Bioman35353

In a parallel universe dominated by the Mayan civilization the world waits breathlessly to see if computer programmers have properly corrected the 14b (14th baktun) problem or whether all their computer will tick over to the beginning of the 13th baktun, 20 katun cycles ago (about 394 years, 1618 AD, in the obscure Gregorian calendar system).

Not a bad plot for an alternative history story…

Personally I’m a little more interested in the Binary Millennium (aka the Year 2038 problem) which is still looming.

http://bit.ly/VTptpo

#2012 #apocalypse #computers #programing #alernativehistory

original post

Where’s the Smart Money in an (fake)Apocalypse?

Ok, so lot’s of people are freaking out over the fact that the Mayans didn’t bother to make the calendar on their monuments tick over to the 14th b’ak’tun (b’ak’tun are cycles nearly 400 years long). Basically, modern people are panicking because the Mayans had a 13th b’ak’tun problem and assuming that due to the well known Mayan skill of prediction (they saw the Spanish coming years in advance but suffered from severe cultural procrastination and never got around to doing anything about it) this lack of another page in their calendar is a sign that the world is about to end.

So here’s my question: While the people who don’t understand the Mayan civilization or calendars in general are putting their money into canned food and shotguns what should the rest of us do to prepare for the post-apocalypse fizzle? Will it be enough to effect the stock market? Clean up on lightly used survival supplies on Ebay Dec 22nd? Any thoughts/suggestions?

Posted an interesting #picture to #reddit, had the ultimate comment in less than three minutes by stackableshrooms “I used to be a race car …..”, very impressive.

#cars #skyrim #arrow
http://redd.it/yyxj2

Legal Performance Art (or Charles Carreon goes Batcrap Crazy)

I think it’s important to recognize the contribution of performance artists to our culture. It it through individuals like Andy Kaufman and Steven Colbert that we as a society can see in satire what would be unimaginable in earnest. That is why I’m so proud of Charles Carreon.

Charles Carreon is without a doubt the finest performance artist of all time. His subterfuge is more reminiscent of the Rosenburgs than Sacha Cohen in it’s complexity and commitment. Mr. Carreon actually went to law school and spent years building a law practice for the sole purpose of drawing attention to the foolishness of the American legal system.

After year of painstaking determination and patience Mr. Carreon launched his plan with a lawsuit against TheOatmeal.com which was quickly brought to people’s attention with this post by creator Matthew Inman. Now, for some people this would have been enough but Mr. Carreon didn’t spend all that time building his persona for such a minor piece of theater.

Mr. Carreon doubled down with this interview with Forbes where he displays a clearly unrealistic lack of understanding of how the internet and people in general work. This was a risky move since it’s becoming harder to take his character, and more importantly the message, seriously. Honestly, at this point I suspected that this brilliant criticism of our legal system was coming to an early and regrettable end.

Yet it was at this moment that Mr. Carreon explodes back into action with this lawsuit against the charitable organizations the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation. I was left in awe and somehow I don’t think he’s done yet.

Like the great Andy Kaufman it’s hard to know where reality ends and the joke starts. You are left wondering whether this is art that imitates life or life that imitates art. Regardless, we all should admire the incredible dedication of Charles Carreon who is willing to go so far to show us the foolishness of our current copyright system, legal structure and even the very way that we interact with people on the internet. Bravo sir!

Either that or Charles Carreon is Batcrap crazy.

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Legal Performance Art (or Charles Carreon goes Batcrap Crazy) by Adam Glickman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Writing An Insulting Letter

I was going through my mail and found a letter from the company that administers Pennsylvania’s taxes (they use a private company called Berkheimer for the local taxes). Initially, I thought it was about my 2011 taxes which aren’t due yet but it seemed to be saying that I owed unpaid taxes. Since I had only lived in that town for a few months and had paid my taxes in 2011 I couldn’t figure out how I could owe anything.

I called them up expecting to be told that it about about prepaying or estimated taxes. Instead I was informed that I hadn’t paid a town tax which had been mailed to me in the middle of the year. Even though I told them that I had never received anything (the post office lost a couple of our letters while we where there and failed to forward some others since we moved) they said that they never resend anything and even if I’ve never heard of this tax which is sent out several months after all the others I was still libel for the fees.

I was irritated since I would have been happy to pay at the time (well, happy might be a bit strong) but there wasn’t anything I could do. I felt the need to vent a bit so I decided to send a complaint letter to Berkheimer, and because I’m a little odd, I decided to have some fun with it. This is the letter that I sent complaining about what happened, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it:

I have always sought to compose myself with the utmost care concerning what is owed of me. I have paid every tax asked of me but cannot pay that which is unknown to me. I paid my earned income and believed that to be the end of my monetary responsibilities in Sellersville as no further requests were presented to me and every credit check has come forth without blemish. Both while in residence and since in forwarding, my mail has been inconsistent due to the poor disposition of the Post Office of that town, yet I am without recourse. 
Had I lived there for more than a few months I might have been better informed of the tax requirements and the knowledge that they are not asked of one all at once but in random intervals throughout the yearly cycle. That there are no further notices to account for lost letters nor ability to appeal these charges against my wallet and character are unfair and unjust. I could just as easily claim that I myself had sent a response to you and your inability to find it is upon your own head yet I would not be so odorous to you.
I have therefore paid your ridiculous fine which I am certain exists solely as a device for lining your company coffers but wish you to know that your services are atrocious and I hope that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania disposes of them for a company less villainous as soon as possible leaving you without means and cast into the street. I would wish you “Good Day” but cannot in good conscience place such as lie in print.

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Writing An Insulting Letter by Adam Glickman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

New premium YouTube channels “Geek & Sundry” (http://bit.ly/H47Tva) and “Nerdist” (http://bit.ly/H47VTI) are launching next week and look incredibly awesome.

I highly recommend that everyone check them out and subscribe to the channels so you get the updates (if you’re connected with me then odds are you’d like at least one of the shows).

These new YouTune channels are kind of like online-only TV stations, high quality and with great shows that wouldn’t get a chance on normal network television. They aren’t trapped by preset lengths, showtimes, or ratings. This is probably the future of TV, where shows are produced for the web but the most popular are also shown on TV rather than the other way around. It actually makes more sense since your target audience might not mesh with a particular timeslot and you can target ads more precisely. I’m really looking forward to see what some of these stunningly creative people can do when given a bit of a budget and a camera!

#Geek #Nerd #TV

Job Hunting Advice Continued (Part Two - Searching for Positions)

Intro

A good friend of mine recently became unemployed. I wanted to give my friend (yes, I’m intentionally being vague) the best advice I could since I’ve been laid off twice and learned a lot both times. Rather than just send an email I decided to create a blog post so that anyone else who might find this information useful could find it.

As my original post became too big I decided to split it up into what I expect will be three sections of which this is the second. The first post mostly focused on preparations such as creating a resume, a LinkedIn profile and business cards. This post will be focused more on what to do with your resume; how to actually look for work and get interviews.

I hope that you don’t need any of this but if you do then I hope that you find something here that makes your job search a little easier.

*Disclaimer*

These are some tips that I felt were helpful for me personally. Everyone is different and every field is different. Some of the things I did might have been helpful for me but would be harmful for you. Each person needs to evaluate this advice in the appropriate context and use their best judgement. If you read this and have better information please feel free to add any comments or suggestions.

The Road Thus Far and Yet to Come

If you’ve read my previous post then at this point you’ve got a resume (at least version 1.0), some business cards, a LinkedIn profile, and a dream. The point of this post is to bring you to the attention of people who can actually offer you a job, or at least bring you in for an interview., 

Posting Your Resume (version 1.0)

When you first start looking for work it can be extremely overwhelming. There are so many jobs out there and yet so few that seem to be what you’re looking/qualified for.

To get started I recommend posting your resume in as many places as possible. At the very least I suggest Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, Dice.com, and Indeed.com. If you know of any that are more specific to your region, industry or field then post there too. With most sites you can update your resume whenever you like and upload multiple resumes as well. Take advantage of this. Once you have a decent resume, post it. You can then spend a week or two polishing and improving your resume while version 1.0 is already out there.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that you put out a sub-par resume. I just don’t want you getting bogged down with word choice, formatting, and phrasing when you should be focused on other things. This will also give you time to send your resume to people for review and give them plenty of time to respond. I’ll get into this more later but you’ll end up tweaking your resume for certain job applications anyway so don’t worry about creating a resume that is perfect for all situations.

Recruiters

Many job postings are now facilitated by recruiters. These are people paid by the company to find appropriate candidates for specific positions that the company needs filled. Examples of recruiting companies include Aerotek and Manpower.

Some of these companies will find you by noticing your posted resume. Usually this happens when they’re looking for a candidate for a specific position and your resume got their interest. If this doesn’t happen immediately, don’t worry. You can also send your resume to these recruiting/staffing companies to get into their database. Once you’ve got a profile in their system they’ll try and match you to available openings. Look for companies that specialize in your industry and contact them.

Sounds wonderful right? You don’t have to do anything and these people will get you a great job! Sorry, not so fast.

Yes, working with recruiting companies can be extremely helpful, HOWEVER it is absolutely not a substitute for putting in the necessary effort on your end! Recruiters get paid by companies to find someone to fill an open position. They don’t necessarily care if that person is you. These people work under incredible pressure because they get paid based on the number of candidates they present that get hired. They need to send likely candidates quickly or someone else might get the job so they’re not as interested in getting you a job as they are getting a position filled.

How do you deal with recruiters? By making yourself a good candidate.

1) Bring the positions to the recruiter. Most of recruiting companies have a database of open positions. Search through it regularly and when you find a potential match bring it to the attention of either your contact person at that company or the person listed as the contact for that position.

2) Be professional. When a recruiter sends you on an interview you are partially representing that recruiter (since their judgement is why you’re there). Make sure that you leave a good impression even if you don’t like the situation (such as realizing that you really don’t want the job). The recruiter is going to call the hiring manager to ask how things went. You want that call to go very well even if they decide that you’re not right for the job. Show up well prepared (more on interview prep later), be polite, and make sure that the recruiter won’t have any qualms about sending you another client later.

3) Stay in contact. Call or email your contacts regularly so that they know that you’re still looking for work. Most recruiters know that you won’t necessarily tell them that you accepted a new job so if they haven’t heard from you in a while they might assume that you’ve stopped looking.

My general rule was that I would call no less than once every two weeks to check in. I’d go through each database about once or twice a week and see if anything new had been listed. If I saw something promising I’d contact the person about it. If I hadn’t seen anything after about two weeks I’d make a quick call just to let my primary contact person know that I hadn’t seen anything listed but I was still looking and interested. Polite but short, the recruiter doesn’t need to chat but you want them to remember who you are when that perfect opportunity crosses their desk.

*Super Important Tip*
I strongly recommend that you keep a log of all your job hunting activities. It should include things like the job title, company (both the recruiting company and actual company), location, date of last communication, contact person and contact information. This is useful for a variety of reasons:

  • It will let you keep track of whether you’ve already applied for a position. Many companies have a policy of throwing out duplicate resumes! This prevents people from mass-sending resumes to every open position. A recruiter might ask if you’ve already had a resume sent to company X (either for a specific position or within a certain amount of time), this will let you check and confirm.
  • If you are receiving unemployment benefits the state might have requirements such as “apply for at least two jobs per week”. This log will be evidence of your efforts and will allow an auditor to easily confirm your hard work.
  • Specifically concerning our discussion of recruiters: It will let you keep track of the last time you spoke to someone from a particular recruiting company so that you stay in touch without being an irritation.

Ok, all that was very passive so let’s take a look at what you can actively do to get some attention.

Direct Applications

While many companies use recruiters to find candidates plenty still maintain their own hiring systems. In your industry there are probably a few big names that you’re familiar with. Starting with these go to the company websites and start looking for the “careers” section. Companies often prefer to do their hiring directly since this avoids paying a recruiter. Look through the listed openings and see if anything looks promising. Regardless, there is often a way to send in a resume to the company’s internal Human Resources database. This way if anything comes up that matches your resume they’ll give you a call.

Tailoring Your Resume

Tailor your resume for the job. Look through the job description and if possible the company website (sometimes recruiters won’t tell you who the client is to prevent you from circumventing them).

Look for keywords and phrases, then add them to your resume. Usually this is just a matter of making sure that a skill you have is stated explicitly. Sometimes you have a skill and don’t mention it because everyone in your field knows that you’d have it if you also have some other skill (such as knowing that if you can use Microsoft Word you can also use Notepad). However, the person going through the resumes might not actually understand the details of the position (this is especially common in technical fields). If they were told that a required skill was using Notepad, asked for Notepad skill in the job posting and don’t see it in your resume they might assume you can’t do the job.

If a company website stresses that they are precise then tweak your resume to highlight your precision.

You might also want to reorganize your resume to draw attention to specific areas of skill. For example, if one set of your skills involves photography then make sure that is the first set of skills listed when you apply for a job involving lots of photography (your knowledge of computer graphics might be handy but not the first thing you want that specific employer to see).

Roundup of Part Two

You’ve got a basic resume posted to every major site you can find, you’ve contracted recruiters, you’re starting to tweak your resume to specific positions and you’ve got a log to keep track of it all. Great progress! The next section will focus on interview preparation and technique.

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Job Hunting Advice Continued (Part Two - Searching for Positions) by Adam Glickman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Job Hunting Advice (Part One - Preparations)

Intro

A friend of mine was recently laid off. I’ve lost my job twice (two different jobs, not the same one twice) and no matter what, it really sucks. I thought I’d post some of the things that I’ve learned as a result of my job searches. Most of this isn’t original but by putting it all in one place I hope to make what is already a really stressful process a little easier.

*Disclaimer*

These are some tips that I felt were helpful for me personally. Everyone is different and every field is different. Some of the things I did might have been helpful for me but would be harmful for you. Each person needs to evaluate this advice in the appropriate context and use their best judgement. If you read this and have better information please feel free to add any comments or suggestions.

Getting Started

The first thing that I would recommend is creating a professional email account. Gmail is fine but you want something that isn’t too casual. Beerman82 is fine for friends but not necessarily what you want a potential employer to see (unless you’re in the brewing business).

Techno Tip: email addresses ignore periods so you can create an email such as lastname.specialty@gmail.com which is easier to read than lastnamespecialty@gmail.com since it tells the reader where the separation is.

The second thing I’d recommend is getting a Google Voice number. Google Voice lets you create a personalized number (such as incorporating your field or name). That number can then be set to forward to your cellphone, land-line, or office phone. This keeps you from needing to give out your personal phone number and includes a ton of useful features.

LinkedIn

Starting off, I’m a big fan of Linkedin.com. I think it’s a great way to build a professional network without mixing it with your social network. The two might overlap but this really gives you control over it. There are definitely things that I’ll post to Facebook that I wouldn’t want on a more professional site or seen by my boss.

I’ll come back to LinkedIn later but for now I just want to make you aware of it. For me there are two primary tools for the job search: LinkedIn and the Resume. I’m guessing that at this point more people have a resume than a LinkedIn profile. You can use your resume as a starting point for your profile or vice versa but I’ll start with the resume for now.

The Resume

Your resume is your standard job application. It has sections such as experience, education, and skills. How you emphasize these sections will depend on your strengths. Straight out of school you’ll want your education experience to be more prominent. As you gain more job experience sections like classes and degrees will move lower to highlight your skills and employment history.

Here are a few tips where your resume is concerned:

  • Have multiple versions.
    One should be no more than two pages so you can print it out front and back (for in-person situations) which can be as artfully formatted as you like, another can be several pages long for emails where they expect more detail (minimal formatting, nothing too fancy). Be ready to create specific resumes for certain jobs.
  • Avoid passive voice.
    Don’t “assist” or “help” any more than absolutely necessary. Use action words, be a little boastful.
  • When describing your job and skills try and use different words as often as possible. A lot of resumes get passed through a keyword analyzer so getting 45/50 words found in your resume might give you a boost even if many of them mean the same thing.
  • Check your formatting.
    If you build your resume in Microsoft Word then there may be issues if someone tries to copy and paste it into a worksheet. You can test this by opening WordPad and pasting in your resume text. If it looks weird (text isn’t correctly positioned or aligned wrong) then fix it.
  • Get it looked at by multiple people.
    Everyone will have a slightly different idea of what the perfect resume should look like. Some of this will depend on the person’s field while some of it will be generational (certain styles go in and out of fashion).
I recommend printing on heavy stationary since it feels more substantial. I used “Wausau Royal Cotton Fine Business Stationery, White" and was pleased with the performance.

Resume Techno Tricks:

  • Place your multi-page resume into Google Documents.
    Now in the upper right you will see a button that says “share”. Click on it and set it so that it can be found and viewed by the public internet. Now you will also see a “Link to Share”. You can post this on your webpage, profile, into your email signature of your professional email, etc. When anyone clicks through that think they will see your resume. When you update your resume on Google Documents the person clicking the link will always see the most recent version. Handy right? (here’s mine)
    Bonus Tip: Take that really long URL Google gives you to share your document and run it through bitly.com, this will not only give you a MUCH shorter URL to work with it, if you create a bitly.com account (its free) you can track how many people use your link and make a QR code for sharing.
  • Post your resume to Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, Dice.com, Indeed.com and anywhere else you think it might be noticed. Get ready for lots of spam but that’s why you have an email address just for professional use.

Back to LinkedIn

Ok, now that you’ve created a resume it’s time to go after that LinkedIn profile. Generally, your LinkedIn profile is a combination resume and social network.

You put in things like “Experience” and a short description of each position. I happen to like using bullet points which you can get by copying and pasting them from WordPad since there isn’t a bullet button on your keyboard. 

The basics of Linkedin are fairly straightforward so I’ll focus on some of the more overlooked parts of this website.

  • Pick an appropriate picture.
    The one with you holding up a drink that you have on facebook isn’t what you want your professional network to see. Stage a nice picture in your interview outfit with good lighting and a nice plain background. Frame it so your face is clear but include your shoulders so that it’s not just a giant head.
  • Make aggressive use of the “Skills” section.
    It’s under the “more” tab and currently in beta. Fill it with every skill you can think of since you have no idea what searches someone will use.
  • Also under the “more” tab is “get more applications…”
    There are some very clever tools here that you can make use of.
    -Create a Google Presentation of why you should be hired and post it. If you do creative work then include examples from various projects. If you work with different types of equipment then include those. Make it into a “why I should be hired” presentation that sells you as a candidate.
    -Create a Box.net account (5 GB free). Put in PDF files of work and extra copies of your resume or CV.
  • Personalize the LinkedIn URL. Go to “edit profile” then where it says “public profile” it should also say “edit” to the right, click that. Look at the right column. You can adjust your visibility (I’d suggest public if you want to be found), and below that it “Your public URL”. Customize it to something that is more interesting, like this:
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/adamglickmanmicrobiologist 
    This link goes really well in the signature of your processional email account (check under “settings” in your email system)
    Bonus tip: just like with your resume you can use bitly.com to create a QR code what will track your views.
  • Set your headline to something that will get attention
    On the “edit profile” screen click on “edit” next to your name. See where it says “headline”? That headline can actually be fairly long and include lots of useful information. Change it to something like “Actively Seeking Work”. Then use the “|” symbol (shift , above “enter”) to add your top skills and interests. “Actively Seeking Work | Experience in Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals”
  • Get recommendations!
    Don’t be afraid to ask your boss for a recommendation, it can make a big difference.
  • Don’t overlook the Summary section
    This section often gets ignored and it is the most important if you’re looking for work. This is your personal statement to whoever views your profile. Talk about your strengths and highlight how you will be an asset. Keep it in first person, remember that this is you talking to the prospective employer.

Business Cards

Even if your company gives you official company cards I would highly recommend that you get ones that are your own. More and more you are becoming your own brand. Personal business cards are a way to represent yourself outside of your current position. Vistaprint.com is fairly inexpensive though I’d recommend going for full color heavy stock (looks and feels more professional) and two-sided printing (you’ll see why in a second).

  • Include a picture
    Remember that nice picture for your LinkedIn profile? Put it on your card. When you name is a hazy memory that picture will remind the person of who you are and why they took your card in the first place.
  • Include a QR code and that personalized URL to your LinkedIn page on the back. This way by simply scanning your card with a smartphone or typing in a simple URL (because it’s personalized) a person can find you on LinkedIn. They can then connect with you, contact you, recommend you, etc.
  • Include your Google Voice number and professional email
  • Personalize it appropriately for your field
    If you are in a creative field then make your card very distinctive. If your field is more conservative then tone it down a bit but still make sure that it will be remembered (one way to do that is to go for light lettering on a dark background).
  • Make sure it is readable!
    Your card is useless if no one can read it. Make sure that your font is clear and large enough to read without difficulty.

Your Interview Toolkit (What to buy before you need it)

  1. Your folio (I like the Wenger Vinyl Zip-Folio but removed the three ring binder part)
  2. Extra copies of your resume (bring plenty so that when people show up with badly formatted versions you can give them good ones)
  3. Business cards (offer one to everyone you meet but try to be smooth and casual)
  4. A pen; take notes as you go (the folio comes with a pad of paper). Record each person’s name and something about your conversion with them. Later when you send a Thank-you note to them you’ll be able to remember what name goes with what conversation.
  5. A presentation on a flash drive*
  6. Thank-you cards. (Don’t actually bring these on the interview but make sure you have some beforehand so you’re prepared)

*Load that presentation you created for LinkedIn and put it onto a flash drive.
This might sound crazy but it happened to me
I went to a job interview at a fairly large company. The interview had been arranged by a recruiter. When I arrived I was asked if I had my presentation on a flash drive. Apparently due to a miscommunication I hadn’t been told that I would be expected to give a short presentation in front of several people followed by questions. I did a good job considering I was speaking without any preparation but not surprisingly I didn’t get the job. Even a couple of slides would have come in very handy that day

Roundup of Part One

Ok, so you’ve created an email address and phone number. You’ve started working on your resume and Linkedin profile. You’ve designed and ordered business cards. A really great start! In Part 2 I’ll talk about applying for specific positions and getting ready for interviews.

I hope that this has been helpful. Hang in there and remember the words of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “DON’T PANIC”.

Creative Commons License
Job Hunting Advice (Part One - Preparations) by Adam Glickman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Think I successfully set up comments on my #Tumblr #blog with #DISQUS. If you notice any problems just post a comment and I’ll get right on it.

….

Mmmm no comments yet, everything must be working!

Set my alarm this morning to play “Non, je ne regrette rien” by Édith Piaf (aka the song from #inception). #funwaytowakeup