A new adventure begins

Act 1, Scene 1

August 23rd, 2004. A young kid, not even 21, freshly dropped out of college, passionate about open source and programming. He walks into his new office at his new job at VMware, his first job, ready to start the day, eager to impress and meet his new co-workers.

Nobody was there. Thumbs twiddled.

10AM starts to roll around, and finally, the first sign of life. Over the next couple hours, more people show up.

Over the next week, he’s set up and learning the ropes. Working on his first bug, soon his first feature. Attending his first team get-togethers. Making his first Bay Area friends.

Over the next few months, his first birthday celebration at work. His first glass of champagne. His first real responsibilities.

Over the next few years, bigger roles, leadership roles. He began to get a feel for where he’s truly going in this silly little world.

This, of course, was me, on my first adventure in the tech industry.

I was lucky to be placed in a fantastic team full of smart, hard-working, dedicated, and fun software engineers and managers. We’d discuss architecture, brainstorm ideas, joke around, watch YouTube videos, play poker, watch movies, go to events. The web of awesome people extended throughout the company as well.

Over the past nine years, I worked on a great many things.

  • Eight releases of VMware Workstation, including a three-year effort to build Workstation 8.0 (a major undertaking).
  • VMware Server 1.0. I was the primary Linux developer, pulling caffeine-fueled all nighters to meet insane deadlines.
  • Player and VMRC, which powers the VM console for our enterprise products.
  • The core foundation used in Fusion and other products.
  • Icons and artwork for the Linux products.
  • I introduced Unity to Workstation. (Sorry, guys…)
  • Helped in the creation of the current generation of the View client for Linux.
  • More recently, I developed WSX, an experiment in developing a pure web client and console for accessing remote VMs anywhere, from desktops and tablets.

Not a bad run.

This Thursday, August 1st, 2013, I’ll be leaving VMware.

Revision 1: “Add the reviewboard”

Several years ago, I began working with my good friend David Trowbridge on an open source project for keeping track of patches and easing the review process. We spent many years in the open source world looking at raw diffs on bug trackers and in e-mails, and things weren’t that much better at VMware. As Mr. Wonderful says, “There has to be a better way!”

So we slaved away in the late nights and weekends, iterating and iterating until we had something we could use. We named this product “Review Board” (or “the reviewboard,” as our first commit says). We put it out there for people to play with, if anyone was interested.

There was interest. Review Board is now used around the world at companies big and small. We’ve continued to improve and grow the product and turn it into something that developers actually want to use.

We later built a startup around this. Beanbag.

It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this.

Earlier this year, we met a local entrepreneur as part of a program we participate in. We quickly developed a rapport, and he offered to help and advise us in our efforts to grow our business. It wasn’t long after that we started discussing funding, and where that could get us.

We started pitching, and he reached out to his contacts. Before long, we had what we needed to give this a try for a couple years.

Step 3: Profit?

There’s a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we’re up to the challenge. It’s both exciting and terrifying.

Leaving my team behind at VMware is hard, but everyone has been so supportive.

IMG_0720

Basically.

In the coming months, Review Board’s going to grow in exciting new ways. We’ll be gearing up for a new 1.8 release, releasing our first commercial extension to Review Board, and improving our SaaS, RBCommons. We have a pretty good idea where we want to go from here, and now we can better focus on making it happen.

It’s going to be an awesome adventure.

Mario followers are terrorists

Update: Second article link is fixed.

Creating real-life Mario blocks is cool and fun.

Getting arrested and facing criminal charges for it is not.

Five teenage girls in a small nothing town were arrested for designing Mario Bros. blocks and putting them around town. In a town with nothing to do, they found some fun. Now the city is trying to press criminal charges, despite admitting they know the girls did nothing to harm anyone or to try to scare anyone.

McCoy said even though no harm was intended by the girls, they could face criminal charges for their actions.

“The potential is always present when dealing with a suspicious package that it could be deadly,” McCoy said. “In today’s day and age, you just cannot do this kind of stuff.”

What a sad, sad state of affairs.

Relaxing with goombas

Sometimes you just have to take a few days and stop working. I’ve been working too much lately, and I know I have a lot more to work on (new leaftag, Galago, and Notification releases). So tonight was a good opportunity to just not really do anything. Except draw Goombas.

I find myself wanting to put together a Planet site with a Mario Bros theme. I’ve been on a weird Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda kick lately. So yeah, the hackergotchies could be characters from the various Mario Bros. games, and the whole site could resemble the overworld. Mmm, fun and weird images in my head. Probably time to sleep.

Corrupting little ones

My 5 1/2 year old sister Jenna and I talked on the phone this afternoon. We were discussing the Dream Theater concert, some stuff that’s going on in her life, and just general chit-chat. She started talking about how they lit a fire in the fireplace, and I told her how I wish I had a fireplace here, and maybe someday. She said, “You could come move back here!” I chuckled, as that’s a trick she’s used many times, and told her that this is really the place closest to her I could live and work at. She told me she was going to learn more about computers so that she could get a job at VMware and live near me.

She then said she had some questions about computers. She told me she knew that a computer had fans, some wires, drives, and a couple of boards. She asked what else was inside a computer. She then asked about fixing them. She described a couple of scenarios, such as it not powering on when you press the power button, and when the mouse stops moving, and asked how you would fix each one. That was new to me 🙂 So I told her, and also talked a little bit about writing programs. She now insists she’s going to learn this someday. Which is fine, if that’s what she really wants to end up doing. I just find it really cute.

I’m deaf and happy

I just got back from the Dream Theater concert. This tour celebrates both their release of their new album Octavarium and their 20th anniversary. The concert was awesome. They played songs from I believe all of their albums. Several songs from some. They were energetic and enjoying themselves, and so were we. Our seats were pretty good too. Decent viewing angle, and close enough to see them pretty well. If anyone gets a chance to see Dream Theater in concert, don’t hesitate!

Medals, concerts, and super gates

  • Olympic Medal

    A few days ago, an Olympic medal winner, Valerie Fleming, paid us a visit at VMware. It turns out she has family there. Small world. A bunch of us, including Alex Graveley and I, were allowed to wear the medal. We of course took pictures. Many were taken with digital cameras, hence the quality issues on some, but one co-worker managed to get some decent pictures with a good camera.

  • Concert

    My brother and I are attending a Dream Theater concert tomorrow. It promises to be very exciting. It’s actually my first concert, and I’ve been a fan of Dream Theater for years. I should be meeting up with my dad and brother tomorrow, spend the day doing whatever, and then head to the concert. Is anybody else in the area going?

  • Stargate SG-1

    Last year, I ranted a bit about how bad the new Stargate SG-1 season was starting out. I gave it the benefit of the doubt, though, and continued watching it. Aside from some lame plots spread out throughout the season, I’ve grown to like it and where it’s going. The season finale was tonight, and left me on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait for next season to see what’s going to happen. The new enemy, the Ori, is actually a good replacement for the Goa’uld, and for once, it looks like the good guys have a chance of not winning. Of course, this being a popular TV show, the good guys will win, but at least there’s finally a real challenge.

New Server

Well, if you’re reading this, then the move of ChipX86.com to a new server has been successful. I’ve slowly been moving sites such as galago-project.org to a new GSX VM provided by a friend and co-worker of mine. While Linode is a fine service, it has become somewhat problematic for me lately, and I’ve been wanting to get off a UML-based system.

If people have any issues at all with ChipX86.com, please report them.

Ducks, videos and turtle hopping

Ducks

As busy as I’ve been lately, I was able to take the opportunity last Saturday to visit my family and my girlfriend. I took my little 5-year old sister Jenna and my girlfriend Jamie to feed ducks, which was a first for Jenna. She was a bit scared at first when the ducks started to approach her, but she quickly got over it. It wasn’t the warmest of days, and after a while Jamie and I decided it was time to leave. We told Jenna it’s time to stop and that it’s getting too cold, but
Jenna is a stubborn girl who enjoys the cold. “Just cuddle together” was her response, and she continued to feed the ducks. Ah well. Once we assured her we would come back another time, she willingly left.

Videos

I was browsing around del.icio.us today and came across an interesting site, YouTube. It’s a tag-based video posting site where people can upload videos and they’ll be played in a Flash wrapper, like Google Video uses. I’ve found a few neat videos so far, but haven’t explored it as much as I’d like. I’ve never heard of it before tonight, though, so I thought I’d post it for others to play with.

Turtle Hopping

So it turns out that there’s a number of developers writing new versions of Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda games. They’re not bad, either. I haven’t played very far into any of them, but they definitely look promising. The main ones I’ve found are Super Mario: Blue Twilight (a 2D side-scroller similar to SMB3 but with some Mario 64 elements, taking place in a halloween land), Super Mario War (kill all the other Marios before they kill you), Super Maryo World (a Mario game written in JavaScript), and Super Mario Pac (a combination of Super Mario World and Super Mario Sunshine).

On top of that, there’s a set of instructions for accessing developer-only areas of Super Mario Bros 3. A room full of Tanooki suits! Awesome.

As for the Legend of Zelda, check out Zelda Classic. It’s Windows-only for now, but they claim there’s a Linux version coming out. It’s the Zelda engine (plus some additional features) with support for custom games. There are many game sets provided by other users, some mediocre, some excellent and detailed. I recommend playing around with it.

And now, for the old-style unmodified retro games. Sure you could download emulators and do things that way, but why bother when there’s 1980-games.com, Every Video Game Online, Game-Oldies, Play Infocom Adventures Online, and C64s.com? Nice ways to quickly kill a few minutes from anywhere.

For the Tetris-type puzzle fans out there, I present to you Stackopolis!

(Can you tell I’m going through a nostalgia phase?)

What the hell is midnight oil?

I’ve never understood that expression.. “Burning the midnight oil.” What’s midnight oil? Oil that is only used at midnight? Why do we want to just burn it? I don’t know..

I’m pulling an all-nighter. Oh how I missed these… Except I shouldn’t be doing this. Still, getting a lot done, so it’s worth it, but I think I’m going to crash. If you don’t count sleep and a couple small breaks, I’ve been working about 57 hours straight. I didn’t even notice the weekend. Now it’s Tuesday.. This week’s going to fly by. It’s worth it though.

I don’t know why I wrote this. Trying to keep my eyelids open. Back to work.

The Big 22

Okay, I don’t know how big it is, but I’m 22 today! Now I can, um, get drunk? No, that was last year. Hmm. Okay, so 22 isn’t special. It’s just one day closer to 30. Still, today should be a very fun day. My girlfriend is coming to visit, I have some presents to open, and I bought some good movies to watch.

Yesterday was fun as well. My team at work treated me to sushi at my favorite sushi restaurant (Fuki Sushi). We sat in one of those Tatami rooms (where you take your shoes off and sit on the ground), which I’ve always wanted to try. Later we played Tetrinet for a bit, and then I took off with my dad. We got some dinner, watched Sahara, and then called it a night.

I’ve spent most of today looking online for old Zelda and Mario comics. I’m quite pleased to find a large selection of scans 🙂 If anyone has any resources for Mario comic scans, I’d love to see them.

For all those people who just love me so much and have nothing better to do with their money, I’ve posted a small wishlist up 😉 You know you want to.

And now it’s about time to take off and meet my girlfriend at the train station.