An Odd Conversation

Andrew Stephens, Wednesday the 7th of May, 2014

People in America are charmingly direct, and Bostonians even more-so This post was automatically imported from my old sandfly.net.nz blog. It may look a little weird since it was not originally written for this format.. Perhaps it is because I am a foreigner but I have had more random conversations in the last 3 months than in all the years I lived in Auckland.

The following slice-of-life took place during my walk in The Blue Hills Reservation. I was climbing up a narrow, rocky incline when I stopped to let a group of older people scramble down. One of the group, a man of about 60, apologized for the delay and I told him I didn't mind. He immediately picked up on my accent.

Man : English or Australian?
Me : New Zealander (This is not unusual, for some reason the New Zealand accent sounds very English to America ears)
Man : Visiting?
Me : No, I have been living here for the last 3 months.
Man : Engineer?
Me : Sort of, computer programmer
Man : What language?
Me : C++ mainly
Man : What data structures do you use?
Me : What?
Man : You know, data structures!
Me : ... well it depends.
Man : Binary tree?
Me : Yes
Man : Linked list?
Me : Sure
Man : Prefix tree?
Me : umm, not sure about that one...
Man : OK, have a nice day

It turns out that Prefix Tree is just another name for a Trie. If that is what he meant then I have implemented a prefix tree as an experiment at a previous job. It didn't work out, tries have a lot of overhead.

I wonder what would have happened if I had said yes.