Illustration by Scott Adams

Answering that opening question in an interview can be terrifying.

Here is a simple approach to handle it that should only take about 1 minute.

Just tell them:

  • Stuff you did in the past that matches what they want in the future
  • And a story that demonstrates one of your good qualities

Don’t tell them:

  • Your life story
  • Anything about pets, travel, or hobbies

Writing it down first and practicing till it sounds natural is probably a good idea too.


Thanks to Salihan Laugesen for reading drafts of this.

The terrifying Gnome fail whale

Upgrading to Fedora 25 was as easy as clicking a button in Fedora 24 then waiting.

But after the reboot it didn’t come back up as expected. Instead it displayed the image above. I believe this is known as the Gnome Fail Whale.

And this is what fixed it for me:

  1. See the Gnome Fail Whale
  2. Press Ctrl-Alt-F2 to drop into single user mode
  3. Sign in as my normal user
  4. Edit this file /usr/share/gnome-session/sessions/gnome.session as sudo
  5. Remove gnome-settings-daemon; from the last line
  6. Reboot

Not yet sure what the consequences of this are besides frustration.

Not my typewriter, mine is an Adler Tippa 2. Photo by Nirzar Pangarkar

Perhaps you are like me, with ideas in various states of completeness rattling around your mind. Some are decades old.

Let’s try writing - an ancient hack to convert that tangle of thoughts into a set of coherent and external chunks. If writing works then I should find myself feeling a little more tranquil.

Publishing will need courage but it will stop me cheating because the social contract should force those thoughts into their clearest form out of respect for the reader. It has to be engaging, relevant, and concise.

In a practical sense that set of published articles will be a convenient external memory to refer back to.

Now, how to write?


Thanks to Salihan Laugesen for reading drafts of this.