It’s Not Just A Programming Problem.

Over at CodingHorror, Jeff riffs on problems hiring for development positions, when many interviewees aren’t able to answer the most basic of code questions.

Well, I’m sure this is a common story in any skills-or-knowledge-driven industry where there’s a minimum bar. For example, we have similar issues when hiring infrastructure support people. We typically advertise for senior staff with 5+ years experience.

The resumes we see are often filled with excitement-inducing hyperbole: “25 years experience on Windows NT-based systems!”“Wrote the book on TCP/IP!”; “I like computers!”

In my experience, it’s statistically likely that if someone lists strong-to-godlike TCP/IP skills, chances are they won’t be able to describe a 3-way handshake.

One of my colleagues developed a pretty good canary question for people wanting to support Windows and claiming years of AD experience: “What tool do you use to manage Users and Computers in Active Directory?” He estimates 75% of interviewees fall at that hurdle.

In my last job, when it was more topical, we’d open by asking NT Domain candidates to name a couple of NetBIOS node types (yes, I was employed there a long time ago now), and for bonus points, how they were different. Anyone getting that question right was basically technically OK’d and breezed through the other questions; they just needed to impress us more than the other (two from thirty) people that got it right.

As a quick suggestion to prospective employees at any firm where I’m an inteviewer: a good portion of the interview is likely to involve going through your resume (this isn’t a marketing job, you know!), so if you’ve put something in there, please do expect to be asked questions about it!

This post brought to you by the numbers 3 and 5, and the word “fizbuzz”. Weird.

My Weekend: Crackdown

 Gah! The whole weekend spent playing Crackdown! What has the world come to!?

Crackdown does a bunch of stuff phenomenally well. I’ve had to think, I’ve had to react quickly, and in some areas I’ve just had to sandbag my way through.

Climbing up the sides of buildings is great fun, and the puzzles involved – like getting to some of the 4-rated Agility Orbs high up on the skyscrapers in the corporate district – have been both frustrating and rewarding, all at once.

In some ways (possibly just Leg Augmentation ways), it’s reminiscent of Deus Ex to me. I’ve retyped that sentence (and a few others) about thirty times now trying to get the sentiment correct, but I can’t, so I’ll leave explaining that as an exercise for the reader!

The bottom line is… it’s just great fun to be able to scale tall buildings in multiple toehold-scrabbling bounds, destroy countless enemies (er, I can count to five, actually) at once with a well-placed rocket blast, and plow through traffic in the Agency truck cab.

For a sandbox-style game, there’s also a noticeably larger-than-average amount of persistence – enemies spawn and respawn, but cars and other damaged items tend to linger much longer than, say, GTA.

I am a bit worried that once I finish the missions, there won’t be any gangs left to destroy for more stats increases; guess I’ll just concentrate on getting to that point first… And again, I guess there’s always Co-Op multiplayer…

So, um, four agility orbs out of five. Stonking good.

Xbox 360 Wireless Receiver (for Windows)

It’s great that it’s finally out in the US… Not so good that I got back last week, dagnabbit! Now I just need to wait for Aussie availability, so I can play RFactor with Racing Wheel comfort until Forza 2 drops! Mmm. Racing wheel.

Combine that with TrackIR, and you have a pretty interesting driving experience, I’m hoping!

More on Gamerscore.

Goings On…

Quick catchups:

While in Seattle, I talked with some folk about IAG and ISA 2006 – all I can say is *wow*. I’m downloading the demo VMs now to have a play.

The other *wow* was SoftGrid. Architecturally, wow! I’m eager to learn more about that.

While on the *wow* subject, I upgraded my parents’ PC to Windows Vista. This is a parts-up-to-5-years-old Athlon 2100+, with 512MB memory and a 200GB hard disk (relatively recent). At first, it was slow. I mean, super-good-grief-will-it-ever-open-Outlook slow. It didn’t seem to be memory, as there was still a bunch cached, but I thought I’d try some more anyway and jammed in a gig – no help (see, this is what you get for troubleshooting based on opinion rather than evicence…). Then, we realized that a) the antivirus software was being a PITA, and b) the networks were reversed – the internal network card was considered public, and the external one private. I’d already disabled the antivirus by the time I noticed that, but it was then that the box calmed down and started performing really well. So I left the extra memory in anyway, and I’ll surprise them with Office 2007 when I’m next over there.

Is there a moral? Nope, just a data point.

Actually, while I was over there for something else, I heard a really good description from someone explaining to a non-computer-person the difference between Windows Vista and Windows XP: “You know your 2001 BMW? This is like a 2006 BMW. Same thing, 5 years better.”

P1610 Drivers for Windows Vista make Tristank Happy

I’m in Seattle at our TechReady conference (actually, it’s over, I fly back tomorrow), and just noticed that my p1610 has a bluetooth logo on the case, but no driver. Not that I have anything I’m dying to use it with here, but, you know, principle and all that.

JK to the rescue – looks like the Fuj drivers for Teh Vistar are done!

I’m looking forward to working automatic screen rotation. Yummy!