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Comment Re:Portfolio + demonstrable talent (Score 1) 374

They're an easy topic to *understand*, but integrating that knowledge enough to work with it isn't particularly easy. It's not unlike calculusâ"sure, most kids after Calc I have a rote idea of what a derivative and integral are, but is it well enough ingrained that they'll fully grok the rationale behind how they're used in, say, physics? For many kids, not so much.

Comment Re:Portfolio + demonstrable talent (Score 2, Insightful) 374

C# and Perl pay my bills right now, but I was hired based on an interview question that was something like "how do you reverse a linked list?", which is a classical pointer question. As Joel puts it:

I've come to realize that understanding pointers in C is not a skill, it's an aptitude. In first year computer science classes, there are always about 200 kids at the beginning of the semester, all of whom wrote complex adventure games in BASIC for their PCs when they were 4 years old. They are having a good ol' time learning C or Pascal in college, until one day they professor introduces pointers, and suddenly, they don't get it. They just don't understand anything any more. 90% of the class goes off and becomes Political Science majors, then they tell their friends that there weren't enough good looking members of the appropriate sex in their CompSci classes, that's why they switched. For some reason most people seem to be born without the part of the brain that understands pointers. Pointers require a complex form of doubly-indirected thinking that some people just can't do, and it's pretty crucial to good programming. A lot of the "script jocks" who started programming by copying JavaScript snippets into their web pages and went on to learn Perl never learned about pointers, and they can never quite produce code of the quality you need.

Comment Re:Be Proactive (Score 1) 374

Sounds like you need to stop interviewing kids from Java schools. My school (which isn't even very good!) still has tons of teaching methods like "learn how to do this in your free time because we're not gonna waste class time teaching you" for things that are less difficult than, for instance, writing a file system.

Comment Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (Score 1) 214

My chess set has majestically sculpted pieces and a beautifully painted wood board but that doesn't make the game of chess art. Even if I listen to Mozart while I'm playing, or instead of using chess pieces, hire Shakespearean actors to walk across a check-boarded marble floor and perform one-on-one battle and death scenes when I make a capture, those are all things attached to the game. It's hard to see this with video games, where the game mechanic is hidden so fully underneath the ornamentation.

Comment Re:Microsoft Sucks Checklist (Score 1) 659

All Microsoft is guilty of is wanting to keep people's business even if they don't want to play video games on a PC. Instead of trying to force the customer to change to adapt to their business plan (which is lock-in), MS changed their business plan to adapt to the customer. This is exactly what companies should do.

Comment Re:Who cares? (Score 1) 399

Why did Jobs wear the black turtleneck when doing the keynotes? Style? Hardly. He blended better into the background. That way whatever he was holding would show up better.

By most accounts, he pretty much wears that exact same outfit every day at work. He's one of those people who decides what to wear once and leaves it at that so he can focus on more important things. Though he has been known to wear shorts when it was hot enough out.

Comment Re:It's not charisma (Score 1) 399

Also while Steve Jobs is a techie, he himself isn't a programmer or engineer.

It does seem worth pointing out that Jobs tinkered with electronics around the same time Woz did. One of Jobs' most arrogant quotes was something like, "Woz was the first person I met who was better at electronics than I was."

Comment Re:You confuse Average with Simple (Score 1) 399

Actually, the UI is designed to have sensible common defaults and an easy to use UI, but someone "wanting to type in commands" also has the whole UNIX subsystem to access for more flexibility.

He was talking about the original Macintosh, from 1984, which had no UNIX or command line.

Why would the old Steve Jobs have done that? Being forced out and then coming back with Apple in tatters only reinforced his core belief that his own views on how to run product lines were correct. When did the old Steve Jobs hang onto a product line for emotional reasons? Early accounts don't seem to indicate emotion was involved in decisions much at all.

The old Steve Jobs was fanatical about having the NeXT factory painted specific colors, or the NeXT cube being a perfect black cube made out of magnesium, or about the Mac not having a hard drive or a fan. Being kicked out of Apple humbled Jobs, but so did the difficulties at NeXT.

Understanding is always the understanding of a smaller problem in relation to a bigger problem. -- P.D. Ouspensky