All posts by tmhwriter

Current Research Reflects Sci-fi

by associate contributor tmhwriter
Remember those high-tech interactive screens used in Minority Report when Tom Cruise was investigating “pre-crimes”? Or when the films science advisor John Underkoffler demonstrated the “g-speak” UI concept used in the film at TED 2010. Well now Texas A&M University has developed ZeroTouch, a sensory frame that can turn flat-panel monitors into interactive displays.  With ZeroTouch you can suspend a frame in mid-air and write on a virtual screen or in the example used at the Vancouver ACM CHI Conference, paint on a virtual canvas.  Imagine the endless possibilities and applications for this technology. The “frame contains 256 infrared sensors and 32 LEDs, and each light blinks at a specific frequency that is read in sequence by the sensors. The prototype is so responsive because each LED is blinked in sequence about 2,400 times a second. The frame is connected to a computer via USB, which provides power and collects the data” (Danigelis , 05/2011). We have all seen how the iPad and multi-touch technology has impacted how we interact with data in the mobile arena and revolutionized industries like the magazines and news papers. We believe this technology could do the same for larger interactive interface applications.

Read more on ZeroTouch

Why is it so hard to convert a contractor to full time status?

by associate contributor tmhwriter ~

Why is it so hard to convert a contractor to full time status when it was promised in the interview right before  those three magical phrases,  Congratulations   Your Hired   Welcome  Aboard! Think back to when a company brought you in for a 2nd or 3rd interview and the job was actually promising.  I can remember those days and I wish I had set my phone to record so that I could capture all of the things they wouldn’t write on my employment contract.  Isn’t a verbal contract binding?  Gone are the days when contracting was just showing up (without the 5 step interview process)  for a project that had a true end date. If at the end of the contract the company really liked you generally they offered you a permanent position without much fan-fair.

Fast forward to life after the Bush years and this is what you hear;  “in 6 months we will convert you to a permanent employee”. You may think, is this Déjà vu; because  when the time comes to convert you,  you repeatedly hear “the  contract has been extended or they are “TRYING” to get final approval”.  Does it really take two years and 20 people to approve your conversion?  Surviving a phone interview, in person interview,  and a panel interview isn’t enough.  Passing a drug test,  a background check and a credit check doesn’t suffice?

Here is why…
The hiring process has changed, “There are multiple costs associated with hiring a full-time employee and often those costs exceed previously set budgets. The resulting on-going expenses become difficult for the hiring company to absorb or otherwise manage.”(Cypress) Consequently, hiring managers are now encouraged to hire contractors or offer  Contract to hire employment.  In fact,  “Contract placements are becoming the #1 recruitment option for companies and the #1 career choice for specialized professionals. The use of contractors or contingent workers by companies around the world is on the rise due to the fact that it increases productivity and flexibility. ” (

The Drawback…
Because of the “cost”,  employers delay FTE conversions.  This is acceptable because in a recession, just as you were anxious and excited to take the job  so will another sucker, I mean job candidate.  Some managers  are really clever delaying this process; they know just what carrot to throw your way to keep you hopeful .  As long as you are hopeful, the vicious cycle continues.

tmhwriter ~