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Commended Recommendations

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If you've been following along in this series, you might by now have checked out your own MyInformIT page and been surprised at what you found -- or didn't find. In this installment, the Kaptain explains how the recommendations get onto the page -- or why they didn't.
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Commended Recommendations

I don't know why, I just love to complain. You out there in webland have read my grumbles about everything from driving to rod hockey. I've even gotten angry at a weekday. An innocent weekday! Heaven knows I've picked on just about every department here at InformIT. Oh wait. I haven't shred on our IT operations department, the guys that can't get me a new disk drive. And when they do, it's a four-year-old, 1GB drive that wouldn't store half of my defect report list.

Something about airing all of my dirty laundry just makes me feel better. It doesn't actually solve any problems, but at least I'm shoving it out there to annoy other people. Misery really does love company. As Bill Clinton once proclaimed, "I feel your pain." I like to think, "I am your pain."

Despite the constant sirocco blowing out of my cube from all the whining, people still fail to correct their flaws. I just don't comprehend it! Management still makes befuddling decisions. Product development and the human factors folks continue to crank out site redesigns without: a) running it by me first; and b) realizing that the site is just fine the way it gosh-darn is. Don't they realize that all their scheming means work for me? I'm trying to sleep over here, for crying out loud!

Just last Friday—release day—a stalwart QA department minion had the temerity to bring me a minor bug fix. Didn't she realize that we were right in the middle of a networked Unreal Tournament game? The horror, the horror.

Until these people can straighten up and get with the program, my only recourse is to keep griping about them. On that day when they learn that my way is the right and only way, I will be a joyous and happy fellow. That glorious morn, when all of the slow drivers move out of my way, all of the site changes follow a logical pattern, and even the coffee doesn't taste like a chemistry experiment gone hideously awry, I will rejoice. Then again, complaining makes up 90% of my day. I suppose that I wouldn't know what to do with myself.

Fishing for Recommendations

If wishes were fishes, I wouldn't eat knishes, whatever that means. I'll bet that you wish I would just get back to writing about the MyInformIT page. I had designs on telling you all about how we generate the InformIT Recommends section, as seen on the right side of your MyInformIT main page (see Figure 1). Grab your fishin' pole and let's head out to the dock to see if anything is biting.

Figure 1 Helpful MyInformIT.

There are those among you who might click over to your MyInformIT page and not see what I'm referring to. That's most likely because you haven't entered any personalization info yet. To do so, look up toward the upper-right side of the MyInformIT page. You should see a box that looks suspiciously like the one in Figure 2.

Figure 2 A dizzying array of choices.

Clicking Customize Your Profile opens a page that allows you to tell us a little about yourself. Figure 3 shows the top part of my profile customization page. There are a total of seven categories:

  • Current Job Description

  • Future Job Description

  • Platforms That Interest You

  • Technologies That Interest You

  • Certifications You Currently Hold

  • Certifications You Wish to Pursue

  • Which trade shows or conferences have you attended, or which do you plan to attend this year?

Each category includes a list of relevant options from which to choose. Pick as few or as many as you like to complete each section, and then click the Submit button at the bottom to save your selections.

Figure 3 Just the facts, ma'am.

When you return to your MyInformIT page, the InformIT Recommends section should have magically appeared, providing a veritable cornucopia of suggested reading matter.

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