Monday 31 October 2011

Thought Picnic: The character of professionalism

Living by the wits of one’s expertise

For the past 16 years, I have been self-employed, within that time; I took full-time employment for two years, was seriously ill that I was out of work for a year and have had the unfortunate situation of being unemployed for nigh on a year.

Difficult as times might have been, there are things that appear to stand out in my career that requires sharing or maybe just documenting for posterity sake.

Trying to get back into work has not been easy especially where I have had to deal with people who only recognise me from what they have read in my resume and nothing else.

Quality and qualification

At interview, the questions are usually geared to the fundamentals of my knowledge rather than my suitability for the job, as I pride myself in implementing systems that work right the first time I have found that I might not have answers to questions that represent the experiences of others who might not be as thorough in their implementations – some problems just seem too incredible and unnecessary but not many are ready to have others fix the poor setups they have created.

That by the way, it so happens that literally every job I have had has come from recommendations of those I have worked with or worked for in the past.

As much as possible, I strive to do my best and that appears to create some lasting impression that keeps me in the professional and sometimes social minds of my ex-colleagues that when certain opportunities present themselves I get a call to ascertain my interest.

Leaving worthwhile legacies

I believe it is a combination of character and professionalism that allows for this including the simple aim of not burning any of my bridges.

For the job I will start tomorrow, I am even the more amazed because I was recommended by colleagues I worked with at a time when I had just returned from a long bout of illness; I only had the strength to do 32-hours a week with Wednesdays off and the greater technical burden was shouldered by a selfless and hardworking colleague.

In many cases, I believe I was accommodated quite well despite my shortcomings and frailties, these same people always seemed to have me in mind all through the times when I had no work which for some reason must have indicated I had left some sort of impression.

I am honoured that they have chosen once again to have me as a colleague to approach new challenges but the most important thing of all is a career that is built on the character of professionalism will always find opportunity when such openings present themselves.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

My Droid - HTC Sensation

A history of smartphones

I have been a smartphone buff for years and though my first smartphone conked out on me in Paris in 2004, it was the SPV 200 HTC Phone offered by Orange that I had to settle with a SonyEricsson T610 for the remainder of my contract.

My first full function smartphone was the HTC P3600, I used it for almost 30 months, long beyond the term of the contract but just in time to get the new HTC Touch Diamond 2 (codename HTC Topaz), it was still functioning well into 29 months of usage when I thought I should go for the best new thing in town.

It was never going to be an iPhone but a choice between Windows Mobiles that had served me well or the excitement of an Android phone, commonly known as Droids. I soon realised that the phones no more have styluses, which has been a requirement for my smartphone in that I still liked the handwriting recognition script of Graffiti which debuted on the Palm Pilots and HandSpring Organisers of over a decade ago.

My Droid – HTC Sensation

It came down to a choice between Samsung and HTC, the Samsung looking like I would need sack for a pocket with a holster belt, I decided on the HTC Sensation [HTC] (codename HTC Pyramid).

For the first time T-Mobile my current provider that had metamorphosed or assimilated DutchTone that I first had a contract with in 2003, then Orange and now T-Mobile could provide me with a phone in English rather than my having to order it from online stores.

My HTC Sensation [Wikipedia] is about 20% bigger than my old phone, it does not fit in any of my previous phone cases and there is no case at present that has the easy belt holster of that size as at yet. I noticed the USB port was non-standard but HTC has now separated the audio jack from the USB connection, any standard headphone jack can be connected doubly as an antenna for the FM radio application.

The Android Market

I started charging up the phone in the library as I worked on how to move all my data from my old phone to the new, I decided to leave the SMS Text Messages but get all my contacts, this was easily done by syncing my old phone with Microsoft ActiveSync and then populating my new phone with HTC Sync which was not a doddle to setup; it was cumbersome and clunky having a poor error reporting facility to indicate why there were problems and though I have had a few connections afterwards, it has been a Touch-and-Go system for synchronization.

Almost immediately, I was installing MyPhoneExplorer which seems to offer a better interface and more fully featured components for synchronisation and backup. There is a mobile phone client and a desktop client, the former is best downloaded from the Android Market and whilst the instructions suggest that the USB connection should be on Charge Only, I have noticed that it should really be on HTC Sync for a connection to be made.

One’s history with smartphones will have a tendency to inform about the best tools for a phone, utilities, interfaces, guides, protection and referencing come to mind.

Tools & Utilities

I found AVG had a free AntiVirus, then Android Assistant with 17 features, Android System Cleaner seemed like a sensible download too, the installation of software was so easy, clicking on the install option on a desktop will automatically communicate the download to the phone and complete the installation.

Graffiti for Android came next, though without a stylus, I had to use my finger, I soon found out I had to enable Hardware Keyboard under Graffiti settings to have the Graffiti interface show up.

There is no e-Sword Bible for the Android so I had to make do with MySword Bible, I downloaded Evernote to handle notes then found that HTC had a Notes widget, QR Droid for the fun of it to read QR Codes, Full Wifi to allow for IEEE 802.1x authentication for wireless access points and TweetDeck for Android.

Over time, I found that the HTC Sense user interface was slow and sometimes unresponsive and so I ended up going to SPB Software to get a new home screen SPB Shell 3D which allows for a better arrangement of my applications, utilities and tools; that is the only software I have purchased for my Droid.

I most cases, I have taken time to read the customer reviews of all the applications I have installed to I do not run into the problems they have encountered.

Online at all times

The contacts function of my phone is quite versatile, as it has intelligently combined my standard contacts with email, Facebook, Twitter & WhatsApp contacts that I have a comprehensive address book even more so considering a good deal of my Facebook friends whose phone numbers I never had are now part of my Address Book.

My Droid is always online and it pays to have an unlimited data access inclusive in my phone subscription but I do have to switch on roaming for data when abroad and T-Mobile has changed the access and pricing structure to ensure one does not end up with humongous charges – I remember returning home from Spain in 2007 to a phone bill in excess of EUR 1,400 because Orange was charging EUR 15/MB, I think is it down to less than EUR 2/MB though there are deals that allow for a week of unlimited roaming access in Europe for just EUR 15-.

I have only had my Droid for just under 3 weeks, I am sure there will be more to write about in months, but I can say I have no regrets moving from Windows Mobile, I am not really missing my stylus and this touch thing can be good fun, the swipes, taps, double-taps, pinches and calliper movements all make for an interesting smartphone experience.

It is most likely I will excite Droid envy in iBrick users than they will in me.