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Tané Tachyon
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I've mentioned the CodeEval programming-challenges site here before ... now I am eating a chocolate bar after having just finished my 175th challenge there:

Wow, I just got accepted to CodePath's Android Bootcamp, in partnership with Facebook at their Menlo Park office, starting on Monday! Exciting!

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So last year I had posted about being contacted by a Google recruiter who said they were impressed by my stats on the CodeEval programming-challenges site, and now I'm having another Google recruiter experience: After the second day of this year's Google I/O conference I had gone right home instead of going to the follow-up Google party, and then I was sorry for missing out on getting one of the Google programming challenges site invite codes that were given out there. However, last month when I made a mistake with one of my Python list comprehensions and went to check Google for more info, as shown in this screen capture, a portal opened to, and I was able to get in! I just finished level 3, and got the response "The code is strong with this one. Share solutions with a Google recruiter?". :-)

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+Kiva microlending is doing another promotion where they give free $25 loan amounts to new users plus add additional free $25 loan amounts to the accounts of the existing users who refer them. So if you don't already have a Kiva account, and you use my link you can create a Kiva account with a free $25 in it to loan to whatever borrower you pick (from all around the world) to help them start or improve their small business, and I get another free $25 in my Kiva account to do the same.

I just got a Nexus 9, and am wondering if there are some tricks to getting an image to show up correctly as wallpaper. I created a 2048x1536 .png file to match the screen size, and while in portrait mode it looks about how I would expect (with the sides cropped off), when I rotate the tablet to landscape mode, the image displays as zoomed in quite a bit, rather than showing the full image. I've been searching online for advice but not finding anything.

I was just registering for a Google contest, and had a WTF while reading this part of the Terms and Conditions: "The Contest is void in Crimea, Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Quebec, and where prohibited by law."

Maybe I shouldn't tell them that I went to Quebec once. On the other hand, when it asked for college graduation date, and I scrolled back through the list of years in the listbox, it stopped with "before 1989", so considering that my time in Quebec took place during what they seem to consider prehistory, I'm probably fine.

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Another amusing and perplexing smartwatch notification. When I did tap/swipe/zoom/etc., "new place" turned out to be Trader Joe's downtown, and yes, it takes more or less 42 minutes for me to walk there. And I did go there last Wednesday, but some hours later in the day. Usually I go there on Friday mornings on the way to Games Group, and the watches have picked up on this, but the related notifications they give me on Friday mornings identify it as the FedEx office next door to it.

Penzey's Spices "We need your help" Pi Day plea for celebrating science-based reality, kindness, compassion -- I really do love Penzeys, and am passing on the following email I just got from them:


We need your help

The Pi Day of the century, 3.14/15 is only a little over a week away. For a time now Pi Day has been all about fun and of course pie, but with the way in recent years, science and even reality itself have come more and more under attack, I’m thinking maybe this year it’s time for Pi Day to emerge as something more than just fun.

For so much of our history, the people of our country and the world have benefited greatly from the science-based reality that has shaped America’s future. Science may be based on numbers, but science's actual value is in its humanity. It's beyond doubt that through science and the honest representation of reality our lives have become safer, healthier and happier.

Yet today the very science that has done so much to reduce suffering in our lives is now under attack. From the climate, to vaccines, to Wisconsin's own Governor Walker’s belief that there are more votes in denying evolution than there are in embracing it, clearly somewhere something has gone very wrong. There is more than enough blame to go all around for how we got here, but maybe this is one of those times that where we are is not nearly as important as where we need to be.

Maybe rather than a debate of our differences, what we need is a celebration of what we share. At Penzeys we think Pi Day could grow into just the holiday we need. There really is no time to lose to get on to celebrating the truth of science-based reality and the math behind it. And there is also no time better than now to get back to celebrating the kindness, compassion and the nurturing nature of our shared humanity that has always been behind the very best that science has brought to our lives.

In Pi, the number is all the value and beauty and wonder that is at the heart of the reality science holds. In the gift of a good slice of pie, the desert is all the kindness and compassion that our shared humanity encompasses. Pi Day really is ready to become so much more. And could there be a better day to relaunch Pi Day as the holiday we truly need than 3.14/15; the Pi Day of the Century?

So we are reaching out to our customers for help. We need your stories and a recipe or two. We already have good stories in the works for living with climate change, the value of vaccines, evolution, and the psychology/brain chemistry of why as humans we are so resistant to seeing the certainty of climate change.

Where we still really need your help is in finding an economist or two to speak to why our deficit spending has left our economy and our humanity in so much better shape than what Europe is facing today. And we could also use one more person with the knowledge to speak to the monetary cost and the human cost of sending to prison people who simply need treatment instead.

For recipes we are flexible. Pies are great but not necessary. Maybe you have another baked good you like to share. Or possibly you have a way you like to make some other circular item: a sliced carrot recipe, scallops are always popular, or even a beet salad that's an old family tradition would do the trick. We really are flexible.

The important thing is if you have the science, or the numbers, or the knowledge that is needed for good policy making in the fields of economics or restorative justice please actually contact us. Don't wait for someone else to do it. Just email a phone number where we can reach you and I will have one of our friendly writers give you a call.
It's time to get off the sidelines. We can't let science and all the goodness it can bring to our lives be a victim of our cultural wars. I don't mean to be overly dramatic, but the future really is at stake here. With your help 3.14/15 could be the turning point the world so very much needs.

We realize we are looking for a needle in a haystack here, and on short notice. If you know someone who fits what we are looking for, please forward this email to them, or better yet, give them a call.


Bill Penzey

OK, so I was just folding laundry when I received a notification on my watch* that I had just gone up to "Level 3". I had no idea who/what had decided this or what exactly they were basing it on, so I tapped an "open on phone" link to find out. I know I'm easily amused, but when I found out what was going on, it was amusing:

Earlier today I had seen a posting in the G+ Women Techmakers community that the Google Developer Groups app now included a Women Techmakers section. So I installed the app, and was able to see events for +GDG Silicon Valley and +GDG San Francisco GDGsf just fine, but whenever I selected the Women Techmakers icon, the app would crash. I tried various things, and sent a crash report, but yeah, it kept crashing.

So the "Level 3" business turned out to be that the GDG app awarded me 500XP for installing it, and 2000XP for starting it more than ten times (because it kept crashing), so that it now considered me a "Level 3 Casual Gamer", even though it is not any kind of game app.

*Last June I went to the Google IO conference, and they gave all the attendees two free smartwatches and the "Cardboard" virtual reality headset. I keep reading articles claiming that smartwatches are awful and nobody likes them, but actually I love my watches -- among other things getting messages and seeing people's faces pop up on them is very cheery and companionable to me, and now I never burn food again because I have a built-in timer that vibrates my wrist, as opposed to being yet again so absorbed in what I'm doing that I don't notice the faint sound of the kitchen timer going off.

From an email I got today: "Choosing a domain name is probably the most important decision you’ll ever make in your life."

Um, well, thank goodness I got that out of the way long, long ago, I guess! :-)
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