Archive for the 'Humor' Category

Austin Java Developer Job Market

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

I stopped getting paid some time in late January of 2010. My "former" company still paid for my health care while they hoped to bring me back on "very soon." Between then and roughly the beginning of July I kind of just hung out and piddled around. I wrote an Android game for the hell of it (still haven't bothered publishing it), read a few books, and played a ton of Call of Duty.

Around the beginning of July my company decided it "wasn't fair" to me to pay for my health care any longer. I think it took them that long to realize that I have an amazing ability to sit on my ass and do nothing as long as I have health care.

Since the beginning of July I've been looking for a Java developer position in the Austin area. That is, I put my resume (sans funny accented characters) up on a couple of job sites and have been mostly waiting for recruiters to come to me. Okay, so I was only half looking. Through an ex-coworker I landed a 100% telecommute contracting job for the time being. Meanwhile, I thought I'd write up a brief summary of what it's like to deal with the recruiters that find you on both Dice and Monster (soon to be referred to as "D&M").

One Job List to Find Them…

Apparently 95% of the recruiters on D&M get their jobs from the same source. They just spam emails and calls to any candidates that even come close. That means for any one position you will receive calls from about a dozen recruiters trying to fill the very same position. Given the recruiters' often complete absence of any kind of technical understanding they can't even screen me properly. I'm not sure what value they're adding or if they ever even successfully place a candidate.

Hi! My name is.. (what?) My name is.. (who?)

The next thing that gets me is that about 75% of the recruiters using D&M are located in New Jersey and are originally from another country guessing from their accents. I'd guess from their names (Adwait, Aneesh, Kaushal, Kavitha, Prashant, Raghu, Raj, Rajiv, Susheel, Tervinder) that it may be India. This means they apparently 1) don't know how big Texas is, 2) don't know how big the United States is, and 3) can't read the words "I am not willing to relocate" on my resume. As such I get a lot of inquiries about jobs that would require anywhere from a 3 hour commute all the way up to a whopping 27 hour commute. That's a hell of a drive. They seem honestly surprised each of the 12 times a day that I explain to each of them that Austin is 3 hours away from Dallas. It's an honest mistake.

The other thing is that I typically get an email followed immediately by a call from the same person. They're really hot and heavy to talk to me. Once I explain that I'm not interested I get a call back from the exact same person about 10% of the time. I guess he lost his place on his call sheet.

The Crown Prince of AT&T Needs My Help

And finally there are those impossible to fill jobs. AT&T and Bank of America are hiring in the area. Due to their complicated, highly corporate rehire screening policy all recruiters with thick foreign accents are required to get social security numbers from all prospects as soon as humanly possible. For some reason this feels weird to me so I've never gotten to see what happens if I actually give my SSN to them. But since these jobs must pay a premium to the recruiter and are all but unfillable due to the SSN requirement they account for about 10% of all calls by themselves.

But You Seem So Normal

On the plus side I get about one call per week from someone that honestly seems to know what they're talking about regardless of where they're located or from. They can ask all the right questions, seem to understand my answers, and actually ask what it is I'm looking for. Unfortunately they just don't have any opportunities in which I'm interested. If you are good and are willing to work (yet again) for a dysfunctional organization you can get a job in about 4 weeks. If you're willing to work a little cheaper than what you're worth then you can probably trim that down to 2 weeks.

So in case any of you were wondering, it seems to be a pretty okay time to be looking for software development work in Austin.


An Embarrassment of Fixes

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

I finally broke down and picked up a copy of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 for the XBox. I do love me some multi-player first person shooters. When you try to play online multi-player the game attempts to connect to EA's servers. Unfortunately I could not for the life of me connect. I tried multiple times, reset my XBox, reset my router, etc. A couple of minutes of Google searches led me to this little gem. It says that the EA proposed fix for this problem is to disconnect from XBox Live, reset your system clock to 2005, log back into XBox Live, and then try the multi-player mode again. It sounds stupid but I tried it and it actually worked.

As a programmer I feel embarrassed for EA. That's a stupid fix. That's the best they can do? As someone interested in user experience I feel even more embarrassed for them. Any hope of using your product right out of the box requires someone to either Google around for this idiotic fix or to contact your support group and have them suggest this idiotic fix. That blows. I would think a company of that size could do better. The best case scenario for any hope of a defense is to somehow claim that Microsoft is to blame. That'd be a stretch since every other online multi-player game I have works right out of the box. Oh well.


Usability: Suspending and Resuming Shuffle

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

So I'm actually using my old iPod again rather than using the ultra-fantastic Pandora (highly recommended by the way) and I had an idea for a feature it should have. Keep in mind I'm several generations behind on my personal media player so this may be in the current iteration. What I'd like to be able to do is suspend shuffle mode, listen to a few songs by the artist that came up in shuffle, and finally resume shuffle mode. That's it. I can do this but it requires navigating through multiple menus. Not so convenient.


Flat Organization: Job Interview

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

I just don't feel funny this week.


Flat Organization: It's an Art Form

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008


Flat Organization: The "Lost" Episodes

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Before I started putting the comic directly on my blog, I had a few other episodes of Flat Organization. Since many people never click through to my BitStrips page I'm going to lump all of the "missing" episodes into this one post. I could post them individually but that seems more annoying and like it would require more effort. Apologies to those that have already seen these.


Nobody Paints Baby in a Corner

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Unfortunately this week's comic just feels like I'm getting more and more bitter. Maybe the next one will be funny.


Gracie Cameo in The Incredible Hulk

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

There are quite a few little cameos in The Incredible Hulk but the one I was happiest at having spotted was Rickson Gracie. Remember in Portuguese that 'R' sounds like an 'H', so it's pronounced "Hickson." Unfortunately they've listed him as an Akido instructor despite the fact that he's a bad ass in the family business of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I know it doesn't sound like it, but that's a colossal fuck up in martial arts land. Besides that it's a fair movie but after all the rumors about heavy editing changing the nature of the film I'd really like to see what the original "Norton" version was like. Maybe 25 years from now we can have 8 versions of it like Blade Runner.


Flat Organization: Have Laptop, Will Travel

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Yeah, I'm not doing so well at sticking to the new "publish once a week" experiment. I either need a new rule allowing overflow or need to be more willing to stockpile these crappy jokes.


Flat Organization: Our Next CEO

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

While I'm going to try and publish once a week, I have a hard time sitting on finished comics. I just can't resist the temptation to do two this week.