Compendium of tech-interview riddles

I’ve never had the misfortune of getting these types of questions in a job interview. Resorting to riddles always struck me as a sign of an unprepared interviewer that wants to make the geek squirm and take them down a notch. Crikey, they’re nervous anyway so what’s the point them feel worse if the only thing standing between them and making the month’s rent is the “manhole problem.”

Anyway, there were some great links buried in the Slashdot comments. also compiles tech interview questions, and the Sells Brothers compiles stories just about Microsoft interviews.

[via Slashdot]

Peru mulls Free Software, Gates gives $550k to Peruvian president

Remember a couple of months ago when Peru was considering to mandate the use of open-source software in all government agencies?

Well, guess where Bill is at the moment? In Lima, where he presented Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo with a briefcase full of Microsoft petty cash – well, $550K worth of money, software, and consulting actually.

Time-Travellers Mutual Fund

While it’s up there with the ineffectual International Star Registry, the Time Travel Mutual Fund is a fun way to burn ten bucks. The idea is that you pay in $10 and through the magic of compound interest that money will become billions of dollars after 500 or so years. Multiply that by the number of people who pay in, and you got a good chunk of capital to invent time travel and/or pay off the people who invented time travel to come back in time and bring forward the people who paid into the fund. Just watch out for the Morlocks.

Q: Will they still be using money in the future?

A: We don’t know, however, it is logical to assume there will still be some form of currency used, although it will probably be electronic and not physical. We expect the fund to be converted into whatever form of currency is in use, just as all those different European currencies were turned into the Euro.

Q: What if they outlaw time travel?

A: Good question. One provision built into the fund is that it must be not only technically feasible, it must be legal as well. A maintenance fund that part of your membership fee goes to can be used to pay whatever it is that passes as lawyers in the future to try and make it legal. Laws can be changed.

[via Boing Boing]

The IT infrastructure of the International Cocaine Cartel

Business 2.0 reports on the IT infrastructure of international cocaine-smuggling rings.

Henao’s cartel is a champion of decentralization, outsourcing, and pooled risk, along with technological innovations to enhance the secrecy of it all. For instance, to scrub his profits, he and fellow money launderers use a private, password-protected website that daily updates an inventory of U.S. currency available from cartel distributors across North America, says a veteran Treasury Department investigator. Kind of like a business-to-business exchange, the site allows black-market money brokers to bid on the dirty dollars, which cartel financial chiefs want to convert to Colombian pesos to use for their operations at home. “A trafficker can bid on different rates — ‘I’ll sell $1 million in cash in Miami,'” says the agent. “And he’ll take the equivalent of $800,000 in pesos for it in Colombia.” The investigator estimates the online bazaar’s annual turnover at as much as $3 billion.