Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Google changes its UI; The end of times have come

At somewhere between 1 and 5 in the morning Eastern standard time, Google updated its user interface. What was before a clean, easy-to-read format for returning relevant search results has taken a completely different turn: a clean, easy-to-read format for returning relevant search results!

Pictured: the decline of Western Civilization.

Immediately, people became furious, filling the twittersphere with their boiling, white-hot fury:

Unnerving. A word which certainly underestimates the sheer severity of such a change. The shock was so great that @squidlarkin became so severely angered that the only word he could find to express his palpable, volcanic rage with the word unnerving. I feel for you, Squidlarkin.

"You're not crazy," Estes Park News confirmed of my sanity earlier today in their article on the interface change. "The new design removes underlines, increases the font size and, most important, changes the way ads are labeled in search results." Specifically, pay-per-click ads are no longer shaded yellow; they now have a small box labeled "ad" next to them, a change which is estimated to cost businesses a total of 45 trillion dollars by the end of the day.

The horror.

Around the world, the users of the internet felt the drastic change hit them like a rampaging elephant covered in butter. Horse News correspondent Capper General remarked: "Wait, there was a UI update?"

Monday, August 22, 2011

On Unwanted Free Time

Hey readers. Summer's over and I'm back to writing.

Thousands of people across America are facing similar circumstances to me at this moment: The unwanted free time. Also known as: a layoff.

How do people handle this? Some handle it well, others not so much. There are some secrets to the layof that can be especially useful to you if you're put in this situation as well.

During the layoff

Don't get upset. Don't scream about calling your lawyer. Don't throw things or threaten your manager with a letter opener. These things are bad.

Instead, tackle this as an opportunity to convince your supervisor that you're important enough to stay hired. Mention projects you're working on, and how much progress you've made this quarter or month or week. Tell them about how you're the best at fixing the copy machine or that you're the fastest guy in the office to tackle that horrible monthly report.

Image by Leslie Gidden
This will probably not work, I will warn you. And if it doesn't, then you get to negotiating your release. Ask for an extra two weeks out of courtesy so you can find a new job. Maybe it will help you finish up that aforementioned project you're working on. This gives you the upper hand on leaving.

After the Layoff

Don't slack. The day after you're laid off, wake up at the usual time. get dressed, but not necessarily in your work clothes. Go to your computer and set your desk up like an office. Get to work.

First things first. Fill out unemployment paperwork. Some states can do it online, others you may need to go down to the office. Either way, get that done immediately so it's out of the way.

What you're doing next is filling out applications. Fill them out like it's a full time job. Do this for a couple of hours and take a half-hour break. Don't let yourself go on break too long or you'll not want to get back to work. After lunch, call the people you just applied for. Speak to the hiring manager and express to him or her your interest in the job. Be confident. Be firm. Don't act like you just lost your job. Act like you've been given an opporunity to get a better one.

When your regular-scheduled work day is done, so are you. take the rest of the day off, and wait for some phone calls. Tomorrow, do it again.

Unemployment is difficult. I know, I'm unemployed right now. But my lunch break is almost up, so I've got to go back to work filling out more applications now!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hello again

It's been a while, for sure. Today I'm doing something I don't do often...making roast chicken. better yet, I'm doing it live.

Check it out:

Monday, May 30, 2011

On Learning New Skills

Many apologies, friends and followers, for neglecting to post in some time. I have been busy with a new job, and have had to devote a large portion of my time to learning new skills.

Speaking of which...

Wikipedia offers the following knowledge of new skills: "The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines. Progress over time tends to follow learning curves."

How does this apply to us? Simple. Learning takes three things: time, guidance, and willingness.

Part 1: Time

This one is relatively straightforward. According to Malcolm Gladwell's Ouliers, in order to master any skill, you must practice it for 10,000 hours. That's almost 3 hours a day, every day, for 20 years.

But what if you have no intent on mastering it? Much shorter, but clearly not as effective. I would say you need to do it at least three hours a day for six months. In a work environment this works out to 3 months of 6-hour shifts. At this rate you won't be the master at it, but you will definitely understand what you're doing at that point.

Part 2: Guidance

Anyone who has ever taught themselves a skill can tell you without a doubt that having a teacher is 100% easier. Yes, you can teach yourself a skill but you will never master it without guidance. This guidance can come from a book, a friend, or the internet, but without guidance you will hit a wall that you probably cannot overcome yourself. We are social creatures, and we can help each other.

Part 3: Willingness

This one is pretty straightforward, too. If you are not willing to put in the time, or seek out the guidance, you will never be able to muster the effort to continue. and even if you do, all of the effort in the world will not teach an unwilling learner. So to learn a new skill, you must be willing to learn!

I wish all of you a very safe Memorial Day.

Friday, May 20, 2011

On Apples

I'm sure you were expecting some more inspirational/advice today, but I got sidetracked, so bear with me!

For those who followed this blog back when it was Mad Marten, you all know I love apples. Specifically, Cripps Pink (Also known by their brand name, Pink Lady Apples). And since they are in season once again, I offer you the following bit on my favorite apple.

Cripps Pink apples were first bred in 1973 in Austrailia by a man named John Cripps. He bred a Lady Williams apple with a Golden Delicious apple in order to make an apple with the best traits of both.

Cripps Pink apples are both tart and sweet. Also, they are fantastic for cooking, because they don't turn to mush when heated. For this reason, they are fantastic in recipes like spice cake.

As an apple, of course, it has no cholesterol and contains pectin, a beneficial dietary fiber. This fiber may actually work to reduce the body's cholesterol level and may possibly help prevent heart attacks. 

They're only in season for a limited time, so grab some while you can!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

On Boredom

Ellen Parr once said, "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."

I think she hit the nail on the head there. Boredom is something everyone must face at some time or another. Worse, in today's world of twitter, facebook and smart phones, people become bored less often. and because of this, boredom becomes feared.

But boredom is a part of life. it is meant to whet the appetite for excitement. Without boredom, how do you know if you are doing anything exciting if you have nothing to compare it to?

The point is, don't be afraid to get bored sometimes. Trust me, it will make the exciting things more exciting.

Monday, May 9, 2011

On New Things

It is a pretty simple fact that people do not like to try new things. What is near, dear and familiar is always the hands-down winner when it comes to our everyday life. How often have you ordered the same thing you 'always get' at a restaurant? How often do you take a new route to work just for fun? how often do you ask a stranger how they are doing?

So why do we, as people, feel this way? Americans, especially, seem to have a huge problem with doing things spontaneously, for fear of being labeled as strange, awkward or odd. No one wants to be the odd man out? Conformity is king! Even non-conformity conforms, in a way.

People, I think, are also far too scared of the consequences of new commitments. You might have the time for a karate class every week NOW, but what about in five months? I'd love to go for a ncie long walk today, but I have so many other things to do right now!!

Trying new things is good for people, though. It expands our knowledge of the world around us and inspires us to learn. So what is the solution? Simple:

  • Try a new thing every week. If you don't want to do something time-commital, that's fine. But unless you learn something new from the experience, it won't count.
  • Say hello to a someone for no reason. Ask them how they are. Ask them what they're doing. Sure, tey might just think you're weird, but they're just as likely to not.
  • Finally, keep a journal of new things. This is optional, but it definitely helps you build those experiences into something concrete, and you migth learn something about yourself in the meantime.
I saw this on a t-shirt today: "Don't be afraid to try new things. Remember: An amateur built the ark, professionals built the titanic."