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Ping: Episode 3

10 minutes, 11 seconds


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This week , as always, Max and Laura observed and listened to what people here at Microsoft were buzzing about, what was on their minds and what they talked about at the water cooler.  Here is a recap of what was on the minds of Microsofties this past
week. Topics include:

No Ipods at the Gates house!

Sobees it!

Is 2019 real?

Make a wish

...and more, enjoy!


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  • Zune > Ipod.

    The 2019 video is quite plausible as long as the economy doesn't tank. I want the device that takes the picture of the presentation and saves the whole interactive presentation on that small device. How sweet would it be to take a picture of a lecture, then it downloads that whole lecture and you can maniuplate it....

    Plus that touchable newspaper is neat. I'd like it for a text book. It is like a touchable kindle. Once again for textbooks and maybe some fun reading when college is done Tongue Out

    Oh and the right answer to why manhole covers are round...circles are one of the shapes that can't fit in itself, so you can't lose the cover down the hole. Some crazy math behind that and really strange implications if you really think about it. I can make a square go through a square hole, but I can't make a circle go through....

    The creative answer is so you can use the manhole inlet as an auxilery pipe to do all kinds of crazy things with. Like pump a lot of gelatin in the pipe and make some crazy gelatin pool of gelatin goodness. I've always wanted to fill a whole olympic sized swimming pool with gelatin...

    Apparently Microsoft likes this question.


    My answer wouldn't get me the job, but I still like the idea of using it as an auxiliary pipe. Of course there aren't many pipes with non circle cross sections due to the strain on the pipe itself.
  • I bought an iPod Video 30GB several years ago and that is where I lost my respect for Apple. Not that the device isn't cool but this guys just don't know how to make software and I remember their software as crappy ever since Win95 when you just could not uninstall Quicktime WTF!?!?!? Now I have a copy of Win XP dedicated to iTunes. I had to install iTunes on my old XP installation and not on my Vista installation because at the time there was no iTunes for Vista (and when they released one I heard it gave BSOD on Vista 64). However I am glad there was no Vista version of iTunes because now I keep this piece of * that finds it necessary to install a driver, 2 services, quicktime, some service discovery utility called Bonjour and most recently a browser on my machine just t let me copy mp3 files to a device isolated. Anyone willing to exchange an iPod for a Zune (too bad they don't sell these in Bulgaria)?

    Trix - your suggestion implies that they'd better make the manholes triangle. The triangle cannot fall through itself. Anyway these interview questions suck really bad. Read here on why:  http://thedailywtf.com/articles/riddle-me-an-interview.aspx

    P.S. Ping is when you send an ICMP packet to measure latency. Read Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ping
    P.P.S. the show generally sux but I watch it anyway. Please replace it with more "History of Microsoft"
  • Only equilateral triangles because of the relationship to a circumscribed triangle. Think about trying to stuff one through itself. Some ellipses and all circles still work...

  • KevinDork Force One "Lemme know if you need .45 Cal brain Surgery"
    I own a Zune and I have had experiences with all iPods and I will half to say I say the Zune is by far better than the iPod and I love the software for Zune its almost mind blowing.

    Out of the clip I thought the digital credit card device was the coolest. Where you selected your card you wanted to use then swiped it over a reader and you can figure out the rest.
  • I believe you're correct except about elipses, that would contradict the point of the circle and equilateral triangle being perfectly "maxed-out" shapes, in symetrical diameter.  I think you could drop an elipse through it's hole without exception.
  • I think I am wrong. Equilateral triangles can fall in. It would have to be an Rouleaux Triangle .

    Circles are still special in that they really are the only normal shape that can not fall through no matter what. I kept thinking about the equilateral triangle, the height is longer than the sides, you can get it in.

    With some googleing I confirmed it and read about the Rouleaux Triangle (which I was thinking was an elipse, but it most certainly is not).

  • Maxmaxzuck Spaceman Spiff!
    The height of the equilateral triangle cannot be longer than the sides as it acts as one of the 2 sides of a right triangle with the equilateral's shared side being the hypotnuse of the right triangle formed by the height and half of one of the equilateral's sides... care to re-phrase or am I confused?? Wink
  • He probably means shorter as the height is required to be shorter in order for the triangle to fall through itself. So obviously I was wrong and the triangle can fall through itself.

  • Yeah it is shorter, the point is it will fall through Tongue Out.
  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw

    i wonder what mr jobs would do to a member of his family if they showed up at door with a zune Tongue Out (or even a last-year ipod)
    silly thing still Smiley

    personally i strongly dislike both the ipod and the zune and dedicated mp3players in general (i do dislike the ipod the most though) Tongue Out i want my phone to handle that stuff Wink

  • jason818_253.33jason818_25​3.33 Yippi skippy
    A circle will fall into a circle of the same size. You have all been had. There is a smaller lip that goes around a man hole that keeps the cover from falling in.
  • Maxmaxzuck Spaceman Spiff!
    Haha, we've all been HAD!
  • Larry LarsenLarryLarsen "Lightbulb"
    From my interview notes:

    Why are manhole covers round?
    1. It's easier for one person to move.
    2. It's easier and less expensive to mill.
    3. Weight is more evenly distributed on a cylinder and supports heavy vehicles better.
    4. Easier securing mechanism (screwing it shut with a turn).
    5. So they don't fall in. @Jason818_253.33: You have to assume any shape manhole cover will have a beveled edge. A beveled edge circle won't fall into a circular hole. A beveled edge (almost any other shape) could.
    6. Because round is a more aesthetically pleasing shape from various angles.

    The question didn't come up in any of my interviews though. (hey, prepare for everything) My favorite interview question that I did get; "Please take a few moments at the whiteboard and come up with a new Microsoft product."
  • But if you used that same lip on an equilateral triangle, you could put in one corner of it and swing the next one in. If the lip was the same size.  If they used a 4 inch lip they could do anything they wanted. But the tubes are all circular for easy installation probably or maybe some structural security.  If the manhole covers weren't circular or at least octagonal, then you'd feel ridiculous climbing through them.
  • Erik PorterHuman​Compiler Now with more apps
    #3 is the answer I've always given.  Not many people seem to take structural integrity into account.  You're the first person other than myself that I've seen come up with that answer.  w00t!
  • Standing on a circle vs a square doesn't matter though. It is only when you put something inside that ship, like water where it matters. Circles have no vertices inside where things could be weaker.

    Long columns certainly are better round. Manholes are too thing to matter. This was discussed in my "intro to engineering" class. Structural integrity answer is invalid unless you are comparing it to a long thing strip of metal vs a larger thick round manhole.

  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    What was your hypothetical product, Lightbulb (though knowing you, it's probably in incubation now and you can't talk about it)?
  • PerfectPhasePerfectPhase "This is not war, this is pest control!" - Dalek to Cyberman
    "Oh and the right answer to why manhole covers are round...circles are one of the shapes that can't fit in itself, so you can't lose the cover down the hole. Some crazy math behind that and really strange implications if you really think about it. I can make a square go through a square hole, but I can't make a circle go through...."

    That and as there are no sharp angles (corners), there are no stress points either in the cover or what it sits in.
  • Larry LarsenLarryLarsen "Lightbulb"
    @Charles: I updated one of my favorite Microsoft products of yore; the Microsoft Cordless Phone (a home phone as opposed to a cell phone).  This time it was integrated with your hotmail account so any incoming calls would go right to your mail. The device could also be used as a portable web browser and social networking client. It also had wifi so if you take your handset with you the calls to your home phone would ping the handset to see if it was within a wifi hotspot and transfer the call to your remote location.  Lots more features.

    @Trix.rox: As the weight increases on a square, the vertices will give and the sides will bow leaving only parts of the square able to sustain the weight. A circle will continue to maintain the entire distribution of weight on its single edge until it fails.
  • You're right that round manhole covers can't fall through, and that's a big reason.  Another primary reason that I've heard is - the dang things are heavy!  One person can roll a round manhole cover, but of course that wouldn't work with any other shape.

    And of course, the "creative" answer:  Manhole covers are round because maholes are round.

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