August 10, 2012
Ideas and Improvements
Today, I'm feeling like making some changes to this site. Notably, I have been thinking of expanding the post queue from three posts to five posts since I've managed to write enough content. This will be the standard from now on, but it might mess up some posts that may have used index values for posts. That's why this weekend, I will try to make posts have more concrete file names based on their timestamp. Posts will also now include the hours and minutes of their initial publication. This is good news for me because up until now, I've had to limit myself to writing one post per day and these posts would get very long. Plans to auto generate small blurbs about long posts would also be implemented. And would definitely safe some bandwidth. (Not that I don't have enough.)
Another part of the websites that I plan on renovating this month is the file section. I've created a lot of new files/projects as of late, they can't possibly fit on the same page. It will be more like my blog in the future, and a widget should be constructed to list all of the active projects I'm working on and willing to share. I haven't quite become comfortable with using Git yet. In fact, if I can make some money in the near future, I'm thinking of purchasing a Network Attached Storage (NAS) Device as a means to store sharable content with the Internet. A NAS is supposed to by like a mini-server. I wish I could get two of them. One for my home network for things like family stuff that I don't want to really share online but don't mind putting things that can be shared between home computers and personal devices, and the other NAS for like downloadable content like torrents or programming experiments.
The future of home computing is definitely more NAS usage as a means to securely store items on a single, expandable device. Hard drives can be added to increase space or swapped out to take items offline and store them in safekeeping just as one would with a physical family photo album. While the cloud (via social networks) is an OK place to put pictures of you and your friends, more intimate and personal content should be stored at home and in many cases on a network that is not directly connected to the Internet.
I've been thinking about how to use a router (i.e. your classic Linksys router) to maybe act as a bridge. Only instead of this bridge connecting to the Internet, this bridge connects to a local network and can only be accessible from the inside. Of course, secure passwords and encryption methods would make it accessible from the outside, say for remote computing. But the most secure networks never use devices that do everything in one machine. As conveinent as is is to have modem, firewall, router, and network storage as part of the same device, this is a disaster waiting to happen.
The whole concept of layered security is to put physical barriers between devices. Think of it as going to a bank. While you can do banking online these days, assume this process was like it was about 30 years ago. In order to do you banking, you would need to walk into the building. But you can't go speak to a teller about setting up a safe deposit box. You would need to sign in everytime to meet with a banker. You would need to fill out paper registration to lease a safe deposit box. Assume that you want to deposit a copy of your will. But you are very paranoid so you write it in a code that only you and your attorney can decrypt. The attorney has been given explicit instruction on the same day that you are at the bank to open a safe deposit account on the other side of town where you have instructed him to store the document that contains the cypher. Both the will and the cypher have been notarized sealed in a smaller box under lock and key such that the lawyer also deposits the key to the box that contains the will at his bank, and you deposit the key to the box that contains the cypher back at your bank. (Yeah, it's quite complicated.) Such is that neither safe deposit box key can open the smaller box inside the safe deposit box and the key inside the safe deposit box will not open the box inside it.
Say that one of your heirs gets greedy and tries to rob the bank to steal the safe deposit box, stored inside the vault, guarded by a high tech security system, at least one guard, and is under 24 hour video surveilance. Even if he manages to break into the bank, disconnect the cameras, subdue the guard, crack the code to the vault, deactivate the security system, and do all sorts of other things that would be the plot of some heist film staring Jason Statham (i.e. dig a hole under the street from a nearby building to where the vault would be, which was actual plot device in The Bank Job starring Statham), the heir would be frustrated to find that the key and the box don't pair up, but unaware that across town your benevolent lawyer has established another box with the key that opens the stolen box. Even if that box was cracked open, the will would be unreadable or deceptively written such that the real message is hidden within the document that tells the actually true contents. And by the time the greedy heir figures out the fake message was a trap a dead lead to occupy his mind elsewhere, the authorities would have picked him up, sent him to jail, the will and the key returned to the bank in an even more fortified setting, and the heir written out thanks to some good legalese by the lawyer that states only heirs with clean records or who have not attempted to snatch the will stay in the will. (Man, this sounds like a fun little mystery crime novel. I should consider writing that into a story. I call dibs to the rights, so no stealing from this post. Ask first, then we can negociate.)
Speaking of ideas, this week I've though about an idea for a jobs website where everything is done in one place. This includes having one of those questionaires that some employers make you fill out. It seems like a good idea. Why go to employers websites to fill out the same questionaire over and over again only to be rejected because your personality didn't match what they want. Of course, this site would require employers and recruiters to sign up and be put through the same gauntlet job seekers have to go through. I'd like to think of it as what would happen if sites like Taleo had a baby with a social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook.
Looking for a job should be a lot like going to an online dating site. Employers have to fill out their profiles and have at least one human read through the personal ads (or in this case job applications) just as you would have to read through the personal ads (or in this case job offers and want-ads).
The site should take care of a lot of gruntwork. For instance, you can create cover letter templates that would automatically send out customized cover letters to employers. Resumes can be stored with and without objectives. It is more common to write resumes without an objective these days. Even more so if you cover letter describes your objective to begin with, which is to seek employment with a company, assure them of your credentials and devoted loyality--especially since some companies make rash assumptions that you'll probably quit working for them after a couple of weeks when in reality you are a reliable person who is committed to working for a company for more than six month if possible. Like any good relationship, employers must be assured of your fidelity. Perhaps there should be a scoring system as part of the questionaire that tells wary employers that you are seriously committed. Likewise, for job seekers, companies should also be scored for their ability to hire new employees as well as whether other employees like working there. There should also be a scoring system that determines if you truly are "overqualified" or "underqualified" for a job. Employers would also be scored that way, but only once as they could probably cheat on that scale by listing the need 20 rocket scientists for an insurance company. If anything, these scores would be applied to a database of occupations which already exists and is pretty accurate. It's hard to find good job with companies these days too scared to hire outside their social circle, too timid to hire job seekers that are desperate to find work, and too conservative to hire local job seekers who are trying to find work with local companies in their area.
Another thing this site would REALLY make important is the specification of where you'd like to find work and how fair are you willing to go to find work. One of my pet peeves at the moment has been with this recruitment company called Panzer Solutions. I assume these guys found me on Dice, but my records indicate they've also make some vague job offers on Simply Hired. If you are a job seeker, you know what I'm talking about. They say they have a Java job available in St. Louis in the subject of their heading when you open it up you realize they said "St. Louis" just to screw up search engine because the job in the body is for some place like Philadephia or Milwaukee or some place really exotic. On just about all the job sites I apply for, I do set up the job searching criteria to find me jobs within a 20 mile radius of where I live, here in the St. Louis, Missouri area. Just about all the job leads from the Panzer people are everywhere else in the country and do not follow the defined search criteria I had set up for my email alerts.
On my site, that would be grounds for account termination. If anyone wonders why JRCharney.com is such a new site, its because my previous online ventures failed to take off because there are people out their, like the Panzer folks, who basically exist to ruin good websites with bad content. They spam the site with a lexicon of automated keywords. They use the right combination of random words together to make it seem like it was created by a real person, when it really wasn't. And eventually it gets out of control and their programs break other sites such as the major search engines by creating a "search bubble" that puts blinders on internet users such that when they type in a subject like "electrolosys" for a chemistry project for alternative energy, the first thing that shows up are all these irrelevant webpages on how to zap body hair with some lame As-seen-on-TV product.
Some of the Facebook and LinkedIn pages that I follow are also becoming subject to such terrible marketing ploys. If I could create a site that would eliminate these horrible cheaters from burying websites underneath a ton of garbage, I would gladly do it!
There is a fine line between free-market capitalism advertising and greedy manipulation of information into propaganda. That ad on the radio for that tennitus placebo with the high pitched ringing noises would definitely fall into the latter category. Ditto for the "Head-On" folks from a few years ago.
Another thing my site would have is the ability to track which employers and positions you've applied for, which employers accepted or rejected you, and which positions you were accepted or rejected for. It would also be used to indicate if you held an interview with them, if you sent them a resume or filled out a job application, if you send cover letters and thank you letters. You and the employers will be scored to indicate what seems to be the issue with why you can't find a job right away. Most sites will claim that the job seeker is responsible for their fate and that they are in denial if the swear they did everything right, right down to being dressed nice, having their hair and hygene taken care of, and speaking in a calm confident tone of voice, even if the interview was a phone interview. Because both sides will be scored and judged appropriately to indicate if the job seeker or the employer weren't simpatico with each other, the people who make these lame webpages of things you already knew about what to do and not to do when going job hunting or when hiring people, won't just be the people who already have jobs and are just trying to keep their power.
So the ultimate goal of the website I propose is to level the playing field, not to ostracize job seekers, allow job seekers to learn what is really keeping them from getting a job (i.e. bad employers, bad background checks, or fibbing on a resume), pursue the job they really want and not just the jobs that they think they can get but are overqualified for, make sure that your profile doesn't send you on a blind date with spam robot, and keeps everyone busy looking for work and looking for workers.
It's a tall order, but very feasible. I just wish we didn't need to create something like this to help people get back to work. But it looks like we will.