Friday, July 22, 2011

Sad Times for UMPCs

UMPCPortal reports that Viliv may be closing up shop soon.  When considering a new UMPC, I'd contemplated purchasing a Viliv N5.  Its sleek lines and specs made it an alright upgrade.  It's still available on Dynamism, but who knows for how long as they only have one model left.

Having watched company after company bite the dust when it came to UMPCs, this isn't a surprise.  Its predecessors, Vulcan, Raon, and UMID to name a few all collapsed within a model or two.  The pocket clamshells garnish a lot of attention at events, but rarely ever come to fruition, at least in the US, such as the iWatch Q839, or Usmart M1C.  They are often delayed, outdated, and expensive (UMID M1, Vulcan Flipstart, and even the N5 are guilty of this).  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the form factor, but I don't want to pay a premium for size and have it run slower than the current iteration of netbook that I can get for half the price.

I've noticed that companies dedicated to this form factor never really take off in the market, as opposed to major electronics corporations with sizeable R&D departments where part of the development is done, so it's more cost efficient.  Especially now that data phones are becoming more prevalent and tablets are gaining in popularity.  

I fear that my favorite tiny computer, the Nanonote will fall victim to what these other companies have fallen.  Open hardware companies tend to have a difficult time unto themselves and despite having a large community, it's harder than with open-source software.  I've noticed their timelines for their next iterations were extended, which is typically one of the precursors.

I'll always prefer the clamshell over a tablet for the convenience of a keyboard for which I do not have to pay separately, the screen protection, and the miniature factor, but it seems it's not the popular choice.  I wish there were room for both in the market; however, I don't think that is the case.  I truly hope there is a resurgence.

What's been your favorite UMPC throughout the years?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Desert Code Camp

Heads up for everyone lost in the middle of the desert like me.  Desert Code Camp 2011.2 is scheduled for Saturday, November 5th.  I went to the last one and had a blast.  There's some really good info there and the opportunity to look into some different areas and technologies.  Some training benefited where I am now, while other sessions benefited where I want to go.  It's free, there's shwag, and there's a lot of learning opportunities.  Save the date!


Midnight Moon (1 pound) by Gourmet-Food.comSo despite being genetically predisposed to lactose-intolerance, I simply cannot survive (psychologically, at least) without cheese on a regular basis.  It's one thing I share in common with my super particular spoiled dog, Picky Peggy.  She eschews cheaper cheeses (store bought shredded cheddar and the like) for the $20+ pound stuff, whether it be Midnight Moon or a cave-aged gruyere.  Not that I can blame her, considering I am the one who brings this stuff into the house.  I just kinda sorta really wish she'd eat her dinner without it having as much cheese on it as mine does.  Just sayin'.

Cambozola (8 ounce)My recent obsession has been cambozola which I am not sharing (and not just because I'm worried about giving a blue cheese to a dog).  It's nicknamed the "blue brie" due to it's tang and consistency.  I'd heard about it but never sought it out until I was hungry at Costco one time and looking for samples I could eat.  I took a piece to munch on and immediately went back and grabbed a pound.  Now it's my addiction and I need a fix daily.  Fortunately, I found it once again on a later trip.  It's worth every penny, but if I can get it for about half what I'm finding on the internet, not including shipping, why not take the deal/steal?  It's so smooth and creamy, but with these amazing blue veins.  I love brie, but this, this is something in its own league.  I've tried both the original Champignon version and Black Label version and personally favor the former.  It's less salty and let's the blue flavor really shine.

Although it's not really a recipe, if I'm not downing the stuff by the slice, I'm eating in a salad (look at me;  salads!  Never thought I'd see the day;  I grew up loathing the stuff) with heirloom tomatoes, avocados, and butter lettuce with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Healthy, fast, and delicious.  I usually pair it with Martinelli's Sparkling Prickly Passion Lemonade.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Teeny-Tiny, Itty-Bitty Mouse

I have a few handheld computers; ok, 1, 2...5.  That counts as a few, right?  In addition, I've been going to more and more meetings at work with their laptop (I swear I'm not that important) and detest using the trackpad.  I have a couple of mini mice, but with my desktops at home and a workstation for when I work from home, I have more mice than computers.

Z-Nano Optical MouseGiven my obsession with miniatures, there are a bunch of tiny mice out there and even some super tiny trackballs.  Occasionally, when surfing the interwebs, I do things like search for "smallest _______".  One day in my searches, I looked for the smallest mouse and found the Z-Nano Optical Mouse.  Initially, it was impossible to find to purchase, but fortunately Amazon and a couple other places have it now. It's slightly larger than my finger and you "left-click" by pressing forward and "right-click" by pressing backwards.

It's not too great for gaming, but it serves its purpose and doesn't take up much space.  It rarely gets tangled on itself as there's a magnet to connect the usb connection to the mouse.  Additionally, it's a wonderful way to break up awkward silences in a meeting when you take it out of your bag.  The best part it doesn't add bulk to tiny clutches when I'm carrying one of my handhelds.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Resume: A New Day

I've kept my blog to the light-hearted and superficial, but it's an outlet for me and I haven't posted in awhile and figure if my comments may help someone, I may as well do this.

I'm not in a leadership position and typically not involved in hiring decisions, but am slightly OCD and have worked in IT recruiting in the past.  Recently, I had the opportunity to review some resumes and I figured I'd jot some tips down.  I tried not to get too cliché with these, but some still happen so often I had to include them.
  1. Keep your resume up to date and redo it for your current search.  I'm not talking about tailoring it for each position, although you should do that too.  I'm talking about the format and sections.  What made a great resume ten years ago does not necessarily stand out anymore.  Furthermore, if I can tell that you haven't revamped the format in ten years, it displays either laziness or apathy and neither of those help land jobs.  Search google and see what the trends are.  I went through and looked at mine and realized it was so five years ago.  I had an objective, eliminated it, and have kind of brought it back with a professional summary.  Another example is buzzwords.  Make sure these are current.  Nothing makes your resume scream"1999" louder than using terms like "results-driven" and "self-starter".
  2. One page resumes have gone the way of the Beta.  No one cares anymore.  Technology has changed the game.  I can rapidly search for a technical keyword and find it each time it occurs.  While you should have something to grab attention on the first page, if you say you have 25 years of project management, I want to see documentation of it and where there may have been breaks.  If you can get 25 years of experience on one page, that's either going to be some awfully tiny, unreadable font or some really long projects that lacked depth.
  3. Another example of technology changing the game is spelling, grammar, and formatting consistency.  I understand mistakes do happen, but there is no excuse to have a bunch of squiggly lines when the resume is opened up unless if it's proper nouns or acronyms.  My other pet peeve along with this is grammar and formatting consistency.  While it is appropriate to have your current duties be in present tense and things you've done to be in past tense, this should not vary section to section or point to point.  I also notice if you have ten different fonts on your resume and they are of different sizes and it's not a heading.  Pay attention to the little things.  Sadly, this still happens frequently even though it's posted on nearly every resume tip site there is.
  4. Don't include things that make the employer uncomfortable.  Unless if it has something directly tied to your professional experience, don't put something that if they were to hire or not hire you for the position could be construed as discrimination.  This includes photos, religious or political affiliations, etc.  Photos are used in certain fields, so if you're in one of those, disregard this advice.
  5. I can't stress accuracy enough.  Make sure to update and read through every part, each time.  That way you don't miss something that goes, I am presently working on XYZ project and the date listed is 1995 and I see you've worked at two other companies since then.  Mistakes happen; I get it, but at least know to look for it ahead of time.
  6. Know your audience.  In IT recruiting, with the exception of graphic or web designers, no one cares about whitespace, but things needs to be logically organized.
  7. Keep it concise.  Bullet points highlight your skills and experience whereas paragraphs tend to get skimmed.  For IT, I want to see what you did, what technology you used, and any financial results it had, if any.  I don't need a verbose, syntactically correct paragraph structure typically.  There are a few exceptions.  Also do not mistake this with trying to cram your resume into one page.
I hope these are helpful.  Redoing my resume is not on the top of list for things I want to do, but if you need/want a new job, put every effort you can into making everything the best they can be.

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    My Favorite Things: NanoNote Edition

    Since there's so much amazing technology out there and I haven't purchased any of it since my phone, I wanted to highlight one of my favorite pieces of technology, Qi Hardware's Ben NanoNote.  While I was initially drawn to it because it's diminutive size (half the size of my UMID M1 at 3.9" by 3.0") was unique for its form factor, a handheld clamshell computer.

    I was on the fence initially, but the more I read about the project, the more I was intrigued.  The goal of NanoNote is not to be simply a pocket-sized computer, it's to be a launching pad for hardware design and engineering.  Manufactured by Qi Hardware, their goal is free software and to open up hardware using Copyleft.

    I am a big fan of open source software and realized a while back that the opportunities for kids interested in learning about hardware engineering was significantly more limited.  While growing up one can search the web to learn how to program; how often do they gain exposure to hardware?  Sure, you can take appliances apart and often times learn the hard way, but that doesn't mean that you understand the schematics and calculations it took to get there.

    The NanoNote can be taken apart, modified, redesigned, and even sold in its new form, so long as the licenses and terms are the same or equivalent as what was used initially.

    The device itself is relatively rudimentary and slow compared to the machines we presently and most smartphones out power it.  It runs OpenWRT and there's a flavor of Jlime available as well.  Some members of the community were able to get Debian running on it also.

    I eventually bought a couple to play around with off of Sharism.  I love the idea of spending my money with a vision that supports learning and openness.  One NanoNote I carry around with me constantly and use to play music while the other I use to play with the different software options.  Priced at $99 plus shipping (it ships from Asia which costs around $30 to the US), it seems a fair price for those interested in developing hardware.


    Kind of.  Sort of.  If you use your imagination, but it's mini and cute and I can wear it constantly without receiving weird looks, not that that's ever stopped me.

    I'd had a mini bottle of bubbles keychain that mirrored it's larger counterparts I'd find in the supermarket, but it became a Sadie chew toy that I didn't realize she had until it was too late.  (Fortunately, most of the bubble solution had already evaporated and we don't call the 70 white mixed-breed dog "Sadie Steel Stomach" for no reason.) 

    I was shopping a while back and wandered into Juicy Couture to check out if they had anything pink and decided to peruse the charms they had as they'll have some that are chock full of detail and suit me perfectly.  I couldn't believe when I stumbled upon this.  A tiny little bottle of bubbles charm.  It was so cute I could barely take it.  Even better, it was on sale and discounted down to around $25.  I'd have bought it regardless; however, it being on sale only added to my desire and justification as it was destiny for me to find it on one of my shopping trips as they are becoming less and less frequent and it was on sale.
    I love the tiny barcode on the back!

    I love how intricate many of the charms are.  I have a the orange bowler bag with a tiny charm on the handle from back in the day and the miniature jewelry box that carried the same design as the box in which it was contained.  This one is no exception.  It remains true to the Juicy brand with their crown logo on the bottom and is thoughtfully designed.  It opens and has a bubble riveted wand (reminds me of the ones I had as a kid) with a "bubble" in it and a tiny barcode.  It's a significant upgrade from the plastic mini bubble bottle I'd had before and I'll be more careful about leaving it in areas within reach of the dogs.

    It's a bit more on Amazon (around $45), but you can find it here.