Comment On All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

All Over the Map (from Peter Banner) On paper, the candidate looked like a perfect fit. He had a very impressive résumé and seven years of experience in C#, C++, VB .NET, SQL, Oracle, and pretty much every other technology under the sun. Obviously, I had high expectations, as did my co-interviewer. [expand full text]
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Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:05 • by joe.edwards (unregistered)
I will dictate my comment and the pair commenter will type it in.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:05 • by Jim the Electrician (unregistered)
Apparently I'm a fast typist, because the post was still available on Craigslist when I looked.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:08 • by PeriSoft
You can, however, empty and fill the bottles with water as many ties as you want. How would you get four gallons of water?

Wait - can you fill the bottles with water, or with ties? Where do you even get enough ties to fill a 5-gallon bottle? Are we talking neckties, bow ties, or tie fighters?

This is very confusing.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:11 • by psuedonymous (unregistered)
You cannot put four gallons into these bottles because they are odd shaped.
Maybe he assumed that not only is water quantised, but must maintain it's odd/even state.

Regardless, for making such a truly terrible pun he should also never have been hired.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:12 • by Alargule (unregistered)
"You cannot put four gallons into these bottles because they are odd shaped."

Took me quite a while to figure that one out...:-D

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:13 • by Robert (unregistered)
Shoot the hostage.

Crap, wrong movie/riddle

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:14 • by frits
You can pick your pair programmer at will call.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:16 • by AndrewB (unregistered)
I think we need to get four gallons of ties in a five gallon hat.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:20 • by b (unregistered)
Without the live link to the last one I would never have believed that such a thing was actually real... You would think that a *wharton PhD* would have taught them about wasting money... guess not. *sigh*

captcha: abico: The World's Premier Workforce Management Solution

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:22 • by Chris (unregistered)
I guess they are referring to
Pair Programming, but nevertheless one is reviewing while the other is typing.. not typing while the other is dictating.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:23 • by Anon (unregistered)
I think your interview questions are a little weak. The "Why do you like C# more than VB" can demonstrate someone's familiarity level with both languages, but that's about it. Unless you are interviewing for someone who agrees with your opinions one code-style and technique, it's a silly question. Personally, I don't care if they know the little nuances of the language, but rather if they can solve common programming problems.

The water question isn't even a brain teaser. Just a little proof of whether or not you read a book of brain-teasers before. Sure, a few people will solve it without knowing the answer beforehand, but probably not without wasting a lot of precious interview time doing the arithmentic in their heads.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:23 • by odd shaped (unregistered)
Did they put a mirror under his nose, then? Did he manage to fog it up?

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:25 • by Me (unregistered)
We should all flag that "Best of Craigslist"

Re: The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:25 • by Jack (unregistered)
Wow! the links on this broadstanalytics.com are all like this: href='/?epl=03280043VGsLXARdBQZXBkQHVwgHWg9aB1oGCFUTDlRRS0xVXwRZTRZRWhYdVw5dRARXCjlBBFIDRQZHCgkVQUUCFxtTF1pVBktNBF1VDUkWClsWSFAOWUkRF0YKUFMDDA0KAghSARIMV006UVgOUwkGXFhAVg9AFFgTTApRTwEEAQ0SRQBGQD1RXVgDEg5AFl5XC0BDDkQTWQdQRVwOWxNLXVVDBl1rEldKWFFbFRYGBksMAV0_XQIKVAMGRwJUQV1fW0McCFMHVlwXWldHQw4KWwA5WgUJVhEQUFYTAl1qTEFEVFhZXQxTHwRfWA5HPQRXCgFfBGsMRF4F&query=botsearch09'

Imagine dictating that!

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:25 • by Name (unregistered)
For those who wonder about the bottles:
3 5 -- #1 and #2

---------------
0 5 -- fill #2
3 2 -- put 3 in #1
0 2 -- empty #1
2 0 -- empty #2 in #1
2 5 -- fill #2
3 4 -- fill #1 with #2

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:28 • by neveralull (unregistered)
When we interview candidates, we feel that everthing listed on the resume is an invitation for us to ask technical questions about, but we don't necessarily hold it against the candidate if he admits that he is weak in a certain area. But my candidate got mad and started yelling at me becuase I was asking too many technical questions. He said he was strong in C++, so one of my questions was for him to give an example of when he would use a template. "I would never use a template," he said with a raised voice. I asked why, and he answered because he doesn't know anything about templates. An honest answer, but I didn't like his attitude. Other interviewers at the company liked him, for what reasons I have no idea.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:32 • by Patrick (unregistered)
“of course, Greece! I know so very much about those countries, and love them too. Especially Greece!”

yes, well, we're looking for someone who knows very much about PROGRAMMING. And loves it. Especially the programming part.

NEXT!

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:38 • by Patrick (unregistered)
Does the Senior Programmer have no hands with which to type? That would certainly explain the need to dictate to a typist, and a typist who actually understands the code enough to not cause frustration in debugging and formatting.

captcha: vindico. the company that vindicates WTFs Daily...

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:43 • by bottlefiller (unregistered)
303462 in reply to 303456
Name:
For those who wonder about the bottles:
3 5 -- #1 and #2

---------------
3 0 -- fill #1
0 3 -- put 3 in #1
3 3 -- fill #1
1 5 -- empty #1 in #2
1 0 -- empty #2
0 1 -- empty #1 into #2
3 1 -- fill #1
0 4 -- empty #1 into #2

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:46 • by Remy Porter
303464 in reply to 303452
No, it's a good question. I don't care which they actually prefer, but I like to see how their brain works. I sit in on a lot of interviews. The <i>way</i> someone answers a question is more important than the actual answer.

And honestly, I'm not really certain what the "right" answer is to the 3/5 gallon problem. My answer? Put the 3 gallon container in the 5 gallon container, fill the 5 gallon container. Take the 3 gallon out, and put the two gallons you just made into the 3 gallon container. Repeat, but this time pour the 2 gallons in the 3 gallon container into the 5 gallon container.

Re: OB STNG

2010-03-25 10:48 • by Grand Poobah (unregistered)
Gul Madred: How many gallons do you see there?
Picard: I see four gallons
Gul Madred: No, there are five. Are you quite sure?
Picard: There are four gallons.

Captha: nobis (ora pro)

Re: Mmmm....

2010-03-25 10:50 • by Hi OJ (unregistered)
Perhaps they meant Au pair programming????

Captcha: gravis (what a great game pad!)

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:51 • by drachenstern
There are two water bottles. One can hold exactly three gallons and one can hold exactly five gallons. There is no scale, no dividing lines, and the bottles are odd shaped, meaning no visual measurement is possible. You can, however, empty and fill the bottles with water as many times as you want. How would you get four gallons of water?
unless we're in the same (or a similar) predicament as the movie, I would personally goto <insert name of local grocer / mass market retailer of beverages> and BUY 4 gallons of water. A gallon of water at most grocers is ~$1 so I'm out $4. As a programmer in a respectable firm, if that $4 costs me too much, I've got other issues.

Whaddaya need 4 gallons for anyways? The 5 shoulda been enough. Ya can always throw the extra gallon out the door.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:55 • by Igni (unregistered)
Those of you that think that job posting is bizarre have obviously never had RSI. Just sayin'.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:56 • by anon (unregistered)
303470 in reply to 303459
Or a condition like Parkenson's that makes typing difficult. Still, training a computer to do the work, with a human cleaning up might be more efficient.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 10:59 • by Patrick (unregistered)
303472 in reply to 303468
drachenstern:
There are two water bottles. One can hold exactly three gallons and one can hold exactly five gallons. There is no scale, no dividing lines, and the bottles are odd shaped, meaning no visual measurement is possible. You can, however, empty and fill the bottles with water as many times as you want. How would you get four gallons of water?
unless we're in the same (or a similar) predicament as the movie, I would personally goto <insert name of local grocer / mass market retailer of beverages> and BUY 4 gallons of water. A gallon of water at most grocers is ~$1 so I'm out $4. As a programmer in a respectable firm, if that $4 costs me too much, I've got other issues.

Whaddaya need 4 gallons for anyways? The 5 shoulda been enough. Ya can always throw the extra gallon out the door.


Redefining the problem to avoid doing the work. Interesting. "It's not a bug, it's a feature. Just work around it."

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:01 • by All-Beef Patty (unregistered)
303473 in reply to 303452
Anon:
I think your interview questions are a little weak. The "Why do you like C# more than VB" can demonstrate someone's familiarity level with both languages, but that's about it. Unless you are interviewing for someone who agrees with your opinions one code-style and technique, it's a silly question. Personally, I don't care if they know the little nuances of the language, but rather if they can solve common programming problems.


I've often asked this style of question (usually I pick two databases they claim to have worked with, or two OSes). When I ask, I'm not looking for them to agree with what I think. It's part BS detector -- do they know enough about the things they put on their resume to give an informed comparison? It's also a view into how the person thinks. And I'm perfectly okay with answers like "I've been working with X for 5 years and Y for about 3 months, so I'm just more comfortable with X" The hardest part of conducting an interview is getting genuine responses rather than simply what the interviewee thinks you want to hear, and the best way to do that is to ask questions where the information you want has more to do with how the answer is presented than with the specifics of the answer.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:01 • by sore (unregistered)
What is that water example for?
Testing industrial robots?

Re: OB STNG

2010-03-25 11:02 • by Spivonious (unregistered)
303475 in reply to 303466
Grand Poobah:
Gul Madred: How many gallons do you see there?
Picard: I see four gallons
Gul Madred: No, there are five. Are you quite sure?
Picard: There are four gallons.

Captha: nobis (ora pro)


I applaud your trekiness.

captcha: nibh, where the rats went after nimh was destroyed?

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:05 • by Patrick (unregistered)
303476 in reply to 303474
sore:
What is that water example for?
Testing industrial robots?

It's supposedly for testing the candidate's problem solving / logical / analytical skills. But since the questions were all passed around in school years ago, they're not actually effective. The WTF here is that the company in question is using them in an interview, despite the fact that they are useless, and on top of that actually got a FAIL from it.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:09 • by Jeff Dege (unregistered)
Actually, I was more interested in the "how would you weight a 747" question, from the click-thru.

I'd weigh it the same way I weight my dog. He's a small dog, but he won't sit still on the scale, so I have to hold him.


So, first I stand on the scale and weigh myself. Then I pick up the 747 and step on the scale again.

Then I subtract.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:16 • by James (unregistered)
I'd go with the alternate solution:

#1 is the 5 gallon jug
#2 is the 3 gallon jug

Fill #1, empty it into #2, so 2 gallons left in #1. Grab the sharpie off your desk, mark the water level. Dump #2 out. Pour the 2 gallons into #2. Refill #1 to the mark, then dump the 2 gallons from #2 back in.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:17 • by Mike (unregistered)
303479 in reply to 303454
Me:
We should all flag that "Best of Craigslist"


That sounds like something 4Chan would do.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:18 • by anon (unregistered)
303480 in reply to 303477
I'd find the weight of the 747 by reading the service manual.

That's the right answer, right?

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:20 • by Mike (unregistered)
303481 in reply to 303464
Remy Porter:
No, it's a good question. I don't care which they actually prefer, but I like to see how their brain works. I sit in on a lot of interviews. The <i>way</i> someone answers a question is more important than the actual answer.

And honestly, I'm not really certain what the "right" answer is to the 3/5 gallon problem. My answer? Put the 3 gallon container in the 5 gallon container, fill the 5 gallon container. Take the 3 gallon out, and put the two gallons you just made into the 3 gallon container. Repeat, but this time pour the 2 gallons in the 3 gallon container into the 5 gallon container.


Please don't ever try to solve a problem for me.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:20 • by Jason (unregistered)
I assume the "Pair Programmer" is for someone with wrist damage or similar. A good programmer who's a company founder and can hire someone to be a keyboard monkey.

Sounded like a good solution to me.. if that's the situation.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:22 • by Dan (unregistered)
303483 in reply to 303459
Patrick:
Does the Senior Programmer have no hands with which to type? That would certainly explain the need to dictate to a typist, and a typist who actually understands the code enough to not cause frustration in debugging and formatting.


Or severe carpal tunnel syndrome

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:22 • by dkf
303484 in reply to 303477
Jeff Dege:
I'd weigh it the same way I weight my dog. He's a small dog, but he won't sit still on the scale, so I have to hold him.

So, first I stand on the scale and weigh myself. Then I pick up the 747 and step on the scale again.
But you can get a 747 to sit still. Especially if you've got a BA crew…

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:22 • by Dennis (unregistered)
303485 in reply to 303456
What bugs me about these types of tests is the assumptions they make, and if you ask for clarification they say "just answer the question" (meaning they don't have an answer for you). In this case, they don't actually say the 4 gallons has to end up in the 5-gallon container, just that you have to *get* 4 gallons. So I would do this: fill the 5, pour 3 into the 3 from the 5, leaving 2. Pour the 2 into wherever it is that you need the water (fishtank?). Repeat. That's 4 gallons in the fishtank. Of course it's wrong because the UNWRITTEN assumption is that the 4 gallons has to end up in the 5-gallon container.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:26 • by facilisis (unregistered)
303486 in reply to 303478
James:
I'd go with the alternate solution:

#1 is the 5 gallon jug
#2 is the 3 gallon jug

Fill #1, empty it into #2, so 2 gallons left in #1. Grab the sharpie off your desk, mark the water level. Dump #2 out. Pour the 2 gallons into #2. Refill #1 to the mark, then dump the 2 gallons from #2 back in.


I would fill the 3 gallon jug, and then tell the end user it's a 4 gallon jug. If he really needs another gallon, he'll get it somewhere. Water isn't hard to find. More likely, he just doesn't understand his own requirements, and will be perfectly happy with what I give him.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:26 • by Ozz (unregistered)
303487 in reply to 303480
anon:
I'd find the weight of the 747 by reading the service manual.
That's the right answer, right?
You left the service manual in your other pants. Now what do you do?

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:26 • by sino (unregistered)
303488 in reply to 303452
Anon:
I think your interview questions are a little weak. The "Why do you like C# more than VB" can demonstrate someone's familiarity level with both languages, but that's about it. Unless you are interviewing for someone who agrees with your opinions one code-style and technique, it's a silly question. Personally, I don't care if they know the little nuances of the language, but rather if they can solve common programming problems.

The water question isn't even a brain teaser. Just a little proof of whether or not you read a book of brain-teasers before. Sure, a few people will solve it without knowing the answer beforehand, but probably not without wasting a lot of precious interview time doing the arithmentic in their heads.
what. ಠ_ಠ

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:29 • by Remy Porter
303489 in reply to 303481
Why not, it works, doesn't it? So long as the walls of the container are thin negligible to the volume of the container, you're all good.

I admit, it's not as good as the marker idea, which is really the best answer I've heard, but it does assume extra equipment.

But displacing 3 gallons of volume in a 5 gallon container means the remaining volume is 2 gallons. We've now graduated our 5 gallon container.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:30 • by drachenstern
303490 in reply to 303472
Patrick:
drachenstern:
There are two water bottles. One can hold exactly three gallons and one can hold exactly five gallons. There is no scale, no dividing lines, and the bottles are odd shaped, meaning no visual measurement is possible. You can, however, empty and fill the bottles with water as many times as you want. How would you get four gallons of water?
unless we're in the same (or a similar) predicament as the movie, I would personally goto <insert name of local grocer / mass market retailer of beverages> and BUY 4 gallons of water. A gallon of water at most grocers is ~$1 so I'm out $4. As a programmer in a respectable firm, if that $4 costs me too much, I've got other issues.

Whaddaya need 4 gallons for anyways? The 5 shoulda been enough. Ya can always throw the extra gallon out the door.


Redefining the problem to avoid doing the work. Interesting. "It's not a bug, it's a feature. Just work around it."
reaction #1:
Oh if only you knew me. Then you would know that I just won't waste my time pouring water back and forth unless it's necessary. I could be writing code ya know.
or reading <TDWTF|/.|digg|reddit|whatever>
reaction #2:
You've seen some of my other open source projects then?
no not really

New TDWTF comment activity for fun! ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:32 • by drachenstern
303491 in reply to 303486
facilisis:
I would fill the 3 gallon jug, and then tell the end user it's a 4 gallon jug. If he really needs another gallon, he'll get it somewhere. Water isn't hard to find. More likely, he just doesn't understand his own requirements, and will be perfectly happy with what I give him.
QFT

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:33 • by Anon (unregistered)
303492 in reply to 303485
Dennis:
it's wrong because the UNWRITTEN assumption is that the 4 gallons has to end up in the 5-gallon container.


It's not an UNWRITTEN assumption. It's the only solution to the problem as stated. If you redefine the problem by adding some external, like your fish tank, then you are solving a different problem.
I guess you could call it an assumption since the 5 gallon container is the only one large enough to hold 4 gallons, but if you're not capable of figuring that out yourself...

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:37 • by AndersI (unregistered)
I would put the five gallon bottle on the scale and fill water into it until it is 4 kg heavier.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:38 • by Anon (unregistered)
303494 in reply to 303452
Anon:
I think your interview questions are a little weak. The "Why do you like C# more than VB" can demonstrate someone's familiarity level with both languages, but that's about it.


Then you fail at interviewing. It's actually a very good question which can reveal a lot about a person. First, if they can't point to at least a couple of features that differ between the two languages, then they are lying about being familiar, which is pretty useful to know. Second, if they can talk in depth about the pro's and con's of each, it demonstrates that they have a real passion for programming.

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:38 • by Ducky (unregistered)
303495 in reply to 303483
But, those with severe carpal tunnel but is otherwise a proficient programmer can still use voice recognition software rather than hiring someone. The suspicious part of the ad has to do with the fact that the "senior programmer" wants to "dictate" to the "junior programmer" at a "high level".

Re: All Over the Map, Odd Shaped Container, and The Ideal Pair Programmer

2010-03-25 11:39 • by Anon (unregistered)
303496 in reply to 303493
AndersI:
I would put the five gallon bottle on the scale and fill water into it until it is 4 kg heavier.


Great answer. Put it on the scale that the problem explicitly stated that you didn't have.
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