EppsNet Archive: Questions


The top five problems you have with <topic> and how to solve them Why <topic> sucks and what we can do about it Mistakes I made in <topic> and what I learned The most frequently asked questions and brilliant answers about <topic> The truth about <topic> and how it can help you Smart shortcuts and clever tricks only experts know about <topic> The five reasons you win by giving me <topic> Why <topic> will change your life forever, for free, right now Read more →

Theological Question

I hear people say that bad things happen to kids in schools because God isn’t allowed in schools. Why do bad things happen to kids in churches? Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Asking for Help

I’m volunteering a couple mornings a week at a local high school, helping out with computer science classes. This morning, in AP Computer Science Principles, the teacher went through an explanation of the hexadecimal number system, then gave an in-class assignment for students to convert their cell phone number to hexadecimal. Not in two parts, 3 digits and 4 digits, but as a 7-digit number. It seemed pretty obvious from the interaction and the body language and the looks on their faces that a lot of students didn’t get it, but in a class of 25 students, only one student asked for help. Until the teacher finished with that student and asked “Does anyone else need help?” and eight more students immediately raised their hand. I asked the teacher, “Can I address the class for a minute?”   “First off, doing a 7-digit hex conversion is not easy. I know… Read more →

A Couple of Questions About Commerce

Why are store receipts so damn big? I bought a couple of 3V batteries at Office Depot and got a receipt as long as my arm. (The receipt is shown upside down to discourage you from stealing my identity.) Why do chip readers have to honk at you when your transaction is approved? I get that they’re reminding me to remove my card but why not remind me via a pleasant jingle? Read more →

How Do I Know If I’m Gay?

Here’s what I learned on the internet today: Gay refers to any male-identified person who is physically or emotionally attracted to other male-identified people. Lesbian refers to any female-identified person who is physically or emotionally attracted to other female-identified people. So if I’m a male-identified person and the female-identified person I’m having sex with decides right in the middle of it to identify as male, am I gay? Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Ask More Questions

You need to ask more questions. I think there’s a general fear about asking questions. There’s a risk of looking foolish in front of the whole group when it turns out that everyone else already knows the answer. It’s actually very unusual for someone to ask a question to which everyone else knows the answer. If you find it happens to you a lot, you probably want to get that checked out, but normally it’s very unusual. Another scenario: Somebody, maybe a teacher, says something and you think “That doesn’t make sense. I wonder if it makes sense to everyone else. Rather than risk looking foolish in front of the whole group, I’ll wait and see if someone else asks a question.” So you wait for someone to ask a question and no one asks a question. Why? Because they’re all waiting for someone to ask a question. Many people,… Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Pro Tips for Finishing a Project

For many (most?) students doing an object-oriented development project for the first time, this assignment is too difficult to do without a lot of guidance. Therefore: ask for help early and often. If you wait till the night before a checkpoint, you won’t have enough time to finish and we won’t have enough time to help you effectively. Therefore: ask for help early and often. I’m seeing students struggling to write code that we’ve already given you. That’s not a good use of your time. Know what we’ve given you and use it. This is what your program needs to do: [Feature list goes here]. Pick a feature and try to implement it (or part of it). If you can’t do it, come to class tomorrow and ask a question. Repeat Step 5 until done. Read more →

How to Save a Lot of Time in Interviews

There used to be a book titled The Top 2800 Interview Questions…And Answers. I have this fantasy: You walk into an employer’s office, shake hands, and say, “I know you have a lot of questions for me. So let’s save us both a lot of time.” You slide that baby across the desk toward the manager… “So here they are, along with all the answers. Now can we cut the crap and talk about the job and how I’ll do it for you, okay?” — Nick Corcodilos Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of

How big was it? The go-to question for lazy sports media goofballs everywhere. How big was that game? How big was that performance? How big was that play? In case you hadn’t noticed, the word “big” doesn’t make sense in this context. How big was it? It was bigger than a breadbox. It was bigger than my dick. “Let me ask you about the most important play of the game. How important was it?” That’s just stupid. But it’s acceptable if you phrase it like this: “How big was the interception by Kozlowski?” Use of the word “big” is the agreed-upon protocol for asking stupid questions repeatedly. “Tell us something we already know about something we just saw” is okay if phrased as “How big was that performance tonight by Smithers?” Or “How big was this win?” If all you can do is ask stupid questions, at least phrase them… Read more →

Six Drucker Questions that Simplify a Complex Age

Via Harvard Business Review. My personal favorite is “What would happen if this were not done at all?” Read more →

3 Questions That Get All Women Excited

I get a lot of spam lately with that topic: 3 Questions That Get All Women Excited. Does anyone know what the questions are? Asking for a friend . . . Read more →

To-Do List

Strive for clarity and distinctness. Ask “What do you mean, and how do you know?” Read more →

Which is More Valuable: Collaboration or Competence?

The title of this post makes a good interview question. Usually, the candidate will say something to the effect of “they’re both valuable” to avoid the possibility of slipping up and choosing the one that the interviewer believes is less valuable. Let’s say we need to get a picture painted. We could say, “Picasso — you’re our best guy in this area. We’d like you to paint the picture for us.” Or we could say, “Picasso — work with the steering committee to get that picture painted.” You could make a case for either approach, but you can’t do both. So which is more valuable? Personally, I think collaboration is overrated. It leads to the knowledge of experts and novices being given equal weight. There’s a reason why pilots don’t invite passengers into the cockpit to get their opinions on how to fly the plane . . . Thus spoke The Programmer. Read more →

Let Me Save You Some Time

Are you sick and tired of . . . ? Fill in anything and my answer will probably be yes. Read more →

What I’d Really Like, Dad, is to Borrow the Car Keys

My son walks into my room and says, “Dad, where are your car keys?” “Where are you going?” I ask. “Gym,” he says, and starts to walk out of the room again. “Wait a minute. Where are you going?” “To the gym.” “I got that, but you asked me a question and you’re walking out of the room before I answered it.” “I thought you could give me the answer as I was walking away.” “Well, I can’t because the keys are in my pocket.” “Oh,” he says. “See, that’s what threw me off,” I say, “is I’ve got the keys right here and you’re walking in the other direction.” “I don’t have time to stand around,” he says. “You don’t? Well, I don’t have time to figure out other people’s mystifying behavior.” Read more →

A Project Management Question

Which is better: A. Telling a project stakeholder that his good idea is never going to happen? B. Letting him think it is going to happen when it isn’t? Read more →

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