Friday, May 22, 2020

Virtual Interview Difficulties, and my plan to make it better.

Hey, so I guess I have had some trouble getting back into the idea of blogging.  Maybe I can make a recovery and not just rant about politics, but I don't know...

I've had a lot of stress in my life recently with: my boss retaliating against me for the crime of having a child; then being forced to work for the county for 6 months under the threat of paying over $25,000 if a quit (a type of debt slavery); then finally being able to quit, but dealing with my offer being retracted everyone stopped hiring because of this virus.  If not for my totally awesome family and that COVID stimulus check, I would be totally screwed right now (instead I still have a fleeting hope of making through this in one piece while my wife works).  Anyway, enough about me, I made my bed, I can work it out.

It wasn't all bad though.  I went through a round of interviews for Google.  It was an Software Engineer - Engineering Productivity interview (SWE-EngProd).  I was super excited by the idea of what I could do at the job, but unfortunately, I didn't make it through the hiring committee.  This is the second time I have made it this far in a Google Interview, but this time I really had a hard time with the virtual online interviews.  My excuse is the lack of a white board.Which has got me thinking about my next interview.  So... I got an idea...  If I practice like this:

Then maybe I should interview like this:

I don't know, maybe it's crazy to think like that ;P.

Regardless, I have an Amazon interview coming up, and I have been working on how I could do camera switching with Chime, and I came up with this idea.

I had purchased that overhead camera a while ago on Amazon just to see if this might work.  At the time I was thinking about creating an online YouTube class, and all the MOOCs I saw on Coursera and Udacity featured a video of a hand drawing on a white board.  So, I thought, why can't I do that?  I explain crap all the time to people.  So I bought it.

Now, the camera mount I got isn't available anymore, but the identical item can still be purchased under a different name.  Here is an affiliate link if you think you want to buy one of these:(I.E. I get paid if you click the link and buy one.)  Anyway, here are links to the "Photo Copy Stand" and the webcam I have connected to it:

Full disclosure, I used a cheap little dry erase board I had laying around, but I did just buy a 48"x36" magnetic dry erase board for the back of my office door, and it works great with those magnetic dry erase markers.  I am normally an expo marker person, but the Amazon bookstore in the mall had those in the checkout isle, so I grabbed it while getting something else.

I also used those cool little 2040 Design Studio Pugoo pads, where are these awesome sticky pads that I use as a non-permanent adhesive, but it looks like that company doesn't exist anymore.  So, I can't shill for them too.  That's right people, I am selling out by putting an advertisement on my blog. What else will unemployment drive me to do?

I promise not to go too crazy with the advertising, but I think the context here works, so I'm going to do it.  Oh, about that $165 webcam, that price is inflated due to COVID.  Normally, that's a $70 webcam, but because everyone is working from home, laptop webcams suck, and most people don't like the new $200+ webcams, this older but still pretty good webcam is in much higher demand that normal.  So, unless you are desperate, wait for Logitech to pick up production again.

ok, so, I'm trying my hand at being a corporate shill, but at least I'm promoting some things I actually use... I think saying that will help me sleep at night.  Other than that, the family is doing good.  We still have the house, and I'm still interviewing for work, and that's about it for now.