Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Question of Questions

After the digression of my last post, which really was not technically based, I was going to get back to the really juicy stuff.  Instead, I will only partially back to the good stuff.

I was reading a CNN article on Marissa Mayer, the Google-ite Engineer turned Yahoo CEO.  In the article, which outlines 11 facts about her, #6 in the list caught my eye.  It says that in her original job interview, which was conducted at one point by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google's co-founders, they asked her the following question:

"How would you write a spell-check program when you have a vocabulary so big it won't fit in a computer?"

I have to say that that is one heck of an interview question.  One that you cannot really prepare for.  They were more than likely simply seeking her quick insight of the issue to see how she would approach it, but none the less its an amazingly specific question that would knock a lot of people on their butts, I am sure.

I have seen questions from people on some of these coding forums, asking for lists of interview questions that they can study for their upcoming interview.  Every time that I see one of those questions I want to tell them to pick up the book nearest to them that covers the language in question and to study that in its entirety.

The possibility of questions in an interview is astounding and one could not even hope to study the exact questions that would be asked in a given interview.  My point is that all you can do is study and code and do your best when you get to the interview.  Its all you'll really be able to do to prepare.

I, unfortunately, don't interview very well as I tend to freeze up mentally.  Sure, I know how to code, but I am usually so insanely nervous in an interview that to ask me to code or think about technical problems more than likely comes across disappointing.

Ok, enough embarrassing myself and boring you with useless details.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Losing an Art Form

Hello everyone!  What a year it has been so far, and I am sure that you have a similar feeling about it as well.  I feel that each year gets crazier and crazier, but then that could be that our kids are getting older and older, but their energy levels are still rising.

I was reading a friends blog recently and came across this amazing post about something so amazingly simple.  Mark Keating, the owner of the blog, was talking about how crowded our lives are with tech that we are losing touch with something as simple as the pen and paper.  There are dozens of note taking applications on our phones, tablets, pc's and laptops, that all we need do these days is fire one of them up, write down what is on our mind and save it, no actual writing involved.

Its sad really because the way things are going, how long will it be before people are no longer writing, their typing up their notes.  If that were to happen, a very beautiful art would be lost on technology and go the way of things like the dodo, and won't ever be seen again. 

In Mark's blog post, he gives what is essentially a features list of the pen and paper.  Its an amazing addition to post which really opens ones eyes to the perfection that the pen and paper really have and continue to have.  Here is the list from his post:

  • No specialist input devices
  • Compatible with all hands and eyes
  • Never crashes
  • Rarely corrupts data
  • Splash recovery
  • Language agnostic
  • Fits in a convenient pocket[5]
  • Fast data input
  • No Startup times
  • No application charges or updates
  • Full ASCII/ANSi support[6]
  • No ‘generation’ of devices
  • Reality display (TM)
  • Version safe
  • Future safe
  • Full version compatibility between devices, languages, users and systems
  • Available in a seemingly infinite variety of styles and colours
  • No vendor lock in and many high-street stockists
  • Can be used during take off and landing on a plane

As you can see, Mark went to town on the list, but its wonderfully accurate.  I hope you enjoy this enough that you want to maybe put down the keyboard and just go write.  Heck, go buy a journal and write an entry every day.  Sure, I sound like a 9th grade English teacher, but they did have a point with their making you keep a journal.

I know this post is a bit non-tech, but I hope you enjoyed it.  If you would like to read Mark's post, you can find it here.  Enjoy and happy writing!

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