Job search update.

A few friends have asked how my job search is going, so I’ll provide an update.

I live in a town with a small technology industry that is constantly complaining about being unable to find people to hire. So I’ve found it odd that even with years of relevant experience, a referral to the hiring managers fails to yield even an acknowledgement. Of course I have had people say to me after reading my resume that I would be too expensive for them, without even asking my salary requirements. Personally I’m concerned more with how much somebody will make for me rather that just what I have to pay them, but I’ve heard this from other folks as well.

I’ve also been amazed to hear about recent layoffs in what seemed to be a decent technology market, and I know a few people who are now looking as well.

Barbara Ehrenreich has just written a book called Bait and Switch : The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream about the job search process. Her point, and I wholeheartedly agree, if that the whole job search industry is based more on hopes and dreams than facts. There is no shortage of people who will tell you (often for a price) what you have to do to network, to research, to interview, and to get a job, but all of the networking in the world won’t get you a job if there aren’t jobs available, or they’re looking for something else.

Fortunately I’ve a couple excellent and interesting consulting offers, and I find those very attractive as they allow me to use a much wider range of my skills, something I’ve rarely been able to do working for a company with more structured roles.

I’ll keep you posted.

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Upside down Christmas trees.

Peter Applebome at the New York Times highlights the newest thing for Christmas – upside down Christmas trees [TimesSelect subscription required]:

The idea, other than having something your neighbors don’t, is (1) you can put more presents under them, (2) they take up less real estate for space-challenged apartment dwellers and (3) you can put more prized ornaments at eye level instead of down near the ground where no one can see them.

That and your cats won’t be able to play with the ornaments. The trees will set you back somewhere between $300 and $600.

I’m just trying to figure how to keep the water in the tree stand.

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Unsolicited pornography.

A Catholic cardinal says that parents shouldn’t buy their kids wireless gifts, including iPods (though they aren’t wireless):

Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore, co-chairman of the Religious Alliance Against Pornography, said iPods, PDAs and video cell phones can easily send and receive pornography, much of it unsolicited.

It isn’t clear how somebody could get unsolocited pornography onto my iPod or PDA, though I can see the phone problem, especially when a cell phone commercial in Canada shows a wife sending a video of her stripping to her husband’s phone.

Surprisingly, the cardinal does not caution against using the internet, which would seem to be a much larger problem from his point of view.

From textually.

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Feeling more womanly.

No not me. Elisa Camahort feels much better about herself now that she has been validated by a Business Week article that reports that women account for 50% of all technology purchases:

Blame the male geek culture at digital hardware marketers for ignoring women in the past. As recently as early 2003, Samsung Electronics tested its phones, TVs, and home theaters with all-male focus groups. Today, the company makes sure half its reviewers are women. The payoffs: Samsung designed its DuoCam — the first two-lens digital camera and camcorder — after women reported they liked to record “life events” both in photographs and video but didn’t like to lug around two gadgets. The camera recently became lighter by 40%, again the result of female feedback.

The article also comments on shopping at Radio Shack:

RadioShack Chief Marketing Officer Don Carroll says women behave differently from their first step in the store, based on studying his in-store-motion cameras. “Men look left and right, identify their product, and head towards it, but women really shop the store before reaching their goal,” says Carroll. He’s changing lighting at the company’s 5,000 outlets and making the stores less cluttered, a leading complaint among women and a move that will no doubt make it easier for men to shop as well.

I’m astounded it took them so long. On those rare times when I must go into Radio Shack, my wife won’t come in with me, and even I find it to be a titiny little space with shelves jammed full of crap, all with “on sale” tags.

I am also amazed when the salespeople talk to me and ignore my wife to the point that I have to remind them that we are both making the purchasing decision. And yes, I am one of those men that wishes gadgets came in different colors and designs. It kills me that 100 years after the Model T, you can now get a PC in any color you want as long as it is gray and comes in one shape and size.

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Is content really king?

I’ve heard the expression “Content is king” for years. But is it really true?

If content is king, why are newspapers and magazines dying? Why is Google, a company that neither owns nor creates content, is growing by leaps and bounds?

Yes blogs may be generating a few dollars for their content, but it seems that the money goes to those companies that find content, virtually aggregate it, or provide a conduit to it. The value of the actual content itself seems to be declining.

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Sixteen minutes.

Cindy Sheehan, having faded from the news, is back at Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, likely trying to revive some interest. Seemingly nobody is biting this time around:

In Crawford two rallies were taking place Saturday, one an anti-war protest which Sheehan attended and another by a group opposed to the protestors. Only about a dozen people attended Sheehan’s anti-war protest Saturday and far fewer members of the press than when she last held a rally in Washington. In Washington, the reverend Jesse Jackson spoke briefly at Sheehan’s rally, but in Crawford Saturday, Sheehan stood alone.

While in Texas Sheehan revealed a memorial to her son and others who were killed in the Iraq war, but few noticed and no celebrities came.

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Mac browser recommendations?

Elisa Camahort is looking for browser advice for the Mac:

Should I bite the bullet and try Firefox? And if so, is there some utility or extension that will import my bookmarks…much as I hate messing around with stuff like that?

I was using the .8 version of Camino. Has anyone found that the new 1.x version is much more stable?

Is there yet another alternative that I am not thinking of? (And yes, I could try Flock, I suppose…but is that really a full-featured browser…it strikes me as more interesting because of its other features.)

MacGeek advice would be most welcome at this juncture :)

As a Mac user for all of 2 weeks now, I’ve suggested Firefox as my favorite.

A bit premature.

Robert Scoble is again suggesting that companies whose websites do not have RSS feeds should fire their webmasters. But Seth Godin’s comments suggest that RSS is used by few of his readers:

This blog has one of the fastest-growing RSS feed lists I know of, but it’s still a scary-low percentage of my readership.

While I do agree with commenters on Robert’s post when they say “Why wouldn’t you provide and RSS feed?”, I wonder if it might be a bit premature to fire someone for not implementing an early adopter technology that perhaps few people use? According to a Pew Internet study [PDF], by the end of 2004:

5% of internet users say they use RSS aggregators or XML readers to get the news and other information delivered from blogs and content-rich Web sites as it is posted online

One example Robert users of companies that don’t have RSS is Reva Systems. I’m not sure how much value a company that deals with networked RFID would derive from RSS.

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