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Comment Depends on how fancy you want it... (Score 1) 320

I suffer with the Intel GPU in my personal laptop, so I've long been interested in what can be done minimally. So, here's my take on "Hello World" for VR. using Three.js:

http://pulpitrock.net/walkabout/

No shaders required in the current download, but I do have a commented-out shader skybox in the source, look at index.html. A simple y-deformed terrain mesh from a grayscale heightmap, water is just a phong-material mesh, no extra texture. I got the character and basic keyboard/mouse event handling from another Three.js example. In fact, most of it is copy/pasted from other available examples, my intent being to round up the minimum needed to produce a rudimentary 3D VR for subsequent enhancing.

It will do multiplayer with a broadcast-repeater websocket server, which I have turned off right now because I DON'T TRUST ANY OF YOU!! I used the test-server that comes with libwebsockets, almost without modification.

WASD keys make you walk around, as do the arrow keys. Drag the mouse around to rotate your view. t-key immediately transports you to the highest point on the island, otherwise you have to walk everywhere. c-key toggles character crouch/stand. x-key toggles websocket connect/disconnect, but there's no server running right now. Oh, I already said that.

Runs okay in FF18 and really good in Google Chrome. I have had my laptop shut down for thermal, but I was running three Chrome windows to test multiplayer...

If you want the code, git-pull it here: https://github.com/butcherg/walkabout.git

Comment Geesh. (Score 1) 318

First off, the acronym is CoBOL, for Common Business Oriented Language. For thoses with snark about JAVA/Java...

Now, I'm pretty sure that, when most enterprises big or small set out to write new things these days, they're not including CoBOL in the implementation trade space. Yes, you can do a lot of things with the language that the originators didn't contemplate (I wrote a linked list program in my undergrad endeavor), but why hurt yourself in the process? The Indiana Jones knife-vs-gun scene comes to mind.

What's going on now is that, in the world, a bit of critical business logic is captured and exercised in the name of CoBOL, and folks saddled with it are afraid of messin' with what works for two reasons:

1. Afraid of not translating it completely in the new implementation, and not discovering that until the customer sees the result.
2. Afraid of differences in processing in the underlying tools that won't be identified until after the customer sees the result.

Notice the 'customer' in each of these fears. Some endeavors don't cotton to customer beta testing...

So, until 1) compelling business cases can be made for conversion, and 2) the risk of migration to something newer/better/sexier can be effectively communicated and managed, usually by folk who don't understand software, stuff like CoBOL will persist.

Comment Apples vs Oranges (Score 1) 347

You're in the throes of obtaining an education in computer science, but lament about not getting training in web development. Issues with the quality of your CS program aside, these two things are not equivalent entities.

Web development is about using specific tools to build a class of applications. Computer Science is the study of the foundational concepts underlying the tools, concepts that your web development tools mostly abstract from your concern. It may sound like I'm denigrating a specific career focus on web development, but no, it's just a matter of your priorities. If web development is what you want to do, go get that training and do it well.

That said, a decent understanding of CS concepts will server you well in _any_ application development. It just may be a little difficult to see that right now...

Comment Re:What is Perl? (Score 1) 379

Hmm... I thought Perl was C with nicer data types, or bash with nicer conditionals. That it does sed and awk things is just gravy.

I usually think of Perl as that multi-purpose knife in the bottom of the tool box; not a 'proper' tool per se, but so useful when the other tools don't have that particular pointy-thing that fits in the torx screw or a scoopy-thing that happens to gouge more fittingly than the fancy chisel.

I learn new languages when I have a particular problem to solve. I learned Perl way back for such a reason. I later looked at Python, but I didn't have a problem handy that wasn't more expediently solved with Perl. Too bad I learned Perl first...

If Firefox had a Perl interpreter, I wouldn't be jacking around with this javascript crap right now...

Comment "Engineering" Is Misaligned... (Score 1) 333

As a coder who has largely done what I'll call "engineering", I think the word is misaligned in all its disciplines. Real "engineering" occurs (or should be occurring) in endeavors that require the efforts of multiple people to build things that no single person alone could practically build (yeah, don't engage me on where to draw THAT line...). Real engineers, IMHO, spend their best time making Effective Communication between practitioners in all the disciplines in order to build big stuff with "quality" and "reliability" (yeah, don't engage me on how to define THOSE words...)

So there.

Comment It's a twisty, messy world... (Score 2) 260

Up to a master's degree, "job-qualifying" seems to be pertinent. For a doctorate degree, however, it becomes very much less about checking a box than really exploring a particular discipline, in ways you cannot anticipate.

I got my DCS at age 40, primarily to explore a particular topic in software engineering, but also to credential myself for university teaching. Since, the teaching thing has gone to the ditch, between university politics and this push to do everything 'on-line', both not for me. I now work for a large aerospace company that has given me really good opportunities as a result of both my education and experience, but the work I'm currently doing only occasionally encounters my academic 'training'. Looking back, the doctorate was more about perspective-building than specific training or qualification for particular jobs.

My career experience just reinforces the only good career advice I've ever heard, from a Canadian Air Force major general: 1) do your current job the best you know how, and 2) as much as possible, take on the opportunities that come to you. I think #2 sometimes isn't fully appreciated, but the resume you'll build in practicing it is the single most valuable thing you'll ever acquire...

Comment Thanks for the Memory... (Score 1) 1134

Command-line-only OSs will use less memory than GUI OSs. GUI OSs are more prone to memory leaks than CLI OSs because GUI OSs continually allocate and deallocate memory, CLI OSs can use the same input buffer over and over. I think MS is finally realizing the inherent vulnerabilities of GUI OSs for server applications in their introduction of a headless version of Windows 8 Server: http://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/01/13/1455242/windows-admins-need-to-prepare-for-gui-less-server

For server applications, CLI OSs will always be my preference. http://ttylinux.com/

Comment 1. Idiot++; 2. Entrepreneurship. (Score 1) 559

With buddyglass, I also vote "you're an idiot". There's plenty of both good and bad going on in those institutions, so go sort it out instead of just simplistically writing them off in your moral tableau. I work in the military/industrial complex, on defensive systems; what's wrong with defending yourself? I came to my present career partly on such moral considerations. So, get your head out of your ass and use it to give your predilections more precise consideration.

With that out of the way, if you're so inclined, go look for creative uses of the things you've become good at. Your scenario in the OP implies doing the bidding of someone else who's doing just that...

Comment Advert: Computer Science Professors Hate This Guy (Score 1) 504

There is absolutely nothing keeping you from rounding up the four or so undergrad courses required for prerequisites by most midstream accredited universities to get into their master's CS programs. Most of the so-described 'analog' math required for a BSCS has nothing to do with the science of computing. So, change horses and come on over!

Now, my current job working with computing in and around rockets has kicked my math ass, so YMMV....

Comment Depends on how you present yourself, and to whom.. (Score 1) 435

At our age, the resume says it all. While not originally a technical opportunity, after three years in academia I got a cold-call to interview for a testing job from a major defense contractor based just on my resume. Got that job, used the first three years with them to demonstrate technical chops, and was able to successfully compete for a senior engineer position, happiness ever since. Now, it's not a coding job, but I'm responsible for technical direction, setting the expectations and mentoring for both our developers/engineers and our suppliers' folks. I keep my skills by hobby-programming and such; indeed, I learned networking by dorking around in the basement with 10BASE-T stuff; now, I occasionally conduct failure investigations on long-haul network problems.

Also, look for a company with a solid technical culture; mine has a technical fellowship that forms the basis for senior technical promotions (note: I'm not in that fellowship, replaced that with advanced degrees), also look for signs that they value the technical input. Oh, the most telling aspect of that where I work is that there are separate and distinct paths for pursuing technical versus management careers; I can't just walk into work one day and suddenly find I'm supervising people and trying to figure out earned-value reporting shit. Conversely, managers are specifically forbidden from sitting as members of our engineering boards, and nothing gets done until our boards hack on it.

I Just Love Where I Work...

Comment They want you... (Score 1) 283

The big aerospace companies are grappling with the impending mass exodus of old people like me, and most are looking to hire enthusiastic young folk like you. Go to a decent (regionally accredited) school, get good grades, maybe look for an internship.

One thing to consider: the larger the company, the more opportunity available to you over time. As programs and contracts come and go, you'll stand a better chance moving within a big company than one with just a few things going on.

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