The Mind Map approach to interviewing

Interviewing is difficult. Technical vetting is even more difficult. You only have an hour to determine if the person knows his/her salt.

I’ve been doing a lot of these lately, and I seem to be getting slightly better at them. In my worry to make sure we don’t hire the wrong people, I eventually settled with this as a way to break the ice and start talking difficult problems. I call it the mind map method of technical vetting, or the Mind map approach to interviewing.

The problem

Basically, you only have an hour or two to completely technically vet someone on what may be 20 years of experience. Even if you yourself are very smart, there’s simply not enough bandwidth in the world to guarantee a level of competency. And certifications are usually no help, because none of the stuff in there tends to relate to real world experience for your particular type of position.

The other problem is that the candidate is likely to be nervous at their best and sometimes plain scared out of their wits – even if they’re the perfect candidate. Not exactly conducive to your best thought processes. You don’t want to skip someone just because they’re nervous or the shy type.

So what to do? A little workshop with a mind map.

I thought about this originally when I interviewed a now-coworker. So he helped me test-drive it. Maybe part of the success is that it worked the first time I tried it? Anyway, I’ve been using it for a little while now on the technical vettings and it seems to have worked so far.

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OSX Personal Finance Software Alternatives

Is it too much to ask for a decent personal finance software package for OS X? I have used Quicken on PCs since 3.0. MS Money is also nice although I never really used it for more than trying it out.

I had heard Quicken for Mac was not as far ahead as the Windows version. But I thought, “the Windows version is so good, how bad can it be?” Boy was I wrong.

The app looks and feels like it’s put together in a rush, with no attention to detail, by people who got their first course of OSX development about a week ago. It is BAD.

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Linux to OS X Mini-Migration Guide

For Unix and Linux users, OS X is more of a lateral move, thanks to OS X’s BSD underpinnings. Unfortunately with all the market-speak it may drive some smart engineer-types away from trying it out, since all of the every day things you live with is either buried deep in the developer documentation or behaves strangely out of the box.

I haven’t found a document that covers this all together, so here it is, the basics to get comfortable if you’re a command-line type of guy:

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WEP Security in Mexico is Awesome.. D'oh!

I wish it wasn’t true, because I like it better when people share, but WiFi security in Mexico is very good. Every household seems to have its network secured. I see 7 or 8 access points whenever I open the laptop, but no open ones.

Dang. And I needed to get some e-mail done with the office. And of course this blog posting will have to wait until I’m at a cybercafe as well 🙂

Actually, I found a new mall that has an open WiFi on its food court. Slow, but sweet.. Now where’s the Tacos al Pastor?

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Linux "Get a Mac"Spoof Videos

These are pretty funny..

Novell releases Get a Mac spoofs

The first video plays off the Win/Mac rivalry and pokes fun at how the industry often ignores Linux and its surprising (to some) user base size. The second video is arguably funnier, as it does a great job of poking fun at the way MS and Apple market their products while pointing out open source software’s advantage of being a community effort. [digg – tech news / apple / dig]

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Virtual Appliances

Virtual Appliances are nano-sized virtual machines with web user interfaces for deploying instant infrastructure and applications.

Virtual Appliances Home

Now that I’m using Linux as my laptop, I’ve been using vmware for some testing and whatnot, and I’ve really come to appreciate using virtual machines. This crew is creating mini-VM’s, devoid of everything but the application to run, for the server side. Their tomcat VM weighs in at only 65 Mb. I thought it was specially clever.


So now I'm on subversion

For my latest pet project  I used subversion. I enjoyed it so much I switched everything to it now, and I set up an area for my source code repository, where you can gasp at my ugly code. I replaced the "Projects" section of the sidebar here with a link to the repository instead.

I like this so much better than my prior solution at sourceforge because it can house both my public and private projects with a minimum of server jumping. It’s also on machines I have a bit more control over. And subversion is just miles better than cvs.

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