Sometimes the comments are better than the original article.

Last week Mike Schaffner left this fantastic comment on my article Why Blog? He brings up several great points and I wanted to give it more attention than it might get just as a comment. Thanks Mike!

— Begin comment by Mike Schaffner:

Blogging can also be a useful tool in your job search as a way of establishing your “brand” and differentiating yourself.

During my job search I’ve gotten to know Kent Blumberg. Kent is a dynamic manufacturing and process industry operation exec also conducting a job search campaign. As part of his marketing plan Kent uses a weblog or “blog” ( Kent Blumberg ) to discuss timely issues in Leadership, Strategy and Performance.

Because of my desire to stay current with the issues facing IT and never having been shy about voicing my opinion I’ve taken my lead from Kent’s example and have started my own blog ( Mike Schaffner ) . In it I discuss “Management of Information Technology for Strategic Alignment with the Business” plus other related topics that come to mind.

When I started to think about it, blogs offer a number of advantages in a job search. They don’t replace any of the standard techniques but they can complement them.

** It is yet another form of networking
Through blogging and linking and contacting other people you have the opportunity to expand your network in way you could not have done otherwise

** It helps to “refresh” your name with your network
One of the rules of networking is to keep your name in front of your contacts so they don’t forget about you. RSS feeds and email subscriptions make this easier and can give your contacts useful information without the overt pressure of you asking for a job lead

** It is a great form of viral advertising
Blogs can help to give you a web presence and get your name out to the whole world. Many prospective employers will google you before the interview (as you should google them). Blogging will build your search engine presence. One master of blogging says that “blog” stands for “Better Listings On Google.” In my experience, that is certainly true.

** It is a great form of “push” marketing
It is a promotional strategy to create a demand complementing the “pull” marketing of your advertising i.e. resume

** It keeps you in the game
When we start a job search we leave our professional world behind and concentrate on networking, resumes, networking, interviews and networking. In today’s world, a few months away from a subject is an eternity. By writing about current topics in your field you “stay in the game”

** It demonstrates comfort with and a mastery of current technology
It shows that you “get” current technology which is especially important for more senior job seekers. Blogs can help counter the perception older folks don’t understand the use of technology

** It shows a maturity and depth of experience
Blogs give you the opportunity to showcase your expertise and thinking in more detail than a resume. This can be especially useful for younger job seekers by countering the perception they lack “depth”

** It helps to answer the third question
Hiring manager basically have 3 questions: (1) Can this person do the job? (2) Will this person do the job? and (3) Will this person “fit” with our culture? A resume goes a long way toward answering the first 2 questions but provides no insight to the all important third question, a blog does.

** Its fun
Blogs offer the opportunity to discuss issues with others and what can be more fun than a good healthy debate?

Blogs are relatively inexpensive. You can get one going for about $50 to $150 per year depending on what you want to do. The hardest part is the commitment to make 3 to 5 postings of roughly 300 words each week. Fortunately this should only take a few hours and depending on the blog host you choose you can prepare your posts in advance and schedule them to post whenever you want. Writing well is tough, and the discipline of saying something meaningful in 500 words or less is even tougher. Blogging builds writing muscles.
It is too early for me to personally comment on results but I’m optimistic. However, Kent who has been at this much longer than I have reports “It can be a great source of interview questions. In my last three interviews, my blog came up (positively) in each, and generated questions that allowed me to expand on my approach to the world.” and “One of the interviewers had googled me, and then read my blog and my comments on others’ blogs. About half her questions were related to those links. Since I blog about areas that I believe are my strengths, it gave me a great chance to reinforce what makes me different.”

— End comment by Mike Schaffner

If you made it through all that (easily the longest comment I’ve ever had posted here) and like what Mike has to say, check out his blog. He talks a lot about communication, management and all sorts of other business and IT related topics.

blog, blogging, information technology, web, internet, career development

Earlier this week I was solicited for an interview with Bill Brenner, Senior News Writer for SearcSecurity.com on the topic of Oracle patches and their new Critical Patch Update bulletins.

Bill interviewed several DBAs and got some interesting opinions on Oracle’s patching procedures.

Jon Emmons, an Oracle database consultant and keeper of a blog called Life After Coffee, which focuses on Oracle security and other topics, said he also found the bulletin changes helpful.

“Perhaps the most valuable new feature in the CPU bulletin is the executive summaries,” Emmons said in an email interview. “These bulleted lists give a great high-level summary. At one point or another we’ve all had to explain to our boss why we need to apply these patches and now Oracle has given us the words to do it with.”

The full article, which came out yesterday, highlights mixed opinions on Oracle’s patching procedure and “improved” CPU bulletin.

oracle, patch, database, dba, database administration, rdbms, security, database security

Vitaly Friedman, a freelance web developer has compiled a list of the 25 best free fonts. Perhaps even more impressively, he continues to update it with license changes and new fonts as they change.

As far as I can tell the only oversight is that there is no monospace font (like courier) represented in the list, but still, this could be useful for some future projects.

fonts, free, freeware, publishing, web development, information technology

USB Missile LauncherWhat do you get for the geek who has everything? Of course! Their very own USB Missile Launcher! But is it really worth it? Yes! Read on and find out why.

Overall Rating: 9 out of 10

Pros:

  • Roughly 12 foot range
  • Accurate within a foot or two even at range
  • 180 degree pan
  • Limited but reasonable tilt control (about 30 degrees above to five degrees below level)
  • Fires three darts one at a time
  • Soft foam darts are safe around the office
  • High quality molded plastic construction
  • Free Mac software better than included PC software

Cons:

  • Couple second delay between clicking “Fire” and actual launch
  • Batteries required (3xAA)
  • Included software does not allow for simultaneous pan and tilt (movign diagonally)

Details:

Launcher in boxThe USB Missile Launcher came to me from the folks at KlearGear.com who have quite a line of toys and gadgets appropriate for the office. They sell the USB Missile Launcher for $55 which I consider a fair price for a toy this cool.

It comes quite attractively packed… the type of thing that you wouldn’t be able to keep on shelves in the right locations. It would make the perfect trade-show giveaway for the same reasons. Have a stack of three or four of these at your booth and you’ll get some attention (hell, at the price just give away a dozen.)

The USB Missile Launcher was equally impressive out of the box. The unit quickly pans through 180 degrees and tilts about 35 degrees. The PC software that ships with the unit is limited to only moving in one direction at a time, while the free Mac software allows movement in two directions.

You can fire one missile at a time and the missiles shoot out with surprising speed, propelled by a small spring which is compressed when you load the missiles. Both software versions suffer from a second or two delay when firing. I have a feeling this is a limitation of the device, but it’s the only major flaw in what is otherwise a great piece of office artillery.

The launcher is solidly constructed and the darts have held up well for me. There is nothing with the unit or on the KlearGear site about replacement missiles, but I’m sure if there’s a demand they’ll become available.

Conclusions:

This is a great office toy and would be a great gift idea for anyone who regularly engages in cubicle warfare. At a cost of $55 from KlearGear.com the USB Missile Launcher is one of the most unique toys you could get someone this holiday season.

I had hoped to get a couple videos up of the launcher but haven’t been able to get any I’m happy with. Perhaps it’s time for a new digital camera.

Thanks to the folks at KlearGear.com for giving me the chance to evaluate the USB Missile Launcher.

cubicle, warfare, office, office toy, office humor, work, fun, usb, robot, robotic, computer, toy

Leo Laporte reported today that there would be no TWiT (This Week in Tech) podcast for the next couple weeks and he’s not sure what the future of the show will be:

I’ll decide what happens to TWiT, the show, when I come back, but at this point it looks like it’s on life support and the heart monitor is flatlining.

Leo already has over 100 comments on the story which is only a few hours old. While I don’t envy him the hours he’ll likely spend reading the comments, I love the show so much I had to add my two cents worth:

Leo,

I know how exhausting it can be to keep pouring your heart into something while others treat it as a hobby.

But, that’s what it is to some. I learned a long time ago, while managing student workers, that it’s important to remember what a job, project, podcast (or is that netcast) means to the others involved, not just what it means to you.

It sounds like you still want to do TWiT, and the tech news isn’t going to stop coming. Consider how you could re-engage some of the other twits. Is there a better time for others? Would a shorter format be easier? Are there topics they want to cover that you don’t normally hit on?

As much as I’m a big fan of the current TWiT regulars there are plenty of people out there with opinions. Perhaps you need a larger pool of regulars. When I want to play poker I always invite twice as many people as I want to have play knowing half will cancel for some (completely valid) reason or another.

Is it a TWiT without Patrick and John? I think so. Maybe just a different TWiT. You’ve got an established name, a big audience and even a sponsor. Why start something completely new when you’ve got these things going for you?

But, on a completely selfish level, please, please, please, please, PLEASE don’t stop making TWiT, and thank you and all the other twits for making so many great episodes.

Jon

technology, computer, news, information technology

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