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Comment Re:Two Solutions (Score 2) 257

"Premature optimisation is the root of all evil"

is an aphorism that is exactly trying to get across what you say at the end

"Don't assume, Profile!"

Basically, the guy that originally said it was trying to say you can't guess what the problems are going to be before you lay the code down. Write the code correctly, but don't try to tinker with your scheduling algorithm to make it provably optimal when it's going to be dwarfed by order-of-magnitude problems with the network code.

Comment Meanwhile, post a link to an Oglaf strip... (Score 3, Insightful) 122

My work internet blocks Oglaf, so I can't find and link the strip in question, but a couple weeks ago my partner put the strip up on her Facebook page. A day later, the strip had been taken down because it was 'offensive'. It's a cartoon, and the punchline was basically that a guy fucks lemons. Woo. It's NSFW, I guess, but it involves two adults and lemons. It's really no big deal, and it's pretty funny.

I have friends that are models. Heaven forbid they show even the barest bit of nipple. Sometimes it doesn't even take that much. They have pictures taken down and temp-bans put on them.

So my question is who are they employing to scan these images, and why do they find partially clothed women more offensive than pictures of exploited kids?

Comment Re:Who will algo the algos? (Score 2) 183

I know quite a number of machine learning researchers and they're not just aware of that, they're also aware of the implicit bias that gets built into machine learning systems based on the training sets. It's a huge problem and it's hard to solve. While I feel like Google has both the resources and responsibility to be a better actor in this regard, only by exposing their system to real world challenges can they actually suss out what needs to be fixed. It's a bit of a catch-22--you don't want to release unless the data is accurate, but the data can't be accurate unless you release it to be stress-tested. Hopefully the turnaround here will be quick.

Comment Re:Perhaps a better method... (Score 1) 1001

Here's the thing: those are perfectly reasonable requests, the rules aren't arbitrary, there's some determinism, etc.

I went to an interview, and I got asked how to write something that calculates the nth Fibonacci number. The naive solution is of course to do it recursively, but I'd recently been reading about it, and I had an iterative solution. So I wrote that down. Turns out the question is multi-part, and the second part is "do it faster". My solution was already pretty optimal, so I didn't have anywhere to go. It was clear that this wasn't okay. I did the work better than expected on the first try, but got docked points for the interviewer's lack of imagination.

This is what people mean when they say they don't want to solve riddles. I'm not there to be a dancing monkey, we're trying to have a dialogue about why I'm right for your company and to clear a minimum bar for skill. There's this story about fizzbuzz (http://blog.codinghorror.com/why-cant-programmers-program/) where basically the writer concludes that bad programmers are weeded out by really minimally challenging problems, and making things more complicated doesn't give you any better sense of success.

My questions in interviews are more philosophical. "What do you think about commenting code?" "What's your favourite programming language? Why? What problems does it have? Do those problems have solutions? How do you work around issues like that?" These are questions that programmers think about on their own time and have opinions about, and having an opinion and being able to talk intelligently about it tells me a lot more about how engaged and appropriate someone is for the job than basic BS like 'write a solution for the nth Fibonacci number'. That's not an inherently interesting problem, it tells me very little about what you'd be like to work with or even your problem solving skills, and ultimately bores the both of us.

Comment Re:Not enough to cut budget product lines. (Score 1) 40

What does it mean to make a 'superior' product anymore?

The low end is built on no margins. They just don't have the economies of scale to compete at the low end; I think that much is clear. You can't compete on price anymore, because the next guy can sell for a penny less, and that may be your entire profit margin. That's not hyperbole--at some point HTC (I'm pretty sure it was HTC) was making an average profit of only 1-2c per phone. Untenable.

So you need a product differentiator--and what is that? You run the same OS as everyone else, everyone hates it when you mess with the default OS skin, so...hardware features? But differentiating on that basis requires pretty big features now; things that nobody has, by definition. The only way to recoup that sort of outlay is by going to the high-end.

HTC can no longer afford to care if you can't afford their phones. They have to move up-market because that's the only place where they have any potential to make money, and they can cut the costs of sourcing lower-spec components and designing those lower-spec phones. They can move this year's model down one tier next year, and sell that as their 'discount' phone since they'll hopefully already have made enough money on those phones that any additional sales are basically just pure profit.

If they don't make money at the high end, they're doomed as a handset maker; there's nowhere else to go except out of this market.

Comment Whether you use Android or iOS (Score 1) 91

...I hope that we can come together and agree that it's sad and hilarious that companies like Gartner exist and consistently make such completely asinine predictions about anything at all.

Every year some analyst predicts something absolutely stupid that all of us know is impossible. I hope whoever made this call knows that they are bad and they should feel bad.

Comment Elisp is a Friday afternoon language (Score 2) 149

So during the week, I get my normal work done, but on Friday afternoons, if I've been frustrated with some part of the build system I've written or I want to make something about my process better, I work on tinkering with emacs. Few people need elisp as their main language, but if they're using emacs, they're working in elisp on the weekends to make the rest of their week more liveable.

Comment Re: What brand of hammer? (Score 2) 149

Well, emacs lisp is the language that all the extensions and most of the editor is written in, so yes, it matters. The SDKs I'm provided to work on game consoles are all in C++, so we work in C++.

The fact that all these languages are tiring complete doesn't do away with their advantages or disadvantages. In the real world, these choices have consequences.

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