Three numbers

The three numbers in the universe that matter most are zero, one, and many. Think about life – tweak the fundamental physical constants a little, and you can imagine a universe in which it never happened. Never could have happened. Or maybe it’s so astonishingly unlikely, such a bizarrely, unimaginably low probability – the equivalent […]

Dissecting an interview question: math is hard

For the past year or so, I’ve been asking an interview question which seems like it should be straightforward, but has turned out to be deceptively hard. The reason I like it is that it requires a candidate to convert a very common, well-defined, well-understood task from paper into code. There’s no trick, no gotcha, no […]

Java quirks and interview gotchas

Interviewers are a diverse lot. Some care about this, others about that, each has her own set of biases, and short of being perfect, there’s really no way to please everyone. The worst is when you’re doing well, then get hung up on an obscure language feature that the interviewer decides is make-or-break. This says more […]