Month: March 2011

Thoughts on the job search

There are times that I hate this whole job-searching thing. All the customizing resumes, tweaking searches, poking around random websites, trying to gauge what recruiters are seeking, finding ways to bring my resume to the top of the swarm…yeah, fun. Of course, one of the most fun parts of all this is explaining what kind of career I’ve had. What a long, strange trip THAT’s been.

That path has been, as Gary Erickson (founder of Clif Bars) would put it, has been upon a white lined road. While journeying in Europe, he found a map that differentiated the main, heavily traveled roads with red and the smaller, lesser frequented ones with white. In his book, he uses that analogy to explain the path his business has journeyed, as well as his viewpoint on decisions. My winding career, though, makes it hard at times to describe what I am, at least in terms of my career. Perhaps it’s easier to talk about my foci right now.

I am seeing my deepest gifts as administrative, if not as an admin assistant or secretary. What I’ve called “executive baby-sitting” is not my calling. Those executives that I’ve admined for successfully have been quite self-sufficient and needed my assistance for more project and team centric work. Anyway, this really means that I work best in team support roles.

Right now, my main focus is on landing something close by; aka: eliminating the commute. My past few positions have had long ones. Now, I haven’t really minded them. In some ways I like having the down-time. However, I am finding my role as household manager to be rather core to my being. Proximity to home is needed to maximize my effectiveness there. The challenge? My local network is pathetic. I am well connected in Seattle and Bellevue, but South Snohomish County? Not so much. Needless to say, I’m working on that.

We do have several large players around here: Boeing being mammoth, but also Premera and Philips have significant operations here. Then there are the smattering of biotech firms landing in Bothell (an ever growing list). With my love of public-side work, I’m also poking around local government.

It’s been rather quite the past few days on the replies from hiring folks. I’m confident that will change soon. My home-side work is keeping me both busy and happy. In the last stint of unemployment, I was a bit unbalanced with job-seeking. Ironically, it was when I started focusing on balancing my life that I found work. This round I’ve been focused on balance: health (exercise, mostly), expanding my knowledge of both key skills as well as the local area. Anyway, that’s another post.


Star Wars Exhibit

We went to the Pacific Science Center’s member’s preview for theirStar Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination production. As a (nearly) life-long Star Wars fan, it was a delight to be part of. Many other geeks my age were there; I’m pretty sure there were more adults than kids. The official show starts today, and I expect the attendance to be more balanced.

Some Ideas About The Future Of TV

I’m watching G4‘s Attack of the Show. I’ve checked out the show, and the network, a few times since they merged with TechTV. I’ve not been too impressed with G4’s programming work, as it seems to mostly consist of reruns of COPs.

AOFS AOTS, though, has some interesting concepts. Their focus is tech, in the form of gaming, internet memes, viral video; mainly the goofy and wacky of online life. I like their displayed Twitter stream, and the way they incorporate that and audience reactions into the show. There clearly is preparation, thus some scripting (there are guests for instance). The show seems to be allowed to flow in whatever direction it wanders. They riff off of whatever random tweet comes through.
They may be silly & goofy (The show is not for everyone. Shall we say it’s a tad bit ribald?), but I think they have glimpsed the future. That we’re expecting to be interacted with, not just fed. We have something to say about a broadcast, and that others are interested in engaging with each other. It’s an interesting experiment, and bears watching. Hopefully, G4 can do something interesting with the concept. If not, someone else will.

Linux & Me

I’ve spent the better part of today getting Ubuntu working on an older laptop (Compaq Presario R3000). I installed it several days ago, but was fighting with getting my wifi card to work. ‘Twas a bit of challenge due to its agedness. I was trying to get a Broadcom 4301 802.11 b card running with Maverick Meerkat. This is old enough to not be supported, so I needed to get creative. I’m geek-proud of myself for getting it worked out (uninstalled the built in broadcom driver and then utilized the “Windows Wireless Drivers” app & the original driver that shipped with the thing).

The more I think about it, the more I’m surprised that I’m only now getting into Linux. Well, I fiddled a bit with it a few years back, but never went anywhere. When I consider my values, my tendency towards “anti-corporate” & anti-commercial and my love of all things geeky, this should’ve been a slam-dunk. Well, it took a bit, but here I am. We’ll see where this world leads me.

Mickey Hart and Global Drum Project –

I first came across Mickey Hart years back in the early 90s with the first iteration of Planet Drum. Listening left me in awe; the combination of global rhythms into this amazing blend of rhythm and harmony. Speaking to the core of my being, I constantly cycled that cassette. Eventually stretching and warping the poor thing.
Besides the quality of the work, I also find Mr. Hart’s equal footing with the “other” percussionists to be great. Shows me he is a musician to the core of his being.
I’m not sure how long this has been up on YouTube, but it still is delightful. National Geo does fantastic work.

Social Media Expertise

Lots of folks are running around billing themselves as “social media” experts. Most of my cohort online finds them annoying at best, and fraudulent at worst. In the spirit of self-exploration, and a wee bit of sarcasm, I present reasons that I (little ol’ me) could bill myself thusly.

Reasons I can call myself a Social Media Expert:

  1. I’ve been reading Wil Wheaton’s blog since before the term “blog” was invented. And I didn’t know what to think when he shifted to Word Press.
  2. Got a Facebook account back when you needed to request an invite, and the email had to be a .edu email address.
  3. Had a “blog” before the term was invented. Each update hand-coded (html, if you don’t know…but actually care), with my archive needing a great deal of thought and strategy. (It was hosted on my “free” webpage that came gratis with my Earthlink account.)
  4. With said blog, was excited to plug in a counter and delighted in watching it tick upward
  5. I had a Geocites site (multiple pages, so truly a “site) before the Yahoo! acquisition.
  6. Became part of a Webring.
  7. I’ve had accounts on MySpace, Friendster, Yahoo!360…
  8. Got a gmail account back when the only way was via an invite.
  9. I was involved in many vigorous and interesting Usenet discussions
  10. Actually know about Usenet…and where the archives are.
  11. I’ve explained to people what a blog, Facebook, etc are before any reporter (other than tech/geek columnists) had written about them.
  12. Remember when ZDNet was a tech forum focused on professional IT.
  13. I’ve made comments on Dilbert’s List of the Day.
  14. Know what an In-Duh-Vidual is.
  15. Have actually used Mosaic.
  16. Have actually used Lynx.
  17. Had discussions about search engine optimization before the term “search engine optimization” existed.
  18. Started my Blogger site before Google’s acquisition.

Some of these really should read “why I’m a web geek”, but, well, whatever.

Coffee and Fast Food

This morning got away from me. Took much longer than normal to get out the door, thus got my son to before-school care right about time for him to go meet the bus. While there, the director (a long-time friend) told me she was having issues with her printer (which I had installed last week). So, more time before I finally get breakfast. At moments like these, I’m sorely tempted by McDonald’s breakfast. Today I succumb. I decide to take advantage to this moment and finally try McDonald’s coffee.

You see, I worked at Starbucks back in 2007 when Consumer Reports decided McDonald’s had better coffee than Starbucks. CR dropped in my esteem after this. It seemed crazy to me to compare Starbucks, a coffee roaster to McDonald’s, Dunkin, and Burger King…coffee buyers. On top of this, coffee is procured from a myriad of vendors. Adding to the fun, one of the many companies McDonald’s & Burger King buy coffee from is Starbucks (or its sub-company, Seattle’s Best). I thought it would be hysterical if the CR gang were comparing Starbucks to Starbucks.

Perhaps because of my annoyance noted above, and/or commitment to my (then) employer, I never actually tried McDonald’s coffee. So, here we go. It wasn’t too bad. Well balanced, smooth, a little tangier than I usually go for. With a little sugar, it has a flavor much like soda. Clearly Latin American beans, very light and balanced. None of the earthiness of Asian beans, and no African notes, either. Not horrible, not bad; a pretty “middlin” coffee.

No, I won’t be dropping my regular stops at Ladro or Starbucks. However, I’ll drop some of my annoyance at McD’s. I’ll keep my condescension at Consumer Reports, though.