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Temp Agencies could be in my Future

I had been exposed to the phenomenon of temporary employment before. It is actually one of my fall back plans if no other jobs are available. It is a really cool idea and it seems like a good way to gain work experience for college students that find out most companies value that just as much, if not more, than a degree.

I would definitely sign up for one of these jobs if I had no other major options because they really do pay well, considering the economy. However, I would definitely take a lower paying job that allows me to actually use the skills I have acquired if possible. At this point in my life, money is not the most important thing. The opportunity to show off what I can do and move up in an industry or career field I am genuinely interested in is far more rewarding. As long as it pays enough to cover my living expenses with a little left over for recreation, I would be happy.

Graduation Present

            For my graduation present, I found two computers that would make me pretty happy. While both could use some customization and upgrades, they both would be pretty nice fits. I decided to go with a desktop instead of a laptop just because I do not like carrying around my laptop as it is and I think that having a desktop in my future apartment would be nice.

            For the PC I went with the HP-Pavillion Elite. It has an Intel Core i7 CPU that runs at 2.66GHz, a 1.8 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 graphics card, a 1TB Hard Drive, and 9GB of RAM memory. The computer costs $1,279.99 with this arrangement which leaves a lot of room for improvement in RAM and in processing power. To see more details click here.

            The Mac I decided to go with was the iMac. I was hoping there would be a Mac Pro that was cheap enough but there was not one available. The iMac has a 2.66 GHz Quad Core Intel Core i5 CPU, an ATI Radeon HD 4850 512 MB graphics card, 1 TB of hard drive space, and 4 GB of RAM Memory. It costs $1999.00 with this setup. While this is much more expensive than the PC, I think the OS makes up for this price difference. To see more details click here.

The sad characterization of millineals

            While I found the articles on millineals in the workplace enjoyable reads, there were several things that either stood out or bothered me. The first was that everything that the authors stated seemed to be based on generalizations about not just my generation, but every generation. While statistically they are probably correct, they did not do a very good job of emphasizing that these assumptions were generalizations, not facts. For example, they claimed that millineals are more motivated by instant gratification more than other generations. While this is true for some people, I know several people, including myself, who focus much farther into the future and will sacrifice an immediate reward for a better one down the line.

            The second major problem that I had with this article was the idea that my generation was raised with a silver spoon in our mouth and that we can not handle criticism. While this is true of some people, this statement just comes off as bitter to me. How could this possibly be measured? Did the author go around insulting people to see how the different generations reacted? Or does the author have a skewed view based on some interactions that he personally had. I do not know but before an author is allowed to slander an entire generation, I truly believe far more evidence of this is needed.

            My final complaint with the article was that my generation has been taught that everybody is special as long as they try. The example the author used was that in competitions, every participant gets some sort of prize. Now I found out later that I was clearly the odd man out, but this was never the case in my up-bringing. I remember being on a soccer team that literally lost every game we played and the standings being released for everyone to see. I know for a fact that I thrive with competition around me and one of the big reasons for my lack of effort in certain areas is there is no competitive nature surrounding it.

            And It was not just the generalizations made about my generation that bothered me. I am sure there is just as much incorrect characterizations of the other generations. I just did not feel like any of their generalizations were as offensive and down right demeaning as the ones about the millineals.

Hardware Analysis

            After about fifteen minutes of looking, I had found all the information about my computer needed for the post. I knew where most of it was or had a decent idea of how to find it, so it was not too difficult. The only one I had a problem with was the graphics card because I did not think that information would be in the properties menu that appears after right clicking on the display. My computer has Genuine Intel CPU T2500 @ 2GHz, a NVIDIA Quadro NVS 110M graphics card, a 120GB hard drive, 2.00GB of RAM, and has a maximum screen resolution of 1680-1050 pixels.

            When comparing my graphic card and CPU to other systems I discovered some interesting results. My graphics card, while nothing special, is more than adequate for a workstation like mine. If I wanted to do any serious gaming, an upgrade would be in order, but since I use my computer mostly to surf the internet and do homework this graphics card is more than acceptable. While I could not find my exact model type on the CPU speed charts, I can assume from the other information provided that my CPU would fit in the “high mid range” category, which is also more than satisfactory at this time.

Second Life Experience

            I had a pretty good time playing Second Life. While I have played several other games that incorporate these virtual worlds, Second Life was a new experience because there truly was no purpose or goal to the game. You just explored different areas, talked to people, and tried out new experiences. I really enjoyed viewing the imagination and the design ability of the population. Seeing the different areas and the amount of detail the makers had incorporated really impressed me. Here are two screenshots of favorite areas:

The Funhouse in Alice and Wonderland Area 
My Avatar at the End of the Funhouse

Me and my Horse using my Parachute
My Avatar and my Flying Horse using a Parachute


            For me I did not experience the “Hero’s Journey” that Bartle references in his article. There are probably a few reasons for this. First, I did not spend a lot of time on the creation of my character, which is rare for me. I often spend thirty minutes to an hour just making sure every detail of a created avatar is correct in order for me to have the greatest emotional connection with my character. However, I was far more interested in just messing around in Second Life to spend time on my character. Secondly, the virtual world did not seem to have any standard system of achievement, making me less inclined to follow a path and more likely to explore random things.

            I can imagine real-world business taking place in Second Life, but never on a large scale. I believe it can be effective for small meetings or even to make introductions, but I have trouble seeing it ever become a medium for serious business. However, if a virtual world was created for that purpose alone, I believe it could be extremely successful.

Mini-site #2

            While creating my second mini-site, I had several ups and downs during the entire process. Overall I felt pretty good about it but it definitely was more difficult than the first one. I was pretty happy with how quickly and efficiently I was bale to get the basic formatting down. I did not really have a lot of trouble with the HTML or the CSS until the end where I tried to go back and fine tune the site. The biggest problem I ran into was my navigation bar getting pushed down under the main body div. This turned out to be caused by a stupid mistake I had made earlier in the CSS of clearing both the “nav” and “main” div.

            The only other problem I had was deciding on a color scheme. I am pretty clueless when it comes to what colors go well together, so I used an online color scheme generator. However, even with help from this application, I still feel that my site lacked something in presentation because of my overall lack of skill when it comes to putting together the color scheme of a web page.

            Well here is a link to the final web site and a screenshot.

A screenshot of my Minisite


Experimenting with RSS Feeds

            When we were first introduced to RSS feeds in class, I had already seen how many of my friends used them. The concept seemed like a good idea and I was pretty excited to set up my account. However, the sites we had originally added did not interest me very much so I had hardly any use for my feed.

            This changed when I started adding sites like nfl.com, penny-arcade.com, and espn.com. By adding these sites, I became more interested in the updates that I was receiving which led me to check the feed more often. But I still did not see the use for the feeds when I could just as easily tab through my favorite sites in the browser window.

            The key turning point was when I bought an application for my Palm Pre that allowed me to view the stories from my RSS feed on my phone. This is when I truly started paying attention to my feed because I was able to get up-to-date articles on my phone and read them at times when I was waiting for a meeting or if I just needed to take a quick break from studying while away from my personal computer.

My experience so far with RSS Feeds

            I have been pleasantly surprised with my experience with RSS feeds up to this point. I have added a few sites that I really enjoy, like Penny Arcade and ESPN, making it a little more applicable for me personally. It is nice to be able to just bring up a web page and see all the stories from the sites that I visit daily anyways. The best part about the RSS feeds is that I have synced my account with my phone. This allows me to view my feed at any time I feel like and stay up to date with my favorite websites.

            Overall, I feel like the feeds have become a nice addition to my life. I do not know how meaningful it is to my life but it is nice to have the ability to look at these stories at any time. However, if I did not have the phone application, I do not think I would use the feeds as much as I currently do, just because when I am on the computer all the sites are already bookmarked or on my toolbar. This makes it easy to quickly surf through the sites which I enjoy doing more than going to the feed. The real selling point of the RSS feed is definitely the ability to sync the feeds up to my phone.

A Site that all Web People Should Know: WebWorker

            I really enjoyed finding out about this website. Since I hope to run a web design firm with a friend after graduation, this site had a ton of articles for me to read over. It has now been added to my feeds and I am looking forward to reading more of these articles. This site is a great source for information for people that want to start their own business in the internet age.

            I think I would really enjoy a work environment where most of the work is done remotely. I believe it allows people to be more comfortable while working, lets them work at their peak productivity hours, and hopefully will let them be a little happier while working. However, there are some definite drawbacks. One would be the lack of physical interaction with the other employees.  This could escalate conflicts since people would not worry about losing social capital in the workplace as much. Also, it would be nice to be able to meet people in a more personal way and learn more about them. Some of my best relationships are with people I have worked with. However, I believe that overall this would be a great work environment for certain industries and I would enjoy working for a company that employed a system like this.

            One of the tips that I found in the articles was to create a FAQ page to point people to. There are a few reasons to do this. The first is to save yourself some time by not having to answer the questions you always get asked.  The second is if you were ever completely out of reach, people might be able to find the answer to their question on the FAQs page. And thirdly, it would save the question asker time because they could head straight to the page and have their question answered without having to go through the small talk of phone calls or the wait time of E-mail.

            Two applications that I believe would be useful were Dimdim and OnTime 2009. Dimdim is a application that allows the user to share a screen with a group of people. This sould help improve the efficiency of remote meeting and conferences by enabling everybody to see the same thing at the same time. OnTime 2009 is a project manager application. This software, while slightly complex, allows a business to micromanage a project by letting people input their parts into the system. This creates a more efficient and organized workplace.

Twhirl and the Lifehacker Experiment

For the Lifehacker experiment, decided to download a program called Twhirl. Twhirl is a application for the PC that allows for the user to have a Twitter feed running in the background. This application allows me to keep up with what is going on on my Twitter feed while I am working on other projects (like right now for instance). It updates the feed every few minutes and plays a tone if you receive a direct message or @ reply. Overall, a very easy to use Twitter application and useful if you are particularly interested in a certain conversation or if you are really addicted to Twitter.

            Overall, I am very comfortable with downloading new software for my computer. There are two primary reasons for this. The first is that I consider myself pretty computer literate. I was taught from a pretty young age how to use different programs on the computer and how to use them properly. The second reason is that I have several different security measures installed on my computer, so even if the file being downloaded could potentially harm my computer, I could probably catch it before anything was harmed.

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