Buzzzz Buzzzz Buzzzz

I have been a busy little beaver, or i guess busy bee goes better with the title.

New resume is done, distributed to 8 senior leaders and several of them have already passed it on to their networks.  I updated the RAI site with this version of the resume, fixed a few things at RAI while i was there, and made a downloadable pdf version so i do not have to have a paper copy with me at all times.

Got my domestic references together and alerted to pending contact.

I have a few mails out to the international crowd to add some of those to the list as well – but at least i can roll with what i have right now.

One meeting is set for Thursday, and i hope to get at least 2 more this week, but the Thursday one is pretty cool.

A few more tasks to complete for MINDS tomorrow, and some shopping, research, and pre-packing.  It looks like i can leave Monday at the latest, but hopefully sooner.

 

 

Bits and Pieces

Another random mash-up today.

Future Work:

I got some excellent resume feedback from two non-local editors and went over that material with my local editor.  I did not get to incorporate all the changes yet, but should be on track with that tomorrow morning.  I shared more details of my plan with my dad and he is also confident that things will work out.

I may come back to some of this when more free time appears out of nowhere, but this is the general idea:

Finish resume and send out to certain sources tomorrow, and call a few interested parties for possible meeting times.  Do a little interview/job talk prep and practice Sunday.  Go to meetings in DC (hopefully) Mon, Tue, Wed – as needed. At a meeting on the 18th, my dad spread the word about my job search and several of our colleagues were interested and three requested that we meet after Thanksgiving and before Christmas, for specific projects to begin soon.

Finish travel planning and leave for Singapore as soon as possible – probably around the 12th (hopefully sooner).  About one week in Singapore, then off to Cambodia for about 2 weeks, back to Singapore for a few days, then back to the US.  Finish securing new job and move to location (in/near DC) convenient for new job.

The wild card in the travel plan is my friend in Singapore.  It is the end of the year and pre-vacation crunch time and they are in and out of time zones from London to Australia, so getting time to finalize things has been difficult.  I am brewing up secondary options in case the first trip concept falls through.  It will involve warm, beach, cheap, and probably not in USA – maybe Mexico/South America…

Webwork:

I did not finish the resume work for a few reasons, one of which is that i spent the better part of today updating and fixing lots of tiny issues on one of the sites i built and maintain.  The Board of Directors had a meeting this week and that usually results in some tasks for me, so i tend to schedule regular site maintenance around these times when i will need to look under the hood anyway.  It is not perfect, but this is one of my favorite sites that i have ever worked on.  It looks both professional and pretty. The navigation is reasonable.  And it remains fairly easy to change and expand.  I still have tasks on my short, mid, and long-term lists for this site, and i have some bigger overhaul/redesign concepts and tasks on deck as well, but those never go away no matter how well you design and build.

Geeky Tech talk Revisited:

In the last post i talked about google chrome.  I used Chrome most of the day today and i figured out some more of the personalizing to try to put it on par with Firefox.  Of all the extensions i installed that i have had time to play with, the Ad Blocker is the clear winner.  All the ad problems i referenced have disappeared. {And there was much rejoicing – (5 points…).} The other two key custom features i miss from Firefox are clocks and weather.  I did find semi-reasonable replacements.  The weather one is almost as good and easy. I can still glance at my browser – click nothing – and know the temp, which is useful before dog walking.  I have to train myself to look top right instead of bottom right, and there is less info available in that quick glance with the Chrome extension than there is in the Firefox add-on, but it is ok.

The difference maker may end up being the functionality of world clocks. In Firefox, i can glance at the bottom left of my browser and know what time it is in as many places as i like.  I don’t do quite as much varied international calling or business calling in the US as i used to, but it is really nice to glance down and see West Coast, Texas, London, Dubai, Doha, Delhi, and Singapore at once with no clicks.  The extension i settled on for now in Chrome lets you add as many clocks as you want, but you cannot move/re-order them.  So if your needs change, the list becomes disorganized or you have to delete your entries and add them back according to your chronological or geographic preferences.  And you have to click the icon to bring up the list.  The second fault, having to click instead of seeing them displayed on a bottom status bar, is not really a deal breaker (and i imagine Chrome will have to add something like this in the near future if they want to increase market share).  But the lack of reordering/editing capability is a killer.  I can’t be fussed to delete and rebuild these lists every time my needs change and if i have to talk regularly with someone in Germany or Australia for a few months, and then i need Israel – you get the idea.
(Though i imagine the developer might fix these as well…).

I love computers.  I used to build them (assemble really).  If i am not building them, i do custom order the parts of machines i buy.  Now that i have finally made it into macland (over a year!!), i still love hardware, the choices are just easier and simpler and require so much less research and support time from me.

Where the magic happens...


A little resume and lots of geeky tech talk

 

A) I finished a reasonable draft of my resume last night, crafted for the current first phase of the job hunt, and have it out to three editors.  I was jazzed and could not get to sleep until about 3:45 this morning, so i am a little tired.  Once i incorporate the feedback i will have it online should you wish to: read it for pleasure, help with edits, hire me…  You can read the old version if you like.

Initially, i will simply replace this existing resume with the new one, but i am also crafting a narrative style bio for the web to replace the resume. Though for ease until i get hired somewhere else, i will probably implement a ‘download pdf resume’ button.  With the resume “nearly done”, i can press forward with slightly less unsavory tasks – finishing re-writing the rest of the RAI website.

Meeting of the MINDS - DC 2004

B) I am still working on transitioning to a self-hosted environment for this blog.  So far i am still stalled at the initial phase.  I have all the pre-pre work done, but the true first step “install WordPress on your website” – that one is still holding me up.  I did find and fix a slight (though probably inconsequential) error in the sample php config document the comes with the WordPress install download package, that you have to edit so that it will talk to your MySQL database, but that has not made everything groovy yet.  I do think it could have helped because i am getting different error messages than i was before.  I thought i had this all figured out, but i took a shortcut that may or may not have made any difference.  After deleting all the old install files from my site, and deleting the first database as well – in order to do a fresh and clean install, i assigned many of the same values in the new (second) database that i used in the first database.  Probably should not matter, but i do not really know what was wrong the first time, so i am trying to catch any useful details.  Today i shall start again.

C) Related to B) a little bit – web browsers.  I decided to try checking out the self-hosted blog in a wider variety of browsers instead of just 2 – Firefox which is my browser and Seamonkey which is my web design platform.  At least it has been for html – i do not yet know if i will need something else to develop php and css chops because i have not started figuring all that out yet.  So far in the reading, it seems that PHP and CSS are done more by actual coding than the GUI html approach dominant in the past, so people are doing it in simple text editors.  The nicest part of starting over with an issue like webdesign is that this is not a bad time to be doing it.  People have figured out a lot of mistakes made and have largely agreed on some decent standards.  So, i hope to continue to learn more about designing to current standards and getting rid of some old crap like the prevalence of tables in html designs.

I installed Chrome for the first time and dusted the cobwebs off of Safari.  I have never really liked Safari.  It works fine, but i don’t like the way it looks, you can’t customize your tool/nav bars as easily as some others, and i really hate the way it deals with and displays bookmarks.  I have used Chrome before on other people’s machines, and i figured that what i did not like were things i could fix through preferences on any machine of mine, and i had a good feeling about it since i like most things google makes.  I think that the gmail web interface is the only thing google makes that i do not like.  I love gmail, it just always bothered me that google decided i did not need folders anymore and i cold not have them.  Since i have been working in a fully portable high-powered laptop environment for a decade or so, i don’t need the web interface and I solved this by using gmail in the mail client of my choosing, formerly Thunderbird while i was still stuck with Windows, and now Mac Mail.

It was interesting to note that the self-hosted blog looked different in the different browsers.  Actually it looks the same in every browser except Firefox.  The blog would load in Firefox but would not in the other browsers.  The error messages i could see were useful, but still interesting that they did not come up in Firefox (and for other geeks out there, it was not a cookie or cache issue).

I enjoyed using Chrome.  It was super quick to set-up and i got it customized to about 90% of where i wanted it to be inside of 5 minutes.  I have not yet researched the last 10% but i bet it is possible.  Chrome looks slick and things work well, and having google search incorporated into your address bar is awesome.  I have only been playing with it for a few hours, but i don’t understand why all the ads?  There are ads at the bottom of people’s posts in my google reader, ads on my facebark, ads on some search pages, and it frustrates me.  Admittedly, i may be spoiled, but this does not happen to me in  Firefox. In Firefox, i have no ads in google reader ever. I have no ads on facebark ever, and i have no ads on search pages.  The ad banner that loads at the top of “free hosting” accounts with godaddy (which is where my self-hosted blog lives for now until i see if it is worth paying for) – i don’t even see that banner in Firefox.  I may look into seeing if i can cut the ads out of Chrome, but i bet not.  Mozilla has a different mandate than google.  I can’t blame google for wanting to make money, but i don’t want to see the ads.  It is a slippery slope between having a few ads and becoming godaddy.*

*Note – do a host provider write-up soon to get input on what other people are using.

Summation:

Hopefully you guys will help me with resume feedback after the new one gets posted.

Hopefully i can get WordPress to install correctly today.

I will play with chrome a little more, but most likely i am sticking with Firefox.

Godaddy frustrates me very much, but it is like having an old car and not being able to afford a new car.  Do you stick with the one you have, fixing the things you know are broken, or do you buy a different used car having no idea what is about to break on that?  Further discussion pending…

The ladies of Red Bull - Doha 2005

Yesterdays (in keeping with the recent Billie Holiday theme)

The past few days have been pretty weird.  There is a cloud of multi-flavored nostalgia following me around – sometimes it rains good memories, sometimes bad feelings, and not a few lightning storms of unresolved issues.

I sent two emails to family members to follow-up on some thanksgiving conversations.  One dealt with web design and made me think about my guys in India and my success and failures there.  Our corporate websites and domain names expired quite recently and were not renewed.  I have not really done much with any of those companies in two years, and the websites were not very good – they served more as examples of why I chose to leave than as examples to steer international customers to our shop – but it is still sad to see them go.  I do still talk with my partner Ram regularly and we still talk about and share business ideas, and I do still plan to start more companies outside the US, so you never know what may happen in the future.  The patient was on the table for a long time before anyone had the guts to call it, but the “death” of Red Bananas is still sad.

Me and RamKamal - family celebration at an employee's house
Me, Vijayraj, Ramkaml, and Govind - the birth of Red Bananas

I played some harmonica during thanksgiving which led to a discussion that revealed that a few folks did not know I played harmonica in a metal band for a few years.  So, I wrote a brief thing on being in a metal band and gave a link to the band’s MySpace page which has a few sample tracks, one of which has me playing harp. I had to find a very brief way to mention in the mail to my cousin that this MySpace site does not have my name anywhere.  Truthfully, I am not really sure why that is.  We had a very nice run together.  Things got a little tense between two of us towards the end of my run in the band, some of it musical/band related – some of it personal, but I don’t get it.  So, it just brought up memories of bad times a little more than good times trying to figure out something that I don’t think I ever could figure out.  I try to focus more on the good memories; touring, performing, bathing in creeks, cooking food in parking lots on camp-stoves, feeding XstraightXedgeX kids, coining the catchphrase we put on our business cards “…the straight edge metal band that drinks”, performing on the radio live, playing CBGB, getting to open for Sliang Laos!, and all the rest of the great shows and good times.

I have been thinking about a few cyber-reconnects with folks from the past recently.  Some are comical and fun and some can be confusing.  I have two cyber friends that one could qualify as long lost loves {the loved from afar, love your best friend, never really worked out kinda loves – not the other kind(s)}.  Sometimes it is a little tempting to drop the “so what the hell happened” bomb, but that is actually way more fun to think about (which is not a lot of fun) than it would be to do.  I have been on the other side of some somewhat similar coins, and have actually put some time into thinking how I might answer such a question as well as wondering if I should prepare and freely offer up this info, and the answers just are not fulfilling for the “injured” party.   What can anyone say: I just did not love you, I did not love you the way you loved me, I was a stupid kid and wanted some hot semi-random sex more than poetry and flowers, i did not know you cared, i did not know i was that important to you, your intensity scared me, I did not realize it was such a big deal for you, I know you think you loved me but you did not even know me, I was a big fat faker and did not really know who I was, you did not know who you were, seriously – how could you have loved me, you are great and I was in a terrible place, this is great but i learned i do not want it – take a few minutes and you can continue to fill in this list, none of the answers, even the deeply true ones, provide comfort or itch that place inside you that still needs scratching.

One of these lost loves was with a lady who did have some real problems and seems to be doing very well today.  It makes me really happy to see that, and it makes me want to say that, but I don’t have confidence that I can do it without in the end (or the middle, or near the beginning) turning it around and making it about me – or the me I was then, which by default, makes me try to make her into the her she was then, and that is (in simplistic terms) the person in the time that was having the troubles that I am supposedly so glad that they have overcome?!  And it all gets twisted and fracked up pretty quick.  So, I step away from the keyboard and just be happy from afar.

In part I bring up the “love stuff” because I did get that call recently – the “what in the hey-heck-ho-de-do happened” call and I am not entirely sure how to respond.  This kind of area is one of the only ones in which I have issues wrestling with “the truth”.  In almost every circumstance, I do believe that the truth is the best policy, if for no other reason than it gives you less stuff to remember.  But there is some distinction between leaving things out and lying, and I never know how to deal with this.  When I look back, it seems that all of my “high-minded” attempts to save someone’s feelings by hiding some of the truth did not work out too well.  But this is a different kind of thing.  I am not so much troubled by trying to obfuscate real issues to ease the blow, I am struggling to leave out stuff that is probably not useful or relevant but just hurtful (though entirely true) that I am tempted to say out of my hurt and anger.

And, I have not been in this situation for some time.  I have only really dated two people since about 2000 – one in 2006 for a few months, and one for about a year from 09-10.  There was also one brief fling in the early aughts, and one false start in a long line of false starts with a recurring love interest from high school in 04, and what could have been a complicated sticky international potentially un-requited love mash-up in 05, but – for once – I kept my mouth shut, silently loved from afar, and enjoyed the friendship.

All of these things are fogging up my brain and I am trying to figure out how to vacuum up the thoughts, send them to the right place and make room to get back to work at looking for work.  The situation is getting desperate now as I continue to run out of money and lose sanity living with my folks.  I am still on my most recently developed timetable and things can still fall in line if I manage to hold down my end and put forth appropriate effort, but like sands through the hourglass, these are the times that try men’s souls – or however that goes…

Secure Log-in

Many websites have a very simple design flaw that never ceases to annoy me.  I just discovered that WordPress has it too.  Secure Log-in.  It is a simple concept.  If you want to update your blog, you click on a link, and are taken to a WordPress log-in page.  This page is not secure.  Check the address bar, it begins with ‘http’ and not ‘https’.  Also you make look at the status bar at the bottom of your browser window and you will not see the ‘lock’ icon.  Click the button without entering any information.  The page will re-load with an error message saying that some of your information was incorrect.  This new page is secure.  You will see ‘https’ and the ‘lock’ icon.  Why the run-around?  Why can’t they just do it right on the first page?

While this is bothersome, it is even more troubling with websites that allow you to create your own username and password.  Few of these sites are secure in the areas where you enter/create your password.  What good is having a password to access my private and secure information if i created the password out in the open without any security?  Grrr.

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