What the…

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This finding is one that was so astounding to me that I had to actually think about it for a whole day before it really sank in. Even now I’m not sure I really belive it.

I mean, someone had to think that this was a good idea. So good in fact that they build one. And not just that they built one, but that they thought it was such a fabulous idea they would actually go into business manufacturing and selling them. It boggles the mind!

What am I talking about? I’m talking about The Quantum Sleeper. You know the saying: There’s no place like home? Well what could be better than being at home AND in bed? Being home, in bed, and completely immune to bio-chemical terrorist attack, natural disasters (including tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods), house fires, kiddnappers, stalkers, and armed assaults. And you can make nookie through all of it (or play Nintendo if the Mrs. is still mad about that night out with the boys).

Surprisingly, given the wide variety of accessories available, there is no
refrigerator (for cold ones) and no toilet. I mean, come on, if you had those two items in there, you wouldn’t ever have to leave!

I’m still just blown away by this. All I can say is that I hope you are not clostrophobic.

UPDATE: Shaffer pointed out that they do, in fact, have toilets available! Oh the humanity!

Paper Transformers

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Who doesn’t love Transformers? A cool cartoon with rockin’ theme music and awesome sound effects. I always wanted to be Optimus Prime but my little brother had the Underoos so he got to play him. And the overpriced, first-generation metal toys that no one could figure out how to transform or when they did, only vaguely resembled what the were supposed to be (“oh yeah! Mine transforms into … um … a hemoblocktik! Yeah, hemoblocktiks kick ass!”). Then the manufacturers got greedy and replaced the durable (and surprisingly damage inflicting) metal with plastic that was, well, not what Transformers were really made of. It cheapened the whole expeirence when you couldn’t throw a Transformer like a ninja star and not have it destroy Barbie’s House in one glorious crushing blow! That Barbie elevator never did work very well… but I digress.

Now you too can have the complete collection of actual working transformers created right from your ink-jet printer. No, this isn’t some kind of space-age molecular-assembling nanotech printer you can have make a kidney or your own Strongbad action figure, it is in fact: Paper Transformers!

Yes, the tireless autobot architects are hard at work forging the PaperFormers Universe for you to enjoy. Their top-secret Protoform Project creates PDF printouts that allow you to create your own transformers with nothing more than scisors and glue (I have to admit, I was tired of using my arc-welder and neighborhood scrap metal to make my own).

PaperFormers — rock, rock on!

Resume Exchange Format (REF)

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I’m not sure the last time that you tried to apply for a job online, but I have found the process to be long, tedious and above all, not fun. And when I say not fun I mean that I would rather bus tables at Taco Bell than re-input my resume into a million different proprietary forms each company seems to have constructed.

These web-based applications for companies does, of course, make things easier for the company to manage, route, review and store. But what the company gains in convenience (probably very little because every HR director I’ve ever met winds up printing them and reading the pice of paper anyway) they crap on the applicant. My experience bears out that each on-line application takes between 15 and 40 minutes to complete — which is longer than writing out an application by hand!

One of the great things about resumes is they are all unique. The resume for a graphic designer is going to look different from a progammer’s, and the CFO’s will look different than the receptionist’s. Resumes are printed on different paper, with different fonts and different margins. Each one is carefully crafted to present the information required and to impart a hint of the applicant’s personality. Clifford Stole once hired an intern just because their resume had a coffee ring on the paper which made Cliff feel the applicant was a real person and not a sterile piece of ultra-brite white paper.

Personally I like to make notes on a person’s resume and besides looking at the qualifications, I look at the typography, the wording, the paper and try and get of what the person is really like. Do I sense they are humble or are flagrantly lying? Are they flamboyant or reserved? Do I detect a sense of humor? I always write notes on the resumes with questions I want to ask the applicant in person. I usually highlight parts I think are unusual or important. In the end I like paper resumes.

But in this day and age, with web-based applications everywhere, why has the ISO or W3C not defined an XML schema for resume exchange? How nice it would be to create a resume in XML, upload it to any company’s interface (which would be able to identify all the resume parts) and it would just work — no retyping or cut-and-paste! I would also want the applicant to upload a PDF of their resume for printing purposes, but I realize not everyone would want that.

So an open call goes out, a challenge if you will, to define a Resume Exchange Format (REF) to help the millions of job applicants each year to streamline and standardize the job application process!

DHTML Lemmings

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I found this little gem on the Internet today. It’s a DHTML implementation of Lemmings. Give it a try!

I’m Looking For a Breast Broom…

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I was reminded today of a funny incident I experienced a short while after moving to Germany. As I struggled to learn some semblance of the language I would pick up some words here and there. And, like any neophite to the language, I would often mix up similar sounding words. Sometimes, this proved to be quite hillarious. I think that people who are genuinely trying to learn and speak a foreign language are often living comedy relief. You know they are trying their best but often don’t understand they have made a mistake — which is funny.

So one day my mom sent me up the street to this home improvement store, which is as close to a Home Depot as you can get in Germany. Germans aren’t really do-it-yourself kind of people because their culture is built around specialists. So whenever something needs to be done, you call a Meistersomething to do the work. Of course, you can’t afford the Meistersomething so you get one of their apprentices or even a lowly intern. But I’ve made my point.

So I go into this store and need to buy a broom (Besen) and I walk up to this guy who was irritated that I wanted to ask him anything at all and I said in English “Would you have a broom?” He gave me that look that I later learned ment “blöde Ausländer” and simply huffed. So I asked in my best german “hast du Büsens?” The fellow smiled and said in almost perfect english “why don’t you ask that girl over there” and pointed to a buxom young lady a few asiles over. Encouraged with my newly-found prowess with the language I marched right up to the lady and boldy asked “hast do Büsens?”

I think the lady’s jaw just about hit the floor, which surprised me because it seemed brooms were quite a common item. She eventually shut her mouth and said “excuse me?” Even more boldy I asked again “hast do Büsens?” and even straightened my back a bit with pride. Suddenly two fellows behind me burst out laughing, starteling me somewhat. Although I didn’t catch all they said to the lady in German I did pick out the words “besen” and “büsen” at which point I realized I had just asked this chesty girl if, indeed, she had any breasts. Everyone thought it was hillarious, and in retrospect it was quite funny, but I decided to just walk out of the store without broom or breast. How humiliating. (As a side note, that same day I learned what the word “üppig” means — which is a great word the should be used more often).

I did pratically the same thing a while later when I asked a lady in a department store where the Smurf socks were, which is quite similar to the word for pantyhose. This time I laughed it off and helped my mother find the pantyhose despite the mild embarasment.

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