Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:He May Be Dead (Score 1) 98

Citrix very much reminds me of using a desktop computer to connect via dialup to a 300bps machine. I'm using my fast, good computer as a dumb terminal to a slow crappy computer. Except that typically the manufacturer of the 300bps machine knew their interface was slow and would at least try to design the applications to make that as unobtrusive as possible.

Comment So They Don't Understand It Either? (Score 1) 305

It really isn't that hard. You're looking for someone who takes pride in the quality of their work and ideally actually enjoys doing it. You may also be looking for someone who will work well on your team, or who can be fantastic as a lone gunman with relatively little micro-management. The brain teasers work pretty well because it's pretty easy to spot someone who will just give up without thinking about the problem. They also do a good job of finding the people who aren't really paying attention to you during the interview. If you're a bad interviewer, you think you're looking for someone who can answer the questions correctly and just look at that and not their entire thought process as they try to solve the problem. Do they break the problem down into solvable components? If they get off track, will they pay attention to the hints you give them to get them back on track? Do they try to bullshit their way through with a non-answer (In which case you should refer them to marketing or management.)

If you know what you're looking for, you don't even really need a brain teaser. The old design-a-trivial-function along with some basic questions about data structures or design patterns will weed out most of the really bad candidates. Ten seconds into "design a function on the whiteboard," I already know if it's going to go badly or not. If they're just crapping code onto the whiteboard, it's going badly. In ten seconds I've pulled back the veil of all the buzz words they used to get through HR to the interview and can see exactly how they're going to work under pressure. I'll take a high school dropout who actually takes the time to make sure he understands the question and shows me he can design a solution over a PhD who tries to BFI his way through.

Comment Re:I've come out of hiding just to say... (Score 1) 98

Years later it's still clearly nothing more than a nasty hack.

Sometimes a hack is what you need, and it's the difference between being able to accomplish the goal, and not being able. But key is "years later." Now Citrix is irrelevant, but 20 years ago it let you do things which otherwise simply couldn't be done, and "p0wned" is largely a non-issue when talking about machines not connected to the Internet.

Let's say it's 1994 and you have a legacy MS-DOS application where porting it to Linux or whatever isn't an option. The application talks a lot to a database, and it's fast enough over 10M ethernet. But your medical practice has a satellite office a few miles away, and for a shitload of money, you can get a 56K link. (Yes, these numbers all sound so quaint today, but that's the whole point.) You're not going to have 8 users running that app doing its database queries sharing a 56k link. The patients will die of old age in the waiting room if you do that.

But you put a Citrix box at the main office, which is OS/2 2.0 plus Citrix's hacks, an 8-serial-port digiboard, plugging into a serial multiplexer which plugs into your synchronous mode USR Courier plugged into the 56k link. At the satellite office the other Courier plugs into the demultiplexer and serial lines go to the terminals, and there you go. You've got 8 users at dumb terminals running an MS-DOS legacy app which is really running at the main office where it can easily query the database fast enough. And it works.

Of course it's a hack. But it's a hack that lets you tell the client Yes, we'll take your money and make it work and you'll be able to see patients. That's better than telling them No, it can't be done. Don't you agree?

Ten years later, you might say "screw Citrix, just run dosbox on some Linux machine instead, and connect by ssh over an IP link (or the Internet itself)" and dude, I would totally agree with you. But no fair, you're in the wrong decade, unless you have dosbox working on Linux and talking to Netware servers in 1994 -- and you don't. Believe me, I know, I looked, and you just don't have that in 1994. Or forget dosbox, just port your shitty legacy app to Linux, right? *sigh* Once again, you have my agreeing with you in principle, but it's 1994 and you're trying to sell Linux and you've been pleading for years that we ought to work on getting our app no-longer-dependent on unportable proprietary libraries (and compilers!), and .. holy shit do I NOT miss those days. OMG do I love my new job. Sometimes I forget how much I love my new job and how much crap I'm not dealing with anymore. :-) Fuck you, 1990s. I don't ever want to see the fucking 1990s again. If I'm ever walking down the street and the 1990s are there .. I don't know if I can be held responsible for what happens.

Comment Comparison (Score 5, Insightful) 305

I've just gone through interviews at Google and Apple.

At Google, I was asked mainly theoretical questions - big-O, maths/stats, etc. And one "real" architecture/design question at the end. There were 5 interviewers and maybe 7 questions, sometimes 2 per interviewer but usually just 1 that lasted the whole hour. According to my recruiter before the decision, it was maybe 50/50 that I'd get an offer, and I did very well on the real-system design question (by inference, not so well on the others :). I didn't get the job.

At Apple, I had a seven-hour interview with seven interviewers. There were many many questions, far too many to easily remember categories, but they were all focussed on things I might end up doing, or problems that I might end up encountering. I got the job. I guess I do better with "real world" issues than the "consider two sets of numbers, one is ... the other is ...) type.

I have the self-confidence^W^W arrogance to believe I'm an asset to pretty much any company out there, but interview processes are nothing more than a gamble. Sure you can weed out the obvious under-qualified applicants, but frankly (unless the candidate is lying, and in the US that's a real no-no, in the UK padding your CV seems to be sort of expected...) that sort of candidate ought to have been pre-vetoed by the recruiter before getting to the interview.

I've yet to see the interview that guarantees a good candidate will do well. It's all about preparation: can you implement quicksort or mergesort right now, without looking it up ? The algorithm takes about 20 lines of code... Some interviews will require you to have knowledge like that; others are more concerned with how you collaborate with other candidates; still others are concerned with your code quality (I've seen a co-interviewer downmark a candidate for missing a ; at the end of a coding line. I wasn't impressed ... by the co-interviewer. But that's another story); still others are ... you get my point. Whether you do well or not can depend more on the cross-intersectional area of the interviewers style and your own credo than any knowledge you may or may not have.

So go in there expecting to be surprised, prepare what you can, be prepared to do wacky things to please "the man" interviewing you. For a good candidate, over a large number of interviews, you'll do well. The problem is that we often want a specific job, and we get depressed by the first dozen or so failed interviews. There's nothing more you can do than pick yourself up and try again. It's instructive to note that second-interviews at companies often go better than first-interviews, possibly because you're forewarned about the style a bit more, and therefore a bit better prepared...

Comment Que up... (Score 1) 260

Uhm...yeah...Anyone who believes it, just form a line and go stand on your head over there in to corner to be counted.
More like, any manufacturer out of step with the Communist overlords will be executed for "littering" for lack of a better tag to use for "official reports" published for the world to see. Kinda like their policy of aborting excess children, retroactive up to 5 years old, which doesn't officially happen, as far as you know, because if it is reported, a reporter would be executed for "polluting" or whatever tickles their nipples that day.

Comment Re:Didn't need to be the NSA (Score 1) 442

We don't have to know. We have borders and a Constitutional directive to protect them. Time to start weeding out, who we let in. Yes, that means profiling, fuck Hillary. The buck stops here, not in some other persons country. That's their business, let's learn to mind our own. I don't think we need business abroad anyway. I think we need to tax U.S. companies abroad, equal to the amount of money and jobs removed from our economy, including outsourcing. Just mind our own business and be more selective about visitors and immigrants.

Slashdot Top Deals