Something getting lost in the responses here is the "stress" factor of these interviews. When encountering a difficult architectural or algorithm decision, experience has taught me to develop slowly, prototype often, investigate previous work, and even step away from the issue. Meanwhile, engineering interviews require you to code immediately, in isolation, and then be judged on the first solution you crap out of your brain.
In a recent interview, my solution to a question was bad, I knew it was bad, and I informed my interviewees it was bad. It was difficult for me to come up with other solutions on the spot under pressure of judging eyes and limited time. Immediately after getting off the phone I was able to assess better ways to approach and solve the problem, but too late, those 45 minutes were more important to them than my many years of provable, directly related experience.
Pun threads, memes, and complaining about post quality have been a part of reddit since I started frequenting over 5 years ago. Honestly, with the popularity of so many niche forums the general quality of the website has probably gone up. The problem many people face is after frequenting for awhile you begin to see trends: before opening a post you can predict what kinds of responses are going to be upvoted to the top. It feels like the website has gotten worse, but the only thing that's changed is your enjoyment of it.
I use Pomodoro quite regularly. It works really well in most use cases for me - except when I'm deep into writing some code. I can't get myself to stop after 25 minutes - and then I'm suddenly thrown off my schedule and not managing time anymore.
I haven't really experimented with getting my work pomodoro for more than 25 minutes yet - I think that something like a 45 minute pomodoro may help me for the coding sprints.
You can get a lot done in 25 minutes if you turn off all other distractions and also you know that you will be back with them (email, phone, HN, Twitter etc) after a few minutes.
As far as books/timers etc go, I just use a kitchen timer or my phone or a webapp like Tomatoes and I haven't read any books on it other than the wikipedia article.
Here's a variant I used successfully to deal with a complex project that was in danger of ratholing. The concept is "Tabata for work", if you're familiar with the Tabata principles, but it's basically just pomodoro with a twist.
Instead of, say, 20-minutes-on-5-minutes-off-20-minutes-on the same work, the idea is to divvy up a series of tasks and work on each of them for one Tabata sprint. Ten minutes, with five minutes to enjoy yourself between tasks.
Over two hours, you cover eight separate tasks. It's also really surprising what you can get done in ten minutes; send a certain set of emails, review a document, re-work a spreadsheet, test an app. I would not recommend it for coding, for obvious reasons, but if you are in more of a product management role where you are juggling cats and need a structured system to help you deal with all the cats, this definitely worked for me.
It also helped with prioritisation because after spending 10 minutes on each sub-project, it was easy to see what would need more attention that day and have a better idea of how long it would take. The only drawback is that sometimes I really did need a little more than ten minutes (I experimented with some 20 minute blocks, but interruptions became more of an issue).
I think writing (words, code) is orthogonal to time management as a whole. It's task orientated - if you have found a flow or a solution you need to crack it there and then not stop because 25 mins are up.
I can see it working really well for the admin I completely fail to do at work - just 25 mins of focused doing little bits of crap each day would really help - so in fact I might just set aside that time - I will happily down tools halfway through bank reconciliations and it won't break my flow :-)
I use it frequently, and I haven't had to spend a penny on it. http://e.ggtimer.com/pomodoro is good to help. There's very little technique to it, just work 25 mins, break 5 mins, work 25, break 5, etc. As long as you like.
I can tell you from my admittedly limited mobile social game development experience that user acquisition is really expensive. You need the users you get to make lots of purchases. If your purchases suck, or elicit regret, you're not going survive for very long. It is very common industry advice that purchases should feel really good and provide instant gratification. Industry experts know that once a user makes a first purchase they have a smaller barrier of entry for making more. The industry is all about whales, not about making a quick buck on a user who doesn't know better.
Of course there are companies who don't know any better that are trying to money grab as much as possible, but they're not as successful as you might think. They achieve ranking with a large advertising budget before disappearing into obscurity. But what a lot of people don't want to accept is that a game like FarmVille is a good game that many people legitimately enjoy and feel good spending money on.
Lots of people feel good spending money on heroin, and it also makes them feel good (proven - it chemically makes you feel good!). But you can't possibly agree that heroin is good for you, nor those who make or sell it is justified in making and selling it.
I did not discuss the morality of addictive game mechanics. I was responding to the assertion that people regret making in app purchases. The author was operating under the assumption that users are being misled or tricked into making purchases that they would later regret. I was merely explaining why most successful IAP-driven games could not reach success this way.
$20 games don't make money on the App Store unless it's a known brand. Just look at the top grossing list. I always see anecdotal evidence in these threads where people claim that they would spend money up front, but all evidence points elsewhere. The App Store has been a race to the bottom since day 1.
Ads in aps don't make money. These days they're mostly used for cross promotion.
San Francisco homelessness is not a question about rich vs. poor. It's a question about what to do with people who are mentally handicapped and/or drug abusers. This is partially a money problem, but it's largely a social problem. A lot of other countries deal with this better because they have stronger family support structures. Programming can help, but this isn't a programming problem. And there's no money in it, so anybody who's trying to solve this problem can't afford to live in San Francisco.
Stepping over homeless people on my way to a cushy tech job has given me loads of cognitive dissonance. I have a really hard time with this, and I think about it every single day on my way to work. Frankly, I'm not sure what to do about it, and I'd love to have an open discussion instead of an anti-american one. Everyone here who's arguing about their superior European social programs are really preaching to the quire, because most Americans on Hacker News would kill to have these social programs.
Indeed. We (the folks on HN) are mostly the good guys in this fight. We'd like to help, and I'd like to think we support the right political causes in the ways that we can. But there comes a point where you're doing what you can given your role in society, and you still have to go past homeless people on your way to work. It doesn't make you any less compassionate than the people in any other country.
I work in the Downtown Crossing section of Boston, which has the one of the highest visible homeless populations in the Boston area. I was also consistently troubled by the number of homeless people I encountered to and from work.
It really helped to volunteer at a nearby homeless shelter (Pine Street Inn). I was comforted to see some of worst cases (including people I encountered daily) have access to meals, a clinic, a shelter, and treated with courtesy.
I was also struck by how many people seemed normal - not someone who was mentally ill or spent time on the street.
In general America fulfills a lot of need with private charity - which can occasionally be really impressive. When I worked at a large financial institution there were lots of opportunities for matched giving and volunteering opportunities. I wish tech companies would do this more.
Matched giving seems to be one of those benefits that is more common at the larger employers (e.g. Microsoft employees broke the 1 billion dollar mark last year) and doesn't appear on the smaller tech companies benefits sheets
What programmers can do about homelessness(and poverty):
Simple. Work for places(or build startups) that:
1. Help develop better and cheaper healthcare systems, products and processes.
2. Help develop technology that reduces the price of construction and in general the cost of living.
3. Help non profits and social entrepreneurs.
4. Help political change through technology.
And yes, doing some of this things might mean less wages , and not living in San Francisco.
> San Francisco homelessness is not a question about rich vs. poor.
Yes, it is.
> It's a question about what to do with people who are mentally handicapped and/or drug abusers.
Drug addicts and the mentally ill and/or handicapped who are not also poor have support systems and treatment options available, and are not part of the homelessness problem. So, yes, its about mental illness and drug addiction -- but also very much about rich vs. poor.
> This is partially a money problem, but it's largely a social problem.
Its a resource distribution problem; its not "partially a money problem" or "largely a social problem", its is completely both (money problems are equivalent to resource distribution problems and are a subset of social problems.)
> A lot of other countries deal with this better because they have stronger family support structures.
There may be some cases where countries do this better because of family support structures, but I can't think of any clear examples -- perhaps you could provide some. Most modern developed nations do it better because they have stronger public social support structures.
> Programming can help, but this isn't a programming problem.
This much is true. Its a policy (and, at a more fundamental level, values) problem, not a technical problem.
> Everyone here who's arguing about their superior European social programs are really preaching to the quire,
"Choir" is probably the word you are looking for; preaching to sheets of paper isn't exactly a sensible metaphor.
> because most Americans on Hacker News would kill to have these social programs.
I don't see much evidence for that "most Americans on Hacker news" would be willing to give up America's bias toward largely privatized health care financing, and income tax system that's heavily favorable to capital, and policy of financing a major part of the existing social support system via additional taxes that fall exclusively on labor for a stronger social support systems, much less that they would be willing to "kill" for such systems.
As a matter of fact, many Europeans I've met in the US have moved here to get away from "these social programs" which are strangling their economies and destroying opportunity. Come to think of it, most Europeans I've met in Europe are trying to leave, also.
You probably are strongly opinionated and people you meet are strongly biased subset of Europeans. I personally know no one that would want to live in US. Even the entrepreneurial types. They are aware about rampant litigation, exorbitant costs of even simplest medical procedures that is reflected in costs of health insurance and sheer volume of US tax code. I knew one person though, who went to US to buy some goods and smuggle them back without paying customs and VAT.
Actually, most of my European friends are socialists, but that's not the point. We live in a global economy, and people want to go where the opportunities are, and there are still a lot of opportunities here, especially for upwardly mobile young Europeans who are having trouble finding employment what with a near 50% youth unemployment rate in some countries.
The lack of universal health care probably exacerbates the homelessness situation in the U.S.
With that said, what you see in San Francisco is largely a product of the combination of homeless friendly policies and tolerable weather. Many of the 'homeless' you see during the day don't actually sleep on the street (although a decent number do) and actually reside in SRO's, subsidized housing, and shelters (One complaint I have heard about SF, you can only afford to live here if you are really rich, or if you are really poor).
Fact is the homeless situation may be a bit ugly, but it exists everywhere, it just may not be as visible. At least in SF, it's harder to ignore.
European nations would not be able to afford universal healthcare and all the welfare if they had to pay for their security. US bases in Europe are great financial aid.
I never hear discussions about Iran or Russia being a possible threat in Europe. I do in the US. Which is funny because it really is much bigger problem for Europeans to have guys like Putin and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at their door steps. Never happens. The US bases and military spending is taken for granted. They prefer to talk about universal healthcare and help for the poor instead. As security is non-issue with the US soldiers deployed to this continent.
The thing that really gets on my nerves is that some politicians even want the US bases to be moved out from Europe. They simply don't understand the world in which they are living. Talking distances Syria is closer to Greece than Greece to Germany. Nobody thinks about it that way though.
The US pays the military bills for the whole of Europe and this amounts to money that can and is spent on social services.
> European nations would not be able to afford universal healthcare and all the welfare if they had to pay for their security.
European nations that provide universal healthcare spend less (as a share of GDP and per capita) on healthcare than the US does. So, while they may get a "security subsidy" from the US, it doesn't make sense to say they wouldn't be able to afford universal healthcare without it, since the universal healthcare they have is less expensive, as a share of GDP, than the non-universal healthcare the US pays for while providing the security subsidy.
Bullshit. Finland doesn't have US bases on it's territory and all it's security is paid by the country itself. Plus, it always is under direct threat from Russia. Despite of that (or maybe because of that?) it does have a decent universal healthcare system.
Besides, having US base on your territory is not a guaranty of security - South Vietnam had a lot of them and it didn't help them.
Yeah, that's why socialism is exported by Russia. You see: normally people would vote for security/military spending and not social care. But that's exactly what Russians, i.e. KGB do. They export socialism to the elites of countries they want to weaken.
If you study Russian expansionism since its inception hundreds of years ago, their strategy has always been the same. Russia strategy for centuries has been always the same: start weakening countries you want to invade decades before military action by the means of exporting intellectual fashions that will destroy country's defense system. They use spies and agents heavily for that. Polish kings used to be Russian agents way before Russia invaded Poland. Isn't that genius? Sponsor some crazy parties that want to cut military spending or some other that will introduce social chaos and not talk about real issues (i.e. "rights" of different groups of people, introduce heavy political correctness to avoid important topics), all the stuff to rotten country from inside first. In XX/XXI century this means helping create in targeted country via KGB socialistic elites, socialistic media, education creating weak confused people. So they will never vote for parties advocating strong military and patriotism.
So, this much better for Russia, this much worse for Finland. First thing KGB does is to make sure you (as a country) loose your common sense. Military spending when neighboring Russia? What for, right? No, we'll spend it all on help for the poor. Well, what I can say: Good Luck!
Man, you really are confused! If a country is serious about national defence then it really needs universal health care, because it needs lots of healthy soldiers. Soviet Russia did a lot to make sure there was at least basic medical care available to everyone for exactly this reason - they needed millions of soldiers!
Finland is doing the right thing when it takes care for it's citizens.
Also, news flash for you: socialism in Russia ended some 20 years ago. Now they have a pretty ruthless form of capitalism in there.
When I read what you have to say about Poland I start to think you are from some kind of alternative universe. It's just bizarre.
I'd guess the Polish rant is based on that Soviet really did support the anti-nuclear weapon movement, and so on.
Seing conspiracy theories like those, I am strengthened in the belief that the US extreme left and right are equally crazy. In Europe we mostly see the Chomsky brigade, some variation would make it less irritating.
That rant also ignores the fact that after the 1930s (and particularly after the Spanish Civil War) it was clear that the Soviets regarded any "socialists" who weren't under their direct control as more of a threat than their apparent enemies. Most socialists in Western Europe (e.g. the UK Labour Party) were more afraid of the Soviets than those on the political right.
In e.g. Sweden, the communists stooped being Stalinists when Moscow told them that Stalin was bad... They did start to critizise the Eastern block dictators early... about 1990!
(There were also anarchists etc, but in general the non-communist extreme left-wingers were few before ~1968, when they got more numerous and varied).
Also, I remember reading surprise after 1989 on how much control Soviet had over the West European communist parties. E.g. that the Italian communist party had such an accomodating attitude by order (Soviet wanted to get a de facto split in Western/Eastern Europe.)
For once, the Swedish politics is more interesting! Well, at least if you enjoy sick humor.
The Swedish (ex-)communists became feminists and anti-racists (they argue for something called "structural racism" that native Swedes are guilty of to immigrants -- never with references to non-extremist sources).
In short, just the normal marxism, but another group than "workers" to create conflicts around.
This wouldn't be more than a detail, but the left wing extremists has a big, big representation in the journalist profession since the early 70s. You find lots of left wing academics saying weird stuff in the media, without being identified as e.g. extremist ex-mental patients (Hübinette) or anarchists which wrote admiringly about Ghadaffi (Gardell), etc.
so, watching a lot of KGB-TV, ops sorry RussiaTV lately? I know plenty of Americans watch only this for news.
Don't tell me it's not genius, please. Russia banned recently all outside world financed NWOs from their country, but they air their propaganda in the US day and night. You don't see that? First divide the country. Find original dividing factor. Whatever it is as long as ti exists. I.e. Tea Party in the US which in fact has been a genuine effort to make the Republic better. Then invest millions, hundreds of millions in them. In their NWOs, show them on your TV, support their papers, bloggers, activists. See how much trouble you're creating in the country without even firing a single bullet? They can and do pull it off all the time.
You think Finland is any different? The whole of Russia belongs to KGB and is governed by it. And don't take my word for this, these are almost exact words of the US Ambassador in Moscow that leaked via wikileaks.
Western Europeans are somehow always so naive in the face of threat. Whether it was Hitler or Stalin, they voted, they believed in it. Stop being so blatantly naive, ok?
The USA spends around 18% of its GDP on healthcare already, which larger than any other big country, the Netherlands is next on 12%.
Given the military spend is 4.7% of US GDP it is patently untrue that military spending means that more couldn't be spent on healthcare. You could have a healthcare system that is 50% better than any other Western country, for everyone, just by reallocating the money already spent on healthcare.
Yes, money != outcomes, but it works roughly. Especially as there is so much low hanging fruit in the USA due to the shocking state of healthcare provision for the poor.
> European nations would not be able to afford universal healthcare and all the welfare if they had to pay for their security. US bases in Europe are great financial aid.
Bullshit. Not only are there examples of military independent countries (ever heard of France?) with better healthcare systems, but your whole theory about military expenses being the root cause for USA's less than ideal healthcare system is far too simplistic.
Ask yourself: If X invaded France, would the US spend more than France's military budget defending France? Would US-designed hardware and military R&D products be used? Would the US intelligence network be used to maintain situational awareness?
While Americans certainly tend to overstate the case, I've seen a lot of very proud Europeans claiming the US has had no stake in defending them, after half a century of Cold War left the US the sole standing military hegemon, maintaining an extraordinarily expensive reserve capacity to wage warfare on behalf of the West when it's not directly against their interests.
Universal healthcare is preferable because it's cheaper. The rest of the European-model social welfare state would be possible in the US if we didn't blow so much more than putatively 'military independent' allies on our military, and if we hadn't developed the popular culture we needed to justify that spending in opposition to "Communism". Guess what? We're kind of broke. Europe is going to need to buck up and raise its military spending as a proportion of GDP if it wants to remain in its comfortable non-tenuous position for the rest of the 21st century.
> I've seen a lot of very proud Europeans claiming the US has had no stake in defending them
And I see a lot of proud Americans who state that they save the world out of pure altruism.
I have breaking news for you: the "extraordinarily expensive reserve capacity to wage warfare" is here because it serves USA's interests, and no one else. I highly doubt that the military policies of your government are conceived with the interests of us Europeans in mind (although there is overlap between ours and yours). I'm pretty sure that, except for a few mistakes, it has been immensely economically profitable for the USA overall, allowing you to influence or overthrow governments, ensure a hand on strategic resources as well as allow you to export your goods and culture pretty much everywhere through strategic alliances (I'm thinking especially about Japan and South Korea). That's the reason why there are USA bases in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and everywhere else.
By the way, as a whole Europe is the 2nd military spender, with France and UK matching Russia's spendings, and when added together also matching China's spendings (despite having less than 200 times the population).
>European nations would not be able to afford universal healthcare and all the welfare if they had to pay for their security. US bases in Europe are great financial aid.
This is the kind of statement that only an American, and a very naive and ignorant of world matters at that, would ever make. US bases in Europe are no security at all.
They are a pest, relics of the cold war and unwelcome by the people of Western Europe. The US took advantage of the battered post-WWII European states and the (then real) threat of USSR, to promote NATO and establish army bases in Europe.
>I never hear discussions about Iran or Russia being a possible threat in Europe.
That's because a lot of Europeans actually follow world news and foreign policy and are not spoon fed the latest "enemies" by their media. Oh, and they travel to those "enemy" places and have been dealing with them, culturally, diplomatically and otherwise, for a millennium of so, instead of just hearing about them whenever their media gets its war mood on.
People in America can think that Iran or Russia are "a possible treat" because they rarely follow what's happening outside their hometown, and because all those ludicrous hollywood movies (I've seen tiny nations in Eastern Europe that their military couldn't hurt a fly even if they tried being portrayed as epicenters of plans to attack the US).
Discussing Iran as a (non terrorist) threat to Europe or the US is the kind of thing that only people needing advice from their Media to not conflate Chechnya and the Czech republic would consider.
>The thing that really gets on my nerves is that some politicians even want the US bases to be moved out from Europe. They simply don't understand the world in which they are living.
Your argumentation is pathetic and typical of many Europeans. Americans are stupid. That's the beginning, middle and end of your idea about the country and your only argument in the discussion.
You are the one who should learn more about Iran or Russia. You are the one naive like a child who thinks everybody's nice, while they are playing you. It was the same with Hitler (who some of you still claim was a great leader). It was the same with Stalin (who many of you still love in Europe). It's the same with Iran now. Seeing world in white & black only isn't good, but going deep into color spectrum so much that you don't see obvious is not too smart neither. Especially given your history of ignorance in the face of threats.
EDIT: "argument" instead of "voice" from here: "country and your only argument"
>Your argumentation is pathetic and typical of many Europeans. Americans are stupid. That's the beginning, middle and end of your idea about the country and your only argument in the discussion.
No. In fact it never shows up in any part of my argumentation that "Americans are stupid".
What I wrote is that Americans are just ignorant. I follow US discussions in tons of places, US media, and have been all over the US. You could not find a people more ignorant of world affairs if you try. The little they know is what they are being spoon fed by tightly controlled media, all "patriotic" and all collaborating on the official country line.
>You are the one who should learn more about Iran or Russia. You are the one naive like a child who thinks everybody's nice, while they are playing you.
Actually, it's us that have direct contact and centuries (actually millennia in some cases) of political experience dealing with Russia and Iran, including at the very direct level, and for which world news and world history are as important as our country's news and history. It's also us that we travel frequently outside our own country (something most of Americans do not do. Heck, only 30% even have passports) and that we speak at least 2 languages (e.g english is my second -- and I have more). Heck, Americans do not even watch foreign movies, much less read foreign books (with the exception of a few classics, that again are only read by a tiny minority).
And you, who, in a house in rural Idaho, some trailer in Georgia or some loft in NY etc, by which I mean, half a world away from both Russia and Iran and in a totally provincial environment, form bizarro ideas on them and their intentions, based on what the absolutely crap your media coverage tells you, mostly based (often copied verbatim) on US government targeting.
>It was the same with Hitler (who some of you still claim was a great leader). It was the same with Stalin (who many of you still love in Europe).
Which is beside the point anyway. The point being the accurate assessment of foreign countries role, intents and power in the global scene.
People who "still claim Hitler was a great leader", did not do it because they miscalculated some world player's strength. They do it because they agree ideologically with him, whoever perverse that might be. That said, those are an irrelevant minority in Europe, on par with those who support things like the KKK in the US (oh, and there are Hitler supporters in the US too).
To continue this off-track theme, lots of people in the US approved of Bush and his policies, they voted Nixon into office, they approved slavery, racism and segregation, approved McCarthyism, approved Truman dropping nuclear bombs on civilians, etc etc. Oh, and this Hitler guy? He had much support in the US too, before the US entered into WWII. Here's a quick insight: https://www.google.com/search?q=hilter+support+in+the+US&...
I don't know what the situation is in Europe but Japan pays a substantial sum to America every year and even had to fund the move of some bases to Guam . Also, American's may run the risk of dying defending a foreign country but in the mean time Japanese are living the risk of rape and murder  although the stats are probably on an even keel with the normal murder and rape rate of Japan.
Russia doesn't use too much logic, their history is all about power not wealth.
Arab Spring beneficiaries are Muslim extremists like Muslim Brotherhood. You know, usual pattern, women are treated like slaves, kids at school study Koran and Koran only, etc. They hate, they loathe, Europe as much as the USA. No, it turns out, they don't like your idea of freedom. They want you to be a Muslim or die. As simple as that.
Good point. Highly intelligent brutes who are not interested in their country development. Which probably sounds crazy in civilized ears but is akin to saying that in feudal times aristocracy wasn't interested in living conditions of lower classes.
You see, they are still feudal, you need to account for that when analyzing the country.
So, as feudal masters in the past, the KGB/mafia that currently runs Russia understands politics very well. They are extremely skilled at political strategy and know and understand how to gain advantage. They will read Dostoyevsky and listen to Bach. At the same time they don't really care or/and understand economy as this is not really needed for them as long as they sit on the vast natural resources reserves. Something like Saudis.
heh, "courtesy of the US taxpayer". What you mean is "put there by the US taxpayer". Germany didn't ask for the US to put military bases everywhere, that just grew out of the victory conditions enforced on it from the loss of the war. It very much serves US interests to have those bases in Germany - the idea that it's all a unicorns-and-rainbows gift from the US is nonsense.
The US with no projected power in Europe? Perhaps go write to your congressperson on that one and see how they respond.
>Never heard that there are for example over 50,000 US soldiers in Germany operating military equipment worth billions of USD courtesy of the US tax-payer?
The US, acting as a post-colonial superpower, took advantage of the collapsed post-WWII Germany, to setup a protectorate in the heart of Europe. The country was divided in two, and the Eastern side was given to USSR to play with, whereas the west was the US/NATO frontier to eastern Europe.
The "US bases in Germany" are a relic of this past. And they were meant to establish a stronghold on Europe, and keep the USSR at check. Now they also serve as operations base for missions to further pursue US interests (i.e exploit local people) in Middle East and Africa.
Despite what BS you have been fed, no Iran, no Iraq, no Syria and nobody bloody else, including Putin's Russia, would ever attempt to
To understand how inane your beliefs are to actually foreign affairs savvy Europeans, non fed with Fox News and Glen Beck and non provincial, it would be like South Dakota attacking Texas. Nay, it would be like Fargo attacking Texas.
> You really the NHS costs less per-capita in tax than US healthcare?
I think you left out a "think" between "really" and "the NHS" there. And, yes, the UK's public expenditures per capita on healthcare are less than the US's. In fact, the UKs public and private expenditures on healthcare combined are, per capita, less than the US's public expenditures (which, in turn, are less than the US's private expenditures). The UK's public expenditures on health care are also less than the US's public expenditures on health care as a share of GDP.