Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Job Hunt Tip: Keeping track of potential employers

Hey Interweb folks, I know it’s been a while since I’ve rapped at ya.

Lately I’ve gone through the process of finding a new jobby-job.  (Spoiler alert:  I found one.)  During the process I noticed that I kept forgetting contact names or mixing-up the details between gigs, so I crafted a handy template for quickly and concisely keeping track of the important bits of information about each potential employer.

I’m a software developer, so my first point of contact about any given job is usually a recruiter.  It’s important for me that I keep track of which headhunter I’m working with for a given job.  That way, nobody’s toes are stepped on.  Relationships are important!

I used Evernote.com to store this list so that I could access it from any device.  You could use that, or Google Drive, MS Office online, etc.  Just make sure you can access it anywhere.

Modify this template as required for your particular needs, of course.  And if you find this template useful, let me know what line of work you’re in and what modifications you’ve made to make your job search less chaotic.

  • Company Name
    • My overall thoughts about the job…
    • Recruiter
      • Name
      • Company
      • Phone
      • Email
      • Any notes about this person that are pertinent
    • Location
      • Address
      • Drive time/complexity
    • Compensation:
    • What is their line of business?
    • Interviewer/Supervisor:
      • Name
      • Title and/or their place in the food chain
      •  Pertinent notes – what do I think of this person?
    • Corporate URL
    • Glassdoor Info (FYI: glassdoor.com is a site that has reviews from employees about their employers.  Take with a grain of salt, of course.  And use a throw-away email account to sign up.)
      • URL:
      • Notes:
    • Employment Type and Length (permanent? contract?)
    • Tech Stack (what technologies/frameworks are they using?)
    • Project Info
      •  What would I be working on?
      • What would my primary responsibilities be?
    • Culture
      • Dress Code
      • General Attitude (laid-back, stuffy, all-business, goofy, etc)
      • Hours (do they work a lot of overtime?)
    • Do I know anybody that works there?
      • If so, what do they think about the job?
      • Do I want to work with them again?
    • Pros:
    • Cons:
    • Misc intelligence/gossip from my network about this gig:
    • Benefits
      • Health:
      • Dental:
      • Vision:
      • 401k:

 

Intermittent Key Fob Problems with my 2006 Avalon

Hey, Internet peeps. As Jim Anchower would say, “I know it’s been a long time since I’ve rapped at ya…”  I’m writing today to document an automotive issue.

I recently purchased a sweet-ass 2006 Toyota Avalon Limited, and everything on it was smooth as silk for a couple of weeks but then we had a major thunderstorm blow through. The next morning, neither of my key fobs would unlock the car and the keyless starter proximity thingy couldn’t find them.  I had to unlock the car with the little emergency key that slides out of the fob, and to start it I had to hold the fob up against the start button (another emergency feature).

Long story short, rainwater was pouring down from the sunroof’s passenger side drain hole, down the headliner and down the A-pillar behind the interior trim, and onto a big-ass cluster of wires at the bottom of the passenger-side front fender/footwell area.  Once I dried these areas out, the fobs started working normally.

I was able to correctly diagnose the issue because about a week after the issue started, my son and I were driving around in another big-ass thunderstorm and he felt a drop of water hit his arm.

The most frustrating thing about this issue was that about 25% of the time, I’d go out to my car and the fobs would work. I took it to the dealership and wasted a pretty big chunk of change since they just threw parts at the problem instead of diagnosing anything.  Never going back to that place again.

The hilarious thing is that I bought a Toyota specifically for their legendary reliability.  I was tired of working on my own car all the time.  Lesson learned.  I’m still workin’ on my own car, and I’m still doing it better and cheaper than the stealership.

So here are some keywords and phrases that I came across while going bonkers trying to figure out WTF the deal was:

  • DCR (Door Control Receiver)
  • RKE (Remote Keyless Entry)
  • Smart Key System
  • ECU
  • “key fob won’t unlock car”
  • “key fob not recognized”

Composite C1 – How to remove the Generator meta tag

I really, really like Composite C1.  It’s a sweet CMS that does what a CMS should and doesn’t have a lot of overhead like some systems I could mention.  But when I wanted to remove the Generator meta tag and/or other common meta tags that could (in my opinion) present a security risk, I couldn’t find any info about it.  So, after some digging through a couple of different Composite sites that I built, I have found two places where a call to this data can hide.

First, check all of your Page Template cshtml files (in /App_Data/PageTemplates/ ) for the following:

<f:function name=”Composite.Web.Html.Template.CommonMetaTags” />

…and get rid of that.

Also, go to the Layout perspective and pop open the Page Template Features, and look for a node called “Descriptive HTML head elements”.  Open that up and get rid of the call to the common meta tags.

When posting form data to an iframe, be sure to put a NAME on the FRAME!

There was a Chrome update recently that broke a web form of mine.  I had the form posting to an iframe so that I could do a file upload without having to reload the whole page.  I had the id attribute of the iframe populated, but I didn’t previously require a name attribute on it.  After fiddling around with it for a while, I decided “what the heck…” and tossed a name attribute on it.  Voila!

As always, your mileage may vary and what works in one browser today might not work tomorrow.

Page width problems on iPhone Safari – solved!

I was having a bear of a time trying to figure out why a web page was showing up too wide in Safari mobile today.  I thought everything was set up fine:  I had the meta tag to set the viewport to device-width, and the scale to 1.0, etc.  So I figured it was some element within the page that was somehow erupting from the bounds of the body element…but it was in fact the body element itself (and the html element) that needed some attention.  Make sure to set the body and html elements’ width and max-width CSS properties to 100%!  Problem solved.

On Content Management System Customization

That which is too messy or a huge PITA to do on the back end is usually pretty easy to do with jQuery.  Git ‘er done.

Homefront: Short but Fun

I bought Homefront over the weekend. I was really excited about the premise and the style of the game. Here are my thoughts after finishing the disappointingly-short single-player campaign…

Mini-rant:  First off, understand that this review is strictly about the game in single-player mode. I’m not a big multiplayer FPS fan. I like stories. In my opinion, FPS multiplayer is mostly about knowing how to exploit the map.  When you think about it, so was Pac-Man. – except the ghosts didn’t have aimbots and voice chat.  Anyway, it bores me and I’m no good at it. I do enough crap over and over and over in my life that I don’t care to do it in my spare time.  So there!  Now, on with the review.

The Gameplay
For some reason I had an incorrect preconception of this game. I don’t mean to say that the trailers lied, but I got the impression that Homefront was going to be a fairly expansive, open-air kind of game like Fallout 3. It’s more like Time Crisis.

The game is on rails, so it’s impossible for you to get sidetracked or lost but also you don’t get to explore the devastated post-invasion landscape.  There were several times when it reminded me of Dragon’s Lair.  JUMP HERE!  CLICK THIS!  DESTROY HELICOPTER!  Special weapons were conveniently located near the place I needed them.  If only real life were that simple.

But once I accepted the game for what it is, I enjoyed the HELL out of it and I wish that the single-player campaign were about two or three times longer than it is. If you’re going to plop down $60 for a single-player game, I cannot recommend Homefront. Hopefully they’ll come out with some downloadable content for it.

One thing I didn’t like about the gameplay was getting stuck on things you can’t see unless you look almost directly straight down.  Basketball goals are an example that come to mind.  They have those support arms on the bottom part of ’em, ya know.  Can’t see ’em unless you’re looking down, but they’ll stop you dead in your tracks.

Here’s something else that was disappointing: After the introductory shoot-out, you’re brought to the resistance fighters’ camp where you can walk around and chat with various members of the resistance.  I’m thinking “Oh, cool, these are the people who will send me on missions and will upgrade my gear and stuff.”  Nope.  Too much RPG thinkin’ there.  There are around five people in the camp you can interact with, and you can chat with ’em about three times each.  And they all basically tell you to piss off.  Then they’re completely unresponsive.

Side note: The Helicopters
While I enjoyed the ground combat aspects of the game, I have to say that flying the helicopter was tedious.  Controls are sluggish and you’re limited to a very low flight ceiling.

Like many games, enemy helicopters are treated like flying tanks.  You need a special weapon to knock them out.  They’re used as mini-bosses, naturally.  Pro Tip:  In real life, helicopters really don’t like it when you huck golfballs into their intakes.  I always keep a sack or two of them in my trunk for emergencies.

Side note 2: The Goliath
Something that immediately made the game a little less plausible for me was the Goliath: an unmanned armored combat vehicle that acts as a deus ex machina in several situations.  What breaks it for me is that it seems automated in ways it probably wouldn’t be, but not automated in the ways it should.  For instance, it seems to be capable of driving itself just fine, but it relies on the operator to select targets visually.  Seems odd.

Story, Characters, Dialog
The game is set in 2027, and the United States has been invaded by a unified and increasingly imperialistic Korea.  John Milius, the guy who wrote the screenplays for Red Dawn and Apocalypse frickin’ Now and Conan the frickin’ Barbarian, was involved with the story and writing.

For me, the events leading up to the invasion (as they are depicted in the game’s trailers and intro) are plausible but just this side of uncomfortably plausible.  But then again, I didn’t think anything like the current unrest in the Middle-East would happen, either (especially Syria).

The dialog mostly relates directly to the task at hand, and it’s not as corny as it could have been considering how action-oriented the game is.  You don’t really have enough contact with the characters to judge whether or not they’re fleshed-out.

That being said, the very first few minutes of the story were pretty damned gripping.  The story and dialog never completely devolves into cheesiness, but the story aspects of the game weren’t as compelling after the first few levels.  And it ended very abruptly.

The Style
This is a game that really had potential.  Actually, since updates and sequels are so easy these days, I should say it has potential.

They managed to make the environments appear run-down and as if they’d been through a war without crossing over into HalfLife 2/Fallout 3 levels of devastation.  I wanted to roam across the shattered land and find new adventures.  I really wanted to see what the designers vision of a big city would look like during a modern war.  Also, they did a superb job on the music, ratcheting up the tension as only a game on rails can do.

The bottom line is that I enjoyed playing Homefront.  I just wish there was more of it.