More Nonsense From Target

6 May 2010 at 05:56 (Uncategorized)

Okay, so I once again applied for a job at Target which means I had to put up with their dehumanizing little survey that they require you to take before you are even applicable for consideration and I managed to get called in for an interview. I have to say it was a big mistake on my part for even signing that application as I could tell they really don’t care about their applicants at all. I must have waited two hours for an interview even though there were only two people ahead of me. Keep in mind, these weren’t long interviews by any standards and there were plenty of other managers around. Why it took two hours to get around to me, I have no idea.

Now, when I finally got into the office I was greeted and the essentially asked a bunch of vague questions regarding work ethic, teamwork, and asked what I would do during various hypothetical scenarios in addition to the nature of the previous jobs and work history. This was fair and acceptable. I’ll give them that, this is what I expect from and interview. However, when the tables were turned and it was my turn to ask the questions they pretty much refused me even the most simple, but most important of answers:

  • They would not let me know what position they were considering me for hire
  • They would not tell me how me how much I would wage I would be earning
  • They would not tell me how many hours on average I most likely would work — only that I was part time

The manager got extremely rude with me after I asked these questions and told me that is was against company policy for him to release any information about the nature of my work until after I was hired. This is beyond absurd, especially since this is crucial information that potential employees need to know so they can make the decision the job is worth accepting. For me, this is especially true since Target is across town and I don’t want to waste my money on gas and vehicle maintenance on a job that is actually going to put me in the red. It is no use to accept a job that is going to pay out minimum wage, work me less than 20 hours a week, and have it be some crap job that just anybody can do at that. That would simply be a waste of my time and money, and a waste of there’s as well.

Unfortunately, they did not see it that was and I left them with a few words: "I’m never going to shop at another Target again." That’s right. I don’t need their cheap, "made in China" junk anyways. Target and Walmart are the entire reason I almost exclusively get everything I want off of Amazon or through a local dealer. I almost never shop at big box stores. The culture is pompous, arrogant, and genuinely disgusting. And as I have shown, they don’t mind being rude from the start.

I’m sorry, but I’m a bit old fashioned and I refuse to go to work for someone who can’t (or just plain refuses to) give me the simple details on the nature of the job I am applying. In fact, I absolutely refuse to deal tender with business that treats their customers, prospects, and employees like dirt. The way big-box retail stores conduct their business is sickening and I will no longer stand for it and neither should you.

This recent happening has taught me one thing in addition to the fact that applying at Target is a waste of time: Target is no better than Walmart, Best Buy, or any of the other major retail outlets. The only difference between them is the brand.


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OpenSUSE 11.2 Review

14 December 2009 at 23:25 (Linux)

It seems nowadays that when it comes to Linux, Ubuntu is getting all of the attention. However, with their latest release, they have seemed to jump the gun providing a less than quality release with several frustrating bugs in addition to including some rather annoying “customisations” including the neutering of GDM so that it cannot take custom login themes. The entire release was a fiasco that will hopefully not repeat itself with the 10.04 LTS release comming in the spring.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system (pun intended), there are many great Linux distrobutions out there other than Ubuntu that provide a quality experience out of the box. One of these, which is a veteran in terms of age is OpenSUSE, which has kicking since the 1990s is a great alternative to Ubuntu and the focus of today’s post. There is a definate reason for SUSE’s success in the Linux “market”.

Installation and Setup:

OpenSUSE offers a great great selection of ways to setup your system, including offering mulitple installation media for both ix86 (32-bit) and amd64 (64-bit) architectures. In addition you have several choices of discs to choose from depending on your needs including:

  • Installation DVD including all of the most common software
  • FTP installation disc for networked installation
  • Live discs for both KDE and Gnome that allow you to demo openSUSE before installing. These can also be used to do simple backup and recovery work as well.

Installing using the DVD is the best route if you know what you want, and it is very easy to do thanks to it’s universal setup tool called YaST that allows you to easily setup some of the most advanced options. All of the most basic tasks are setup in YaST to be as simple and painless as possible, without sacrificing any of the most advanced options.

To make things even better, Novell did not stop at making a great graphical installer. If you are really short on resources, or you just prefer an old school terminal based system / install then you are in luck because YaST also have a text mode that is just as clean, simple, and easy to use. The only thing that is missing is the graphics.

Post-installation system options is also handled through YaST as well, and once it openSUSE is installed, YaST acts as a system control panel that is very powerful and allowes for almost every aspect of the system to controlled from it so there is almost no need to edit system files like you would in other distributions.

Software Selection and Installation:

OpenSUSE comes with a great choice of software and sane defaults out of the box, however, if you find you don’t like a particular application and want to replace it with something else, or find that you need (or want) a particular application for a certain function then they have you covered. OpenSUSE has one of the largest software repositories by default and has many community based repositories of extremely high quality.

Everything is there that you would expect in a modern Linux setup: Firefox, OpenOffice, The Gimp. Plus, if you choose the KDE desktop, there are a few “killer apps” that simply have no competition on their Gnome counterparts including:

  • Gwenveiw (image viewer)
  • Kate (text editor)
  • Skanlite (image scanner)
  • Akregator (feed reader)
  • K3B (disk burning)
  • Okular (document viewer)
  • Yakuake (drop-down terminal)

The only drawback that openSUSE has in terms of software is their choice to neuter certain software in the name of “open source” or to not include certain codecs for proprietary formats due to international and United States laws. This is understandable from a legal aspect and thankfully this is a non-issue because the needed software and codecs can be found in other repositories, namely: pacman and the vlc repository will fix that issue. Strangely, despite this abhorence to patents and propriety, they do provide both Java and Flash installed by default and it works out of the box in Firefox (and Konqueror!).

In addition, openSUSE does not provide the proprietary drivers for NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards, but these can be installed easily through adding a repository. Their wiki even provides a good list of repositories, including all the ones mentioned. Adding the repository for the said drivers will cause them to be selected for installtion and then all that is needed is a reboot after YaST is done worrking its magic.

For older ATI cards, the proprietary drivers do not work because ATI has dropped support for them on both Windows and Linux. Thankfully, on Linux 3D acceleration works perfect thanks to a lot of hard work developers have put into the open source drivers.

Look and Feel:

After installation, the one thing that is noticable is that reguardless of your choice of desktop enviroment, the theme is absolutely beautiful. It is perhaps some of the best default theme choices not only in terms of Linux, but out of all operating systems. The visual elements were well put together and consistent.

However, like always if the default theme is not to your taste, changing it is very simple and there are some really good websites that have custom theme elements use can to peice together something more to your liking. Pretty much everything is changable and swapable.

As far as the feel goes, the openSUSE development team did a lot in the way of making customised improvements to certain applications are integrated well with the desktop including some mods to Firefox that allow it to seemlessly work just like any other KDE application instead of doing it’s own thing. In addition, GTK applications blend in with default theme, so you don’t have to worry about using only KDE / QT based applications as most applications will blend right in. Unfortunately, GTK apps with the exception of OpenOffice (technically not GTK, either) do not call the KDE file selectors and don’t follow the same conventions that one would expect. This is a minor usability issue, but nothing that is confusing or difficult to the user.

Lastly, openSUSE provides the seemless plug-and-play experience you expect from most modern Linux systems and supports a wide array of devices. That said, not all hardware “just works” and there are some snags with more esoteric hardware, especially the cheap off-brand and throw-away type devices that use protrietary protocols. That being said, setup for devices such as printers is minimal, and a lot easier than in Windows.

Final Thoughts:

The overall experience provided by openSUSE is top of the line. It is a well designed, professional system that was also built with ease of use in mind. Thus, reguardless if you are a newbie, or a experienced user, openSUSE will deliver. As someone who has used most every version from SUSE 7.3 onwards, I am definately wowed by the amount of effort that was put into this release to give it that little extra something to make it possibly the best Linux distribution as of winter 2009.

In future releases, I think openSUSE should focus on removing themselves from the Mono platform on Gnome and working to make GTK applications have a more “KDE” feel to them. Another thing that should be considered is replacing the default menu “Kicker” in KDE with “Lancelot” which is much more robust and slightly faster. Default keystrokes to navigate between desktops would be nice to see as well.

It would also be nice to see openSUSE developers not purposefully compile out features such as DVD playback in Kaffeine or DHT in KTorrent. Even though the reason behind this action is logical, the libraries and packages that provide this feature are not even in the default repositories; therefore it makes no sense to totally remove this option for those who do want those features and wish to use the Packman repositories to enable them. Compiling out those features doesn’t put them in any better of a legal position than simply not providing the required libraries and packages and is just paranoia on their part.

That all being said, I am looking forward to the next release in 2010 and I can expect if this release is any indication of the type of progress they are making, then 11.3 will blow everything else out of the water.

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Drivel, Posting, and Updates.

7 October 2009 at 19:05 (Uncategorized)

Well, It’s been quite a long time since I’ve posted this blog. Funny, I started it then almost forgot about it and when I did think about it, I didn’t have the time to post anything. Well, I did manage to find a job in April, but unfortunately I was laid off due to a shortage of hours. It sucks that things work out like that, I basically got a call from my boss saying: “I’m sorry, but I have to let you go. We can’t afford the hours to keep you on board.” That and a whole bunch of other bull-crap. I’ll post more on this later because really, it’s a whole ‘nother topic I want to get into later about modern business practices. So I’m sparing the lecture until I can get all my thoughts together on it.

Now, to my main discovery today: a program for Linux called Drivel. For those not in the know, it a nice little editor that allows you to make blog posts from your desktop. It’s written in GTK+, which means it will integrate nicely with the Gnome desktop and respect it’s theme settings. Moreover, it allow you not only to make posts from your desktop; it allows for saving drafts, editing previous entries, categorizing, and even deleting entries. It basically covers most of the features for basic blog management; however it’s not a full replacement for the web based control panel, unfortunately.

It also have more advanced options like the ability to highlight HTML code while you are posting, thus making it easier to read. It comes with spell check and supports multiple dictionaries so you can switch between languages if you need to — along with the fact that it uses Gnome’ built-in spell check method so you don’t have to search for dictionaries if you just want your default language.

Posting is fairly strait forward: just start typing in the text entry box and when you are done hit “Post”. Formatting is simple and down with HTML tags which if you don’t know off hand you can have them automatically inserted from a format menu which provides the basic options for things like bold, italic, etc as well as lists and inserting links, images, and even polls. Really, it is — to use the cliché — so easy even a cave man can do it.

There is also support for managing multiple blogs so you can use the program to post to all your journals, option to be notified if your friends are logged in on updates, and even the ability to notify Technorati when you update your blogs.

So the good news, thanks to Drivel I don’t have to waste time logging onto the WordPress site in order to post my thoughts and I can save my thoughts for later as opposed to writing everything in a text-editor and doing a copy-and-paste job when I’m finished. One tool to do the whole job and to boot it’s all fairly simple.

Also, I want to thank everyone who supported my inquiries and endeavors compiling all the data to create the Unicru answer key. There are a few more things I’m going to be looking into concerning it, including listing any trackers I find on Unicru sites designed to catalog web browsing data of users and I’m going to see if I can find out if companies can cross-reference applications and tests and hence “track” discrepancies between test results.

If you haven’t seen my post on this subject, do check it out.

Well I’m off to print out copies of my Curriculum Vitæ and business cards for my (sort of) new computer repair business.

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