Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Disconnect from self-sufficiency (Score 1) 840

I think the problem isn't so much that this generation doesn't know how to tinker. That seems to be a common complaint with every generation. I think the real problem is that, with each generation, we get further and further from the life skills that sustain us. Farming, blacksmithing, animal husbandry, basic mechanics, basic electronics. All are quite accessible with a little training and practice but there is no reason or drive to know the skills. Ask a kid under 10 where the meat in his hamburger comes from. The kid won't know and his parents will yell at you for scaring their precious. So much of this situation is attributable to our restricting the manner and freedom with which children play and also due to technology and infrastructure having advanced so far that our disconnect from self-sufficiency is nearly complete.

Comment DeVry is not a "scam" college. (Score 1) 433

Seriously. I got my BSEET from DeVry 20 years ago and have had, by any measure, a successful career as an engineer in the semiconductor industry. I've always been valuable enough to my employers that I've never been layed-off and have enjoyed excellent compensation. The degree had exactly the same accreditation that the local state university had (Arizona State) for it's engineering college. Furthermore, I feel that the education I received from DeVry was far more practical and useful in my career that what I saw from the traditional school and from what I see in new college grads, today. Moreover, the smaller class size and year-round trimester system closely matched my desire.

However, your perception is not unusual and that general perception held me back early, one time in the last 20 years when I was looking for a new job. Also, I am a naturally curious self-learner so my personal characteristics may have had more to do with my success than my degree.

The fact is, a few years out of graduation, your degree will matter not a whit. It is your experience and capabilities that will provide you security. Having had to hire many people into engineering over the years, I have this to say. Don't get a Bachelor's of Science degree because engineering or computer science pays well, get that degree because that's what you are or what you want to be.

In your specific case, all you need is a piece of paper that says you stuck out a degree program to satisfy your need and that of those who might hire you. If you describe yourself accurately, you won't get much from any undergraduate degree program.

Comment Humanities worth more than they seem. (Score 1) 913

If you really feel that way and can not be dissuaded, I would suggest looking at a BSEET degree instead of a BSc. Still a four year degree, still accredited, but it leaves behind most of the humanities. The ones it retains are primarily communication oriented such as English I and II, Technical Writing and Public Speaking. Just the minimum to be accredited.Those particular humanities are far more important to you than they may seem, right now, because for career advancement, communication skills are paramount.

However, the less critical humanities (history and other social sciences, etc.) are also more important than you may think. Again, for career advancement you need to interact with people. Who exactly do you think those people are? Is it possible they may have interests beyond the work at hand, that you may need to form relationships to gain what you want out of your career? Do you think they might work in other disciplines (accounting, management, sales?) Maybe you will even need to interact with customers. Being a bit worldly goes a long way towards interacting with people you hardly know, at first. If all you are fit to discuss is your work, you will be boring company, indeed, and a poor communicator.

Finally, breadth of education lends a certain variation and inspiration to your thinking. If you think Art History is all about looking at pretty pictures and memorizing names and dates, you miss the point of the class. Each of those artists had problems to solve related to the technology of the day. Many of those artists became of historical interest because they saw the world in a unique way. Many of them changed the way we see the world. As a brief example, compare the human figures present in the art of the ancient world to that of the 15th century. In that time span, humans had to learn how to change the way they thought about what they saw so that images of humans went from being symbolic to being realistic. It wasn't about pretty pictures, it was about advancing the state of thinking.

I work in a technical field. I hire technical people. I vastly prefer to hire Bachelors fresh-outs than PhD.s even though PhD.s have a far higher concentration of relevant education. The reason why is simple, outstanding Bachelor's fresh-outs have shown the ability to adapt their thinking and learn a breadth of topics. Outstanding PhD.s have shown the ability to excel in a very narrow category and please their professors specific interests. It turns out that when I hire them, within a year each is as productive as the other, but I have to pay the PhD. 2 grades higher salary. I WILL test your knowledge about many things when I interview you and at least one of the scales I will grade you on will be your out-of-the box thinking, something you will learn nothing about pursuing an on-topic only degree.

Finally, for better or worse, until you have a reputation behind you (roughly 10 years of continuous employment, with references) your resume is what will get you called in for the interview. If your resume does not let me know that you are a well-rounded individual, you will be unlikely to make it in for the first interview. For every self-taught genius that I miss out on, there are 100's of self-aggrandizing morons. I will not take your word for it that you have what it takes, I need other people to stand up and say that you've proven yourself. A BSc on your resume, at least, begins to tell me that.

Comment Re:what is money? (Score 1) 344

I don't agree about transparency. Bitcoin is pretty darned transparent with regard to monetary policy compared to, for instance, the Federal Reserve or the IMF. What bitcoin is not, presently, is stable. That stability might only arrive once the Bitcoin money supply is worth billions rather than millions of dollars. The value of the money supply is, in fact, the measure of the integrity of the currency. It is the measure of user's confidence, defined.

Comment Re:The "choice is bad" argument (Score 2) 405

"What can Android 1.6 offer me that 2.2 can't?"

Reliability, that's what. Not that 1.6 is inherently more reliable than 2.2. It is that 1.6 has been fully verified by the manufacturer to run reliably on their hardware. There is a cost to doing such verification so for some phones, especially ones toward the end of life, verifying them for 2.2 will not happen. This is a large part of the reason why a new Android OS release isn't instantly available for your phone when Google releases to the general market.

Comment Re:less / fewer (Score 1) 416

Yes, the language changes. Inasmuch as people can change the language, people can resist it changing. I resist the language changing primarily when the change makes the language less precise. Other changes tend not to trouble me.

In any case, I don't believe the formal definitions of the words have yet changed so you are incorrect. Read a dictionary for usage and compare "less" and "fewer" and become less ignorant.

Comment Re:Agreed. (Score 3, Interesting) 383

Private schools in the U.S. often do not have as many resources as public schools. The curriculum they teach is typically better because they do not have to make the compromises public schools do, but it is often too expensive for them to provide the "extra"s that public schools can offer, like special education, solid sports programs, the variety of music education, the scope of science classes, any sort of student counseling, and many other things. Most of these are beyond the reach of all but the most lucrative private schools which are surpassing difficult to afford (think $12,000 to $25,000 per year for G9-G12). Even the teachers at private schools are paid worse than at public schools. However, you get teachers who are happier to not have to teach any but the brightest and most willing students and are willing to accept lower pay to do so.

My children both attended private schools for a couple of years. The first school was possibly the best in the city, curriculum-wise. When we found that my daughter had a bit of trouble with reading and was falling behind, they had nothing for her except to tell us to seek private tutoring. We tried another private, all-girls school for her and had only a little better success. When my son, on the other hand, progressed so rapidly he out-paced the class, again they had had nothing for him but to advance him long before he was emotionally ready. Therefore, he languished in boredom like you hear about in public school.

When a pay cut came along for me in the downturn, I had was forced to move them both to public school, a solution I was already considering for my daughter due to the availability of reading specialists. Both are now flourishing in an environment that has a far greater variety of challenges for my son and the help my daughter needed (she now reads above grade level.) This is certainly not what I thought I'd learn, but there you have it.

Private schools have many trade-offs aside from the additional cost.

Comment In the U.S. ... (Score 1) 274

I don't know about other places, but in the U.S. and Canada practically every house is just about as open-source as it gets. Every house is built from materials manufactured to standards that have no royalties that I am aware of (2x4 lumber, PVC plumbing, nails, screws, plywood, wiring, fixtures, etc.) Not only that, but the materials are cheaply available to anyone at a nearby home-improvement store or lumber-yard. About the only thing that is not "open-source" is the plan for a typical spec-home. However, free plans are available and, really, making plans for a house isn't rocket-surgery.

So, given all this, what is it about the effort described in this story that makes it more "open source" than your typical house?

Slashdot Top Deals

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken