MGB Part 2


Another great part of MGB is that I got to catch up with my old co-workers from DC
who are all doing well.  Shout outs to everybody, especially since some read my
blog!  I also got to play Rise
of Nations
, a game that I thought was only beta, but has apparently been released. Ed, Keller and
I played for about three hours and had a blast, except for the occasional lag. The
game is a lot of fun and has quite a bit of depth. As none of us had ever played before,
the game was very much about creating every type of building possible and seeing what
those buildings could do. I didn’t notice any differences between specific civilization
types, but the vastness of the different buildings and “ages” can really make the
game a little overwhelming. Unlike Age of X games, this game ties in some
of the depth of Sid Meier’s Civilization, but with a primary focus on RTS. I was the
first to get to the nuclear age (somewhere between upgrading, my “knights” became
“tanks”) and I nuked Keller several times, destroying his “wonders” which, unlike
AOX games, actually upgrade your attributes. Ed ended up winning, as the
game somehow went into a “Wonder race” mode. All-in-all, I give it a 4.5/5. After
the game, we walked outside of Hall J into the main entryway of the convention center.
Our adrenal glands were still secreting because of the intensity of the game, so it
came as no surprise that Keller, the monkey that he is, ran to the escalater and started
running UP one of the two sets of DOWN escalaters (about 100 stairs or so). I tell
Keller that I could beat him to the top of the stairs. Ed says there’s no way we can
reach the top given the length of the escalator and puts $5 on the line. I take his
bet, race Keller, and win, collapsing onto the ground at the top of the stairs. Luckily
this caused my adrenaline to finally leave my body, and I sat on one of the stairs
trying to catch my breath the way down. Ed also blogged about
this and added a picture.
Why mention this quasi-Knoxvillian stunt?
Well because it got us thinking about how many actual stairs we had climbed and how
this would make a great interview question. First, the facts you would get as an interviewee:

  • The escalator is 100 stairs long
  • The escalator is moving at a constant speed, x
  • You are travelling at a rate of x+y

You then have the choice of expressing the speed either as rate of stairs/second,
or miles per hour. In the case of miles per hour, you would want some fixed distance,
like each escalator is one foot long and one foot high and you can use the good old
pythagorian theorem to figure out the right angles for the stairs (or at least most
of them, but that’s part of the trick) There’s actually a decent amount of depth that
you could explore in this question, so I won’t give everything away and I’ll save
this for my next technical interview 🙂

Now I’m back in Redmond and am reasonably overwhelmed, again. 

Comments (1)

  1. Ed Kaim says:

    If I asked the escalator question I wouldn’t give the candidate the benefit of the starting numbers. The information they decide to gather and the way they try to use it to attack the problem are just as important as getting it right.

    Or I could let them take the physical challenge and try to actually climb the escalator 🙂

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