Sep 27, 2007

Hey Facebook! What gives?

One of the ways in which I prepare for an interview is to research the person I'm going to be interviewing. The first step is to toss their name into one (or more) search engines and see what falls out. Not getting any useful results isn't a negative (many people work on internal stuff with no concern for fame fortune and glory, and they're very good at it), but if I happen to learn a little about them from a blog entry or a profile on a social networking site, then I can direct my questions in a way that more precisely fits the candidate.

So today, I sat down to read through the resumé of an upcoming candidate and punched his name into the best damned search engine ever. What's relatively unique about this candidate is that his name contains an accented character. The search results handled this accented character cleanly of course, and when I followed the first result for "José Smith" (Not his real name -- I'm respecting privacy here), I found myself looking at his Facebook profile. All well and great of course, but then I noticed the URL in the address bar:

Jos??? The only Jos I know is a director with a penchant for vampires.

Now, I get not putting the UTF8 or latin1 literal in the URL, browsers don't agree nearly enough on URL encoding to be able to expect it to work reliably. And putting the urlencoded version would just be silly since /Jos%C3%A9_Smith/ looks even uglier. I get that. But what if his name were entirely non-ascii? Perhaps a chinesse name? Would it be so hard to do a transliteration? I seem to recall Derick sharing a few ideas on the subject a couple years ago...

Sep 15, 2007

Dress Code

The background

As most know, I work for Yahoo!, the US Web Search front-end team specifically. The company as a whole has (to my knowledge) no more of a dress code than "Don't show up naked". Consequently, most employees, especially those in engineering/operations roles, tend to dress pretty casually. During the summer, this progresses clear into the realm of shorts and sandals.

There's one coworker in our team, Venu, who insists on "dressing for success". Not ultra formal mind you, but we've never seen him wear anything short of a dress shirt, slacks, and nice shoes. At the other end of the spectrum is our boss, Lalit, who has only rarely been seen wearing anything other than shorts (and then, only in the coldest of winters). It was from this, that another coworker, Venkat, hatched his plan.

The setup

To everyone but Lalit:
Hey, we should play a prank on Lalit, next monday, everyone should show up in shorts and flip-flops
to make fun of him for his slacker dressing...

Meanwhile, to everyone but Venu:
Okay, Venu's falling for it, now the REAL prank will be on him. He'll show up in shorts,
and the rest of us will dress formally...

Sure enough, today Venu "the slob" showed up in shorts and some (but not all) the rest of us showed him up in our "business professional" attire. Looking at my towering stature in this photo, I'm doubting the wisdom of wearing heels, but somehow flats just didn't create the right effect ;)

Lalit, Me, Venu, Ryan, Venkat, Nam