My Random Thoughts

Summer 2020 Update

July 26, 2020 · 4 min read

If you’ve been following my blog over the years, you would know it is not uncommon for me to take a break from blogging. Usually these absences are due to not much going on in my life; there’s nothing for me to write about.

These last three-ish months are different however. Instead of too little going on, a lot has happened and I have been too busy to sit down and write about it. I found myself with some spare time this Sunday so I figured I would quickly outline the major things that have happened.

Unearth 2.0 🛠

A majority of my blog posts since February have been about my long-time side project, Unearth. At the time, Unearth was a service that would surface a handful of users’ Reddit saves in the form of an email. It was a fun project to build and when shared online, others thought the idea was neat as well.

Like all my side projects, I built Unearth to scratch my own itch. Unfortunately, Unearth in its current form at the time just wasn’t what I was looking for. Around the same time of having this realization, it became increasingly clear to me that other Redditors wanted more out of their Reddit saves as well: they were asking for ways to manage and search their saves rather than a way to surface saves like Unearth was built to do.

I then went back to the drawing board and decided to start coding a new project from scratch titled Unearth 2.0. You can actually see a glimpse of this in my Fooled by “Magic” Scrollbars post.

Unearth 2.0 is what I had originally envisioned the project would be. The reason I was never able to get it off the ground in the first place was because I got stuck designing the app. This time around, however, I decided to copy a tried-and-true app design, pulling inspiration from Pocket.

Comparison of Pocket and Unearth
Comparison of Pocket (left) and Unearth (right).

In these past few months I’ve been able to design and develop this full-stack web application that includes a RESTful API, single-page web app, and a marketing website. I’ve since soft-launched Unearth 2.0 by posting in r/SideProject and recommending it in various subs on Reddit where I think users might find it beneficial.

At the time of writing, there are:

  • 165 users registered
  • 66K Reddit saves synced
  • 107 custom tags created
  • 454 saves tagged

Sunsetting Old Unearth 🌅

As mentioned above, surfacing Reddit saves using emails wasn’t as useful as I had hoped, at least not for me personally. Because there weren’t that many people using the service to begin with, I made the hard decision to pull the plug on that version of Unearth (I call it Unearth Surfacer or Unearth 1.0).

Fortunately, the database schema used in Unearth 2.0 could allow for the same surfacing technique to be used in the event that I wanted to re-engineer that as an additional feature.

Goodbye Menlo Security 👋

I don’t think I ever mentioned my work in any blog posts, but up until the end of May I had been working at a cybersecurity startup called Menlo Security. I had been there for a little over 3 years doing a Software Development Engineer in Test co-op. This was a great position because it offered flexible work hours which gave me the time to also go to school.

I primarily coded in Python but did use JavaScript/Node a few times for some proof-of-concept browser automation scripts. Many of my projects were based on developing tests or fixing infrastructure for the dev team.

Despite their interest in bringing me on full-time, I had to decline because my heart has always been to work directly on a product as part of a dev team.

(Almost) Done with Lambda School 🎓

Like Menlo, I don’t think I ever mentioned attending Lambda School in my blog, although I do know it is listed on my personal site. Since February of 2019, I have been doing Lambda’s Full Stack Web Development part-time program. This means having class in the evenings from 6-9pm PST, Monday through Friday.

I should have finished the program near the end of April but due to COVID-19 and exhaustion, I decided to take a six week hiatus.

I’ve since started back up with the program and am now only 3 weeks away from finally graduating! Finishing the program has been a long time coming and it’s only been even more difficult recently because I…

Joined the Herd 🐮

I am currently a Software Engineering Intern at Moogsoft, whose mascot is a cow and whose employees are colloquially known as “the herd”. This is your typical summer tech internship that demands 40-hour work weeks, hence the reason why doing Lambda in the evenings has been more difficult than usual.

Nonetheless, I am ecstatic about what I am doing at Moogsoft and would be lying if I said I wouldn’t be sad to not receive an offer letter after the internship.

Originally the internship was to take place at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, but due to the Bay Area’s continued shelter-in-place orders, Moogsoft decided to make it remote.

I am working on the front-end team whose focus is developing the UI for the company’s latest product, a cloud-based SaaS monitoring and alert application called Moogsoft Express. The web app is a single-page Vue application that utilizes common Vue libraries like Vue Router and Vuex for handling browser navigation and global store, respectively.

Since starting on June 15th, I have:

  • improved build time performance by reducing bundle size
  • updated old dependencies
  • fixed small bugs
  • migrated charts from D3 to FusionCharts

At the time of writing, I’m halfway done with the internship and am looking forward to the remaining five weeks ahead.

Cedric Amaya

Written by Cedric Amaya who is currently studying Computer Science in sunny California. You should follow him on Twitter.