The broken engineering interview process

Imagine yourself in an interview, sitting in front of 5-10 others of your field. Midway through, the group’s questions drift from the personal and work experiential to the assessing and cross-examining.  They ask you to step up to The Whiteboard, marker in hand, and prove what you know.  Never mind that you’re not fresh out of college and that you haven’t taken a formal test in some time. Gone are the days when a good professional portfolio and list of references, along with a teamwork-minded personality, can get you a job.

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The Benefits and Drawbacks of OEM Partnerships

Written in collaboration with Mary D.

Every company wants greater, better and more business coming their way – and partnerships are often a necessary and fundamental way to getting there. OEM partnerships are a way for companies of all sizes to team up and focus on one particular product. Many of today’s most successful products would not be what they are or nearly as successful without the invention of OEM partnerships.

As with any partnership, certain matches will work out and others will not. Recognizing and considering the benefits and drawbacks of an OEM partnership will ensure that both parties set specific goals and go into discussion with some background as to what they should expect from one another.

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Redesigning our family finance

The art of personal finance has been a topic of interest for me for most of my adult life. Some people feel strongly about it, choosing all manner of tools, software, processes, etc.; while others employ no real system at all, opting for a more intuitive sense of financial decision-making. That’s a wide spectrum of fiscal personality, but make no mistake: family finance is a deeply personal experience. It’s no wonder that there tends to be a lot of emotion tied up in our financial lives.

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Ukrainian Outsourcing

I had the most bizarre confrontation last year in my gym locker room — a place that is supposed to be a bastion of privacy, comfort, sometimes camaraderie — from which I haven’t really recovered.

Charles is a jovial sort of guy.  He’s in his mid to late 50s.  He’s gregarious and extroverted, often seeking out quiet-type guys to chat up. I don’t doubt his sincerity and desire to connect with other men; in fact, it’s a quality of which I’m somewhat jealous, simply because it doesn’t come naturally to me.

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The mystical comfort of music

Immediately following the 2016 US presidential election, the very last place I wanted to go to for comfort was my church.  I’m not alone in this.  I attend a fairly-conservative, mostly-white Republican Evangelical church in a similarly populated town.  As a registered Democrat, I suddenly felt politically and ideologically “naked” among my fellow parishioners like never before.

Weeks before the election, while explaining to my first grader the simple first-grade ethics of mutual self-respect, gender equality, compassion for the indigent, I was struck by how these ideals have somehow been lost on a host of the very people that espouse such virtues from the pews.  The mantras of “build a wall”, “lock her up”, “grab them by the pussy” and other patently anti-Christian bully sentiments surely are at odds with the core beliefs of my fellow churchgoers.

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Cloud Computing: Myths Vs. Reality

Written in collaboration with Mary D.

Cloud computing has accelerated communications and the exchange of ideas, bringing the level of interconnectedness to unimaginable heights. This was also made possible thanks to innovative advancements in the A.I. technology sector, which have provided Cloud services with the capability to extract and condense information that can help a business overcome competition and reorganize its organizational infrastructure effectively so that ideas can be continuously recycled and perfected to the benefit of customers, clients and partners—including participants in other even peripheral areas of industry that can benefit indirectly from this inter-change of information. It is the very fact that it has encouraged an inter-disciplinary approach which makes Cloud technology so important to the general public and business/industry in general. But despite the great opportunities that it brings to job seekers in general, there subsists the myth that it cuts jobs, while in fact, quite the opposite happens to be true. In the cloud industry in particular, the demand for cloud computing experts significantly exceeds the supply, meaning that there are a lot of unfilled diverse job positions only in this industry.

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Customizing Chrome’s “new” tab

Ever bore of the new tab screen in Chrome?  It’s what you’re presented with after doing a CTRL + T.

Well, with the magic that is extensions, you’re free to change this.  There are a host of replacements available on the Chrome Web Store.  But I’ve always appreciated a low-tech, unobtrusive approach.  I’ve used the Google Art Project screen, which puts a new great work of art on your new tab.  For days that I feel overstimulated, I’ve opted for simply a blank tab.

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Email, the new Todo

Shockingly, over a year has elapsed since I last spoke about my digital life-hacking.  That’s a pretty terrible commitment to the discipline of writing and contemplation.  I can blame that on so many things: raising small, needy humans; steadily growing home-improvement lists; active social calendars; too many screens and not enough books.  But the truth is, writing is hard.  And everything else can be easy or more immediately fulfilling.

But here I am again, ready to get back into the work of expressing myself… and getting more organized.  The upshot of the rather long hiatus in this series of articles on productivity management is that I have this nice big data-set from which to draw my conclusions.  Which is rather rare for me.  Typically, when I find some “new solution” to an old problem, I’m too quick to conclude that the new is better.

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The king is dead, long live the king.

What I’m reading a lot on social media is a very determined effort to falsely equivocate either Obama or Hillary Clinton with Trump (whether their characters, their campaigns, or their future presidencies).  In my view, this is particularly disingenuous.  To put Obama’s presence and stature or Clinton’s experience and dignity up against Trump’s impulsiveness and braggadocio and call them basically the same thing just isn’t being honest with one’s self.

This, I think, is probably the most insidious choice that voters made because it assumes a “pick your poison” baseline, that both are bad.  Further, a vote for what is “lesser of two evils” excuses all the other bad traits about Trump.  It essentially doesn’t matter how bad Trump was, is, or will be: at least he’s not as evil as “that nasty woman.”

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Everything You Need to Know About Text Mining

Written in collaboration with Mary D.

Text mining is widely recognized by companies as one of the major tools that are provided by A.I. technology to extract valuable ‘structured” data from text and help businesses filter through and condense valuable project-oriented information. If this sounds a little too ‘sci-fi” for you, that is exactly the point. Its capacity to recognize and respond to human speech and mimic the neural pathway activities of the human brain to develop independent cognitive abilities and behavioural responses is only the beginning, especially as more technological advancements are introduced into the field and artificial intelligence software are gaining higher momentum and demand among multiple industries with connections to the IT/Computer/Mobile industry—from the transport, banking, social services, government, and medical sectors among many more. While the first attempts to develop intelligent thinking machines can be traced historically to Raymond Lull in the 14th Century—and “automatons” are present in the ancient mythology of Greco-Roman, Egyptian and Babylonian/Mesopotamian literature—text mining goes back to the WWII era, when governments started adopting “content analysis” and assigning numerical codes to public concepts and ideas that were found in the media, including newspapers, magazines, letters, documents…etc. with the objective of analyzing and monitoring trends in mass-behaviour by tracking the levels of popularity and development of those concepts/ideas. This practice has also developed into another branch known as open source intelligence, used by governments and the intelligence communities to sift through all the pertinent information that is available on the World Wide Web for reasons of national security and especially in response to the current major crises facing the modern world. Unfortunately for the general public, it is also something that has led to the infringement of personal security and civil rights as demonstrated by its current use as a global spy network set up by agencies like the NSA and the CIA.

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