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Comment: Depends on what you mean by STEM (Score 3, Interesting) 280

by DarkKaplah (#48612085) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?
Unfortunately STEM is quite broad. I'm an Electrical Engineer by degree who has worked in software development and testing his whole career. In that time I've seen people from various backgrounds get into dev work. Fresh out of college I worked with a systems integrator who specialized in AMX and Crestron development who had a liberal arts degree. I know a few MCSE's who were high school teachers who now work with Microsoft Sharepoint. None of these people went back to school for more formal (expensive) education. Most either fell into it or did this sort of thing on the side as a hobby, and the hobby took over. My suggestion is look at what you can already do and start pursuing that. If you repair computers for friends and family start looking for entry level tech work. If you write code and can produce some sample applications (or even better publish some useful apps for IOS or Android) then use that as a stepping stone to apply for code work. I do not recommend you head back to school or join the military for this purpose. There are better resources at hand. If you're looking to code codecademy.com is an excellent resource. If you're looking for more STEM education coursera and kahn academy are excellent resources to brush up with. I would recommend certs to prove your worth. Find jobs you are interested in and see if they require certain certifications. Get certifications that are affordable and in your wheelhouse, but don't go after a $2000 certification that only a few places want you to have. In most cases your skill should get you in the door, and a company should be willing to get you certified at their expense to sell your services.

Comment: Windows Media Center / Myth TV? (Score 2) 219

by DarkKaplah (#46630749) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Experiences With Free To Air Satellite TV?
I did some research into this when I was first transitioning to a LCD HDTV. At the time there wasn't quite enough to make the transition worth it. Now between Hulu, Netflix, FTA antenna tv, and a few other streaming sources I'm looking at this again to fill the gaps. DVB-S is supported by WMC and would offer you a descent way to combine Antenna and FTA Satellite services. Take a look into this if you find the DVR included with your kit lacking. I am not sure if you could set this up with MythTV and XBMC. You can add a motorized mount to this kit if you find you need it. If you are doing a roof mount you may want to order it now. The extra cost now may be worth not having to scale your home twice. If you're doing a deck mount then no worries! ;)

Comment: Robot Builder's cookbook (Score 1) 166

by DarkKaplah (#43898547) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Begin Simple Robotics As a Hobby?
I've had a few editions of this book. The author has kept it up to date, and it's been very helpful in helping you pick out a toolkit as well as showing you some simple projects. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/robot-builders-cookbook-owen-bishop/1113937705?cm_mmc=googlepla-_-textbook_instock_26to75_pt99-_-q000000633-_-9780750665568&cm_mmca2=pla&ean=9780750665568&isbn=9780750665568&r=1

Comment: Re: Have u thought about.. (Score 0) 524

Most likely "poor programming" is not even an issue here. Customer's are very quick to claim anything they find as a bug including scope creep, last minute change of requirements, or poorly written requirements resulting in something they didn't want. My favorite example of this was a customer who over the course of developing a new application to replace a legacy system discovered features in the old system they were not aware of. They found it the week of code acceptance well past the point of getting it into the current contract. So they just opt to scream "bug!" and demand we fix it. Luckily having a good contract upfront can help shield you from this. If you have not seen it, hit youtube and search for "Fuck you, pay me". Finally the poster is asking for a Cadillac programmer with skills in all languages, testing, and validation for a bargain basement price. My tip to them is "piss off". How much are you paying your contractors for one man for the entire year? I'll bet you're shelling out more than $100k easily. What you are looking for is someone with specialized skills and the knowledge to use them. As such adjust your salary expectation upward. You get what you pay for.

Comment: Old android, new use! (Score 0) 301

by DarkKaplah (#41105659) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Use For an Old Smartphone?
I've been using my old faithful G1 as a streaming music player for my stereo setup. Some other uses I've toyed with include using the android ADK board to create a poor man's AMX equivalent for home theater control, robotics projects, and even as a touch screen interface for a Rep Rap printer. These applications don't require the latest and greatest versions of the android OS, or the fastest processor. To keep the phone from slowing down I usually don't load more than just the target application I need. Also I'm running CM5 to help things along. I'm afraid I don't know what you could do with the old iphones. If you decide you don't want these devices I'm sure some makers would be happy to take them off your hands. Blanking the devices is quite easy. A quick google search for each device should give you the procedure.

Comment: Former Zune owner burned once... (Score 0) 1027

by DarkKaplah (#40329367) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's Your Beef With Windows Phone?
My beef with windows phones starts off with being a Zune owner. Now I purchased my brown Zune when woot was clearing out the 30gb refurbs so I wasn't drinking the coolaid, just grabbing a bargain. While the Zune has proven a far superior device to my 20gb 3rd gen ipod, and even my fieance's 5th gen nano there are some issues: 1) Microsoft chose a proprietary physical mechanism for docking. For the ipod this was fine since they were first to market. For the Zune this was a death blow. Not many accessories came out other than what microsoft produced. 2) Due to a proprietary software interface even if you have a USB interface in your car that is USB and Ipod compatible you cannot interface your Zune to it. With the exception of a Sync based car stereo and some recent high end Chevy stereos your zune cannot be controlled with the steering wheel controls. 3) The one add on that microsoft kept promising to allow existing stereos to use the Zune directly was put out by soundgate. The issue here was that it only works with a limited cross section of cars, and even soundgate couldn't get the story straight on their product. Some pages claimed that it only charged the zune, others claimed full functionality. 4) Promised functionality never really formed. I have a full microsoft environment in my home. WHS, WMC, xbox, zune, etc. Transfering shows from my WMC recordings was never as easy as promised. WHS never really integrated with the zune software to centralize the library for whole home access, and xbox functionality was somewhat sad. The problem with the Windows phone is that I'm not seeing any indication from Microsoft that they have fixed the Zune's shortcomings. I would like to know this before I invest: 1) Will a Lumia (or any other WP7 device) work with existing Non-ipod accessories like the USB based alarm clocks? 2) Will a WP7 device work with any USB enabled car stereo? Either OEM or after market. Or am I limited to "Microsoft blessed" stereos? My Android phone works with any USB stereo and does this by acting like a standard USB Storage device. 3) Will microsoft start updating the phones independent of the carriers? Even then how long will a phone be supported? My android phone (Mytouch 4g) was easily rooted and is now running ICS. While I know rooting and flashing isn't standard, android is open source which means I can do this. Microsoft WP7 probably won't be as flexible. 4) Did microsoft give up on these proprietary connectors? Give me a mini or micro USB please! Something where I can keep two of the same cable in my car, and not have to dig through a box of wires. I love my android phone. I owned a G1 from the preorder, and moved to a mytouch a year and a half ago. In a year I may upgrade and wouldn't mind moving to a WP7, or swapping my work blackberry for one. Just as long as I know answers to the above.

Comment: Wag the dog (Score 0) 212

by DarkKaplah (#35466874) Attached to: Google Draws Fire From Congress
Oh no we're not incompetent or on the take. This is a very important... thing... we need to tackle. We can't have Google plugging the pipes of the internet. The fact that you all are still loosing your homes and the banks are profiting three times off of your home each time you loose it isn't something we want you thinking about, so look at this google thing! yea! Oh thank you Mr. Bank charman for another campaign donation! Seriously... this whole thing reads exactly like the movie script.

Comment: Re:Why do you need cable? (Score 0) 539

by DarkKaplah (#32839004) Attached to: Sidestepping A-to-D Convertors For Town Government's Cable TV?
I used to do AV work in college. We set up a system with a Channel Plus like product for a customer where they could send a DVD loop over coax to various TV's on channel 80. It works, but the picture quality won't pass standard def no matter how high the quality of the signal you feed in.

Comment: Handmade will pass (Score 0) 837

by DarkKaplah (#27732373) Attached to: Handmade vs. Commercially Produced Ethernet Cables
I used to do this for a living working my way through college. We used a high end cable tester ($1000+) with a screen that would rate the cable and output a pdf with each cable assigned a serial number. Everything we made passed. If you're pulling in wall you're going to have to clip an end anyway, and most pro / retail cable is not plenum rated. To comply with building codes you may be forced to crimp your own. Guys like me started the rumor that 'Handmade isn't as good as retail' because of idiot sales guys who would rather save the $2.00 for a 6' cable and have the staff make 200+ of them.

Comment: Perfect solution (Score 0, Redundant) 63

by DarkKaplah (#11776749) Attached to: Unattended Equipment Loan System?
Hire a student to do this. I was a student in a university and I'm rather erked at the number of jobs that used to be for work study, and are now being phased out thanks to half baked tech replacements. A homemade system will never be as secure as having a human being there to verify ID and record who checked out what. A work study student would cost you nothing, and give someone the ability to collect their financial aid. Why are we trying to replace jobs a person could do in a recession?

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