Data Mining and Doctor Who

What do data mining and Doctor Who have in common?



Start with data mining.  Some companies sell different versions of a database or subscription service, based on your location.  They determine your location based on your computer’s IP address.  For example, if you live in the UK and you want full access the UK version of the database, then you pay full price, but if you want to add other locations, you can get it at a fraction of the cost.   In other cases, due to licensing restrictions, if you have an IP address outside a specific country, you simply can’t access the website.

It is the same for Doctor Who.  If you live inside the UK, you can watch Doctor Who live and streaming via the BBC.  However, if you try to access from the United States, you get this message.

BBC message

Basically, you can’t view it without having an IP address in the UK.

But you really want to access a particular website and crunch all that data… or you want to really watch Doctor Who live, the day it comes out.  What do you do?

Simple:  Sign up for a VPN service.

Not all VPN options are the same.  Some have point to point utility.  For example: from your laptop you can securely connect to your company’s office router.  This is what most telecommuters are used to.  This is not the type of VPN I am talking about.  The VPN I am talking about is a location select-able VPN.  How it works:  I buy access to the service.  Next I can browse the Internet, securely, appearing as if I am in San Francisco,  Dallas, Amsterdam or London (London is in the UK).

So go out and get your private VPN.  It will take a few minutes to install the VPN client on your Mac or PC.   Next,  data mine or watch Doctor Who to your hearts content.

Some VPN services:

The 12th Doctor’s first episode premiers live on the BBC Saturday August 23rd at 7:50 GMT.








In both cases you may be out of luck if you ha



If you are trying to access a website that has location based restrictions or watch Doctor Who live on the BBC

My First Month with Google Glass

What was I thinking?  Spend $1500 on wearable technology that is not quite ready?  The same desire that made me get the first Apple 1, the first PC,  the first iPhone, Android (Gphone back then) and many other firsts.  When you want to understand where technology is going, you can’t live it from afar you must immerse yourself.







There are 2 parts of the Glass experience: (1) How others react to you and (2) what you experience

How others react

This is funny, top questions

  1.  Are you recording me now?
  2. Did you take my picture?
  3. How do they work?
  4. Can I try them on?
  5. How do I get a pair
  6. Can you see through my clothes?

From the questions,  I could tell people are a bit confused.  There has been some negative press.  “Glassholes” wearing Glass into a bar and acting inappropriate.  These are probably the same people who you would not want to be around anyway.  I think this was a mistake by Google.  The first set of people that got Glass were people that liked gadgets and had money to afford it.  They should have made the selection more stringent;  people who actually wanted to build something on the Glass.

My Glass Experience

After the first day, I had buyers remorse.  After the second day I was on the fence.  By day three, I was seeing all sorts of new applications that could be built on the Glass platform.   Fun.

Today, I drive, email, record videos, take pictures, attend conferences and generally have fun with Glass.  The battery life is short.  I always travel with the charging cable.

Today is the day that Google is selling Glass to everyone (I was on an 18 month waiting list).  It will be interesting to see how wider adoption will impact the platform,  public acceptance and applications available.

As an experiment, the next person that asks me if I can see through their clothes with Glass, I am going to do my best to say “yes” with a straight face.




Job seekers: Do you exist to Recruiters?

In mid October 2010,  my friend David Perry called me and shared some of his insight.

“Donato, in the Detroit area,  there are hundreds of Exhaust System Engineers, yet when I do a Google Search, I can only find a handful of them.  ”

David was explaining this while speaking to a group of recruiters.  “This is a problem,  these engineers are not on the radar of recruiters.”

The Back story: A recruiters first step in finding a candidate is his own database.  Next, recruiters leverage the Internet for candidates. Job Boards, Social Media and open web searches are the tools of the trade.  Only after the immediate sources are exhausted do recruiters start the process of “direct recruiting”;  looking for new candidates via referrals and many, many conversations.

Most job seekers don’t understand this.

If you are not in the recruiters database and you are not present on the Internet, to the recruiter, you don’t exist.

David had impeccable timing.  Over the previous year, I had been absorbing all I could in the realm of search engine optimization (SEO).   In my own initiatives, I had earned the top spot in Google many times.   “How can SEO help job seekers”?  I thought.

While on the phone, I did a quick Google search for “Exhaust System Engineer”.  David was right; few of these engineers were available via a search engine query.  Next,  I proposed an hypothesis to David.  He liked it.

On October 19, 2010  I registered  It cost about $8 from

Using, I set up a blog and hosted the domain for an additional $20 for the year.  No technical knowledge is needed.  If you don’t know how to do it, the people at Godaddy are very helpful.  Total cost $28.

Next, I added a few excerpts from articles about exhaust systems.  The single paragraph had links to the original article.  After adding some content to the site, I found some articles about exhaust systems to comment on, leaving my blog address.  (it is important here to leave real comments and show an interest in someone else’s work, otherwise it is seen as comment spam).

As the last step I signed up for Twitter and created the username ExhaustEngineer.  My first Tweet was an announcement of my blog,  The total time spent to do this exercise was about 1 hour.  If you were doing it for the first time, it may take you 2-3 hours to get familiar with WordPress.

On October 21, 2010,  2 days after registering the domain, creating a blog and adding some content,  a the first Google search result for Exhaust System Engineer was

If I was a real Exhaust System Engineer, the next step would be to add my resume and contact information to blog and keep it updated with fresh content.

After 3 years: If you google: Exhaust System Engineer, the site I created almost 3 years ago is still #1.

Remember, if you are not present on the Internet, you don’t exist to most recruiters.  The difference between being found or not is taking action.



Topics that keep me up at night