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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Isn’t There Something Wrong Here?

October 22nd, 2010 No comments

As a prelude, I was originally going to write a post about how my Google Interviews went, but I decided that would be bad form considering that I am being considered for a position there, so will sum up the experience as having gone well.

I came across 2 news articles just now that both bother me for slightly different reasons. One of them is about the US’s new financial aid to Pakistan’s military (the size of which shocks me!) and the other is about the data Google’s mapping cars captured.

The main part of the whole “giving aid to Pakistan” that bothered me is not that we are giving it to Pakistan, but that the US is talking about putting aside $2 billion for Pakistan’s MILITARY! I totally understand disaster relief (the flooding in Pakistan), and can even understand giving money for civilian infrastructure in Pakistan, but specifically to their military? When was the last time we publicly funded another country’s military with US money that wasn’t South Korea or Israel? Yes, yes, we must bolster their military so that they can help us fight terrorist organizations like the Taliban in the Middle East, but doesn’t $2 billion just sound like a bit much? We apparently gave them $7.5 billion over the last 5 years. WOW! Hey government, I think I found a way to balance your books a bit to reduce debt, STOP GIVING ALL OF IT TO OTHER COUNTRIES!!!

Ok, let’s assume you have sold me on Pakistan being our greatest ally in that area of the world with their proximity to Afghanistan and such (and cooperation with the US for tracking the Taliban and such down). Wait, they helped? Aren’t there still numerous reports of terrorists being TRAINED in parts of Pakistan? So we are going to help their military beef up so that they can take on these terrorist training camps and knock them out… like that’s going to be the main area that they will put this military sanctioned money…

As for the Google story. I’m sorry, if you don’t at least secure your wireless network, that’s like leaving your front door to your house open with a sign that says “Not here right now.” Driving by and seeing wireless traffic and data that is unsecured is not invasion of privacy. It is not taking the necessary precautions to secure your own privacy. Let me use an example that is easier to relate. If you put a lot of personal information on Twitter or Facebook, and then don’t lock down the privacy settings, and then don’t EXPECT spammers and scammers to use that private data, you are naive for lack of a kinder word.

With that being said, it is a bit sketchy that Google went and recorded the data that was seen while driving around in their Google mapping cars. I mean, they didn’t HAVE to collect the data, could have just seen it and moved on with their lives. But the VOLUME that Google was able to see and record says a lot about how people treat their personal, supposedly private, networks. Twitter calls the volume of information that they give access to a “fire hose” of data. I don’t really see unsecured wireless networks as anything else really. Talk about easy pickings! I just wish people weren’t pegging this problem on Google and were instead blaming the people truly responsible, the Joe Schmo who doesn’t know how to setup their private network to be actually private (even though it requires as much effort as logging into your router and clicking the enable “WPA” or “WEP” encryption button and logging the passphrase on your computer and maybe a sticky note if you need it). This isn’t rocket science people!!!

The Job Hunt

October 11th, 2010 No comments

Since I am a graduating senior from college this year (as opposed to just a senior, which I was last year), I have been going strong with the job hunt. Thanks to a career fair on campus in mid-September, I have actually had a pretty large number of leads and a decent number of interviews. I really wasn’t expecting the career fair to produce much going in, but was pleasantly surprised by it. My approach came down to:

  1. Ask the recruiter to tell you more about their company beyond what you already know about them (in the case of some companies, I actually knew who they were, so would mention that and then ask for more information).
  2. Follow that up with “how can my [insert professional interest here] fit into your company” or “what kind of [insert professional interest here] opportunities do you have?”
  3. From here, it became a case-by-case situation dependent upon what I was interested in that they mentioned, and any questions I might have had. To stand out from other candidates, I told some about projects that I have worked on over the summer and also told a few of the recruiters about the senior design project I am working on (to be discussed a bit in a later post).

You really cannot beat a strong resume though. Because of my large amount of professional experience at 3 different companies during my college career, I had an easy time finding additional material to discuss with those companies of actual interest (there were some that I talked to who just had absolutely NO opportunities to offer me, or were simply not situated to even need my talents and interests).

So, to give a small list of some of the companies I have applied to already, partially but not all due to discussions at the career fair, are (career fair contacts, and then the rest):

  • Wipro – applied.
  • Booz Allen Hamilton – on-campus interview scheduled for 10/14.
  • NSA – applied.
  • Cardlytics – haven’t gotten back to me via email yet, will follow up soon.
  • Endgame Systems – no online application, awaiting a call from them, but haven’t heard yet.
  • Barracuda Networks – applied.
  • Capital IQ – have gone through an on-campus interview with them.
  • — non-career fair opportunities —
  • Google – ON SITE INTERVIEW AT THEIR MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA OFFICE ON 10/18, ALL EXPENSES PAID!! Excited, obviously.
  • Manhattan Associates – applied and was personally told I would hear from them, but haven’t yet.
  • Factset – interviewed with them on 9/16, haven’t heard back though.
  • Cisco – applied.
  • Neustar – was my summer job, an am part-timing with them still. Will likely discuss this opportunity with them further in November.

The Google one is obviously VERY exciting, and we’ll see how the on-site interview goes on 10/18. Considering that they are flying me out there, and putting me up for 2 nights, I am SUPER stoked about it!!

Things I’ve Meant to Post About

September 12th, 2010 No comments

So there are a bunch of different things that I’ve intended to blog about for some time now, but never got around to them. As a result, most of it is either old news, or just not as important to me. Fortunately for me, but likely unfortunately for everyone else, is the fact that I sent each of these to myself so that I wouldn’t forget them (and then promptly forgot to post about them).

The first of importance is a guide that LifeHacker posted a while back about how to use GoogleCL (Google Command Line). Many of us use Google’s services these days. Google took that a step further and released their GoogleCL product for 2 reasons:

  1. To allow those computer nerds out there to geek out about being able to use Gmail and the like in their command line.
  2. To allow users to do some things with Google products that aren’t traditionally allowed through the front end like backing up your contacts from Gmail.

The second one is definitely the most important, because now you can use the command line to make it auto-backup your contacts! There are other handy things that you can do with GoogleCL, but allowing for auto-backups I think is the most important. You can already export your contacts as a CSV (they added this feature, I believe, around when they separated out the Mail and Contacts functionality in Gmail), but you can’t setup automatic backups because Google likes the idea that they don’t ever lose data. The part they are forgetting is that while they may not lose it, people have the potential of accidentally deleting it! Anyways, here is the article on LifeHacker about it: 5 Handy Google Command Line Tricks.

I have also been meaning to post about the Google set-top box. If I had to guess, when they announce it officially this fall, it will be running some form of ChromeOS. I am of course not 100% sure, but it is the only thing that makes sense. It also won’t have to deal with the “file system” issue that the computers running ChromeOS will have to handle for things like attachments to emails. Regardless, I just rewatched the video on google.com/tv and they have definitely updated it since I last saw the video! Anyway, it looks like it is going to be a serious contender to Apple TV, other standard DVR boxes, and pretty much everyone else in the field, simply because it is going to meld the web with DVR and satellite content.

That was it for things on other websites that I wanted to post about. I’ll focus on something much more theoretical next.

… looks like this ended up being my Google post …

[Image from techdigest.tv]

Linksys WMP54G 64-bit drivers

September 6th, 2010 No comments

Let me describe my apartment’s setup a little bit first. My desktop computer is in my bedroom, which will require about a 50+ foot ethernet cable to reach the router. My solution to this? Try out my room mates PCI Linksys wireless card (the WMP54G). Unfortunately, Linksys (technically Cisco) has not bothered to make 64-bit drivers for these wireless cards. This resulted in a HUGE headache for about 3 hours, till I finally found a solution. Here’s what I did from start to finish, but if you want the quick solution, skip to the end:

  1. Tried to install the 32-bit drivers from Linksys’ website, only to have them get stuck when you try to search for wireless networks with it.
  2. Started Googling for a better solution, and ended up on this page (I don’t know if that link will always work, so it’s just a forum post about how to get the wireless card working on a 64-bit machine).
  3. Found out through that tutorial that the chip set in the wireless card is made by Ralink Corp. So I ended up on their site here and downloaded the latest copy of the RT2500 chipset drivers.
  4. After trying to hacking these to work appropriately (according to the forum posts that I had found), I managed to get it to install the drivers appropriately (albeit hacked), but it the wireless utility didn’t work. In fact, I couldn’t get ANY wireless utility to work, and I tried quite a few!
  5. Finally, I did some more Googling for answers, and this is about 2.5 hours in, and found this forum post that had a link to justinho.com.
  6. Within Justin Ho’s blog, here is the appropriate post (as of now) to the article with the working drivers!!! To install them was quick and easy. I simply found the wireless card in the device manager, selected properties, selected upgrade drivers, found the .inf file from the download on Justin’s site, and it installed in one shot. Then just power-cycled my computer and was up and running!

Thank you so much Justin!!! You are the sole reason that I now have wireless in my desktop, granted it took 3 hours to find your blog… you would think that Justin’s site would pop up sooner on Google searches since he is an employee there.