Re: The collective fuel

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You have a friend named "GrubbyButt"?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 9:40 AM
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She doesn't want to embarrass Jammies by name.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 9:41 AM
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If there is money in it, it will be sustained. Someone like Yggles could blog indefinitely provided an employer exists. When someone figures out a business model for blogs they will exist almost indefinitely (and then, they will be called newspapers). Companies will blog as the default way to push information to customers. Otherwise I think we must get over the idea that blogging should be permanent. There is no reason they should be, but people look at newspapers as the nearest equivalent and expect similar lifetimes. At least that's what I guess is happening.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:04 AM
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Nonprofitable things are sustained all the time. I work for a nonprofit institution. Why would profit be the only sustainable model?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:08 AM
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Nonprofit isn't quite the same as nonprofitable. You profit from your work at your not-for-profit institution.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:09 AM
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But doesn't Dub Breeze mean "profitable" under that distinction?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:11 AM
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Also, I shed a single tear for the poor unloved LiveJournal bots. They just want to be your friend!


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:13 AM
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Not necessarily: If there is money in it, it will be sustained. Someone like Yggles could blog indefinitely provided an employer exists.

You'll do your job indefinitely, too, provided an employer exists, right? You have an employer who pays you -- the fact that that employer is a nonprofit institution is beside the point.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:14 AM
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Further, universities bring in money. They aren't non-profit in any sense of income-free.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:14 AM
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In the very near future, young people will communicate and socialize in ways their elders will find weird, distasteful, and a little frightening.

probably organ exchange

Hey, check out my spleen.
That's a rad spleen, and matches the left kidney.
I got it in Prague, wanna wear it for a while

I leave other possibilities to the group.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:16 AM
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Sure, bloggers who want to be make a living as writers need an income stream. I don't think that blogging will become limited to people trying to make a living at it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:17 AM
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I blog for attention.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:18 AM
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I agree with you Heebster. I'm basically arguing that indefinite revenue stream implies indefinite existence. Don't go denying the antecedent here[1], or starting a land war in Asia.

I think no income blogging may kill of, say, large amounts of professional sports writing. Such a blog category could continue indefinitely even if the individual blogs change over time.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denying_the_antecedent


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:23 AM
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Scrapbookking purposes

What about scrapbookqueen purposes? Sexist.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:24 AM
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But I think the Unfogged model* - blogging-by-directionless-tidbit - holds the least promise for the future kids.

I'd disagree except for the fact that I don't know what the future kids are interested in. I'm tempted to say that what makes blogs like Unfogged, Making Light, Crooked Timber, Obsidian Wings, maybe Atrios and some others (which ones?) appealing is the community they've built up, one which allows for contestation as well as comity; and while this is an obvious thing to say, and it takes time and dedication to build up such a community, it's sorely lacking in most other online spaces (talking blogs here, not Facebook). And there's a desire for that that I can't imagine future kids being uninterested in.

That said, most of those other blogs do have a theme; Unfogged doesn't, which tests the patience and interest level of readers, which is possibly why threads almost invariably go off-topic. DS said a while back that Unfogged is like a collective LiveJournal, which sounds sort of grim.

*And in fact, Unfogged is not nearly as linky as it used to be.

That cuts way down on readership, doesn't it? Any blog needs a regular influx of new readers.

Anyway, blogging by directionless tidbit, sans links, only works with a charismatic blogger, or set of them, and that'll have a limited lifespan due to burnout. Provide links, have some sort of theme, and make it a group blog, and I don't see why there isn't a place for such things indefinitely.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:37 AM
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*And in fact, Unfogged is not nearly as linky as it used to be.

That cuts way down on readership, doesn't it? Any blog needs a regular influx of new readers.

Getting linked to is what really brings in new readers. Linking to other places doesn't necessarily.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:44 AM
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Unfogged doesn't, which tests the patience and interest level of readers, which is possibly why threads almost invariably go off-topic.

Is it really the not-having-a-theme that tests the patience and interest level? I can't imagine a set theme wouldn't also test the patience and interest level.

And threads go off-topic because they're conversational, not because of a flaw in topic choice.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:46 AM
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bookking?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:47 AM
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Like how bookkeepping has all those double-letters...and ballooning...I just typed without thinking


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:49 AM
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16: Technically. But linking to other blogs, posts, or articles extends the scope of the discussion so that it doesn't remain so internal (to itself). Commenters are more likely to bring in issues and perspectives raised elsewhere, which makes the discussion generally more dynamic, which in turns makes for better reading and therefore more readers.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:51 AM
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This:

I agree with you Heebster. I'm basically arguing that indefinite revenue stream implies indefinite existence. Don't go denying the antecedent here[1], or starting a land war in Asia.

is a more reconciliable statement than this:

Otherwise I think we must get over the idea that blogging should be permanent.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 10:52 AM
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15:Dammit, pars, you stole everything I was going to say.

it's sorely lacking in most other online spaces (talking blogs here

Well, most of the blogs I visit have a community, tho it may be small;or the community doesn't socialize in comments;or the bloggers socialize in other ways that make their blogs and comment sections secondary.

A theme is useful, and bringing a community with you, or sharing one with someone else, when you start a blog is helpful.

And then there are "bloglike" communities. The British SWP site. do they discuss "football" there? Is there some obscure area of Wikipedia talking about Avatar? IMDB has it's boards, which are bloglike, and infested with teenagers.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 11:00 AM
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17: I meant 'theme' much more broadly. Making Light is ostensibly about sf/fantasy writing. CT is academic, specifically humanities. ObWi is political and nothing but. On Making Light, though, you also get quite a few posts that have absolutely nothing to do with the sf world (about cooking, or the weather, or whatever). But there is a general theme in the broad sense, and that keeps the core readership. There are also a *lot* of links in the blogroll.

Anyway, I'm not criticizing unfogged as being flawed in its topic choices. It's just that its core readership is here out of loyalty and friendship and habit, and lurkers delurk in order to join the community. It's not about the topics, really. (Unfogged seems to run like this: this is the music thread. This is the dating thread. This is the child-raising thread. This is the food thread. And so on. That works if you already have a readership. I fear that it's not going to generate new participants.)

I'm really speaking from my own perspective, obviously, about what has staying power in various blogs.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 11:08 AM
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I think there should be a rule

Anyone talking about the Internets has only seen an infinitesimal part of them.

Heck, China and India aren't really connected to us yet. The Web has yet to begin.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 11:08 AM
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http://www.newshelton.com/wet/dry/ is an aimless linky blog that I like pretty well, maybe a temporary version of 3. http://www.spamula.net/blog/ was also not aimless, a beautiful collection of mostly print links. I think that a significant fourth addition is an individual with something to say that takes a few years to saturate, not too different from pop star lifetime, though less vapid due to the different economic structure. Transient passion for a label, maybe.

One issue with facebook or last.fm for people who listen to music is control-- an advantage of a blog for the writer is clear ownership, with at least the theoretical ability to self-archive and transfer, as well as control of whether the framing ads exist and are free of mortgages or porn or whatever. Several specialized music blogs seem pretty long-standing and uncompensated, definitely offering more than the shared playlist communities, which IME do not do well at highlighting interesting midlist or new but not bestselling work in well-defined categories.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 11:12 AM
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This is the dating thread. This is the child-raising thread. This is the food thread.

And I am certain there are thematic blogs, or generalist blogs with a somewhat tighter focus, that attract many people interested in these things.

Does Unfogged want to become part of the FoodWeb? That might be done, with links and controversy. Does this community want to merge with that one, and make the necessary social adjustments?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 11:15 AM
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I've seen the entire internet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 11:15 AM
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Unfogged has always struck me as more of a discussion forum pretending to be a blog. And, since discussion forums are pretty much coeval with the internet, I don't see things of an Unfogged-format disappearing anytime soon. I guess I don't see blogs disappearing either, though they may get progressively integrated with other social-networking platforms.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 11:16 AM
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Anyone talking about the Internets has only seen an infinitesimal part of them.

God, so true. I was embarrassed by the small compass of community-like blogs I mentioned.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 11:18 AM
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My new year's resolution is to read wood s lot diligently.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 11:20 AM
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This is a meta thread.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 11:42 AM
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This is a meta thread.

But not as painful as most meta-threads.

(I kid, I enjoy meta-threads, but I wouldn't claim that they're highlights of the blog)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 11:46 AM
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17

Is it really the not-having-a-theme that tests the patience and interest level? ...

No, it's the boring posts.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:01 PM
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I never meta a thread I didn't like.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:19 PM
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I reckon the blogging format will endure, just become less delimited from everything else - as much a routine feature of the Web as links.

If you want some prediction about new formats, I reckon something Web-like using XMPP might be the way to go - a social network structure like twitbookspace, real-time, capable of semantic/automated filtering/rebroadcast/whatever, with an XML payload. Google Wave is sortof that, but it's not what I'm thinking of. But that's engineery technology-first forecasting.

As far as Fbook and an interactive rolodex goes, isn't that called LinkedIn, or PoFacedBook as I think of it?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:21 PM
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The facebookification of the internet is really getting on my nerves. Remember back when people communicated with internet-but-non-web things like "email" and "instant messenger" that didn't require routing all of one's interactions through one web site? Why do people hate that now?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:26 PM
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Remember back when people communicated with internet-but-non-web things like "email" and "instant messenger" that didn't require routing all of one's interactions through one web site? Why do people hate that now?

Because they can only be used from a single computer.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:30 PM
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I hear you, essear. But the one situation where I prefer to send someone a message over Facebook instead of e-mail is when the person has several e-mail addresses and I don't really know which ones are defunct. I assume they've got Facebook set up to go to their main one if they're active there.

(Or of course where I don't know their e-mail address, because we reconnected solely over Facebook. But I assume you're not talking about that situation.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:31 PM
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Because they can only be used from a single computer.

This is why I don't really understand email clients that download your email. What's the benefit to that over a web-based email? And can you access it from other computers?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:33 PM
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Because they can only be used from a single computer.

I don't understand. Do you mean that if you go to a public computer, it's easier to log on to Facebook than to get to your email account? I guess I can see that, if you don't have a way of getting to your email via webmail or ssh and don't know your IMAP server or don't have access to a client that lets you configure it. But how often are people using public computers under those conditions? And I don't understand what you mean at all for IM.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:37 PM
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This is why I don't really understand email clients that download your email. What's the benefit to that over a web-based email?

Use IMAP, keep your email on the server, and download a copy to your computer(s) that can be accessed even when you're not online. It's the best of all possible worlds.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:38 PM
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I wouldn't count blogs out just yet. Pace Bruce Sterling's Dead Media Project, it's actually kind of unusual for a popular medium to die out completely. Look how long Western Union telegrams still existed long after they had become obsolete.

I don't see much chance that blogging in its current form is going to be big with the post-millenials. Which is fine. Even if I may not get there with you, plenty of Gen X people are going to be holding on to there dead tech for 60 years easy.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:39 PM
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I'm starting to think I'm now a crotchety old man.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:39 PM
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Nobody in the real world knows what an IMAP server or "ssh" is, essear, you early adopter.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:41 PM
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41: Ah, ok. I just remember house sitting for someone who welcomed me to use her computer but under no circumstances was I to touch the email client because then it would download all her mail and she would not be able to access it. I wouldn't have, anyway, of course. I think she probably was just not the most technologically capable person and hadn't figured out to configure it to her specifications.

Also, I sort of thought Ned was making a joke about the single computer thing.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:41 PM
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45: She was probably still using POP, the poor dear.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:46 PM
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you early adopter

See, now I know you're joking.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 12:54 PM
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I'm holding out for tsh.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 1:03 PM
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One thing to consider is that these media interact with each other in various ways. I think I've mentioned before that my blog gets a surprising amount of traffic from Twitter. And you can link to pretty much anything from Facebook.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 1:53 PM
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I don't follow Twitter, but it is suprisingly useful for seaching for things like up to date muni problem info that can't be found on google.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 2:12 PM
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Updating my facebook status has basically replaced updating my blog in my personal info-chatter world. The only thing that bugs me about it is that it is no good for scrapbookking purposes because you can't easily browse your archives and the whole platform shifts so often that you can't be confident it will be there in five years.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 2:20 PM
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I think what's going to be left of blogs in the near future will be expert/topical blogs, mostly. Teo's energy blog, Ezra Klein on health care, sports blogs, cooking blogs.

Unfogged was always diffuse, and is more so lately (I swear I'll post some soon). It's probably not something that could get started now, and I have no idea what it's future lifespan is likely to be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 2:29 PM
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what it's future lifespan is likely to be

Well you've just killed one front page poster.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 2:51 PM
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I've never felt confident making predictions, except with respect to the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections (and a fat lot of good those predictions did anybody), but I should think that the typical blog of a particular stripe survives for a period equal to the half-life of its parent grudge (against the New York Times, Joe Lieberman, one's unresponsive college provost, Michael Bay, etc., etc.), multiplied by result of dividing the blogger's offline activities by the sum of the comments and links received during the first week of blogging.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 2:54 PM
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I've wondered why serialized novels don't come back as blogs. Seems like there's been a niche for on-going text-based stories for about as long as printing, right?

I agree that expert/topical blogs will keep going. Writing my water blog is incredibly gratifying for me, even though the readership is tiny. It is such a relief to say exactly what I think about some news article or report with the assumption that the readers have enough context to understand it.

Also, blogging was a revelation for me. I'd never written consistently before FTA. Now blogging is one of my deeper compulsions. I suspect I'll keep at it indefinitely, for me if for no one else. I may ditch comments or change topics, and I don't expect to be as self-revelatory as I was at first again. But I don't expect to stop entirely.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 3:40 PM
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Heebie's thoughts on Twitter are maybe the most thought provoking in the original post.

People aren't going to want to be aggregators, you don't think? Or get much gratification out of a large Twitter following? You think people will find it boring to keep going as Twitterers? But we're at screens ALL DAY, and have the attention span of mayflies. People seem to like taking a break to write tweets.

I think you missed a third stable of category for Twitter: the breaking news category. That's how I followed late night CA budget negotiations, for example. No one else had real-time details and rumor.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 3:48 PM
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A reason for twatbookspaceification - flat real wages and student debt. £1000 for a decent lappy/£500 for a barely adequate desktop I wouldn't have had desk enough to deploy in 2003? Wasn't going to happen.

Further, the well-known fact that most mass market ISPs are ragingly awful at running e-mail (search NANOG's archives for Yahoo e-mail), and you don't want to run all your e-mail through the corporate e-mail servers (a tough thought for 80s/early 90s usenet vets, and academics - often the same people).


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:07 PM
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Getting linked to is what really brings in new readers. Linking to other places doesn't necessarily.

Isn't there a soft quid pro quo that goes on, where linking to a blog causes that blogger to at least read your blog, and then, if the mood strikes, linking to it? Ogged was good at this.

For instance, I remember one blogger with some interesting ideas about information theory, and all the fun we had!



Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:13 PM
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The essence of unfogged is found in its clean lines, understated yet compelling fonts, and appropriate amounts of white space. So long as those elements are preserved, the blog lives.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:17 PM
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I've wondered why serialized novels don't come back as blogs.

They have, just not in English.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:18 PM
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I don't understand 57. The argument is that Facebook is a cheaper and more reliable platform for sending messages than any available e-mail account?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:25 PM
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And less resource-intensive for the computer.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:26 PM
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Really? As opposed to Gmail? Facebook is way buggier and often keeps me from accessing my inbox, and I barely use it.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:27 PM
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I barely use it.

(Their mail system, I mean.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:28 PM
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Facebook isn't really very reliable. Their method for constant uptime is not minding if things sometimes (relatively often) fail to show up in your feed.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:29 PM
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And even with "flat real wages and student debt", I don't find it plausible that computers are more expensive now than ten or fifteen years ago (even without trying to figure out what that has to do with preferring Facebook to email or IM). There are super-cheap desktops and netbooks that are more than adequate for people who don't do processor-intensive things like calculations or games.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:30 PM
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Unless the argument is that Facebook/Twitter/etc are accessible from phones and/or public PCs in a way that allows people to completely forgo having a computer and internet connection of their own. But that doesn't apply to any of the people I know who've been switching to Facebook in lieu of email or IM.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:32 PM
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41: Use IMAP, keep your email on the server, and download a copy to your computer(s) that can be accessed even when you're not online. It's the best of all possible worlds.

Agreed. Though I don't know why IMAP is required for this; POP does just as well, as far as I know.

The advantage to downloading your email is that you can set up far more helpful filters with a desktop client than I've ever discovered through any web-based email service, not that I have experience of many. Gmail drives me batty for filtering. And I do like to be able to fiddle around with email archives from time to time when I'm not online.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:39 PM
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59: Nice to see text praising white space.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:41 PM
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Don't use POP, for the love of god.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:42 PM
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70: I don't know how not to. It's just a failure of knowledge. I'm not downloading my email these days anyway, because my computer has issues, so I'm just leaving it all on the server anyway. Someday, though, I will resume this baroque practice!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:47 PM
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What's wrong with POP, though?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:48 PM
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Are you still using 56K dial-up, parsimon?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:50 PM
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I've wondered why serialized novels don't come back as blogs.

Clearly it's steam engine time.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:53 PM
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73: how else is she to access her prodigy account?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 4:57 PM
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how else is she to access her prodigy account?

You haven't heard? AOL sent her this free CD-ROM with a 90-day free trial...


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 5:00 PM
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No doubt I'll get up to speed in this year 2010, at which time the mysteries of IMAP will become clear. I suspected as much.

Does it make the filters in Gmail better too? Can you unthread discussions?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 5:04 PM
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Given the thread, it's natural to think that 73 was intended as a joke along the lines of 75 and 76, but I was genuinely curious. It was parsimon who used to complain about long unfogged threads loading too slowly on her 56K modem, right?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 5:17 PM
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Yes, that was me, and yes, I'm still on dial-up. It's in the plan in this household to switch soon, maybe not this month, because I have other things to take care of by the end of the month.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 5:22 PM
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pretty much anything from Facebook

Not pdfs.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 6:14 PM
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I'm pointlessly responding to the OP, but I think Heebie is missing things like Tumblr, being outside the target demographic. Those are somewhere in between Facebook and blogs -- a set of curated links shared with your friends and a few random outside readers.

As longs as there are people who are like, "Hmm, I wonder from a fashion perspective how African-American motorcycle gangs dressed in the '60s and '70s", there's going to be cool stuff burbling up. Fifteen years ago someone would have an awesome zine with badly Xeroxed photos. Fifteen years from now maybe we'll all be getting it through our cranial implants.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 6:20 PM
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81: Oh, is that what the point of Tumblr is?


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 6:34 PM
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as there are people who are like...

Man, people are so great.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 6:45 PM
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I've wondered why serialized novels don't come back as blogs. Seems like there's been a niche for on-going text-based stories for about as long as printing, right?

Wow, I would love this. I like TV shows so much better than movies because you get to see your favorite characters again and again and again.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 6:48 PM
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I've wondered why serialized novels don't come back as blogs.

Ree Drummond has been doing this with Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, I gather. (I haven't actually read the series; and it is autobiographical, so maybe that doesn't count?)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 6:56 PM
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and yes, I'm still on dial-up.

No kidding.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 6:59 PM
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linking to a blog causes that blogger to at least read your blog

That's how I got here, and just look how that turned out.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 7:02 PM
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It's like those flashback episodes on Family Ties where we go back and remember what happened in the 1984 season -- and it's available at any time!

That is why blogs will continue to take over everyone's mind.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 7:44 PM
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Was 1984 the Family Ties season when Tom Hanks played the alcoholic brother of the mom and drank all of the vanilla extract in the kitchen?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 7:45 PM
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No, it's the boring posts.

Shearer is totally right. The front page linked in 87 is way more interesting than anything we generate these days. How do you find that shit, anyway?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 7:46 PM
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Initially, I spent all my time scouring weird corners of the internet. Then, after a couple years of linking to it, complete strangers started mailing me the absolute weirdest shit imaginable. Made me an increasingly lazy blogger and eventually torpor won out.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 8:00 PM
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80: Hence "pretty much."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 8:00 PM
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Torpor always wins.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 8:01 PM
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Gravity always wins.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 8:04 PM
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The front page linked in 87 is way more interesting than anything we generate these days.

It's interesting reading posts old enough that ogged was still finding his voice. Even at that point they're compelling. He really was a great writer and perfectly suited to the medium of blogs.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 8:07 PM
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If I ever become a psychic, I'm going to call myself the "Medium of Blogs."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 8:08 PM
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The front page linked in 87 is way more interesting than anything we generate these days.

Although it includes ogged linking non-ironically to a Malcolm Gladwell article. Some change really is for the better.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 8:16 PM
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I like TV shows so much better than movies because you get to see your favorite characters again and again and again.

Webcomics are good for this.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 8:26 PM
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97: Also, the comment threads back then barely existed.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 8:33 PM
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The NYT's David Carr (AKA carr2n) thinks Twitter will endure. I suppose that means it'll be vital for at least a couple years before the Next Big Small Thing comes along.

I initially didn't see the point of twitter when my friends were adopting it early, but I have since outpaced many of them in volume. I find I'm expressing more thoughts due to the constraint of the medium, and it's also giving me more reminders of longer-form things I might want to write on my own long-dormant site. Any energy I might put on that, though, has so far been directed at my own tumblr site because the barrier is lower. As a way to create a pile of not-very-curated links, tumblr is a handy thing. It's not a universal blogging tool, but the ability to repost something quickly without really thinking about it encourages a loose approach.

As for facebook, I loathe it. I'm not deleting my account because too many other people rely on it for me to skip out, but it's unreliable and trying to be too many things at once. As a result it's pretty lousy at most of them.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 8:36 PM
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The comments didn't really take off until mid-2004, IIRC.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 8:40 PM
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Hey, it's teo. Teo, I am experiencing a desire for the bizarre jerky available in New Mexico, which instead of being chewy, crumbles to dust upon being bitten. Does this look like a reputable establishment for ordering electronically?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 8:56 PM
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102: I'm not familiar with that particular brand, but it looks reputable enough.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 9:03 PM
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Are there well-known brands?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 9:07 PM
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Not really, but there are some that you see regularly in grocery stores and such, and that isn't one of them. I can't recall the names of any others, though, and some may not have an online presence.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 9:12 PM
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Could you name an example of a grocery store that would stock jerky?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 11:09 PM
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Yes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 11:19 PM
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Please name an example of a grocery store that would stock jerky.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 3-10 11:49 PM
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This one.

(I had no idea that ".coop" was an actual type of URL, but it seems that it is.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:03 AM
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I don't like how twitter has reproduced, in a banned analogous way, something like the distinction between articles and books. One of the now worn off novelties of blogs was the idea that a post can be as short or as long as long as you feel like. But twitter seems to have pushed people into making short posts tweets or nothing at all, and longer posts are less frequent. (I'm not counting the blog for a living 15 posts a day people, who may still vary their post lengths quite a bit.)

When I was still blogging under an old pseudonym just days ago, I kept doing some too long for twitter but still short posts, and despite the fact that I wasn't doing anything I hadn't done before, it started to seem weird to blog like that. But I'd have kept doing that.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:07 AM
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To expand on my 57, my point is that zeroconf Web services are accessible from whatever institutional/corporate/other person's machine you may be using at the moment. Yes, computers got cheaper; yes, my generation had drastically less money. The netbooks may alter this (as will its becoming generationally normal to get given one).


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 2:15 AM
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The name can't be more than a week old, and already I'm struggling to remember who fake accent used to be.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:26 AM
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"Why We Twitter: Understanding Microblogging Usage and Communities"

http://ebiquity.umbc.edu/_file_directory_/papers/369.pdf

Science FTW! Obliquely via the cosmic Cosma Shalizi. Now someone read the paper and tell me what's inside!


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:53 AM
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||

BROCK FAREWELL MEETUP

(I was really a slacker for missing the original thread where Brock said that he was taking a new job. I used to be up on people's lives.)

I have sent out an e-mail to Boston-area unfoggeders for whom I have an e-mail address. If I didn't e-mail you, please send me an e-mail, and I'll add you to the list.

Brock's leaving town on the 15th, so we have to do this before then.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:55 AM
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113: "We find that people use microblogging to talk about their daily activities and to seek or share information."

Astounding!


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:04 AM
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I like TV shows so much better than movies because you get to see your favorite characters again and again and again.

I like movies better than TV shows because movies never ask me to care about the occasional stray nerd and his fucking nerd banter with other nerds, while TV shows tend to build entire seasons around them rather than the crucial elements of explosions and gunfights. I am not a crackpot.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:18 AM
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||

J's wedding dress. I may have been too harsh in describing it as the Little Bo Peep look.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:23 AM
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114: It'd be a nice gesture for people to bring food that doesn't require refrigeration or reheating, and can be eaten without utensils, to the meetup.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:27 AM
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115: That paper has 94 cites! It must be awesome!


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:01 AM
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117: Yeah, that looks like a pretty standard modern wedding dress.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:08 AM
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120: Agreed. It's fully possible, however, that she sucks as a person, independent of the dress.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:16 AM
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The hair looks hideous to me. I tend to prefer a straighter dress with a bit of lace without the whoosh. Also, I know that bridesmaid dresses suck generally, but they don't have to.

Apparently she used to be stick thin, and she's gained some weight. She's not totally happy about that, but she said "Well, it doesn't matter, now that I'm married."


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:26 AM
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I must say, the dresses don't seem at all out of place, but the standing against the brick wall seems delightfully like early- or mid-90s album art, and I sort of wish I had better photoshop skills, so as to write something graffiti-style behind them. Probably in hot pink.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:32 AM
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Also, I feel mildly bad commenting on a stranger's photo.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:34 AM
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123: what was that site with the band photos where every band was in front of a brick wall?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:37 AM
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That site with the band photos where every band was in front of a brick wall.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:40 AM
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bridesmaid dresses suck


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:44 AM
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126: ah, yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:45 AM
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126 has convinced me that the word douchebag now means nothing.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:55 AM
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Why do brides need/get bridesmaids/matrons anyway? It's not like the lives of even upper-class women today are full of ladies in waiting, tender young governesses, innocent wards, naughty country maids, nurses full of rude animal health, taut-bodiced barmaids... I seem to have lost my train of thought.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:56 AM
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Apparently she used to be stick thin, and she's gained some weight. She's not totally happy about that, but she said "Well, it doesn't matter, now that I'm married."

BG GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

Okay, I guess no one could ever have characterized me as 'stick' thin, but otherwise... I wouldn't say that last part out loud, but it would be lying not to acknowledge that weight gain while happily partnered has a different set of worries than weight gain while single.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:58 AM
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I wish I could fit through doorways.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:59 AM
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131: Indeed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:01 AM
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132: If you send your Killer Robot through them ahead of you, that should widen them out a bit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:02 AM
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Blume,, you are quite trim compared to her. She got sick before her wedding and was able to fit into her dress, but there's a real bulge over her stomach.

The idea that one should take care of oneself and one's looks with the sole purpose of getting married offends my feminist sensibilities.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:02 AM
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I'm fatter now than I have ever been in my life, and was horrified by some of the holiday pictures. My only New Year's resolution is to be back under 200 pounds by summer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:04 AM
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Blume,, you are quite trim compared to her.

Well, I've only been married six months. Give me some time!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:05 AM
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||

I have been on hold onmy doctor's office for 15 minutes. I don't even really want to speak to a patient representative, but there's no direct number for the registration people where you update your information.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:05 AM
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bulge

Bostonian Niece!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:06 AM
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She's been married 3!


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:06 AM
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Um, or nephew. Weird that I automatically assigned gender. Because I'm a feminist.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:07 AM
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The idea that one should take care of oneself and one's looks with the sole purpose of getting married offends my feminist sensibilities.

The "race is over, now I can get fat" canard is a standard punchline though. I'd take anybody saying it with a grain of salt.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:07 AM
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There's also an aspect of realism in it -- single, you're sweating about whether you're appealing to the abstract possible guy out there, and your only access to what he's thinking about you is speculation -- I (and probably other women) end up with a 'just in case, better be skinnier, cuter, whatever, to be absolutely sure I'm appealing enough'. Coupled up, the dude whose opinion you're primarily concerned with is right there and you can ask him; if you're doing all right, you know it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:12 AM
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The race hasn't been on for at least 5 years. Offensive on principle

And I am still on hold. GAH!


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:13 AM
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Offensive on principle

Eh, so is being catty about other people's weight. Not that it stops me.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:17 AM
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Apostropher's so fat that when he sits around the house... it's comfortable, and he isn't necessarily in a hurry to get up and go for a run, you know?!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:19 AM
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||

I am waiting to start some undefined 2 hour test for a job with one of those fancy Web 2.0 companies all you kids talk about.

I have done the white board version of "Tell me how many golfballs would fit in the vatican?" interviews, but always in person. It is funny how much stress *not* having a fellow human sitting in judgement is causing. There is human camaraderie of bullshit that you can pick up on--where you know if you are still on track or not--the computer does not sound as emotive.

Wish me luck... they fire up the dunking chair in 15 minutes.

|>


Posted by: ukko | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:20 AM
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and you can ask him

Just in case, you should ask him fairly frequently. "Honey, am I too fat for you today? How about in these pants?"


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:28 AM
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Good luck, Ukko. You'll do great. Just imagine that the computer is us, making fun of you as you go along, but rooting for you too.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:29 AM
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Good luck! Tell us the questions afterwards -- they'll be fun to bat around.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:31 AM
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148: And if you don't like the answer, hit him with a rolling pin!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:31 AM
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Actually, tell us the questions while you're doing 'em. Fun and useful!


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:31 AM
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The idea that one should take care of oneself and one's looks with the sole purpose of getting married offends my feminist sensibilities.

Also completely implausible. There's the lifetime of post-marriage affairs one must plan for.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:33 AM
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150: Warmup.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:33 AM
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one of those fancy Web 2.0 companies

Make sure to tell them you're liveblogging the whole shebang in the comments section of a weblog that has since jumped the shark. You're sure to be hired.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:34 AM
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taut-bodiced barmaids... I seem to have lost my train of thought.

no no, please, keep going.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:37 AM
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PUMP-PUMP-PUMP


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:37 AM
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122: Seriously, by bridesmaid standards, those dresses are on the nice side. Color: tasteful. Style: no butt bows. Cut: makes neither tall, thin bridesmaid nor short, less-thin bridesmaid look awful. That's a win.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:39 AM
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That picture strikes me as quite inoffensive (and even a little unexpectedly fun) generally.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:42 AM
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togolosh, I was just thinking that I haven't seen you here recently. (Although now I'm worried that you've been commenting all along.) Good to see you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:42 AM
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160: I've been visiting family in darkestwarmest Africa. They have internets there, but the family is so much more interesting than you lot.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:46 AM
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the family is so much more interesting than you lot.

Well, sure. But are they fat?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:52 AM
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They stayed skinny until tog came home, but then they plumped right up.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:56 AM
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PLUMP-PLUMP-PLUMP-PLUMP-PLUMP


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 8:57 AM
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154: I suspect that if I interviewed anywhere that asked me any of those questions, my contempt would be obvious enough to cost me the job.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:01 AM
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Have they gotten so fat that you are no longer sexually attracted to them? You need to be honest about this.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:03 AM
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143

... Coupled up, the dude whose opinion you're primarily concerned with is right there and you can ask him; ...

In my experience people asking questions like this don't really want or expect completely honest and objective answers meaning this method is of questionable utility.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:03 AM
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Those questions vary between hoary consulting-y estimate questions, basic probability, ineptly transcribed logic puzzles, and some really seriously stupid softball questions.

What would it say in your eulogy, really? It would say that I have excellent powerpoint skills, you jackass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:04 AM
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165: I like the Mt. Fuji question , but I suppose "slowly, by main force" isn't the answer they were looking for.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:04 AM
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158: I said that to the bridesmaids. With a little alteration they might be able to wear them again. Fabric: ick.

159: That picture is not the worst. The photographer had them do some genuinely weird poses. And the morning pictures in her hotel room as she prepped are over the top.
The point is that she solicited a comment about how pretty she was, and there was nothing exceptionally nice about the dress, her hair or her makeup that deserved complimenting.

I did say other nice things.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:06 AM
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169: moving Mt. Fuji by strategy?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:09 AM
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The point is that she solicited a comment about how pretty she was, and there was nothing exceptionally nice about the dress, her hair or her makeup that deserved complimenting.

Forgive my masculine ignorance, but isn't telling the bride how pretty she is rather an important responsibility of the ladies' auxiliary in any wedding?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:10 AM
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The point is that she solicited a comment about how pretty she was, and there was nothing exceptionally nice about the dress, her hair or her makeup that deserved complimenting.

"You all look wonderfully happy and lovely! You're practically glowing!"

That's why I make the big bucks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:10 AM
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171: I think you mean "strategery."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:10 AM
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Moving Mt. Fuji by frippery.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:11 AM
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I have to go with the classics for moving mountains.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:14 AM
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It is a sign of my infinite employability that my reaction to each of those questions was, "Well, I'd start by googling it..."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:15 AM
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Look, I told her that she looked lovely. I just found it irritating, because I don't like her.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:16 AM
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Just so long as you don't have to make Mt. Fuji invisible.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:18 AM
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14. What are 5 uncommon uses of a brick, not including building, layering, or a paper-weight? - Kaplan Higher Education Data Analyst

How many nieces and nephews did Henry VIII have, not including his children?


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:21 AM
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This J problem seems a lot more like a serious personality conflict than any real problem with her weight or her dress (both of which look absolutely fine to me). I find personality conflicts like this really hard because there's just no way that person and you will ever find anything about each other even remotely acceptable. I've had bad conflicts like this with superiors at work and school and found that, unfortunately, I've just had to keep my head down, realize that I am never going to have rational thoughts about them and vice versa, and try to interact with them as little as possible. I try to think, "If someone I did not openly hate and who didn't hate me said X, would I be this upset?" and attempt to behave accordingly. I don't know what else to do.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:28 AM
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That's not to say I'm good at it, of course. I recently went to a thing at someone's house and someone I have a deep distaste for (for similar reasons--preening, shallow, heteronormative, infantile ugh) showed up and yanked my last nerve over and over. God, that took some deep breathing.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:35 AM
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I interviewed at Microsoft during my senior year of college. They asked me the famous problem that Gauss famously solved as a famous five-year old which I'd never heard of, ie "You've got a ticker tape containing all the numbers from 1 to 10,000, except one number is missing. With one read through, determine the missing number."

My answer was that I'd make a 7x10 grid: 7 rows for the place holder, ie 10s column, 100s column, etc, and 10 columns for the digits 1-10. Then if I saw a number like 5464, I'd put a hatch mark in the (4,5) square, the (3,4) square, the (2,6) square, and the (1,4) square. Then at the end, every square should have full hatch marks, except for the squares containing the digits of the missing number.

I got offered the job of Product Tester, which I'm pretty sure means writing programs to see if pressing the P button 5000 times will break anything. I got offered about 10K more than I currently make, and it was low for 1999, when you sneezed and they offered you a job.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:41 AM
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I mean: digits 0-9, of course. Um.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:43 AM
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With a little alteration they might be able to wear them again. Fabric: ick.

Are they ever actually going to wear these dresses again? Highly unlikely. Wearing cheap polyester for a day is preferable to spending $200 more for your matchy matchy dress.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:49 AM
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As for the future of blogging vs. Twitter or whatever... From high school through not long after college, I was often told that it was important to write something, anything, frequently. Writing frequently would keep me in practice while I worked at some McJob, the logic went, and having a body of work would give me more chances to seize the moment when opportunity knocked, and anyways if I can't keep up with or don't enjoy writing on my own time then I wouldn't much like doing it as a career.

A few years on, I'm not sure if that's true, but maybe it works better for other people and of course plenty of people enjoy writing without any kind of agenda to it. Those people can pick the format that fits their style. Forums and some blogs' comment sections for people who like arguing, Twitter and Facebook for people who like haiku-esque blurbs, blogs for people who enjoy a range of writing from blurbs to longish articles, etc. So I foresee a vibrant market for any medium long after it's no longer a fad, at the very least just made up of writing enthusiasts themselves.

As for weight gain, I'm at my heaviest right now as well, or close to it. Hard to be sure since I only step on a scale after a workout at the gym after work. Also, I've started an experiment with vegetarianism. I have no plans to cut dairy and eggs from my diet, but actual meat seems like low-hanging fruit if I want to eat healthier. I'll be sticking with this until Sunday at the very latest (a full week from when I started, since my roommates ordered pizza on New Year's Day and I had a few slices), and I'll decide then about continuing.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:49 AM
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So what was Gauss's answer?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:50 AM
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187: Gauss's insight is that it's rather easy to add up all the digits between 1-10,000, by pairing them as so: 1+9999, 2+9998, etc. Since every pair adds up to 10,000, and you've got 5000 pairs, 1-10,000 adds up to 50,000,000. So just add the ticker tape as it goes by, and look at the difference between your answer and 50,000,000.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:53 AM
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||

FIOS ordered. Faster internet, here I come!

Sorry, parsi.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:02 AM
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And how did this relate to blurring? Or zapping computer monitors back in the early 90s?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:03 AM
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Well, they knew I was a math major who had never heard of blurring or zapping, so they were making an effort to speak my language.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:05 AM
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Gauss's insight is that it's rather easy to add up all the digits between 1-10,000, by pairing them as so: 1+9999, 2+9998, etc. Since every pair adds up to 10,000, and you've got 5000 pairs, 1-10,000 adds up to 50,000,000.

Do you really teach math?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:06 AM
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193

By which I mean, don't you have to pair them as: 1+10,000, 2+9999, ..., 5000+5001=50,005,000?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:09 AM
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188

Gauss's insight is that it's rather easy to add up all the digits between 1-10,000, by pairing them as so: 1+9999, 2+9998, etc. Since every pair adds up to 10,000, and you've got 5000 pairs, 1-10,000 adds up to 50,000,000. So just add the ticker tape as it goes by, and look at the difference between your answer and 50,000,000.

To get 5000 pairs you need to pair 1+10000, 2+9999, ...., 5000+5001 so in fact each pair sums to 10001 and the total is 5005000. Or you can pair 0+10000, 1+9999, 2+9998, ....,4999+5001 but then 5000 is left over and has to be added at the end.

I don't understand 183 either.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:10 AM
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193: Oh, yeah, sure, or something.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:22 AM
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I don't understand 183 either.

Can you elaborate?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:23 AM
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By which I mean, don't you have to pair them as: 1+10,000, 2+9999, ..., 5000+5001=50,005,000?

Although you don't have to alter the pairing. 5000 could just go unpaired and tacked on the end. So there.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:23 AM
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183 works. You figure out for each place value how many occurrences of each digit you expect to see if you look at all the numbers 1-10,000, which is, unless I'm overlooking something obvious, for each place value 1000 ones, 1000 twos, and so on. Then you tick off each digit you see as it passes -- "5464. Okay, I tick off five in the thousands place, four in the hundreds, six in the tens, and four in the ones." Then, when you're done, you look at your chart, and you'll see something like "One thousand ticks for nine in the thousands place, one thousand ticks for eight in the thousands, place, nine hundred ninety-nine ticks for seven in the thousands place... the missing number must have seven in the thousands." And so on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:24 AM
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At the time, I also said that when you get ten hatch marks in a square, you tare that square back to zero, so that at the end every box should either have zero or 9. Then you just read off the digits with 9 hatch marks in them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:26 AM
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Although you don't have to alter the pairing. 5000 could just go unpaired and tacked on the end. So there.

But then you don't have 5,000 pairs. And it doesn't add up to 50,00,000. And it's not really a good presentation of "Gauss's insight".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:33 AM
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That's actually really interesting from a hiring point of view. They were clearly looking for someone who knew Gauss's trick, so, a test of knowledge of math trivia, plus a certain amount of insight to take it that half-step further. You missed the trivia, but solved the problem cleanly -- your solution is probably less laborious than adding the numbers from 1-10,000 in random order. So, from a hiring point of view, do they care about the trivia (and I can see an argument that it's fair to -- that they want people steeped in math-nerd culture such that they'd know anything plausible along those lines) or do they want people who can solve unfamiliar problems?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:34 AM
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196

Can you elaborate?

Why are there 7 rows?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:34 AM
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Hell, *I* could come up with better interview questions than those.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:36 AM
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200: You still have 5000 pairs, and one number (5000) left over. You're right that it doesn't add up to 50000000000, though. I just messed that part up. You're wrong that it was a bad presentation of Gauss's insight.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:36 AM
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Why are there 7 rows?

Single digits:
Tens column:
Hundreds column:
Ten hundreds column:
Thousands column:
Ten thousands column:

So there are 6 rows. Enough with the third degree.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:38 AM
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It's like you all think through what you are reading.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:39 AM
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204

... You're wrong that it was a bad presentation of Gauss's insight.

Except that the problem that Gauss solved was just adding the numbers from 1 to n quickly. It had nothing to do with identifying the missing number in a list.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:39 AM
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201: To make it a little simpler, one could just add the numbers mod 10000. Or, using Heebie's digitwise focus, add the digits in each place mod 10, and figure out what the sum should be.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:40 AM
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You don't really need to chart the ten-thousands column, of course. If that's the missing number, it'd show up as a missing "0,000". But Brock and Shearer are just being picky twerps -- you're perfectly clear.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:41 AM
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LB is making the most sense.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:46 AM
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heebie, did you tell Microsoft about your left-turn and dishwasher-loading ideas? I'm guessing no, because they definitely would have put you in charge of Windows ME™ or something if you had.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:48 AM
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you tare

Did you work in a grocery store or in a warehouse? Are there other places where this verb appears? I do not think drug dealers use it. I expected to reead "modulo 10" but maybe that's kind of specialiized.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:50 AM
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ineptly transcribed logic puzzles
Hate.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:52 AM
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Did you work in a grocery store or in a warehouse? Are there other places where this verb appears? I do not think drug dealers use it.

No, I picked it up from years of slinging smack on the cold streets of Austin. Either that or science class.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:54 AM
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The mere existence of ineptly transcribed logic puzzles destroys the enjoyment of many proper ones.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:57 AM
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But Brock and Shearer are just being picky twerps -- you're perfectly clear.

Perfectly clearly wrong.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:06 AM
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Isn't that better than seeming right but being secretly wrong?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:13 AM
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I thought the problem with heebie's presentation was that she ruined the story.

In the version I was told,the teacher had woken up late that morning and so needed something to keep the kids busy while he ate his breakfast.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:27 AM
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In the version I was told,the teacher had woken up late that morning and so needed something to keep the kids busy while he ate his breakfast.

In the version I was told, Gauss had been given the exercise of adding all the integers from 1 through 100 as punishment for misbehavior, with the teacher expecting it to take him a long time, and he came up with the answer in 30 seconds or so.

I suspect all these are apocryphal. I somehow doubt there even was a "Gauss".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:33 AM
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Just for the record the test was implement a web server in 90 minutes using a language you have never touched before.

I submitted with 3 minutes to go but I my last minute code cleanup I deleted one thing that made it not compile. Oops.

I sent an explanation with the typo free code at T+4 minutes, we will see.


Posted by: ukko | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:33 AM
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219: Yes, Brock, there is a Gauss!

http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/gausss-day-of-reckoning/2


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:36 AM
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Brock's version is 219 is the one I always heard.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:37 AM
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221: You probably believe there was a Homer and a Shakespeare, too.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:39 AM
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There is no Gauss, there is no Homer, there is no Shakespeare. There is no peep, there is no Otto. There is only a Brock Landers.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:43 AM
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Come on, Brock. Nobody thinks the Simpsons are real.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:43 AM
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224: And an impudently mocking egg.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:44 AM
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It's like you all think through what you are reading.

And that's what's wrong with this blog.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:45 AM
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I sent an explanation with the typo free code at T+4 minutes, we will see.

I'm sure you aren't the only person to do that.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:46 AM
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226: Is the egg still there? Or has it been incorporated into the One Brockness?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:47 AM
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112: Closer to two weeks since it came up in the baggage handling thread.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:15 PM
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I know who it is! This handle is much better because it's distinctive.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:21 PM
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I haven't forgotten yet, but I'm being conscious about trying to remember, because I know I will forget. PGD was Perfectly Goddamn Delightful, but was someone before that too, and although I saw the transition happen, I've forgotten the prior identity. (Or maybe I'm thinking of someone else entirely.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:25 PM
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I never did figure out who fake accent was. LB, I'll tell you PGD's original handle if you tell me who fake accent is.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:29 PM
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Was, is, will be.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:29 PM
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A tide coming in flows. A tide going out ___? Drop a 'b', and you've got it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:30 PM
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I'm thinking of becoming Someone Else Entirely™
At least for those too-frequent6 days when I'm really not myself


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:30 PM
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235: And an 's'.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:31 PM
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Yeah, I realized that as soon as I posted. Okay, fill in the blank and drop the BS.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:32 PM
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I'm thinking of becoming Someone Else Entirely™

I'm guessing this should be taken as formal notification?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:36 PM
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239: It goes without saying that any proposed pseud change is merely provisional until formally approved by LB.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:44 PM
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I wish no one would change their name. But I'm not stopping anyone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:44 PM
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Did you work in a grocery store or in a warehouse? Are there other places where this verb appears? I do not think drug dealers use it. I expected to reead "modulo 10" but maybe that's kind of specialiized.

"Tare" is a button on the electronic scale in most biology or chemistry labs. You put your little container on the scale, push "tare", it gets reset to zero, then you put your stuff in the container.

I bet drug dealers use the same scales we do.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:47 PM
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241: In LB's world, pseud changes should be safe, legal, and rare.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:47 PM
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Wow, PGD changed his name quite some time ago.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:50 PM
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I bet drug dealers use the same scales we do.

It's nice that Ned doesn't practice othering on drug dealers.

If you want, I could check with my neighbor.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:53 PM
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I think everyone gets one free name change, because when you first pick your handle, you may not really have all the information on hand that you'd like to put into such a name-change. Even I first used an underscore instead of a hyphen. Even I.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:58 PM
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change


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 12:58 PM
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Heebie thinks everyone gets one free name. And one slave name.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:01 PM
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Oh, and as someone who uses the word tare regularly also I have no idea what "modulo 10", or the word "modulo" means.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:04 PM
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Your slave name is your real name, Mr. Redundant. Here we run free and giggle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:04 PM
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Modulo n means keep the remainder upon division by n.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:06 PM
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Another great explanation brought to you by yours truly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:06 PM
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241: I wish everyone regularly rotated pseuds, keeping each for only a single comment thread. That way everyone would be on a par with me, as I can barely remember the things *I* say from one week to the next, let alone keep track of multiple other people's words. Folk who remember stuff I wrote six months ago creep me the fuck out, like they're psychic or something.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:07 PM
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Now I'm trying to remember my alternate pseud from the Great Pseud Change Thread and drawing a blank.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:09 PM
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by yours truly

Changing your name?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:11 PM
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I'm guessing this should be taken as formal notification?

No, I wouldn't be able to remember a new identity. I'm just having fantasies of being born again.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:11 PM
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Folk who remember stuff I wrote six months ago creep me the fuck out

I figured it would just make you absurdly calm and focused.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:14 PM
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I miss existence.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:20 PM
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STOP READING MY MIND!!!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:21 PM
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235: aha! Well, uh, if you had a circus in March (which is to say a march circus) and for some reason wanted to concatenate them by dropping "chcir" from the middle, that's PGD.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:23 PM
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260: Or if you had remarkable coitus...


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:30 PM
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I can barely remember the things *I* say from one week to the next

Not quite so bad as week to week, but I admit that when people have referred to something I said 8 months or a year ago, I've been, on occasion, ... rather surprised. Apparently my memory is awful.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:31 PM
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I bet implementing a web server in 90 minutes using a language you've never seen before (that uses a paradigm you've never used before, even!) is something that you have to do pretty often, as a software engineer.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:31 PM
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263 is funny.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:32 PM
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I would move Mt. Fuji by picking up a rock somewhere on it and putting it somewhere else on it. This would certainly change the location of its center of mass, which is as good a criterion for whether or not it's been moved as any.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:33 PM
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263: Indeed. Just as management consultants are routinely called upon to estimate the number of hair salons in Japan.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:34 PM
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Baby, if I could move Mt. Fuji, I'd put U next to I.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:35 PM
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I happen to run a very profitable business filling 747s with ping-pong balls and designing manhole covers.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:37 PM
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I would move Mt. Fuji by waiting for an earthquake and then taking credit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:38 PM
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Was it a toy language cooked up for this test or something real-but-obscure like Boo? Was it an attempt to see how well you knew the HTTP spec, general coding behavior (are you an idiot; do you comment your code; etc.) or what? Also, was it OO or were they like rawr functional programming is the new hottness?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:38 PM
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I have to go with the classics for moving mountains.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:39 PM
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265: It's a M$ interview. The correct answer is to pick another mountain, name it "Fuji" and rename the old one "MicroSoft Volcano(tm)."


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:40 PM
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Mount Fiji? I don't even know Fiji!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:40 PM
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Um. Make that say Fuji in your head. Thanks.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:41 PM
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271: Culturally insensitive.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:42 PM
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Did Mount Fuji move for you too?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 1:42 PM
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I finally read the link in 154 and found it entertaining. I am surprised and frustrated, however, by the fact that they misspelled "dice."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 2:14 PM
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The question on there that sparked my curiosity, actually was the one about trucks:

Given a fleet of 50 trucks, each with a full fuel tank and a range of 100 miles, how far can you deliver a payload? You can transfer the payload from truck to truck, and you can transfer fuel from truck to truck. Extend your answer for n trucks?

Assuming that the trucks start out at the same location, and that you don't mind stranding trucks without fuel, I think the absolute maximum range is

sum(100/n) for n: 1-->50

Obviously the numbers 100 and 50 represent the range of a single truck and the number of trucks respectively.

Does that look right to everybody?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 2:21 PM
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I think the correct answer to how to move Mount Fuji is Why the fuck would you want to move Mount Fuji?

Seriously, moving Mount Fuji is a terrible idea. Think of the ecological consequences! Think of the paperwork! Better to leave Mount Fuji alone and put your efforts toward a more practical goal.

Answers like that are probably the reason I can't seem to land a better job.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 2:44 PM
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The question is underspecified. You would need to know, at minimum, how much fuel a truck can carry as payload (enough to refuel one truck? two trucks? ten trucks?). If one truck* can carry enough fuel to refuel 49 trucks (not implausible, for tank trucks), you could get the last vehicle in the convoy to go 5,000 miles.

*just one truck in the fleet. The rest will not need to refuel as many.)


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 2:46 PM
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You would need to know, at minimum, how much fuel a truck can carry as payload

Good question. I was assuming that they would only care fuel in the tank.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 2:51 PM
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280: Surely it's a safe and fair presumption that these trucks can't carry fuel as a payload - it's not as if fuel is a readily-transported commodity (specialized containers, regulations, etc.).

At which point wouldn't you be looking at sending out all 50 trucks 50 miles, transferring the fuel from half the trucks to the other half, going another 50 miles, etc. But that gives you a sloppy number, and so is probably wrong.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 2:54 PM
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At which point wouldn't you be looking at sending out all 50 trucks 50 miles, transferring the fuel from half the trucks to the other half, going another 50 miles, etc. But that gives you a sloppy number, and so is probably wrong.

That was where I started.

My refinement was realizing that you send out all the trucks two miles (100/50), at which point they each have 49/50 of their fuel remaining. You then empty on truck's fuel tank to top off the other 49, and have them each drive (100/49) miles so that each of them have a tank that is 48/49 full.
...
lather, rinse, repeat.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 2:56 PM
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You then empty on truck's fuel tank

"on" s/b "one"


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 2:57 PM
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280: That was my initial reading, but it makes the problem too easy -- I think NickS' assumption has got to be the way the problem's meant to work. I get a different answer, though -- put the payload in truck one, with range 100 miles. Convoy all the trucks for fifty miles, and then siphon the gas from truck two into truck one -- now you've got a forty-nine truck convoy, the loaded truck has a full tank, and all the others are half empty. Drive twenty-five miles and drain truck three -- now truck one is still full, and the other fortyseven all have a quarter tank. And so on, halving the distance between draining another tank ever iteration. You end up ditching the next to last truck just short of a hundred miles, with the loaded truck almost full.

I think the formula is the sum from one to fifty of (100/2^(i-1)) but I probably have a fencepost error in there, I usually do. Generally, the sum from one to n of (100/2(i-1)). It is neat that adding trucks doesn't really help much at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:02 PM
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Damn. I am so pwned, and so wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:03 PM
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It is neat that adding trucks doesn't really help much at all.

This is still true. Assuming my solution is correct adding the nth truck only increases total range by (100/n) miles.

So going from 50 to 51 would increase total range by just under 2mi.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:09 PM
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It also depends on whether the trucks can carry payload-carrying trucks as a payload, and the starting location of the trucks.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:11 PM
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If "truck with payload p" is a valid payload, and you start off with one truck carrying as a payload another truck carrying as its payload … all the way up to the last truck, and you have a way to get the the payload off a truck, then you can go 5000 miles.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:14 PM
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Or if the trucks are 100 miles apart.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:16 PM
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If "truck with payload p" is a valid payload, and you start off with one truck carrying as a payload another truck carrying as its payload ... all the way up to the last truck, and you have a way to get the the payload off a truck, then you can go 5000 miles.

A wrong answer that only a computer programmer would come think of.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:16 PM
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How do you know it's wrong?

I like this question: "If I put you in a sealed room with a phone that had no dial tone, how would you fix it?"

I'd plug it in.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:18 PM
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Here's another good one: "What is the probability of throwing 11 and over with 2 dices [sic]?" You can't throw 11 and over with two (I'm assuming six-sided) dice. It would take four to reach the first result that could plausibly be called "11 and over" (23=11+12).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:21 PM
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I'd hit it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:21 PM
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Or perhaps if you had three dice and rolled a five, a six, and a six, you could claim you'd rolled eleven and over eleven, but you'd have to use one die twice, which might not be legit.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:22 PM
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I'm assuming six-sided

FOOL!


Posted by: OPINIONATED DUNGEONMASTER | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:22 PM
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"Say you are dead- what do you think your eulogy would say about you."

If we say I'm dead, isn't the answer that I don't have any thoughts at all?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:28 PM
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I'm starting to think the way people get jobs in academia is the worst possible system for matching people to jobs, except for all the others.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:35 PM
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"If I put you in a sealed room with a phone that had no dial tone, how would you fix it?"

Take my cell phone out of my pocket and call someone who knows how to fix phones.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:38 PM
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"If I put you in a sealed room with a phone that had no dial tone, how would you fix it?"

I'd ask you to let me out of the room, and I'd find a place to have it fixed (or, if you really wanted me to do it, I'd see what sort of instructions I could find on the internet). If you won't let me out of the room, there's no way I'm fixing your damn phone for you, you sadistic fuck. I'm looking for a way out of the room instead. If you're capable of sealing me in a room against my will, I'm going to assume you're capable of competently disabling the phone, so trying to fix it is probably a waste of my time.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:46 PM
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Maybe one of the seals could fix the phone. Or at least keep you company while you wept in your loneliness.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:48 PM
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That one really did throw me. Other than plugging it in, what would anyone actually do to fix a phone? What kind of phone are we talking about, anyway? An old-fashioned non-electronic phone, if I had a screwdriver or a dime I suppose I'd look for loose wires, and tighten any connections that looked loose, but beyond that, who knows?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:49 PM
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Not all phones have dial tones, anyway. Maybe it's a cell phone.

I thought the answer to the house painter one was "consult the bureau of labor statistics", but it turns out that it's not quite as simple as that.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:53 PM
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What the fuck is this one about:

If you were a brick in a wall which brick would you be and why?

Huh?? What is that getting at? I'm totally lost.

On the other hand:

What was your best McGuyver moment?

I was alone in an apartment with one egg, set to expire in 48 hours. At my disposal were a paper plate, a plastic spoon, and a microwave...


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:54 PM
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I think you can blame problems like the house painter one on Fermi.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:55 PM
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Buck was asked in an interview once, "If a chicken and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half, how many pancakes does it take to shingle the roof of a doghouse?"

He answered "All of them." Then the interviewer asked him to clean his fishtank. He got the job.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:56 PM
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I'm confused by the truck question. In addition to the question in 280, how can it be answered without knowing things like fuel economy relative to payload. For example, the first thing that came to mind for me was having a truck tow one or more other trucks at the beginning so that their fuel was not burned and could be offloaded when needed. Whether or how this would work cannot be determined without knowing how much fuel use is affected by the towing.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:58 PM
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Then the interviewer asked him to clean his fishtank.

IYKWIM, AIKYD.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 3:59 PM
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307: I think you're making the mistake of thinking it's a question about trucks.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:00 PM
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307: The trucks can go 100 miles on a full tank, full stop.

This means, I assume, that the engine efficiency increases as the weight of the payload increases, perhaps, if the payload is heavy enough, beyond the theoretical limits.

If such trucks exist, why they're confined to interview questions is beyond me. Presumably Big Engine is sitting on the technology.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:04 PM
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309: That's what's so irritating about most of these. They're testing to see if you either are or can pretend to be someone completely devoid of common sense and experience of the world and just do math of some kind, which might, in fact, be a trick. Am I good enough at math to come up with a clever but elegant and generally useless algorithm? Or am I good enough at math to do some differential equation shit that takes things like fuel weight into account? You pretty much have to know what they're testing for in each of these circumstances. The phone one? Fuck them.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:06 PM
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I guess I'd be tempted to answer, to the phone one, "I put on my robe and wizard hat."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:08 PM
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The one about the hourglasses isn't so bad.

I came up with: start the four-minute and seven-minute ones at the same time, and flip the four-minute one over as soon as it runs out. Then turn it on its side when the seven-minute one runs out. You can right it again to measure one minute, then flip for four minutes, then flip for four more minutes.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:09 PM
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What do your parents think of your career was classist, just right for an investment sales job.

I couldn't tell why so many of these were badly written-- maybe these are the barely edited responses to a web survey? In which case, how many actually got asked, I wonder?

Years ago I interviewed for a job where the reasonable interviewer, who would have been my supervisor, asked some apparently bogus question-- the point of these seems to be how you can think on your feet and answer politely, a little different than the logic puzzle questions. Hiring people is a bitch, it's hard to ask interview questions that get at how well the candidate will do. Having an HR rep ask questions like this would be a warning sign, IMO.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:09 PM
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If that sealed room isn't a bathroom, I'm gonna pee on the phone. That'll certainly relieve one problem and, who knows, the phone could learn to sing.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:10 PM
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"How many tennis balls are in this room and why?" is a pretty weird one, also. Like, are you supposed to guess if your interviewer has tennis balls hidden in their desk, and whether that's because they like to play tennis or because they like to fuck with interviewees?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:11 PM
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It's not that kind of phone and besides, it's already famous.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:11 PM
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Which, yeah, Fermi problems, I guess. They are annoying. Jimmy never just has the two apples and gives one to Sarah. There are other things involved, always.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:11 PM
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At least the truck problem is being debated in a thread called "The collective fuel".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:12 PM
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Like, are you supposed to guess if your interviewer has tennis balls hidden in their desk, and whether that's because they like to play tennis or because they like to fuck with interviewees?

That's what I'd guess.

It would be hilarious if you came to an interview with a tennis ball in your briefcase or whatever, got this question, gave an answer, was told the number the interviewer thought was right, and then drew out your fuzzy ball.

But the question presumably comes up infrequently enough to make the bringing along of the ball not worthwhile.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:14 PM
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"But what you, the interviewer, do not know is that there are even more tennis balls in this room -- in my pants!"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:14 PM
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The trucks can go 100 miles on a full tank, full stop.

Well, then the answer is 5,000 miles. Start off with truck one, towing the other 49 trucks, with the payload on the last truck. When the gas runs out on truck one, discard it and have truck two tow the 48 other trucks. Repeat until all trucks are used. I can't imagine that this is what the questioner had in mind.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:14 PM
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Fuck.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:15 PM
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I came up with: start the four-minute and seven-minute ones at the same time, and flip the four-minute one over as soon as it runs out. Then turn it on its side when the seven-minute one runs out. You can right it again to measure one minute, then flip for four minutes, then flip for four more minutes.

Alternative: Turn the 7 min timer over when it runs out. When the 4 minute timer runs out flip the 7 minute back over and it should run for 1 minute at that point.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:17 PM
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What?

When are you turning the seven-minute timer over?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:18 PM
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Or am I good enough at math to do some differential equation shit that takes things like fuel weight into account?

From your phrasing, I suspect that the answer is "no".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:20 PM
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When are you turning the seven-minute timer over?

0 min: start both timers {4min, 7 min):
4 min: the 4 min timer ends, invert {4min, 3min}
7 min: the 7 min timer ends, invert {1min, 7 min}
8 min: 4 min timer ends, invert 7 min timer {0min,1min}

Does that help?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:21 PM
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The answer to the dice question is (1) they should learn how to phrase things comprehensibly and then (after parsing the question in the way I suspect it is intended to be parsed) (2) 1/12.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:23 PM
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Does that help?

No.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:24 PM
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Oh, I see. One minute will have passed, so you can turn it over the other way.

It hardly seems to make a difference.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:26 PM
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Also, if I'm thinking of the right solution to the lightbulb question, it's not going to work so well if they're not incandescents.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:26 PM
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You are in a room with 3 switches which correspond to 3 bulbs in another room and you don't know which switch corresponds to which bulb. You can only enter the room with the bulbs once. You can NOT use any external equipment (power supplies, resistors, etc.). How do you find out which bulb corresponds to which switch?

That's not a bad question in the abstract (answer), but there's absolutely zero chance I'd come up with the answer under the stress of interview conditions. I guess maybe that just means I'm not cut out for the job, but really, these seem like a silly way to screen candidates.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:27 PM
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Oh good. Another thread that makes me want to shoot myself in the face.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:30 PM
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It hardly seems to make a difference.

Sort of.

I'm not actually seeing how you get to 9 minutes with your plan: "turn it on its side when the seven-minute one runs out. You can right it again to measure one minute"


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:30 PM
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Given a square grid of numbers, considering all the numbers at the boundary as one layer and numbers just inside as another layer and so on how would you rotate each of the layers of the numbers by a given amount?

Could someone explain to me what the objective of this question is? I understand the set-up (I think), but I'm not clear on what I'm supposed to be solving.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:32 PM
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When the seven-minute timer runs out, you can turn the four-minute one on its side. Three minutes having elapsed, when it is righted it will measure a further minute. When it is flipped it will measure a further four. When it is flipped it will measure a further four. 1+4+4=9.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:32 PM
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When the seven-minute timer runs out, you can turn the four-minute one on its side. Three minutes having elapsed, when it is righted it will measure a further minute. When it is flipped it will measure a further four. When it is flipped it will measure a further four

Oh, I see.

In that case, the only difference between my solution and yours is that mine measures 9 min from time 0, whereas yours measures 9 min from time 7min to 16min.

Otherwise, completely the same.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:35 PM
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What's (one of) the smallest set of timers, each lasting an integral number of minutes greater than one, such that you can time any integral number of minutes?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:36 PM
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What's (one of) the smallest set of timers, each lasting an integral number of minutes greater than one, such that you can time any integral number of minutes?

2 and 3 would do it.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:37 PM
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You're peeing on an egg of dubious freshness when suddenly the lights go out. Immediately you know your son's doctor's belly button is missing. How?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:38 PM
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two minutes, three minutes? Any two timers measuring a mutually prime pair of times will work, no?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:39 PM
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She told you!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:39 PM
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Which is faster: to Wilmington, or by bus?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:40 PM
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She told you!

GASP


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:41 PM
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Which came first, the chicken or the lovebird?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:42 PM
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two minutes, three minutes? Any two timers measuring a mutually prime pair of times will work, no?

I think you're making the mistake of thinking it's a question about timers.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:42 PM
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How?

I wish I could find that mean-spirited post I put up when Tia was doing all those puzzles.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:42 PM
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346: I should think that given the way I phrased my answer it is obvious that I think no such thing, you.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:43 PM
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I wish I could find that mean-spirited post

I fed it to Brock's kid.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:44 PM
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So, I heard that I passed the test! Now on to the next test!

As for what they were asking. The idea was that you have to write a simple server from scratch, it forces you to do socket I/O, File I/O and some simple string manipulation stuff. I don't want to be too specific about language names but it was a small OO/Functional language with not very good documentation.

Thanks for the moral support!


Posted by: ukko | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:45 PM
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O'Caml?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:46 PM
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341: Do you get to prime the timers? That is can you measure umpteen minutes from now, or just umpteen minutes in at some time in the future?


Posted by: ukko | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:49 PM
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Wasn't I the one who put up the puzzles? I don't remember anything but sugar from Nosflow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:50 PM
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352: Given "any integral number of minutes", must be the latter.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:51 PM
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I was recently at a meeting at the school where I teach, and we all were being asked to go around the table and talk about the content of a student paper we'd brought as a sample of decent freshman writing, without being able to describe the assignment, context, texts, etc. A professor read one sentence of my student's paper, and went step-by-step, saying first that whatever the assignment was, it was clearly without academic merit, then that my teaching, in general, was obviously wrong-headed, and then that my own scholarship, and, by extension, my entire existence as a person, was clearly morally bereft. It was dumb, but I cried all afternoon.

This is how I feel when people do this interview-question shit. They're not asking you a question in good faith about how you'd solve something without enough information. They're diagnosing you as this kinda person or that kinda person, without even the generosity that a responsible diagnosis would offer. You see someone steal a quarter? Anyone who says they'd report that is a liar, which may be what they'd be diagnosing, or maybe that you're not detail-oriented enough.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:51 PM
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Applicants at my job often sit with me for awhile, and we have a pleasant conversation about what I'm doing. Except, what I'm also doing is intentionally switching back and forth between languages quickly and unexpectedly as a gauge of their language skills.

It's a totally reasonable thing to want to test, but I always feel like a chump going through with it. I sort of wish we just made it transparent that's what's going on: (1) see one aspect of the job and (2) oh, and by the way, I'll be switching languages a lot on purpose.


Posted by: Presidente Bernardo O'Higgins | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:54 PM
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||

I don't get this facebook notification at all:

[Friend] became a fan of You dialed 911 and requested an ambulance for that!

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:55 PM
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Your friend is now the fan of some page devoted to mocking people with low pain threshholds.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:56 PM
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You see someone steal a quarter

"Hind- or fore-? And what species?"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:56 PM
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This seems like the right thread to ask whether anyone else is doing this in a couple of weeks.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:58 PM
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Standpipe Bridgeplate became a fan of You posted an off-topic blog comment for that!


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 4:58 PM
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Applicants at my job often sit with me for awhile, and we have a pleasant conversation about what I'm doing.

"Naturally, if this were real, I would have first drawn the blinds and started the water running."


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:02 PM
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Sifu Tweety became a fan of You went to the hospital with chest pains that turned out to be nothing, SUCKER!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:06 PM
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363: That Rush Limbaugh thing made me curious whether he'd seesaw the incident into some kung-fu argument about healthcare. Not curious enough to go looking, but curious.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:08 PM
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364: Via Atrios.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:11 PM
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I'm sure it was nothing that couldn't be fixed with a couple bottles of OxyContin.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:11 PM
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You see someone steal a quarter

You'd call your local ACLU to report a violation of Amendment 3?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:13 PM
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364: Yes, he came out and said what wonderful health care had received and no other country in the world could do as well. SEIU did a nice retort, "Hell Freezes Over: Rush Limbaugh Loves Union Hospitals and Socialized Medicine". A lot of other folks simply pointed out that shockingly, a multi-millionaire received great medical care.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:13 PM
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If two cars are traveling in a two lap race on a track of any length, one going 60 mph and the other going 30mph, how fast will the slower car have to go to finish at the same car to finish at the same time?

I don't know what they're trying to test here, but I want to know how they designer tested or her his write to ability English test the. Finish at the same car? How fast will a car going 30 mph go?

Correct answer: I don't want to deal with these illiterates, except as some kind of aid worker.

What was your best McGuyver moment?

I happen to know a Schlumberger senior engineer, although of the electronics persuasion rather than the oil drilling bit one, and this is entirely appropriate for a company whose products include mud-pulse telemetry.

Tell me how you would determine how many house painters there are in the United States?

Look up the national abstract of statistics.

How to measure 9 minutes using only a 4 minute and 7 minute hourglass?

Run hourglass 2) to 100%, then 1) to 50%.

Given a fleet of 50 trucks, each with a full fuel tank and a range of 100 miles, how far can you deliver a payload? You can transfer the payload from truck to truck, and you can transfer fuel from truck to truck. Extend your answer for n trucks?

This is actually quite a good question. However, you'll need more data to answer it, as the range is determined by the size of the payload. The range maximising strategy is to move as much fuel as possible as far forward as possible. Also, do they mean range or radius of action? Can we abandon trucks? Martin van Creveld reckoned that in 1941, on a good day, a German armoured division's logistic train could support it out to 300 miles, or double that by using half the trucks to stage the others - so you lose 50% capacity with each hop.

Like all good questions it's probably designed to elicit good questions.

You are in a room with 3 switches which correspond to 3 bulbs in another room and you don't know which switch corresponds to which bulb. You can only enter the room with the bulbs once. You can NOT use any external equipment (power supplies, resistors, etc.). How do you find out which bulb corresponds to which switch?

Monty Hall!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:16 PM
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I divine (without IP help!) 369 was max. Am I hired?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:19 PM
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Run hourglass 2) to 100%, then 1) to 50%.

How do you propose to tell when the hourglass has run halfway?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:21 PM
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Lacks max's signoff. Also, it wasn't max. Max would also know what the monty hall problem is.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:23 PM
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I am so not hired.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:24 PM
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Also, you aren't hired.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:25 PM
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You see someone steal a quarter

Semi-OT: A scoundrel and a thief.

Despite signs deprecating the practice, I often do not content myself with taking only plastic table service when I get food to-go from the cafeteria at my place of work. Now in a New Year's sweep of my desk drawers I have discovered 1 spoon, 2 knives, 8 forks and 9 soup spoons. What is particularly unconscionable is that I grumble when they run out of metal soup spoons.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:25 PM
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372: Max would also know what the monty hall problem is.

And I guess it is inconceivable that he would mention the monty hall problem as a joke given the give problem's "threeness" and closed door. Not hired with extreme prejudice!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:27 PM
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The real tennis ball question apparently is:

"How many tennis balls can you fill this room with?"

http://www.glassdoor.com/Interview/-Interview-RVW201711.htm

And the answer is none, because I didn't bring any tennis balls and I am not buying any tennis balls.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 5:51 PM
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you flip both hourglasses, then after the 4 minute one runs out (4 minutes) you flip the 4 minute one again, then when the remaining 3 minutes on the 7 minute hourglass runs out you (7 minutes) flip the 7 minute hour glass and when the last minute runs off the 4 minute hourglass ( 8 minutes ), flip the 7 minute hourglass again and when it runs out it will be 9 minutes.

kind of a pain in the ass to tell the time though.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:09 PM
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professor read one sentence of my student's paper, and went step-by-step, saying first that whatever the assignment was, it was clearly without academic merit, then that my teaching, in general, was obviously wrong-headed, and then that my own scholarship, and, by extension, my entire existence as a person, was clearly morally bereft. It was dumb, but I cried all afternoon.

That's horrible.

Did you explain that the assignment was to write a Kathy Acker pastiche.

(are there other, better, examples of writers such that someone reading one sentence written in their style would immediately object? SEK has already written about HST imitations)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:44 PM
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The real tennis ball question apparently is: "How many tennis balls can you fill this room with?"

It helps to go into these interviews forearmed with the requisite facts: the maximum packing density of spheres in an enclosed space using random close packing is 63.4%, though higher densities are possible for regular and irregular lattice patterns.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:59 PM
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It wasn't O'Caml. That was at my old job and I loved it. this one is and odd mix that doesn't do currying in the way I expect.

Violated expectations are much harder to deal with I find than just learning something new. At least that is the case when you can't sort out the rhyme or reason of the evil new-fangeledness.


Posted by: ukko | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:00 PM
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The answer to the switch question assumes that the switches started in the off position. Just open the door, make use of your one entry to position mirrors in such a way as to make it possible to see the bulbs from outside through the still open door, go outside and flip the switches and look. Then take the mirror and smash them over the interviewer's head. Then do the same with the hour glasses and then pelt the interviewer with tennis balls. By that time the trucks should have arrived. Let interviewer = payload. And you're hired.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:22 PM
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Buck was asked in an interview once, "If a chicken and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half, how many pancakes does it take to shingle the roof of a doghouse?"

That's from a nonsense joke. The answer that I heard was "Seven, because ice cream has no bones," though I doubt there's a canonical version.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 1:25 AM
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369 was me. Further, towards a final solution of the truck problem, the maximum uplift of fuel for each hop while the truck returns to base will be achieved by making the hop half its radius of action. Then xfer the spare fuel to the other trucks. So, as half the radius of action is one quarter the range, you send home a quarter of the trucks, spreading the fuel among the others, and so on and so forth. Basically, you need to reinvent the Operation Black Buck flight refuelling scheme, an image of which I can't find on the Web.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 4:07 PM
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it's an interesting OR question I suspect, but unfortunately the interviewer almost certainly knows no OR, so...

(that is, if you do it properly, including stuff like fuel efficiency and so-forth.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 4:25 PM
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