Friday, August 25, 2006

Ah, the joys of sequential thinking

Sometimes you see straight thorugh the workings of a particular webpage. I went to Excellent Match today to fill in a job application form. After 30 minutes of filling in more or less meaningless check boxes, I uploaded my C.V. and the application document...and then I didn't really feel satisfied when I was returned directly to the front page after having clicked "Submit". Sometimes you can just sense intuitively that something did not register properly.

So, I went to the website FAQ which stated, in its second last paragraph, that pop-up killers were a no-no. At this point I got fairly annoyed, since the application is a long process and although Firefox has a nice warning at the top of the browser, you rarely notice it when writing stuff. My conscience is evenly divided between keyboard and text fields, mostly.
I couldn't believe that this pop-up killer warning had not been issued before I was permitted to go into the application forms. So I navigated back to check and surely enough it was. And can you guess how?


Yes, that's right. In a pop-up window.

I have now received an e-mail confirming the registration. It was about an hour late...not too suave when direct feedback from the website does not precede it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The loneliest adobe

I feel a rant coming up.

Many months ago I was running Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 - and I never liked it because of long load times and such. I then tried out the real thing, Adobe Acrobat. This was even worse - apparently the professional editing program didn't even come with a quick PDF-viewing interface...I could almost see the little chunks of data running around in circles shouting "Why the bloody hell do we need to wake up the entire village just because a shoddy postcard needs reading?!!"
Anyway, after Adobe Reader 7.0 came out many have been over the moon about how efficient it is, how quickly it reads in PDFs, and how well it handles ActiveX viewing.

I beg to differ.

Back then I tried and now, for the past 2 hours, I've tried. Tried what, you ask? Tried to run the program..! I install and it just sits there...the first time you execute the Reader after installing it you hear the machine getting into gear...and then nothing happens. If you shoot directly from a PDF file, nothing happens. If you try to drag a PDF into a browser to witness the amazing efficiancy of version 7.08, nothing happens. The Task Manager shows the process "AcroRd32Info.exe" in action...for about 30 seconds at least...then it shuts down silently.

The weirdest thing is that almost nothing similar to this shows up when I do a search on Google. I usually pride myself on being quite good at digging out obscure online information that can get technical glitches eliminated - my technologically inept family have provided hours and hours of information-sifting fun. But this time...nothing. I find this fairly strange, since Acrobat Reader must be one of the top 5 installs worldwide (not counting the minions of Monopoly Microshaft).

Actually, I did find one nice match...but that was on Expert's Exchange, and I'm not paying $10 for advice that could very probably be useless. Why don't they do micro payments...that would bring in so many more customers and potential members.

The agony of looking at what might be a solution, yet not having access, drove me to find alternatives. There are several PDF viewers popping up out there. Still, it seems that they are somewhat emulator-like and need to carry their own interpretation of PDF. I finally chose Foxit, mostly because of its rating on - time will tell how well it performs. Their homepage looks awful but I guess that's the only real quality assurance you can get these days...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

An offer not easily refused

On may way through this mornings job postings and industry news, I came across this company which has put up their demonstration machine, the "Stone & Steel Buster" for sale. Alledgedly, it's the world largest industrial hammer.
I might post this to's has some nerdy potential :)

Monday, August 21, 2006

New projects on the horizon

Well, so far I've released 4 job applications into the corporate ether....3 of which are directed at specific positions. One is a sort of web project manager position, one is more consultant-like and regards GIS planning, and one has to do with knowledge management and organizational development. I think I have a pretty good chance of an interview in all of them, especially the two latter. The first relies a lot on web development area I have tried to keep up with but that I am not very technically involved in. That might not be needed, difficult to say. It takes a good deal of mental exercise to throw away one's inhibition and boldly claim "I'm worth it..!" :)

Alongside all these applications (not boring yet, but close), my girlfriend, Thor, and I have been invited to be part of a real estate deal. Yes, an option to get out of this weary flat suddenly came along. One of my good mates has had a project concerning a huge house just outside Aarhus and now we are 3 couples trying to get a deal in order. The house is already divided into 3 seperate living quarters (thirds?) and the idea is to establish a fellowship that acts privately within the seperate apartments but shares and cooperates about most everything else. I have a good feeling about it. It's a monster house with a enormous basement that will be claimed and developed into a recreational theme park. That's what the guys want, anyway. Football tables, snooker, computer den...there is already a sauna. Unfortunately, the swimming pool has been covered and is now used for storage but we shan't despair. It's a great hideout if the in-laws decide to drop by.

Since I have nothing to do (!!!), I've been put in charge of contacting the credit providers that are going to lend us all the money to buy this mansion. It's a hell of a jungle when you're not used to it. Today I "woke up" at 3 p.m., realizing that I had sat the entire day and researched interest rates and mortgages on the web. The headache was building up. I hadn't even eaten anything, such was the combination of boyish excitement and frustrated anxiety. This stuff really ought to be part of basic public education - many words meant nothing to me and I was spinning around the same 3 sites trying to compare a gazillion different mortgage setups. Finally, I felt more or less ready and called the credit consultant in person. It helped a bit but there is still much I don't understand and have never been exposed to's interesting but energy consuming :)

I've been thinking about another idea for a consulting service that is not very common here in Denmark. Actually, it is probably not very common in Europe as a whole. It concerns the strategic and human resource-related application and use of new media. The applications of Web 2.0 and all the related social web services that are now being spewed out faster than one might say "relevance".
There is a research institute called The Gartner Group which has made an interesting assessment of 1900 different technologies and trends inside IT, around the globe. It's called the "Gartner 2006 Hype Cycles" and the one I was particularly interested in was the Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle. Everyone should read it, although it is a somewhat superficial introductory text, I think. However, I like the basic premise of a "hype cycle" that defines the way new stuff is being launched, bloated, and finally business-trimmed.

Anyway, my thought is to base a consulting service solely on the exploitment of these trends, in the right fashion, at the right time, for the right company. Three main areas might be sought out; customer-directed services and public sector systems, internal organization tools and services, visual feedback systems in development departments. The latter I have added myself, mainly because of my own background and knowledge of the needs of small and medium-sized businesses. The first area points at the usual e-shopping or mass-customization trends that are maturing in the States but have not yet really reached European consumers, and the second is targeting medium and large companies that have knowledge sharing difficulties regarding design-related or mechanical production.

I think there is real potential here and there will be a prime-mover advantage for at least one or two years to come. However, having experienced the way our first e-learning projects were actually ahead of their time in regards to business potential, I'm not sure Denmark is an easy place to start such an enterprise. The problem here is that you need big customers to get a firm foothold and Denmark does not have many big companies. Besides, those that exist may not want to go outside their regular consulting channels. Which leaves the option to offer these services as specialist consulting to other major consulting houses until the concept gains momentum and may carry its own. Alternatively, the first area bears another possibility in Denmark which is public sector self service systems. Denmark is ahead on this field and there might be opportunities in acquiring tasks for many Danish municipalities (these are being re-organized as I speak).

What do you think? :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Escher galore

There's a Escher remix competition going on at - and it's quite fun. Even better, I found an online gallery with quite a few of Escher's original works. Sweet.

The more I explore the gallery the more I realize I had not seen. Some of those things are incredible. All the mosaics with intertwining patterns and colours - I'm amazed at the patience and planning it must have taken.

Funny thing, I recognized the piece "Double Planetoid" from the brief time I spent at the airport in Billund this summer. Billund is the place of LEGO's HQ and the airport had a huge LEGO rendition of the piece on display. At that time I didn't know it was Escher.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I'm gonna catch that wabbit...

As of early last week I started my "full time" job hunt. Boy was it a pain to get going after the holidays but now I am into gear, it seems.
I've done my C.V. which you are welcome to look at, print out, comment on, or even distribute by aerial means should you have the resources to do so.
Actually, the more responses the better - so please give it a look and tell me what you think. It's probably a bit academic and I do a lot of explaining, partly because I need some length, partly because I need to give a clearer picture of competencies. I'm not exactly a cookie-cutter class..! :)

I've begun buying tactile newspapers which have huge job sections on Sundays. Jyllandsposten is more rewarding if I am to get anything close to here and I actually found 2-3 positions that might be relevant. It's tricky because my background and subsequent specialty with 3D and CAD-related stuff doesn't exactly draw a recognizable profile. At the same time, any larger company looking for generalists (as one might call Information Studies people) might not be willing to pay for the 2-3 years of "experimental activity", no matter how enlightening it's been. They might settle for a fresh graduate to brainwash more easily.

I picked up a sort of career manual magazine thing at Uni a month ago. It's called Target, supposedly links to It's quite good but of course aimed at aforesaid fresh graduates. However, because of this it has very good descriptions of different industries, job functions, and career paths. If only the universities and business schools actually taught these things in-house then I wouldn't have to spend weeks and months trying to figure out where I fit in. I would also avoid the classic Information Studies existential crisis that me and several of my co-students had halfway through the degree.
However, remembering the faint academic snobbery at the university, it would no doubt seem vastly un-academic to actually tutor people in these things. Especially in Denmark where there still reigns some kind of socialist panic anxiety over involving the private sector or even business-related information in public educational processes. The task is pretty much laid out to the student counsellors but, of course, noone ever attends a student counsellor unless they have a specific problem. Once you're nearing the end of your studies, it's the last person you seek out.

Oh well, I found a nice quote in Target regarding the concept of consultants which has always perplexed me. The word itself is maybe the most commonly used specifying word compared to the broadness of it potential meaning. "IT" would probably be another candidate - or "thing". Actually, "thing" probably takes the prize but consultant is not far behind. Conclusion being that a consultant is a "thing", only a bit more specific...

So, I've never fully understood the underlying logic that entitled one to be a consultant. The actual work involved is rarely specified along with the word. My own experience with consultants is limited. I know they often do specialist work and usually receive humongous undeserved pays for it. Which has always indicated that consultants are fairly intelligent.
Anyway, the Target quote finally provided the broad, acceptable explanation for the word:

Consultants aim to improve their clients' efficiency, profit-making ability or position in the market. The sector [i.e. "Consulting sector"] doesn't divide itself neatly into areas of work. Broadly speaking, there are "functions" (such as strategy, implementation, operations, HR and IT) and "industries" (anything from government agencies to automotive companies).

There. Why the hell hasn't anyone told me this 10.000 years ago? It's one of those words which academics and professionals use towards each other all the time - and you get the feeling that noone really has a clue what the hell is being said.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Holy crap

This Thai lady has done a stunning piece of vector artwork with Adobe Illustrator, see it here.

I am struck with awe. Insane gradient meshes...I think she mentions 42 layers for the body alone. I've only just gotten used to gradient meshes - the sheer ambition involved in starting such a project is way beyond me.

See the rest of her work here. There's a good rendition of Frodo Baggins as well =)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I think there's a Japanese word for it...

To break my usual habit of not blogging interesting things that I see, I needed to come and post this (courtesy of Lifehacker).

One thing is the actual knot which I just learned myself in 2 minutes. It'll save me a day or two by the time I am 75 - reminds me of the Japanese management trend about maximizing effectiveness in even the smallest details of activity (forgot the name for it).
Even greater is the webpage in its entirety...pure nerdy class.