Thursday, October 22, 2009

Windows 7 Virtual Machine under VMware Fusion

I recently got a new MacBook Pro. I have used various flavors of VMware in the past (VMware workstation under Windows and Linux desktops; VMware Server and ESX 3.5 ; VSphere) - But never  Fusion.
It's pretty darn easy to install. However, the version of VMware fusion I have installed (2.0.6) does not have a virtual machine type for Windows 7  In the past It seems that you can use another VM type with an unsupported OS with good results.. In fact the VMware Team fusion blog recommends using Win 2008 server virtual machine.
Other salient points they suggest:
  • Disable 3D Acceleration
  • Disable Shared Folders
...Wah, my .iso file was corrupt. See you in 4 hours afer I get another copy. ...two weeks later
Well it turned out that the version of Windows 7 that I was entitled to was an "upgrade" version. And therefore crippled and not bootable. I could have  gone through a whole install of Windows XP, and then upgraded it. But what a waste. But how to make it bootable?

The most straighforward brain-dead way I found is to copy the .iso to a windows machine, and use a program microsoft provides which will make my .iso file into a bootable DVD or USB : .  However, this is an annoying and inelegant solution. All I  really want to do is to graft one little boot loader file into the .iso which is already on my disk. To accomplish this I have to burn my non-bootable iso to a dvd or otherwise copy it to a windows machine, and then burn it to a dvd or bootable usb stick there, and then bring it back.? Wah.

Yikes. I would much rather spend 5 hours learning about how to do this  smarter than spend 1 hour doing something dumb.

Hmm! Boot sectors and bootloaders and .isos oh my!

I got some inspiration from this post:
To look at mkisofs on OS X as the means to slam that boot sector into my existing .iso file.

  1. Download mkisofs, from helios:
  2. Open a terminal window ( and copy the executable into somewhere in your path (e.g. /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin )
  3. Find the existing .iso file in finder and double click it to mount it as a file system. 
  4. Use mkisofs to create the new .iso file by copying all the files from the mounted .iso file together with the new boot sector file:
mkisofs -v  -hfs-unlock  -N   -U -udf  -no-emul-boot   -no-hfs  -nolimit-pathtables  -ignore-changed-files  -b boot/ -c boot.catalog  --osx-hfs  -iso-level 4 -o /Users/yournamehere/yourshinynewisofile.iso  /Volumes/thenameofoldisofile

not sure that all flags are necessary (e.g. -ignore-changed-files, --osx-hfs, -nolimit-pathtables?). The key discovery was that is the boot image in /boot on the non-bootable iso, which is written to the boot sector (-b flag) by mkisofs.

And guess what it worked!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Desktop Fedora -> Ubuntu - Thunderbird problem

After changing my desktop from Fedora to Ubuntu my thunderbird profile disappeared -
When I started up thunderbird, instead of seeing all my old accounts, I saw:

No! I don't want to freakin' import 3 mail accounts, and my assorted local folders! Guess again!

We use nfs to mount /home directories, so it should JUST WORK. Right....

I looked in my .thunderbird directory - and there was my sweet little old profile, just like always:

xxl@foo:~$ ls -l .thunderbird   

total 11
drwx------ 7 xxl dept  37 2009-10-21 16:55 1bn7kwbx.default   
-rw-r----- 1 xxl dept 335 2009-10-21 14:42 appreg                    
-rw-r----- 1 xxl dept  94 2008-04-07 11:33 profiles.ini      

But whoa.. what's this?

drwx------  8 xxl dept     10 2009-03-17 13:10 .mozilla
drwx------  3 xxl dept      4 2009-10-21 17:23 .mozilla-thunderbird
drwxr-xr-x  2 xxl dept      8 2008-11-07 11:14 .mplayer


Ok then, take this you impostor!
xxl@foo:~$ rm -r .mozilla-thunderbird
xxl@foo:~$ mv .thunderbird/ .mozilla-thunderbird

And just in case I might want to use a fedora desktop again

xxl@foo:~$ ln -s .mozilla-thunderbird/ .thunderbird   

Ok, That's better.

 Kind of.Except for the hours of email to get to.

for a discussion.

Interview tips

How to navigate technical questions
nancy amato texas a & m

Erin Chapple, Microsoft
group program manager. data management

  • I don't have alot of time. Want to read quicky. In first page. Who are you . Why would I want to interview you.
  • Gabby Silverman. Research at CA
    • Do you know us, What are you looking for, why do you have the qualification
  • Sue Dragich, Director SW engineering Global communications,
    • Clarity!!!!!
    • Simple looking Easy to get through
    • What are you passionate about. Hook. If you are excited
Nancy Amato Texas A&M
  • Researcher. Publications, but where were they, quality
Concept management
  • Specific results, Saved money, got great grade
Lynn Pastori Enterprise technical services. Data Center
  • What was your role, what did you do
  • Action words
Ellen Spertus, Mills
  • Experience, including in class projects.
Tracey Intuit.
  • Talent development.
Mock interview
technical questions
interviewing the interviewer
behavioral questions

Comments from the panel
Fictitious companyd. 500 people. Software engineer.

Looking for software development.

Good. Used whiteboard.
Talked aloud about her thought process.
You know an answer .
sounded confident as she worked through. s

Could have done better.
Be cautious about saying "NO" or hedge.
Get more information make sure you ask up front.

How do theory and algorithms act with machine.
Interviewee ask questions.

How to prepare for this question. Be a flexible person.

  • Syntactically correct compilable code.
  • Common language. Can you write in a well known language
  • don't think in silence think aloud.
  • you can use pseudo code to map out what you would do
  • Test your code for boundary conditions yourself

Can you think of a time you have had to try a new approach to people.

Customer surveys, drive alongs.

As interview probe for specific situation. Past performance is a good indication of future performance. Quantify success, reflection on past performance and continuous improvement.

How would someone work with a team, how do they speak about teammates.
Do they acknowledge others contributions as well as own contributions. Be upfront about your own contribution.

Did you have difficulty ever working with someone.
More detail of how worked out.

So admit mistakes. What would you do next time to change this.
Be specific. what was the situation. What action did you take. What was the result.
Even if it didn't work, tell people the result. show that you learned.

She mentioned the code change. This is a do-over. Chance to correct that.
This is ok. good to mention. Able to mention mistake.

How much do you want the candidate to know about the company
Core values of the team.
What is the team looking for.

Tell me about the Mentoring program. formal? informal?

Ask Questions

IT industry: why women leave?

Presenter Sue from Sudo coaching (what a great business name)

50% of women who leave go to non-industry jobs.
30% to non-SET industry jobs
20% stay at home.

39% Extreme job pressure 62 hours a week US, 72 hours India, China
38% Job not woman friendly
27% Compensation

Other ?'s
46% Career stalled
47% lack carere paths,
84% lack sponsors 47% mentors. role models 40% Senior men don't want to pal around with young women.
38% Isolated

Women More Risk averse leads to fewer high profile success.
Less credit if you take a risk. because you don't have a sponsor

More helper roles.
Don't get credit.

Discrimination/Macho culture
66-64% experienced sexual harassment
44-46% perceive bias in performance evaluation
23-27% "believe women are seen as less capable"

What helps?

  • 10% female management
  • Flexible workday and career track timing
  • shock you actually get more work out of people.
  • Career paths, mentoring programs, sponsorship
  • Opportunities for altruism (Athena)
  • On-ramps - have way to take off and come back.
Catalyst study

- workers at tech company
- boomers say "not having a mentor" is important impediment to success

More likely to have barriers if
- work for large company, have MS/PHD
- have fewer women at company

Few differences between women and men

but across the board tech women and tech men, men were happier with supervisor.

51% of men have partner primarily responsible for home and kids (13% women)
62% - 82%

HIgh level women are more likely to have a CS degree - Tech partner - partner responsible for home and kids (24 -13%)

Women managers are being perceived as less technical. how much is this because of bias?
by 50% - 30

Toot tech horn.

  • Find coach, mentor, group combat isolation
  • Find a place with 10% women managers
  • have a career goal
  • build and demonstrate tech skills
  • ask for high-profile & risky assignments "women don't ask"
What can Co do
  • on ramp/off ramp
  • provide training for supervisors

The grace hopper conference is amazing

Grace Hopper conference is amazing.
Notes from one session.

Don't be afraid to fail. Maria.
The importance of coaches and mentors. Would help with structure.
Write down where want to be and when.

Writing it down helps you to see the next milestone.

If you do a good job and get everything done it will be recognized? NO.
That is not how it works. You need to speak up for yourself.
How to do this. Book by Peggy Klaus. The art of brag: How to toot your own horn without blowing it.

You can get pigeonholed into a role where you are good at what you are doing.
Read Deborah Tannen. The power of talk:
Female communication styles and Male communication styles. the dynamics at work. Read bout this, and get coaching. practice this.

Networking. Do a great job. People will recommend you.

Write your own obituary today. What do you want to do by the end of your life.
How do the pieces fit in that goal. What matters to you. What are you passionate about.
Know yourself. What do you want to do.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Install gn03 on Macbook Pro (Leopard)

I found an excellent post on configuring Gn03 for mac. However if you are still running leopard (10.5) you need to make some changes. This post updates crimson silos with new links.

1. Install Xcode
Get Apple Xcode (Info on xcode ) - 10/20 - Latest version: 3.2.1 NOT FOR Leopard. So you must either:
  1. Install an older version of xcode from your OS X install dvd.
  2. Or ( join Apple Developer Connection (free)) and then download Xcode 3.1.4 which runs on Leopard.
    Apple makes it hard to find the old download page. To find it log in to ADC -> Downloads -> Developer tools (right nav bar) -> scroll down to xcode 3.1.4 -> download and install. Default install is fine.

2. Install Macports

Macports is basically a package management system for Macs. For info see .
  1. Go to , and select dmg download for Leopard.
In my case I had this installed. so I simply make sure it was updated by opening a terminal window and typing "su root" and then

Friday, October 2, 2009

Software soul

Mala Devlin (Cisco)
Hong-Chung Tsou (Intuit)

Mina Kaul-Basu
HA solaris cluster - worked in Bangalore 12 years
Manages global teams, Germany, UK.
Remote teams. Globalization is real.
Have teams participate in events locally.

  • Hire right team
  • Not just like yourself, not just good engineers
  • learn and teach team culture.
  • set roles use chat, webconference, webex etc to communicate.
  • approach disagreements openly
  • trust team. take risk.
Divya Kolar
Hired as part of an all male team. was I a diversity hire?
"Coexist slide"
Diversity - art of thinking together independently.

2005 joined intel hiring freeze, intel encourage diversity. Manager gave full time offer. Did I get offer as being female? NO - I hired you because you bring skill diversity to team.
Being from research lab, always looking for funding, present, convince, persuade value of project. Had to speak to CEO - can I get the funding for the team? Our team did get funding.
Research in security. If the team is happy it reflects on the company
Diversity brings
  • Understanding - better understanding of customer, IE netbook style PC cheap. worked in india. Who knows needs in India, Indonesia?
  • Credibility - Having a clear connection with customer
  • Connectedness Book "The Software Soul" e.g. Henry -from Asian country. In company no Asians higher than Sr Engineer. He left because he could not make connection
Classmate PC idea came from understanding the market, the country, India.
Mosaic, not melting pot.

Karin Catin
Project Manager

How can you identify the "Zen" soul of software release. 1996. web exploding. people used text editors. some tools, professionals used text editors. I was working for macromedia. saw market for wsywig for web developers. Kevin Lynch "19 dreams" whitepaper of web developers. Zen/mantra. 19 dreams -> dreamweaver -> product. Engineers got excited. Active advisory council to have meetings. Hired Web developer sat with Engineering team.

E.G. "Round-trip HTML" - the HTML in did not look like the HTML out. The HTML was reformatted by the tool on the page. or "Dont touch my layout"

Dave George "I found the round-trip HTML motivating because we were solving
remember first co wide demo, when lynch showed the round-trip demo, and audience broke into spontaneous applause I felt proud"

When we introduced our project - Engineers said "HTML is like postscript no one wants to edit it by hand."

NJ /Ben had a discussion of how to do the database. should we use attribute/ value pairs or efficient

Zen --> bartending. Program manager as a bartender. We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen as much as we speak.

We need more bartender personalities at work. Cube the place you want to stop by. Find out about life.

Veep she knows, still use this technique. "Hows it going" "I have to run, have some extra budget to spend on creative suite project, gotta run."

Had problem with no cash for tools project. There is a budget we can get.

If you are not a good listener. Here is how to do it. I did it wrong and learned.
Bob comes in to ask question. I answer.
Bob says "please take hands off keyboard, turn around and listen" Watch good bartenders.

Get zen statements. Assign one to each team.

Happier teams work better. A good culture unleashes great productivity.

Establish a network. make friends. What do you want. Ask direct questions to friends about the teams they are members. Networking is key.

Don't underestimate your influence speak up.