Dalhousie University launches a new website tomorrow. They've got a preview on the linked article. For the first time in half a decade, it looks good. But what made this blog-worthy was a quote:
Last night I went to one of the Killam Trusts lectures at the Rowe building on Dal campus. Daniel M. Russell of Google was presenting on the topic 'Divining user intent'.
While there was nothing revolutionary to me in the presentation, it did give me some interesting insights into the importance of 'meaning' when searching. The focus on comfort level seems almost obsessive, but I can't deny that it's important, and probably is crucial to Google's business model.
It's a good thing that Dal didn't tell anyone that the list was up or I might have known that my name was on it.
Seriously though. Congratulations go out to all my CS bretheren on the list for all your hard work. Kudos to Patrick and Martin, who've worked really hard to get where they are. Especially to Pat for putting up with me for five years.
A recent discussion got me thinking about the stupidest interview questions I've ever had. Fortunately, most of my interviews have gone well. There was one, however, that took the cake. It was for a co-op job working Dalhousie's Sexton helpdesk. Note helpdesk. Unlike the dal CS job of the same name, this one is just tech monkey work, and offered to pay almost half as much, or as much as one would earn working at Tim Hortons... its only benefit is that it was in downtown halifax.
"Visit our web site http://technicalcooperativeeducation.dal.ca/".
I'm just wondering who is going to type that long of a URL in....
working as a TA teaches *you* many things... occasionally you'll get the weird questions, like how to use GOTO. I really hadn't used it in C before, considering it both
- not very useful
- a bad programming language construct
Turns out, goto in C is even less useful than I had thought, since labels only have function scope: you can't use goto to skip between functions.
This is about something that came up a few days ago: the LC is packed, several people are waiting for help because the TAs are already occupied. Our time is important, and your time is important. The cell phone of the person I'm helping rings, and they answer it, totally ignoring me. What do I do? That, if you know me well enough, is predictable. I move on to the next person. Why?
Desire to be doing my job, desire to be helping people, annoyance, or sheer arrogance? Probably a combination of all four. I guess the lesson is this:
... please cease and desist immediately:
You want help. We want to help you. But we need help to help you. There are a number of things that you can do to help us help you.
First, make sure your code is readable. Nothing is more readable than clear variable names. Code should be well-commented, well-indented, and consistant in style. It should require little explanation by itself, and you should have little need to explain it. Every moment you need to spend explaining how a function works is one more moment you are left waiting.
I used to be able to run windows without antivirus software, but not any more in the days of the crapware that spreads by itself...