Thursday, August 28, 2008

How to Write a Resume for Technology Positions

I've been on both sides of the fence when it comes to resumes. And currently, I have to both submit documentation outlining experience when applying for contract positions as well as reviewing resumes when hiring new employees for internal positions.

There are almost endless resources on the internet that will help you create a resume so step one:

1. Use Online Resources
This includes finding a good looking template to start working from and researching an appropriate format.

2. Spell Check - do it now - do it often - do it three times before you send out your resume. If you can't be bothered to correct spelling and grammar mistakes before applying for a job I don't even want to consider the quality of work you'll be submitting.

3. Edit your experience - you're applying for a high tech position. Experience from 1980 is almost never relevant. Neither is experience from 1990. Experience from 2000 is questionable. If you feel its necessary to list experience from over 5 years ago keep it very short and make sure its relevant to the job. When you list experience make sure you concisely detail the key points of the position and any accomplishments - concisely.

4. Edit your skills - a laundry list of skills looks like you don't do anything well. Have a short skill section and list things you are an expert in, and then state that you're an expert. You may want to have an additional section of technologies you're familiar with but if you have 50 entries in the skills section you won't have to search for jobs, they'll come to you.

5. Edit for length - really try to keep it under 3 pages. If its longer and you have an "interests section" remove it. That can be addressed during the interview.

6. Formatting - Make sure your name, phone number and address are clearly labelled on every page.

7. Write a concise cover letter. Aim for 2-3 paragraphs and about half a page. Introduce yourself, explain 2-3 key points about yourself and describe why you want the job and why you're a good fit for the position.

8. Spell Check - twice

Now most of the above is relatively obvious, but now that many positions are applied for over e-mail there are other considerations.

9. File Format - PDF or DOC (MS Word). That's it. And don't use the new Word 2007 format - its not wide spread enough and its easy enough for you to save your file in the previous Word format. Also don't compress your file - I received a resume just today compressed using the RAR format. Don't assume reading the resumes will know how to open uncommon file types. If you're concerned the attachment will be blocked post it online and provide a link to your resume in the e-mail.

10. File Name - this is very important. Use your name in the file name. We keep digital copies of the resumes and having 30 different files named "resume.doc" doesn't help us search through them quickly. I would recommend using your full name, the date and the word "resume" in the file name.

11. E-mail address - when sending the e-mail address make sure you're sending from an address that makes you look professional. There's no point starting out on the wrong foot. Make a new Hotmail or Gmail account if necessary.

12. E-mail body - I would recommend a short description stating the job you're applying for and contact information. Everything else should already be in the resume and cover letter and doesn't need to be restated.

13. Before Sending - Spell Check

14. And one last check before pressing that send button - never, ever spell the name of the company you're applying to incorrectly. Check it now.

Good Luck!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"How do I get the latest version of Windows Mobile on my phone?"

I see this question over and over and I've responded to it many times on places like Yahoo Answers so I thought it was time to write a quick guide.

Step 0: (since I forgot to mention this on the first edit) Backup any important documents or information. Updating your device will erase all saved data and applications you've installed. It basically restores it to an "out of the box" state.

Step 1: Determine the make (HP, HTC, Toshiba, etc) and model (111, G900, Touch) of your phone. You need to know exactly what phone you're using before you update.

Step 2: Determine which version of Windows Mobile you currently have. Open "About" under settings. On most devices its written out in plain english - ie "Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition".

Step 3: Go to the manufactures website to find the latest update. Sometimes companies will give you free updates, sometimes they're paid upgrades .. and sometimes they just don't exist.

Step 4: Read the instructions carefully!!

Step 5: Follow the instructions and update your device.

Now, if you can't find an official update - there still may be hope. For many devices, you can get what is known as a "cooked ROM". Essentially this is an update created by hacker enthusiasts and is NOT supported by the manufacture. If you have a warranty installing a cooked ROM will almost certainly void it - and you run the risk of damaging your device in the process. I've been experimenting with cooked ROMs for years and have never had a problem - but you're still installing at your own risk. If the installation fails part way through it could permanently ruin your phone.

If you want to try a cooked ROM start researching on google. Another excellent place to look is on XDA developers - there are cooked ROMs available for many popular Windows Mobile devices.

One last thing to note - when installing an unofficial or cooked ROM, you'll almost certainly have to install it from a memory card. So make sure you have one handy - and its very recommended to not put any files on the memory card that aren't essential to the update/upgrade.

Good luck and read the instructions!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Emulating the Palm 800w and the Toshiba g900 (and other new Windows Mobile 6 devices)

After receiving a support e-mail enquiry about software running on a Palm 800w I realized I needed a way to test our software on a 320x320 resolution screen.

After some quick research I realized that the Windows Mobile Proefessional SDK already came with the appropriate emulator - its listed as "Windows Mobile 6 Professional Square QVGA".

But Also discovered Microsoft has released Windows Mobile 6.1 emulator images which adds
320x320, 240x400 & 240x440 resolution images for Windows Mobile Standard (which are all 131 DPI) and 480x800 and 240x400 images for Windows Mobile Professional. This should give you adequate emulators to test software for every currently available WM device on the market.
The 480x800 is the same resolution as the Toshiba G900 and the soon to be released Xperia X1.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mobile Software Reviews

A friend of mine has started a new blog focused on Mobile Software Reviews.

It should be frequently updated and quite insightful so head on over and take a look. He has been the source of some of my earlier posts linked to Yahoo Answers.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Pocket PC to Windows Mobile

A quick guide to understanding new Windows Mobile Devices - taken from;_ylt=ApkZyyC_FOaoOLCzJbE_yWmzFQx.;_ylv=3

"Pocket PC" is now called "Windows Mobile Classic" for touch screen devices without a phone built in (such as the iPAQ 111) and "Windows Mobile Professional" if its a touch screen with a phone (HTC Touch, Xperia, Palm 750)

If its a Windows phone without a touchscreen its called "Windows Mobile Standard" - previously known as Windows Mobile Smartphone (Samsung Blackjack, MotoQ)

Now - for compatibility - software created for Pocket PCs usally works on newer Windows Mobile touch screen devices "Professional/Standard". Especially if it was created for Pocket PC 2003 SE (which introduced VGA, square, and landscape screens).

However - if you buy a Windows Mobile phone with a high-resolution screen (VGA / XVGA), a square screen or one that primarily works in landscape orientation (the screen is wider than it is tall) the software may not work.

Its a little tougher with non-touch screen devices. The original Windows Mobile Smartphone has a low resolution screen - 172x220 so most old software only supports this resolution. New Windows Mobile Standard phones are almost always 320x240 or 240x320 so I would make sure that Windows Mobile Standard compatibility is specifically mentioned before purchasing any software.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How to run Pocket PC software on a PC using Emulators (without Visual Studio)

Here's a quick answer on how to run Pocket PC games on a Desktop PC.

Its not a simple process but I thought this was a useful post.

Taken from;_ylt=ApkZyyC_FOaoOLCzJbE_yWkazKIX;_ylv=3

You can run Pocket PC software using an emulator on a Windows PC but its not a simple process. You'll need to download the Standalone Device Emulator (link below)Then you'll need to sync the emulator using through ActiveSync (for Windows XP) or the Windows Mobile Device Center on Vista. If you're using Vista read the blog post linked below.Finally - you'll need to use the Device Emulator Manager which "should" be installed with the stand alone emulator. Using the Manager you first have to "Connect" to an emulator of your choice (right click on the emulator) and then once its loaded "Cradle".From there you can install any games or programs onto the emulator.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Microsoft Action Pack - great way for small businesses to save money

I recently updated my subscription to Microsoft Action Pack and I thought now would be the perfect time to tell others a bit about it.

The quick story is - Microsoft will license you thousands of dollars of software for your company's internal use for a few hundred dollars a year.
The intial price to start is slightly higher than the subscription fee - when we signed up it was $350 US or $450 Canadian with an update fee of $300 a year.

What you get for your money is 10 licenses of Microsoft's latest OS - in the case Vista Professional. You also get 10 licenses of Microsoft Office. Beyond that you get access to almost every Microsoft application you can think of (excluding development tools).

Microsoft will also send you updates every month or two as new products become avaliable.

If you consider the cost of a single license of Vista Professional and a single copy of Office Professional 2007 you quickly realize this a great deal.

What's the catch? Well - technically you're supposed to renew your subscription every year or stop using the software. However we did let ours laps for about 12 months and everything continued to work correctly.

You also are NOT allowed to sell or distribute the software. Its for internal use only.

And you must sign up to be Microsoft Partner - however this is takes no more than 10 minutes.

We originally signed up to simply get Windows XP and Office, but quickly realized that having extra software like Microsoft's Small Business Server and the web development tools would also be very useful. And the SMB costs more than a single year of the Action Pack Subscription.

Take a look and take advantage if you're searching for a cost effective way to use Microsoft's software. You no longer have an excuse for using "borrowed" copies in your office or home office. or google "Microsoft Action Pack"