My employer, Coinstar, has a few openings here in Bellevue. We are looking for at least three Software Quality Engineers and a Senior Build/Tools Engineer, someone who can create an automated testing system for our kiosk software. The automation person will also be responsible for creating our software builds so they'll probably get a chance to automate that as well.

If you're interested or have more questions send them or your resume to me.

ETA: Added the actual job titles and links to job descriptions. Also, there are other jobs in the Bellevue area.

Well I finally had my yearly review. I had filled my head with all kinds of bad news because my boss waited until the very last minute to give me my review. (I had even entertained the idea of being fired for a bit.) Turns out I did it to myself again. My review went much better than I expected and I was even given a nice raise. Not a huge one but considering the layoffs and huge write-off we had at the beginning of the year I'm not complaining.

My boss again reiterated how he likes the fact that I shake things up on the team. I keep looking at our code and asking why it looks the way it does. I propose improvements and will create a document detailing the pros and cons of the change. I've got some irons in the fire that are starting to get hot for some big interesting projects. The number one item on my list is replacing the outdated database system we use on our kiosks.

I did make a few mistakes last year which we covered, but I never felt like I was being punished. My boss just brought them up and we talked about how I had improved and what we could do to continue improvement.

I’ve been dealing with a possible new partner at work. We’ve been going around and around but I think I finally started to get through to them today. Right now they only have a manual process for dealing with voiding and reversing transactions. In their view the manual processing isn’t a problem because it is a rare exception and doesn’t cause a large drain on their support staff.

The problem is that we have 16,032 kiosks in the field that handle an average of 220,000 transactions every day*. That means that if 0.05% of our transactions fail in such a way that requires a void or reversal there would be 110 transactions our support people need to handle each day. A manual process to handle voids and reversals is unacceptable at those levels. Each day these numbers grow because we are expanding our installed base of kiosks.

Discussing actual numbers has been the key to educating the vendor about the problems with manual processes. One thing I’ve learned on this job is that Murphy was an optimist. Impossible things happen all the time. For the programmers out there if you’ve ever written some code that can never get executed it will here. It’s so much fun tracking down impossible bugs. I guess that’s why I get the big bucks.

*: All numbers are fudged to protect proprietary information.

The News

Feb. 20th, 2008 11:59 am

Now that the news has been made public I can say that yes we did have some folks who were laid off last Friday. I was not one of them. The company is strong but they had to make some cuts to deal with the effect of Wal-Mart removing a lot of entertainment machines from their stores. The good news is that Wal-Mart is going to be putting in more coin counting and RedBox DVD kiosks. In the end we're going to be sitting pretty.

We are still looking for a Database Architect and I would recommend this as a place to work. You can work in lots of places but it's who you work with that makes your job good or bad. I work with some great people and my manager rocks my socks every day.

hollyking: (ahead full)

I just had a 1-on-1 meeting with my boss at $work. It went really well. We talked about my performance and more importantly the tasks he has in mind for me in the future. My current project is going well and the tasks he has in mind are really interesting. The best part was opening my big mouth in the weekly meeting this morning was a good thing. My question sparked a debate which will save the company a chunk of change and I think would be some fun code to write.

Speaking of $work, I work with a Klingon. He shows up at Norwescon and other places. Recently I found out he’s helped in a fan film. The first part of Star Trek: Of Gods and Men is available to view and I recommend it to anyone. If you're a fan of the movies or shows, any version or season, it is a special treat to see the actors from the series back in their roles. The film ends on a cliff hanger, but I’ve been assured that they are working hard on the next chapter.

My office building is in the Mercer Slough. They build the buildings on pillars that are embedded in the bedrock, however the parking lots are just asphalt slapped on top of the ground. Which means they sink. So instead of building better parking lots they just slap on more asphalt. I've heard that some of the parking lots are 25' thick.

It's raining. A lot. When i got to work today one of the two roads that can get to my office was closed. The other was flooding but I was able to make it in. When I found out that the roads were clear just an hour earlier I knew that the last road was going to become impassable soon. Luckily, as soon as I got to my desk my boss came around and said to head home.

One of my co-workers was driving his Prius and didn't feel like risking it against the flood, so I gave him a ride home. After dropping off my co-worker I stopped to get some gas. A woman was having trouble starting her car so I helped her with a jump start so she could get home. Two good deeds for the day. Go me!

Now I'm at home and I think I'll do some cleaning in preparation for holiday decorating tonight. That or go masturbate until I'm blind.

One of the bad things about working for $job is that our customers are retail stores. As such we don't get a lot of holidays since we have to be around when our customers are around. I knew that the office here was closed for two days this week but I thought that I would be working a split week for Christmas and New Years. I am out of vacation time so I was planning on coming and and working Monday Dec 24th and Dec 31st.

The HR department just sent around an email outlining our holiday plan which included the holidays for 2007 and 2008. Wo0t! I don't have to come in on Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve. Additionally I get Boxing Day off in 2008.

I love unexpected days where I don't have to work but still get paid.

It’s Child’s Play time again. If you didn’t know Child’s Play is a charity event started by the guys at Penny Arcade. Here is some information about it in their words:

Since 2003, over 100,000 gamers worldwide have banded together through Child’s Play, a community based charity grown and nurtured from the game culture and industry. Over two million dollars in donations of toys, games, books and cash for sick kids in children’s hospitals across North America and the world have been collected since our inception.

This year, we have continued expanding across the country and the globe. With over 45 partner hospitals and more arriving every month, you can be sure to find one from the map above that needs your help! You can choose to purchase requested items from their online retailer wish lists, or make a cash donation that helps out Child’s Play hospitals everywhere. Any items purchased through Amazon will be shipped directly to your hospital of choice, so please be sure to select their shipping address rather than your own.

When gamers give back, it makes a difference!

As a child I spent a lot of time in the hospital and I know how much it sucks. So I’m going to give them something this year and I call on everyone to do the same. There are participating children’s hospitals across the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and Egypt.

One way to save up some money to donate is to toss your change in a glass. I usually get about $30 out of a pint glass full of change. Then you can go to a Coinstar machine and choose an Amazon certificate. You won’t pay any conversion fees and you can use the certificate to buy something from one of the Child’s Play wish lists.

My company is having a costume party at work today. I've seen a few other people dressed for the occasion in the office, but I'm the only member of dev & QA who's dressed...

Do I belong here?

hollyking: (ahead full)

[ profile] ragnorokt, my brother, is somewhere over the US on his way here. [ profile] hollyqueen and I are going to pick him up from SeaTac soon and then we're rushing north to Vancouver for the weekend. Even though we'll be coming back on Sunday I'll be taking the week to show him the Puget Sound area. I'll be checking email but probably won't read too much LJ during the next week.

In other news my company is running a contest on 7/7/2007. Seven machines in seven cities will give free coin counting for seven hours on July 7th. So if you want to try your hand or just enjoy a puzzle or two check out My Lucky Coinstar.

Jebus what a crappy day! I’ve had one project since I’ve worked here. It was supposed to be done last July. Well today I went for the first install in the field and it didn’t work. Works fine at my desk, in the QA lab, hell even in our lobby. Out in a store it fell flat on it’s face.

On top of that, I’ve lost one contact and I didn’t bring my glasses so I’m winking at everyone in the office and developing one hell of a headache.

You would think it was a Monday from the way things are going…

Update: The machine in the field rolled over and died after we left. Oh, this is going to look so good on my review.

It’s nice to be appreciated. I haven’t posted much about my job because a lot of what I’m working on isn’t public yet. I have had one project that’s been causing me a lot of stress and frustration. Well today I had a one-on-one meeting to go over the company bonus for 2006. It was a good meeting. Very good.

I was awarded 100% of the amount my manager could assign. As a company we made part of our goals so the end result was 80% of the bonus amount. Not a bad amount of cash that could only have been made better if I had been with the company the whole year.

For me the best part was some of the comments in the paperwork. A sample is:

Because of his excellent process and documentation contributions I have given Brendan the full 15% for this component.

I am very pleased that Brendan has joined our team.

Brendan consistently demonstrates clear thinking and an attention to detail that result in quality solutions.

It’s nice to be noticed and appreciated. So much better than those schmucks at McAfee.

My company is changing our vacation and holiday plans to combine all employees under one global plan. The changes don’t effect me because I was hired after the new plan started, but I went to the information meeting yesterday for a refresher and to see what had changed.

Notice that this time I didn’t say where I worked. There’s a reason for that. I attended the last meeting of the day because I knew that there would be crowds at the early meetings. This is a hot topic because while 60% of the company is gaining more vacation time, the folks here at the headquarters are losing a bit of vacation time. So I figured the last meeting of the day would be lightly attended and I was right.

When I entered the room the only other person there was the CEO who was presenting the plan. I had been told that he knew everyone by name in the company though I figured I hadn’t been here long enough to stand out in any way. I bet you can guess a bit of what’s coming next.

While waiting for more people to show up he asks me how things are going and what I’m working on. Then he says “I’ve seen your blog.” “Excuse me,” I reply. He then tells me how he searched for our company name and blog on Google and found my post from last summer when I started here. Eep! He quickly assured me that he didn’t read anything else on the blog. He was just looking into viral marketing ideas and wondered if anyone had blogged about the company.

This is why I make sure that anything I post about my job is public information. We have a ton of cool projects in the works that I would like to show off but they have to stay under wraps for now.

Take that!

Jan. 10th, 2007 02:03 pm

I have to say that [ profile] hollyqueen is the bestest wife ever. Just being in the room with her makes everything better and with her by my side I know I can overcome. Yes, I did have a good lunch. What makes you say that?

Here’s a few thoughts I had about other things to quash those voices that can torment me so:

  1. Tighten up my iPod playlist. I have a lot of music that’s beautiful but sad. Listening to sad music makes a crack that can be exploited, while listening to upbeat positive music helps me to gird my loins* for battle.
  2. Read some emails and comments. Reminders that there are people out there who like me takes away the launching platform used by the voices.
  3. I’m sure there are more. Ooh, an adventure.

Holy Template Parameters, Batman! My project just compiled. Now the real bug hunt begins.

* Ever since I read Alien Loves Predator I’ve been trying to work that into a sentence.

I've been fighting this huge high-visibility project at work for the last three months. The original code was written by another developer who went on vacation in July and I was assigned to cover for him. When he came back he was assigned to another task and I was the only developer working on this project. Our drop-dead ship date was July 28. So every day I've been stopped by VPs and quizzed about the progress of the project. Everyone in the company knows that this project is our corporate #1 priority. Even though it's technically a pilot project failure is not an option.

I'm happy to announce that I did it. I nailed that sucker to the wall and didn't stop hitting it until it was screaming for mercy. I wish I could talk about my solution but it's tied to too much internal processing and plans for me to divulge anything. Ah well. I know what I did and how sweet it is.

Last night [ profile] hollyqueen and I were to cranky and exhausted to cook so we decided to go out for dinner. She asked me what I wanted and I said something Japanese would be my preference but I didn't care beyond that. After Boy Scouts and the Marine Corps I'll eat anything1 that sits still on the plate long enough. Well that lovely wife of mine found an all-you-can-eat sushi place called Sushi Ten for us last night. It was great!!!

It wasn't like Todai where they make up a bunch of sushi and you go through the line and pick out what you want. Instead we sat at the bar and the chef kept going around and asking what people wanted. I tried all kinds of things I haven't had before. Just another reason I love my mouse!

In other news I had my first code review at work today. They caught a few minor things I had missed but since 90% of the discussion was over brace alignment2 and tabs vs. spaces3 I'm going to take it as a good sign that they liked my work.

  1. I won't eat Brussel's sprouts or grapefruit because they taste nasty. I used to say I wouldn't eat sweet potatoes but really anything gets better when you deep fry it in hot fat.
  2. There's the one true way, i.e. my way, and the crazy antique method they use. ;)
  3. I gave in and will switch to tabs which gave me enough votes to get my brace style the win.

Update: Added the name of the restaurant above.

hollyking: (ahead full)

I have a meeting in 5 minutes with someone from HR to discuss a permanent job offer and benefits. I wonder what the offer will be...

Update: The meeting went well. The offer is $x/hour less than I make now but considering the possible bonus payout, the 401k matching and stock options I'll make about $(x+y)/hour. I'm happy with the offer.

Yay! Paid time off and no more counting minutes each week!

Coinstar was on the CBS Early Show today. Too bad I didn't have any warning or I would have saved it on the Tivo. The point of the spot was to let people know about You can donate your change to help Katrina victims at a lot of Coinstar machines. Just go to the locator to find a machine near you.

There are many other charities that can accept donations from a Coinstar machine. The locator allows you to narrow your search to a specific charity. You can also find Coinstar machines in the UK or Canada, however at this time I don't see any charity options for the machines in Canada.

Well now that I see the story on BusinessWire I guess it is public information. You can now convert your coins into gift cards for Eddie Bauer.

Go us!

...If not unharmed. What a long, long day. If you ever want to move hire people to load and unload the truck. WORTH EVERY DAMN PENNY! A lot of stress and a bit of snapping but we made it through the day without any breakdowns or fist fights. Internet access is on at home but Comcast is having problems recognizing my Linksys WCG200 so only one of us can be on at a time. Hopefully they'll fix that today and we'll have all the WiFi access we need.

Tonight is my first taiji class with [ profile] artspawnchen and I'm very excited about it. Somehow during the moving I hurt my right foot in a new way so it will be interesting to see how it feels tonight. I hope I get turned into a permanent employee soon so I could afford to go visit a podiatrist and get some physical therapy.



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