Sometimes I Wonder: “What’s the point?”

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Resume? What's the point?
Resume? What's the point?

Money has been super tight the past year or so, especially these last few months. It gets really frustrating and it is hard to focus on being productive when your mind is constantly (at least in some respect) thinking about how you’re going to pay bills this month or the next…

I started my own business (with a friend of mine) last year, hoping to break away from the J-O-B I had (which was getting progressively worse by the day, but that’s another story for another time). I had hopes that things would pick up and things would roll along at least somewhat smoothly. I didn’t expect to make loads of money right away, but rather had hoped it would be enough to sustain — to replace my old job — and give me something to work up from…

But running a business is not the easiest thing in the world, that’s for sure! I do not regret it and am not giving up, but I can’t help but be at least a little frustrated that things aren’t going very well right now. I’ve always tried to be optimistic and hopeful, but right now that’s not getting me anywhere!

One of these days — it’s going to happen, I just don’t know when — I’m going to break out of this nonsense and become whatever it is that I’m destined to be. (yeah yeah, I know… we make our own destiny right?) I guess I’m just looking/waiting for something to show me and/or prove to me what it is exactly that I’m supposed to do!

I recently filed for unemployment. I honestly should have filed 9 or 12 months ago, but I’m pretty stubborn (just ask my wife lol) and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. To me it was like I was admitting defeat or giving up/in. Unfortunately it came to a point where I pretty much had no choice (little-no business = little-no income = help!)…

Part of filing for unemployment (which I’ve never done before) is you have to create and submit a resume to a jobs database so you can get hired for work if someone thinks your qualified… While I completed the resume and submitted it, I really don’t see how it’s going to help anything. Why? well to be honest if I was an employer and saw my resume, I wouldn’t want to hire me either!

So do I just suck at doing resumes? Or am I really that unemployable? What gives?

I’m not really sure how to answer that for you. Perhaps I just have lower self-confidence than I am willing to admit… Perhaps I just don’t really get the point of a Resume. (seriously, it’s like there is a science to it, like it’s a game and if you’re good at it — making resumes — then you win, someone less qualified gets hired because they have a better resume than the person more qualified? so stupid). Or maybe it’s that part of me that always wants to swim against the tide, to kick against the pricks, to push… oh you get the idea… I’ve never been a conformist and I’m OK with that.

On a resume you’re supposed to put some flowery statement about your desired position and then go and fill in a bunch of fluffy juicy info about how you are the ideal candidate for said position and knock their socks off… It’s all a bunch of nonsense!

And all of that… not to mention you need “work related experience”. Well how are you supposed to get your “desired position” if you don’t have the work related experience to go with it?

I’m pretty darn good at doing a wide variety of things with computers, but my job history says otherwise as far as an employer is concerned: McDonalds, Subway, Dominos, Property Management, Mental Health Work, Construction, etc… I’ve done a bunch of odd-jobs too!

So am I pigeon-holed as a fast food worker or something else from my work history? Or am I supposed to go and get a bunch of internships or volunteer to get some “work related experience”?

And don’t even get me started on the “qualifications and skills” sections… You really want me to brag about myself? I know I have skills in a variety of areas, but even if I listed them all you’re not going to care or believe me. I can put that I can do some amazing things with computers — better than 90% of the people I know, including people I took classes with for my Computer Science Bachelors degree — but an employer is going to look at that and compare with my work history and go “uh-huh, that’s what they all say”.

I’m ranting on about all of this, but the root of the problem is really more along the lines of this: I’m better/more valuable than any piece of paper could show. I am a jack-of-all-trades (yes and sadly a master of none). If you want something done I’m your man! Even if I don’t know how to do it, I will find a way and get it done! I’m not afraid to do other jobs to get by, I’m not afraid to do things out of my preferred field of employment. I just don’t want that fact to prevent me from getting a career I will enjoy.

You want your computer fixed, no problem. You want a website? Cool. You want your house painted? I can do it. You want your car repaired? I can figure it out (might need to borrow some tools though). You need a therapist/counselor? No problem. You want me to cook you something? Easy. File some paper work? Do the dishes? Pour some concrete? Build a house? I can do all that… I can do a lot of things… I may not be the best at any of them, but I’m better than most.

But how do I put that on a resume? How do I get employment in a desirable field like that?

I know the answer, and it’s: “Alex… you don’t!” and you’re darn right I don’t!

I am the exception, I am not normal, I am different, I don’t fit the system. I am an outcast. And as frustrating as that is, I am glad!

I accept that I am going to have to do things the hard way. I am going to have to push myself. I am going to have to find a way to break free and dominate in spite of the system. I am not content with the way the world works. I will not conform! I will go down fighting. It’s in my blood and I cannot and will not deny that!

So if you’ve managed to read this far, I give you credit — or “props” — because most people would have dismissed my rant long ago. If you feel the same way I do, please leave a comment and let me know I’m not alone. Or if you think I’m nuts, tell me why and where/how I’m wrong. And if by some oddball chance you have work for me that pays, let me know that too 😉

Now… going home to my family! FTW!
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How To: Move Tabs Back Down in Firefox 4

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Firefox 4
Firefox 4

Firefox 4 became official today and i has a new look! If you haven’t updated yet, what are you waiting for?! It is faster and so far I’m loving it! However I know there are people out there who don’t/won’t like the way the Tabs have been moved to the top of the browser. I personally like it, but it’s not for everyone. If you want the tabs back where they used to be, there is an easy fix!

All you have to do is right-click somewhere in the empty space on the main tool bar (I clicked right between the “Awesome Bar” or address box and the search box — see pic below) and a small menu will pop up. On them menu just left-click to uncheck “Tabs on Top” and it will move them back down. Piece of cake!

Move Tabs Back Down In Firefox 4
Move Tabs Back Down In Firefox 4

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Jailbreaking iPhone 3G – Getting More Action!

Jailbreak iPhone 3G
Jailbreak iPhone 3G

If you are like me and have an iPhone 3G (or perhaps an older iPhone or iPod Touch 2nd Gen or older) you noticed that Apple will no longer be supporting your device. iOS version 4.3 came and went with no love for us folks with older devices. It is reasonable that Apple stop supporting older devices at some point. They are not the only company to do so and they will not be the last… but that still leaves us with limited options now:

  1. We can fork over some cash and upgrade now (or perhaps switch to a Droid phone or something)
  2. We continue using our old devices and be happy with whatever we can get that’s compatible with 4.2.1 and wait it out until we can afford an upgrade or are forced to buy an upgrade
  3. We can jailbreak our devices and get more options!

I don’t have the money for option #1 and I’m not content with option #2, so I opted for option #3!

To Jailbreak or Not to Jailbreak…

Now maybe you’ve heard of “jailbreaking” before, but weren’t really sure what it is or if it’s safe or whatever… I’ll try to put it as simple as possible: Jailbreaking means freeing your iOS device from the restrictions put on it by Apple. By default, you can only install apps from the App Store provided by Apple. They approve apps for distribution based on their own criteria and they make a percentage of the profits (I believe they make 30%, but I could be wrong and I don’t care to look it up right now). When you jailbreak your iOS device you are setting it free! Jailbreaking opens the door to many opportunities… I’ll list a few neat examples of what you can do with a jailbroken iPhone 3G or 2nd Gen iPod Touch that you couldn’t do before:

  • enable multitasking
  • record video
  • have wallpaper on your springboard (the thingy your app icons appear on)
  • use custom themes on your device
  • hide that annoying Spotlight
  • play NES and SNES games
  • and much much much more!

Still not convinced? Well there is also a way to increase your virtual memory and even overclock your processor so that your device will behave more like a 3rd Gen device… an iPhone 3G working more like a 3GS?! yeah, that would be sweet! (note: I haven’t gotten there yet, but when I do, I’ll tell you about it!).

Is it safe? Yeah, I know that is a question in a lot of people’s minds… But really, is anything safe? Sure there is some added security with the default setup because Apple has total control over what is allowed onto your phone and what isn’t, but there are still other vulnerabilities and risks… if someone really wants to get access to your stuff, they will find a way… As far as the safety of a jailbroken device goes, it really boils down to common sense… If you use some, it will go along ways… Change your root and user passwords, only install apps from trusted repositories, and etc…

Is it Legal? According to the US Court System and DMCA Law: Yes! According to Apple: No. Read here for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IOS_jailbreaking#United_States_legal_issues

On with the show!

At first I tried following this nice guide provided by Lifehacker: The Always Up-To-Date Guide To Jailbreaking Your iOS Device, which recommended using GreenPois0n to jailbreak your 4.2.1 iOS Device, but I tried it 4 or 5 times (on Mac and Windows) and it never worked for me. Apparently I could not get my phone into DFU mode… at least not the way that GreenPois0n wanted… So I decided to go with RedSn0w and it worked like a charm! I found a nice guide here (Mac) and here (Windows).

It was very exciting, but didn’t otherwise seem any different at first… the only noticeable difference at first was the “Cydia” app that was now present… but once I started browsing the repositories, it became very clear just how right of a decision this was!

I will be posting a few things this week about my experience now with my newly jailbroken iPhone. Here are a few things I plan to write about so you can follow along if you are interested:

  • What apps to install first
  • Multitasking
  • How to fix MobileTerminal (I found a way to get it to work!)
  • How to fix Cycorder (Haven’t found a solution yet, but it wont be long)
  • Increasing your Virtual Memory (Sorry, it seems this is no longer possible)
  • Overclocking the CPU (Sorry, it seems this is no longer possible either)

Do you have an iOS device? Have you jailbroken it yet? Why or why not? If you care to share, please comment below. Thanks.

iPod/iPhone running slow? Here’s how to fix it!

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Is your iOS device going slow?
Is your iOS device going slow?

OK so I’ve noticed I’ve been getting a lot of hits on a post I wrote months ago that mentioned speeding up iPhone (except that particular post was really only focused on speeding up an extremely slow upgrade to iOS version 4.0). So, to be more helpful — and because I know it has been super helpful to me since I learned this trick — I’d share how to speed up your iPhone or iPod when it’s running really slow!

First of all, I’d like to get to the root of the problem, and that is memory. People get confused about this, but it’s really quite simple once you get the hang of it. Just like on your desktop/laptop/netbook computer your iPod/iPhone has two different types of memory*. One is called RAM (Random Access Memory) and the other we’ll call Storage. Here is an example: I have an iPhone 3G and it is the 8GB model. The 8GB stands for the Storage capacity of the device, meaning it has the capacity to store 8 gigabytes of data — well it’s actually more like 6 and 3/4 GB as the iOS software takes up a bunch of space and the whole rounding/approximation thing, but moving on… The amount of RAM my iPhone has is standard for all iPhone 3G models and is 128 MB (megabytes). *note: I said two types, but there is also ROM, but no need to talk about that here…

I’ve heard it described like this (skimming AM stations, I heard this from a woman hosting a tech-help program answering a call from a woman wanting to know how to impress her husband with computer knowledge):
RAM is like a man’s memory… He’s pretty good at remembering things for a short time, but he can only handle so many things at once. Once his memory is full he’s gotta let stuff go to make room for new stuff…
Storage is like a woman’s memory… She never forgets anything. Her and her husband have an argument and he thinks he’s got the upper-hand until she reminds him about that one time — 10 years ago — when he forgot the anniversary of the first time they kissed…

Or you could think of it like this: you’re taking a math exam (no, you’re not really, calm down) and you use RAM — in the form of scrap paper and a pencil — to work out the problems until you’re comfortable with your solution, and you record that in the Storage — in this case the actual exam you will be submitting.

So to recap real quick: RAM = short term, Storage = long term.

Why does this matter? Because if you iPhone/iPod (or computer or whatever) is running much slower than it would normally operate, chances are that your RAM is at max capacity and the device is out of room to process data. When you have programs running on your device, they use RAM during their operation, when the programs are closed, they no longer use RAM — or at least they shouldn’t. And there is the solution to our problem!

You can blame poor programming! Why? Well it’s easier that way… that and you’re memory is probably being eaten up by a poorly coded program that has memory leaks (that just means they didn’t properly clean-up the memory they used before the program closed). Although if you are using a device that allows multitasking (3rd generation devices and newer), you may want to make sure you don’t have a bunch of apps running in the background…

Enough about memory, how do I fix it already?! OK, fine, I’ll get to the point: you need to free up the memory! But how you ask? Well there are a few ways… one is to turn the phone off and back on again. This will free up all the memory as the device powers down and leave the regular available memory once it’s finished booting. OR you can get an app that will free up the memory for you!

I’ve had an app for some time called “Memory Sweep” which I cannot seem to find in the App Store anymore, but I did find one similar called “Free Memory for iPhone and iPod Touch”… I didn’t buy it since the old app works just fine for me, but I would assume this one works based on the reviews and such…

Basically all you do is run the app, it tells you how much memory is being used, and try to free some up. It works like a charm for me!

Anything else I need to know? Yes… Keep in mind the amount of RAM you can free-up depends on the device (see chart below) and also know that some of that (a good amount actually) is being used up by the operating system — iOS.

iOS Device Specs Chart
iOS Device Specs Chart

But what about… removing apps, deleting old text messages / emails / voicemails, removing music/videos that aren’t needed, etc.? Won’t that help speed things up?! Those things all have to do with Storage memory and not RAM (well not directly). Freeing up storage memory will not really fix your RAM usage problem, but it will help speed up an update/upgrade of the device operating system (keep in mind as 4.3 is supposed to be released this Friday) since the less storage space being used by the device means the less time it takes to back it all up on the computer before the upgrade…
I hope this was helpful. Please leave a comment if you have any questions. Thanks!

**Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any harm or damage done to your device by any app you use, including ones I mentioned above. You are a human being capable of thinking and making decisions for yourself, so use your best judgment. If something happens to go wrong — which it shouldn’t — you need to contact the app developer and/or Apple.**