A genuine Silicon Valley Web Flyer | One line of code at a time...

Wanted: PHP Application Developer at Ning

I’ve been working at Ning for 3 months now, and it’s never felt like “work”. One of the cool things about working here is that we have a lot of engineers; both Java and PHP. And they move very fast.

Everyone is in IRC channels all the time talking about projects (#product), managing deployments (#maint), or general chit-chat (#internal-ning).

One of the most helpful channels is called #appsdev, which consists of more than a handful of PHP and Javascript ninjas. And there is an open req to hire a new Application Developer.

Another great thing about working here is that you can work on stuff that interests you, and when you have working code, you can demo it to the rest of the team:

If you are interested in this position, , and let me know why you want to work at Ning.

Here is the job description:

The Team

  • Application Developers are directly responsible for the innovation, performance, and scalability of Ning Networks as we rapidly scale to 10M networks and beyond. Leaders of this team include experts of the PHP, JavaScript and open source communities who have written several books on the topics.
  • We have a unique application development environment using PHP and JavaScript on top of the Ning Platform REST APIs, delivering an extremely friendly and infinitely customizable product. These features allow people to create and join Ning Networks around their interests and passions.

The Opportunity

  • You will play a key role in designing and executing new features within Ning Networks (such as activity streams, virtual gifts, and game design) as well as improving current features (including Ning Apps, photo and video sharing, discussions, blogging, events and more).
  • You will work on optimizing performance down to the millisecond and scaling individual Ning Networks to millions of members and the entire base of social networks on Ning to 10M and beyond.
  • This role will collaborate closely with the executive team, product management, and design to ensure that the projects achieve the goals we lay out.

The Qualifications

  • Demonstrates initiative, flexibility and ability to concurrently manage multiple deadline-driven tasks and projects.
  • Ability to work with remote colleagues.
  • Experience in PHP and AJAX; and comfortable with HTML/CSS, Java or C++ and object-oriented design.
  • Understands the value of unit tests. As an added bonus, practices Test-Driven Development.
  • Experience programming scalable, highly-performant Web applications.
  • Willingness to work in an agile environment, delivering incremental value at regular iterations.
  • BS/MS in CS or equivalent experience.
  • Optional: know your way around Flash.

Varkfarts: because there really are dumb questions

I’m a huge fan of the subjective search site Aardvark. Anyone can ask a question, and Aardvark looks for the best person to answer that question based on their knowledge.

A couple weeks ago, a co-worker of mine sent me a skitch to a funny question she received on Aardvark. I immediately thought, “let’s make this a Tumblr site” and blow it up.

Some of these questions are just too hard to pass by.

If you want to submit good questions that you’ve received, email them to or visit http://varkfarts.com/submit.

Pro tip: Type “try” in your Aardvark IM window to see questions that would be a good fit for you.

Foursquare WordPress Plugin

Update (March 23, 2010): I updated the version to 0.3 officially, and fixed some links. I need to really make this better. Hopefully I will have some time soon!

This is my first plugin, so let’s see how it goes!

Usage (version 0.3)

Download the zip file and extract the contents to your wp-content/plugins directory. In your blog’s admin tool, activate the plugin.

Next, login to and goto the . Find your RSS feed.

Copy it to the clipboard, and paste it into the Foursquare settings panel.

Finally, paste the following code in your sidebar.php file in WordPress:

Here is the working version of the plugin in action:

Pretty basic now, but there will be further revisions, I promise :)

Downloads and version history

  • Version 0.1 – Simple widget showing the latest 5 checkins with links back to venue pages – [download]
  • 0.2 – Added the ability to control the number of checkins you post. Also cleaned up the code a little bit. Still want to figure out how to eliminate duplicate checkins via strcmp() or array_unitque() functions in PHP. I want to add a Google map with the kml file and show checkins on a map – [download]
  • 0.3 – Fixes broken URL. I need to really make this a better plugin, and integrate the map – [download]

In further versions, I want to explore the WordPress widget API. Instead of this being a plugin where you have to actually paste PHP code into your sidebar, I want to bring all the interaction into the admin panel.

I welcome further requests please! Email me or leave some comments below.

Here is the git repository for my WordPress plugins.

Note: this blog post is still a work in progress, check back periodically for updates

Wanted: Senior UX Designer at Ning

I have been working on the design team at Ning for the past few months, and I love it. Working at a startup is more fun than you can even imagine. The best part is that the team is small enough and focused on the product that all of your ideas will be heard and probably executed upon.

We have a pretty sweet opening for Senior User Experience Designer right now, and I want to tell ya about it:

The Team

  • Our Design team is responsible for the visual, interaction and web design of Ning Networks. We give people the freedom to customize their Ning Networks at every turn, making our design challenges unique, interesting and complex.
  • As a Sr. User Experience Designer at Ning, you will play a critical role on a small, but highly productive team in evolving a product used by millions of people in their daily lives.
  • Your mission will be to deliver powerful and immensely creative social experiences to our Network Creators and their members. This involves participating in the key stages of the product design definition through to the final user experience and post-launch iteration.

The Opportunity

  • We are looking for someone with a high degree of creativity, interaction design experience and problem solving ability. You enjoy working in a fast-paced, fun and highly collaborative environment. You have a strong work ethic, are organized to meet tight deadlines and very detail oriented.
  • You have the same passion for great design as you do for creating great code. You are an active user of social networks and be highly curious. Finally, you are someone who is relentlessly focused on making great, creative ideas and experiences a reality.
  • At Ning, you will have an opportunity to define innovative user interfaces and interaction styles which result in improved user productivity, discoverability and simplicity. You will work to document, simplify and streamline a highly flexible set of options Ning offers their Network Creators and their members.
  • You will build your own designs in production-level, standards-based XHTML and CSS. You’ll also work with our team of Product Managers, Web Developer and Application Developers to conceive innovative user interface solutions.
  • You will develop and maintain design wireframes, mockups, specification and navigation maps. You will also promote usability and consistency standards throughout your work.

The Qualifications

  • A formal education in Computer Science, Industrial Design, Computer Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction or Graphic Design.
  • 5+ year experience in web/interaction/interface design.
  • Proven track record and a passion for designing compelling, user experiences.
  • Proven experience in creating production quality XHTML and CSS. Basic JavaScript skills a plus.
  • Demonstrated comprehension (portfolio) of design theory, web design, typography and color.
  • Excellent presentation skills and attention to detail.
  • Experience in working with various departments within a product, design and development team.
  • Experience in creating various prototype methods and knowledge of best practices.
  • Strong verbal and visual communication skills.
  • Working knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite 3 applications including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Fireworks.
  • Curiosity. You’ve created a Ning Network before you interview. You have ideas on how to make the service better and faster. You have strong, thoughtful product, experience and technical questions for us.

Ping me directly if you are interested in this job:

There are a lot of reasons why you should consider this job if you are a good designer. Everyone at the company is on the cutting edge of the social web. The job is located in a very nice part of California where it never rains.

And we have a pretty nice kitchen, which is stocked with Popchips, Fresca, Tejava, and peanut M&Ms.

And we like cake with CSS3 rules:

There are more openings on the job website. Let me know if any sound appealing to you.

Michael Jackson tribute

Hahaha, classic….