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+ 1 - 0 | § The Interview

The interview, I believe, went well.  Condensed, here's the questions he asked me.

-Why do you want to work on the Windows Client (I'd picked it as a top preference)
-What programming languages do you love?  Why?
-You love to code?  You would code 24 hours a day for us?
    -"Well," I grinned, "I'd code 12 to 14 hours day for you."  He looked at me very seriously.  "You want to sleep too?"  "Absolutely."  He laughed.  "Okay.  12 to 14."
    -Like I've always said, I'm one of those people who gets farther with honesty than ass-kissing.

escribe your favorite project you've worked on, what it did, how you coded it, why it's your favorite.
    -I described the US Army gig.  Not necessarily because it was my favorite (though I think it was) but more, because it was a massive program that I finished only a month or so ago, so all the details of design and structure were still fresh in the cranium.

-Coding Question:  How do you find the middle node in a linked list?
    -Show me another way
    -Show me another way
    -Show me another way (GAH!)
       -What are the big-O complexities of the ways you just showed me?

-Coding Question: Write a method tthat returns true if there's a duplicate integer in an array you get passed, false otherwise.
    -(I said, "I can do this two ways.  Do you want me to write one to optimize for space, or the one that optimizes for time?")
    -He said, "Tell me about them."
    -I did.
    -He stared at me.
    -"Which one do you want?"
    -"both."
    -(frantic writing on the pad he'd given me)
    -How would you bugtest this code?
    -What methods would you attempt for breaking this code?

-Logic Puzzle-  You have 9 balls.  One weighs more than the other 8.  If all you have is a scale (one of those ancient good-vs-evil, one side, rises, other side sinks type deals), how do you figure out which ball it is in only two weighings?

-Logic Puzzle #2:  You have 3 jars.  One jar is full of blue marbles.  One is full of red marbles.  One is full of a mix of blue & red marbles.  On each jar is a label that says Blue, Red, or Mixed.  THEY ARE ALL MISLABELED.  If the only way that you can view the contents of a jar is to open it, take out a single marble, examine it, and put it back inside the jar, what is the minimum number of times you have to look inside jars in order to figure out the contents of all the jars?  Opening one jar more than once counts as multiple times, by the way.
(hint: I totally couldn't have done this one without paper.

esign the Next Generation Alarm Clock.  What features would you have?
    -What features would you add for disabled people?
        -Mobilly Impaired People?
        -Deaf People?

o you have any questions for me?
    -I'd spent the past 45 minutes waiting to launch into a carefully peiced-together spiel on "Why do you want to work at (insert Windows-Making-Company here)", which I didn't have to do, so I figured I'd spin it around on him.  I asked what he liked about working at said company, and for like 10 minutes there was this placid smile on his face as he described the resources, the people he got to work with, the campus environment where you can learn anything you want to, etc...  He had just a slightly crazed gleam in his eye, you could tell he loved his job.  Which was cool, that's exactly what I was looking for.  I won't commit anywhere unless I can meet, face-to-face, someone who loves their job there.

I find out, he said, in two weeks.  Which now amounts to a week and a half.
Part of me still says, screw the whole thing, throw myself upon the steps of Octopi and beg them to embrace me into their folds.  Part of me still wants to attend "Wine and Cheese Thursday" at the googleplex, then go inside and code in the ballpit.  But company of the interview, they have a location in MountainView.

I could go back to California.

Here's hoping.
-Alex

+ 1 - 0 | § Gate 2

Engywook: Next is the Magic Mirror Gate. Alex will have to look his true self in the face.
Falcor: So? That shouldn't be so hard.
Engywook: Oh, that's what everyone thinks! But kind people find out that they are cruel. Brave men find out that they are really cowards! Confronted by their true selves, most men run away, screaming!

3 hours until the microsoft interview.  Been skimming textbooks and online texts for the past hour or two.  Design patterns, data structures, and algorithms.  Multi-processing paradigms (Pair-o'-diggems), operating system layers, inheritance hell and polymorphism.  Finals and midterms teach that leetness is a laxative, the key is in the timing between absorb and release.

I'm trying to fix it so when I gaze upon the second gate, my reflection will give me a pound, throw up some horns, and skip off merrily into the sunset.

3 hours and counting, wish me luck.
-Alex

+ 1 - 0 | § Alas!

Didn't get the Octopi job.  Pretty bummed, it would've kicked ass.

In other, totally unrelated news of a rather geeky caliber, some crazy bastard in academia took a serious look at Trigonometry and went, "sins, cosines, tangents?  Arcsines?  Arccosines?  Arctangents?  What the hell IS all this? What the... What the HELL?"

So he redefined trig, without all that crazy crap.  His stances are a little... unorthodox...

"For the past two thousand years we have relied on the false assumptions that distance is the best way to measure the separation of two points..."

Seriouisly, brother's a little wacked out.  Pretty much abandoned distance and angle in favor of what he calls "quadrance and spread".

I'd like to see him attack circles next.  Screw this 3.14 crap.  Angles and radiuses, ha!  "Slices and circumcisions!"
Or are those the same thing?
Think about it.

-Shaggy

+ 0 - 1 | § The Weinerschnitzel diet.

Sometimes, a network screws up timing, and one commercial gets cut off halfway through by another.

"When is a diet pill worth $127 a bottle?" cut.  "Now, at Weinerschnitzel!"

That's it, you crazy chili-dog makin' bastards.  You show'm.

You show the world.

-Alex

+ 0 - 1 | § Advent Children

A few days ago, Final Fantasy VII:  Advent Children was released in Japan.  No english dub.  No english subtitles.  Fortunately, a slew of obsessive fanchildren released their own subtitle tracks, which could be synced over a compressed version of the film.  I NEEDED TO SEE THIS MOVIE.  However, I refused to get it in this fashion, for two reasons.
1)  Public Filesharing has a way of getting our internet account suspended.  Since two more violations would result in immediate suspension of account (and thus a black mark on Nikki's credit report), public filesharing was out.
2)  Compressed means optomized for transport and storage.  Not for video quality.  What good is 100 minutes of the most staggeringly gorgeous CGI in human history if we let it by compromised by lossy compression?   Still goddamn good, I'd imagine.  But not as perfect as it could be.

So Around noon yesterday, I set about on a personal mission.  Being rather well-connected in the dark back-alleys of the internet, I managed to download a 4.5 GB disc image of the Advent Children DVD in about 2 and a half hours (for those of you with pocket calculators at home, that's half a megabyte a second) from a private server available to select few.  Then, using select, high quality software components, I had to:

1)  Decrypt and Rip all the contents of a burned copy of the DVD onto hard disk
2)  Demux (seperate into seperate audio/video/subtitle streams) said contents
3)  Replace the japanese subtitles with an english subtitle pack I managed to procure elsewhere
4)  Alter the DVD settings to point to this new track
5)  Remux (squish audio, video, and subtitle streams back into normal format) the contents
6)  Smoke plenty of cigarettes
7)  Burn the DVD

About an hour after this nerve-wracking digital surgery was finished, Op, Crow and I were sitting on a couch, watching it on TV, in a regular DVD player.  Constantly we shifted positions in nervous anxiety as plots unfolded, secrets were revealed, and great and mighty heroes clashed might and soul with enemies both new and old.

I'm not going to give any of it away.  Several of you are going to want to know about Aeris, but I say nothing.  Others, about Cloud and Sephiroth, still I say nothing.  It's without a doubt the coolest goddamn video-game-based cinema I've ever seen in my life, all I can say is that it touched the very core of my being.

Curious yet?  Suddenly feeling your life is depressingly incomplete, for not having witnessed the wonders I have seen?  You should be.
For those of you who are in attendance of "farscape night", I'll be bringing a copy.  It's only about 2 farscape episodes long, so we can double up if there is a vote in favor.
Revel in my leetness. (And please, bear with me.  I swear to god this high will wear off eventually.)

-Alex

+ 0 - 1 | § Octopi

Today I interviewed for a job at Octopi, a local game studio that makes games specifically for cellphones.  It's a dozen-person operation, there's a foozball table in the entrance room.  A girl I knew from Networking class walked over and gave me a hug when I got inside.

She was wearing fuzzy pink slippers.
At work.

Any other computer science student will tell you, we've been trained to fear interviews.  Other industries, a job interview centers around self-whoring.  "I can do this" you're supposed to say, "I have experience actualizing my potential."  Dress nice, look them in the eye, buzzword your way through.  A programmer's interview, traditionally, demands you prove yourself on the fly.  Quick, analytical thinking.  Design a spice rack for a blind person.  Move mount Fuji.  Cross 4 little old ladies across the bridge with 1 flashlight, develop an algorithm that determines the very nature of GOD and sorts it in nlog(n) time.  Coders around the world, at this very second, are huddled around their laptops memorizing methodology for getting a balanced binary search tree to yodel naked in a christmas tree lot in Cambodia, just to prepare for a goddamn microsoft interview.  Incidentally, I have one of those in a week and a half, wish me luck.

Today's interview, however, was 3 guys (the owner of the company and two team leaders, both of which had attended our halo party last may) in the owner's office, sitting in gaming chairs, having an honest-to-god conversation, consisting mainly of them asking questions and wanting to know what kind of coder I was, and what kind of guy I was.  Questions like,

What programming languages are you best in?
What coding projects have you written outside of class?
What, in your opinion, is the best game out there? 
What's the worst? 
Why? 
Why do you like writing games?
What experience do you have in graphics programming?

I talked about writing a text-view pacman, and how passoniateley I dislike games that don't understand what platform they're on.  Splinter Cell was not meant for a cellphone keypad.   How I love GTA and yetisports, and sweet braincandy and long sleepless nights with a PS2 and an FF release.  The love for coding games and then seeing them come to light, playing them, interacting with my creations.  With my children.  And every now and then they'd nod, I swear I managed to elicit a "Right on" once or twice from the owner.
My interview consisted of us talking for a half hour, while my girlfriend and roommate played foozball just outside the room.
None of them are out to conquor the world, none of them are trying to mount lawsuits or see how many times they can get mentioned in slashdot.  They're a bunch of friendly guys who want to play games and want to make some, and have a general good time doing it.
God, I want to work for these people.
-Alex

+ 0 - 1 | § Hrm

Discovering that your girlfriend, when she was little, wrote a poem about steak...

That's cool.
-Alex

+ 1 - 0 | § Things that suck

New on the list of things that suck:

Discovering on your mile-walk to campus that there's a blister on the bottom of your foot.

An hour later, after class, walking all the way back.

"There... are... four... lights!"

-Alex