Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Best Interview Question Ever

A while ago, I went for an interview, during which I was asked what I now consider to be the best interview question I have ever been asked.

The interviewer had warned that "the next few questions might seem a bit strange, but don't worry, I'm going somewhere with this"...  he followed that by asking about a person who I had never heard of (and who's name I still can't remember).
When I confessed to not knowing the name, he then asked the best question I have ever heard.

What do you think of when I say "The Ultimate Evil"?
Following from the previous question, I had a mild panic that maybe there had been some atrocity in the news which I had missed, related to the previously mentioned name, and that I was about to reveal my lack of attention to current affairs.

In fact, the interviewer was probing to see how I would react to his knowledge of the computer games I played - the Ultimate Evil he was thinking of was in fact the star character of Dungeons 2 by Kalypso Media, a game that showed as recently played on my Steam account.

On the day, I dodged the question, not thinking of the game at the time - but on reflection, this would be a great question for all kinds of interviews... here's some thoughts on answers that would indicate the character of the person being asked...
  • "Love of money" - religious or classically trained
  • "Money" - a communist
  • "Windows line endings in Unix source files" - a geek
  • "Emacs Users" - a vi user
  • "Vi Users" - an Emacs user
The list goes on... what would you answer?

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Starting Again From Scratch

It came to my attention recently that I don't actually have a personal computer that is set up with a working development environment.  As a lifelong geek and programmer, this came as rather a surprise to me!

The last time I had my own computer which had a properly configured development environment was about 3 years ago.  Unfortunately, this PC died a surprising death (after losing the magic smoke from two graphics cards, I thought I was done... until the PSU died, and took my primary hard drive with it!)

Since then, I've done quite a few personal development projects, but none has required me to set up a new development environment:

  • My PHP Integration to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 was "close enough" to work that I felt no qualms about setting up an IDE on my company laptop
  • My Pebble.JS app for Remember the Milk was developed using CloudPebble, as was the One Minute Chord trainer I started, so I didn't need to set up anything for that...
  • My work on nicercast and AirSonos were both quick tweaks done using vi on a Raspberry Pi (and some parts directly on GitHub), so no need for a development platform
  • My most recent work on Node.JS modules for the LCDd and the Sonos was all done using the online IDE Cloud9

Recent events have shown me that I do rather need a personal laptop that I can use for development, so I'm starting again with setting up a development platform.
My target is to be able to work on any of my existing GitHub projects easily from a single IDE - or at least from one laptop - as well as to be able to use that laptop for any future projects.

Of course, I've failed at the first hurdle, since my starting point is a Windows 10 PC, and my first project will be an iOS app using Xcode on my wife's MacBook Pro!