Second Week at Google

Well, it’s been two weeks at Google now – actually this is the first day of week three. This morning I’m trying out the Google shuttle bus. The commute from San Francisco to Mountain View typically takes me between 50 and 90 minutes. The traffic on Highway 101 varies wildly, but generally sucks and leaves me in an angry state by the time I get to work. Google has a bunch of shuttle buses on common routes to get people to work more easily. And the bonus is that they have wi-fi installed. So theoretically I can arrive at work more relaxed, get some work done, and save on fuel costs – a win/win/win. The closest bus stop in San Francisco is a 10-minute walk, so hopefully with the bus’s use of the carpool lane this will be a total win all the way around. We’ll see. Left the house  at 7:30, caught the bus at 7:43.

My second week was just as busy as the first, or maybe even busier. But at least I’m getting used to my productivity tools. I find myself mostly working on my laptop – a MacBook Pro – and while I still find the MacOS harder to use effectively than Windows 7, the hardware is an absolute joy. You mean I can close the lid without worrying about losing docs? Nice! And it auto-connects to wi-fi and holds the signal? Yay! And I can sweep two fingers on the trackpad to scroll up and down? Why didn’t anyone think of that sooner? (Oh yeah, no one else has multi-touch trackpads.) So, I’m not a Mac convert, but I’m getting along with it better and better.

I used Synergy to tie my Linux desktop’s mouse and keyboard to the Mac laptop, so when I’m at my desk I have a much more ergonomic keyboard and mouse and a couple much larger displays. That works out great.

On the software side last week I found myself bailing out of the cloud a lot. I just haven’t figured out a good analog to my hierarchical file system, so I have only been using Google docs for ToDo’s and sharing with others. Meeting notes etc have wound up in TextPad and on my desktop or in folders. I had to do a couple presentations last week and I tried used the presentation software in Google Docs, but quickly abandoned it in favor of using Powerpoint and then uploading the result back into the presentation app. I was just much, much more effective in Powerpoint, and I was in a hurry. Friday I got Keynote installed on the Mac, and I’ll give that a go today.

If there was some good hierarchical file storage in the cloud and the presentation software worked better for me, I would love to be doing more there. Maybe I’m missing some things… I’ll keep looking at it.

One of the amusing and wonderful things about the Google Mountain View campus (the “Googleplex”) is that it is near a lot of wild open space along the San Francisco Bay. Last week I kept having wildlife sightings – and in the morning when the campus is quiet, with its lush trees, it is quite peaceful. Or at least more so than my urban San Francisco dwelling. I appreciate that a lot. Here are a few shots (Pokemon Snap style, I guess) from last week 🙂

Wild turkey wandering around in one of the parking lots.

There have been some goats next door mowing the lawn.

This happy little bird was hanging out in the fountain at the garden.

The T-Rex doesn’t seem so mean in his old age.

My personal email is a massive graveyard at the moment, so I apologize if you’ve emailed me and I haven’t gotten back to you. I’ve been literally non-stop since starting at Google, including a trip on the weekend after my first week (though admittedly, that was for fun) and this past weekend, an IGDA board meeting all weekend. Still looking forward to taking a deep breath. Maybe next weekend. 🙂

Shuttle got to my building just before 8:30am. So from home to work, about an hour. Not bad – got a blog post written, time to check some email, time to imbibe some caffeine. We’ll see how the trip home goes!







4 responses to “Second Week at Google”

  1. Kim Pallister Avatar

    If you do find a little time, block some of it and sift through lifehacker’s archives. A lot of people have posted guides on doing GTD (and other similar systems) using google docs

  2. Michael Avatar

    As some have commented, hopefully you can change the seeming policy of sparse communication with the developer base.

    Recent case in point:

    Why is an app allowed to transgress the TOS and spam/encourage spam on the Android market for more than a week without any reaction from Google or in fact any acknowledgement from Google that the problem exists? Obviously this is not your job, but it hardly leaves developers with the impression that Google cares about independent development on the Android platform when stuff like that is allowed to run unchecked.

  3. Mark DeLoura Avatar

    Hey Michael, thanks for the link, I appreciate it! I’m going to look into this some more.

  4. Michael Avatar

    Thank you for being interested in taking a look at the problem.

    It seems the game was forced to shut down its referral system by Google on the 30th which removed the incentive for spammers and effectively stopped their actitivites. I suspect the whole situation leaves a lot of developers with a bad taste in their mouth, though (this is another thread where developers have commented). Obviously, the posts referenced are just a small, vocal minority of the developer base, but I would be surprised if the same sentiments are not shared by most of the developers who have been spammed.

    I think the real problem, though, is that there has been no communication from Google. People can guess and discuss what happened, but in practice all potential future spammers of the market out for a quick buck are seeing is that (a) spamming the market is pretty much risk free, and (b) it is (sadly) effective in getting downloads. Perhaps I overestimate the impact of this spam campaign on the market (though if even as marginal games like mine got spammed, the spam has to have been pretty widespread), but it does seem to me that this was a big enough issue that an official response/statement would have made sense.

    Anyway, I hope that the appointment of developer advocate(s) like yourself reflect a shift in how Google communicates with its developer base and I look forward to seeing in what directions you will nudge the Android platform in terms of game development. These are interesting times for gaming.