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February 12, 2005

Kanji Backspace, Again

Larry Osterman posted a review of Find the Bug. This inspired a Microsoft blogger (who shall remain nameless, unless he/she chooses to reveal him/herself) to buy the book. The first example he/she looked at was the Kanji Backspace one, and naturally this led to an email claiming the example in the book was wrong, and an ensuing discussion among Larry, myself, and Mystery Blogger (not his/her real name). I won't reveal the outcome of the discussion, but once again this programming questions reveals itself as one of the most deceptively hard ones out there -- which makes it all the more amazing that as I related in my first book (and again here), someone once told me that they used Kanji Backspace when doing on-campus interviews of college seniors, and refused to fly someone back to Microsoft for more interviews if they didn't nail it.

Actually I was on an interview loop recently where someone asked a candidate to do strlen() of a DBCS string (the actual Windows stdlib function that does this is called mbslen()). This basically is asking someone if they can go forward in a DBCS string -- which in the "old school Microsoft" context of asking someone about Kanji Backspace is assumed to be so trivial that it isn't even asked.

Posted by AdamBa at February 12, 2005 09:47 PM

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Actually IMHO, for old school MS, DBCS strlen is a perfectly acceptable interview question IF the person being asked claims to be familiar with multilingual issues. The thing is that there are a lot of people who THINK they understand multilingual issues and dont: http://weblogs.asp.net/larryosterman/archive/2005/01/26/361015.aspx

Posted by: Larry Osterman at February 14, 2005 07:02 AM