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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Beware! New virus on the loose

Network anti-virus and Internet content security major, Trend Micro on Tuesday warned Internet users of a new memory-resident worm that takes advantage of newly announced Microsoft Plug-and-Play security flaw.

What makes the new worm, WORM_ZOTOB, so notable is its exploit of Microsoft security hole and this 'exploitation' is believed to be the fastest in the history of malware creation, a statement said.

The new worm drops a copy of itself into the Windows system folder as Botzor.exe and it modifies system's Host files in the infected users' computer so as to prevent the user from getting online assistance from certain anti-virus Web sites.

The backdoor capabilities of the worm enable it to connect to a specific Internet Relay Chat (IRC) servicer and allow hacker a remote control over affected system, which can be used to infect other machines in the network.

Hundreds of 'infection reports' were sighted in US and Germany. Since most of the users may not be aware of the newly announced security hole so as to install the necessary patch during last weekend, more infections in Asia Pacific and other regions are foreseen, it said.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Job Hunting - Proper Preparation

When you are in the company of someone who is more knowledgeable than you, do yourself the favour of shutting up and listening. You will gain respect. And you will gain information and knowledge faster.

Take note of compliments, commendations and recognition for your work. Any sales person worth their salt knows that credibility is an intangible yet crucially valuable asset. And be assured, in any job search, you are selling yourself to the job market place. Again, any such detail you present will not surface in a job reference. But in interview, it all helps to reenforce the general positive impression you want to create, as we discussed earlier.

Your personality and working style can more determine your suitability to a job than your qualifications and experience. If your personal approach doesn't fit the regime, you will be excommunicated from promotional lines. Compromising your natural style and even your integrity and values can be a difficult and unsustainable strategy. You should seek out conditions more in-tune with your own style. This brings a satisfaction that can naturally fuel your progress without extra machinations on your part.

Wake up and smell the roses before they have wilted. Keep your options open, keep your eyes on the jobs pages, and always believe you can do better than your current situation. Trust your sentiments when things don't add up. There are always a number of rational viewpoints that can delay or distort your overall judgement, but your sentiments are true. Go with them.

The first in the above list is becoming ever more evident. Flat organisational structures predominate and demarcation lines are diffuse. Whether they like you and your style can make the difference between success and stagnation.

Conversely, if you get a bad feeling about someone at interview, you can either take heed and flee or you can risk setting yourself up for a rough time if you accept the post. You can waste a lot of time and effort and end up going through the same routine again a year later. It's hard not to feel flattered and grateful when you are offered a post, but a little confidence, objectivity and
bravery could see you holding out for a better one. A tough call. Either option is a risk. You either risk spending time in a bad firm and damaging your CV or you risk losing out on an offer. It depends on your personal situation, your own needs at the time and your instincts.

Never trust your superiors. The higher up they are, the more political they are and that means ulterior motives. Have your own agenda and be aware of their hidden agendas. Prepare for a worst-case scenario. Then the only surprise you'll get is likely to be a pleasant one.

To a company, you are an expendable asset, to be used until your value runs out. They are businesses, not charities, so don't expect any. That's why you need to develop your own agenda and plan your own career. Don't rely on the company to understand, appreciate or value what you believe counts for your career. They only value what counts for them personally.

Keep notes of your work and your progress. It is proof of your value and of the value you have added to the firm. This implies to prospective employers you are capable of doing the same for them. This removes some of the risk associated with taking you on.

1. Choose the correct Location. If you want to work in an IT field, check out the area, which has more IT companies or has a major potential to be an IT hub.
2. Don't explain your life story to prospective employers and expect them to be interested in it. Pick out the relevant points and explain each from the point of view of your target.
3. Keep your studies in line with your career. You should pick an area to work in, find a company willing to offer themselves up for your studies and use this experience to apply around that same business sector. Do not simply used the course as a means to an end.

  • Accumulate as much information from each job as possible. It's all part of your experience and professional value. Get hold of quality documents, work procedures, performance reports, quality controls, work plans, in fact anything that goes into what's called "the managementsystem". This is the paperwork and documentation that keeps the business turning.
  • Make as many contacts as possible. You don't have to be best mates, but you do need to be genuine with them. Be honest and professional and they are more likely to remember you and be open with you next time you come calling.
  • Get recommendations. Even copies your annual assessments may come in useful. Things can get rather political when a company has to lose you, which can play havoc with references.
Appear impressive and you will be perceived as impressive. Perception is reality. However others perceive you, that is actually who you are, regardless of the reality you feel inside. Dress rich, they'll think you're rich. Act authoritative, they think you're in total command. And so on.

Find out what it is your target values – and give it to them. If the job requires a great deal of people work, emphasise that on your CV. Get your interview answers geared around those topics. If there's problem solving and analytical techniques needed, put that at the top. If there's detailed work involved, get hold of facts and figures to show how precise you are. And, just as importantly, keep everything else off, or at least put it after the important stuff. Every day, you are preparing for your next role. That's why you need a plan. Then you work with purpose and that purpose becomes crystal clear as you discuss your next posting. Collect those figures, keep that log, write down those compliments, collect those letters of praise, copy those charts and graphs. You did it, you keep it. It's your proof of capability, your proof of progress, your proof of direction.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Job Hunting - Target Identification

1a. Accumulate Company Information
There are basic expectations at interviews and having some company information is one of
them. You are unlikely to get an annual report from the company themselves – which are pretty useless anyway, unless you really know how to decipher them – but there are other sources:

GoToMyPC - Access  Your PC From Anywhere
Business directory. Don protective footwear before dragging these off the library shelves. These directories doesn't list every company, but does have the basics of many thousands. You may uncover nothing of value, or you may get some useful leads, such as HQ address, other site addresses and telephone numbers. If your target has various locations, each doing something different, find out which site is being recruited for. Start with whatever lead you have and get the phone number of the Personnel department you will be dealing with and give them a call.
Use something along the lines of the following script:
"My name is ____ from (town/company/college/university). I'll be talking with some of
your people soon about vacancies at your site. I'd like to make the short time we'll be
having together as productive as possible, so I was hoping you could mail me out a little
company info – the kind of thing you might find on the front desk – company brochure
and product info, perhaps. It would be a great help."

If they object, then reply,
"I appreciate you must get a few calls like this, but there really is nothing to go on in the
public domain. This interview is extremely important. I really want it to go well and I'd
like to do your people the justice of making it worth their time talking to me."

All you're looking for is company basics – products, plans, opportunities, company prosperity,
etc. Something to show you have done your homework and can hold a conversation about the firm you are applying to. There's no worse way to start an interview than answering the opening question of "What do you know about us?" with "Nothing!".

You should get the names of your interviewers and their respective positions or titles on your
invitation letter. If not, ask for these also while you're on the phone.

Company Annual Reports
Unless you're already familiar with these and understand them (and how they can mask the
truth), then quite simply, don't bother. It'll take far too long here even to explain the basics. And
you'll get precious little of practical value from them anyway. All you need is to understand
whether or not you are entering or staying in a growing, stagnant or declining business sector.
Then you can ask how they are dealing with present circumstances.

1b. Accumulate Business Sector Information
This is far easier. What you're looking for here are trends, competitor names, current business
issues, sector outlook and so on.

Mintel. Short for "Market Intelligence". You'll find them in main public libraries only (because of the cost), in report form and on CD-ROM. If you belong to a wealthy educational establishment, you may also find them on campus. Their reports cover every imaginable business sector (almost!) and contain every macro fact and figure you may need.

Key Point. Same thing. Between these two, you'll be most unlucky to come up short.

Newspapers. Don't go raking through acres of broadsheet. Your main public library or campus
library will have many of the national papers on CD-ROM. If you were an ancient Greek, there
would be a God of IT and his name would be KeyWord Search. You should be able to copy and
paste the interesting bits onto a floppy disk file, take it with you and print it out.

For a first interview, it isn't often you need anything more than basic company and product info.
Just enough to gain familiarity, to feel confident that you can hold a conversation and to ask some fundamental questions. Mostly they will be interested in you.


2. Personal Plans
Ah, there's the rub. This is often the most important part of a first interview. Your qualifications
will be taken as read, so don't expect to create too much of an impression with your subject
knowledge. You will most likely be asked about your current work or studies, why you chose that field and what you like about it. This is often used to ease you into the session, to get you talking and for your interviewers to get familiar with you. However, don't be mis-lead into thinking that this is only idle chit-chat. They are very real questions. They are probing for sound rationale about your chosen career path and your enthusiasm for it.

GoToMyPC - Access  Your PC From AnywhereIf you're in the lower corporate echelons, don't feel obliged to ply them with talk of super
success or of wanting to run the company by the time you're 40. You simply have to show you're a thinker, that you know what you're doing and where you are going, that you are aware of your contribution, that it is your choice and that you can reason with them about it. Come across as a drifter with no real idea of direction and you'll drift from interview to interview for ever and a day.

Your are recruited for a purpose. If you can't explain to an employer what believe your own purpose to be, they will see no reason to employ you.

Say, for example, you want to be a secretary but you don't want to be a department head PA.
If you're happy doing what you do, say so. If your family takes up too much of your time, the extra hours might be impossible to accommodate. Of course, it always looks better if you give your reasons from the company point of view. "I wouldn't be able to guarantee my full support to my boss," for example, sounds better than "I wouldn't want the extra work load." Maybe you want to stay on shifts for family reasons and not take a managerial day job. That's fine as long as you emphasise how your experience can be the bedrock of the department, how you can
comprehensively train and coach others and be a link-pin for future management initiatives.

If you're looking for your first job, you will need to have a reasonable idea of where your first
post might take you and why you think your chosen career is the one for you.

Talk about it. Discuss your plans with your friends, peers and colleagues; pass ideas around;
exchange views and opinions. You can get more fresh insights and ideas from a ten minute
sounding off than you can get by musing over it all day. In a professional sense you can call this
networking. We'll talk more about this later. Some of the large search engine sites and careers
sites also have "Expert Centres", where you can ask career questions. And there are always
careers centres to visit.

Seek out the experience and wisdom of others when considering any career move. The more research you do, the more focused you will be and the less the risk you will take.


Always display yourself in the strongest possible light. Don't lie, but by all means display the Truth as if it were Crufts – all nicely preened and viewed from the best angle
.

A little bit of artistic licence can go a long way. You should work on creating your best window
display. If you don't, you're not going to get very far. After all, employers do it all the time.
Interviews are a two-way process. Your interviewers are also trying to sell the company and the job to you.
So the point is, if it's hard for new employees to see through the fa├žade presented by interviewers, then it's just a tricky for your interviewers to see through your positive front – provided it is solidly put together.
So avoid negativity, hints of failure and of giving any clues that you are at all fazed by any past
hiccups.

Avoid negative talk at all costs. When practicing your interview answers, be aware of complaining, moaning, criticising, put-downs, derisory comments, bad-luck stories and so on. Always frame your comments in a positive light.

So always look at the events in your career positively, no matter what the truth and no matter
how bad you feel about them personally. And present that version. Be especially prepared when
talking to recruitment agents. You can not re-frame later what you first tell them. Their work codes require them to tell the truth as far as they are aware of it. So what you first tell them goes down as gospel and can not be changed.

OK. To recap.
  • You have all your info together
  • You've identified your career area
  • Your possible targets.
  • The next task is to start building your application. And I don’t mean write a CV. That comes later. If you're not ready for a job move yet, building your application still needs to start now – today. I'll explain what I mean in the next section.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Effective Job Hunting

You must have noticed how the number of companies devoted to job listings, both
on- and off-line, are multiplying like a plague. But very few of them realise that the
job hunt starts way before you ever open a newspaper or log on to your favourite search
site. It begins in your current job. And that means today!

It begins with maximising your potential in your current job and then providing you
with the guidance and advice you need to move onwards and upwards.
You see, just as you only build a house brick by brick, so each working day you are
progressing your career in some way, adding to your experience, moving towards your
annual goals, monthly quota or shift targets. It all adds up to whether you can do your job,
are good at it, or are great at it. You either build a town house or a mansion. It just
depends on the number of bricks you lay. It also helps to put your best looking ones in full
view – a quick self-marketing analogy for you, which will become apparent in the section
of CVs.
Preparation for your next job starts TODAY – in your present one.
But before I jump the gun, let me back track to re-emphasise that it is your current job you
need to focus on as preparation for your next job. Because without proof of success in
what you do now, the harder will be your task of finding a newer, better one later.
Conversely, if you excel at it, the stronger and quicker you will swing up the corporate
ladder.

The employment market is growing ever more fluid and competition is growing progressively
fiercer. To win through – and to win quickly – you will need all the help you can get.
Playing the game is far more fun when you know you can win.

As the number of 'visible' job seekers drops, wage offers tend to rise, there being fewer to pick out of the dole queues. Simple supply and demand. This encourages those already in jobs to jump ship. So unless you're a fresh-faced graduate, who typically have their own specially reserved territory to fight over, you will usually have to compete against more people looking to switch jobs than those looking to get re-employed. There are advantages and disadvantages in this, depending upon which group you currently belong to – employed or unemployed.
If you're employed, you can more afford to bide your time, waiting for the right job to crop up.
You can apply in full confidence that if you don't get it, it's probably no great shakes. You are still getting paid and can wait for the next offer. That takes off a huge amount of pressure and boosts your confidence enormously. This confidence can't help but show through in an interview and that is a big plus in any interviewer's note book.

When you're unemployed, though, the urgency is more real. Every interview counts. To get
turned down after all your efforts and all your raised hopes can be tremendously depressing. You have to be tougher, more focused, more determined and more resilient. Ironically, the gravity of the situation focuses the mind wonderfully. And that can bring quick success.
When you're unemployed, you have the advantage of being a full-time, "professional" job hunter.

Moreover, you get all the time you need to research your target company, practice your
interview technique, rehearse your answers and review your performance between interviews.
You make job-hunting your full time job. And that makes you more of a professional at it than the others. So do not despair. You do, in fact, have the upper hand in many respects.

Everybody's situation is different and every application unique in some respect. The key is
to take the principals on board and apply them to your situation and to your job applications.
Key words throughout this will be "informed and prepared" – the two most powerful weapons
you can carry with you. These should be the two main reasons why you are reading this – to get
pre-informed about job hunting and to thoroughly prepare yourself for the task ahead. Keep these two words in mind throughout and you'll find the final experience a whole lot more palatable.

Happy hunting.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Debugging ASP applications in Interdev

Most of us work on VS 6.0 & Visual Interdev and are not aware that we can debug the Visual Interdev solutions / ASP applications just as we debug the normal VB apps.
To know how to enable Visual Interdev to debug your ASP applications, click here to read an article by Bharat M Motwani.
I did around 3 projects with him and he is a very knowledgable person as far as ASP, VB and MS SQL Server is concerned (well those 3 projects revolved around it :o) )