 unique beverage cans/bottles on my cabinet, ranging from Guru Energy Lite 100% Natural (argh, cough syrup equivalent) to The Ginger People "Ginger Beer" (wow!) to Tejava Premium Iced Tea (Unsweetened).

And I just discovered that different buildings have slightly different sets of drinks. Looks like I might hit 100 unique drinks by the end of the month. Woe is my bladder.

Am I a M?

I am trying to buy clothes online (Google store) and I can't decide if I am a S or a M. I know I am a M in Singapore, but am I a S or a M here? It varies from place to place.

It's all very perplexing.

Days of my Life

Reveille

Due to the time difference between Singapore and US, I wake up at around 6am PST while the Mrs stays up late (by our standards) to videoconference. This arrangement means that I normally sleep by around 10pm. As such, I normally get to work by 8ish, which brings us to the one frequently asked question is what the working hours are like. There are people here at this time of the day, but let's just say if someone is working at this time, it's being a looooong night. The working hours vary greatly from project to project, but people tend to incline towards starting around 10am and going home after dinner (it's free anyway).

After arriving at my desk, I normally throw down my bag at my desk, and think to myself how unfit I am to be this out of breath.

Self-Powered Commuting

I cycle to work daily as I live about 5-6 miles (depending on the route I take) away. This is apparently quite Googley, so for every 5 days you cycle to work, Google will donate $25 to a selected charity. See Forward Management and Sierra Club Mutual Funds Announce 2007 Green Leaders and Bike to Work Day [danvk.org].

Here today, Gone tomorrow

The first two weeks as a noogler involves a lot of learning and going for lectures. By the second week, I learnt how to ignore certain emails, what classes to attend or not (and what classes to try your darnest to get a place in), and, well, where to find out what you do not know.

I have a mentor who guides me, but it turns out that my group has gone to Hawaii this week, leaving me and a noogler who joined a week before me back in Googleplex.

I have a goal

I started a personal project to sample all non-alcoholic distinct canned and bottled drinks available at Googleplex. At last count, I had about 40 bottles and cans listed in my spreadsheet, and I reckon I am about half-way done (I still have not gotten to the Cokes and Pepsis).

My last marathon

I have a deal with the Mrs that I can run one more marathon, and I have my sights set on one in the Bay area. Definitely. And this time, it will be sub-4 hours. Oh yeah.

Does anyone have a good suggestion for marathons in the Bay area? Preferably as close as possible to Mountain View, California (don't have a car).

Perks

Friends and family keep asking me for what other perks Google has to offer. Let's see, you get $5000 off when you buy a green car (although that's about to change for 2008). Free laundry room with free washing powder/liquid. Did I mention the food? Free gym membership with subsidized personal training rates. Subsidized massage plus one-time free one-hour massage. On-site doctors. Medical, dental and vision coverage. High-end desktops with 30" monitors for software development plus a laptop (Mac, Windows or Linux). Nap pods (these are cool, basically they are sofas with screens and lounge music that allow you to take naps). Dog-friendly. Great talks (e.g. Obama visited Google). California weather.

It's a nice great almost-perfect place to work for, ok? :)

Life as a Noogler

Seeing this is the end of my first week as noogler, I thought I should relate some of my thoughts so that I may look back at them fondly in the future.

Feeling alive

First and foremost, this is an amazing place to work for. You feel completely appreciated and while most nooglers would allude to the amazing food that is all free here, I am completely blown away at the opportunities given to you here. What you do here in Google makes a difference to millions of people, and Google provides you the tools and support needed to do so.

Need a better ergonomic keyboard? Walk 2 minutes to a hardware depot and get one. No questions asked.

Need a vertical mouse? Yap. Same procedure.

New headphones? New laptop cable? Yes, Yes and Yes.

I exchanged my Mac Pro for a Linux box (don't ask why), and all I had to do was to go online, request for an exchange, and a technician comes down with the new machine and replaces it for me. I almost broke a sweat. So I went to the gym to get it out. (argh, that's terrible writing)

Gym with 20 treadmills which have televisions built-in? And infinite pools? And personal trainers? And monkeys that cheer you on as you exercise?

I made the last one up, but with free gym membership, what can I say?

Maybe you are asking, yes, so what - Google is just throwing money at engineers. What a waste! Well, everything is on a honor system, but I do not see people abusing this privilege and say, getting a fancy keyboard for their mother. These accessories are there for engineers to use and work with. You do not know how empowering this is. In school, I would have to go to my supervisor to request for something as mundane as a keyboard, and not to get a new fancy keyboard as my current one does not suit my posture, but because the current one is so full of biological material that spiders have taken residence in it. I felt beholden to the institution.

Here, I feel that I am part of a organism that is dynamic and growing. Things are a little chaotic, but it's managed chaos. I feel alive here.

Am I drinking the kool-aid? Maybe it's in the food, but hey, it's all true.

The Power

Google technology is crazy wow. The amount of API and libraries that an engineer has access to is mind-blowing. And everyone works out one source control tree. _ONE_. Everything any engineer writes (even an intern) is available to any other engineer for use. And these are not any engineer off the street, these are top-notch "best people I have ever worked with" engineers with top-quality code. Gee. I hope I do not humiliate myself here.

The collaborative nature of Google is outstanding - you think of something, and instead of worrying about the bits and pieces, and coding from scratch, you just have to piece together some of the most powerful technology you have ever seen and bam! Your sauce is done. No, wait. I mean, your program is parallelized and has access to TB of diskspace.

Be with me

If you know me, or even if you do not know me but feel that you are an excellent candidate, and feel like exploring opportunities with Google, please _please_ email me your resume and I will gladly refer you(It's on the main page of this domain). Such a referral can mean the difference between your resume being overlooked and tossed in the bin, and being placed on a priority list for interviews.

I will also love to take the time to talk to you about Google, and how you can be part of this adventure.

Noogler

I am a noogler!

All I can say is that I have received more emails in one day than I used to receive as a student in a whole month!

My First Earthquake

This is exciting. Today I felt my first earthquake, 5.6 magnitude!

I was having dinner (well, actually we were waiting for dinner to be cooked), and all of a sudden the ground was shaking. Shaking as in, "hey, there's a fat person walking above us". The glass was trembling and the utensils were vibrating. Until we realized it was an earthquake. The shockwave was not too violent and lasted only about 30 seconds.

Oh boy. Exciting times.

Jogging in CA

The weather is so fantastic in the Bay area that I have been jogging every other day for 45 minutes.

Today I ran 8km in 38 minutes and it felt so comfortable! The difference between running in Singapore and the Bay area is really the humidity and temperature. From this weather page, the temperature is 18 degree celsius and 67% humidity. The fact that sweat actually evaporates and cools you down is refreshing.

I can definitely see myself running a good sub-4 hour marathon over here.

Newbie in CA Part 3

That went faster than I expected

I managed to subscribe to new services before even moving into my new apartment - The day I move in I will have local calling service, DSL, water, electricity and even my furniture from IKEA.

The only problems are items which require a social security number - driving license, savings accounts and credit cards.

What have you been doing?

I have been reading books like:

I am also execising and running every other day for an hour. Overall, my time is unstructured but I am feeling this period of rest is good as it relaxes and refocuses my mind.

Gmail now has IMAP

Stop the presses!

Gmail now has IMAP!

Newbie in CA Part 2

Don't pass Go, but do go to the bank

After all that adrenaline rush of being interrograted by border officers, I got my rental car and got on highway 101. Whoopie. I left the airport at 12:30pm and I managed to make it to corporate housing in Sunnyvale by 1:30pm.

I learnt that when the corporate housing confirmation letter says check-in time is 4pm. They do mean 4pm. As the apartment was locked and I had no where to go, I figured I would go to Citibank and withdraw money from the ATM (you know, the plan)

But despite having no social security, I still managed to open a Citibank account just with my Singapore passport and driving license. Nice. So I got my checking account on the first day in USA, while waiting to move into my temporary housing. I still need a social security number before I can get a savings account, but hey, that's fine by me.

So anyhoo, I am currently living in Sunnyvale, CA, which is one region of Silicon Valley.

"Credit History Required" Really Means

"Give us money and we won't need credit history".

For example, renting an apartment without a social security number means you put up a larger amount of deposit. Getting utilities and gas without a social security number means you place more deposit.