Interviews and Programming Puzzles

by byamabe on February 4, 2012

I just came across a post that the author had found when he came across some interview questions. I remember when they were all the rage in the early to mid 90’s. I’ve had them asked to me as well as the Kobayashi Maru type. The thing is, I don’t personally find them valuable in determining the suitability of a candidate. A history of shipping products, a general grasp of programming languages, and the ability to fit into the style of the team have always been enough for me to figure out if someone will be successful. Maybe I’ve just never been at a company where the puzzle type questions are an indicator of a quality hire. I’ve always worked on applications and not platforms, so maybe platform companies feel differently.

The next time I’m on the receiving end of a puzzle question I will consider asking the interviewer what he/she hopes to learn about me from the question. I’m not militant enough about those questions to end the interview, but I harbor a secret fantasy where I stand up, say, “I’m not a good fit for a team that asks puzzle questions,” and proceed to end the interview.

When 50% Off Isn’t a Deal

by byamabe on November 18, 2010

I was a big fan of O’Reilly’s “Ebook Deal of the Day.” O’Reilly would pick an ebook from their catalog and sell it for $9.99 for the day. It was a great way to entice me to buy an ebook (I bought 4 or 5), it also trained me that a good deal on an ebook is $9.99. Now O’Reilly has changed their daily deal to typically be a 50% discount. Since the change I’ve bought zero of the deals and find it highly unlikely that I will in the future. This partially due to my perception that these deals aren’t so great anymore, but it really comes down to the fact that few O’Reilly ebooks are worth more than $9.99 to me.

O’Reilly used to be the goto name for technical books. Now I go first to the Pragmatic Programmers and Apress. O’Reilly puts out the encyclopedic overviews of a technology. The other two are more focused on using the technologies in practice. O’Reilly books don’t offer me more than concepts and big ideas that are quite easy to find on the web. The Pragmatic Programmers and Apress walk you through projects and techniques, some of which you may be able to find with some digging, but which work better when gathered and presented in a cohesive way.

I still follow the O’Reilly “Ebook Deal of the Day” imaging that one of the books will be a must-have, but I’m much more diligent about checking Apress’s Deal of the Day or informIT’s.

A VC take on Android

October 18, 2010

Fred Wilson is a well known venture capitalist who coined the term “Freemium” which is a business model where you offer basic services for free and make money through selling advanced services. His latest post is how Android will own the market in a few years because of its low price point. I don’t follow [...]

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App Inventor Underwhelms

October 7, 2010

Just before I left work yesterday, I got an email with my acceptance to the Google App Inventor Beta. I was pretty excited because I have an idea for a very basic app that I want to release for iOS and Android so I can compare market sizes, downloads, propensity to purchase, etc. I’ve hesitated [...]

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Is Android Un-Lutheran?

August 24, 2010

The answer is, of course, no? I won’t bring up the “A” word, but the choice of handset operating system is neither commanded nor prohibited in Scripture. In fact, at the LCMS National Convention I ran into plenty of pastors with Android phones. And, yes, even I, a qualified “Apple Fanboy” have an Android phone [...]

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For Aspiring iPhone App Developers

July 30, 2010

I would like to see a lot more iPhone apps that entertain, encourage, and educate from a confessional perspective. To that end, I would like to encourage anyone who’s interested to start developing some apps and I’d be willing to help to the best of my abilities. One book I can recommend on the subject [...]

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BDD an iPhone App?

June 4, 2010

I read an article on the state of testing in Cocoa. The author, Alex Vollmer, paints a pretty dismal picture of BDD in Cocoa community and I’d have to agree with him. In my decision to use Ruby over Python for my web apps, I mentioned that BDD (Cucumber and RSpec) and the Ruby testing [...]

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“Build and Analyze” is your Friend

June 3, 2010

While tracking down a memory leak in my latest app, which looks to be a known problem with the simulator, I ran into someone suggestion to run the “Build and Analyze” (B&A) command from the Build menu in Xcode. Being an Xcode novice, I had never tried this before. Well, I would just like to [...]

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$9.99 eBook from O’Reilly

May 21, 2010

If you’re a tech person, you probably have and buy lots of books. Since getting the iPad, I’ve been buying more eBooks if they are priced reasonably. Reasonably to me means they are less expensive than their paper counterparts as I can sell the paper version if it isn’t up to snuff or I no [...]

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Has the TV Become a Personal Entertainment Device?

May 21, 2010

I saw that Google annouced Google TV. The idea of searching my recorded shows and other sources to find programs to watch is kind of interesting except I have enough trouble keeping track of the 2 remotes and now I have to keep a keyboard laying around to watch TV? The final pitch was an [...]

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