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Scott's Column
The Job Search, The House & Wireless LAN

September 1, 2001
By Scott Lewis

If you read last months column you know I was laid off. So the job search is on. I am getting a lot of time in on the house, so I look at it as a blessing in disguise. I also am considering a Wireless LAN to share and Internet connection between houses... good for neighbors that like each other and want to save a few bucks. 

The Job Search

I would like to detail my job search using the Internet. However, I have not had the greatest success trying to get a job over the Internet. I am not completely sure of why. I assume that once companies start posting job positions on job search sites like Monster.com, Computerwork.com, Computerjobs.com, Jobvertise, Net Source Inc.ZDNet Tech Jobs, etc. they get inundated with resumes from people... many of whom may not be seriously searching for a job, but just trying to see if they could get a better job. I am sure they get overwhelmed with resumes from people that are not truly qualified. Finally, they must get hundreds of legitimate resumes making it nearly impossible to sift through the resumes to pick a few candidates for an interview.

I posted my resume on a couple of sites. However, I only received one call from doing so. All other calls came from my making initial contact. The one "unsolicited" call was for a SMS developer. The call came through the parent company of Monster.com. The job they were trying to fill was for a SMS developer, but the specifically did not want an administrator. As I know it most people that work with SMS are network administrators. SO I assume the hiring company did not want to spend a lot of money for just an SMS person. My resume was picked up because I have some SMS experience and am a developer. Also, I am not an administrator. Obviously my resume came up because of a careful word scan/search. You should keep that in mind when posting a resume online.

After a couple of phone conversations it was decided that I was too "junior" for the position. This is an overstatement. Although I have some SMS experience I have never even seen SMS script, and that was the key skill they wanted.

One big strike against me is that I am unwilling to relocate. San Antonio is not a teaming hot bed of high tech companies. So I am seriously limiting any chance of getting calls from posting my resume online. My specific skill set is with Oracle's Express Multi-dimensional (OLAP) database and its client access tool. I have not been able to find a single company in San Antonio that has any jobs available working with Express. That means I am going to have to convince companies that I can learn whatever tools they have. Cognos and Microstrategy seem to been more in demand at this moment... at least from the searching I have done.

In the end I got the most "dialogs" started with companies that I personally visited, even if they had their jobs listed on the Internet. At the time of this posting I am in actively interviewing for tow positions. We'll see how it goes.

The House

The house in full swing. With the framing complete (by the framers that is) we have had plenty to do. My brother-in-law is my contractor... for those of you that have not been following this project. He is charging us a flat fee to build the house. Since this is the first time he is tackling a project of this size it is to his best interest to help us keep costs down. This will enable him to determine how much money he really can build a house for. I assume he wants to be able to do this kind of work more in the future.

So, what this means for me is that I get a lot of extras for free. For example... We saw a picture of an arch leading into a family room in a magazine. We already had two big pillars in the front of our family room, so it seemed reasonable to me that we could put an arch between them. Sure enough the next day we were framing the arch. And it worked out really well. We modeled the arch off the arches to the windows. Then we followed the style to the arch above the entertainment center. And it will even match the arches to the top of the kitchen cabinets. Now, with any other builder these arches would have cost hundreds of dollars as a change order. My brother-in-law and I did the big work in a few hours. Mostly him of course. And we used lumber that was laying around, so it was essentially free. Remember he is charging me a flat fee for all his time.

Next I asked if it was possible to push out the wall in the game room to make room for a bar. Unfortunately there was not enough room to go into the attic deep enough to have a walk behind bar, but we were able to set it back just over 2 feet so we can put a "walk up to" bar. At first it will be a place to put the entertainment center from our old house. Eventually it will be a bar with an under counter refrigerator, and maybe a mini beer keg. My brother-in-law thinks I should put a sink in there as well. We'll see. We sis have to buy a little extra lumber to frame this.

The electrical is getting a lot of changes. We found an electricial that is charging us just for his time in labor. We are buying all the materials... at places the electrician enabled us to get the best deals. This will save us about $2,000 and we have improvised a lot of things. I saw an ad for a flat screen TV. It is too expensive now, but we wired a recessed outlet in the middle of the wall for it in the future. We will cover the plug with a picture in the mean time.

I would hate to think how much some of the unusual changes to the electric would cost us if we had to pay a change order for each one. We are saving a lot and getting a really custom touch on the electric.

The brick should be going on during September, followed buy the roof and then the sheetrock. Stay tuned.

Wireless LAN

When we moved in with my in-laws last month it was difficult getting my little 2 computer LAN up and running. I thought about going wireless. In the end I couldn't justify the cost over running a long Ethernet cable over the doorway, across the kitchen counter, and out the window to the sun room (now converted to a bedroom). It is a little hokey, but it gets the job done.

My brother-in-law helped me drop a new phone line in my in-law's house where my main computer is. This allows my DSL modem and Linksys Router/HUB to sit with the computer. Then I tacked the hokey cable to use the laptop in the "bedroom."

But what could I have done with wireless. I looked into it, and I think I have a solution that will work for my in-laws and my brother-in-law when we are all out at the land. If you will recall... My wife's sister and her husband (the brother-in-law/contractor I always talk about) own the property next door to us, and our wife's parents are going to get an external mother-in-law suite built for them on my sister-in-law's land. That's three houses on two pieces of property all next to each other.

What does all this have to do with wireless LANs. Simple, I had planned to run Ethernet cable through buried conduit between the three houses so we could all share resources and a broadband Internet connection. Linksys makes a Wireless Access Point that can be plugged into a LAN. The specs state a range for this device of 100-350 feet indoors, and 1000 feet outdoors. If I put this device in my garage (the closed part of the house to my brother-in-law's house, I might be able to connect them without running cable through the ground.

After we get moved into the house I will get the Linksys (or possibly another brand) Wireless Access Point to use with my laptop. I plan to be able to take the laptop out to the back porch or the balcony and stay connected. I should be able to take the laptop and walk around the two properties and see if it is possible to connect the houses wirelessly.

If this works, it could be great for neighbors. Why not have two people share an internet connection living next door to each other. Split the bill and each of you can have broadband access for what it costs for each of you to have dialup access. Just make sure you run firewall software to add to the security of your systems.

Once again... stay tuned, I will let you know.

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