Interviewing fun

There is an excellent question with plenty of great answers at LinkedIn:

What’s the worst thing you ever heard on a job interview?

The question involves both parties – the interviewer and the interviewee. It also covers situations all around the interview – CVs, waiting, arrangements, situations, and so on. There are some really funny answers, some scary, and some insightful. Overall – there are about 150 of them.

Here is a quote from one of the answers:

My favorite was the lady who had 23 jobs in under a year, but went on and on about how much her previous employers had hated to let her go.

Here is another one:

I had a candidate open an interview saying “I don’t respond well to questions. They make me feel unprepared.” The candidate was applying for a level 1 support opening.

The page is available only to registered and logged in users, but the registration is free. Check it out.

2 years

Maxim in the house

Today marks two years since I became a parent. Wow. Time flies indeed. He used to be a tiny almost 4 kilograms that didn’t know how to move, and so were pretty comfortable in my hand. Now I can barely hold those 13 kilograms of constant movement. He has his character now. He speaks. He goes to the kindergarten. He has emotions. He makes sneaky plans. He is a human being. He is a man.

He is also very popular. I think more people called, wrote, and came to congratulate him with his second birthday, than I ever got for my 16th. Even people who he never so in real life, people who live far away, in other countries even – they all called or wrote in. That kind of makes me proud. Thanks everybody.

We didn’t have any huge celebrations this year. Maxim spent half of the day in the kindergarten, getting back to the routine after being sick for a couple of weeks. We brought two apple pies for him to share with kids and nuns. They loved it. Especially couple with the chocolate cake from another girl’s birthday…

Then we went to Jumbo for presents. The biggest thing he got was a house. He’s now a happy owner of real estate. We hope he’ll put it in the “save-sell-buy a bigger one” cycle, so that by the time he is 18 we can all live in the castle. Huge houses are among his favourite toys, so there is hope.

In the evening, we went for some pizza (hut, hut, pizza hut). For the first time he was given spicy hot pizza treated as an adult. He set with us, and not on a baby chair. He had his own plate. He had his own meal. He participated in the conversation.

I think he liked how the day went by, because he didn’t want to go to bed at all. Well, that happens. Once a year…

Happy birthday, kido!

Suddenly PayPal comes to its senses

I mentioned earlier that I had some troubles with PayPal. While registration is free, it is only possible to send about $500 USD without adding and confirming a credit card. No problem – I added one, but when tried to confirm was asked to fax a number of documents to PayPal office. Which I refused to do.

Since then I’ve been using direct credit card payments. Until recently I wanted to purchase something from a small shop which only accepted PayPal. I though, OK, I’ll just use the credit card via PayPal and and they won’t have to link the transaction to my account. Wrong. I had to be logged into PayPal.

So I created myself another account and tried to use it. PayPal didn’t allow me to add the same credit card, complaining that it is already in use by another account. I go back and remove it from my old account. Now it was added OK. I paid for all the stuff I wanted and then tried my luck once more – I asked for credit card verification sequence.

If you don’t know how it works, here is a quick summary. PayPal charges your credit card with a small amount (EUR 1.50 in my case). The transaction registered by your bank has “XXXXPAYP” in the description, where XXXX are four digits. PayPal asks to enter those digits in the verification form, thus confirming that you are entitled to use that credit card.

I followed the procedure and tada – it all worked out. I don’t know why it couldn’t have been done the first time. It’s the same card after all…

Avatars instead of smileys

I had an idea today. How nice it would be to have changing avatars in the instant messaging conversation, instead of smiley faces. Smiley faces are the greatest thing since beer and sausages German style. But they’ve outlived themselves. They still work pretty good in plain text communications, but when it comes to applications that substitute text smiles into graphical images – that’s where I think we need more innovation.

Most of the applications that use graphical smileys – email clients, forums, instant messaging clients – support avatars. But so far, I’ve seen only support for a single avatar.

What I think would be better is to have support for multiple avatars, which could be changed either manually or, optionally, by the application itself, depending on the smileys used in the conversation. And they will have to be conversation and user specific too.

The closest to this, it seems, is LiveJournal. It supports multiple avatars. And it supports moods – something a user can change. There is even some automation – avatar selection maybe configured based on certain words in the post or comment, if I remember correctly.

Three applications where I want to see this functionality implemented are: Gaim, Skype, and Gmail.

“Love” at Limassol Grand Carnival 2007

Either I got older or my organizational skills failed me (most likely) or something else or both, but I forgot to blog about Limassol Grand Carnival 2007. It took place, as usual, over Makariou Avenue, last Sunday afternoon.

Limassol Grand Carnival 2007

This year the theme was “Love”. I don’t very much remember what were the carnival themes of other years, but I don’t find this one to be a very good choice. For many people carnival is the only time a year when they can dress any way they like and when they can be anyone they want. Far too many of them choose to be “sexy girls”. Maybe that’s only in Cyprus, but I don’t know, since I haven’t been anywhere else. I’ve seen about five carnivals altogether, and each one of them had its share of mini-skirts, boobs, butts, and other attributes of “sexy girls”. This year, these were doubled.

Still, I had good time. The weather was perfect for photography and the moods were festive. I’ve noticed more younger people participating – both in the main show and in the crowds along the road.

Also, for the first time ever I’ve actually liked those huge dolls. Not all of them, and not even many. Just one. But it was really good.

I hope the tradition continues. Even though most of my friends don’t feel like getting out into the crowds once a year. And I don’t feel like participating in all the costume show fun…

MIS vs. Computer Science

When I was back in college, we used to make fun of MIS students. We, being the Computer Science students. We were better than them. For those of you, who can’t tell the difference, MIS (Management of Information Systems) is a business-oriented major, which barely touches computers and technology. Computer Science, on the other hand, is all about hardcore. There are business courses too, but they aren’t the “important” ones. This is how we used to have it back then – I don’t know if it’s still so.

Anyway, working busy over the last few years I completely forgot about that clear distinction. Today though, I got a reminder. I was browsing through one of those job directories, looking for someone to fill the web designer vacancy at our company, when I saw the profile of this guy… Take a look at the small part of his profile on the screenshot below.

MIS gratuate

Now, the “gratuate” I can understand. They use it only for about a year during their “gratuate programs” and stuff like that. But “compiouters”? That’s not a mere typo. That one is intentional. That… hold on… I think I understand it now…

Yes! Probably the only thing that guy knows about computers is that they do input/ouput (I/O, IO). So, he maybe thinks that they are called “compIOuters”…

If there is one thing we, Computer Science students are better at, that is have to be “computer” spelling. We’ve been doing it for years. Time after time. After time. Rarely we are allowed to use CS abbreviation instead. Because, you know, it can mean so many things.

Watch history

Somebody asked my mom – in the comments to this post at her blog (I just love saying that) – a question about time keeping in old times. That seemed an interesting topic to spend five minutes on.

If you are to read only one article, I suggest it to be the History of Watches. Here is a somewhat smaller time line. Here is another one. Wikipedia has more about watches.

The executive summary: first pocket watch has been created in 16th century. Until then, everybody used sun dials and other non-precise methods for time telling.

Beep. Beep. The five minutes is over.

Fooling around with Google AdWords

I am playing around with Google AdWords currently. Google surely makes great tools, and Google AdWords is no exception – simple, flexible, documented, with plenty of statistics and reports, as well as a number of wizards… And it integrates nicely with Google Analytics too.

P.S.: If you will see any of my projects in Google ads, please don’t click – I’ll be charged for every click and you will be redirected to the web site that you already know about.