jasonbock.net : If Carpenters Were Hired Like Programmers

I’m sure I posted this before but it keeps cropping up and I wanted to reformat it a little:


The following joke was posted to an internal Magenic list. I don’t know who actually wrote it, and I’ll give credit if someone points out the creator of the joke. It perfectly illustrates what I think developers (especially consultants) have to go through all the time when they’re interviewing for the next gig.


Interviewer: So, you’re a carpenter, are you?
Carpenter: That’s right, that’s what I do.

Interviewer: How long have you been doing it?
Carpenter: Ten years.

Interviewer: Great, that’s good. Now, I have a few technical questions to ask you to see if you’re a fit for our team. OK?
Carpenter: Sure, that’d be fine.

Interviewer: First of all, we’re working in a subdivision building a lot of brown houses. Have you built a lot of brown houses before?
Carpenter: Well, I’m a carpenter, so I build houses, and people pretty much paint them the way they want.

Interviewer: Yes, I understand that, but can you give me an idea of how much experience you have with brown? Roughly.
Carpenter: Gosh, I really don’t know. Once they’re built I don’t care what color they get painted. Maybe six months?

Interviewer: Six months? Well, we were looking for someone with a lot more brown experience, but let me ask you some more questions.
Carpenter: Well, OK, but paint is paint, you know.

Interviewer: Yes, well. What about walnut?
Carpenter: What about it?

Interviewer: Have you worked much with walnut?
Carpenter: Sure, walnut, pine, oak, mahogony — you name it.

Interviewer: But how many years of walnut do you have?
Carpenter: Gosh, I really don’t know — was I supposed to be counting the walnut?

Interviewer: Well, estimate for me.
Carpenter: OK, I’d say I have a year and a half of walnut.

Interviewer: Would you say you’re an entry level walnut guy or a walnut guru?
Carpenter: A walnut guru? What’s a walnut guru? Sure, I’ve used walnut.

Interviewer: But you’re not a walnut guru?
Carpenter: Well, I’m a carpenter, so I’ve worked with all kinds of wood, you know, and there are some differences, but I think if you’re a good carpenter …

Interviewer: Yes, yes, but we’re using Walnut, is that OK?
Carpenter: Walnut is fine! Whatever you want. I’m a carpenter.

Interviewer: What about black walnut?
Carpenter: What about it?

Interviewer: Well we’ve had some walnut carpenters in here, but come to find out they weren’t black walnut carpenters. Do you have black walnut experience?
Carpenter: Sure, a little. It’d be good to have more for my resume, I suppose.

Interviewer: OK. Hang on let me check off the box…
Carpenter: Go right ahead.

Interviewer: OK, one more thing for today. We’re using Rock 5.1 to bang nails with. Have you used Rock 5.1?
Carpenter: [Turning white…] Well, I know a lot of carpenters are starting to use rocks to bang nails with since Craftsman bought a quarry, but you know, to be honest I’ve had more luck with my nailgun. Or a hammer, for that matter. I find I hit my fingers too much with the rock, and my other hand hurts because the rock is so big.

Interviewer: But other companies are using rocks. Are you saying rocks don’t work?
Carpenter: No, I’m not saying rocks don’t work, exactly, it’s just that I think nail guns work better.

Interviewer: Well, our architects have all started using rocks, and they like it.
Carpenter: Well, sure they do, but I bang nails all day, and — well, look, I need the work, so I’m definitely willing to use rocks if you want. I try to keep an open mind.

Interviewer: OK, well we have a few other candidates we’re looking at, so we’ll let you know.
Carpenter: Well, thanks for your time. I enjoyed meeting you.



Interviewer: Hello?
Carpenter: Hello. Remember me, I’m the carpenter you interviewed for the black walnut job. Just wanted to touch base to see if you’ve made a decision.

Interviewer: Actually, we have. We liked your experience overall, but we decided to go with someone who has done a lot of work with brown.
Carpenter: Really, is that it? So I lost the job because I didn’t have enough brown?

Interviewer: Well, it was partly that, but partly we got the other fellow a lot cheaper.
Carpenter: Really — how much experience does he have?

Interviewer: Well, he’s not really a carpenter, he’s a car salesman — but he’s sold a lot of brown cars and he’s worked with walnut interiors.
Carpenter: [click]

A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering: Attack of the week: FREAK (or ‚factoring the NSA for fun and profit‘)

Hopefully the ridicule poured upon the UK’s Prime Minister, Cameron, regarding his desire to ban cryptography (or at least water it down) will have caused all parties to put their heads back on the right way round. Just in case any government is still planning such a move, here are a few words of caution to anyone willing to listen:

A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering: Attack of the week: FREAK (or ‚factoring the NSA for fun and profit‘).

Manipulating Firmware, Thanks whoever you were, Idiots.

Let’s all give a hearty round of applause for whoever thought it would be a good idea to let this kind of danger out into the wild.

NSA Hacked Firmware

Now that the technology is out there and has been found, any bad guys can get their hands on the technology and apply it for their own purposes.

Remember, any weapon is a weapon you don’t want in the hands of your enemies so don’t go handing them out like candy.

Crash Override Network — Account Security 101: Passwords, Multifactor,…

Crash Override Network — Account Security 101: Passwords, Multifactor,….

I know, it’s hard to do somethings right. I also know there’s a lot of bad advice out there. This is pretty good though, for now. One of the problems with security is that as soon as a method becomes popular, it becomes a target for the bad guys/gals/ones.

Some of these points will (famous last words) remain relevant until passowrds become a thing of the past.

SQL Server Trace Flag 272 : Geek City: Lost Identity

I too used to belong to the crowd thanking Microsoft for the IDENTITY column type, I came from an MSACCESS background around about the end of SQL Server 7 (sic) and I was relieved to find I didn’t have to do any tedious „mucking around“ with identity value tables.

Of course, I also knew that there is no such thing as a free lunch and that SQL Server must be doing some housekeeping for me so it couldn’t be as performant as it would be with „raw“ data. But it was a heck of a lot faster than any T-SQL solution.

In SQL Server 2012 Microsoft, bless their cotton socks, „improved“ the IDENTITY column type and, naturally, in some minds broke it. Microsoft weren’t (all) born yesterday so they added a Trace Flag to enable you to get the old behaviour back. Nice. Here are some details:

Kalen Delaney : Geek City: Lost Identity.

SQL Server Trace Flag 8602

This one is *great* even if you probably might never need it.

That having been said, I do come across some queries written by hot-shots who use hints in their queries…. and they often don’t maintain the queries when the table structure has changed making the hints counter-productive. How could they remember where they have used which hints and know which ones to fix? How will they find the time to do so? Being able to demonstrate that the hints are no longer correct without changing the source is a terrific way of avoiding the „you must have changed something else as well“ kind of reactions from  certain types of people.

SQL Server Trace Flag 8602.

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