Archive - Oct 2007

Date

October 17th

Sidewalk Compass Markings

From the DOT of New York City:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 12:30 pm at 150 East 42nd:

New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Grand Central Partnership (GCP) President/CEO Fred Cerullo and MTA CEO Lee Sander will unveil new directional compass decals on sidewalks at subway exits in Midtown Manhattan. The compasses will display the name of the street the decal is on, and what street lies one block in each direction, helping pedestrians and exiting subway passengers quickly orient themselves.

It’s even more awesome because I had this idea this summer when I was in New York, and even made a pitch to a local brainstorming fun group we had in the office. And this seems like a fairly common idea for people to have. Glad to see there’s lots of people who want this to be done!

The Big House

I’ve been going to the home games this season, thought I’d post pictures. It should be noted that The Big House (the nickname for the Michigan Stadium) is the largest American football stadium and the fifth largest stadium in the world.

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October 16th

tech interview preparation for non-cs people

A non-computer science person emailed me that she had an interview with a dotcom company next week, and wanted to know what she could do to prepare for it. I ended up writing a fairly sizable email, which I thought would be useful to others as well. Here's my response:

I am assuming they have an idea about your background. If they know that you are not a CS person, then they should try to ask you questions that test your problem-solving abilities overall. Additionally, I guess they will ask you some basic CS questions so that they know that you can pick up CS skills when you're hired.

Some questions are also posed as logic questions, but actually have a deep CS background. For example: "when you are doing laundry, and you need to fold your socks, and you have a big tabletop to put stuff on, what's the best way to arrange them in matching pairs?". One option is to take a sock, and then take another one. If they match, then it's good. Else, throw the socks back in, and start again. Obviously, this is a bad solution. Look for "bucket sort" for a good solution.

You can compensate for this by just being very good at logic, but it does help to know some CS. Try to have an idea about computational complexity. You can ask any CS undergrad (senior, etc) about this.

1. http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~hasti/cs367-common/notes/COMPLEXITY.html
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_complexity_theory

It helps to run through a few questions so that your brain is ready for the questions during the interview.

For problem solving, check out
http://www.techinterview.org/

I googled "_dotcomcompanyname_ interview questions" and found some more links.

Hope that helps, Good luck!
-a

October 12th

social network for two

Social Network for two:

Let’s join a social network built just for two
You can invite me, and I can invite you.

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October 10th

stupidfilter

StupidFilter : an open-source filter software that can detect rampant stupidity in written English.

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October 9th

some meta fanboying

Watching the iPhone 360-degree view on apple.com, on the iphone!

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October 5th

useless worrying

I spent all of last night worrying in my sleep about the 500$ that I had deposited into the bank, but was not showing up in my online account summary. “What could go wrong?”, I thought.

I go to bed, with this idea that “Oh well, it must take some time for the account to get the data, so when I check my account tomorrow morning, the money will be there.”

It’s 1 am now, and I’m now thinking in my sleep, “No you idiot, I gave them cash, not a check. Even checks are instant transfer these days. Cash should show up immediately!”

A while later, I decide that I can just go to the bank tomorrow morning, and sort this out in person. But wait, what do I tell them? My memory now rewinds and plays the moment when the cashier asked me if I wanted a receipt for the transaction, and I coolly say “No thanks”.

No receipt, no proof, no cash.

From there on till around 5am, I’m mostly trying to replay the sequence in my head, how I went there and gave them the money, and they put it in my account. Hmm. What if they put it in the wrong account? I often tend to mumble, and maybe in my mumbling Indian accent, I sounded like I was giving them some other account number?

Or maybe it was the feds… did my cash get “seized for review” or something — I cashed those dollars at a New York bank — you should never trust these New York banks!

Grr, it’s six o clock. Might as well wake up and get some work done. Check account — nope, no money still.

Hmm. Maybe…

I pick up my wallet and look though it. Right there, in one corner, is a folded bunch of 5 benjamins. I guess I never deposited the money after all.

Damn you fake memories.

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October 4th

good ol' summer workplace

From cnet’s article about the nyc office:

The entire expanse is “geographically oriented” to match the island of Manhattan, so there are conference rooms named after subway stops and landmarks. Also spotted: pitchers of banana nut hemp smoothies, an inflatable kiddie pool full of plastic balls in the “game room” alongside massage chairs and Dance Dance Revolution mats, and “yield” signs to prevent Razor scooter crashes in the hallway.

Glad to know my handiwork is appreciated by the press.

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scientific dating

Dating never got this geeky. The stats page is even more awesome.

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toys i have bought lately

I’ve been shopping around lately, and here’s two of them.

This thin little watch — the Swatch Skin. It’s less than 4mm thick, and light as a feather. A huge change from my heavy-ish metal watches, and is great for daily wear.

My second acquisition is the iphone. It’s the ultimate geek toy of today. It’s really a marvel of engineering and design. I have seen more superior devices such as the Nokia N95, which trumps the iPhone in every way, but the phone has a certain sense of completeness which makes it a completely different product. Also, the fact that it’s a web-capable BSD Unix terminal makes it the perfect swiss-army-knife for most of my activities. IT’s a little clunky though, if you’re used to throwing around a RAZR, like me. But overall, I’m completely satisfied.

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