> Static Cure (November 2007)
Amy - November 26, 2007 at 6:59 AM
All I want for Christmas is a gadget
What's on your wish list this Christmas?
From mp3 players to cellphones that allow you to watch TV and
do all sorts of crazy things! You've probably got a gadget or
two on your wish list.
As a rule: it has to be small, has lots of mega-pixels,
titanium shell, with a gps, bluetooth, with a touch screen,
oh and can you make it tie my shoes too?
But, I'm not sure that I can handle all of that in one tiny
package. Do my gadgets really help me out? I don't need to be
able to watch TV or surf the net 24-7, or do I? I hate to say
it, but the more technology I get myself into, the easier it
is for me to get bored. When, all of a sudden, I'm not
online, listening to my iPod, or "plugged-in" somehow, I'm
not quite sure what to do with myself. Maybe this Christmas I
won't do much at all. Maybe I'll start reading more books and
ask for a puppy instead of an iDog (hint hint).
Although, I have to admit, if you still want some gadgets for
Christmas, there are a lot of quirky ones out there that are
sure to make the special geek in your life happy.
has a lot of neat stuff. The
USB Rocket Launcher is one of my favorites. Who said work had
to be dull?
Well, I guess I don't need the ultimate gadget for Christmas,
but maybe I still want a USB Snowbot. Who wouldn't? :)
Clint - November 25, 2007 at 4:27 AM
The Dangers of a Startup
One of my most favorite magazines is Inc. It is a
publication targeted primarily at small business owners and
entrepreneurs and they do an outstanding job of mixing articles
about people that are Silicon Valley business owners like Mark
Zuckerberg and others with traditional business owners like
Bobbi Brown of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and Norm Brodsky who has
owned a litany of service businesses in the past. The most
recent issue of Inc. featured the co-founder of PayPal, Elon
Musk who you might also know from the Tesla
Roadster, Solar City, and SpaceX. Elon
goes on and on about his current endeavors and how they are
bound to change the world but the one part of the article that
caught my eye was the section on how his very first startup
company lost all control after the first round of venture
Whoa! This wasn't what I had envisioned going on in Silicon
Valley! I thought it was all ideas and money being bandied
about on a daily basis. Meetings over Starbucks and offices
full of beanbags. I never envisioned that the business side of
technology companies would get in the way of groundbreaking
work. Apparently that is the case when Elon had the brilliant
idea to match up one company's maps that he published online
and combine it with a standard telephone directory. What was
going to be a brilliant platform for selling advertising turned
into software for newspapers that never got off the ground.
What happened? Why did the vision get lost?
It came down to something as simple as losing control. Once the
venture capital came in the man who came up with the original
idea and software only owned about 7% of the company when it
was all said and done. The same thing happened to Friendster
when it was finally getting big the main focus was lost by the
"responsible adults" who came in to manage all of the VC money.
What does this teach us about tech? It isn't all fun and happy
times running around with millions of dollars and changing the
world, unfortunately. There is still a very serious business
side that must be tended to so if you are a tech major with a
great idea, might I suggest a minor in business?
Amy - November 19, 2007 at 8:49 AM
Turkey Myth Busted
Does eating turkey make you drowsy after a Thanksgiving
feast? Many people believe that consuming turkey makes you
sleepy, since it contains high levels of an amino acid known as
tryptophan. Tryptophan eventually makes serotonin, which has a
calming, sleep-inducing effect on the brain.
Relating the consumption of turkey and sleepiness is a myth.
However, if you eat turkey on an empty stomach, the tryptophan
could have a sedative effect. After feasting, you won't
experience any side effects of the tryptophan, unless you eat a
40 pound turkey! Even then, you might not get sleepy. One thing
to keep in mind is that pork, chicken, and cheese also contain
tryptophan, but the consumption of them doesn't increase
It is normal to feel sleepy after eating large amounts of food,
especially after an intake increase in carbohydrates. Consuming
carbohydrates causes an increase in insulin and blood sugar to
compensate for the increase in food.
Clint - November 18, 2007 at 7:02 AM
Advice before you get started
Starting out in your first job is going to be difficult enough
just coming out of college. First, you are going to have to
deal with a whole new set of rules and standards that weren't
present in college and are most likely unfamiliar in your new
setting. Second, doing so without guidance and almost no
internal business compass can be potentially damaging to your
career. So how do you survive the first few months in your job
without a mentor or much experience? Surprise, it doesn't come
from a web site or another blog, it's a book that was written
back when most of us were cracking open milk boxes in grade
45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy and How to
Avoid Them is a great way to keep your job and out of
your boss's hair. I've read it and there are dozens of things
that are completely honest and innocent things that I would
have done without thinking about that would have driven my boss
up the wall. If anything you'll be more conscientious of how
you conduct yourself at the office Christmas party, how you
dress, and crying at work. While I can't say that I am guilty
of any of the preceding I did become much more aware of what it
was I was doing around the office once I read this book.
Granted, there will be a time when you can drive your boss up
the wall just for the heck of it, but personally I am a long
way away from doing that.
Amy - November 13, 2007 at 8:22 AM
Hold up here! There seems to be an increasing trend...and I'm
not sure I like it!
Why is it that more and more job descriptions have programming
languages and applications I know nothing about?!
SAP, Java, Oracle, ERP, J2EE,
SQL....and the like.
If you've been looking for a job lately, you know what I'm
talking about. Programming isn't just for Computer Science
majors anymore. I get it, we all need to be up to speed on our
programming languages and different applications that are being
used in the workplace. The problem is I'm not sure that our
professors know about these things or are capable of teaching
What do you think? What kind of things are you learning?
When I was in school, I was taught visual basic, some excel
applications, Autodesk Inventor (CAD), and GPSS
(a "dead" simulation software). College is preparation for
So, tell your Industrial Advisory Board* that you want to learn
what they are using everyday.
*Industrial Advisory Board - A group of select
individuals from industry (typically, but not always,
engineering managers) that serve as a liaison between the
students and the faculty of your department.
Clint - November 11, 2007 at 7:09 AM
It looks like our generations is now being referred to as the
"Millennials". This refers to the kids born from 1980 to 1995,
most of which are graduating college or soon to be out on the
job market. There are a lot of stereotypes that go with each
generation; the Greatest Generation saved the world. The Baby
Boomers raised us and started the fast food culure, and
Generation Y helped usher in the electronic age. How will our
generation be seen? So far not in a flattering light.
Now if you took the time to read the three pages of Morley Safer's (foxy man eh?) old fogied
rant on how us "youngun's have been coddled from cradle to
graduation" you'll start to get an idea that many of the older
hiring adults view us as soft and difficult to manage. This
works against you and for you in a manner of ways. First the
negatives, the preconceived notion will be that you aren't able
to show up on time, are only good for technology related
issues, and that you'll ask for things you don't deserve, like
a raise. Of course this comes from our suspected "everybody
wins" upbringing and lack of experience in the workplace. To
the recruiter or manager you are about as useful as a warm
bucket of spit.
But being a Millennial works for you in a number of ways, if
you pitch it right. You can constructively construe your tech
savvy and youthful inexperience as a pathway for creative
problem solving. Not so good if you are in accounting but great
if you work in logistics or a field where thinking on your feet
is paramount. You can also surprise your interviewer by brining
in a story that exemplifies your hard nose work ethic. For
example, I would drop my 16 hour days in a law office when I
was trying to get the firm's filing organized and caught up
after a clerk left. You can also bring up a time when your
parents differentiated themselves from others and did their
best to mold your character and bring you up in a better and
different way than other parents did. Like them taking away
your "participant's baseball trophy" because your best effort
wasn't good enough.
The job market is brutal and tough to break into. I went
through 20+ interviews until I had my first job offer because
it is difficult to make yourself stand out in a crowd of
several hundred from different colleges. Do your darndest
though to shed the Millennial image and be your own person
rather than a stereotype.
Amy - November 5, 2007 at 9:48 AM
Managing the Management
What if when you get your first job, you find yourself all
alone? What do you do when your manager doesn't manage?
Coming right out of college, it can be difficult to cope with
the fact that not everything is as straight-forward as it is in
school. Get Ready.
There aren't any directions, there is no defined problem, there
is no assignment. You have a job and part of your job is
figuring out what you are supposed to be doing. Some companies
have extensive training programs for new-hires, some have teams
that you work with, or maybe you'll get lucky and have a really
great manager that will "spoon-feed" you your work. That's not
I had a professor a couple of years ago that had a great sense
of humor. He assigned us a project at the beginning of the
semester and gave us a due date. He never mentioned anything
about it again. Part of the lesson involved was to teach us
that we aren't always given a rubric or an outline. In the
"real world", you have to go figure out what you're supposed to
be doing by asking questions and confronting your "manager".
Needless to say, the class was furious, but I think we all
learned a very important lesson.
Clint - November 5, 2007 at 7:33 AM
Things I've learned from my job hunt... after having my job
- No matter how much you want the job nobody is going to give
it to you based on desire alone. It is going to take
experience, knowledge, and the willingness to learn to land
that dream job
- Everything matters. When an HR position has to interview
fifteen similar people for the same job your mismatched tie and
bungled question will put you out of contention
- Standing out is the best thing you can possibly do in the
interview and in your job. Distinguish yourself as a niche
player or as the go to guy or gal for certain situations
- Keep your expectations realistic. Very few people get their
ideal job right out of college so be realistic with the
interviewer and what it is that the position will offer
- Be able to relate. In the interview and in your job you will
be the young gun and probably nowhere near the age of your
supervisor so the best thing to do will be to try and find
common ground with your employer and the person interviewing
- Find a mentor. This one mostly applies to once you are in the
job but having a mentor can be incredible for your career. I
have a mentor in another department who I am hoping will help
me transfer out of my current position into a high paying role
that I will enjoy more
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