Find Your Next Job Online: Even In A Recession

(Originally posted on Apr 20, 2009 as /archives/2531)

I had this experience back during the dot-bomb bust. Obviously I need to paraphrase here, because this conversation happened long ago.

By Tulane Public Relations (Career Day Uploaded by AlbertHerring) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Recruiter:

“How are you doing your online job search?”

I then describe how I search for positions via friends, Monster, etc.

Recruiter:

“That will never work. Those ‘known’ positions potentially have hundreds of applicants. It doesn’t matter how good you are. There are just too many other applicants.

Here is how I find potential applicants. One of my clients contacts me directly to fill a position. These are typically not positions that are widely advertised. My client wants to interview a small number of highly qualified people. I go to one of these Web sites (she then shows me Monster).

Then I search on the keywords that are in the job description, the potential applicant’s location, etc. Then I contact the folks on the first page. I am almost always able to fill the position for someone near the top of my search results.

So, the most effective way for you to find a position is to be on that first page. You don’t look for positions, because too many other people are applying for those very same positions. You simply position yourself so that I can find you.

See this? The results near the top were edited recently. Make a resume. Put it on here.

Put all the technologies that you know on it, and update it every single day, even if you simply add a space somewhere. Editing it every day puts it near the top of the search results. This advice will help other recruiters find you. In the meantime I will see if any of my clients need you now.”

Needless to say, this turned everything upside down. My job wasn’t to look for a job. My job was to market myself.


The advice above eventually generated many leads over the next ten years: long after I stopped updating my resume online. So this plan did work.

That said, you never know where your next offer will come from. I met a Walmart recruiter at a Diversity Job Fair during the dot-bomb implosion.

The Dallas Metro area lost over 78,000 IT and Telecom jobs during the 12 month period prior. Many of those folks were at this job fair.

There were two extremely out-the-door lines to the only two tech companies present, and a lot of empty booths for non-tech companies.

One of the tech companies was interested in applicants with flight simulator engineering experience. The other said, “Go to our Web site. We are not taking resumes.” O… K… I was near the start of the line, so I let others know what I learned, and I heard a lot of, “Thanks, now I don’t have to waste anymore time here” in response.

So, I introduced myself to a Walmart recruiter at her empty booth, because why not? She took one look at me and said, “I am not recruiting computer programmers. I am recruiting night stockers in Dallas for the holiday season.” I reply with, “That’s OK I was a Night Stocker at Ames Department Stores. I like retail, and I like stocking shelves. Also, I would like to move to Bentonville Arkansas to be a computer programmer.” She took my resume, told me that she would bring it home, and give it to a tech recruiter. That led to the highest paid position that I have held.

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Multiple Shot Panoramas

(Originally posted on 2016-05-08)

We experience the world in ultra widescreen; that’s how our photos should look.

Can’t I use a wide angle lens, and crop the image to make a panorama?
You could, but you will loose a lot of
detail. Even a perfectly exposed and focused image will look grainy (or blurry), if you don’t have enough resolution.

I have a lot more to say about this, and I will mostly do so when I share my own panos. In the meantime, here’s Richard Harrington’s take, and some of my comments:
https://youtu.be/QMR6nnPoeZ4

Handheld Technique
Do this instead of bracing the camera against your chest:
1) Look through the viewfinder.
2) Use the grid lines in your viewfinder to align your images. Also use them to make sure that you have at least 33% overlap between images. This is easy to do with the 3 x 3 grid.

On Tripod Technique
The distortion created by hanging your camera off the side is very difficult to deal with. If you don’t have an L bracket, then, yes, keep your camera in landscape orientation, and use a wider angle lens.

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Corsair Taxi Back – CAF Heart of America Wing 2015 Airshow

(Originally posted: 2016-09-13)

“FG-1D with F4U-5 wings painted like a F4U-1 flown by Archie Donahue,” Jack Cook (quote) Paul Danger Kile (image).

This is the Cavanaugh Air Museum’s Corsair. It lives in Addison Texas. My apartment used to be at the end of its airport’s runway, but I made this image in Kansas.

If you would like a large print, then click here, or on the image, to go to Redbubble. The native resolution is 4334 x 4238.

F4U Corsair Taxi Back - CAF Heart of America Wing 2015 Airshow, Copyright 2015-2016 Paul Danger Kile, All Rights Reserved
F4U Corsair Taxi Back – CAF Heart of America Wing 2015 Airshow, Copyright 2015-2016 Paul Danger Kile, All Rights Reserved

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Aspergian Prosopagnosian

(Originally posted on 2016-02-21 as /archives/10770)

At least I don't have that Aspergian glassy stare. Oh. No. There it is.
At least I don’t have that Aspergian glassy stare. Oh. No. There it is.

Naturally I have some reservations about sharing this information, because people have prejudices, and prejudices can keep you from getting jobs. Also: most social interaction makes me uncomfortable, and putting something like this on the Internet? That’s a big deal. That said, John Elder Robison did it, Temple Grandin did it, and Dan Aykroyd did it too. It’s not like my introvert-ed-ness is some kind of dark secret, but where does it come from?

I recently learned that I was born faceblind (congenital prosopagnosia). I also learned that I have Asperger Syndrome. These two facts explain a childhood of wondering why “complete strangers” insisted on talking to me.

I made a long list while reading John Elder Robison’s (JER) Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s. This was a list of “things that JER says are Aspergian, but are true of most introverts, computer programmers, engineers, and cats.”

A few years later I took one of those screening tests, and scored way into the you-are-autistic range. I was surprised, because I answered all of the list-making questions with the equivalent of I’m-not-Rain-Man, but as I later realized I actually do keep lots of lists.  From time-to-time, I wonder, “Who will maintain my lists when I die?” (The answer should be: who cares.)

The irony of keeping a list of all my attributes, that in my opinion at the time, were not actually related to autism, is not lost on me now.

This Asperger’s thing also explains why, in the past, female friends have asked me “why don’t you like me”, or told me, “you are not like other guys.” They could never tell me how I was not like other guys. Well, “It’s not you; it’s me,” is not a cliche in my case. I really am different from other guys, and no, there’s nothing wrong with you at all.

How about those Mets?

None of this stopped me from being successful, JER designed the first fire-spitting guitars for KISS, and that Dark Tower game, and shot a snake with a pistol… or something: you don’t get more successful than that.

But really the only thing keeping me down is the CFS/ME. It’s like being drunk and having influenza all the time. I have been sleeping 20 hours per day most days for a few weeks, and 16-20 for more than five years.

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Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest

What are Strandbeest?

(Originally published on 2016/08/31.)

Theo Jansen invented the strandbeest. He describes them as “new forms of life” that “live their own lives“. That’s not accurate though. These aren’t alive by any scientific definition of the word.

Most of the strandbeest leg-bones share the same relative lengths. Mr Jansen calls these ratios “the holy numbers“. Trying every possible combination of ratios was an intractable problem, so Mr Jansen used an evolutionary approach, with a computer simulation, to get to the optimal ratios in a reasonable amount of time. 

There are many full-sized, strandbeest videos, but I am only going to post one here:

 

The remaining links will be to smaller strandbeest that you-too can own.

I Built My Own Strandbeest

I have three kits. I finished the first one (minus the propeller). Here are Adam Savage’s builds of the same three kits:

All three kits are available from multiple sources, at a wide range of prices. The Amazon.com links (below), are some of the more affordable versions.

Kit #1

My first build was a scale working model of Animaris Ordis Parvus. It’s the Vol. 30 Gakken kit. You can find it here:

Here’s another version of Animaris Ordis Parvus. This one is in English:

Kit #2

The second kit is Gakken’s “Biped Walking Robot”. It comes as a Japanese “mook” (model+book):

Kit #3

The third kit is Gakken’s scale model of Animaris Rhinoceros Parvus. The English edition is branded as “Jr. Scientist”, but it’s actually the Gakken kit:

Hexbug’s Motorized, Steerable, Strandbeest

Hexbug sells two sizes of strandbeest. They are four legged versions similar-to Animaris Ordis Parvus. They go forwards, backwards, and turn. They do this by using two motors and crankshafts instead of one.

The Animaris Ordis Parvus Gakken kit’s crankshaft is actually split-able in the center, so one could potentially create something like these from that kit.

Here is the larger version, called Vex Robotics Strandbeast XL, which is a kit:

Here is the smaller version, called Hexbug Tarantula, which is pre-built:

Lego Strandbeests

Jason Allemann from JK Brickworks has created a Lego steerable strandbeest. It’s web page is here.

Jason shares step-by-step PDF instructions on how to build the legs here.

This is my favorite Lego steerable strandbeest. It’s Lego Ideas page is here. Unfortunately Lego will not be releasing this as a kit.

Here’s a Lego version of Theo Jansen’s Animaris Rhinoceros Parvus. It’s Lego Ideas page is here. Unfortunately Lego will not be releasing this as a kit.

Here is OSchoe’s Mindstorms Lego steerable strandbeest. It’s web page is here.

Blender and Bullet Physics Engine Simulation by Phymec

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