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A Bad Litmus Test Expand / Collapse
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Posted Saturday, November 7, 2009 11:09 AM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item A Bad Litmus Test






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Post #815457
Posted Saturday, November 7, 2009 5:19 PM
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Frances Allen: Pioneer in optimizing compilers, first woman to win the Turing Award (2006) and first female IBM fellow.

Compiler is very low level work with very few changes; business software development is much higher level work.

Joe Armstrong: Inventor of Erlang

I know about Erlang comes with limited implementation so not very relevant to Microsoft platform developer.


Joshua Bloch: Author of the Java collections framework, now at Google

This is the only person whose work I would like to see because I would like to see if it is clean or comes with base mathematical flaws like other Object libraries.

Bernie Cosell: One of the main software guys behind the original ARPANET IMPs and a master debugger

I am interested in performance tuning and profiling not too deep in testing.

Douglas Crockford: JSON founder, JavaScript architect at Yahoo!

Now I know why Yahoo new is slow as molasses I have sent them more than ten emails I will cancel my account so they have added navigation that takes me out of their slow JavaScripts loaded pages.

L. Peter Deutsch: Author of Ghostscript, implementer of Smalltalk-80 at Xerox PARC and Lisp 1.5 on PDP-1

I know Martin Fowler he creates usable objects and patterns and he tells you where he got the original patterns he implemented.

Brendan Eich: Inventor of JavaScript, CTO of the Mozilla Corporation

I don't like Mozilla because IE saves my yahoo map pages Mozilla saved files are blank.


Brad Fitzpatrick: Writer of LiveJournal, OpenID, memcached, and Perlbal

ADO.NET with Http cache not very complicated engineering, important in Java because Sun did not pay for it but Microsoft did and we take it for granted.

Dan Ingalls: Smalltalk implementor and designer

I can relate to Martin Folwer from Small Talk the rest is distance history.

Simon Peyton Jones: Coinventor of Haskell and lead designer of Glasgow Haskell Compiler

Software history not relevant to current software implementation.

Donald Knuth: Author of The Art of Computer Programming and creator of TeX

Another history great contributions with limited current implementation .

Peter Norvig: Director of Research at Google and author of the standard text on AI.

Microsoft runs one of those anybody who is interested can see most of what they do but most is not implementation ready engineering.


Guy Steele: Coinventor of Scheme and part of the Common Lisp Gang of Five, currently working on Fortress

Software history not relevant to current implementation.


Ken Thompson: Inventor of UNIX

He is relevant because most of the none Windows operating systems uses it, I have used Oracle in Solaris, IBM ISeries and HP all uses a variation of UNIX so he is relevant.


Jamie Zawinski: Author of XEmacs and early Netscape/Mozilla hacker

The University of Illinois sells Marc Andreessen’s code so most serious developers can create a browser.






Kind regards,
Gift Peddie
Post #815496
Posted Saturday, November 7, 2009 7:47 PM


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I agree... it's a very bad Litmus test. It's more like a ring-knockers club and it shows a very narrow mind.

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Post #815501
Posted Sunday, November 8, 2009 6:37 PM


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I also agree. While checking credentials is good sometimes, some of the brightest people I have known did not have degrees but they did things no one else could.

I think that a bad litmus test is one that uses absolutes and does not consider other accomplishments of the individual. Sometimes these are the type of people that will take you down a path that you would not have considered otherwise.
Post #815628
Posted Monday, November 9, 2009 1:13 AM
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I think my response to that question in an interview would be: "Sorry I think we're wasting each others' time <Exit stage right>"
Post #815661
Posted Monday, November 9, 2009 2:34 AM
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Being a programmer foremost and group leader at one time, I can the say the interview question is junk. The best programmer I ever developed was an engineer graduate who didn't know how to program well at the time of hiring. I just saw his personal potential.

On the SQL world, there are some good authors but if I am forced to read only one in a day, I would read the articles of the very brilliant person: Itzik Ben-Gan of SQL Magazine.
Post #815683
Posted Monday, November 9, 2009 4:26 AM
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I wonder why who the famous people contributed to science, history and geography are taught at school when one can Google it and get the answer.
Post #815726
Posted Monday, November 9, 2009 4:48 AM
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Raju Lalvani (11/9/2009)
I wonder why who the famous people contributed to science, history and geography are taught at school when one can Google it and get the answer.


Aside from Google, there's also Wikipedia. But the Internet has another nickname, 'Worldwide Web of Lies'.

Anyone who has a vested interest will contradict, misinform, dis-inform or outright lie (in ignorance of not knowing everything in the Internet is logged and can be tracked).
Post #815733
Posted Monday, November 9, 2009 4:49 AM
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Gift, I'm not sure which side you were arguing, but your post showed what is likely to happen if you _do_ bone up on such things before an interview: you are likely to make flippant remarks that get you in trouble like:

"Donald Knuth: ... not relevant"

If the interviewer knows who Knuth is, they will pounce on that remark, and ask you to justify it. If they really are a fan of Knuth, there is no chance of you winning that argument.
I appreciate that you probably meant something a little different, but now you have to explain why you failed to get your point across the first time, which is another black mark.

Much better to say that you read what you have time for, and evaluate all advice empirically, and hopefully end the question right there. As others have said, if they push any further you should consider your position then, and politely ask them to get back on topic...


Throw away your pocket calculators; visit www.calcResult.com

Post #815734
Posted Monday, November 9, 2009 4:53 AM
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I'm guessing whoever wrote that quote doesn't actually do a lot of hiring. There are numerous things that can rule a candidate out during an interview (chewing gum through the interview springs to mind, there were other reasons but that sticks in my mind) but if someone thinks it can be decided by a single question then I guess that benefits both parties.

Itzik Ben-Gan was the first name I thought of as well...
Post #815735
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