Windy tennis

My Flip Video (I have the 2GB/60 min, black) arrived last week and I finally got the chance to play with it today. Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate. Dan and I had to deal with 15-20 mph wind while trying to film our tennis swings. You can hear the wind noise in the background, it's kind of hard to miss! Here is a short clip of what we did:

You can see the full version (17:07) on Vimeo.
Transferring the video clips from the Flip to my Mac was a breeze. The Flip appears as a USB drive when plugged in so I can just copy the files across to my hard drive. Editing is a little tricky. The Flip uses a DivX MP4 encoder so the video files are not recognized by iMovie '08. After some Googling and experimentation, I decided to fork out some hard earned cash and got a license for QuickTime Pro. QTPro exports the clip to standard MP4 easily and quickly, utilizing all 4 of my MacPro cores. And editing in iMovie '08 pretty easy too. I was able to put this short clip together in about 5 minutes, even though I have no prior experience with iMovie '08 or video editing. It would be perfect if Apple fixes iMovie so that in the future it would just recognize the Flip video without any transcoding.

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Change of pace

I've been pretty quiet on the blogging front for the last few weeks. Partly it is because of the iPhone craze, having friends over for dinner, but in the last three weeks it is because I have been job hunting.

I started the job hunting process more out of curiosity to see what is out there on the job market. Before I even got used to the idea of looking for a new job, the opportunity to work for ThoughtWorks, one of the most innovative software company in the U.S., came out of nowhere. Tentatively I applied and was pleasantly surprised as I went through each round of interviews and tests. It all cumulated to a face-to-face interview couple of Saturday ago at their NY office. For over eight hours, I was put through the paces; logic tests, personality tests, interviews, group interaction tests, just like the scenes in The Right Stuff. I didn't think I did particularly well but apparently enough for ThoughtWorks to offer me a job!

My new job as an application developer will involve a lot of traveling and away from home. To give an idea how much traveling I will be doing, on August 20th I will be flying to ThoughtWorks Chicago office for orientation and then two days later fly to their ThoughtWorks University in Bangalore, India for two weeks training before coming back to the U.S. to start on a new project somewhere in the East Coast.

All these traveling means time away from home and Eiron. Also I will no longer able to play in the tennis league comes fall. I am not sure how much tennis I'll be able to play during the weekend when I am home either but I sure will try.

The flip side of course is the chance to work with the ThoughtWorks team. With Martin Fowler (wiki) as their Chief Scientist, they are leading the charge in changing how software is developed. The opportunity to challenge myself everyday so I will be a better developer easily balance out the sacrifice I'll have to make. I expect it will be an intense experience which would be a complete opposite of what I've been doing for the last 9 months.

More importantly, when we are ready to move we will be able to do so via transferring my job to either Chicago or San Francisco, which would be so much easier than moving without a job or interviewing cross-country.

Keeping a straight face for the last couple of days was pretty tough. Knowing that I'll be leaving in two weeks time made it difficult to react enthusiastically about future plans for the project or team. Surprisingly, my boss took it really well when I handed in my notice this morning, which is a relief. Now I just need to move my ass on getting vaccinated and apply for visa.

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What I think of my iPhone

I know I should have taken time to write about my iPhone experience last Friday. But with having friends over for dinner on Saturday, tennis and French Grand Prix on Sunday, some important programming to do Monday and Tuesday, and 4th of July lunch with my friend Wendy, only now I have the time to sit down and write something.

Anyway, I think the iPhone is the best phone I've had so far. And I have a lot of phones since 1992. There are a few things that bug me though:
  • No scheduled email checking, only periodic checking – no point checking for emails while I'm asleep and waste battery.
  • Keyboard volume can't be adjusted – the clicking is a great feedback tool but it is way too loud to use in an office.
  • No WAP support – not an iPhone issue as such but since I can't log onto Facebook's mobile site (which is WAP) I wish either Apple or Facebook do something about it.
  • Wi-Fi password entry is difficult to say the least – since there is no copy & paste in the iPhone, I have to manually enter the wi-fi password. I ended up connecting our iPhones to the less secure router running WEP because the password is shorter (the WPA one is 63 characters long).
  • The 'Share' feature should be pluggable for developers, i.e. plug-ins for Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, etc.

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