Where does the time go?

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It has been nearly 4 years since my last post! I'm still alive and well... Need to revamp this site. Stay tuned.

LinkedIn Resume Generator Tips & Tricks

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So I've been using the LinkedIn Resume Generator to easily sync up my resume with my profile. It's a really nifty app, but it is definitely still a little rough around the edges. Here are a few tips:

Bullet points

I discovered after some searching that the resume generator supports markdown syntax (but not your LinkedIn profile!). Here's my solution:

* Bullet 1
* Bullet 2
* Bullet 3

These asterisks are not rendered as bullet points on your main profile, but it doesn't look bad, and your resume is rendered with bullet points and appropriate line breaks. Close enough, I guess.

Page breaks

My resume was page breaking in an inconvenient spot--right after the header for one of my job entries. But the resume builder does not allow one to specify where the page should break. My solution? To pad the previous entry with blank characters. I tried appending several line breaks to this previous entry, but quickly realized that LinkedIn will trim the end of the entry if it only consists of whitespace.

How to get around this? First, I looked up the Wikipedia page for spaces in unicode, then I copied the empty space between brackets (looks like: ] [) listed under the Display column in the En Quad row, then I pasted it into the end of my previous job entry in LinkedIn. It looks like this:

(end of previous job entry):
For this work at XYZ Widget Co. I was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize...
[empty line]
[empty line]
[space character pasted in]

This tricks LinkedIn into thinking that there is content at the end of that previous entry and thus including the empty lines. This has the intended effect of padding the space between entries, thus forcing the page break to occur before the next entry begins.

Obviously, you should determine how much padding (how many empty lines) to add experimentally.

I would paste the character here for your convenience, but my blogging platform chokes on the character. Just click on the Wikipedia link above and follow the instructions.

Voila! Hope this helps someone.

Hasta pronto, mi querido Ecuador

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ecuador farewell 025.JPG

My dear readers,

This will most likely be my last Peace Corps blog entry. From this point forward, this blog will revert to its original theme: technology-themed commentary on just about everything.

As many of you know, I recently decided to head back home after just over a year of service in my rural community in the province of Pichincha, Ecuador. I've been home for almost exactly two weeks and I finally feel ready to write about some of my experiences and my reasons for not opting to stay another year.

Before I delve into my reasons, I would like to mention that my exit interview with our Country Director (CD) was very cathartic for me. I was able to share some of my concerns about the program and I feel that, even though we may have disagreed on some minor points, the CD was very understanding and receptive of my feedback about the program. I am satisfied that he has a good idea of what the most pressing problems are for PCVs and that steps are already being taken to rectify my most pressing concerns. Throughout the process I was treated very well by the staff.

Therefore, I will not dwell on the negative. Why did I call it after a year? To put it simply: I ran out of things to do. I realized that if I were to spend another year in the town, I would accomplish very little, and this was unacceptable to me. A shark has to keep swimming or it dies from oxygen deprivation; I can sympathize. This was a very difficult decision but I realized that it was necessary in order to maintain my mental health.

Do I regret serving as a PCV? Not a bit. My goal coming in was to change the life of one individual, and I can honestly say that I did that and more. I participated in the founding of two different businesses, I taught English and ran a school garden for the better part of a year. I donated a projector and a printer to a school that previously had none. I was (hopefully!) a positive influence on many school-kids. And most importantly, I brought home a basketball championship to my parish. I was able to explore a beautiful and diverse country and forge relationships that will last my lifetime.

I'll never forget my community, and how kind people were to me. I hope to lead my life in the states with the same humility and grace that my friends in Ecuador exemplified. I stay in contact with my closest friends via Skype and plan to continue to do so.

Last but not least: I am very proud of my fellow PCVs who will continue serving another year. Many of them are making profound personal sacrifices for the ideals they believe in, and we should do everything we can to help them out. Please keep in mind that there are many deserving projects listed on the peace corps partnership program page; donations are tax-deductible.

I will end with a quote, one that got me through many tough days:

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
-- Mahatma Gandhi

How to unhide a hidden folder

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There is this virus that is all the rage on antiquated windows XP systems in Ecuador. It spreads via flash drives by hiding your folders and replacing them with identically-named shortcuts that point to a hidden executable that then propagates the virus.

Assuming you have decent antivirus software running on your system, it will catch this virus and delete all the malicious files. But what it forgets to do is revert your folders back to their previous, non-hidden state.

To unhide the hidden folders, open a command prompt (dos prompt) and enter the following command, where X corresponds to the drive letter for your flash drive.

attrib /D /S -r -s -h X:\*


It's a machista country and all, but still....

Riding around public transit in Quito, Ecuador, with PCV Sarah, we came across the following sign:



Entry to doorway #2.
This entryway to the bus is restricted to: women, senior citizens, and people with special capabilities (disabled people).

Now, at first I didn't notice that anything was amiss, because I'm used to these sorts of signs referring to pregnant women. But... they just lumped all women in with senior citizens and disabled people. What makes this even more surprising is that they went out of their way to be politically correct and say "special capabilities" (capacidades especiales) instead of "disabilities" (descapacitados--the most common usage), right after lumping all of womankind in with them.

Someone call Sociological Images, this is exactly the kind of thing they comment on... 

P.S. By the way, don't worry about it too much--like most signs in Ecuador, it is completely ignored.


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