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Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 227

I think what you are describing is a mismatch in expectations. Google software engineers develop code. With few exceptions, they don't present to customers (that's a sales engineer's job) and they don't define requirements (that's a product manager's job.) It is a waste of time for a Google software engineer to do those things - it's literally not their job, as defined by the corporate job description for software engineers.

If you want someone who can implement advanced algorithms, code like crazy, and build distributed systems - that's when you want a Google software engineer.

I'm a current Google employee who *can* do requirements and customer presentations - and those skills haven't been useful here.

Comment Re:More reprsentative stats please (Score 3, Insightful) 390

Your description of Netscape being "backstabbed" appears to conveniently forget that Netscape didn't ship anything useful for for FIVE YEARS. As stated by Wikipedia (
Netscape released the final version of Netscape Communicator [4.x] in June 1997.
Netscape 6 was not yet ready for release and it flopped badly
Netscape 7.0 (based on Mozilla 1.0.1) was released in August 2002

Comment You've already lost this battle (Score 5, Informative) 221

You think you're fighting manager's lack of understanding of software development. You are wrong.

You are fighting politically savvy people who have found a way to blame you for their problems. They don't want you to solve the problem and will actively work to prevent you from solving the problem, because then you can't be the scapegoat.

If you don't have a VP or C-level manager who will fight this fight for you, then you've already lost. Don't bang your head against the wall. Play the same game as everyone else and find someone else that you can use as a scapegoat. Meanwhile, start looking for a new job.

Even if you miraculously "fix" this problem, someone else is going to claim credit and you're going to get nothing.

Comment "Simple" questions are great fun (Score 1) 776

To all those people who pooh-pooh the "simple" questions - you are missing all of the fun. If you keep up with current literature, you answer those questions with sophisticated answers that go over the interviewer's head. Here are some example:

- You can describe how to multithread across multiple cores and then coalesce the result set. Bonus points for referring to Google's MapReduce paper.
- You can use functional programming and describe why an in-place, memory-saving result is a bad idea on modern processors because it's hard to parallelize. Bonus points for discussing cache contention issues across processors.
- Many string manipulation questions can be answered in exotic ways with vector instructions like SSE (Streaming SIMD). Most interviewers say you can use any language, so picking a mixed C/assembly approach completely blows their mind. Bonus points for describing why you need a particular version of SSE for better performance.
- And if all else fails, discussing x86 L1/L2 cache locality is a sure way to go over their heads. You can use this for nearly any data structures question. Bonus points for discussing pipeline stalls due to cache misses.

So my goal is to make sure that the interviewer understands that they don't remotely understand the problem as well as I do, even for a very "simple" question. It's highly entertaining to watch the interviewers squirm by asking them questions to see if they are keeping up with you :-)

And yes, this interview strategy has worked well. It's gotten me job offers from the two best companies I've worked at.

Comment Re:Captain Obvious? (Score 2) 292

Because an incredible percentage of products get canceled and the marketing people have learned not to waste their time on some shiny new idea that's probably going to get canceled anyway. Wait a few months and see if the project survives and it's worth investing your time, because if you touch/interact with a project and it's canceled, that of course makes you look bad and has wasted your time. There's the additional benefit that, if the developers are late, that gives you a scapegoat if your marketing campaign isn't ready. And if the developers waste a million dollars redesigning and making changes, it's not your budget and your promotion doesn't depend on helping other departments save money.

So basically the whole corporate culture exists to make sure that developers can't get meaningful feedback in a timely manner.

And that's how everything works in a moderately well-run organization. A dysfunctional organization is much, much worse.

Comment Re:Bill Nye..... I'm not your serf (Score 1) 1774

You really don't seem to understand science at all. You don't "believe" in scientific theories. Evolution is a theory, not a fact. A theory is a "system of ideas intended to explain something" As such, evolution is the best scientific system put together that explains our observations of the world. It's not perfect, but very few theories are perfect. Even in pure mathematics there are contradictions and holes.

If you refuse to accept the usefulness of evolution to explain the world, then you should similarly refuse to teach any scientific theory, which would make for extremely incompetent engineers.

Comment Re:Forward the Email (Score 1) 113

There's hundreds of millions of people using Cox, Gmail, Comcast and numerous of other services that have thousands of employees who have access to your mailbox at any time. You aren't "safe" because you use some commercial service. And let's not even talk about the intermediate nodes that your traffic can get routed through, some of whom have government requirements to log your email whether you know it or not.

Personally, I'd trust someone with whom I had a longtime connection a lot more than I'd trust the average large company.

Comment Make Your Task List Publicly Visible (Score 2) 424

Get a whiteboard. Put your task list on it, in priority order, with time estimates. Order should be based on a business decision - what's the financial risk of something failing. Backups and security are always pretty high on my list.

Get buy-in from management on the ordering, because when something breaks (and it will), you need to make sure that someone above you approved the risk ordering.

Once you have a priority order, then figure out how much it's going to cost to do each one. If mgmt considers something a #1 priorty and is only willing to fund 10% of the price to fix it, then you have a pretty clear warning that it's time to look for a new job.

When tasks are finished, cross them off but don't erase. Make sure everyone knows that things are getting done.

Don't let anyone rearrange the task ordering without a financial justification that's approved by mgmt.

Comment Re:Todo: Get your granny's AOL login (Score 3, Interesting) 301

You think that's pretty funny, don't you? I say it's pathetic and I hope your karma catches up to you in a big way. I talk to those AOL customers every day. Many of them are senior citizens. On average, they aren't well educated, and they don't have a lot of money. For some of them, $25 a month is a lot of money. So while you laugh your way to the bank with your paycheck, your health insurance, and all of the other benefits, remember that the people you are screwing are the ones that funded that paycheck, and the reason they are so angry in the first place is because of the way they've been treated by AOL customer service reps.


Judge Chin Says He Will Cut the Google Book Settlement 38

Miracle Jones writes "In a move that has shocked the publishing world, Judge Denny Chin has filed a brief saying that he has decided to cut the Google Book Settlement in half, letting Google host the first half of every book the company has scanned, and letting other interested stakeholders fight for the rights to the rest. 'We think this is a hard decision, but a fair one,' said John Peter Franks for Google. 'We would like to be able to host and control whole books, but at least we get the front half.'"

Adobe Download Manager Installing Software Without Consent 98

"Not all is worth cheering about as Adobe turns 20," writes reader adeelarshad82, who excerpts from a story at PC Magazine's Security Watch: "Researcher Aviv Raff has found a problem in ADM (Adobe Download Manager) and the method through which it is delivered from The net effect of the problem is that a user can be tricked into downloading and installing software using ADM without actual consent. Tonight Adobe acknowledged the report and said they were working on the issue with Raff and NOS Microsystems, the company that wrote ADM."

Why Time Flies By As You Get Older 252

Ant notes a piece up on WBUR Boston addressing theories to explain the universal human experience that time seems to pass faster as you get older. Here's the 9-minute audio (MP3). Several explanations are tried out: that brains lay down more information for novel experiences; that the "clock" for nerve impulses in aging brains runs slower; and that each interval of time represents a diminishing fraction of life as we age.

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