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Comment: Re:You're not willing to pay (Score 1) 258

Maybe we also need a HRAT, a "Human Rights Added Tax", which imposes extra fees based on things like human rights abuses, poverty wages, etc embodied in the production of a product, to provide a level playing field for countries with higher standards.

Or to provide more highly-paid jobs for designers of robots to perform the task without human labor.

You should be a little careful with ideas like that... you may end up hurting the people you're trying to help. In many cases, they'd rather have the crappy, exploitive job than starve while watching the machines do what they used to. The machines will come eventually, but taxes like the one you describe will accelerate the process. In general, taxes and other regulatory inhibitors that are intended to fulfill some social goal are viewed by the market as damage, and routed around if at all possible. That doesn't make them useless, but it does mean that you have to step very carefully.

Comment: Re:You're not willing to pay (Score 1) 258

water is necessary to life, while diamonds are not...

Doesn't seem that way when courting.

Courting isn't necessary to life, even though it may feel that way. And, actually, diamonds aren't necessary to courting, either. When I got engaged, I was poor and my wife had money, so she bought our rings, both of them. Diamonds are nice enough as long as they are only symbols. If they are more than that, you have a bigger problem.

Comment: Re:Just works? (Score 1) 473

by swillden (#49552685) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Most Stable Smartphones These Days?

If you want a "reliable" smart phone that doesn't need reset or suffer stupid ass software failures, get one of those $50 Samsung android smart phones. They are pretty reliable because they can't do much to begin with.

Huh? This makes no sense. If they're Android, they can do an incredible variety of stuff. Being low-end, they might not do it well, but they should run pretty much every Android app out there. If they "can't do much to begin with", they're not Android.

Comment: Re:Nice idea but... (Score 1) 286

by swillden (#49551435) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

Electrical bill is $14.95 a month because you have to pay the "fees"

To be fair, there *are* fixed costs to the power company in keeping you connected to the grid, in fact those costs are a fairly significant portion of the normal power bill. It's just that the current fee structure doesn't reflect it well.

Comment: Re:Google: Select jurors who understand stats. (Score 1) 344

by swillden (#49549337) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

But you can't sit there and tell me that all the amenities around campus are there for no reason.

Absolutely not. They're there for various very important reasons.

However, none of those reasons are the one you postulate. If you look at each of them individually, drop your bias, and think about what benefit there could be to the company in providing that service to employees... it's generally very obvious.

In fact, a bathroom I used during an interview had a wall of cups and toothbrushes with employee names on them. People apparently stay at work so long that they need a dedicated toothbrush.

Where do you keep your toothbrush at work? Or don't you brush after lunch? Ick.

Comment: Re:Google: Select jurors who understand stats. (Score 1) 344

by swillden (#49549295) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

That sounds pretty unhealthy to me, especially given the present evidence of attrition suggesting that it is not a sustainable way of working.

Attrition at Google is very, very low, and what there is is mostly people leaving to found their own companies. As for how it sounds to you... you really don't know what you're talking about. Go spend some time with some of said young employees and you'll see why they feel it's fantastic.

So, you are an outlier who will have been employed for a different reason than the infantry and for whom expectations are different.

Nope, just another SWE.

Comment: Re:That shouldn't surprise anyone (Score 2) 344

by swillden (#49543313) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

From my experience, the "... requirements for good [company name here] interview questions ..." are mostly ignored and a recital of sort algorithms and quirky C++ anachronisms rule.

Not at Google. Engineers talk to each other a lot about what they ask in interviews, because one of the rules is that you must "calibrate" your questions, and the very best way to do that is by trying out your questions on your colleagues.

The goal, of course, is to select hires who are at least as good as you and you colleagues.

Comment: Re:Personally, I don't think he was talking to Goo (Score 1) 344

by swillden (#49543299) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

There's an outside chance of Java, either as an Android App developer, or for some server back end crap at a company they purchased.

Actually there's an extremely good chance of Java. Google mostly runs on Java... infrastructure stuff like GFEs, borg, etc. is all C++, and search is C++, but nearly everything running on borg is Java.

Comment: Re:Google (Score 2) 344

by swillden (#49543271) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

This AC nails it. I'm also a Google SWE. And I have gotten yelled at (figuratively) for not disconnecting :-)

While experiences may differ, for me Google has offered all of these things (except for the large stake in success/failure of the company, but that's just because it's a big company). There are ample opportunities to transfer to other teams if I don't like what I'm working on, and my input is generally welcomed when it comes to what I should work on. I've also pushed back to my superiors when I thought they were wrong, and when I was able to back up my statements with data (which has always been the case when I really believed I'm right and they're wrong), they backed down, with generally amiable interactions maintained throughout.

The only pressure I've experienced from Google with respect to my life outside of Google is to make sure I am able to disconnect from work. Some people have a difficult time disconnecting, but that's usually because they enjoy the work they're doing. For the most part it's a personal choice, and Google gives employees resources to help them to disconnect so that they can maintain a good work/life balance.

With respect to location, yes most of Google's employees work out of the Mountain View office, and the cost of living there is a serious problem. But there are a number of other offices around the world, many of them with more than a thousand engineers.

I don't know where you get your information from, but I don't think your experiences come close to the experiences of most employees at Google today. I generally think that Google is a wonderful place to work, with wonderful people, an inclusive culture, and great benefits. I don't know how well it compares to other companies, but I don't doubt that Google deserves its "best place to work" awards.

Comment: Re:That shouldn't surprise anyone (Score 1) 344

by swillden (#49543257) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

I'd rather take my time asking you your knowledge of key libraries and interfaces

What use is that? That is asking for rote memorization.

If you really wanted to test someone's rote memorization of the Big O notation values of various algorithms

Why would you want to test that? That's pointless. At the very least if you ask about complexity of common algorithms, you should also ask them to explain how they determined it, or could determine it. Even better, ask them to create an algorithm to solve a problem, then ask them about the complexity of that. Then they have to actually work out the complexity, demonstrating that they understand asymptotic complexity as a concept, rather than just regurgitating. Then take it one step further and see if they understand the difference between asymptotic and real-world complexity, and why the ideal algorithm for massive data sets may not be at all appropriate for small ones.

My goal in an interview is to make the candidate think, and to watch how they do it. How do they explore the solution space? Do they tend to get stuck on one unproductive line of inquiry, or can they step back and try another angle? Can they see ways to reformulate the problem to simplify it? Generalize it? Specialize it? Do they understand the tradeoffs of various design decisions? How effectively do they collaborate with me on the solution? Good engineers know when to ask for help.

Oh, and... can they write code? Because it's amazing how many people walk in fully able to talk the talk but when asked to produce some functional, reasonably-clean code fall flat on their faces.

Those are useful things to ask about. Memories of libraries and interfaces? Useless. Actually, probably counterproductive unless what you really want is someone who is deeply specialized, then you can ask about the relevant components in that specialty. But in the common case it's far more important to find out if they can reason, problem-solve, code and interact with you. They can google the specifics.

Comment: Re:That shouldn't surprise anyone (Score 2) 344

by swillden (#49543231) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

its stupid to demand or even ask a programmer to recall, from memory

Yes, this is why one of the requirements for good Google interview questions is that they not rely on specific knowledge. They tend to ask you to invent and implement a new algorithm, not remember an old one. Where interviewers do ask questions that require specific knowledge, they're happy to provide whatever you don't remember.

Comment: Re:That shouldn't surprise anyone (Score 1) 344

by swillden (#49543221) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

You end up with an interview process that, regardless of the actual work, the further away from school you are (ie: the older you are), the less likely you are to pass the interview, give or take people who worked as data or algorithm scientists in the recent past.

Nice theory, but as I understand it, higher percentages of candidates with professional experience are hired than of candidates fresh out of school. I'm 45 and was hired by Google four years ago. Most of my team was in the 40s, with several in their 50s and a few in their 60s.

There is an issue that older guys who haven't reviewed their algorithms, data structures, complexity, etc. recently may be a little rusty. Most of the time this doesn't actually create any issues, and it's pretty easy for older guys to address simply by brushing up before the interview. I did.

"Dump the condiments. If we are to be eaten, we don't need to taste good." -- "Visionaries" cartoon