Problem 5: As unpredictable as the weather

Whether or not you intend to be an SQL programmer (ever, or for the rest of your life), you will spend a large amount of your time in IT modeling data. For now, throw the MVC meaning of model out the window, or if you happen to be on the 17th floor, just put it on the sill, and restrict yourself to the abstract problem of transforming real world data into a something you can read, search, and display. Continue reading

Problem 4: Ewe no what Eye mean?

English is the most orthographically difficult language written with the Roman alphabet, meaning, there are not always clues to a word’s pronunciation from its spelling, and the reverse. Only speakers of English can enjoy the perverse event of the grammar school Spelling Bee. I was so bad at spelling in school that I assumed it was a “Spelling Be.” Continue reading

Asking what you need to know

Bungled interviews go back a long way, and a mythological example comes to us from The Ring of the Niebelungen. Wotan, the God who had Valhalla built, and Mime, a dwarf, have a mutual interview that goes awry. At the start, they agree to bet their heads on their abilities to answer each other’s questions. Things do not go well. Continue reading

Problem 3: Checking the no-fly list

There always seems to be an interviewer who is out to make his mark by asking the big-O question. Not that big-O question, but the one where a data structure is presented with little of the real world information that might accompany its use, and then the question is asked “What’s the big-O notation for the performance of ….” To me it is always clear that the interviewer did not hear a word I said up to that point, and that my pass/fail grade is simply whether or not I recall that it is proportional to x*ln(x) or some such, or whether I can clumsily work it out with a pencil and paper instead of looking it up in Volume 3 of Knuth which is what I would do on the job. Continue reading

Problem 2: Trade-offs

Trade-offs are the bread and butter of software design. No matter what anyone says, every system is optimized for something, and one measure of a satisfactory system is whether the some-thing is the right thing. Continue reading

Preface to Interview Problems for Programmers

It is time to develop a better method for interviewing programmers.

It seems that in the past few months I have read an increasing number of articles about the poverty of technical interview skills. One of the more recent, best, and most direct complaints is this one from Brandon, who runs the blog “Your Startup Sucks, and other happy thoughts.” More familiar is Joel Spolsky’s Guerilla Inteviewing Techniques, which approaches the domain of problem solving, which many people think is what we really should care about. Continue reading

C++11 New Features Compiler Version Cross Reference

The C++11 ISO standard was finalized in April of 2011. George Flanagin of Digital Gaslight, Inc. has created a cross reference of new features in C++11 and the various versions of the GNU compiler that you may encounter on reasonably up to date development machines. For each feature, the page provides links to the discussions that have taken place in the standardization committee, and for many of the features there are links to shorter, more practical summaries of them. Continue reading

in C++ | 189 Words

7 Steps to Get 10,000 Website Visitors in 10 days

This is not one of those link bait blog posts you typically see telling you how you can drive millions of visitors to your web site so you can get rich quick and buy a tropical island. What this post does do is share the actual steps I used to boost my web site traffic from 50 visitors per day to 10,000 in only 10 days and to generate nearly 5,000 inbound links in that same period. Continue reading

DNS Explained So You Can Understand

If you have thought about having your own domain, then you have run across the term DNS. DNS is neither incomprehensibly complex nor is it “just like a phone book for the Internet.” Instead, it is like a group of phone books, but each phone book is kept in a different room. Thankfully, it is fairly easy to learn what you need to know, and many steps only need to be done once. Continue reading