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Comment: Re:Your employer (Score 4, Insightful) 164

by garcia (#47965099) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

The IT world is certainly competitive; however, ALL companies should see the internal benefits to training employees and working to ensure they do not leave. Companies with the mindset you laid out above are doing themselves a double disservice by not training their employees and leveraging the benefits and immediate returns provided by investments in their human capital. In some fields and with some resources, professional development is seen as a bigger happiness motivator and retention tool than more salary.

What you have outlined above is a company which is not interested in its people and only its immediate bottom line and one where it's clear its people should move on regardless of payscale and internal short-term opportunity provided.

Comment: Conference Attendance and Funding (Score 2) 164

by garcia (#47965007) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

As someone who has repeatedly attended and presented at conferences in my field, I make it a point during negotiations for any new job to ensure these are funded fully but only if I am presenting; otherwise, I opt to share in the costs associated in attending with my employer.

Each and every company I have worked at in the past (and current) has a budget for training and professional development of its employees, some more than others; however, by making a case that I am giving back to a community of like-minded professionals and putting our name and brand out there during presentations, I have found this is an easy sell for companies for which I want to work.

I work extensively w/SAS and utilize a lot of the conference (SAS Global Forum/SUGI prior) materials in my day to day both for myself and our entire organization. By making it clear to my employers that I want to give back by presenting, I have opened organization's view on how the sharing of information benefits the business while benefiting the entire industry.

Make your determination and desires known when you sign on and, if that is not an option, make it clear to your management that you want to do the same thing. While I have received a variety of different types of pushback over the years for this view, they have all relented and ended up changing their world view when the benefits are presented as they are.

Conferences are not inexpensive (SAS Global Forum is usually around $3000 - $3500 for a single person encompassing travel, conference registration, lodging, meals, etc) but the ROI can be HUGE beyond that depending on the knowledge transfers that occur, the networking opportunities, and the new business development which I have seen from these conferences.

While I did not attend SASGF 2014 this year, it was solely due to my available time to develop a presentation topic, not because my company would not send me (this was my first missed attendance since I became involved in the SAS world) and I look forward to contributing to and learning from others in the future.

Best of luck.

Comment: Re:Don't Miss The Point (Score 2) 104

by Rei (#47946717) Attached to: Dremel Releases 3D Printer

Services like that exist online, and they're excellent, albeit rather slow. I personally use iMaterialize because they have such a wide range of material options (everything from rubber to titanium) and finishes (for example, 4 different options for silver), but there's lots of others out there, and some are cheaper.

If you've ever played around with 3d modelling, I definitely recommend giving 3d printing a try, even if just a little test piece. :) Note that plastics are a lot cheaper than metals, although metals look the coolest.

Comment: Re:Novelty (Score 1) 104

by Rei (#47946611) Attached to: Dremel Releases 3D Printer

What sort of 3d prints are you looking at?

Perhaps my expectations of 3d printers are too high because I buy from professional 3d printing services rather than using a low-end home 3d printer. They use high end products and sometimes do post-printing finishing work. But the quality of the stuff you can get is truly excellent, and out of a very wide range of materials.

Comment: Re:This is so 2012. (Score 1) 104

by Rei (#47946585) Attached to: Dremel Releases 3D Printer

Isn't that now the limiting factor?

So we have 3d printers in stores. Now we need all of the home devices that could potentially need spare parts printed to be available online, preferably in a unified database. You need manufacturer buy-in. Maybe some sort of certification mark that manufacturers can stick on their devices to show that printable replacement part models are freely available. I could use a new cheese compartment door in my fridge right now, for example. And I live in Iceland where shipping times are long and shipping costs / import duties high, so it'd make time and economic sense to print, too. But while having a 3d printer would be great, if the model isn't available, how does that help me?

Of course some companies, like iRobot, rely on profiting off of selling their spare parts.

Comment: Re:Wrong type of machine for Dremel (Score 1) 104

by Rei (#47946453) Attached to: Dremel Releases 3D Printer

It does seem rather weird to treat it as an intractable problem. Are we really talking about something that's AI-Complete here, like natural language understanding? Something not succeptible to a combination of chained rules, physics calculations, and statistical analysis? I seriously doubt it. So different machines can act differently due to wear, etc? Gee, people have never written programs to deal with that before, heavens no. So some things may require a decision from the operator, like whether to restart a defective piece or try to salvage it? Gee, I've never heard of a program asking the user a question during operation before! A piece of "printing" hardware experiencing a jam of some kind and needing manual intervention? Gee, nobody has ever experienced that one before!

I'm not saying that CNC machines and 3d printers are equivalent and that you can just swap a CNC machine in to the sort of role 3d printers are intended for. Of course the task of gouging out steel with power tools is a more intensive one than writing out plastic in layers with a slightly more advanced version of a hot glue gun. But we're not talking about creating superintelligent cyborgs here, we're talking about analyzing physical processes, including their various failure modes, and when a decision or action is required, presenting the user with the information needed to do that.

Comment: Re:This is so 2012. (Score 1) 104

by Rei (#47944167) Attached to: Dremel Releases 3D Printer

Oh, and in #2, sound insulation would also be very important, both for the compressor (if compressed air is used, rather than bottled oxygen) and for the jet itself (which is basically like a tiny rocket engine). And I guess the filter isn't just about removing any incomplete combustion products from the exhaust, but also any dust or the like.

Even if it ultimately isn't suited for, say, a quiet home office, 3d printing isn't really an home office task, we're more talking about a "garage workshop" sort of thing. I'm just curious whether anyone has pursued such an approach, because at a glance it sure looks to have potential for making a very broadly capable product. I mean, such a system should even be capable of printing electronics, including resistors, capacitors, etc, maybe even some types of batteries (not anything requiring extreme precision, like a CPU, and li-ion batteries would be right out due to the thin, sensitive and rather complex membrane needed, there's no way you could just deposit that, but still..).

Comment: Re:This is so 2012. (Score 1) 104

by Rei (#47944031) Attached to: Dremel Releases 3D Printer

There's two types of processes that I'm surprised I've not seen more focus on.

1) Printing of, and then filling of molds, which can then be melted down and reused. That's how the higher-end 3d printed parts that you can buy online made, including almost all 3d-printed metal parts you get from online 3d printing services (the extra steps for metal being to coat the mold in a ceramic shell and melt away the mold). The only commercial 3d-printed metal that I'm aware of that doesn't work in this manner is iMaterialize's titanium, which uses laser sintering - and it has an out-of-this-world price tag.

It seems to me that if you used a mold, while in several ways it complicates the process (extra steps, preventing adherence to the molded object, etc), in others, it simplifies it. Your print heads don't need to handle a variety of materials or produce a pretty or durable product. They still need to be able to produce fine surface details but the ability to print thin structures loses importance. Once you've got a mold, you open up the floodgates to the sort of products you can fill it with, anything that will harden either through cooling or via chemical reaction, anything from thermoset plastics to candy.

(note I'm not envisioning a little hobby home printer that fills molds with molten metal in your office, mind you... although I could envision a more garage-scale or small industrial scale version that could handle such a task)

2) I've never even heard of a 3d printer being based on thermal spraying. With thermal spraying, you can choose the balance of precision vs. flow rate via nozzle size. Your materials are virtually unlimited, pretty much anything you can turn into a powder. It could conceivably even let you work with metals in a home environment, if the rate was kept low enough that heat buildup wouldn't be a problem (and you'd want an air filter on the exhaust, even though it should be pretty clean). You can choose the temperature and velocity you're spraying at by varying the pressures of compressed air and combustible fuel fed into the chamber with the powder, so you can work both with heat-sensitive and heat-requisite materials, as well as materials that can't stand high velocity impacts and materials that require them. Such a system could likewise do more than just print - it could add and then sectively remove substrates, it could engrave, it could change surface textures by sandblasting/polishing with various materials, it could paint or apply high-performance coatings - pretty much anything you can envision from a device whose fundamental workings are "shoot grains of material of your choosing at a velocity of your choosing (1-1000+m/s) and temperature of your choosing (cold to thousands of degrees)".

In both cases #1 and #2, I'm genuinely curious as to why there's not been more work done with them. Or perhaps there has been work done with them that I'm unaware of? I'm asking as someone who makes and buys 3d printed items online but has never printed one herself.

Comment: Ugh (Score 1) 541

by TrippTDF (#47922907) Attached to: What To Expect With Windows 9
I've JUST started using 8.1 for a project at work, and I'm constantly blown away at how much of a compromise the Metro Interface is. The defaults make it hard to find the things I'm used to, like the control panel, while the new interfaces are lacking in the features I need. Getting to basic features now takes more time than in WIn7. There are no advantages to the interface, and big detractions.

Just as companies held onto WinXP for a LONG time, I think they will do the same with Win7- there's just no huge incentive to upgrade. Home users are already turning towards iOS. MS has a hard road ahead of themselves if they want to regain what they once had.

Comment: My Guess (Score 4, Insightful) 187

SpaceX will make $2.6 Billion do way cooler stuff than $4.2 Billion to Boeing. SpaceX is a young, hungry company that is on the forefront of multiple industries. Boeing, while still a great company, is older an no doubt bogged down in more levels of bureaucracy.

Comment: Re:When can we stop selling party balloons (Score 1) 296

by Rei (#47883153) Attached to: WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

Helium exists in the atmosphere not because of the helium reserve, but because the planet constantly outgasses it. It's a product of the radioactive decay chains within the planet.

And if it costs $7 a liter, you better believe people will consume it a *lot* slower. Mainly recapture, but also less frivolous usage.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." - Bert Lantz

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