Wednesday, January 26, 2011

HTC Legend Froyo update

Please, can Vodacom and HTC wake up and give us the Froyo upgrade for the Legend phone already! I don't want to have to root my phone just to make sure I've got enough memory to install a few extra apps.

It has already been released in Indonesia and Taiwan and several other countries, but thanks to Leaf, the local HTC distributor - SA is lagging behind like always.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

oDesk: Real online work or waste of time?

First off, season's greetings to everybody!

OK, so I've heard about the big oDesk thing going on and how many people are making their living in SA through working online using this site.

So, I decided to give it a whirl. What follows are my findings after about 2 days. Although it is probably a very quiet time at the moment in most countries (holidays) the site was surprisingly busy.

First off, the sign-up process was fairly effortless. Completing your profile (depending on your experience etc.) could take a while but no more than a few minutes I'd say (unless you are very anal about filling in forms).

So I filled in all my detail and then went straight ahead to complete some tests.

The first thing I was required to do was pass the competency test. Easy, google told me all the answers so I didn't have to read all the documentation. Following this simple test I was invited by the site to complete others so I could prove my competency in areas of my choosing to potential employers. This seemed reasonable and I selected a few tests I thought would be handy.

First off, the PHP5 test - I must admit a few of the questions were challenging but not hectic or anything. You need to have a solid knowledge of classes/inheritance and a good understanding of how PHP works and what the version differences are.

Aced that one - next on the list was the 'English Vocabulary' test - thought it might be useful to separate me from all the other non-english speakers who can barely put a sentence together. Lo and behold, out of thousands of people, I score nr. 1!!!

Nice, so at this stage I decided to dip into the deep end and do a unix test. Not much of a problem either - but be prepared for lots of archaic shell commands that aren't even used today or have better replacements in Ubuntu or Redhat. Sorta took me back to the old Solaris/HPUX days. Still scored something like 70%. What surprised me was that there were lots of questions about regex in both php and unix tests - but not one single question about awk.

I also promptly completed the SEO test.

So, armed with the evidence that I can speak english, code up a site, expose it to search engines and maintain the server it runs on, I went job hunting.

For my first application I decided to go small and become familiar with how the whole process works. I found my first job in Germany - a guy who is running his website on a shared server and his apache is dying every now and again.

Gave advice. Waiting to see if it worked.

Applied for a 5 page baby photo website. Currently interviewing. Two jobs in one day is really not too bad - considering the one is for $10 and the other one (5 pages site) for $200.

Will update soon on what happens.

What I CAN say is that you should'nt expect many normal companies hanging out on oDesk - or if they are - they aren't paying much (probably because of the fierce competition). The average rate per hour for programming if you are working a decent permanent job in SA is at least 7-10 times the average rate you are gonna get in real rand value working on oDesk.

So, it seems (up to now) like a nice extra income if you have the time - but quitting your programming job and working online through them is probably not the best of ideas.

But, as I said it's only been 2 days...

PS: My girlfriend just completed her first technical writing/research job on oDesk as well! :)