It’s good to work at the Google

I realize it’s old news at this point, but President Bush is still out of touch with the world.

This evening after work, Dustin, Josh, Caitlin, Dave, Dominic, Nick, Nick’s boyfriend whose name I never caught, and I went out to dinner at Houston’s. We then walked around the Third Street Promenade for a bit, looked at the Puzzle Zoo (a game store), got some gelato, and went back to Google. Why would we go back to work at 9:00 in the evening on a Friday, you ask? On the second floor, we have a lounge complete with pool table, ping-pong, foosball, 2 XBox 360’s, a GameCube, a PS2, an Atari, and probably some other video game systems (I should point out that the video game systems are all owned by individual Googlers who have permanently lent their stuff to the lounge; I don’t think even Google would buy that stuff for its employees). This is enough entertainment to keep all of us, along with several other people who stopped in, busy for the whole night. I left work around 1:15 AM, and there were still 4 people playing foosball when I left. I still can’t believe how lucky I am to be working at such a great company, with such fantastic benefits and perqs.

One of the coolest parts of the evening was how nerdy everyone was, but at the same time how intelligent and comfortable they were with their nerdiness.

  • The Puzzle Zoo had a display of PixelBlocks in the window, and the first comment anyone had about them was that they’re really voxels, not pixels! This continued into a discussion of various games adapted to unusual numbers of dimensions: 3-D Minesweeper, 1-D Tetris (which really is as easy as it sounds), 4-D Rubik’s Cubes, 3-player versions of Nim, etc.
  • At dinner we had a surprisingly long conversation about minor characters from various different Star Trek shows, and their interactions with the scriptwriters. Jeffrey would have loved it. I knew next to nothing about the subject, but it was amazing to see how everyone could talk about it in a manner similar to how I imagine “normal” people discuss previous seasons of American Idol. Everyone seemed to know at least some of the minor characters, their backstories, and the actors who played them. For instance, did you know that in Season 1 of TNG there was a woman named Natasha Yar who slept with Data? The character was killed off because the actress wasn’t satisfied with the size of her part and threatened to quit, but the same actress came back in later seasons to play the sister of the original character.
  • We discussed how this year is the first year you can really buy LED Christmas lights, and this year is the only one where they’ll be really neat, since by next year everyone will have them. I look forward to the days when LEDs will light our buildings, but it was pointed out that we’ll need better smoothing circuits in the rectifiers than the ones in the Christmas lights on Third Street, or else all the lights will flicker like flourescent tubes, and annoy everyone after a while.
  • Dave reminisced about the olden days, when a good form of data storage was to send your data over your modem and record the sounds it emitted on your cassette player, which I thought was a pretty clever idea.

It was a really cool evening.

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10 Comments

  1. kitty_tape says:

    Are you at the MV office (it sounds like it!)? I’ll be down there for some meetings Dec 10th-14th. We should have a meal or something.

  2. muddernh says:

    First, it’s been a while since I watched any TNG episodes, but I had the feeling that Yar was a major minor character at least – someone on the bridge every episode w/out getting killed, and maybe even in the opening credits for the season she was alive. The same actress also came back later to play her own half Romulan daughter which is what I remember more distinctly than her sister. =p and just so you know, I could talk about a couple of the previous seasons of American Idol as well.

    • mockery0 says:

      Yeah, she was a fairly major character. (I would say more of a “minor major” character than a “major minor” character :))

      Tasha Yar was the chief of security for the first season; when she died Worf took the position.

      • She was intended to be a major character, but jumped ship partway through the first (IIRC) season, in an episode called “Armus”. (Yes, I did remember that off the top of my head. Shut the hell up)

        Random tidbit – she and Marina Sirtis (who played Troi, all the way through) actually auditioned for each other’s roles, and they swapped their characters at the last minute.

        • Side side note: she also came back to play herself for one episode, called “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, which is probably my favorite Trek episode ever.

          • dhalps says:

            Wasn’t that one a 2-parter? And yes, it was awesome. Really, really awesome. Although that whole Picard going crazy thing bothers me. And no, I did not know the fucking episode name… :-p

            For some reason the video game channel played all of STTNG season 1 this past summer. Tasha Yar was Season I’s Worf, but yeah, she left after Season I. So she’s minor only in the sense that she was in a small fraction of episodes, but she was a pretty major character.

  3. bagoffarts says:

    by design

    The flickering of the LEDs is from pulsing them. You can briefly overdrive an LED and get higher discharge, ie brighter lights. Keep overdriving them they blow up. It’s likely the lights are designed to flicker very quickly so that they don’t have to be super expensive extra bright diodes. Even auto makers overdrive and pulse for the brake lights.

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