Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Must Watch: Anyone Interested in Education or Entrepreneurship

See the Psychology Today article at "Teaching Kids to Cheat". About an hour long but worth every minute.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jobs for Career Developers: Woops

I experienced a system failure recently. As part of the recovery process I upgraded the version of the principal development language that I use—Python—to 2.6.

Things broke. Among them several scripts I use to produce the job listings for CDPs.

Sorry about that. That aspect of my life seems to be back to normal now. Please let me know if you notice anything amiss.

Maybe I should mention my indebtedness to the developers of jQuery for their product. I used it for the little HTML signature maker. They made a trivial item even easier to create.

email Signatures: Good Place to Advertise, II

If you use one of the webmail systems such as Gmail then wisestamp makes it easy to create and include simple or fancy HTML signatures in your outgoing messages. You can even put a picture in or a link to the most recent item in your blog. You need to be using the Firefox browser. Worth trying.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Beware Those Monster RSS Feeds

I'm working with a client who's an automotive technician with about a decade's experience. He lives in Scarborough. He's definitely computer savvy and I told him I'd give him some RSS job ad feeds. Because lots of terms are used for automotive technicians in Monster job ads I avoided using an approach involving them to identify jobs for my client.(1) Because so many of the available jobs are geographically concentrated in the Toronto (and, hence, Scarborough) area I also decided to avoid refining my search on this dimension for fear of losing any that might be of interest to him.

In the end Monster showed me 37 jobs ads. I pressed the RSS feed button and subscribed to the resulting feed in Google Reader.

Seven (7) ads.

Where were the other 30? I inquired on Monster's support line and "Roosevelt" explained that one receives only those postings that appear after one subscribes to the RSS feed. As a matter of fact, I don't think that this can be quite accurate as an explanation because some of the job ads in the feed were amongst those that I identified in the search. However, support lines are not the place to argue, are they? The real point is that it's important to make whatever use one can of all of the jobs in the search listing before beginning to rely on those in the Monster RSS feed.

Oh, and incidentally, the Job Bank seems to get it right. I'm making an RSS feed for my client for the Job Bank too, obviously. I noticed that the both the search and the corresponding RSS feed for him yielded 72 job ads. Nice.

(1) Why do most Big Boards fail to code jobs? It's not as if there aren't a number of perfectly good coding schemes. And, if they don't want to ask employers to use those then, why can't they incorporate some up-to-date natural language processing? Failing that, why encourage term-based searching for clients when even professional users of Boolean strings, like recruiters, find them a challenge?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

email Signatures: Good Place to Advertise

(Although the premise of this note is still true wisestamp produces nicer results! Go have a look.)

Your email goes to many, many people. Why not use it as a medium for advertising links to your blog, to your LinkedIn profile and to your website?

For many people the stumbling block to having a signature with live links is creating a file that contains HTML (the web language). Let's assume for a moment that you have such a file, and that you use Outlook Express as your mailer, as I think most people do. Then open the Tools | Options dialogue and complete it more or less as shown here.

You will need to click on 'New' to add a signature, select the 'File' radio button, and then use Browse to identify the file that contains the HTML. If you use a different mailer then I would say check its help file for support information or use Google. I hope no-one minds if I mention here that I really like the Thunderbird mailer. One of its advantages is that it will use either a plain signature file or an HTML signature depending on whether the message in which the signature is to be included is plain or contains HTML.

But how do you create the HTML? Again, there is an enormous amount of advice available via Google. However, in my opinion applying a lot of it requires significant knowledge of HTML. This morning I decided to write something that would provide basic signatures yet require no knowledge of HTML. It's offered in the right column of this blog.

Here's how it looks and how it's meant to be used.

The rectangular boxes constitute a form and they are pre-filled to give you an idea of what goes into them. For example, unless your name is Phineas McFoggerty you would replace that entry with your own name. In the line that has 'B.A., B.D., ...' you can put your job title, your many degrees and diplomas or your business associations--anything you like. Whatever you put here will appear on a second line in the signature.

There are four pairs of items that will be turned into links. For example the last one will appear as Me on Twitter and will point to the link that appears in the righthand edit box. In each pair you should change the item on the left to something that is readable to a human being. It will become the visible label for a link. Change the item on the right to the corresponding, complete URL.

For example, in my case I might replace 'My blog' with "Blog: A Career Developer's Notes" and the URL to the right of this with

(that you see at the top of this page). If you don't need to have four links in your signature just blank out all of the lines (both items in each line) that you don't need.

Then press 'Show HTML'. Now copy the HTML that appears into a file using an editor. Notepad will do as the editor and save the file where you can find it. Now go back to the first part of this blog item where telling your mailer about using a signature file is discussed.

If something here is unclear please comment.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Psychological Therapy

Although CDPs as such are neither trained nor qualified to provide psychological therapy it would be as well for us all to be aware that empirically supported techniques are available where they are needed. Here's a source that provides links to some other authoritative items: “Therapy that works: Why so many psychologists choose to ignore science.”

With thanks to fellow Twitterer psydir.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Job Ads for CDPs (update)

The 'Job Ads for CDPs' linked somewhere in the righthand column of this blog now lists jobs from COSTI in Toronto. There's one there for a job developer. Thanks to Patricia Martin of Career Essentials for the tip.

3 October: I’m dropping the separate COSTI listing because the jobs are already included in another listing. Hadn’t noticed that.