@duskhawk: 6th grade. Why do you ask?

@RealBrokenPaw: I wasn’t born

@sophomorical: idk about you but I was being birthed

@ChristineFury: I WAS SEVEN YEARS OLD AND I WAS BRINGING HOME SNAKES IN MY POCKETS!

@laura_june: that is a great question.

@ItsAnAlBot: a nationwide autism increase of 600 percent between 1992 and 2004.

@andymbowen: Kindergarden!

@justplainrii: I was one year old.

@Joseph_Phoenix: hmm….

@ampurra: i was born i came out of my moms womb

@boukendreamer: I was born. And other things I don’t remember.

@george_ahc: i was born at the start of the year mates

@obscurity_goat: i was crapping in my pants and being hand fed

@JamesForward1: My first birthday party

@XainZero: I was born, Mr. Horse.

@luis_sosa: I was in London right around the start of the 1st gulf war

@corgihugs: I was being gay as hell.

@rcveeder: the Harvesting. The Harvesting was happening to me.

@emilyisanelf: i was in kindergarten, horse, and i had to take this girl from bangladesh to the bathroom and then she pulled the fire alarm

@derekkrencik: Well…

@shl: being born.

@thelaceybeast: I was being conceived. Ew.

@charlielapin: I was born.

@SWP_NAYRB_KTA: I was being conceived

@stefc: High school?

@Mamoruanime: School man, School.

@MilkyWayward: i wasn’t born yet my equine friend

@collinvandyck: first girlfriend.

@potato_crisp: Well if you really want to know I was BEING BORN

@hellnope: oh you would ask that. I’ve been listening to bon iver and I’m drunk. Fuck off.

@AntaresMHD: I was obsessed with TMMT. at that time.

@RadioWaco: 1992? Well, I turned a year old in 1992. And at the end of 1992, I got a sister and was not amused by that fact.

@miyoung: my sister

@DoubleWeegee: i was deep in oxnard, in a room full of dog-like asians

@francesmartel: Vaguely remember whining about not being able to read

@WilliamTheTaft: I hadn’t then.

@BigKatDiaries: learning to shit in a toilet

@kenarneson: Ruben Sierra and frickin’ Roberto Alomar.

@Lucas_92: Being born

@Soulmech: Birthing, puking, pooping in my diaper

@caulkthewagon: Two things: my period and Nirvana.

@Bunburyingabout: not much. I was only 2. Prob. watching Nick Jr.

@RobbStoneStar: I was working the door of the Palladium in NYC

@bdanielcass: i was being born

@mechacontext: I was being born!

@themindtweak: I was born, which in retrospect, was a really fucking stupid.

@flyingsqrrl_FTW: Whhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeee

@adamsleeps: was slipping out moms vag

@ShiversTheNinja: Not much. I was just chillin’, bein’ a toddler.

@smallupsetter: Not much dude. Sometimes I look back. I wonder….

@scottagro: OMG @Horse_ebooks are you stalking me?

@blaundie: GET OUT OF MY HEAD

@pilotbacon: I was five and fucked up on ritalin and vodka.

@sassyhindu: i was being birthed??

@loljocks_grimey: Color Me Badd.

@MRoseRiddle: I was pretty busy being borned. Prematurely.

@ufo_scientist: Being Born

@askhemm: i spiraled downward into a childhood depression from which i would never recover committing suicide 10 years later

@saponified: i was mostly gestating but then i was born!

@HighFidelity321: I was busy being born.

@sacca: You said you’d never tell.

@JimboMont: Oh, y’know, just being born and stuff…

@kctacoparty: Dan Jansen

@bmbrutal: potty training if I recall

@davehayden I went to the National Science Bowl and I met Bill Nye! True story!

@cee__dub: agony

@alliebot: puberty

@mugnumb: being born. thank you for asking :’)

@Samo_Jackson: I played a gnome Terry in the 2nd grade class play

@_OfficerJenni: i was still an egg in the womb

@Grady_WSU: I WHISTLED FOR A CAB AND WHEN IT CAME NEAR THE LICENSE PLATE WAS FRESH AND THERE WAS DICE IN THE MIRROR

@a_cgi_demon: poo poo and pee pee ing

@jenfunkyfunk: I was 6 and probably playing in the dirt.

@aaron_pearce: I was being born!

@CheezNapkin: i was birthed

@muffpunch: Weed, malt liquor, and bean burritos.

@zackarees: i was too busy being born, thanks though

@Tetokolpian: I was being conceived.

@trifesoup: TORONTO BLUE JAYS WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS

@RyanStocker: I got cancer…

@hellykuniansky: exploding out of the womb

@henrymanes: birth

@Brookyaah: I WAS BORN

@redexile: In 1992 I was a bond trader @ Lazards. & deeply deeply unhappy: the following year my life changed completely

@Harashi: was being born lol.

@madhatter7zero: I was in the Army and also broke up with my first boyfriend that year :(

@davidseymour: I have always wanted someone to explain this

@DrodoBaggins420: hahahaha I was born

@alekxschneebeck: I was one.

@NotBeat: Came out of the womb like a champ

@applehollerfans: I WASN’T EVEN BORN YET! THAT WAS 20 YEARS AGO

@Joined2readSVP: waiting for rage against the machine, and tool

@flushpuppy: I got my first boner from my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Lockhart.

@TrulyRICK: being bornt :)

@AnimaDiPioggi: I was planed, but became just in 1994.sad.

@RussellCJackson: I was being born.

@a_spaceman: getting born it was pretty sweet

@bestfortheGOB: PRESCHOOL

@magicdweedoo: i was being born

@chlosephine_: i was being born

@agentlebrees: I don’t know, Horse_ improbably I seem to have forgotten the 90s

@ambassadorawful: being born

@Kephu: Oh fuck horsey books KNOWS

@TroubledSponge: I was being born

@imcourtneyclark: just doin the wop to some heavy d

@Cherokee_N: My 1st grandchild was born to my daughter. A daughter to her. I was exstatic & still am. Can’t believe she’ll be 20 very soon

@MattyGee_: wishing I was Warren G

@NitoHugs: Not existing. Good times.

@JudeJuBeast: I was in 8th grade.

@pudgiepyro: i was still an egg within my mother

@Decktoplasm: peeing on relatives

@jaemroltz: Super Mario Bros. 1 & 3, as well as LEGOs #nerdballer

@noahcicero: puberty first jerk

@lograh: ’92 was the year I started to rebuild.

@megancarp: Nothing.

Advice for puzzled interviewees

Yes, I was a mathlete.

Of course, we didn’t call it that back then—”nerd” was the accepted nomenclature. Regardless, in the 8th grade I came in first place in the city’s annual mathematics competition for our grade level. (This was Colorado Springs, CO, so that hardly counts as a brag.) The top four qualifiers earned a bonus challenge: We were given an additional set of questions, one at a time, with a few minutes alone to work them out, and then brought in front of an audience to present your results to the judges. The idea of standing in front of an audience mortified me, and I spent the endless minutes until my turn trying not to throw up. But when I saw the questions, I begged them to let me surrender, walk away in shame instead of embarrassing myself in public—they were all about finding the volumes of shapes defined by a triangle rotated around an axis: various additions and subtractions of cones. I hadn’t learned the equation for the volume of a cone.

Jumping ahead to the punch line: I didn’t embarrass myself entirely, I got third place out of four (and a sweet HP 15C!) because the next mathlete couldn’t draw a picture of what these shapes looked like and I could. That was my “aha!” moment where I realized that tests aren’t always about seeing if you know the answer, but instead seeing how you get to the answer. When I look back on that, I like to think that if I’d been calmer I would have realized that the volume of a cone is proportional to its height and to the square of its radius, and gotten almost all the way to the finish line, just short some mystery constant. (1/3, I was told the second I stepped off stage.) But that’s maybe asking a bit much of 13-year-old me.

So, I’m not defending “puzzle” questions at interviews (I’m ambivalent), I’m just giving the questioner the benefit of the doubt. Unless it’s someone you wouldn’t want to work for anyway, they’re more interested in seeing your thought process than making sure you know the right answer or watching you squirm under pressure. Here’s what you do: Be abstract. Be top-down. If they ask you to write Javascript on a whiteboard, don’t waste their time and yours squiggling out curly brackets. Write pseudo-code and gloss over the specifics. If they want more detail they’ll ask for it, and you’ll be ready to give it. If they demand syntax, then you walk out. If they ask you about something that’s easy to google and pointless to remember, tell them you know where to find that and get out your phone or ask for a laptop and show them your efficient googling skills. (Unless, perhaps, you’re applying for a job with the Amish.) If they ask you to solve a puzzle, they don’t want to watch you scribbling on paper muttering to yourself for the next ten minutes—but it’s also no help to them if you already know the answer. They want the process, not the result, so tell them what you’re thinking.

Most importantly: Be yourself. Be the person you’d be if you were working with them. Because that’s what they’re looking for.

New York Times, Nov 11, 1911

NaNoUkeMo

For November, I’m joining the do-a-lot-of-a-thing bandwagon, but instead of writing or drawing I’m making a song a day from the Twitter posts of the @Horse_ebooks spam bot. Witness the carnage here.

“Steve clearly has done an incredible job,” says former Apple Chief Financial Officer Joseph Graziano. “But the $64,000 question is: Will Apple ever resume growth?” (BusinessWeek, May 25, 1998)

Adjusted for splits, AAPL opened at 7.015 on Monday, May 26, 1998. That $64,000 of Apple stock is now worth $3.4 million.

Spin Tuner

Oh man. I totally forgot to post here where nobody will read it about my
tuner app. I made this for myself a couple of years ago and finally polished it up just enough to put it on the App Store this spring. It’s basically just a visualizer that compares what it hears to the configured reference tones (i.e., the notes you’re tuning to) which makes it much more responsive than a pitch-detecting tuner.

It’s free, but I also added a special cosmetic-only feature as a 99 cent in-app purchase, just to see how many people would “tip” me. So far it’s paid for my annual developer membership, so that’s nice.

A bad joke

A planarian‘s interested in a support group for invertebrates. He checks it out, they say they’d love for him to join but they’re a little low on numbers so how about they just split him down the middle and then there’d be two more instead of one?

He stomps off indignant—”Well! I’d never join any club that would halve me!”

Nope.

Nothing new to report.

Hurt Locker haiku

He’s a loose cannon
being all loose cannon-y.
Will he blow up? Shrug.

Cap 2K

As every year, May brings the annual swim down Town Lake in Austin, my motivation to get to the pool twice a week all winter and stay in some kind of shape. This year I moved up an age group into tougher competition, which was both good and bad: I didn’t have any hope of placing this year, as I have the last two times I swam the race, but I didn’t have any pressure to, either. So I didn’t swim very hard–I was barely winded at the finish–but I finished 60th overall, exactly the same as in 2008. If I were still 34, I’d have scored yet another third place plaque (or maybe I would have swum six seconds faster and taken second); instead, I got ninth.

Cap 2K

(Yes, that’s actually the photo from 2007. I don’t know if Molly got a photo this year.)

Disappointed? Not at all. I love collecting trophies, sure, but I got to spend a week in Austin with my sister and take a quick trip to New Orleans, eat lots of great food, and hang out in the sun at Barton Springs, my favorite place on Earth.