An Interview with Microsoft
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"HI GENE, MY NAME'S GEORGE" he said.
(HI GENE, MY NAME'S GEORGE) he thought.
"Hi George. Nice to meet you" I said.
(Hi George) I thought.
"SO LET'S SEE, YOU WENT TO MIT" he said.
(COOL, THIS MEANS I GET TO BRING UP THE FACT THAT I WENT TO MIT) he thought.
"Yeah," I said.
(Let me guess, you did too) I thought.
"SO DID I" he said.
(YES! I RULE!) he thought.
"SO, TELL ME . . . ABOUT YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT WORK AT STANFORD" he said.
(AND MAKE IT QUICK BECAUSE I REALLY DON'T CARE) he thought.
"Well, I've worked as a research assistant in Elec Eng for 3 years..." I said
(He's not listening to anything I'm saying, is he) I thought.
"blah blah blah ... finite element analysis ... blah blah blah..." I continued
(What if I broke into Spanish, would he know?) I wondered.
"OK, THAT SOUNDS INTERESTING" he said.
(THANK GOD THAT'S OVER) he thought (NOW THE FUN PART)
"SUPPOSE YOU HAD 8 BILLIARD BALLS . . .
, AND ONE OF THEM WAS SLIGHTLY
HEAVIER, BUT THE ONLY WAY TO TELL WAS BY PUTTING IT ON A SCALE AGAINST
ANOTHER ONE. WHAT'S THE FEWEST NUMBER OF TIMES YOU'D HAVE TO USE THE
SCALE TO FIND THE HEAVIER BALL?" he challenged.
(I LOVE THIS QUESTION) he thought. (WHEN THEY GAVE IT TO ME AT MY
INTERVIEW, I ANSWERED IT RIGHT IN 4.56 SECONDS. THE MICROSOFT RECORD
IS 3.75 SECONDS) he thought.
"Well, you could put half the balls on each side, cutting it in half
after each weighing until you get it down to two balls" I said.
(I don't believe this. This exactly fits the stereotype of a
Microsoft interview) I thought. (These guys are horrible)
"YES, THAT'S TRUE IN GENERAL, BUT THIS IS A SPECIAL CASE. HOW COULD
YOU DO IT EVEN BETTER" he said.
(IF THIS FOOL WATCHED STAR TREK TWO MONTHS AGO, HE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN
IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME) he thought.
"Um" I said.
(Um) I thought.
"Well, you could leave some off the scale and if the first batch all
weighed even you could eliminate a lot of them and . . ." I continued
(I really don't give a damn) I thought.
"OK, NOW THAT WE'VE SOLVED THAT PROBLEM FOR THE GENERAL CASE AND
FIGURED OUT THAT
IT IS A LOG BASE 3 OPERATION, HOW WOULD YOU CODE IT?"
(NOW WE'LL SEE HIM SQUIRM) he thought.
"Do you want me to actually write it down?" I asked.
(No way, this isn't happening. I should refuse on principle, stick to
my morals, I will not write code in an interview!)
"Um, ok" (Kill me!)
"AND MAKE IT RECURSIVE" (RECURSIVE IS COOL!)
"Well I usually don't write recursive functions, because they're
slower and take up more memory" I explained.
(What kind of idiots write recursive functions?)
"WELL, IN THE UNBOUNDED CASE THAT IS TRUE. BUT WE LIKE RECURSIVE FUNCTIONS"
(I WRITE RECURSIVE FUNCTIONS ALL THE TIME)
"Um, ok" (Is that why Word 6.0 for the Mac takes up to an hour to
count the words in a short document?)
"NOW, IMAGINGE MICROSOFT WANTED TO GET INTO THE APPLIANCE BUSINESS.
SUPPOSE WE WANTED TO RUN A MICROWAVE OVEN FROM THE COMPUTER.
WHAT KIND OF SOFTWARE WOULD YOU WRITE TO DO THIS" he said.
"Why would you want to do that?" I asked. "I don't want to go to my
refrigerator, get out some food, put it in the microwave, and then run
to my computer to start it."
(Sell all Microsoft stock immediately!)
"WELL, THE MICROWAVE COULD STILL HAVE BUTTONS ON IT TOO."
"So why do I want to run it from my computer?"
"WELL, MAYBE YOU COULD MAKE IT PROGRAMMABLE? FOR EXAMPLE, YOU COULD
CALL YOUR COMPUTER FROM WORK AND HAVE IT START COOKING YOUR TURKEY"
"But wouldn't my turkey, or any other food, go bad sitting in the
microwave while I'm at work? I could put a frozen turkey in, but then
it would drip water everywhere." (This is a dumb idea)
"WELL WHAT OTHER OPTIONS COULD THE MICROWAVE HAVE?"
"Well, as far as I'm concerned, the microwave was perfected with the
invention of the sensor reheat button. I haven't touched another
button on a microwave in years."
"WELL, FOR EXAMPLE YOU COULD USE THE COMPUTER TO DOWNLOAD AND EXCHANGE
RECIPES" (HE'S NOT COMING UP WITH VERY GOOD ANSWERS)
"You can do that now. Why does Microsoft want to bother with
connecting the computer to the microwave?" (Hello?)
"WELL LET'S NOT WORRY ABOUT THAT. JUST ASSUME THAT MICROSOFT HAS
DECIDED THIS AND IT IS YOUR JOB TO THINK UP USES FOR IT." (DON'T ASK
"NOW, MAYBE THE RECIPES COULD BE VERY COMPLEX, LIKE COOK FOOD AT 700
WATTS FOR 2 MINUTES, THEN AT 300 WATTS FOR 2 MORE MINUTES BUT DON'T
LET THE TEMPERATURE GET ABOVE 300 DEGREES . . ."
(This is idiotic.
These guys at
spend way too
nights at work
"Well there is probably a small niche of people who would really love
that, but most people can't program their VCR."
"YES, BUT THE RECIPES COULD JUST BE DOWNLOADED AND THEY WOULDN'T EVEN
HAVE TO BE UNDERSTOOD BY THE USER." (I'M TIRED OF YOUR INSOLENCE)
(And now with the wide availability of this technology, master
chefs all over the world will spend their time developing great
microwave recipes! Soon the general public will be able to enjoy the
great cuisine, that, until now, has only been enjoyed by late night
computer dweebs at Microsoft!
(As a revenue enhancement, Microsoft will get into the microwave recipe
business. Each frozen burrito at Safeway will come with a 3.5 inch
floppy conatining the cooking directions! Future microwaves, rather
than just working out of the box, will require the full Windows96
operating system . . . )
"WELL IT WAS NICE TO MEET YOU, GENE. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR JOB SEARCH"
(THIS FOOL WILL NEVER BE ONE OF US)
"Yeah, thanks" (Why did I come here?)