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Comment There is recent research on this (Score 1) 266

Take a look at http://www.millenniata.com/ -- their tagline is "Write once, read forever." It's a group out of BYU, which is tied to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have the largest collection of genealogical records in the world. They've been storing everything on microfiche in a massive vault, and would really like to switch to digital media but for the archival problems you mention. Millenniata grew out of research into making stable DVDs--they guess that their DVDs are stable enough to last 1000+ years (the way I've heard it, they don't know of any particular process that would cause them to decay, but you never know).

Comment New Hires (Score 1) 569

I've done a little bit of hiring at my small company (we have five programmers; I was an interviewer for two of them). You do need to be highly competent in our language of choice (C++), but I expect to spend a lot of time training a fresh-out-of-college hire.

If there are C++ fundamentals (virtual functions, pass-by-reference, use of the STL and standard libraries, polymorphism) with which you are not familiar, then you have language learning to do. But given that you have the fundamentals, the biggest question is whether you can work on a team.

Do you know how to say "I don't know" when you don't? Do you document your work clearly and effectively so that other programmers will find it usable? Are you passionately interested in naming constructions in a way that clarifies their purpose? Do you think about corner cases when you code, so that your methods can be used without fear or knowledge of their internals? Are you the kind of person who's going to get into holy wars about programming style, making the codebase into a mishmash of competing formatting styles? Or even worse, do you not care about programming style at all? Do you know how to read someone else's code and then follow their way of doing things, rather than just rolling your own every time?

The question I am asking with every new hire is "will hiring this person make my life easier?" That covers a lot more than programming knowledge.

Comment Re:Interesting (Score 1) 139

I attended BYU, lived in that same off-campus housing, and have lived in the Provo area for over 20 years. You are exaggerating badly.

- There are no laws to "force everyone to follow LDS guidlines [sic] and join their church." Even if such a law were possible in America (I hope not!), such a law would be highly repugnant to Mormons, as there is an express prohibition against laws like that in the church's core creed (cf. eleventh article of faith).

As for laws forcing everyone to follow LDS guidelines: Cigarettes and alcohol are legal in Utah. There are no mandatory Internet filters in Utah, although they are a popular add-on for local ISPs. We have shops that legally sell sex toys and pornographic movies, and billboards on the freeways advertising their existence. What laws are you referring to? Most Mormons do strongly disapprove of these things, but that isn't the same thing as illegal.

- The "menace to society" quote is a very sarcastic sort of joke. I've heard it said a great many times, mostly by single people who wish they weren't. The original quote gets attributed to Brigham Young, although I can't find any documentation that he ever said it. It is certainly much older than "the nineties," and the age (18? 22? 25? 30?) has been revised a few times.

There is a big problem with self-loathing singles here, but that doesn't equate to social ostracism.

3. I haven't followed the vagaries of BYU housing contracts, so maybe you got this right, I don't know. But there are a very great many apartments available to non-students in Provo. As a non-student who has rented in Provo, I found being overwhelmed by which to pick to be a greater problem. I imagine that if you insist on finding non-student housing across the road from BYU that you may have some difficulties.

4. I also hate the parking laws -- I've had to fool around with the idiotic visitor permits any time I was visiting someone in that part of town. On the other hand, it sounds like you did not have enough parking spaces on the property for the number of people living there (which is a violation of the old ordinance). There were regularly so many cars parked on the streets that it became impossible for visitors to find parking in that area. The reason everyone got inflicted with the stupid street parking laws is that the law about having enough parking spaces proved unenforceable. So I blame your landlord for the bad laws.

Claiming that these laws are only enforced against single people is silly. Cars are not marked with the marital status of their owner, unless "being a minivan" counts. The laws are enforced against the people who clog up the streets, marital status notwithstanding.

5. I have rented individual housing. I was not a student at the time. I am single. My money was sufficiently green. Who is this "they" of whom you speak?

Comment Re:Maybe its your interviewing skills (Score 1) 613

That's funny ... I agree with everything you said except "Don't listen to this guy!" What about my earlier comment are you objecting to, exactly? You didn't contradict any of my points, just added a few new ones. Or do you think smelling bad doesn't count as really, really offensive?

And in an attempt to actually add to the discussion -- it doesn't bother me when interviewees are nervous. Nervousness fades in a few weeks, and at least for me it doesn't really hurt your chances. Salesmen are supposed to be confident in interviews, but I don't see why developers should be. What I'm looking for is that magical combination of "this person is competent" and "I can trust this person to do a good job." I also appreciate someone who can tell me honestly that they don't know the answer to something. Anyone new to my (very small) field is going to have gaps in their knowledge, so I need to be sure that when they're unsure, I'm going to hear about it.

Prepared answers only really bother me if they have *nothing to do with the question*.

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