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Comment Re:NIMBY (Score 1) 436

The weird thing is that computer power consumption at the user level seems pretty steady. My office PC of 10 years ago used the same amount of power as my office PC today. Today's PC has the potential to do more but, aside from facebooking and streaming video, most office workers are doing the same things now as they were 10 years ago. Maybe even less local (work-related) processing if they're at one of those companies that Clouded. The cube farm computer should be down to around 5 watts by now but it's not. Heck, my Raspberry Pi pulls 3 watts and has the potential to handle daily office tasks.

Think of the energy savings of cutting the average cube farm computer from 100 watts to 5 watts. Not only have you cut your energy demand for the computers by 95%, you're no longer pumping out all of the waste heat through the AC system. Seems like the kind of thing market forces should have been demanding for years.

Comment Re:Only 1 sensible answer to interview brainteaser (Score 2) 305

And my follow-up question would be: how would you go about finding out? Oh, here's my laptop. Knock yourself out.

Brainteasers for me were never about someone getting the answer right, it's how they work through a problem where they don't know the answer. Yours is a perfectly good answer, and leaves plenty of space to explore how you go about your research. To me, that's far more valuable than someone who has memorized the answer to a brain teaser.

Comment Re:GPAs and test scores in schools should be chang (Score 1) 305

I think before you start giving interviewing advice to corporations, you might want to:
* learn how to spell
* learn grammar rules
* learn capitalization rules
* learn how to organize your thoughts

You have two posts, and I'm unsure what either one is getting at, beyond "test scores are bad" and "interview questions are bad".

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 Not THAT surprising. (Score 5, Interesting) 305

But not because Google went about it wrong and screwed up its hiring process.

I've been now through a few hiring processes, have sat on Interviews, decision committees. And while I like to think that my Interviews and candidate ratings were spot-on (I correctly predicted one failure and one early resignation), I'm pretty sure that's just skewed by the small sample size. What I do know is that I went through all kinds of approaches, both as an interviewer and an interviewee. I've done brainteasers, role-playing, decision explanations, code walkthroughs, resume deep-dives, online candidate research, just shooting the breeze, and more. And I haven't found a single thing that strongly correlates with acing the interview or hiring a good worker. Resumes can lie (sometimes subtly), and you'll never find out without hiring a private investigator. Role-playing can confuse people, especially if they're trying to figure out what you're looking for. Brain teasers can be memorized, shooting the breeze can lead to unreasonable judgments (positive or negative), interviewers and interviewees can have a bad day, the other person doesn't like your first name, and a million other things.

Especially when you start talking 10s of thousands of interviews, you're actually looking at so much data, so many influencing variables that I doubt you can find one common variable that stands out from the rest. What I'm concerned about (and that comes partially from being married to someone in HR) is that there is still a drive to find the one process that will automate the hiring process. As far as I can tell, it doesn't exist. Well, let me walk that back a tiny bit: there's one thing that will work better than anything else: have the interview done by the best people you have, have them take it seriously, and spend some time on it. But it takes time, is fuzzy, and is entirely reliant on managers knowing who their best people are.

I'm glad to see that Google doesn't think Big Data is the answer to everything. I just hope that this percolates through to the rest of the HR universe. There's much too much of a drive to automate hiring, like performance reviews and firing has been.

Comment They Can't Even Hand Out Fines Effectively (Score 5, Insightful) 260

The Chinese can't even effectively fine polluters and now there's talk of capital punishment for polluting? What next? Decimate school children when their class average isn't up to par because the instructor's scolding has no effect?

There are several key problems here that are the real underlying problems: 1) the Chinese government is not unified in their vision of the environment and I'm talking differences spanning across provincial & federal levels as well as between federal ministries. 2) they collectively refuse to accept that their abuse of natural resources is part of their winning equation against other capitalist nation states and, as a consequence, no one can talk about how this will hurt their bottom line even though several parts of the government realize it (we pay them to import our pollution). 3) there is widespread corruption at all levels which is why fining is ineffective -- it's so bad that I'm sure if capital punishment is meted out, it will be given to the fork lift operator who dumped those pig carcasses in the river after his supervisor told him to "make them disappear or you'll disappear." No one up the chain will be held accountable and if they are, they need only grease some local wheels and they can consider themselves shielded.

It's disgusting and it's why I tell people where they can shove it when they complain that the EPA is destroying jobs. It's not perfect but we have to cling to things that kind of work when so many other "solutions" are abysmal failures.

The Chinese government is threatening to kill polluters but they can't see that they're part of and dependent on and benefiting from a system of habitual polluting. Increasing the impact of the punishment is a poor and maybe even more detrimental substitution for actually bringing to justice the true criminals up and down their ranks.

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