My Apprenticeship - Tuesday, June 22, 2004

22 Jun 2004

In the summer of 2009 I revisited my 2004 summer apprenticeship at Object Mentor. What follows is the original 2004 post and then some 2009 commentary.

More C# today. I was working with two paying customers: Tony and Jeff. Watching those two bounce off each other was a riot. Jeff kept wanting Tony to type faster and Tony got even with Jeff by adopting an Asian accent (Jeff’s Asian). Jeff wasn’t super impressed with either TDD or refactoring so he kept advocating shortcuts, but Tony kept telling him to slow down ‘Cowboy.’ Why ‘cowboy,’ I don’t know but it was pretty funny.

We wrote a checkbook program today and we got to use polymorphism. A checkbook can take in deposits or checks, but both are really transactions. So we wrote an abstract Transaction class and then had the Check and Deposit classes inherit from it. It passed the tests, but I need to look it over because by the end of the day we had given in to Jeff’s demands and started just doing what he said. Things went kinda fast after that.

In the category of strange but true: I solved not one but two puzzles today. Normally I end up visualizing the person who offers the puzzle as a more gasoline soaked combustible version of themselves. But today things were different.

You should stop reading now if you don’t like puzzles. You have two lengths of rope that will each take 60 seconds to burn. The rate of burning, however, is not constant. So one rope may burn through 90% of it’s length in 5 seconds and take 55 seconds to consume the other 5%. The ropes are not identical. While one may do 90% in 5 seconds, the other may do the first 90% in 40 seconds. The only thing that is sure is that each will take 60 seconds to burn all the way. You have a box of matches, but no access to a timer. Your goal is to use the ropes to measure 15 seconds.

Fun fact: The two guys worked at a place in my old neighborhood where I got arrested and thrown into jail. Lemme give you some advice about getting arrested – always carry 100 dollars on you in cash so you can bail yourself out. Most non-terrible offenses have a thousand dollar bail, but they’ll accept 10%. The ‘jail’ was a bit of a let-down as it was really just a room with a locked door and a pay phone. On the plus side I got to call my Dad from ‘jail.’ Remember that old ‘Was not was’ song ‘Hello dad, I’m in Jail’? Well I do.