A guy who was born in Canada, grew up in Indonesia, went to high school in Australia, spent half a year in Hawaii, and ended up back in Canada.
This is my story...
DR's Corner
Thursday, March 24, 2005

Starbucks ... great service

I just came back from the nearest Starbucks from my office. I went to get a grande White Chocolate Mocca and paid my 5 bucks to the cashier. I the proceeded to wait for my beverage. A few moments later, the server told me that they're out of White chocolate and if he could make me another drink. I asked for a regular mocca, and guess what, he told me that the drink would be on the house because they ran out of what I wanted !!!.

I say that's great customer service on their behalf. I would have been ok without the refund, but by doing this, Starbucks probably just got a repeat customer who'd spread good words about the company. So, way to go Starbucks, great job.

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Neat thing to do to your wallpaper

Check these out .... nice trick to do...
Wednesday, March 23, 2005

So how long's your cover letter?

I was always taught that a cover letter should describe a bit more about a resume, filling in bits of details that you don't put in the resume, to catch the reader's attention. It should be clear, compact and concise, and usually no more than 1 full page of writing.

Well, this morning, I attended a career planning session tailored for the Ontario Public Service (OPS) jobs, and shockingly found out that apparently the procedure in the OPS is to have as much elaboration/details possible in the cover letter, and I was shown an example of a 6 page long cover letter. One of my co-attendees then proceeded to tell me how he has a 14 page cover letter, and has seen some up to 16. I was quite speechless for quite a bit, and the blank stares from everyone in the room was just priceless.

I really wish I could tell you that I'm joking, but I'm not. The presenter has worked with OPS employees for a number of years, and has been in career management for about 20 years. It was just mind boggling to see how much detail was in the sample cover letter that was passed around. For every qualification required, there were at least 7 or 8 points about how the candidate has experience in it. Although she admitted that not all ministries within the government follow the rules, but that was the actual procedure.

Oh man, I think I'll be having an interesting conversation with my workmates and manager sometime tomorrow to see their reaction :)

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

MSDN Deep Dives

Today I went to attend my first ever Microsoft Event. It was a free session on ASP.NET 2.0. Got to the venue (a large movie theatre) about 8.45 and had a lineup quite long. Fortunately the lineup moved quickly since we only needed to get our invitations scanned. Grabbed a croissant (wow.. really good food...) and went straight into the main theatre. The room was almost full already, so I got up to the very last row up top and sat near the aisle.

The topic was very interesting, as it relates quite well to my work. ASP.NET 2.0 introduces some interesting concepts such as Master Pages, a web based administration system, advanced profiling/membership/roles that could use LDAP's, Active Directory or databases as a backend, web parts and tons more controls being introduced. You could see some of the slides here. The speaker was Adam Gallant, a Developer/Platform Evangelist for .NET. I found him to be very knowledgeable about what he was talking about and really enjoyed this session. A lot of these features really take out some of the grunt work from developing web applications, and will reduce the amount of coding by quite a bit. I even joked with some of my colleagues at work that maybe soon there will be no need for programmers / developers :)

At the end of the session, everybody was given out free backpacks and an Introduction to ASP.NET 2.0 book by Dino Esposito. Overall, I found the session refreshing, as it showed me what could be done with ASP.NET 2.0, and my mind was racing with the thoughts of trying this out at work. I was told that Visual Studio 2005 (they're dropping the '.NET' from VS) will definitely ship this year, and that Beta 2 will be released in 'Microsoft' March (not sure how long that is :) ). I've seen really neat features and can't wait to get my hands on it.

Two thumbs up to Microsoft for continuing to provide great developer tools and listening to public input.

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