my iTunes quandry

I really like iTunes. Mostly because of the metadata and organization, plus being able to add scripts.

The one thing that bugs me is that you can’t split up the library across different hard drives while maintaining the auto-organize feature. I’d love to put my music on one drive, my video on the other, and my podcasts on a third. As it stands, I either have to not consolidate my library (which is do-able, but a pain in the ass), or rather, consolidate by hand; or I can try the trick of splitting up my library, but then I lose the metadata; or I can just get a bigger disk, but at this point that means getting a TB disk which kinda sucks (I’d have to get two so that I could back it up).

I’m going to try the first step and maybe whip up some script to make it easier to manage. If I do, I’ll post it here.

Flash audio not working on OS X? Check your output bitrate.

OS X 10.4.7 Doesn’t Fix Audio Problem – Jeremy Flint – Red Hot and Daily

This had been driving me insane for a little while. It seemed like after upgrading to Flash Player 9 that Flash audio stopped working. I even posted a bug on it in the internal Adobe bug database.

whoops. It turns out that one of my programs switched the audio output bitrate to 96k and for some reason, Flash doesn’t like that (it seems like every other program I have handles it just fine).

Anyway, if you have that problem, check the above link.

Interland (web.com) sucks – part the final

After my post on Thursday about Interland (which was 24 hours after first contacting Interland support and more than 48 hours after Interland switched my mail server without warning and broke my e-mail), I received a message from Interland (web.com)’s SVP for corporate communications! So, supposedly, contacting web.com’s customer support gets you response times of a week, but posting on your blog that web.com sucks gets you a response from senior management within 24 hours. Wow, the power of the internet.

Here is what he said:
I noticed your blog post this morning and wanted to pass along my apologies for your troubles. I have spoken with customer service and looked into your account. It seems like there were a few email configuration changes that were updated and needed to be executed on your end as well. In any case, I am having our best rep call you to walk you through the process.

Again, I want to apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced. Please feel free to contact me any time if you have any questions or comments. We treat these cases very seriously and I want to assure you I’m here to make things right again.

This is corporate marketing at it’s best, right? This is also what a loyal customer would want to hear, right?

There was a slight problem, and I had logged it in the original support item as well. Here was my response to his message:
Peter, I have been a customer of interland and now web.com for 6+ years. I remained a customer even though I am paying substantially more for your hosting than other hosting providers charge for significantly more capabilities. On SEVERAL occaisons over the years, you have made modifications or broken my site without prior warning. Each time I have complained and each time I have been promised that it would not happen again.

This most recent change is absolutely horrific. I have set up about 300 mail rules over the years to weed out spam on my main account. When you switched systems, you broke all of these rules so that the ones filtering mail INTO my box now essentially DELETE it. I have gone from getting around 50-75 valid e-mails a day to getting 6-10 (actually, it turned out to be around 2-3). I would go through and rewrite all my 300 rules, but your new ajax-ish web mail interface won’t let me bulk edit and it is so impossibly slow that it would take me HOURS TO FIX YOUR SCREWUPS. (I wasn’t exaggerating, I had tried. It was taking me over a minute to delete a single mail rule on a broadband connection on a fast machine. I had to delete 300)

All this and you recently raised my rates $10/month.

I switched to your service because I thought that it would be reliable and bulletproof. I am sorely dissapointed.

So, meanwhile, I never got that call that web.com promised from their “best rep”. This morning, I checked my support ticket and saw that it was closed. The tech who closed it noted that I had to change the addresses for my pop and smtp. Of course, if I hadn’t logged into their support system and checked that myself I wouldn’t have known. After following their instructions , they are still deleting 99% of my mail, and downloading my mail still doesn’t work.

So, I’m switching all my domains to dreamhost. I had planned on keeping my main unitcircle.com domain on interland, but this utter stupidity and lack of respect for one of their long-term customers is the last straw. I’ll have to figure out how to switch the catalog from asp to php, but that will be fun and I’d been meaning to get off windows hosting anyhow.

You cannot trust interland or web.com with anything remotely important, and they are more expensive than their competition if you are doing anything not-critical. Seriously, .Mac is cheaper than those losers.

And interland, if you want to respond to me again, I’d love to hear from you, but don’t try to send me an e-mail for a couple of days, because if it ends up on your servers, I’ll probably never see it.

Dear WORLD

Assume any e-mail sent to me over the last 3 days was not received unless it was sent to me at Adobe or at my gmail account.

Hopefully the situation should be resolved as the DNS propogates around the web, by monday, everything should be back to normal.

P.S. Interland (web.com) Sucks.

I hate interland (web.com)

they just switched my mail server (without warning) and now I am no longer receiving any e-mail. They have the absolute worst customer service. AVOID AVOID AVOID

Did a mock technical interview event tonight at UW (more tips for college CS students looking for a job)

It was actually a lot of fun. Usually when you are doing a real interview, you can’t really take the time or energy to explain to the candidate what they did wrong and how they could improve. Also, I was very impressed with the quality of the candidates. At Microsoft, I interviewed a lot of college grads in the last few years from schools like Berkeley, Stanford, Princeton and other CS powerhouses. Most of those students were pretty weak compared to the students I talked to tonight.

There were a couple pieces of advice I offered to all three candidates. Most of this is only relevant for recent college grads, but some may apply to others as well.

  • Learn more C++. A lot of CS schools like teaching Java. It is fairly good for teaching some of the fundamentals of Computer Science. However, it is still not very popular in the software industry outside of server software. If you are looking to be a developer at a software company, you will almost certainly be writing in C++ and you will have an edge if you can write good C++ in your interview.
  • Practice programming problems. Most software companies that I know (including Adobe, Microsoft, Google and Amazon) do whiteboard-style interviews. You will be given a programming problem and will be expected to write code to solve it. You may also be asked a logic problem. There are many web pages that have actual technical interview questions, you should use them to practice with.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Unless you are doing software development as part of a consulting company or at a bank or insurance company or something, developers wear jeans. Wear nice jeans, without holes. Don’t wear gym shoes (even cool, expensive ones). Wear a nice shirt. Do not wear a tie or jacket: you will be uncomfortable and will feel out of place. You want to look nice, but comfortable.
  • Be honest about your abilities. Don’t lie about what you know. We’ll figure you out pretty fast.
  • You are not a 9/10 in C++. This is one of my pet peeves and I’ve written about it before.

Now about your resume

  • It should fit on one page. Unless you were working in the industry for years and years, you should be able to fit all your info on one page.
  • Your hobbies and outside interests are not relevant. It is resume filler and will have no bearing on if you get an interview or not.
  • Your job experience outside of the industry isn’t important unless it is relevant to the position you are seeking. If you have relevant or significant full-time job experience (ie: not retail or food service), you should list it. If you were a manager in a non-tech business, that might be relevant if you are looking for a management position, but not an individual contributor position.
  • Put the most important stuff first. People read top to bottom. If the top of your resume isn’t compelling, people reading it won’t make it to the bottom. When I was younger, I used to have my education at the top of my resume, because I didn’t have as much experience. Now my experience is at the top since I’ve been out of school for 15 years. When I look at college grad’s resumes, I look at the school (do I know it?), then I look at their job experience (have they programmed professionally?), then I look at their skill sets (do they know C++?). Unless one of those things stands out to me, I won’t bother looking at the rest.
  • List classes taken which relate to the position you are applying for. I don’t need to know every class you took in college, but if I’m hiring a graphics programmer and you took 3 undergrad classes and a graduate seminar in computer graphics, I want to know.
  • Think about keywords. Most resumes come in electronically now, via a company’s website. There they go into a database. When a position is opened, recruiting will do a search on their database looking for keywords: C++, graphics, windows, etc… Make sure that your resume will be found in those searches.
  • Target your resume to the position you are interviewing for. This could be a lot of work, but it is worth it. You may not need to change everything, but at least change your objective. If you are applying for a lot of jobs, you may want to make different versions of your resume for different classes of positions. I have three different versions of my resume which emphasize different skillsets depending on what kind of job I am applying for.
  • Don’t write a wishy-washy objective statement. I’m kinda over the whole “Objectives” thing on a resume. Obviously, you want a job. Everyone wants “a challenging position with an interesting company, utilizing their skills and allowing growth potential.” Yawn. This is the one place where it really is important to tailor your resume to the position you are applying for. Especially, if you are moving from one area (QE) to another (Development).
  • Use good ideas from other resumes. The Microsoft Word resume templates are not your friend. Everyone knows them now. Luckily, you kids have this thing called the interwebnet which allows you to find a zillion resumes and look at the best ideas from each. Everytime I see a good idea from a resume (a better way of listing experience, a more consise way to describe skills), I see if it is something that can help make my resume better. The actual graphic design and layout of my resume grew over years, incorporating ideas from a dozen other resumes. (Please do not directly steal the design of my resume (I’ll make sure that you’ll never work in this town again), but feel free to incorporate some of the ideas for your own).
  • Have someone you know, someone who actually knows how to write well, go over your resume. Engineers are not known for their command of grammar, punctuation or command of the English language. You only need to look at this post to see what I mean.

If other people have more suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

hey sci-fi!

So, I’m finally watching one of your shows in real-time, and I get the “because you are watching this show in real-time go to our website to see blah blah blah blah“. So I go to your website, and I see ABSOLUTELY NOTHING SPECIAL BUT IT TAKES FOREVER TO LOAD ‘CAUSE ALL THE OTHER DORKS LIKE ME ARE ALL PINGING YOUR SERVERS AT THE SAME TIME!

I feel used.

iPhone debate: I’m a Mac vs. Bill Gates – 10 Zen Monkeys a webzine

iPhone debate: I’m a Mac vs. Bill Gates – 10 Zen Monkeys a webzine

A very, very nice fictional conversation between the guy who plays a mac on tv and Bill Gates.

Bill GatesI’m sick to death of people touting regional anomalies as some harbinger of the future. They should make an ad where there’s three actors representing devices — a Mac, a PC, and a teenaged Japanese girl representing the ability to send text messages on a Hello Kitty cellphone.