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Comment Re:HR3D (Score 3, Informative) 436

It's actually better than that. There are quite a few technologies which will interpolate the "in between" views from several cameras (google "Novel View Synthesis"). Don't forget that lightfield capture technologies like the Lytro Camera also exist.

I've seen projection based glasses free 3D systems that are also quite impressive, such as Holografika.

I really do wish this 3D Hate would end...

Comment Simple: iPad, Goodreader and Dropbox with stylus (Score 1) 180

I was not and am not an Apple Fanboy.

However, after an exhaustive search I've settled on:

iPad 2 WiFi 16 GB (cheapest available -- around $370 at Fry's)
Goodreader (Around $5 -- most definitely worth it)
Dropbox
Adonit Jot stylus (get the $30 version -- you don't need the pressure sensitive BlueTooth version for this). Do NOT get anything cheaper -- you can't write on the margins with your fingers or with cheaper styli.

I sync various folders of papers in dropbox, annotate them (usually with Dropbox and the stylus), and sync the back to my PC for printing and viewing with annotations.

I thought this would be a poor substitute, but it has the advantage over paper that you can zoom in on the figures.

The only thing I miss about paper is tearing a paper apart and looking at the references at the same time as the content as I read it. I usually have my laptop open for this purpose (opened to the end of the same paper) and to perform any fast googling necessary for comprehension of the paper.

Comment This is dangerous in a democracy (Score 1) 866

You need to have a base level of education in a society where people elect the decision makers. While I believe voting should be universal, I believe we have a DUTY to at least attempt to educate future voters in the basics of Science and the Humanities.

Not doing this in the most powerful country in the world could easily lead to the destruction of everything -- by raising a generation of ignorant people who put one of their own in charge who make destructive and uninformed policies which will affect us all. You can already see this in the glorification of willful ignorance that's so prevalent today.

Someone who has never taken chemistry or physics will do things like try to roll down windows on airplanes, be easily persuaded to deny scientific results inconvenient to a moneyed few, and support obviously destructive policies without having even a smidgen of understanding about their consequences until it's too late.

(I might be a science geek, but I think having a fundamental grasp of why Western Civilization is the way it is, what brought it here, what common failure of societies are, etc. are just as important. We have 12 years of mandatory education -- let's continue to put it to good use!)

Comment No, but you may _want_ to leave anyway... (Score 1) 418

Being 30+, I get similar questions about being too old to be in grad school, etc.

I tell people that the only thing I'm too old for around this age is to train as an Olympic Gymnast!

That being said, if software isn't fun for you, STOP NOW. Software development, more than any other engineering field I know, requires that you love what you do in order to have any chance of success -- the concentration demands are too great otherwise. This, in my opinion, is the main reason older people leave -- they have more interesting things to do.

If you are _willing_ to learn new tech, don't fret anything. Just get in there and figure it out -- pick a project to finish in technology X and finish it. Take a class or work through a book if necessary.

But as an older developer make sure you do the following:

1) Be sure to know WHAT the latest technologies are
2) Be sure to have skills in more than one technology -- I would recommend branching out from MS-Only technologies (for 'street cred,' if nothing else)

(You need the items above to be competitive)

3) Dress and act mature -- and present yourself as having insight into technology integration, team dynamics, and what it takes to complete a project -- this is your edge!

Whether you do management or coding, I believe these things will help.

Comment Actual pay for overtime, and Prototype Development (Score 3, Interesting) 468

There are two things you can do which will matter

1) Don't disincentivize -- If an employee is willing to put in 55 hours, pay immediately for 55 hours of work. Don't make it "bounty pay" or "year end bonus" or some other form of unpaid overtime or delayed reward. This is rare and a great boon for a motivated developer.

2) Do a variant of what Google does -- allow people to work on prototypes and proofs of concept (of their own choosing, perhaps vetted by the company) either on company time or their own time. Provide a wide (and serious) audience for such demonstrations (a monthly "demo pitch" meeting for the whole company, perhaps). We would MUCH rather do something that might matter than read (or write on) Slashdot. It's the promise of achieving something larger than themselves which keeps the more interesting developers going. (The ones doing it solely for the paycheck are unlikely to be good. If they are, see #1). While the main purpose of this would be to keep your employees interested and focused on your company, you are bound to end up with several interesting and worthwhile projects in the end -- projects which you could NOT have bought with money alone.
(One of the most valuable experiences I've had in my career was such an opportunity given to us by a forward thinking company owner).

Comment Pages and Keynote (Score 2) 504

While I agree that tablets are currently consumption devices, the Pages (MS Word Equivalent) and Keynote (PPT Editor) are actually quite mature and tailored for the tablet. Add GoodReader to that (PDF editor/annotator) and you can do a LOT of day to day viewing and minor editing.

That being said, I'm typing this on my Windows laptop :)

Comment Re:Land of the Free (Score 1) 559

Mod this up. The "it's just like the naturally produced thing" argument is complete BS -- there are quite a few "naturally produced" plants which are poisonous. You also have absolutely no way to know which mods were made to the organisms.

In either case, if it's such a great thing, just label it and I might still buy the GMO product -- but leave me the choice.

Comment USA: Seattle, Silicon Valley, or LA (Score 1) 999

I've lived/worked in a LOT of cities in the USA (as well as another country). If you're an IT researcher, USA is probably the place to be for the greatest earning potential/mobility -- this is where the brainpower of the world aggregates. It will continue to be this way for a while despite reports to the contrary.

Food, gas, and electronics are cheap and plentiful. People (depending on where you are) have a high tolerance for eccentricity, 'different-ness', and new ideas. The Internet (for the time being) remains uncensored.

Seattle is EXCELLENT for jobs (even if you don't want to work for Microsoft), and has both a hacker and a foreigner friendly culture. This is the only place I've ever been where I can put a resume online and get around 8 phone calls the same day (YMMV). Besides Microsoft, it has Amazon, Boeing, and a couple of other places you've heard of nearby. That being said, it can be very isolating, and very cold and dark if you're from Southern Europe. The cost of living is high, but not insanely high. The city is beautiful and eclectic (live in the city -- do not move to Redmond -- neither beautiful nor eclectic!). It's the perfect place to be in the summer, and wonderful in the winter if you like having ski resorts within 30 minutes of driving distance. Avoid anyplace in this latitude if you have a problem with 4:30 pm sunsets during the winter.

Silicon Valley is another place where you will probably find a good critical mass of companies who need your skills.

Los Angeles is a place that I'd personally like to move to, and I imagine would have critical mass. The weather and beaches are beautiful.

The Washington, DC area (East Coast in the USA) including Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland is also a good area for IT, but has a lot of defense contracting work (which means that you will be at a disadvantage as an immigrant).

Florida also has some decent opportunities, and the wonderful bonus of being able to drive to the beach whenever you want (you will miss this pretty much anywhere else in the USA, even if it looks close to the water on the map).

Texas is also rich and foreigner-friendly in a way that you would not expect -- but it's not Silicon Valley!

I would stay away from the Midwest (as wonderful as it is) and any metropolitan area whose name you've never heard of, even if the particular opportunity is good. You will want the ability to change companies without necessarily moving.

Another piece of advice: If you care at all about your home country, do three things: 1) try to find a position that will let you go to there for the summers -- e.g., an appointment at an institution for only 9 months, etc. This is very difficult to come by, but otherwise you may be slowly driven insane with homesickness and the one to three (if you're super-lucky) weeks of vacation that a typical US company will give you. 2) Get plugged into your local expat community. Make sure it exists where you're going. 3) Pick a place with the most direct airline routes back to your home city -- otherwise you'll waste 2-3 days traveling each way (I'm not kidding!).

Comment Brave New World and a short story (Score 4, Insightful) 1365

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley followed by a short story I read which I can't locate right now.

I believe it was called 2439 -- the premise being that in the year 2439 (I might be wrong about the year), the Earth is covered in its entirety with a 700 story building in order to provide for the almost 1 trillion humans that live in it (with only algae left to supply them). The story was about the last man to actually have animals, and the authorities plight to convince him to euthanize them in order to make room for the trillionth human, so that 'perfection' can be achieved. The claim of the authorities was that there was enough color microfiche of all the animals that ever lived so that the actual ones need no longer be around to consume resources.

My paraphrase may seem very silly, but the actual story had enough of an impact on me when I was 15 to change my outlook on our relationship with the environment for good. It'd be great if anyone could point me to the actual story/author.

Comment Sketchpad and Laptop (Score 1) 364

I've tried many things, and I've found that a blank hard-bound sketch pad (Canson makes a great one -- you can get it at a B&N store in the USA), a pen, and a laptop are the best tools for me.

The sketch pad is for the notes and the diagrams. The laptop is for Googling anything I don't understand during the lecture so that I can add more notes to my sketch pad. I also maintain a Chrome bookmark folder with the name of the class, as I run into some fascinating stuff while trying to understand the lecture. I keep two other tabs open to WolframAlpha and Wikipedia.

I write down only things that I did not understand before the lecture, or things that I think will be on the exam.

Sometimes I go to class with a 3 ring binder containing printed out lecture notes, and annotate important things. This is a good complement to the notebook and is very useful for review.

I've also tried to use just the laptop, as I type way faster than I can write. I find that I end up with wonderful Word documents (with pasted diagrams, wikipedia excerpts, etc) and remember nothing when I do this. I think there's something to the tactile reinforcement of a pen and the mental exercise of distilling stuff down to the main points on the spot.

Comment This is where I stopped reading (Score 2) 1010

The toll mathematics takes begins early. To our nation’s shame, one in four ninth graders fail to finish high school.

Why is finishing high school a goal in and of itself? I thought the fact that you finished was supposed to mean something -- if not, let's relax the requirements of History, English, Science, etc. and graduate students solely based on attendance! Of course, if we did that, such enlightened minds might start asking why we are wasting billions of dollars on an education which teaches nothing.

I believe an advanced society _should_ have the goal of educating every citizen to his/her full capacity. If this is not possible, however, it may be better to divert some students to trade schools where they only learn what they need. Even if this were the case, however, not giving future voters a basic grounding in Science, History, and Math virtually guarantees that they will eventually elect morons who revel in their ignorance.

Comment Re:No rubber or elastic (Score 1) 434

I second this. Some pictures I had bound together with rubber bands were damaged when the rubber turned into some glue-like substance...I think it only took about a decade for this to happen.

Stone tablets, on the other hand, have a proven shelf life. Try engraving them with a laser -- it may be nostalgic to see something produced by 2012 'high tech' 25 years from now...

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