Archive for June, 2003

Linksys Quality Control

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Urgent telegram.                 <stop>
Regarding Linksys BEFW11S4 v4.   <stop>
Do not purchase this device.     <stop>
Major firmware and chipset bugs. <stop>
Return to vendor immediately.    <stop>

I bought this Linksys BEFW11S4 v4 router/WAP to hopefully replace some of my aging Luent wireless and network gear here on the network, and what a wonderful experience this has been. I also picked up the WSB24 signal booster for the 802.11 bits, because I wanted to go through some of these thicker walls. I’m also working out a plan for a Monster Cantenna that I’m building (Yes, that’s my arm).

Apparently there isn’t a single person who owns a v4 of this device who can keep a stable connection longer than 30 minutes. v1-v3 work fine, but v4 is a horrible mess of broken chipsets and firmware. Read here and here for the hundreds of users who have reported this issue. Linksys is curiously silent, and their technical support continues to blame MTU settings, Windows (even though I’m on Linux and FreeBSD), the cable modem, DSL providers, and the direction of the wind blowing.

I’m pretty close to giving up on the device, and shipping it back to the vendor I purchased it from online. I’ll barcode it off and RMA it, and let them deal with it. The Netgear MR814 is looking like a nice replacement for it.

Other News

    No job yet.
    Looking for a house.
    Lots of new woodworking projects.

Just perl, nothing but perl, only perl.

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Just perl, nothing but perl, only perl.

    I’ve been spending an enormous amount of time writing perl lately, learning a lot more than I thought I would on these projects, but it is definately fun.

    Elegantly stripping Javascript and Style tags and blocks from a stream of HTML content in a scalar:

    $html =~ s!<(s(?:cript|tyle))[^>]*>.*?</1>!!gis;

    There’s so much I haven’t ever done with perl, using it only as a “sysadmin” tool in the past, but now I’m neck-deep in screen-scraping and all kinds of other uses for perl that I’ve never delved in before. Neat stuff.

Job Trends

    No job yet, still looking for contract work to fill in the blanks.

    The trend seems to be towards posting jobs with incredibly unrealistic job requirements for a pittance of a salary.

    “Must have 10 years experience in HTML, XML, CSS, DOM, ASP, PeopleSoft, AutoCAD, Macromedia Flash, .NET, C, C++, Java, and be able to speak Spanish, Japanese, and write Sanskrit.”

    “Oh, and by the way, we don’t offer any benefits.”

    “Do you mind being our Senior Developer, leading up a team of 16 other developers, for $45k/USD a year?”

    Yes, yes I do mind. That’s insulting.

    It would seem that even if you send in a peper resume, make the calls, follow up, and get a real human on the telephone, one who is impressed with your skills and previous work experience, that it is all moot anyway. It’s like yelling at a tree in the forest.

    The other thing I’ve heard (after sending in roughly 400 resumes and making about 70 phone calls myself), is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a perfect match for the job, with everything they require. If you’re not in the “first batch” of resumes they receive, you’ll never get a look.

    A job posts an open position, and they get say.. 500 resumes in the first 2 days (a very low estimate, most are in the thousands by week’s end). The hiring manager will take the top 50 from the pile, and toss the rest into the trash (or “scan them in for later”, yeah, right). If your resume isn’t in the first 50 in that pile, you’re never going to get your resume seen or receive a call back.

    I’ve sent out probably 400+ resumes in the last year (many of them were email-only contacts, no follow-up mailing address to send a paper copy of my cv to, or a business name to call around to speak to someone in charge of hiring), and made about 70 phone calls to places that were offering work. To date, I have only received one call from a recruiter, and it was from a word-of-mouth discussion at my local LUG meeting. The job was for something completely out of my skillset (Python and the “R” Statistical language). That’s a .002% return on my effort. My friends send me job postings all the time, which I follow-up on, only to find myself talking to a tree in the forest again.

Housing

    We’re trying to find a house here in the area, so we can settle down a bit and stop paying rent. There’s so many nice houses, and a whole lot more houses that are complete trash, going for substantially more than their market value. Typically, the assesed value for taxes represents 75-80% of the actual market value of the house. We’re seeing houses listed for 90-100% over that value. A house assessed at $89k for example, will be listed for $225k on the market, in a not-so-nice area of the community. I just don’t get it. the interest rates are at 5.1%, and everyone jacks up the price of their house to compensate. It just ends up being a feeding frenzy.

    We’ve got an agent now to try to help us find the “right” place for us. We go through about 2-dozen listings, drive by the places (without going inside), then take 4-5 out of those 2-dozen, and hand them to our agent to set up appointments to see the insides of. It saves everyone time and money to do it that way, so we’re not driving halfway across the state for a house we wouldn’t live in, just because the back yard borders an auto-graveyard for example (but of course, you don’t see that in the pictures of the houses online, noooOOOoo..). Tough work.

    I’m ok with doing some renovations, but not moving plumbing and walls from one side of a house to the other. That’s a bit out of my league.

    .oO(Now where did I put Norm’s phone number from “This Old House”)

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