Friday, 22 November 2013

Apple- why I won't bite!

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Apple - why I won't bite


Mrs Resourceful is an outdoor kind of lady. She can name plants. Her favourite novelist is Jack Bivouac (favourite novel: Off the Road). She enjoys the kind of walks where you have to stop and bang your shoes against stiles to get the mud off. It was on one of these walks that I had my one fleeting experience of owning an Apple iPhone.

We found it in some forest or other, just lying there, an Apple in the woods. In order to find the owner, I had to pretend for about half an hour that it was my phone. Hundreds of phone calls, some wildlife photography and a little internet browsing later, we arranged a meeting with the owner, who met us by a church I'd sent his wife photographs of. I think I also sent her a Wikipedia entry and a map. The owner showed up almost sobbing with gratitude. His child was in the back of the car, also sobbing with joy. The owner gave us a bottle of wine.

I could see why he was happy to have the iPhone back - my phone doesn't even have a camera.
Imagine! A phone without a camera!

Here's the thing, though: all this happened a while ago. That guy's phone is now old news. It's nowhere near as flashy as the new iPhone, which has greatly increased capabilities and a toaster.
Imagine! A phone without a toaster!

Radio 4 recently had a feature about how Apple is set to become the biggest corporation on the planet, and things that big exert a lot of gravitational pull. And yes, I would love, say, an iMac. But even though I consider their products veritable style icons, I can't get into Apple.

My problem is this: I don't want to buy a style icon only to find that it is superseded a few months later. A few years ago I came close to buying an iMac, back in the days when I considered buying expensive things. But by the time I'd sold a kidney to fund the purchase (not mine, thankfully), there'd been a press release about a newer version, which was thinner and had some sort of black trimming. Imagine if I'd bought the old one!
Imagine! A computer without black trimming!

Style icons shouldn't evolve too quickly. Sinclair brought out some variations on the ZX Spectrum, but everyone knows what the real thing looked like; there was only one definitive model. But Apple try to keep us perpetually frothing at the chops over their next release, and I don't want to do all that frothing, thanks. Until they slow down, I'll stick with a cheap laptop that works, and view the Apple parade from afar.

Interestingly, I managed to convince an owner of the old iPhone last weekend that my phone is the new iPhone. My phone is actually a Doro Easyphone, which I got, truth be told, as a joke. It has big buttons, a deafening ring tone, an emergency button on the back that you can press if you fall down and break your hip. No internet, no camera, no toaster. But my interlocutor clearly believed me. I had to explain to the iPhone owner that I was kidding. In retrospect, I should have sold it to her.
You see, if the cool companies change their flagship products every other week, nobody knows if your piece of crap is, or isn't, the latest incarnation of something ultra desirable.

You could have some fun with that.

Mr Resourceful

Thursday, 14 November 2013

the whys and wherefores of interview tips

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the whys and wherefores of interview tips

I've said before - haven't I, Reader, haven't I? - that books on job interview tips are inevitably 99% fluff, because all meaningful job interview tips are self-evident and require no explication.
  • Dress smart.
  • Don't eat a boiled sweet during the interview.
  • Research the company beforehand.
  • Don't badmouth your last employer.
  • Don't cancel the interview THE DAY BEFORE and ask if it can be rescheduled for next week.
Granted, there are some tips that raise questions. For example:
My tip: Ask questions.
You: What kind of questions?
Me: Good question.
The thing is, these kinds of questions can usually be answered in short sentences:
Me: Ask questions that show you're interested in the company, and questions that show you've researched the company.
You: Such as?
Me: (suddenly rising and overturning a table) Can't you people think for yourself for once? Can't you even -
Anyway, I was thinking today how maybe I'm wrong. Maybe some of my interview advice isn't as perspicuous as I imagined. At any rate, recruiters like me keep posting interview tips on blogs, and candidates keep turning up to interviews dressed in jeans, eating boiled sweets, and slagging off their previous employers. So, to begin to make amends, let me expand a little on the tips listed above.
  • Be clean, wear a suit, tuck things in. Why? Because there are occasions where it's appropriate to wear a certain kind of clothing, and a job interview is one of those occasions.
  • Don't eat boiled sweets during an interview. Why? Because you're not seven years old, you're not in a playground, and also you don't want to drool while you're discussing Unix shell scripting. (If you naturally drool while discussing Unix shell scripting, seek counsel.)
  • You should research the company. Why? Because you're going for a job interview. A job interview is where you show that you want to work at the company in question. If you don't know anything about the company, you can't do that.
  • You should avoid badmouthing your last employer for the excellent reason that the people interviewing you are not your personal therapists. They are here to talk about how you may or may not fit into their organisation; anything else is a waste of their time. They could be doing other things, fun things, with the time that you are wasting. They could be standing around playing a game they call 'Firing Squad', which involves firing rubber bands at a polystyrene cup placed on top of a filing cabinet, a cup to which they have affixed a tiny blindfold made of masking tape - or sometimes they call the game 'Gangsta Drug Bust', which is a variation that includes some slow-motion leaping and diving and addressing the cup as 'honky'. But no - they're listening to you moan about how you were the only person in your office who ever made coffee.
  • Re. cancelling the interview THE DAY BEFORE and asking if it can be rescheduled for next week - how do you think this makes you look? If you can't show up on a day you've already agreed to show up on, and you're okay with leaving your prospective employers with two hours and an empty room to fill, what else will you not be able to do? If you're unreliable even before you get the job, how much more unreliable will you become once you have your feet under a desk? Presuming you ever turn up for work at all.
Hope this helps!