Interview tip: what’s the real question

Sometimes somebody asks a question, but the answer they’re looking for is not the answer to the question; it’s the answer to the question behind the question. My 3 year old daughter demonstrated this recently in a conversation with my wife. After realizing we didn’t know where in the house she was, and having a…


It never works

Last night, right before falling asleep, I recall having some great idea for a blog entry. I was too tired to write it down, but I said the 2 word summary aloud and was absolutely sure I’d remember in the morning. Now all I remember was that the 2nd word started with the letter ‘c’….


Merry Christmas!



Grocery stores and cyclical dependency graphs

Here’s a silly conversation that demonstrates a problem in resolving cyclical dependency graphs that my wife + I had at the grocery store: Me: [looking for purchases to get in the Christmas mood] “Let’s get some walnuts ” Wife: [predisposed against the idea] “Let’s not, we don’t have a nutcracker” Me: “Well, let’s get a…


Return vs. Finally (2)

The Return statement and finally have competition. Both can are the “last” thing to execute when a function exits, so which of them is really last? I blogged about this before regarding C#’s semantics setting data. Now I’ll compare some interesting differences between C# and Python. Who wins if you set them up in direct…


Real Time Strategy game for Silverlight

Check out TruckWars, a Real-Time-Strategy (RTS) game for Silverlight 1.1 by Tim that builds on the Farseer 2d Physics engine.  It’s available on the gallery here. Here’s a screen shot: You control the green trucks, and your goal is to push all the green buttons to clear each level. The red trucks are the bad…


Debuggability tops MSBuild feature poll

Dan Mosely recently posted a feature poll on the MSBuild blog. Here are the results.  Debuggability topped the list over more traditional features. I found that very interesting. My goal is not to comment on how feasible this is or suggest how to accomplish it or even say whether I personally agree. Rather it’s just…


Stateless card dealing

How many times have you had somebody deal a hand of cards and then say “um, everybody count your cards”.  A common reason for this to happen is that the dealer loses count of how many cards are dealt.  For example, dealing cards to 4 players may look like: The problem is that after a…


"This statement is false"

Saying phrases like “This statement is false” does mean you’ve found some fatal flaw in logic itself and it does not make you sound smart. It makes you sound like somebody who doesn’t know the difference between syntax and semantics. The real issue…In order for a statement to have meaning, it must be well defined….


Learning Python

Now that I’m on the IronPython / DLR team, it seemed prudent to actually learn the Python language. There are some good online tutorials, but I found the book “Learning Python” by Mark Lutz to be extremely good. If you really want to learn the language, it’s worth buying the book. It’s large and thorough,…