Year2019

Ninjas need not apply.

Looking for a Job? America’s Listings Are Inscrutable – The Atlantic

The result is the obnoxious state of the modern job listing, which is often short on details and long on silly demands.

I’ve seen listings for more years of experience in a technology than years the technology has existed.

More than ever, it seems, hiring managers are looking for extremists: You can’t just be willing to do the job. You must evince an all-consuming horniness for menial corporate tasks. In an American labor market where wages are stagnant and many workers feel their jobs seeping into their personal time, such demands only create even more anxiety and dread for Americans looking for a new gig.

Extremists don’t make for good team players. Which raises the final point.

In other words, few people seem to want to do the duties of a rock star if they’re not going to get paid like one.

If you’re looking for amazing, dedicated people, you need to reward them. Giving them less than market wages isn’t going to attract or retain them.

I’ve been in the market for a new job. I’ve been in the same place for three years under 5 separate companies and the contract I work on has expired and we’re working on an extension until a new contract is awarded. This is always a natural time to look around and see what else is out there in the market. I’m happy where I am, but I can always be happier. When I came across this article today I had to stop and read it. It is everything I see in ads today.

Even when they’re not filled with flowery language, which many of the DC-area government contracting jobs are not, they’re written so vaguely it’s often hard to determine exactly what sort of job it is. Is it a help desk? Would I be answering phones all day? Is it face-to-face support? Is it infrastructure support where I’d see more server rooms than people? It’s hard to determine if I’d even be qualified enough to attempt an interview since it’s hard to know what I would be doing and what would be expected of me.

There’s another trend of mentioning the need for an upper level security clearance at the very end of the job listing. After reading 3 pages of requirements, qualifications, a vague notion of exactly where you’ll be working, as I am ready to press Apply I notice I’d need a Top Secret security clearance. Not be clear-able, but to already have clearance.

Why bury that at the end of the ad? Put it at the top where you’ve placed the need for the applicant to be a US Citizen.

Modern job hunting is a minefield of guesswork and mistrust. I’ve asked many recruiters what government agency the position is for. And many of them are cagey about providing that information. In addition with a lack of trust, location has a huge amount to do with the length of the commute.

Is it in DC, Maryland or Virginia? Is it metro-accessible? If not, is there any parking available? From where I live, will it be 45 minutes? 90 minutes? More than that? These are all real concerns and even more real driving figures. Even metro can be an easy 60+ minute commute and that’s not counting any transfers in between.

Companies want dedicated rock stars to work for them forever. And they’re willing to pay wages fresh out of high school.

Father’s Day

Father, at work

This is one of my favorite photos I’ve taken of my father. It was taken through the window of his office as he worked up a spreadsheet. Which is as close to his natural state as I can get without a hammock and a Sherlock Holmes novel.

We spent the day together at the farm sitting on the front porch talking and sipping lemonade with a light breeze coming in off the rock outcroppings. It was as near as perfect a day as I can recall.

We took a 2 mile walk in the park and saw a beautiful blue bird. We had Vicki’s casserole for dinner with a salad and strawberry shortcake for dessert.

It was a happy father’s day.

Chronolog – Taking pictures for nature

Recently on a walk at a new local park, I came across a placard and place for my phone with instructions to take a picture of the area and email it. The system is from a startup called Chronolog. I had never seen anything like this on my walks through other local parks. Apparently, they’re using it to target specific areas for a variety of issues.

Chronolog sign post with bracket to take a picture that I took a picture of to remember where to email the photo later.

I like being able to do my part to help build the time lapse and give them more information about the park.

I couldn’t find anything about it on my county’s web site, but Greenbelt, MD had a news article about the system from September 2018.

When asked about what these stations are and how they should be used, Ky Wildermuth of Chronolog said “The idea was to create stationary reference points that would position cell phone cameras in a specific direction. Park conservationist would mount brackets in front of ecosystems they needed to monitor. People who ventured out into these areas could place their phone into the bracket, take a picture, and email it to be compiled for a time lapse. That time lapse could be analyzed to track plant life, a restoration project, or environmental change.”

The email I got back in confirmation and thanks said what they were looking to monitor with this particular site.

The North Branch Rock Creek flows directly into Rock Creek and ultimately into the Potomac River. This site is a popular creek crossing. We hope to monitor bank erosion and channeling of this creek.

Unfortunately, there is not a public-facing page for the site I contributed to but here’s an example from their site of the Vernal Pool that goes from dry to wet land as the seasons change.

My fingers know my password

What I realized is that — probably for many years — I didn’t actually know my password. I couldn’t have told you what it is. I just relied on my fingers to know it. And since it always worked, I never thought to question it.

— Brent Simmons

I’ve had this exact problem. I never knew what was my password once the last time I changed it for a computer. I knew the pattern my fingers typed. But I couldn’t have told you what it was. It’s a scary feeling and I’ve since taken steps to make sure it never happens again.

Two Titans and a Hunter – My Podcast

I have been playing Destiny since September 13, 2014 and poured 1518 hours into it. I have played Destiny 2 since September 6, 2017 and have poured 1063 hours into it so far. I say so far because I continue to play it almost daily. From a 15 minute dip into the pool to an almost 14 hour gaming session where 5 hours 55 minutes of that was our first attempt at the raid, a 6-player team-based activity.

And of course, people in the community have made apps and web sites where I can look up all this information.

Destiny is a lifestyle. It’s the only game I spend much time on. It’s where I went into battle with a real-life friend and have made so many more in the years I’ve spent chatting and shooting with them. I count my friends reaching from my home near Washington DC to the UK, Canada, Australia and those are the ones I can list off-hand.

For a couple of months, we thought about doing something with Destiny. None of us are good enough to be streamers. We’ve not Youtube stars. Nor do we aspire to be. We love playing the game and talking about it. So that’s what we’ve been doing since early last month.

Two Titans and a Hunter is my Destiny 2 podcast.

Two Titans and a Hunter logo

It was Nitedemon’s idea to start it. He was talking about it and I was interested. No1RespawnsinRL was excited about it too. Together, we make a good trio of opinions, styles of play and what we want to get out of the game. We released our first episode on Feb 6th and have kept up a weekly pace. With an extra bonus episode mid-week once since we had a great conversation that didn’t really fit into the episode so we released it on its own. After 7 episodes and 320 downloads it’s been a blast to do and I look forward to it every week.

It’s been a fun challenge trying to work around life and schedules and a 5-hour time difference between the east coast of the US and the UK. That’s been an interesting challenge running with my clanmates from across the world as well. Trying to remember what time it is in Australia when I am online. Am I catching a buddy at the start of his day or as he’s struggling to stay awake choosing to exchange game time for rest.

It’s a niche podcast for sure. And as I tell people I’m podcasting, they ask what about, then their eyes roll as I say it’s about the video game that I play. But that’s OK. It’s not for everyone, nor should it be. We are not gaming professionals. We’re three guys talking about a video game (with occasional guests from the Fr0zen Clan. Motto: “We tried to win, but we let it go.”)

In addition to the audio podcast, we release a video version on Youtube where I take the show and put some gaming footage I’ve collected that week behind it. It’s more interesting than the static image we had up for the for few shows and since we don’t record with webcams, it would be a very dull video watching Skype icons light up when we talk.

I am a very amateur video “editor” and I have all the respect in the world for the folks who do this professionally in the gaming realm, television and on the web. It’s a ton of work! A lot fewer kids would want to grow up to be Youtube stars if they knew the hours of work behind it.

Each week we put out 60-90 minutes of show. During the week, I try to record 5-6 hours of footage that’s clean. Games where I don’t open my menu and switch armor and weapons too much. Complete matches where the game hasn’t errored out. I’m always looking for fun little moments to bookend the show with. A clip of a buddy and I using the same special attach at the same time. A couple of people dancing or doing the same emote in a group. An absolutely epic failure where I lunge off a cliff to my death. I try to find a little Easter egg for someone in the clan each episode or something that makes me laugh (or cry).

After I collect the footage, I open it up and review it, seeing how much unbroken game play I can string together. I review the footage, usually playing it at double speed or more to look for any glitches or things I don’t want to make the audience sit through. Then I split the clips together with natural cuts in the action, usually fading to black between them since it’s the transition I’ve figured out and works reliably.

Then after putting it all together, I rend out the video file which went from 6 hours on my first try down to just under an hour once I better understood what I was doing. Then it’s time to upload to Youtube. That’s an adventure in itself. I have no idea how long it will ever take to upload. Sometimes it’s an hour. Other times it’s multiple hours. It loves to sit at 95% for a seemingly random amount of time.

Once it’s up there, it’s time to name it, add in the show notes from the podcast page, tag it as a podcast, add it’s gaming footage with the hopes it’ll catch someone’s eye or get picked up in a search and then go to sleep since it’s usually between 1 and 2am when I do this. I try to get the show up on Youtube as close as I can to when the podcast gets released.

If you’ve stuck with me this far. This is all to say, I am doing a Destiny podcast. It’s a lot of fun. It’s made me appreciate the game and my friendship with my co-hosts all the more. I look forward to sitting down to talk with them every week and I hope at least some of that comes across in the show. As much grief as Nitedemon (the suave British voice of reason) and No1RespawnsinRL (guaranteed to be angrier on a random Tuesday than you ever will be in your entire life) give each other. We love this show and playing together.

If you are interested at all, you can find our show on Podbean. It will give you the RSS feed to put into your podcatcher. We’re on iTunes, PocketCasts, Overcast, Spotify, and Youtube. Search for “Two Titans and a Hunter” and you’ll find us in your audio purveyor of choice.

Most of you will roll your eyes or skip this post entirely because who cares about a gaming podcast to a game you don’t play. It’s OK. I fully expect most of you to be the Merlin Mann to my John Siracusa. And that’s OK. Because we don’t all have to like the same things. This is my little thing and it’s been a ton of fun to make.

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