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Tough Interview Questions

Job review company Glassdoor have compiled a list of the toughest interview questions by country. Here are the toughest from the UK for 20...

Petting Zoos

After realising that he's the only one in the gang who's never been stroked, Nelson visits a petting zoo, where he quickly discovers that getting a stroke isn't always a pleasant experience.

Be warned, the programme Mongrels can be much ruder than this.

If PHP were written in British English

When Rasmus Lerdorf first put PHP together, he – quite sensibly, despite his heritage – chose not to write it in Greenlandic or Danish. Good job too – that would have been rather unpleasant to work with. He opted instead, being in Canada at the time, for the local tongue. No, not French, he used that bastard dialect of the Queen’s English commonly referred to as “US English”.

PHP developers in Britain have been grumpy about this ever since. What was he thinking? And more importantly, how do we undo this travesty? How do we developers ensure the traditions of the British Empire continue to be upheld, even in the digital age?

A Slap in the Face


The first, but maybe the most important, of many changes that will allow PHP to achieve a more elegant feel is to remove that symbol so beloved by the US and replace it with something altogether more refined. More solid. More … sterling.



Few things are more abhorrent to the British than unnecessary abbreviations. “Text speak” is unheard of on the streets of London, as the natural ingrained British grammarian simply refuses to stoop to sending messages of the “c u soon traffic kthxbye” variety, instead proferring something altogether more elegant: “Dear Sir/Madam. I will arrive as soon as time allows, which I expect to be within the hour. I assure you the horses shall not be spared. Yours respectfully.” (slower to type, yes, but we do not like to be rushed).

PHP, on the other hand, is full to bursting with abbreviations and acronyms which are entirely unnecessary:


The following changes should improve things:


if ($condition) {
// Code here
} else {
// Code here

Shakespeare would be ashamed to see his native tongue twisted into this monstrosity. Brevity is to be applauded in the right context – in some dark corner, where it shall be seldom seen – but not here. The if … else block is the most used conditional code in all of PHP, so it must be made as inoffensive as possible. There are many options for its replacement, but this may be the strongest:

perchance (£condition) {
// Code here
} otherwise {
// Code here

Words fail me at this point. How is any self-respecting gentleman expected to make head or tail of these “words”. It beggars belief that anyone could allow such distortions of words to be entered into a programming language. They, along with the myriad of similar errors, should be reverted to their proper forms immediately:

try {
// Code here
} catch (Exception $e) {
// Handle exception

The try … catch block is an excellent example of PHP’s lack of manners. Far too direct to be allowed in the new PHP. Additionally, the word “die” is so very depressing. This new block, although more verbose, is vastly more polite and upbeat:

would_you_mind {
// Code here
} actually_i_do_mind (Exception £e) {
// Politely move on


Perhaps nothing is as important and ingrained in the British psyche as the notion of class and, while there are few opportunities for change within this part of PHP, the changes that there are to be made here are important.

class Republic {
public $a;
private $b;
protected $c;
$example = new Republic;

To begin with, the current system has no place for class hierarchy and this is unacceptable. So we shall begin by giving classes specific levels – upper, middle, working – and no class can access the methods of one of a higher level without the explicit permission of the higher order class (of course, though it might then have access, it would not be a true member of the higher order and could not itself grant higher order access to other lower order classes). “Public” and “Private”, in the British class system, are often synonymous (see, for example, school system nomenclature), so these must be adjusted, as should the “Protected” property visibility. The word “new”, while passable, has a much more appropriate replacement in matters of class.

upper_class Empire {
state £a;
private £b;
hereditary £c;
£example = nouveau Empire;
The Sun Never Sets …

It is hoped that these few simple changes will improve the reputation and status of PHP among other languages. No longer will it be the poor American cousin – instead it can take its rightful place as the – British – King of the scripting languages.


Splitting the bill

... can lead to a splitting headache.


Marriage is like a game of cards. In the beginning it's all hearts and diamonds, but by the end you wish you had a club and a spade. (Think about it.)

The Definition of Corpsing

To corpse (verb) - Describes what happens when an actor, or in this case three Sky presenters, loses control during a performance and laughs uncontrollably:-

Autocomplete explained

How spell checker and auto-complete works in Google

How Business is Done

Father: "I want you to marry a girl of my choice"

Son: "I will choose my own bride!"

Father: "But this is Bill Gates's daughter."

Son: "Well, in that case - OK!"

Next - Father approaches Bill Gates.

Father: "I have a husband for your daughter."

Bill Gates: "My daughter will choose her own husband."

Father: "But this young man is a vice-president at the World Bank."

Bill Gates: "Oh well, in that case - OK!"

Finally - Father goes to see the president of the World Bank.

Father: "I would like you to make my son a vice-president of the bank."

President: "But I already have more vice- presidents than I need!"

Father: "But this young man is Bill Gates' son-in-law."

President: "Ah, in that case - OK!"

And that is how business is done!

Moral: Even If you have Nothing, with the right words you can get Anything.
But your attitude has to be positive

Think ++++++ve!

How to be annoying

We've been discussing "How to be annoying" on the forum. I think this video illustrates the concept very well:-

What is Klout?

Basically this is a play on the word "clout". "To have clout" means to have power or influence, but in this video they are talking about "Klout" scores, which measures influence based on your ability to drive action. Seemingly every time you create content or engage with others online, you influence them and the Klout score uses data from social networks in order to measure your Klout score.

These are the levels:-

True Reach: How many people you influence
Amplification: How much you influence them
Network Impact: The influence of your network

 The Klout Score measures influence based on your ability to drive action. Every time you create content or engage you influence others. The Klout Score uses data from social networks in order to measure: This video nicely sums up what I think of the whole thing (there is one rude word in it - you have been warned):-


Committees, Conferences, Meetings and Teamwork

A committee is a thing which takes a week to do what one good man can do in an hour.
Elbert Hubbard

I've searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees. G K Chesterton

Committee: A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit to do the unnecessary.
Richard Harkness

Committees have become so important nowadays that subcommittees have to be appointed to do the work.
Laurence J. Peter

Any committee that is the slightest use is composed of people who are too busy to want to sit on it for a second longer than they have to.
Katharine Whitehorn

A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.
Fred Allen

A conference is just an admission that you want somebody to join you in your troubles.
Will Rogers

Our meetings are held to discuss many problems which would never arise if we held fewer meetings.
Ashleigh Brilliant

When the outcome of a meeting is to have another meeting, it has been a lousy meeting.
Herbert Hoover

Meetings and the Law of Triviality ... briefly stated, it means that the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved.
C Northcote Parkinson

A meeting is an event where minutes are taken and hours wasted.

Meetings are indispensable when you don't want to do anything.
John Kenneth Galbraith

Teamwork is wasting half of one's time explaining to others why they are wrong.
Georges Wolinski