A few days ago I learned that a regular from one of my favourite podcasts had died from cancer. He was only 35! The type of cancer he had was Leiomyosarcoma. A rare type of cancer that affects the smooth muscle of the body. I will definitely miss the occasional sound of his voice.
Joe Murphy was a regular in two Farpoint Media ‘casts I regularly listen to (Wingin’ It and Slice of Sci-Fi) as well as one of the hosts of the ‘Kick Ass Mystic Ninjas’ (a feed I monitor). Listening to the tribute show, which has now been added to all of the Farpoint feeds I monitor, I now fully appreciate what a friend he was to all those involved with Draco Vista, and he will be greatly missed by both friends and family.
His death reminded me of another who was struck down by cancer before his time. A few years ago there was a teenager living here in NZ who was diagnosed with cancer of the femur. (Cameron Duncan) He was a talented filmmaker who was a brilliant storyteller. He could have been the next Peter Jackson had his cancer gone into remission. Before his death he was able to make three tv commercials as part of an advertising competition, as well as two short films (‘Strike Zone’ and ‘DFK6498’) The latter was a 15 minute film describing what it was like having this cancer, and is embedded below.
A better copy of this, and the film ‘Strike Zone’ is available on ether disc 3 or 4 of the extended edition of ROTK. From the films you will see what a gifted young man he was.
Seeing I am close to starting my final year of a BA in Humanities & Information and Library Studies. I have been thinking ‘What if…?’ With this in mind I did some research on the net and found a number of programs from US universities that would have suited my interests and the career path that would be ideal for me. The main one would be the BA in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford University, as Stanford is close to my dream workplaces, Yahoo! and Google. The other two would be the Science, Technology and Culture program from Georgia Tech, and the Informatics program at Indiana or Washington University.
Why would I choose two search engine companies? I have a knack of finding information quickly and efficiently, and know a few web languages to boot. The other reason is they are perceived as great places to work, and this is reflected in their respective rankings in Fortunes top 100 Companies.
One thing that really blew my mind was the extra benefits their US employees get. Here in NZ there are only one or two ‘dot coms’ as such and their benefits are nothing when compared with the employees of Yahoo! and Google get at their respective headquarters and larger offices.
Starting with Yahoo, the extras include:
Discount movie passes; Free one-year Yahoo! Music subscription; Free upgrade to Flickr Pro; Health club and massages; On-site car wash and oil change; On-site dental care; On-site haircuts.
The Google extras include:
On-site Doctor; oil change and car wash; gym; hair stylist; fitness classes; bike repair.
An alternative view of Google’s benefits
Both companies also have cafes and vollyball courts, with Yahoo! also having a basketball court as well!
All these benefits are to ensure that their employees stay loyal and if I was one of them, I wouldn’t want to leave, unless a better opportunity came my way!