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Comment: Here's how (Score 1) 234

by IPFreely (#47939031) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?
I've gone through this. Here's how you do it.

Start gathering a few popular science books on subjects directly on and also near to your goal. Some people reject popular science books as too light weight, but it does have value. This exposes you to the variety of subjects in and around your interest. You might not have been aware of some aspects of your topic and you are introduced to them here without too much effort. You also learn to associate detailed technical topics to the wider areas where they are used.

Read the whole book. Books are better than random google searches and videos because they will guide you into areas you might not have considered relevant. Broadening your base knowledge will allow you to make a more informed decision about your favorite topics. Once you have a broader and more informed understanding of the topics and areas involved, you are better able to identify your interests, or even switch interests.

That is when you start going into a more detailed dive into your target topic. Follow through and read the whole thing. Again, pick one or more text books or deeper science books. The purpose again is to guide you into areas you might not have considered before.

This time, you will hit lots of technical subjects that you might not know. That is when you go searching for online information, wikipedia, online course videos, Youtube content or other textbooks. For these, you will only need to cover enough to support your primary interest, and you will have a fairly good idea how much that is.

You are not going to go professional with this, but it will be more than enough to keep your interest up and curiosity satisfied.

Comment: Philosophy Major here (Score 1) 392

by Fished (#47921533) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

I was a philosophy major as an undergrad, have a Masters in Theological Studies, and a PhD in New Testament, and pastored a couple of churches along the way (part time.)

I've been working in IT continuously since the mid 90's (part-time when I was working on the PhD), and am presently employed by a Major Telecommunications Company as a senior architect. I make very good money, and when I left another Major Telecom Company in March, after 15 years, I had 15 inquiries just by posting to Facebook. The other day, I had a recruiter from Amazon practically beg me to come interview (they lost out in March due to being too slow to arrange an on-site interview.)

The degree doesn't matter. The skills matter. If anything, my broad background sets me apart from the pack. But only because I've got the skills.

Comment: Automation? (Score 1) 133

by 8tim8 (#47705961) Attached to: FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

>The goal? To increase food production by automating as much of it as possible.

They believe that automation is the key to increasing food production? Are they serious? The key to increasing food production is to either get more acreage in production, or to increase the amount of food produced per acre. Most types of farming (like corn & wheat) don't take huge amounts of labor. Even if they could automate something like picking vegetables that still wouldn't make it so there's more food, just, maybe, cheaper food.

Comment: Re:It is safer to fly (Score 1) 187

Airbus has many plants around the world building parts for them. Sometimes air is the best way to go. If it had to go by boat, you have a lot of money invested in airframes stuck on a boat for a month or two. Assuming you didn't need custom cargo ships, I don't think those fuselages can fit in a container.

Comment: Whatever (Score 2) 359

I was an Emacs dude for a long time and still use it. Then I tried RubyMine, and eventually upgraded to IDEA. The IDE features are sometimes handy. I also use vi very regularly for quick edits of small scripts.

I would no more stick to one editor than I would stick to one programming language. Right tool for the job is the key.

Comment: Re:Good to hear there are reasonable parents left. (Score 2) 93

Well, knowing that amount of information about the children extends well to the parents.

The organization response does appear to be tone-deaf. I wouldn't care if they had perfect security. I care about what they're going to do with the information.

Comment: Re:Big day in Space (Score 1) 87

by Jeff DeMaagd (#46801893) Attached to: SpaceX Successfully Delivers Supplies To ISS

Without the glamor of our own human transport though.

Yeah, there's been problems, and there is increasing budget pressure. It seems NASA is the only government organization that actually get consistently cut. I kind of agree with Ares I getting cut, it was a boondoggle and suffing some problems that weren't well-publicized.

Comment: Re: TCO (Score 1) 341

I wonder if you're citing end of sales with OS X "died" dates, not end of support. End of support (updates, etc.) is different from no longer offering for sale.
For example, OS X 10.7 still seems to get security updates. Going by end of sales, Windows XP "died" June 2008.

Ars Technica just did an article suggesting that 10.6 isn't getting security updates anymore. The same article says 10.7 just got an update too.

So your figures for OS X might be exaggerated. That said, you're correct that XP has gotten unusually long support.

Comment: Re:meh (Score 1) 134

by Jeff DeMaagd (#46558483) Attached to: Functional 3D-Printed Tape Measure

3D printing is a pretty poor name. It's all additive techniques, of which there are at least six major types, I think. And they go from inexpensive hobbyist machines to over a million dollars.

They're useful technologies, but I think people are getting ahead of themselves. The focus should be on doing things that couldn't be done as well before, not making existing things, but more poorly and more expensively and thinking that's going to change the world. There are some uses though, tor example, I think GE has an turbine engine injector design that's now one piece instead of 23 pieces when done with conventional machining. In the GE case, it's a benefit, less complexity, less weight. Making a plastic tape measure with plastic tape, that looks like a waste of material & time.

Comment: Re:Typical US creation (Score 1) 134

by Jeff DeMaagd (#46558235) Attached to: Functional 3D-Printed Tape Measure

Yeah, metric drill bits are harder to find. I generally use number & letter gauge drills and just use the closest one. For my needs, the tiny difference is negligible. But I don't make aerospace & government parts, if so, then I'd use the specified size. A lot of cities seem to have a nearby machine tool supplier (there's two in my nearby mid-sized city), and they'll sell you just about any variation of metric tooling you want.

"Of course power tools and alcohol don't mix. Everyone knows power tools aren't soluble in alcohol..." -- Crazy Nigel

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