Wow the valentine really is the best radar detector. 

I’ve been using an escort passport for years and it’s bee great but wirecutter is right the Vakenjne V-one is incredible. Super sensitive and the display although arcane is super useful. Seeing where the radar is coming from and also how many really helps situational awareness. A nice addition to machine kesnring is to add radar data. 

Notes on Life…and Jobs

OK, some folks have asked me questions and while free advice is worth exactly what it costs, I thought I’d post some rules that at least have helped me.

I have ten rules, but I’d summarize by saying:

Pick the right industry, then the right company in that industry, then the right job in that company. Leave before you get fired and know when to jump for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Ok here are the big rules in no particular order:

  1. “Build a great personal board of directors” In the end, it is people who matter, Ruthann once told me, have your own personal board of directors (on a nice walk by SFO, I still remember the exact spot). She was so right. If you think of yourself as a company or as a product, then the most important thing is to collect wisdom from people who are smart, who have the wisdom. Perhaps the most important skill in life is being able to tell the difference between a blow hard and someone who really is altruistic. They really have your best interests at heart. When you have a big decision, rely on your gut and on their advice. It doesn’t take many and you have to know the bias of the source, but it’s a good idea. Some people are good at certain things, like what’s a great sector, some at other things, like how to get ahead, but the combination is the point. How can you tell who is great, well look at their track record, if they have followed every curve and been on top, there’s a reason. Make sure your board reflects who you are. Don’t hire conservative bankers if you are a wide-eyed entrepreneur.
  2. “Stay in the high growth markets.” Ok, this is probably the most important rule. Are you more likely to do better in a market growing 50% a year or where it is growing 1% a year. I’m really amazed at how often someone will stick with a sector that was once hot but has leveled out. If you realize that the average person has a new job every three years and really a new career every seven, then you can see that even if you stay with a company for 15 years, then make sure you are on the right wave. One year, it might be PCs, one year it might be mobile, then next the Internet of Things. One of the most important jobs is predicting markets; the truth is everyone is a stock market analyst in that regard, so read the WSJ, think about where the business is going.
  3. “Bet. Rinse. Repeat as needed.” We are so lucky to live in the 21st century where markets are moving and a fresh start is just one new business card away. But I like to think of jobs as punctuated equilibrium, you need to keep moving until you find the right place and then stick with it. So make your bet on industry, company and job and make sure to reassess. I’m amazed at the number of people who after 90 days on the job know that it is a mistake, but then stick with it for 5 years. While it might be controversial, would you rather see a résumé with two 5 year stints and mediocre results or where you see three jobs in the first three years, then an eight year stint where the last title is General Manager.
  4. “Jumping through the rabbit hole.” Conversely there are times when you know that the stars have aligned and if something happens, then you can have an amazing 20 year career. The “rabbit hole” doesn’t appear often and most of us only get it once or twice in a lifetime, but when you see if jump with all your might, do what it takes jump down and through the Alice in Wonderland.
  5. “Keep transferable”. I was just talking with someone who found a great job, the perfect company, great people, etc. The problem is that there is exactly one company who needs those skills. Everything they do is proprietary. Well that’s great for high profits, but what if that niche closes, then where are you. It’s a good idea to keep reminding yourself, “I want a job that is in high demand everywhere.” There’s a natural tendency to just keep getting better at what you are doing, but remember that if you are not spending 30% of your time learning something new something is wrong.
  6. “Stick with winners in companies and bosses” The sad truth is that even if you pick the right industry, the overall success of the company matters the most. Winners always look wonderful and even if you did a relatively small job in the market leader, you are in good shape typically. Moreover, typically there is a positive cycle. The category leader tends to attract the best people, they have the most money so riding the long wave of success is not a bad thing. On the other hand, there are definitely market leaders that are not good places to work. I love places where you can run your own business, where the company is really 20 or even 100 P&Ls, it’s a lot easier to be at the top then.
  7. “Do you fit in the culture, can you be no. 1?” Lots of times when I look at a new company, I look at the CEO and ask, how would I do in a meeting with him or her. Even if you are zillion levels down, remember that CEO hired all the bosses above you and how the company works takes its cues. While I love the under dog stories of someone bucking the trend, its a “hard push up” to fight an entire company. You might be far better off not joining them in the first place or starting your own company and making your own culture 🙂
  8. “Hard but not too hard.” I was off on a ride and talking with a really good guy (you meet the best people on Lyft rides I find 🙂 We talked about following “your dreams.” Well, the truth is I spend a lot of time trying to find jobs that are in the words of a very smart guy, “hard but not too hard.” What he meant is a job that is under-rated. It is really hard to follow an encore. Do you really want to come up with be the CEO of the most successful company in the world, after all what can you do for an encore? You want jobs that seem hard to others, that looks like turnarounds but where expectations are low. Some jobs are impossible (Blackberry??!) because they are too hard. Some jobs are impossible because how do you beat perfect, the trick is find one where the future.
  9. “Under promise, over deliver.” While cookie licking and taking credit may win in the short-term, in the end, everyone loves the person who just gets it done. If you’ve found the right industry, then now is the time to really deliver. Mike Maples once said, “make your commitments” and I’m amazed by how often this doesn’t happen. Most of us have zillions of action items, but in the end, if you do just three of the must do’s, and, are done by 10AM, then take the rest of the day off. If you think about it, how well would you do if after a year, you did 50 weeks x 5 days a week x 3 things = 450 super important things a year?
  10. “Focus wins.” My buddy John once told me, “I had a huge job Windows and then a bunch of other projects, so I asked my boss, if I knock it out of the park the other projects, but flub Windows, what happens to me?” When he got the obvious answer, he said, “well then I do not want the other things.” It’s a huge, huge, huge rule, focus on the one thing that really matters and make it clear. It is so easy to take on jobs B, C and D when A is how you are defined. As Brad has always told me, “Focus wins.”

Fullstack React Tutorial Fixes

Errata and Fixes

Well these guys have a really useful tutorial, unfortunately, it has bugs in it and apparently my disqus comments keep getting rejected, so here is an errata sheet for the Fullstack React Tutorial. They are focused on their book and other content so not surprising, still if you want to use their stuff, here are the things you need to know:

  • At one point they use an onMarkerClick which isn’t yet defined
  • In the Item section, there is a missing style in the style.module.css for Item, the h2 should have a font-size: 1.2em; or something like that otherwise it picks it up from the main header.
  • There is a missing section in the description for adding Sidebar where it is not hooked into the main, you have to add that into the caller
  • The Karma tests for Rating will not pass because Karma does not allow the variable wrapper to be reused. The fix is that each test should use wrapper1, wrapper2,...
  • One of the tests in Ratings.spec.js is wrong, is says a rating 4/5 should be 90%. It should of course be 80%
  • There is a section where they talk about the routing and there is a typo that says path="" but it should be path="/" in route.js

React structure

This tutorial is mainly focused on providing code, so they don’t explain some of the relatively complex ideas and various tricks they are using:

  1. When you call a component, there is no easy way to call have a bunch of arguments, instead, you construct an associative array and pass that.
  2. There are two objects with semantics they are this.props which are all the parameters passed down to you by the caller and this.state which are your variables. A lot of react is about passing these parameters up and down.
  3. There are lots and lots of levels in React code, I almost lost myself in a maze of directories, but basically, this code style like small modules in individual directories and the main ones are src/view which are where the rendering code is.
  4. This uses Ecmascript 6, so they do have classes which have both functions and variables and some interesting notation like ‘(a,b) => { return a, b} which is basically a function call writeen like a lambda expression.

Notes on writing React code with stylelint and eslint

Ok most people using React are going to be experienced web devs, but if you are (like me) a complete Noob the learning curve can be pretty high if you just use  your google-fu. Here are some notes about the model:

  1. There are a whole bunch of implicit variables. The most important of these are this.props which are read only parameters passed down and this.state which are variables. Remember that Javascript doesn’t do any checking, so simple typos like this.props.place vs this.props.places will work just fine. If Javascript doesn’t see a variable, it just instantiates it. You can add the line 'use strict' at the top to get better type checking.
  2. The same is true with CSS, it is very picky. I found that the only way to be productive was to turn on all the linting that I could find. This is some trick since I use vi but syntastic is a good tool and with some tricks, the two best tools for this seem to be eslint with the eslint-babel pluging and the react plugin. The CSS, the best one seems to be stylelint and its stylelint-default-config
  3. This JSX has lots and lots of syntax because node reverses everything so everything is a function (you are always a layer down at least). And because as soon as you see a < you are suddenly in HTML land and everything reverses. So eslint is mandatory.

Xeon E5-1650 V3 and higher overclocks but no the 1620 or 1630

Ok there has been lots of confusion on this topic, but it looks like the E5-1620 V3, the older Haswell-E, chip is locked. So it is stuck at 3.5GHz. This is confusing as some folks have multiplier unlocked 1620s. Strange. This processors have 4 cores and 8 threads. The 1630 is also not supposed to be

But another poster says only the Ev-1650 V3 is unlocked (and the higher end 1660 and 1680). I just tried it and confirm the E5-1620 is not. So not as good as the various K chips that are out there (the i7-6700K) for instance, but it does have ECC.

Right now if you care about reliability and want to overclock, the Xeon E5-1650 V3 seems great. There is a rumor that the E5-1660 is also overclockable.

Note these are two generations older than the V4 and the V5 but the later versions are locked.

Pricing-wise the 1650 is six cores and $600, the 1660 is eight cores $1600!

Keyboards, keyboards

OK, if you type all day (like I do), you get quite opinionated about keyboards, here’s a list of my favorites:

  1. Corsair K70 Cherry Blue. $119. This is super noisy, but so much like the IBM Selectric or original IBM PC keyboard. All mechanical. We have a Cherry Red and it is great for gaming, linear action, but the Cherry Blue is the one for typing.
  2. Monoprice Deluxe Backlit Keyboard. $17. Yes that’s right, it’s $17, but so much better than the various Microsoft and Logitech keyboards I’ve used throughout the years. A short throw and in the Scroll lock place, you click and it illuminates. It reminds me of the original Sun workstation keyboards. Short throw keyboards.
  3. Apple Wireless Keyboard. $80. Well, like the Monoprice one but way more expensive, really nice throw though at least for me.

Radar detectors 

Gave my escort 9500i away. It’s the third one. The other two were stolen out of the car. Remember to keep the glove compartment locked! Anyway time to look for a new one. 

Wirecutter recommends the Valentine V1 for $400 direct. The patent on their directional lights expired but the $600 Escort Max is more expensive and requires a $50 per month subscription. 

Plus for $50 you can go to Best Buy and they will direct wire it so you don’t need that ugly cigarette lighter attachment.