Category: Blurbs worth reading


I always hear people complain whine because Apple boasts 200 new features per new iOS update, and they can only find a dozen of them: the most visible ones.

I call this being lazy and not giving a flying fuck about the work behind.

Here’s the reason why people fail to understand and see improvements :

Apple does not only cater to individuals .

I attended a live seminar about mobile device deployment and management in businesses.

I realized that the most significant features are aimed at businesses (which mainly already have a mobile device management [MDM] system and their own business-specific apps)

This is where improvements are to be found. Huge effort has been put there to address businesses’ needs. I applaud Apple’s efforts. It is no easy task!

Next time you watch a keynote, or a WWDC conference, think about the big picture.

There is a position at Apple which is “Expert”. It works both for regular people and for businesses.

One more thing: The Software Development Kit (SDK) is always updated and contains more Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

So… There are really 200, if not more new features for each new iteration.

I hope that you learnt something useful.
Please comment if you feel like it.

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That recruiters (who don’t work for the candidate, but are paid / employed by companies) would obfuscate, deceive, or prevaricate is hardly a new discovery in my experience.

They are essentially hired guns/mercenaries paid by a client to literally steal rock star talent from Company A and seduce them over to Company B.

In no way do they desire to help, assist, or otherwise cater to candidates, and in fact, they generally are trained to avoid anyone that smacks of being:

1) unemployed-underemployed,

2) needy or desperate to leave a current employer,

3) actively seeking employment (everybody knows recruiters are paid to get “passive” candidates, not those actively seeking employment),

4) problematic or with issues.

If you appear as anything other than a highly talented, very happy, totally secure professional, who is only slightly interested in the prospect of moving to their client’s employment, you will often be dropped like a hot potato.

Many, many candidates fail to understand the true nature of recruiters, and thus are often embittered and disappointed in them.

Bonus: recruiters do it poorly and quickly just to get their paycheck and move elsewhere to get another paycheck.

They also run “fake interviews” that may cost you a copious amount of time and energy, in vain, since the choice is made on day one. Yet they may get you through weeks or months to end up with a template rejection letter.

Nepotism can also play a role. Not a minor one.

Be smart and if you feel that your interview is a “fake”, quit.

If you are misled or wronged during an interview, it is a sign that the company will behave in an even worse way if you are hired.

Interviews are a two-way street.

You don’t need to feel or act inferior. Afterall, you choose the company in the first place, don’t you?

Two mandatory reads:

“Screw the Recruiter” -Mark Teller will tell you how to survive a recruiter.

“Headhunter” -Skip Freeman will teach you how to think like a recruiter.

I highly recommend reading the two books alternatively. If you are still alive after that, you’re incredibly tough and mentally stable.

For the last two weeks, I have tackled issues, and I’m still tackling new ones.

(Have a look at my past posts to know what I’m writing about).

Needless to say: it is exhausting.

I always find myself awake at 4:30 am, super energetic (it is usually my energy peak) , and I hate wasting energy.

So, I grab my iPad and read books nobody will. at least I think so.  Would you be interested in reading a book called “Inside Apple“? Unless your are a fanboi computer geek which is interested in HR and temperaments/personalities and their pros and cons, I bet you wouldn’t.

Not a safe bet.

My health has never been great, and I don’t want it to deteriorate.

There are a few tricks that I do before giving in (and I gave in once in my life: I had a lung infection and spent a few days in the coma. OK, I digress, but bear that in mind)!

Taking a shower after having triggered my mind with an insanely intricate computer science lecture, or an inspiring TED talk, is what I usually do.

Solutions and ideas appear when you least expect them. It is common sense.

The next Joe would say the same, but I’m not the next Joe.

When you let purposely your mind wander, it will certainly bring you where it wouldn’t if you were hyper-active and focused obsessed.

My weapon of choice is a simple shower, or a bath.

I soak my hands in warm water before playing keyboards or cello. Any tension disappears, and I can warm-up, then play confidently knowing that I prepared myself.

See… This is a borrowed parallel paradigm (a term I coined a few blog posts ago and didn’t use in a blog post)!

I use a “model” totally unrelated to the task at hand to solve it. I transpose it (sorry for the musical pun).

Well, it’s time for a new TED talk and to catch up on my Stanford lectures (I have a strong disgust for the C language, and we are comparing Objective-C and ANSI C. I want to move on to the next step, yet I know that my teacher is doing what we’ll need ten lectures later).

Oh, one last thing: nothing beats a cup of Yunnan tea.

One more thing: this is the post where my 666th tag will appear. I’m an unabashed metal freak, but in no way Satanist. I just find that ending my post with something less serious could release some tension!

Which are your strategies to kick out stress and burn-outs from tearing you apart?

Do you let your mind wander to find solutions, or do you keep working until you run out of gas?

 

 

 

Everything that goes through any of our senses is stored in our memory as a mental picture.

It uses our occipital cortex. So, don’t scratch the top of your head if you can’t recall. It happens behind your head!

Just google “visual memory” and countless search pages will show up with miracle recipes on how to improve it.

This is totally uninteresting to me. However, I often take a quick look at all those self-help things, then discard 99% of them.

What is interesting is how our brain works, and thorough studies, serious stuff won’t appear on the first search page. Go further.

I find it fascinating that our memory transforms everything into a mental image. Vivid, exaggerated, lurid, hilarious… Unexpected ways are to be expected!

One of the most important aspects of it, is that if you aren’t actively participating in memorizing, your “file” (memory) will be lost somewhere into some random place you can’t easily recall, or can’t recall at all. Unlike computers, we have no indexing and search option available to find where our file is.

Actively participating means “abstracting” the (usually) boring stuff. You’ll need to find ways to get mnemotechnic in remembering things. It will take some time and practice, but it is worth the sweat!

If you just absorb, you are not memorizing. You are listening, watching, smelling… but not memorizing.

When memorizing, don’t lay on a couch and repeat ad nauseam the same thing, hoping it will get into your memory. You have to add emotion to it to work properly.
Being on a couch is not what I call an emotional trigger (unless you get laid, but that’s another story).

Stand up. Read aloud. Repeat each syllable many times. Let the music come.

Don’t worry, your music will anyway be associated with a mental image. Not a mere image, but a mental one. Those are discrete things!

I hope that by now, you start figuring out why I called this post “our memory is a GUI”. Yes, it is a graphical user interface. Touch this icon / click on it, and it will react.
An icon is an object which has properties. Exactly like our memory.

I am still studying this overlooked aspect of our memorizing process, so expect an update or another post as soon as I have new and relevant content.

Meanwhile, know that nobody has a bad memory. If you want to have a really hard time remembering faces, events, sounds, etc, keep saying to yourself that your memory is poor, or bad, or that you suck.

I encourage you to do your own search. I want us to discuss and debate around this topic.

Well. I’m going to find ways to memorize five high-level programming languages. I’ll focus primarily on Objective-C.

The meaning, the syntax, the words or signs used all have some potential for visual memorizing. What can I do with @synthesize ? Split it into syllables and repeat them until I find a way to relate what is on my screen to what it means. Make music out of it (“synth” could already be “synthesizer”. Or maybe should I try to merge “sin”, “in”, “the”, “size and visualize a huge cock)?

I told you that the more exaggerated, gory or porn, the better and easier to remember. Summarize it into a vivid mental image (not an image like a photo) and link it to its meaning (meanings aren’t obvious in programming). That is why Stanford has a “programming abstractions” course, in my opinion.

Again, don’t merely absorb, but stand up (to stay alert) and actively participate in memorizing.

In those big “memory contests”, they give you energizing beverages. It is not a coincidence, is it?

 

What I mean by a “borrowed parallel paradigm” is that a paradigm out of my field of study or biz can help me shape – or reshape- my thinking and my doing.
It broadens my vision, or help me see the world through new lenses.

If I use Apple’s biz paradigm (mainly, a platform, to be studied) to improve my creative musician skills, it’s a win. However, it is not easy to draw parallel lines with those unrelated areas.

To create, to innovate, to shape, call it what you want, you need to borrow or shamelessly steal from unrelated industries, areas, businesses -even if the models are outdated- to make your very own product, be it a symphony or a startup.

That’s what Google does, what Amazon does, what a schmazillion of other successful people do. They succeed at what they aim for.
Success is not a one-size-fits-all word!

A pattern can be transposed successfully if applied in a clever way. If you stay in your area, you are likely to learn nothing. If you go where everyone else goes, you end up doing what everyone does. Is it what you want?

Picasso famously said that great artists steal. Is Picasso a great artist? This up to you to judge. The statement is true, though.

Today, the word artist has a broader meaning. A VP or a CEO can be artists, not because they are hobbyist painters or musicians, but because they -the succesful ones- totally pour themselves into what they do. Stravinsky used to say that a succesful piece of art is 99% work!

As far as I am concerned: I come from a very complex background.

I am a musician. That is the core of my being. 26 years of mayhem, and counting!

I sing, I play snare drum, timpani, vibraphone, drums, cello, viola da gamba, guitar, harpsichord, piano, organ… All those instruments have one thing in common: they require the use of fingers (in this case, parallels are drawn quite easily. Starting small is not a bad thing), and demand a very high degree of commitment.
I also produce, edit, mix and master. I started as a FOH engineer, but moved on to my comfy studio more as my back pain increased with FOH muck work. I am now settled.

However, I read business books, blogs about education, biographies, I love CDs and LPs artwork and do my own, I hang around with TED speakers, I study iOS programming and programming abstractions (courtesy of Stanford University). I read other people Ph.Ds’ stuff, too, no matter the subject.

How does all that relate? How does one model applies to the other to foster creativity? I’m diligently working on it.

Easy is not a word I can use to describe that task. I have to learn critical thinking, which is not taught at school/college.

I have to ask for mentorship, sometimes. I have to ask myself the right questions. It’s exhausting, and I already wanted to throw the towel many times. I didn’t, because I’m passionate about what I do.

Of course, it is easy to get lost into all those unrelated areas. Focus on your primary one and look around. How can you improve or change your existing model?

Borrow paradigms. Shamelessly. The more unrelated, the better.
Get the broadest scope you can get, yet keep in mind that you want to raise the bar of your primary activity, foster creativity and get smarter at what you do.

One last thing: don’t lose sight of your own goals.

I’d love to hear from you. You are encouraged to share your experiences and thoughts. Your personal info will never be shared.

The post-internet era is near.

I know that it may sound like a vague prediction, but it is coming, no matter if you want it or not.

Seth Godin deals with it for a while now. Check out his TED talks and his blog!

The industrial era came to an end, the post-industrial era is coming to an end, and with her, the Internet, which is in shambles.

I do not want to go back to a pre-industrial era, but to think of how the Internet will be replaced, and how it will affect our lives (especially for employees, employers, entrepreneurs and the like).

The future is in our hands. What are we gonna do with it?

If we have no clue what to do with the present, the “now”, it is likely that we’ll be lost.

I haven’t got miracle recipes. Just keep in mind that even if you don’t feel any threat right now, you must be prepared for what’s next, no matter what it is.

Your best defense is action. Now.

Update (June 8th,2011):

The threat I was dealing with when this blog was published was the shortage of IP adresses. If people are smart enough to use IPv6 instead of the actual IPv4, everything should be fine.

Ditch Internet

Yes.

You read “ditch internet”.

Who am I to exhort you to do this? Nobody.

Don’t you know nobodies are the future somebodies?

To the point: wouldn’t life be better WITHOUT Internet? Have you even tried to live WITHOUT?

Blogs, (I came to hate blogging, to be honest) RSS feeds, A-listers, etc.

They ALL use the same ol’ shit to make us “think different/outside the box”…

Resulting in us thinking all the same.

There’s no shortage of information on the web, but filtering it has become a time-consuming routine that too many of us go through. A time-waster like no other.

Sheeple live without questioning authority ( in this case, blogs ands article-writers or/and self-help book authors. I’d say “self-sabotage” books instead, actually.)

I don’t hate internet. I hate tyranny.

Is living without internet worth it? Definitely.

Humans and bees…

Have you ever noticed this simple fact? The one that links
and separates humans and bees… Bees are individual idiots and
collective geniuses. Human beings are individual geniuses and
collective idiots. Now how can THAT be useful in your life? How can
it change the way you think your work, and eventually your work?
Think about it. Bees are revolutionary.

Hey!

Just a quick note to tell you that your life will change forever and for the better!

If you are unemployed, or feel nauseated at work… If you feel like you have no life left after your dayjob…

Be strong:

Believe me, it’s the END of the corporate world which is exploiting you and have been brainwashing you since your first day in school back when you were a kid.

Even with all their money, even with the government on their side…

They’re dead. The cogmakers are dead.

More later. We’re busy working for your future, for your kids, for the whole humankind!

Creative Visuals coming your way!

Since my last post, I’ve been discussing the pros and cons of the video résumé.

People from very diverse fields gave their insight and opinion.

Before going further…

Consider this: the way you look, the way you talk, care about your kids, are all parts of your résumé. Please don’t forget that.

What matters is WHO you are as an individual. Forget about endless lists of what you did. It really doesn’t matter.

The past is gone. Do not try to replicate it, too. It is the “safest path to frustration and failure”. This is a weird sentence I coined during a discussion.

So, we gathered, discussed and came to several conclusions and ideas:

-Your résumé has to be thought. You cannot throw out a total improvisation.
You will be lost if you have no clue where you are, where you want to be and how to follow the roadmap YOU create.

Be creative and realistic.

Do you remember when I wrote that honest signals cannot be faked?

-A video résumé is not easy to do, but easier than you may think (the old model is awkward and totally supreme mega boring.)

You have to come to the highest level of clarity about yourself.

You’re not hiding behind a page, you’re in front of the video camera and there is where magic can happen! It’s your chance to get what you deserve: being seen and heard! It’s like public speaking.

Do not hesitate to “practice”. I highly recommend it. Record as many videos as possible… Compare. What’s cool? What sucks?

Do not worry about editing your video.
Worrying can cripple your work (which is actually your ART!)

-Imagine that you are asked to answer a questionnaire. Just that. Better than the old stuff, eh?

Now imagine that you have to reply to it with a video… And that you have 120 seconds. (120 seconds = 6 questions. Don’t fret, it’s OK.)

Words: 7%
Intonation: 38%
Gesture: 55%

Those are the % of the message you send.

The % of what matters the most to a employer/biz owner (they are not all greedy morons…) are different, and there is no rule for it!

Do not forget this. Never.

-What about something so compelling that you will astound everyone with how much of your (true) self you’ve put in?

Make a “whole package”. A résumé and a portfolio!

Sounds good to you?

It sounds fabulous to me.

Think about this. Think deeply.
Don’t feel like shit if you don’t come up with your best piece of art ever in the first place. It never happens overnight!

Discussions are still going on, and more is brought to the table everyday.

I believe that time is the father of all truth. We’ll see what happens next!

It always happens for a reason.

In this case, it’s because we’ve made a conscious choice of making it happen!

I promise you all the inside scoop and the juicy details in the next post. Stay tuned.