Caltech Rankmaniac 2012

We are trying to educate people about being CS majors and getting our site to the top of a Rankmaniac 2012 google image search

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CS majors have computers!

rankmaniac 2012 apple

rankmaniac computer

For the sake of keeping on topic on the last night of Rankmaniac 2012, I, who am actually pretty clueless about computers, will attempt to talk about what computers CS majors have.

Keep in mind, (this is Janis btw), that I began my career at Caltech as an applied math major and came from a school where the only computer programming class was HTML taught by the wrestling coach who was only there because our wrestling team were state champs.  (I learned how to change the colors and font on my myspace page, yaaay!).  Anyways, when it came time to choose a computer for college, my parents and I went for a MacBook pro because it came with a free iTouch or something.  I like my Mac (and all of my Apple products) and has overall functioned very well throughout my time at Caltech.

So, I know of other CS majors with Macs, what other computers do rankmaniacs have?

I apologize for the lame post… it’s late, I’m tired, and this page really needed an update.


Has anyone figured out Bing yet?

rankmaniac 2012 bing logo

How are rankmaniacs supposed to get on Bing?

One image from this class appears on Bing – and it took a couple of weeks to get there.  So why can’t we or anyone else get on Bing image search?

According to the top articles found on Bing for the query “how to get on Bing image search”, the image search optimization methods are similar to Google’s:  appropriate filenames, alt text, and something about frame breaking (that I don’t actually understand and don’t have time to look up right now because I’m technically working on a different problem set).  Most of the other results were for how to be the background image of Bing or how to turn off the background image of Bing.

Any advice on how we can get pictures on Bing image search in 18 hours?

Important questions to ask before accepting

Hola Rankmaniacs,

Here are some important questions you should ask before accepting any job offers.

  1. Can I talk with a member of the team I am joining?  You probably already did this, but if you didn’t, make sure you ask this question – it sucks to be on a team you don’t care about
  2. What management opportunities or raise opportunities are there?  This is important if you are a real go-getter.
  3. What is the bonus structure like?  A big salary is nice, but getting a huge bonus every year is just gravy.
  4. If you are relocating, make sure you ask about the city.  A nice job is good, but living in a place with bad schools (if you have kids) and nothing to do is not worth it.
  5. What is the office culture like?  If you’ve never spent time in the office, make sure you get a feel for it before accepting.  It’s nice to have friends.

There are many more, but that should be good for now 😛

Surprise Phone Interview!

Rankmaniac 2012 phone

How should a Rankmaniac handle a surprise interview?

Today I had a phone interview scheduled for this afternoon.  I woke up and went to the gym early to relax.  Planned on doing some background research (and finish off my problem set) during the day and be ready to talk talk talk later.

Instead I got back from the gym and as soon as I walked through the door my phone was ringing.  Fortunately I’m a rankmaniac and handled it pretty well (there was just some miscommunications about the time…)

Now I don’t have to spend the rest of my day worrying about it and can instead finish off my problem set (by the actual due date) and even start preparing the Rankmaniac Reloaded report for our group.  I guess I’m glad I got it out of the way earlier.

What we learned in CS144…

CS144 The Ideas Behind the Webrankmaniac 2012

What Rankmaniacs learn in School

We had a game theory class one day – apparently this will help us be better CS majors (and Rankmaniacs?).

Tips for Rocking a CS Interview like a Rankmaniac

Hi guys,

I have just a few general tips for doing well at CS interviews.  I can’t promise these will all work for you – I just know that they work for me.

  1. Buy interview books!  These handy little books include both important concepts and interesting problems.  Start reviewing them at least a week before your interviews – they will fill in the gaps in your knowledge and help you get in the frame of mind to answer interview questions.  Two books I recommend are Programming Interviews Exposed and Cracking the Coding Interview.  Alternatively, you can check out sites like  Wikipedia is also a good resource for algorithms.
  2. Review difficult concepts (like dynamic programming or flow networks) the night before.  If you know that your job requires knowledge of systems or databases, leaf through your old textbooks on the subject.  Study only briefly!  If you don’t already know the concepts, forcing yourself to learn them the night before will only make you stressed.
  3. Eat lightly before the interview.  This is especially important if you are nervous – trust me, your stomach will thank you. It will also keep your head clear and awake.
  4. Come early to the interview.  I find it helps my nervousness levels if I get acclimated to the office before I have to do my interview.
  5. Bring an extra copy of your resume.  The more copies the recruiters have, the more they will see your name and the more likely they are to remember you and hire you.
  6. At the interview, try to keep an upbeat demeanor and hide your nervousness.  This is especially true at the start of the interview before you get into the rhythm of things and your nervousness dies down.  Keeping a handle on your emotions will keep them from spiraling out of control.
  7. Don’t be afraid to chat or even make small talk with the interviewer.  Many CS interviewees forget that an interview isn’t just about showing your technical skills – it’s also about demonstrating that you are a good fit for the company.  A star coder who is unpleasant will be passed over by a recruiter.  Note that some interviewers will not be in the mood for small talk and will want to get straight to the questions.  In that case, make an extra effort to be serious and professional – small talk is off the table.
  8. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself.  The point of the interview is to sell yourself.  If you make a vast display of modesty, you will just be considered unqualified.
  9. Answer questions aloud.  This one should be obvious.  Interviewers have no idea what you are thinking.  Answering questions aloud is like writing out your answers on a test – if you get stuck, at least you will still get partial credit.  It is also important that the interviewer knows how you think.  Silently writing the solution on a board might seem badass, but it’s not – it’s just confusing for the interviewer.
  10. Ask your interviewer questions when you are stuck.  There is no shame in asking for help once you are completely stuck (you better have made a good effort first).  In fact, some questions are designed to totally stump you.  Interviewers want to see how you perform under pressure.  Also, in a multiple question interview, it might be best to have an interviewer help you quickly through a question you can’t get so you can rock the next question.  The alternative is that you waste all your time on the first question.
  11. Always have questions prepared for the end of the interview.  Most interviewers will leave time for any of your questions.  Don’t waste that time.  I always have a few stock questions that I will ask: “What do you like most about working at company X?” “What team are you working on?” “How does part X of your infrastructure work?”.
  12. Write a short thank you note (perhaps with your resume attached) after the interview.  Remember, you want the recruiter to remember you.  This is another excuse for them to see your name.
  13. Forget about the interview ASAP!  Never cry over spilled milk.  If you failed the interview, just forget about it – get a bite to eat, take a jog – don’t let it psych you out.  If you rocked the interview, congrats!  Don’t rest on your laurels though – move on and start preparing for the next interview.

Rankmaniac 2012 Interview

Microsoft removes start button in Windows 8


Rankmaniac 2012 Programmer

Rankmaniac 2012 Programmer

Rankmaniac 2012 Update

Hi Everyone!

Let’s take a break from these tough CS questions and learn about how the contest is going.  In less than a day we have made it Google image search and Bing web search, which is very exciting news.  To improve the PageRank of this blog we utilized a few search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.

The first is to just have a relevant title and use the keyword, “rankmaniac 2012” on the page frequently-but not too much.  The second is to use appropriate tags on our images – specifically the title tag and alternative text tag.  Did you notice that if you scroll over any of our images it says something about rankmaniac 2012?  Now you know 🙂  Finally, we made sure to post relevant content, not only to the rankmaniac competition, but also to our theme of being a CS major at Caltech , hence all of the wonderful advice and funny pictures!

For helping us with this competition I leave you with this nerd’s fantasy: