Migrating from Google Site to Octopress

I finally decided to move my static personal site from Google site to Octopress, a static blogging framework built on top of Jekyll. Though I was happy initially with Google site, it is a pain to do few things in it like customizing layout, themes, fonts, etc.

Personally I was looking for the following features in a blogging framework to bake my site quickly. To bake a site or a blog, there are plethora of frameworks out there to choose from. Though I started with Jekyll at first, I decided to go with Octopress for its easy of use.

  • simplicity
    • ease of creating content like in markdown format
  • portability
    • local copy of the site source
    • host in Amazon cloud, Github or such
  • customization of
    • themes
    • layout
    • fonts, etc.
  • plugins for
    • source code formatting
    • mathematical formulas in LaTEX
    • search the site
    • table of contents on each page (like in Wikipedia)

To get a local site up & running in Octopress:

  • Download and Install Octopress, Ruby, Python, Git (watch out of version compatibility)
  • Update all ruby gems gem update
  • To create a new page rake new_page[name]. This creates a [name].md file where your enter your content in markdown format.
  • To generate static site in html files rake generate
  • To deploy locally rake preview. This starts a local server on http://localhost:4000/.

From my feature list above, most of them were in-built in Octopress except displaying math formulas. Octopress uses ‘rdiscount‘ markdown by default which does not support math formulas via MathJax. ‘kramdown‘ markdown supports this by default, but it does not have ‘table of content’ feature.

To get around this, I found a custom version of ‘rdiscount‘. (More details)

The personal site is now baked and working locally. To host it in github, create a repository named like reponame.github.io. Running `rake deploy` from the folder where Octopress is installed, deploys the static site to the Github repo under ‘master‘ branch. Voila, the site is now successfully hosted under http://reponame.github.io.

Now you don’t want to keep your site source locally in case of any disaster. You could check in the source code as well in Github in the same repository created above under a different branch called ‘source‘ by executing the following commands.

$ rake generate
$ git add .
$ git commit -am "Some comment here."
$ git push origin source

Résumé Preparation Tips

1. Look and Feel

Basics

  • End each sentence should with a period(.)
  • Margins should be 0.75 to 1 inches.
  • Check for spelling mistakes in English words. For technical keywords, protect the Word document as read only before distributing to hide the red and green squiggly lines.
  • Resume should be between 2 to 4 pages based on the experience.
  • Avoid images

Fonts

  • For headings use serif fonts 12pt like Times new roman, Garamond, Georgia, Goudy Old Style
  • For body use sans serif fonts 10pt like Calibri, Arial, Tahoma, Century Gothic, Lucida Sans
  • Don’t try to use fancy fonts. Readers may not have them in their system

2. Content

Grammar

  • Start with a verb – avoid 1st person pronouns (I, we) and 3rd person pronouns (he, she)
  • Avoid articles that crowd sentences (a, an, the) e.g., use ‘trained staff‘ instead of ‘trained the staff‘.
  • Helping verbs (have, had, may, might): Helping verbs weaken claims and credibility — implying that your time has passed and portraying you as a job-hunting weakling. Say ‘managed‘ instead of ‘have managed‘.
  • Being” verbs (am, is, are, was, were): Being verbs suggest a state of existence rather than a state of motion. Try “monitored requisitions” instead of “requisitions were monitored“. The active voice gives a stronger, more confident delivery.
  • Shifts in tense: Use present tense for a job you’re still in and past tense for jobs you’ve left. But, among the jobs you’ve left, don’t switch back and forth between tenses. Another big mistake: dating a job as though you’re still employed (2008-Present) and then describing it in the past tense.
  • Complex sentences: Unless you keep your sentences lean and clean, readers won’t take time to decipher them.
    • Process this mind-stumper:
      • Reduced hospital costs by 67% by creating a patient-independence program, where they make their own beds, and as noted by hospital finance department, costs of nails and wood totaled $300 less per patient than work hours of maintenance staff.
    • Eliminate complex sentences by dividing ideas into sentences of their own and getting rid of extraneous details:
      • Reduced hospital costs by 67%. Originated patient independence program that decreased per-patient expense by $300 each.
  • Overwriting: Use your own voice; don’t say expeditious when you want to say swift.

Miscellaneous

  • Accomplishment-oriented resume packs much stronger punch than a responsibility-oriented resume. Recommended keywords: persuaded, influenced, contributed to, participated in, or helped out with.
  • Quantifiable results: Don’t just say ‘reduced cost‘ or ‘improved efficiency‘. Quantify them with technical terms like: seconds of latency, number of bugs or prod incidents, or even an algorithmic improvement in big-O time.
  • Targeted resumes: Tailor your resume according to the role and company you are applying to. e.g., if you’re applying for a technical lead position after years of being a software engineer, you’ll want to mention the time that you led the design of a new feature.
  • Avoid long sentences: Make every bullet point around 1 or 2 lines.
  • No outdated skills under technical skills.
  • Summary/Value Statement: State the role you are applying for and what values you bring to job; Explain why you should be hired.
  • Core Strength / Technical skill summary:
    • comes before chronological project experience.
    • No outdated skills
    • Avoid crowding with too many technical skills.
    • Avoid obvious ones like MS Office, Windows, etc.
  • Experience:
    • Accomplishments, not responsibilities
    • Highlight company names more than the title, project title and the duration.
    • Ensure no gaps in experience timeline.
    • A résumé does not need to be a complete employment history. Do not go more than 10 or 15 yrs back.
    • Reduce the older job descriptions to 2 or 3 lines
  • Always prepare your resume in both Microsoft Word & PDF versions. Some automated systems prefer Word.

3. References

Adobe Acrobat Reader – Tip to improve readability

If you are like me having tough time reading the text in Figure 1 using Adobe Acrobat Reader, well there is a way out. Following the below step to enable smooth rendering:

Edit -> Preferences -> Page Display -> Rendering -> Smooth Text -> Select ‘For Monitor’.

Voila

Without smooth rendering
Figure 1: Without smooth rendering
With smooth rendering
Figure 2: With smooth rendering

Markdown Syntax Quick Reference

To try out the below syntax: http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/dingus

_italics_

**bold**

_**bold and italic**_

# Header one

Header One
==========

## Header two

Header two
----------

### Header three

#### Header four

##### Header five

###### Header six

[Click here to Google](www.google.com)

![Image alternative text](http://octodex.github.com/images/octdrey-catburn.jpg)

> Following text is displayed in a blockquote. For multi-quotes, add > on each line.

Unordered list
 * item 1
 * item 2
 * item 3

Ordered list
 1. item 1
 2. item 2
 3. item 3

Paragraph
 Two spaces after each line..
 creates a paragraph structure..
 like the one showed here