The Black Hole Travel Agency « Bit By Bit, Byte by Byte, Word by Word

February 10, 2008

The Black Hole Travel Agency « Bit By Bit, Byte by Byte, Word by Word

A few days ago I blogged about how the Microsoft’s hostile takeover attempt of Yahoo! was reminiscent of the Black Hole Travel Agency books. Looks like Yahoo! has finally decided to fight back.

I used to think that of all the three major Internet players, Yahoo! would be the most successful, since it appeared that it had the knowledge of how to use the Internet for information and media delivery, plus it had the most experience. Was I woy off on this or what!


Pinging the Blogosphere…. Resume Writing

February 26, 2007

All th blogging that I had done for the past two months seemed a excessive, so I decided that I was going to take a little breather, and let my thoughts gather. Unfortunately, any ideas for blogging topics that I have, are either incoherent or a victim of my procrastination.

So instead, I decided that I would simply write a bunch random notes, on things I saw today. just to let everybody, I’m still alive. I’m not kicking, but I am alive.

This is a blog post by a software engineering manager, about resume writing tips to getting past that 30 second look-over. I’ve read a lot of these resume tips over the past couple of years. The last time I updated my resume was about five months ago. In about a month or so, I’ll be updating my resume (something I do every six months or so). I’m not currently looking for a new job, but updating a resume every six months or so has allowed me to take an honest appraisal of where my career has been going.

My first cut of my resume is brutally honest. It’s so brutal, that I would call it resume self-flaggellation. This would not be a resume that I would send out, but a resume that would allow me to do a very honest self-appraisal of where my career is going. Depending on how I come out of that experience, I make a decision on what I need to do. My last experience, left me somewhat ambivalent about my career. I had some mixed feelings on where I wanted to be.I could’nt make up my mind whether I was happy or not. So I re-editted my resume into something that was more likely to get a second look and I looked around half-heartedly to see what was out there. Nothing came out of it. Landed a phone screen interview, but could’nt get past it. Dissappointed, I stopped trying.

Lesson learnt? In my opinion, that ambivalence really set me up for failure from the get go. Because, I had some mixed feelings, I was’nt really aggressive enough to go after what I wanted. I was’nt even sure what I wanted. Resume tips are all right, but if you really don’t have that drive for that something different, you’re job hunt is DOA.

End of March, I’m going to update my resume again in the same way. Let’s see where how that excercise ends.


A Tech Witchhunt??

February 13, 2007

First, Norway went after Apple for not allowing songs downloaded from iTunes, to be playable on the iPod only. Now, Belgium has decided that Goolge’s caching of information (that incidently is free) on the web is a violation of Belgian copyright. This is beginning to sound like a straightforward European governmental witch-hunt because they just can’t seem to make an alternative service. I used to think that the continuing European monopoly action against Microsoft was because Microsoft was guilty of monopolisitic practices, but now I suspect it was just because some beauracrat decided that lame legalism will constrain the competition.

Red Hat Acquires JBoss

April 15, 2006

Don Dodge had an interesting take on the recent acquisition of open-source based company JBoss by Red Hat. He compared the acquisition to the incident in "Tom Sawyer" when Tom suckers a bunch of kids to paint a fence.

Here's what I wrote in response.

I tend to think OSS contributers as amateur sports-men and women. People who play sports on an amateur level are play because they love the game. They know that they'll never have the same recognition like the people who play sports professionally. Just participating is good enough for us.I think OSS developers feel the same way. I think what drives them is the hunch that may be, just may be they can write that great algorithm, or routine, or application that's better than the one developed in a traditional development environment.

How Geeky are you?

March 29, 2006

How Geeky Are You

My score was 53 (heading towards geekdom) according to Newweek. You can take the test here.

I took a similar test a couple of months about my geek rating. I posted the results at my old blog here.

Your Geek Profile:

Movie Geekiness: High
Music Geekiness: High
Academic Geekiness: Moderate
Fashion Geekiness: Moderate
Gamer Geekiness: Moderate
Internet Geekiness: Moderate
Geekiness in Love: Low
General Geekiness: Low
SciFi Geekiness: None

How Geeky Are You?

March 27, 2006

So I decided to test drive the mapping service from Microsoft today.

The first thing I usually do is to directions for the unlikely senario that I have to drive from Miami to Seattle. The first time I tried it, I got the "server is busy. Please try again" message. That put a little damper of my opinion.

Then I decided, that I would do comparison of different routes that I take home to work. Now, most other mapping services like google's and yahoo!'s and Rand McNally's ask you for a start and end addresses, and then find "best" directions. These directions are often not the best if you have some local knowledge about shortcuts either from a person who lives there, of having been to the place, you have some vague memory of it.

Microsoft's offering on the other hand allows you to locate the locations you're interested in without specifying the address. All you have to do is point, right-click and select either "from" or "to". Now this allows a user to plan the route in stages, or if the user has some local knowledge, use it for route planning. I'm pretty sure Google, Yahoo! and RandMcNally must have thought about this, but they must have figured that most users would just want to input the start and end address and get the directions. The Microsoft user experience for me was pretty good, except for the the initial hiccup about the "server being busy…" but I dont think its going to go down well with users. At least I dont think they will use the service to its full potential.

The one other feature I was curious about was the "locate me" feature. I clicked on that, and a window opened up giving me three choices.

  • Install an ActiveX control.
  • Use an IP address
  • Cancel

I'm betting that most users are either going to skim down the text, see the cancel button and click on it, or alternatively, they're going to see ActiveX control click on the small "x" on the top-right corner. This is typical Microsoft UI.

All in all, my initial reaction is that its a great and feature-rich service. While it may win me over, I dont think it will over rank-and-file consumers, either because of the halo effect of google and yahoo! or they might not use it to its full abilities.

…I'll be writing more about this as I use the new services more.