Category Archives: Misc Tech

Can’t Wait To See Some LinkedIn Custom Backgrounds

LinkedIn Custom Backgrounds

“This will be fun,” he said, a maniacal glint in his eye (perhaps also rubbing his hands together).

I’m actually a little surprised that LinkedIn would give people such a gratuitous way to shoot themselves in the foot, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I’m sure there are some people who will use custom backgrounds to enhance their profiles and give them a little spark. My guess is, though, that the people who make good use of it are the ones who don’t really need the additional bonus points. Meanwhile, thousands (if not millions?) of people will put up… what? Cute cat pictures? Current memes (that quickly become outdated)? Gritty Game of Thrones pictures? Iridescent scuba diving photos (a suggestion in the rotating images from the email above) which, while beautiful, add nothing that tells a potential employer about the competency of the candidate?

I’m trying to think if 23-year-old Nels was smart enough to know not to put a strip of basketballs bouncing across the top of his profiles… And even if he was, how many other people won’t be?

But it’s not just that the opportunity with this seems so severely limited compared to the potential for disaster… On a technical level, it’s a completely “Me too” feature already available on people’s Facebook and Twitter pages. I don’t really go to people’s Twitter pages since I use TweetBot, but I’ve seen a lot of Facebook Cover Photos and only two or three of them have actually made me think “Wow, that’s cool.” And even those are not images that would have made me want to hire someone, unless I was looking for a graphic designer or a photographer. Speaking of graphic designers, though, I guess this does give them something else to do, so in that sense maybe it’s helping the economy… But the people who are consciously thinking about “their brand” to the extent that they’d hire a graphic designer to create a custom LinkedIn background are, again, probably the people who make good candidates without the custom background.

Since I encourage my colleagues to come up with solutions rather than just complaining about issues, and I try to follow that advice myself, here’s my tips for using the LinkedIn custom backgrounds:

  • Don’t. Easy as that. If you’re not a graphic designer and don’t have a friend to make a nice background for you, then just don’t. No one is going to take away “hiring points” if you don’t have a background. But they might if you throw up a wallpaper of the WWE Divas because you’re totally into wrestling.
  • Go to the complete opposite end of the spectrum and have someone create you a professional background that represents the business professional that you want your profile to project. It looks like you might be able to get one for $5 over at Or if you really want a “brand”, you can probably put together a total marketing package at

In Which The Physical World Manifests Itself As Annoyance

or: Where I Come Up With A Really Pretentious Sounding Title That Actually Somewhat Contradicts The Content Of The Post

So there’s a book I wanted to read. I’m not sure why, because it’s not that great a book. I think I wanted to study the magic system a bit, but now that I’m reading it, the whole magic system is just kind of… magic… The rest of the book contains many things I feel like I can learn from though, so probably still worth it… except that…

I am a cheap ass bastard and didn’t want to shell out $5.99 for (the Kindle version of) a book that I wasn’t really sure I was going to like in the first place (turns out to be a great decision in this case). But the problem with being a cheap ass bastard is that I get books from the library. Now, the library, for it’s part, has done a wonderful, remarkable job of making books available in electronic forms (both eBooks and audio downloads). This particular book, however, was not available in any electronic forms. Just paper.



In order to read this book while waiting for something or someone, I have to carry it around with me. I can’t just take out my phone and load up my Kindle (or other eReading) app and have it sync my location with my iPad and my actual Kindle (soon to be a Kindle Paperwhite). I can’t read it in bed at night (or in the morning since it’s still dark when I wake up in the winter). Soon I’ll have three different ways to read eBooks without any lights.

Plus, it’s just one book. The whole “read anywhere” thing is probably the most common reason that people say they love eBooks. But when you’re like me and pretty much constantly reading: 1) fiction book, 2) tech/programming book, and 3) non-fiction book, only having a single book in a form that takes up as much (or more) space and weight than a reading device that has all three options (and more) feels very encumbered.

It’s only 274 pages, so that’s a relief… But I’m not gonna lie, after this, I’m tempted to download the eBook version of any paperback books I own just to be able to read them more quickly and easily and pleasurably*. I know that’s technically illegal and I haven’t actually done it yet, so don’t come after me right now… but in those cases, I have already bought (or was given) a hard copy, so the author (and publisher) is getting their money. I’m sure if you asked the authors, they’d be happy to let me read whichever version was best for me (in fact, I’ve seen and heard a couple others say basically that when asked what the best way to buy their book is. “Buy whatever version is best for you. Then buy whatever version is best for your friends. *wink*wink* *laugh*”)

Finally, the promised contradictory message contained in the title of the post: Obviously, since I’m still using a device that exists in the physical world, then there isn’t really a way to get away from reading books in the physical world, even if the content is contained on sheets of transistors instead of sheets of paper. So really, the physical world is manifesting itself no matter how I choose to read. It’s just the paper part that’s the annoyance.


And, scene.

* Did anyone else immediately think of a 50 Shades joke there?

Gradle Irony

Literally one right after the other. (This was a while ago, so don’t get too excited about a sale on eBooks)


Vying For Your Attention

In an effort to vie for your attention in the Check In Wars, Gowalla now lets you check in on Facebook and Foursquare.

In an effort to vie for your attention in the TV and Movie Watching Wars, Netflix is willing to shell out big bucks for in-season TV shows. Good thing because the prospect of paying $15 for Netflix and $8 for Hulu – while still cheaper than cable, satellite, or AT&T’s thing – is starting to look expensive to a cheapskate frugal person like me.

Song from Google Nexus S Video

It wasn’t all that hard to find, but I bet a lot of people will be looking for the song from the Google Nexus S video since they don’t credit it in the video or on the YouTube page. (And since my wife is a French teacher, I thought maybe I could help other French teachers out here)

It’s called Allo Allo by Les Sans Culottes, which I believe translates to “Those Without Underwear”.

Here’s the song Allo Allo (Hello I Love You) on Amazon, and on YouTube.