Archive for February, 2006

How to write a good resume (for developers)

Here’s a nice and short tip sheet which lists common pitfalls when writing a resume. It was written by an employee at Google and is based on his experiences in reviewing hundreds of CVs (and by all accounts they get loads of job applications! check this.. damn! 😦 )

Main points:

  1. Explain technical details of past work
  2. Leave out irrelevant details – these dilute the good stuff!
  3. Don’t make general, self-promoting statements that are based on subjective assessment
  4. If you’ve done good stuff, mention it!
  5. Be honest 🙂

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Tech Niblets 2

Another set of bite-sized nuggets from the world of technology:

  1. CTrambler is pretty clear in his dismay at Microsoft’s apparent decision to release eight versions of the upcoming Windows Vista operating system. If true, this could be terrible news for developers and users alike. Depending on just how different the eight versions of Windows are, it could well be that different versions of applications would need to be released to cater to the different capabilities. Instructions and howto’s might also only apply to some of the versions. Of course this hasn’t quite happened with XP home and professional but the variation amongst the eight different versions is likely to be more pronounced.
  2. It transpires that Google is negotiating a one billion dollar deal to pre-install software on Dell machines. That’s a lot of money and is indicative of a fairly significant piece of software. Marc Orchant believes that the software in question could well be a Google branded version of StarOffice. The reason?
    • StarOffice is reasonably low-cost and highly customisable – this would allow Google to insert all sorts of Googly Goodies.
    • Google and Sun (the chaps who brought us StarOffice) ain’t exactly best buds with Microsoft.. see the synergy here? 🙂
  3. This post by Roland Piquepaille describes recent research progress in which carbon nanotubes are used to store hydrogen safely. Possibly a step in the direction of cheaper fuel-cell powered cars.
  4. Another interesting issue to follow is the dispute between Google and “Perfect 10”, a porn site which claims that Google has been indexing websites set up by copyright pirates to distribute illicit copies of images obtained from Perfect 10. The charge is that thumbnailed images returned in the search results provide quality that is similar to that produced by another Perfect 10 related service, “FoneStarz”. Read in greater detail at the above link. Should be interesting to see how this one plays out 🙂
  5. This looks like it’s going to be super fun to try out, but also not trivial. Recording it here for future reference.

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Nomadic programmers

Just read an interesting post by Jackson West about how internet cafes and coffee houses are emerging as dynamic replacements for fixed premises and expensive infrastructure. The idea is that start-up companies, groups of designers or co-workers, even conferences, can utilise the free or low-cost wireless internet access available at these venues in place of more formal settings such as traditional office spaces or convention centers.

The benefits are obvious – costs will be kept to a minimum, boredom borne of familiarity will be eliminated, plus there is an undeniable “cool”-ness about using a cafe as your office. Bored or sleepy? A short trek around the surrounding retail areas might be just the tonic. Hungry? No sweat, since there is likely to be a ready supply of subs, sandwiches and other goodies (and of course, coffee!!).

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The Heart of Borneo

On the world’s third largest island lies the last sizeable chunk of pristine rainforest in Asia. This is none other than the island of Borneo, which lies in the South China Sea, sections of which belong to Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. The “Heart of Borneo” (see here and here for more information) is the charming name given to a project led by WWF-Malaysia to conduct a detailed survey of this area, utilising GIS technologies, with the aim of identifying key areas on which conservation efforts should be concentrated. The grand vision is to extend and link up existing protected areas into a “conservation network” by means of strategically created forested corridors.

The importance of this project cannot be understated. The Borneo rainforest plays host to a staggering amount of biodiversity – it is home to more than 2000 species of trees as well as a vast array of other animal species. At present there are already 11 protected areas but these have become increasingly isolated as a result of deforestation and other human activities in the surrounding areas. The creation of special forested corridors linking up the protected areas will increase the chances of survival for larger animal species such as Rhinos and Elephants. If you have the means, please try to help (visit the WWF site to get started).

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Art of loud whistling

Always wondered how this is done.. Found this guide so am recording this here lest I forget. Will try it out later 🙂
Another guide here

Update: Just can’t get this stuff to work!! 😦

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Tech Niblets

  1. The coolest thing that seems to be brewing on the web (2.0) is something known as EdgeIO -> it’s not operating yet but already the blogosphere is all abuzz about it.. The idea, apparently, is that bloggers can describe items which are for sale then mark these in their blogs with a special “listing” tag, which will be picked up by EdgeIO. Should be cool.. wonder if it’s going to tread on some EBay toes, though..
  2. Flexible Batman-esque bodyarmour anyone?? Interested parties may like to check out this d3o stuff. It’s basically a new composite material that’s normally flexible, but harden’s instantly when subjected to sudden impacts. The current application is for ski suits for Olympians but I certainly expect other applications to spring up faster than you can say “ouch”. For a start: mountain bikers, climbers, even “dog-bite” proof pants, perhaps..?
  3. Finally (though slightly less exciting), saw this interesting tool – allows one to upload (text) files, enter URLs or even raw text, and have them automatically analysed for things like word frequency, paragraph structure, etc. Why is this useful? Well, in it’s present form it’s not exactly a paradigm-shifter, but if developed further this could be a great tool for document clustering, visualisation and profiling.

    This was one of a number of tools listed here. Have a glance!

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Opera … opera…

Seems like Firefox is having some performance problems. The problems seem to be related to memory leaks in the Firefox code, which is failing to free up memory when tabs are closed. The posting goes on to argue that with the imminent release of IE7, Firefox might just find itself losing some of that hard-won market share.

Personally, I think the greatest tragedy of the browser battle is that what is arguably the best contender is largely ignored. Opera is a lot faster and smaller (the installer is about half the size) than Firefox, yet incorporates almost as many features as Firefox’s bigger brother, the Mozilla suite.

In addition to speed, Opera has many nifty features simply not found in other browsers – mouse gestures, a handy note-taking feature, an excellent (and revolutionary) mail client (incorporating Gmail like features such as tagging and an advanced searching mechanism), photo-zooming, etc etc. In addition, people who constantly sing praises of Firefox’s tabbed interface should also be aware that Opera was the first browser to incorporate tabs. My only complaints? -> no integrated html editor and poor support for web2.0 sites. Even then, the latter is more the result of unwillingness on the part of developers to support what is generally viewed as a “fringe” browser.

Update: Opera will soon be releasing a new version which incorporates a whole bunch of new features including:

  1. Widgets
  2. Bittorent support
  3. Thumbnail previews

Check out the link above for details.

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