Reader Mail – 05/19/2013 To 05/25/2013

This was a good week. I had one really popular post, "Don't Sign An NDA Before A Programming Job Interview".
Bob commented on About FSK.
Hi,

I stumbled upon your blog from http://captaincapitalism.blogspot.sg/2013/05/when-it-guy-shrugged.html

Your posts on the problems within the IT industry really resonated with me. I'm a Computer Engineering college student with very strong introverted tendencies, so I think I can appreciate what you're talking about psychopathic personality types.

I just wanted to share these two blogs with you:

http://koanicsoul.com/blog

http://vault-co.blogspot.sg/

You can find lots of discussion on the Neanderthal man on those sites. Their hypothesis is that traits like introvertedness, the capability for abstract thinking, and prioritizing truth and justice over social gamesmanship, are inherited from Neanderthal genes. From going through your blog archive, you seem to have these traits.

-Cheers

There are other "manosphere" blogs that are better. I should make a "links" page.


not_PC commented on FSK Glossary.
agorism - Just curious, what jobs can you do out there that others won't pay you paper money for? Granted, you could immediately buy something else with the paper.

There isn't much of a functioning underground economy right now.

You probably have a better chance of doing work and getting paid in bitcoins, than in gold or silver. That's disappointing, because I don't like bitcoin.

You can work off-the-books for paper money and immediately buy something, but what if you want to have some savings? If you try to trade paper for gold/silver, you face high transaction costs and State reporting requirements. If I buy 10 1oz gold coins in a store for cash, and give my ID, you can be sure that the IRS or other State thugs will be investigating.

As long as you use State paper money, you're indirectly supporting State evil, because you get robbed via inflation.


not_PC commented on Republicans Trolling Gold.
"They have kidnapped and tortured people for refusing to pay those taxes and for treating gold and silver as real money. Whenever someone makes it easy to buy and sell gold/silver, that is a threat to the State banking monopoly."

Just curious, but when did you hear about this? I've never heard of this before.

Read about E-Gold.

Bernard Nothaus was convicted.

Read about the story of Franklin Saunders.


not_PC commented on "Save X% When You Buy Y" Fallacy.
lol, so true.

Dystopia Max commented on Mac Mouse No Scroll Wheel.
Get Ubuntu, get Wine or a dual install, embrace the pain of knowing EXACTLY how your computer works at every possible level.

Learning about the differences between filesystems and partition tables is its own reward.


MickeyG commented on IRS Targets Tax-Exempt Conservative Groups For Audits.
I find it very interesting that ANY politician would draw attention to the IRS. Here is one thing most people don't realize. The Ordinance of 1789 (almost indentical to the 1787 ordinance) declares the articles within irrevocable and one of those articles says that the federal taxes collected within a state is to be by the authority and direction of the state legislatures, as in the original states. This of course settles this for the original states and those of the NW territory. And all new states include an equal footing statement within their enabling acts. Does the IRS operate using state authority?

The "official" answer is "The 16th Amendment changed that, giving the Federal government the power to collect income tax as a direct tax."

The correct answer on all taxation issues is "All taxation is theft!" That is more important than arguing legal technicalities.

In that sense, the "IRS Targets Conservatives" outrage is a fnord. People are upset over "IRS power was abused!" instead of "IRS power should not exist! Taxation is theft!" As usual, a couple of replaceable figurehead leaders get changed, and the scam continues.


tim commented on I'm About To Get A New Cell Phone - Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere II or Samsung Galaxy S4?.
s4 for sure.

I realized something better. I can get an S4 plus one of those mobile USB/bluetooth gaming controllers.


You just barely qualified for not getting filtered out as spam.

I can tell that you published this comment on several other blogs, as a Google search shows.

I'm skeptical of someone who's trying to start a software company, but can't afford $300 seed capital.

You pushed your luck too much. You published the exact same comment AGAIN, and now both were deleted as spam. Try it again too much more, and I'm going to get more aggressive at blocking you.


Anonymous Coward commented on Don't Sign An NDA Before A Programming Job Interview.
I've been bitten twice by the programming assignment that was in fact real work.

The first company that pulled this trick on me was a 3 man company in the countryside. I was suspicious because the assignment seemed like real work. Anyway I did it one afternoon at home and emailed it to them. I eventually went to face-to-face interviews and spent the whole day at the company. The company consisted of one Visual Basic programmer, one recent graduate and the boss. The solution I wrote was in C/C++. The Visual Basic programmer told me they were moving to C/C++ as Visual Basic didn't cut it. He also said I was the only person to submit a correct solution and *they were going to use my code in their software product*.

Anyway a month went by and I didn't hear from them. Late one evening I got a phone call from the boss and he told me they were having a problem and could I visit and solve it for them. He said he would pay my train fare. I told him I couldn't really do any more free work for them. The next day I got a snotty rejection email.

So even though I was the only one that submitted the correct solution I still didn't get the job.

Anonymous Coward commented on Don't Sign An NDA Before A Programming Job Interview.

About 5 years ago I got talking to a manager I met on the joelonsoftware forum. I told him none of his jobs was suitable for me, but I really liked his stated company's attitude to software development. That was it. I did email any further and he didn't email me.

For some strange reason he remembered me and out-of-the-blue, 5 years later he emailed me and recommended I apply for a job at his company. Well I was quite flattered he remembered me. So I looked up the job. It has a pre-interview assignment. Again it looked like real work. I had been bitten before, but I thought that I shouldn't become all paranoid just because it happened once before.

Anyway the work was writing a parser. I've written quite a few parsers in my time. It took me a good few hours. I understand that a fair amount of programmers probably wouldn't be able to do this work. I tested my code thoroughly and it worked fine. I was quite pleased with it. It was an efficient piece of code.

I emailed my solution in one evening. First thing in the morning I got a rejection email. As the job had only just been posted, I suspect I would have been the only applicant at that time.

I emailed the manager and expressed surprise. I asked him to give details how my solution wasn't good enough. I got no specifics from him at all.

I strongly suspect it was just a scam to get some free code, he was too dumb to write himself.

This is nasty stuff, because if enough people try this trick it will discourage people applying for real jobs. Shame on this scumbag.

I have another offensive story. I went on one interview, and the guy spoke to me for just a few minutes. All he did was ask my salary expectations, and that he wanted me to come back another day for a programming test. I was offended, because he could have accomplished that with a phone screen, rather than making me commute 2 hours for a 5 minute interview. On the other hand, I've got nothing else to do, and might as well waste time on it.

Matthew Walker commented on Don't Sign An NDA Before A Programming Job Interview.

If a programming assignment is too simple, then it isn't a real test.

Not in my experience. A fair number of literal non-programmers do get through the screening process to an on-site interview. I have seen it, not infrequently. So you give them what Jeff Atwood called a "fizzbuzz" test: Just prove you're a vertebrate, and we'll continue the interview.

But if somebody wants you to write non-trivial, commercial-quality code for the interview, yeah... no. That's crazy. A half an hour worth of coding, tops. Not a lot of guys can do enough to be worth stealing in half an hour.

I've had guys ask me to code stuff on the whiteboard and talk them through why I did what I did. That's cool. You want to know how somebody thinks about coding.

I certainly don't mind fizzbuzz-type screening questions. Those are reasonable. If someone asked me fizzbuzz and another similar question as a written pre-screen, I'd do it.

What I hate are questions that test obscure language trivia. For example, questions regarding dynamic_cast in C++. I've never seen dynamic_cast used in production C++ code.

I also hate design pattern questions, because they never accept my answer "I don't like design patterns. They are too general to be useful. If you use too many design patterns, your code starts to become a mess of extra classes and extra methods."

Here was one interview project. "Write a trading system in VB/Excel that connects to Interactive Brokers. Write a VB/Excel script that executes VWAP trades." Seriously? I offered to do it as a 1 week consulting project, and he declined. That guy was flagrantly looking for free consulting. I also can tell, due to the way he got angry when I refused.

What happened to the technical interview? I've been on 50+ interviews in the past 6 months while looking, and there's been almost no serious technical interviews. Most interviews don't get more sophisticated than "Do you have 3-5 years of experience in X? No? Why are you wasting my time?"

Anonymous Coward commented on Don't Sign An NDA Before A Programming Job Interview.

> A half an hour worth of coding, tops. N

Several years ago I applied for a job at Microsoft, UK.

There were 3 coding questions to be submitted pre-interview and one whiteboard coding question.

At the time I was running a software business and taking a part-time university course. So from time to time I would be asked to add enhancements to my software. I also had about 5 - 6 assignments per year for my university course. I was reasonably busy and had the belief interviews shouldn't consume too much of your time.

The interview was in a different city to where I live. I had to wake up around 5 am to get to the interview on time.

I interviewed with the whole team. Something like 6 - 7 different interviews. Each interviewer asked 2 whiteboard coding questions. I was even questioned through lunch!

I was thinking it was getting to be a bit much.

Anyway at the end of the day I was asked to write practically a mini computer program on the whiteboard. It simply would not have fitted. There was no effort to reduce the size of the task down. Then the manager started bashing loudly on his keyword. I realized that the guy was taking the piss. My mind stopping working. I didn't answer his question at all. I was getting tired and he was obviously bashing loudly on his keys to distract me.

Two weeks later I got a phone call from their HR woman. She asked me if I wanted interview feedback. I said I didn't. Eventually she convinced me and I accepted.

I was surprised at some of the negative comments. In fact I was surprised that some of the interviewers were picking on everything but my coding ability. One interviewer (a QA guy) even bothered to comment I delayed for 30 seconds before answering one question! I was offended that I interviewed at the largest software company in the world and they couldn't care less about my programming ability. Eventually I complained. Then the HR woman said the manager said I was so stupid I didn't realize I got his question wrong. I wasn't stupid, I was tired and I didn't bother to answer his question at all.

Wow! This post generated a traffic spike! Most of the comments are about programming interview tests, and not the original subject, "Only people with stupid ideas demand you sign an NDA before interviewing for a job with their startup."

I left this comment on Captian Capitalism's blog. (He promoted my post!)

===

Well, for really simple tests like fizzbuzz, I always agree to do it.

No, I've never been responsible for hiring. With my ability to evaluate intelligence and personality type, I should be great at it, but I've never had the opportunity.

What I hate are programming assignments. I do it, I know I did well, and then I don't get an interview.

I also hate the multiple choice screening tests. They always test obscure language trivia that I don't use, and they have mistakes or really obscure loopholes that makes me question the intelligence of the author. (Seriously, this question expects me to know that really obscure thing? If you know that really obscure thing, the correct answer is d; otherwise c. What do I choose?) Brainbench is the most annoying, but there are others.

Once, I went on an interview, and after the interview he gave me an assignment and implied that I'd get an offer if I passed. It took a few hours, I did it, I know it worked, but no offer.

I have the opposite problem as the hiring manager who complains interviewees can't pass fizzbuzz. I know I'm one of the top 1% performers, but my resume gets drowned out by all the chaff. For 95%+ of resume submissions, I don't make it past the keyword screening phase.

I don't have any connections or "networking" (another thing Captain Capitalism hates), so I'm SOL.

Most of my experience is in C/C++, which nobody uses anymore. I get zero credit for that experience when applying for jobs in PHP, Java, .NET, or other things. They aren't that much different. You still have to understand the requirements and understand the legacy code, and that skill is transferable, but nobody considers me. So, even though I'm one of the top 1% performers, I'm an unemployable loser.

There's also something that nobody ever explicitly states. No matter how much he claims to want the best, a hiring manager ALMOST NEVER wants to hire someone more skilled than him, because he's insecure about his own job. Paradoxically, being on the top end of the experience and ability scale makes me unemployable.

I'm never even asked fizzbuzz or sincere technical questions on an interview! It's all resume keyword matching! I haven't gone on a single interview where the interviewer was genuinely evaluating my technical ability! That wasn't the case 5-10 years ago when I started.

BTW, hooray for Captain Capitalism! He sent me over 150 visits today to that post! Just in case you wanted to know how much power you have to promote a link. According to piwik, I got 5x my normal traffic today.

I'm doing my part to promote the decline! Instead of being gainfully employed generating wealth that criminals can steal, I'm going on the occasional interview, browsing the Internet, and working on some personal projects.

The thing that offends me is that I can't find *ANY* job. I'd take something entry-level just to get back in the workforce and get more experience. I can't even get that.

Maybe I should get a job as a security guard? I could work on my blog, write a book, or work on my own projects in the idle time.

====

not_PC commented on Don't Sign An NDA Before A Programming Job Interview.

lol, I agree.

I had a phone interview and the guy -- in a very thick Indian accent, which made it difficult to understand what he was saying -- asked me how the C# memory management worked. He then asked me to dictate SQL code to him... over the phone...

I don't miss having missed that "boat".

Another amusing story, another Indian interviewer:

Indian: How much SQL experience do you have?

FSK: I have 10 years of experience, about half of it working with SQL.

Indian: Sorry, I'm looking for someone who's only worked on SQL and nothing else.

[end of interview]

Another interesting bit from Captian Capitalism's blog:

A question comes to my mind regarding IT guys vs HR and other hiring practices:

Why isn't there more IT guys that start their own business instead of trying to get a job or a gig ?

It isn't easy as it sounds. If you're targeting individual customers, you need a *LOT* of customers before it becomes viable as a solo business.

If you want to raise capital, VC is another headache. Great programmers don't have the personality type the VCs are looking for (and if they did, they wouldn't be great programmers). If you partner with someone non-technical, more likely than not, you wind up partnering with a Steve Jobs-type psychopath who winds up controlling the business. (Zuckerberg is hailed in the mainstream media as a genius. His biggest accomplishment was cheating all his early partners, especially Eduardo Saverin.)

If you target corporate customers, you're SOL unless you have contacts.

If you're a consultant, you're just a higher-paid hourly employee.

Even if I do successfully bootstrap a business, part of the taxes I pay subsidize banksters. Then, the banksters will prefer a good Ponzi like Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook, rather than a fundamentally sound business.

If I want to save up my salary and use that as seed capital, high taxes make that hard.

The State severely restricts the economy, making it very hard for talented workers to start or bootstrap a business.

High taxes and a corrupt monetary system are one of the big reasons talented workers can't easily start businesses. Software isn't heavily regulated, but frivolous lawsuits from software patent trolls are a big problem.

PRCD commented on Don't Sign An NDA Before A Programming Job Interview.

In an interview, you are interviewing them as much as they you. Just walk away from any interview that doesn't treat you like a human and demands too much prep work. Politely conclude any interview where someone on your team or in mgmt appears to be incompetent, rude, evil, or devious.

The key is to weed-out places of employment that you'll just have to leave after a short time due to horrible work climate/horrible people/horrible mgmt.

Anonymous Coward commented on Don't Sign An NDA Before A Programming Job Interview.

I had one and half days of interviews at Microsoft in Denmark.

For the second day I actually did well. During my interview with the manager, I got every question he asked me correct. At the end of the interview he asked one question. After some working out I gave the answer. He then repeated my answer in different words and said he had to rush to the next interview.

I then had two more interviews. The last one involved a difficult problem and I had to write a large amount of software on the whiteboard. I could tell the manager didn't understand what I was writing. He then trotted out the answer in a French accent, which actually didn't match his question. I guess he wasn't that technical and/or wasn't fluent in spoken English. Anyway I had to write a massive amount of difficult code for the precise question he phrased me.

It was all wasted. My last two interviews were pointless and I was told I had got the last question incorrect in my third from last interview. That is untrue. I said the correct answer and all the manager did was re-phrase it.

As this interview was in a foreign country and involved traveling, it was a waste (in total) of about 4 days of my life. I was angry at the time that the picked on one wrong answer, which is fact was correct. This is seriously not nice.

It's hard to filter out incompetent employers when almost every employer is incompetent and the job market is lousy.

There are a couple of interviews where there were big red flags during the interview, I decided to ignore it and give them a chance anyway, and now I have a few short-term jobs on my resume. On the other hand, for one interview, the interview was lousy, but I got an offer and I wound up working with someone else, and it went very well.

Another website is discussing this post now. Someone said "FSK is obviously incompetent because he didn't like Ruby on Rails." I decided to leave a comment.

===

If you want more fun, look at a more current post, "node.js sucks".

Again, there are people who agree with me, saying server-side javascript is a pants-on-head retarted idea. Then, there are people who say I'm a fool for dissing on spaghetti continuation-passing-style and asychronous coding style.

I get that for a *LOT* of posts.

http://fskrealityguide.blogspot.com/2009/02/stackoverflow-sucks.html

When I see some people agreeing with me, and a lot of people calling me out as an unqualified fool, then I know it's an important subject.

===

Also, my "Don't do programming tests!" rule and "Don't sign NDAs!" rule is a way to avoid wasting time on fools. People who require this are more clueless than average. I offer this as good advice for everyone, and not just people who are highly skilled. I'm aware that my "market value" is close to zero, even though I'm pretty sure that I'm highly talented. In a corrupt economy, "market value" is based on the ability to promote yourself, especially lying skills, rather than actual ability.

There are other rules I forgot to mention, "Don't bother with headhunters who insist on meeting you in person before forwarding your resume to the client." and "Don't give out your SSN to headhunters and recruiters." I still waste time meeting headhunters, so I don't follow my own rule yet.

Nils commented on Don't Sign An NDA Before A Programming Job Interview.

You should still bill them for the work you did.

They would just laugh at him. They would claim their current production code has nothing to do with the programming assignment they gave him. If they weren't cheapskates, they would have hired him as a short-term consultant. Unless you're prepared to sue (and lawyers are a waste of time and money), write it off as a loss and a learning experience. Employers know that it's expensive and impractical to sue them, giving them leverage to cheat you.


not_PC commented on Javascript Still Sucks.
I gotta ask (just curious). What are your thoughts on languages such as Erlang and Lisp?

I've worked with C++ (loved it), C (loved it... although it is an ugly duckling), Java (meh), PHP (bleh!!!!), C# (for some reason I feel better about this than Java, but not as good as C++), Erlang (weird syntax, but it does have the bonus of the actor model) and Lisp (will need to revisit, still don't 100% "get it").

not_PC commented on Javascript Still Sucks.

Oh and I've worked with Javascript, it seems like it's needlessly complex (the language itself), as if it could be done better.

Actually, there's really only a couple of classes of languages. There's C/C++/assembly. There's the LISP family (featuring functions as variables), which includes SCHEME and parts of Ruby. There's the Matlab/APL/Mathematica/R family. There's the SQL family. There's scripting languages, bash/shell, Perl, PHP, Python. There's the bytecode languages (Java, .NET).

I haven't used Erlang, so I have no opinion. I've never seen a job ad requesting Erlang experience, so I'm not motivated to learn it.

I did some LISP in college (SCHEME actually), in the introductory CS class. Now, that same class is design patterns and Java (yuck!), so I don't know if I would even finish a CS major if I were starting today. LISP suffers the same "it's slow" problem of any language other than C/C++. For certain AI problems, I heard it's good, but newer languages also feature the function/map constructs that LISP uses.

I've never seen a job ad requesting LISP experience (unless you're Paul Graham).

That was one of the biggest coups by Sun (now Oracle), convincing all the top CS departments to start using Java as their "language of choice". As usual, marketing beats quality.

Actually, I like PHP. If you're doing something web-based, it's much better than C/C++. To do the equivalent of php's file_get_contents (from a url) in C++ requires a lot of code or libraries. PHP is a thin wrapper for C. PHP handles hashes and arrays MUCH BETTER than Perl. The website php.net is a great resource for learning php, and has answered almost any question I've ever had. I haven't seen a website the same quality as php.net for fads like Ruby on Rails or node.js. I've written a couple of things in PHP, but then rewrote them in C++ when the PHP version was too slow.

Technically, any Turing-complete language would work for any task. Lately, I've been doing some Javascript, experimenting with writing a web-based game, PHP (This blog is in PHP and has some custom code. See if you can find all of it!), and occasionally C/C++ when PHP isn't fast enough.

My attitude towards languages lately is "I'm learning them only for a job." However, most jobs require you to ALREADY HAVE WORK EXPERIENCE in whatever language they are using. Learning it on your own isn't good enough. I figure if a language is in enough demand, someone will hire me to use it even though I have no prior experience in it. However, that strategy hasn't been working.

In my CS classes, the professors said "Learn the theory. Don't focus on specific languages. If you know the theory and have talent, you'll never have a problem learning a new language." While working and looking for a job, employers always demand experience in the specific language they're using. Experience in similar languages and older languages is worth $0.

Finally, Javascript was tacked on to Netscape browser in a hurry to beat out competitors, and now we're stuck with it as a standard.

MP commented on Javascript Still Sucks.

Head bob. Javascript is a neat little language with a simple(ish) syntax. I can't imagine writing anything big in it though.

I continue to be amazed how the industry has largely thrown off mature dev tools for web development which takes 10 times the effort to do 1/10 th the work.

I graduated from UC Berkeley in 1997 just ahead of the Java monster (sounds like you had a similar undergrad experience and have, like me, watched with dismay as the curriculum has ignored useful stuff for fluff and hype). I'm still annoyed at Netscape for intentionally muddying the waters by naming their crap Javascript to jump on the Java hype. I still have to explain that one to people.

Luckily I've managed to find work in the C++ performance niche. There are still some of us out here.

not_PC commented on Javascript Still Sucks.

Thanks for the explanation.

I've had a bad experience working in a PHP shop, hence my weariness towards it. I was told to write a desktop app in PHP when other languages such as VB .NET or Perl would have been better candidates. The reason? They didn't want to have too many languages that they're developing code in... I remember asking a Zend consultant if writing PHP desktop apps made any sense, he said no (there were other annoyances at job).

As for Javascript, I agree with your sentiment 100%.

PHP is not for a desktop app. It's for web-based only. (You can use some command-line shell scripts for PHP, but you'd probably be better off with Perl or Python for something like that. I do simple scripts in PHP because I know it better than Perl or others.)

However, sometimes it's easier to make something web-based rather than a desktop app, because then it's easier to troubleshoot, deploy upgrades, and control security.

My experience with Ruby on Rails was in a place that was using it incorrectly (in addition to Ruby on Rails itself being lousy). Also, my two Java jobs were on projects that were mostly disasters.

I also am surprised by the proliferation of web frameworks. When applying for the job, you aren't just expected to know the language, you're also required to already know the framework they're using.

The "advantage" of a framework is that, if your problem closely matches the framework, you can bang out a simple website quickly. The problem occurs when you want more features than the framework provides. Then, the framework becomes a handicap, because you have to deal with the framework overhead. You have to write framework-compliant code in addition to the code for whatever feature you're adding.

I always thought it would be foolish for a startup to use one of these frameworks, because then your product looks exactly the same as everyone else using the same framework. If your startup is truly original, there won't be a framework that covers what you're doing.

not_PC commented on Javascript Still Sucks.

I agree 100% with the framework perspective. At my last job, we had that exact same problem. The requirements were more than the framework and that was a nightmare. We had a consultant develop this little authentication piece that's 100% not standard in any way, after he was done, no one really knew how that code worked (and the guy who wrote it probably already forgot how it works).

Doing it straight in PHP would have been easier and without a consultant that we paid through the nose for :) .

Amusing, at the job for the Ruby on Rails disaster, the "architect" decided to use Ruby on Rails, having never used it before. He bet the startup on Ruby on Rails, and was wrong. Because he didn't know Rails, he had to hire a "Rails consultant". I tried learning Rails myself, but the documentation was incomprehensible. Rails demands a certain database layout, so I couldn't get Rails to work with the legacy database. When I tried to do something more complicated than the built-in scaffolding, there just wasn't any information on how to do that.

Some pro-State trolls say "FSK couldn't understand Rails because he's incompetent!", but it really was an incomprehensible mess (and still is, as far as I can tell).

not_PC commented on Javascript Still Sucks.

Actually, the original product worked just fine. The problem was that we had a self-described "architect" who wanted this project moved into an "MVC Framework", then the dude left and the manager was just cracking the whip to "Git 'er done!"... no, he literally said this.

Then the "architect" left and I was stuck with a self-absorbed man-child who knows only PHP and Javascript and thinks he's a gift to the universe.

I have the money to just not work... for years... in a savings account. I stuck around because other matters that _required_ I have a job (I prefer not to speak of these details, personal matter).

lol, at this stage, I'll start doing mobile game development and start selling little games for $1.00 or sell adverts. At least in that case I won't have the urge to hurl when I'm stuck between an egomaniac and an idiot.

Best quote from my manager: "You don't follow our design standards."

Me: "But we don't have anything written down that tells us how we should 'design' our apps or anything else."

Him: "Well, you should pick up on the flavor of what we do here by now."

Me:

not_PC commented on Javascript Still Sucks.

Oh and I don't know myself, but check out Zend and CakePHP for "fun", if you're that interested.

You should read "Software Architects Suck - Never Trust A Software Architect". Everyone I've met someone who called himself a "software architect" was a completely unqualified loser. A software architect is a full-time manager who doesn't code himself. That job description is tailor-made for someone who's good at promoting himself and emotional manipulation tricks, but has no actual coding ability.

Because the software architect doesn't get his hands dirty with implementation details, it's never his fault when the project fails.

I've concluded that Drupal is more worth learning than Zend or CakePHP. I haven't seen any ads for CakePHP in awhile, but I used to. Zend framework overuses design patterns from what I heard.

That's one big problem with frameworks. There's so many of them, and they come and go like fads. However, to get "buzzword compliant" with a framework, I need a couple years of experience in it to get past the HR/headhunter screening filter. By that time, the framework won't be in demand anymore and it'll be something else.

BTW, don't leave your savings in a checking account. You'll get robbed via inflation. Buy gold or silver coins, or the gold/silver ETFs. I haven't yet followed my own advice to buy PMs and take physical delivery.


sth_txs commented on Yahoo Will Buy Tumblr And Ruin It.
What is really crazy is that Yahoo in the late 1990's actually reached into the $250 range as a stock. Who would buy that?

When it's a bubble, valuation doesn't matter. All that matters is finding a greater fool to buy it. When it comes time for the bubble to burst, the banksters start short selling and naked short selling.


Anonymous Coward commented on How To Win A Stock Picking Contest.
> ought a different stock than the one he intended, and won.

I'm afraid I did something similar. I purchased an oil company by mistake with a similar name to a natural gas company.

The stock went up lots. I think I quadrupled my money.

not_PC commented on How To Win A Stock Picking Contest.

lol, welcome to trading.

Chrono commented on Is My Blogging Motivation And Ability Returning?.
Check these out:

http://www.meetup.com/nycancap/

http://agorism.meetup.com/

http://anarcho-capitalism.meetup.com/

I've been looking for more things to do.

not_PC commented on Is My Blogging Motivation And Ability Returning?.

I don't want to come across as someone that tells you how you live your life, but I have read about how those who have adopted a paleo diet have improved their physiological and psychological health (or rather, a non-paleo diet causes these problems in the first place.)

You could try this diet first and see what it does to you after some time (6 months or so).

Just a suggestion :) . You can ultimately lead your life as you see fit :) .

Anonymous Coward commented on Is My Blogging Motivation And Ability Returning?.

Original post

>I’ve done many programming tests and assignments, and it never led anywhere, and now I

>refuse. What was the point of doing all that work for a CS degree, if many employers

>demand a stupid screening test?

FSK's comment on comments

>the comments were mostly on stupid programming tests, and not NDAs, which was the main

>subject of the post.

You did mention programming tests in your post.

I was asked to sign a NDA twice. Once was just before a Google interview. The NDA wasn't printed out for me. It was on a monitor (not on a desk) fixed in a position that was hard to view. I couldn't read it properly. It should have been printed out. Anyway none of the interviewers spoke about their work. It was just an silly problem that really had nothing to do with computers and some general programming questions. As my first interview at in the morning, I only got the correct answer on my second attempt. But it was correct. Apart from that I did well, apart from one question where the interviewer spouted out the answer after giving me all of 5 seconds to answer it! At the end of it, a woman led me into an office to say Google wouldn't contact me if I didn't get the job! That was it.

The second time was for a silly two man company with an idea that anybody could see would never work out. There were currently hiring two contractors to design their website. Their first problem was their website couldn't work with the style sheet and third party company had produced for them! So they didn't even have a rudimentary website up and running!

At the time I was running my own small software business. They told me I should sell my business to Microsoft and make lots of cash!!!! Ha!

Anonymous Coward commented on Is My Blogging Motivation And Ability Returning?.

> The second time was for a silly two man company wit

I forgot to mention the two founders of this company were ex-bank employees and so obviously had connections to get them the start-up cash.

Obviously this company must have folded since I saw them.

Well, Seroquel isn't that bad. It did partially cure my color blindness. I haven't noticed any other negative side-effects. When I was taking Risperdal+Zoloft, I wasn't motivated to blog at all. It's coming back now.

I'll try going drug-free again someday. That isn't an option right now, because my parents would panic.

Regarding startup founders with money, I've seen that a lot. Some people raise money and have an idea for a startup, but no technical co-founder. Inevitably, they hire incompetent people to implement their product and fail. That was the case at the job where I was using Ruby on Rails. By random luck, they wound up hiring me, but I was in a junior position and couldn't set things on the right track. They did have a good business plan. In that case, having the wrong "software architect" was the difference between failure and cashing out for $500M+.

I've seen some startups where they hired an outsourcing company to develop version 1.0, but when I looked at it, it was junk that I could have done myself in a few days, and done better.

For someone with a good business plan and some seed capital, they might have a 1%-5% chance of success if they hired at random. Unfortunately, if you're computer illiterate, you aren't going to do better than random. If you aren't a good programmer youself, you are almost guaranteed to hire a good liar rather than someone good at implementing.

4 Responses to Reader Mail – 05/19/2013 To 05/25/2013

  1. One theme of your blog is that government monopolies and forced taxation is bad.

    I think that healthcare should be provided by the government and paid for our of taxation. Some decades ago the National Health Service probably worked well in the UK.

    But successive Labour and Conservative governments have wrecked it with increased bureaucracy and increasing privatization, such that hospitals are paying more and more of their budget to private firms to do very little. Effectively the NHS is a cash cow for their friends.

    I was born in the United Kingdom and have a UK passport. I have lived here most of my life and pay the high taxes here. If you add up all the taxes we pay probably 60% of our income.

    Yet I am trying to see a National Health doctor for a minor ailment. I can’t.

    My registered GP now works privately and has a locum filling in for him. It was a waste of time seeing him. I then went to the hospital up the road where they have a walk in clinic. THIS IS IN THE SMALL AREA OF LONDON IS WAS BORN IN. Yet this hospital tells me I am not in their catchment area. They only told me this just before my registered appointment so it effectively just wasted my time when I could actually have been trying to get another appointment.

    There was a debate on the BBC television programme Question Time about whether it is right that illegal immigrants over here access our National Health Service for free. What a joke? I am a UK citizen paying UK taxes and I can’t access out National Health System.

    I am told I can’t even attend the walk in clinic of the nearest hospital (and incidentally right in the small area of London I was born in) because I am outside their catchment area.

    • You are wrong. The main reason healthcare is expensive is that the State artificially restricts the supply of doctors, via the licensing cartel. Nationalized healthcare is a patch for a State-cause problem, the artificial shortage of doctors due to licensing requirements.

      You’re making the classic fallacy. The government causes a problem (undersupply of doctors and high prices). The solution is to give the government more power, via nationalized health care.

      • I did hear somewhere (probably a comment on maxkeiser.com) that a lot of A level students with straight A grades tried to get into a UK medical school, but found there weren’t the places.

        The result of this is that a substantial number of our doctors have to be imported from abroad.

        If I didn’t have to pay 60% of my income in taxes (due to tax law in the UK I can get hit with very large tax bills due to increasing property prices with taxes proportional to market values), then I would have the money to see a private doctor.

        What seems to happen is that a private company builds a hospital or clinic at a vastly increased cost and so the NHS trust (government) has to keep paying this private company vast amounts of money each year (for ever or at least 30 years into the future). The results is there is no money actually to treat and see patients. All the money ploughed into the NHS from taxpayers goes straight out again to private companies and the banks they have taken out loans from.

        Effectively a big pile of money is given away to private companies. The NHS falls apart. The staff of the private companies have the money to pay privately – everybody else is subsidizing them and as a result too poor to pay privately.

        The banksters and their cronies end up the only people in the UK that can afford healthcare.

        • In the USA, each hospital is given monopoly access to 911 calls in a given region. If a group of doctors try to open a new hospital, then the OTHER HOSPITALS are the ones who lobby against opening it, preserving their cartel.

          There are many qualified students who don’t get into ANY medical school. There are people who want to work as a doctor, but are denied access to the profession by the licensing cartel. When you talk about high prices for healthcare, it’s pointless to not also discuss the licensing cartel for doctors.

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