Showing posts with label Work & Play. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Work & Play. Show all posts

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Remember Super Mario 64? You can now play an HD recreation in your browser


Remember Super Mario 64? Well you should – it’s arguably the greatest platformer since video games began letting you move through more than two dimensions.
We don’t all have a Nintendo 64 (or one of the several remakes) lying around though, so wouldn’t it be nice to be able to play it on your computer?
Developer Roystan Ross has gone and done just that, recreating the game’s first level, Bob-Omb Battlefield, with impressive accuracy and improved visuals to boot.


You can play the game in your Bowser browser using a Unity plug-in, and it runs fairly smoothly on my Surface Pro 3. The level layout and physics are virtually identical, and you can control Mario with either your keyboard or a gamepad.
There are a couple of things missing, like some of Mario’s attacks and the level’s Red Coins – and of course, it’s only one level – but it’s still worth checking out if you need something fun for the weekend.
If you’d rather to take the game around with you, you can also download it on Windows, Mac or Linux. Check it out, it’s impressive work.

Monday, September 1, 2014

6 Creative Cover Letters for Job App Inspiration

Your cover letter is supposed to catch a prospective employer's eye, but that's easier said than done when it's buried under a pile of applications. As a result, nearly every professional has his or her own advice when it comes to writing one of these formal introductions and bids for employment.

There's a typical formula many follow, but some job hopefuls have tried more inventive techniques to get their applications noticed. While success isn't guaranteed, these individuals chose more creative paths on the road to employment.

Whether you're looking for ideas to improve your job search, or you just want to see what people are willing to do to get an interview, here are six impressive cover letters that can inspire you to up your application game.

1. The Direct Approach

Lindsay Blackwell wanted to be social media director of the University of Michigan. Instead of typing up a typical cover letter, the tried and (sometimes) true method, she created a website with a video directed at Lisa Rudgers, the university's vice president for global communications and strategic Initiatives.
While Blackwell didn't ultimately get the job, she did land an interview for the position — an impressive feat on its own.

2. Using the Changing Communication Landscape

A PR practitioner looking for a job, uploaded his professional information to YouTube rather than creating a traditional cover letter and resume. Anthony's interactive video application included a breakdown of his skills and timeline for potential employers. It showed his video-producing and editing knowledge as well as his ability to use online resources.
In the end, it helped him land a job at Manc Frank. If a simple series of videos is enough to get you noticed, the sky's the limit.

3. The Power of Being Honest

Sometimes employers appreciate sheer honesty above well-written prose and assertions of dedication and passion. An unnamed applicant applied for a summer internship on Wall Street with a short but honest letter.
Whether the lack of embellishment helped secure the position for the student is unknown, but it made quite a splash online and proved that honesty really can be the best policy.

4. A Little Design Goes a Long Way


With a company as geared to the visual as Instagram, it can take more than a well-worded letter to catch the team's attention.
Twenty-year-old Alice Lee used her design skills to create an interactive website, complete with an Instagram stream with the social network's API. Instagram didn't end up hiring Lee, but she did get to speak to CEO Kevin Systrom, and Lee's site eventually led to an internship with another company.

5. Using the Product Itself

If the company you're interested in makes a specific product, integrating it into your cover letter will show that you're not only familiar with the company, but also that you're resourceful.
For Hanna Phan, the product she needed to use was a slideshow creator. Her imaginative cover letter for SlideRocket incorporated their technology and her style to create an engaging cover letter. If anything, Phan proves that all it takes is a little extra effort and knowledge of a product to make a lasting impression on potential bosses.

6. Using Ads to Your Advantage

Most of us have Googled ourselves at least once or twice, if only to make sure that nothing strange turns up with our names. With that in mind, Alec Brownstein decided to buy ads that would appear when specific people searched for creative directors' names, or more importantly, when said directors Googled themselves.
The ads led to Brownstein's site with a message that simply read, "Googling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too." Brownstein now works at Y&R New York, and the ads only cost him $6. It isn't exactly a cover letter, but it isn't a bad strategy.

Google Is Putting $50 Million Toward Getting Girls to Code.


Mindy Kaling and Chelsea Clinton want high school girls to embrace computer science.
The two women were on hand at a Google event in New York City on Thursday called Made With Code.

Made With Code is a new Google initiative to motivate future female programmers. Only 18% of computer science degrees are earned by women, and Google is spending $50 million over the next three years to change those numbers.

More than 150 high school girls turned out for the event, including local chapters of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Black Girls Code and Girls Who Code. Kaling, a writer and actress, emceed the premiere, which brought in Google X Vice President Megan Smith, Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton, iLuminate creator Miral Kotb, Pixar Director of Photography Danielle Feinberg and UNICEF Innovation cofounder Erica Kochi.

Feinberg, who has worked on films like Brave, Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc., spoke with the group about her early experiences with coding and how it has shaped her career. She also emphasized the importance of exposing girls to how fun coding can be.

"This is something that's so important to me that I'm happy to do anything that they want me to do and be as involved as possible," she told Mashable. "I think it's much easier to connect with when you can see it and you can hear it and get all the senses involved."

Smith spoke about why she spearheaded the campaign to get girls into coding. She took a coding class in high school, but described it as boring. Her goal for Made With Code is to show girls that figuring out coding can be challenging but rewarding: "We invited you guys because we wanted to share the incredible world that we live in every day."

After each speaker shared her personal experiences with coding, Swedish house music duo Icona Pop gave a private performance. iLuminate's robotic dancers, wearing light-up suits, also performed, giving viewers a live example of how coding and dance can be combined.

Girls then had the opportunity to peruse multiple demonstrations of coding in action, ranging from the practical to the simply fun. Demos included programming — and trying on — virtual dresses, designing 3D-printable bracelets and creating a dancing avatar.

One attendee was Brittany Wenger, 19, who won the 2012 Google Science Fair for her app that accurately diagnoses breast cancer and is also minimally invasive.

"I was the only girl in my high school computer science class," Wenger told Mashable. "My teacher was a female, so it was great to be able to look up to her ... I just wish everybody had that same experience."

Made With Code isn't a one-time event. The website links girls seeking encouragement to coding meet-ups in their area. Google Helpouts also makes tutorials explaining coding concepts.


 
As part of the event, girls were able to design custom 3D-printed bracelets, courtesy of Shapeways, a NYC-based 3D printing marketplace and community.
 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Top 10 Tech Companies for Culture and Values


Some companies know exactly how to make their employees happy, and Twitter is at the top of the list.
The social media giant ranked No. 1 out of 25 companies with the best culture and values, according to a new report from job community site Glassdoor.
From Google to Facebook to Apple, 11 tech companies managed to make the list — more than any other industry.
Results were based on feedback from people who know these companies the best — their employees. Culture and value ratings were based on a five-point scale, with "1" representing "very dissatisfied," "3" meaning "OK" and "5" standing for "very satisfied."
Here, we've highlighted the top 10 tech companies for the best cultures and values.

1. Twitter




The social network won the overall top spot for culture and values. It received a 4.5 rating out of 5 on Glassdoor.
"Team meetings on the roof are the best, [and there's] great teamwork and a lot of smart people. I love how the 10 core values drive the company to always be better," a Twitter software engineer said for the survey.

2. Google



Google actually earned the No. 3 spot in the overall company list, but ranked number 2 among tech companies. It received a 4.4 rating.
"Each employee does not mind helping the other out if [he is] stuck. I feel it is encouraged to reach out to others," a Google software engineer said.

3. Riverbed Technology



Riverbed Technology came in at number 4 in the overall company list, but landed in the third spot among tech companies. Employees gave the company's culture and values a 4.3 rating.
"It is a great culture where employees are encouraged to take responsibility and are empowered to innovate," a Riverbed Technology employee said. "The company is moving in the right direction with respect to vision and shareholder."

4. Facebook



Facebook landed in fifth on the top 25 list, but ranked No. 4 among tech companies. It earned a 4.3 rating.
"Facebook truly values the important things in life — to me, at least," a Facebook user operations associate said. "The culture and dialog is open about everything. Whether it's with your manager, on your team or concerning a company-wide issue."

5. National Instruments



ational Instruments came in eighth on the original top 25 list, but made it to the fifth spot on the tech list. Employees gave the company a 4.2 rating.
"The company culture is fantastic. People are approachable, the attitudes are positive, there's a lot of energy in every department," a National Instruments employee told Glassdoor.

6. Intuit


Intuit claimed the 11th spot out of the top 25, but jumped to No. 6 among tech companies. It received a 4.1 rating.
"Intuit values their employees and has the best attributes of Silicon Valley companies, while being committed to diversity and 'we care and give back,'" an Intuit employee said.

7. CDW



CDW came in 13th place on the overall list, but ranked No. 7 on the tech list. The company received a 4.1 rating on Glassdoor.
"[The people] really want to help you. The culture truly promotes the coworker and you do have a say in a large company,” said a CDW corporate account manager.

8. Apple



Apple took the 15th spot on the overall top 25 list, but landed in the eighth spot among tech companies. The corporation received a 4.1 rating.
"Everyone shares a common goal to make the best products for the consumer, and it shows in most conversations you have," an Apple software engineering manager said.

9. Citrix Systems



Sitting at No. 19 on the overall list, Citrix Systems earned ninth place among tech companies with a 4.0 rating.
"There is an ongoing commitment to improve the customer journey and ensure our product strategy is well-defined," a senior manager at Citrix Systems said.

10. Adobe



Adobe landed at No. 20 on the overall culture and values list, but climbed to tenth place in tech with a solid 4.0 rating.

"Great perks, benefits. Adobe strives to be a good corporate citizen, fosters innovation and creativity," an Adobe employee said.

Wondering which other companies made the list? Check out the full report from Glassdoor below.


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.