Signs of Triviality

Opinions, mostly my own, on the importance of being and other things.
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Three Simple Questions

October 25th, 2015

Interviewing is 90% bullshit, 10% first impressions. A topic I could rant about at length, but, as you all well know: "ain't nobody got time for that". Instead, here are the three simple questions I consider almost sufficient to establish a modicum of software clue.


Just point me at a manual page you've written for one of your tools.


Send me a link to a ticket you filed or an analysis of a bug you encountered. This says 100 times more about your understanding of the system in question or how you approach a problem than any other discussion we might engage in.


Consider the following output from a command:

$ hfrob -a -b -c
hfrob: unable to brunz the strocl
hfrob: the furrzl is missing the hobknobbin!
hfrob: friesen-dot-list incomplete
hfrob: /opt/hfrob/cruxor/shuffle.crux: No such file or directory
hfrob: this is bad, Ima give up
hfrob: yep, yep, ain't no way I can recover from that
hfrob: quite a dilemma I got here, you better take a look
hfrob: goodbye

Tell me what is most likely the immediate problem.

This is not a trick question. No StackOverflow / Google required.

That's it.

No interactive coding assignment. No "how does traceroute(8) work?". No "haha, I know more than you do about this hypothetical problem I just contrived and for which you lack any and all circumstantial tribal knowledge". Just three simple questions:

  • Do you write manual pages?
  • Do you know how to write a useful bug report?
  • Do you actually read the error messages you encounter?

Maybe I'll give it a try the next time around...

October 25th, 2015


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