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Comment: Get some advice from people in the know (Score 2) 433

by NothingWasAvailable (#42420285) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: CS Degree While Working Full Time?

A company with over 50,000 employees has probably had a few folks who've been in the position you are in. Start with your HR resources, and ask them if they can connect you with people who've done a degree part-time.

I did both an MS and a PhD part-time, paid for by my employer. Obviously, that's different. A part-time MS is a well-trodden path. A part-time PhD is not quite so well trodden, but it's been done. (Although my adviser told me flat out that nobody finishes ... if that was meant as a challenge, it worked).

I ended up taking an unpaid leave of absence, but as I said, a PhD is different, in that there's a bigger "crunch" at the end.

In the end, whether you do this or not, and whether you succeed or not is going to depend on three people (if your large company is like mine): You, Your Manager, and Your Manager's Manager. Your first two lines of management will have to fly cover for you, and deflect criticism from above and from below. You'll need to be in a position where the expectations on your work are a bit lower, in compensation for the degree work. You'll also need to realize that you won't get great ratings, and you will probably be passing up promotions and raises for the duration.

Whatever you do, don't do a degree and bolt for another job. If you do, you're just poisoning things for the next person. If you do the degree, stay for a while and show that the company gets something out of this, then the next person won't have as much of an uphill fight. (When I started, the program I wanted to use was discontinued because of folks who went to UCB or Stanford and then immediately left the company).

Comment: Originality through Conformity (Score 1) 471

by NothingWasAvailable (#42359831) Attached to: Apple Kills a Kickstarter Project - Updated

A communications professor of mine got great humor out of the various ad campaigns that tell you to "be different by joining our crowd"

Dr Pepper
Apple
Every Single Four Wheel Drive car commercial

However, that's not to say that Apple hasn't built products that are powerful, simple, and elegant. Too many consumer products are a bucket of cool features poured into a plastic case.

Apple does an awesome job of leveraging their industrial design, their manufacturing clout, their IP (patents) and their defacto standards.

However, the most unlikely outcome is for them to remain on top forever. In 2011, they had $108 billion in revenue. To make Wall Street happy, let's assume that they need 5% yearly revenue growth. They would need to add $5.4 billion in *NEW* revenue in 2012, then $5.7 billion in 2013, etc. In 2013, they will need to add additional revenue equal to the entire yearly revenue of the Starwood Hotel chain, Live Nation, or Pacific Life ... just to keep Wall Street happy and continue to be a "growth company."

Comment: American Exceptionalism (Score 1) 2987

by NothingWasAvailable (#42290435) Attached to: 27 Reported Killed In Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

U.S. Mass shooting incidents since Columbine:

1999: Columbine: 14 dead, Atlanta: 13, Fort Worth: 7
2002: Washington DC: 10
2003: Chicago: 6
2004: Wisconsin: 6
2005: Wisconsin: 7
2006: Pennsylvania: 6
2007: Virginia Tech: 33, Omaha: 9, Washington St: 6
2008: Chicago: 5, Northern Illinois University: 5, Washington St: 6
2009: Alabama: 10, North Carolina: 8, Santa Clara: 6, Binghamton NY: 13, Texas Southern University: 6, Fort Hood: 13
2010: University of Alabama: 3
2011: Tuscon: 6
2012: Colorado: 12, Wisconsin: 6, Connecticut: 27

I can't compare this with other countries, because I don't have the data. But his is not a record to be proud of, this is shameful. We are a violent society.

Comment: Didn't vote? Don't complain ... (Score 1) 821

by NothingWasAvailable (#41899841) Attached to: U.S. Election Day In Progress: What's Been Your Experience?

... about how the country is run unless you (1) aren't a US citizen or (2) belong to a class of US citizens that are otherwise not permitted to vote (such as you're reading Slashdot on the computer in your prison library).

If they tell you your ID is wrong/invalid/inadequate, ask for a provisional ballot.

Comment: Re:Of course, that's -not- what the article says (Score 1) 420

by NothingWasAvailable (#41833955) Attached to: Federal Judge Approves Warrantless, Covert Video Surveillance

What the article did say was that the surveillance was on a heavily wooded lot, with No Trespassing signs, behind a locked gate. It was not attached to the home, but it's hard to see how there was no expectation of privacy (wooded, posted, locked).

Comment: My experience with a mid-career PhD (Score 4, Insightful) 260

I started my PhD at 39, and completed at 46, doing all of the work part-time.

I work in R&D for a very large computer company, and found that a mid-career PhD was very useful.

First and foremost, in my own mind, a PhD put me on an equal footing with the large numbers of PhDs that I work for (and with) on a daily basis. I "found my voice" once I had a PhD.

Second, I happened to select a topic that grew in importance after I completed my dissertation, making me one of the company experts in the field.

What did I learn while doing my PhD? Given the point in my career when I did the PhD work, the coursework provided me with a complete refresher course in CS (especially since my undergrad was Electrical Engineering). I also learned that a PhD doesn't mean you're smart, or make you smarter. A PhD is supposed to teach you to perform independent research. But it's primarily a measure of stubbornness.

Comment: Nitpicking ... (Score 1) 42

by NothingWasAvailable (#39340589) Attached to: Lego Mindstorms Used To Make Artificial Bones

As I watched, I noticed that the top actuator is not connected to anything ...

It took a couple of viewings to realize that the actuator on top is just a counter-weight, and that the two actuators lying on their sides turn the crane and the spool.

I want to show this to a group of Boy Scouts using Mindstorms to do the Robotics Merit Badge, and I wanted to make sure that it wasn't stop-action or something, and I'm pretty sure they'll notice that there's no cable attached to that actuator.

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp

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