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Comment: I can speak for programming... (Score 2) 280

by bigattichouse (#48612131) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

All of the high-end coders I know, have the following traits:

1. They learned how to teach themselves
2. They learned when it's time to find someone to teach them things
3. They play with the code, they build things, experiment, etc.
4. They aren't afraid to try a new tool, and be a noob ... but they seek out mentors.
5. They understand that the quality of their work is important... and seek out the processes and skills it takes to increase quality

Over my 20 year history, the folks with these traits have always managed to build things that last, and work well, and were easy to maintain.

Very few of them went to school for "Computer Science" degrees, everything from Poly Sci to Construction.

I say:
1. find (or start) an interesting open source project
2. learn how to use git
3. start building tests
4. code.
5. play.

Comment: Completely converted house to LED, 3 have died. (Score 5, Insightful) 602

by bigattichouse (#48001975) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

So, the "return" process is iffy. I didn't have my receipt when one died and I took it back to Lowe's for an exchange of the same model (Phillips).. they said they couldn't be sure it was under warranty, I told them it was supposed to last 10 years, and they had only been selling them for a few months. They begrudgingly swapped it out.

Anyway, the other 2 bulbs, I decided to pull them apart. I dug out the silicone potting, and found the failure was in a large capacitor, visibly bulging. I haven't had time to replace the bit - but I'm pretty sure that's all that blew on it. Tested the individual LEDs and they are fine.

So both failures were due to purchasing the cheapest possible components, specifically a "largish" (like 0.3uF 200v) capacitor. My guess is that there was a larger cap that would handle the load, but they needed to reduce the size. Initiating the failure was probably one or more line spikes.

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors