Technology, politics, life

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Good wireless headphones may never exist

I love good headphones but I don’t love the wire. I want good wireless headphones.

I have been seduced by the idea of not having dangling cables between me and what I’m listening to. That’s a shame because the copper wire in headphone cables is pretty good at transmitting audio. It’s reliable, reproduces the original audio almost perfectly and requires negligible power to operate.

When I say I want good wireless headphones I’m really saying I want wired headphones with the cable replaced by some magical feature that makes the space between my headphones and the audio source transmit audio like a wire no matter where I am.

That’s why I’ll never have good wireless headphones.

Let’s assume Bluetooth wireless headphones are the current state of the art and look at two of the main obstacles.

Firstly, even if your headphones are right next to your laptop they can’t be guaranteed to work. Bluetooth uses a range of the radio spectrum that is shared with all kinds of other things. WiFi routers and cordless telephones are usually well-behaved occupants of this part of the spectrum but they can introduce errors, or otherwise reduce the bandwidth available to send full quality audio. Bluetooth is also susceptible to radio interference that is generated by misbehaving household appliances like microwave ovens.

You could argue that mobile 3G and 4G wireless encounter many of the same obstacles yet work admirably for audio. Unlike Bluetooth’s 2.4GHz bazaar, mobile network spectrum is reserved almost entirely for mobile radio and it’s policed to provide reliability and safety. Also, one end of the wireless mobile phone connection is almost always fixed in well-surveyed space.

The second issue is physical impediments. Humans are mobile bags of meat and fluid that absorb and distort Bluetooth wireless. Even when Bluetooth gets through a human it may then have to traverse walls, cars, trees, handbags, tinfoil hats, backpacks or a universe of other obstacles.

And it has to navigate them perfectly or it is not a good wireless headphone.

Brainsnorkel back from the dead

Last week my very old hosting service was hacked to serve ads and partially deny administrative access.

Everything important was backed up so I was able to restore everything quickly. Score one for having regular backups that you don’t have to think about. Shout out to backing up to DropBox and OneDrive regularly.

This site took a little longer because I had been neglecting it for a while and had none of this new-fangled easy and reliable backup software. I had an old posts  backup, so what you’re seeing is a hand-restored

There is Unicode conversion weirdness and missing links, but it’s back. I’m not going to bother about restoring the old pages unless there is rioting in the streets.

Do you want to resume this resume?

My employer for the last 18 years is waving farewell to me in April. This may explain my sudden uptick in blog posting frequency. My employer is giving me a soft landing with four months notice and a termination package. Part of my package is access to Career Transition Support consultants. I have decided to look past their euphamistic service description and talk to them about me.

I have been asked to bring along my resume for assessment.

This presents a problem. My resume has not been edited or added to for nearly 15 years. I’d like to think that my reputation alone would get me any job I would apply for, but I know that’s not true. It is time to build a new resume from scratch.

I have reviewed hundreds of resumes in the past decade. I think I know what a good one looks like, but I also know I have been focussed on the content and not the form of the documents. Rather than deconstruct and reproduce the traditional form I thought I would articulate some of the requirements I have for my own resume.

  • I am the first page of my resume. My first page should mention all of my best attibutes and my starring roles because most people don’t read to page two if they’re not hooked on you by the first page, and the first page is the page that spends the most in front of your prospective employer as it sits on the desk between you in an interview, or on the screen of someone assessing multiple candidates.
  • The front page should state who I am, what I am looking for, and what I am good at. That way my time is not wasted interviewing for a position I don’t want.
  • Anything I did more than five years ago should be summarised to points that could assist me in my future career. This is because my memory of the fine detail of events five years ago is unlikely to impress an interviewer.
    Make sure the whole document is short and easy to read. Because no matter who you are if it takes more than four or five pages to explain what you are good at then I’m not hiring you.
  • Once I have built my resume, how will I know it is acceptable before I release it into the wild?

Get someone I trust, who does not fear offending me, to read and criticise it. Because I can not tell when I have left out necessary detail, used corporate vernacular when plain English would do, or left out some significant gem of experience.
Thankfully Ms J is expert in all of these things and has promised to be merciless.

I still have areas of uncertainty. For instance, I don’t know if I should specify the positions I am looking for. I don’t want to limit my options. Being too prescriptive could eliminate me from consideration for fascinating jobs with hard to write job descriptions. Being too vague about my objectives makes employers unsure if I really want a position. Maybe I won’t be considered for a good position that I don’t mention by the correct keyword.

I guess that’s what a “Career Transition Support” consultant can help me with.

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