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Comment Re:Programmer != Engineer, idiot. (Score 1) 422

"Retards" with college degrees who call themselves engineers are only breaking a rule in countries (like Canada) where "engineer" is a protected term. For countries (like the US) where engineer just means "someone who has training and responsibility in an engineering role", you're being a pompous ass. Your title does not make you a better problem solver.

I know a few senior retired chemical engineers that don't have college degrees in engineering, because they got their start in an apprentice program years and years ago. They did good work as engineers and problem solvers, and the lack of a cert labeling them as officially-minted and approved by the ABCDEF certification board doesn't make them any less qualified.

A trade group camping on a title and claiming legal ownership of it doesn't make them better at their job. And for what it's worth, train operators have a legit claim on the phrase "engineer" that predates any of our modern professions.

Comment Who has the upper hand? (Score 1) 997

Most of the posts so far are of the "you have the upper hand; demand compensation or bail" variety. While this is reasonably sound advice, it all comes down to your current situation. I'd say:

if you're comfortable changing jobs and potentially moving to a new city {

          Propose that you deserve a share in the company, and as a fallback refuse the overtime.

          if that conversation gets adversarial {
                Smile, agree to do your best, and look for a new job.

          } else {
                sweet. You got what you want, make sure its a project you're willing to love and put your heart into it.


} else {
      Suck it up, you're stuck where you are until you find your confidence and feel comfortable with the nuclear solution.

Comment Symbol of Soviet Power? (Score 1) 226

I'm not sure I'd call Buran a symbol of Soviet power. If i remember correctly, it never had a manned flight and the only fully completed orbiter got just one unmanned flight.

Sure, a complete unmanned demonstration of a return-to-earth spaceship is impressive, but I'd hardly call this thing a "symbol" of anything outside of the Soviet Union's passion for the me-too copycat Space Race.

If I were nominating symbols of the Soviet space program, I'd go with Mir, Sputnik, Venera, Soyuz, Progress, the Proton rocket - all groundbreaking projects and far more important than Buran.

Comment Re:Forrest Mims (Score 1) 301

The Forrest Mims books were great when I was a kid. I found them hanging in the back at Radio Shack.

It's worth noting that you'll often hear "The Art of Electronics" referred to as "Horowitz and Hill". I would second this book as a great way to start learning electronics as an adult, though it is a bit more theory and less practice. I would argue that if you're just "building stuff" without really understanding the principles behind it all, you're not really "learning electronics" any more than building a model kit airplane is "learning aerodynamics".

But as far as learning the implementation goes, yeah, I would say just start building stuff. Hit up Instructables and start small.

Comment Worse even than Business Patents (Score 1) 156

As crappy as business model patents are, I think I like product development process patents even less.

Is there some sort of public RFC system on patents? Is there a "write your senator" sort of mechanism for the scenario where the public hears about a patent application before it's awarded and wants to make sure the patent investigator understands the situation? If not, it seems like that would be a worthwhile tool to have.

Comment Re:Morse Code Should be a Recquirement Still (Score 2, Insightful) 368

Certainly people are still free to learn Morse. I would support an additional certification along the lines of "I'm also Morse code proficient."

But requiring people to learn Morse in order to get into ham radio just provides an unnecessary barrier-to-entry. The quickest way to kill newcomer interest in any hobby is to make it clear that the insiders don't care about or even resent newcomers. If a kid gets the impression that ham is just a bunch of old-timers reliving their glory days and bitching about how they just let anyone in here these days, they'll move right on by.

And that'd be a shame. Ham, is just about the only infrastructure-less communications tech we have. And whether it's earthquakes or dictators, you can't always rely on infrastructure.

Comment Re:Community involvement (Score 1) 356

Sure, they're free to do whatever they want; it is after all their project. And it sounds like they intend to keep their project under the GPL, so if anyone really really wants this thing on Linux, I'm sure they're free to fork and maintain it.

I think most of the disapproval here is a general distaste for an open-source project choosing to exclude the principal open-source OS from support, and only support closed-source operating systems. It seems like a pretty poor decision, but if there's some project goal of theirs for which maintaining Linux support was a major obstacle.... hey, it happens.

One has to wonder how much intersection there is between the set of Mac/Windows users and the set of people that choose Songbird over itunes, WMP, or winamp. Does the world really need another do-everything media center?

Comment Americans Still Go for Space Program (Score 1) 920

I've seen how NASA operates. It's bloated, undirected, and political. Maybe in 1960 they were the premiere organization for space technology, but that was 50 years ago.

Saying that the government is going to stop directly operating the US space program is great news. It's time for the private sector to pick up where the government is leaving off, and turn a bloated inefficient contractor feeding trough into a viable commercial industry.

Antarctic's First Plane, Found In Ice 110

Arvisp writes "In 1912 Australian explorer Douglas Mawson planned to fly over the southern pole. His lost plane has now been found. The plane – the first off the Vickers production line in Britain – was built in 1911, only eight years after the Wright brothers executed the first powered flight. For the past three years, a team of Australian explorers has been engaged in a fruitless search for the aircraft, last seen in 1975. Then on Friday, a carpenter with the team, Mark Farrell, struck gold: wandering along the icy shore near the team's camp, he noticed large fragments of metal sitting among the rocks, just a few inches beneath the water."

Comment Re:There's more to automation than information (Score 1) 409

I can agree with that. Process control (watering the yard when it's dry, keeping the indoor temperature controlled, etc) is a great place to remove the need for regular human attention.

The issue there, though, is that the available dedicated systems for handling those tasks are way cheaper than a general-purpose property-wide controller. And there's little substantial gain in value by having these dedicated-handlers integrated into a larger controller framework. Yes, allowing my sprinkler system to talk to the internet and adjust it's watering based on the weather report is pretty sweet. But a 2 dollar soil-moisture gauge gets the same job done. It's good enough.

The consumer market agrees that thermostats are in general a good thing. But consumers don't see the advantage in integrating the thermostat into a more complex system.

Comment There's more to automation than information (Score 1) 409

I've thought about this repeatedly and I agree with some of the above posters: there's no good reason to use the current systems (other than geek factor) and here's why:

The sort of 'automation' that is available today is almost entirely information handling. It is simply the modification of manually-operated devices to let them take information from and give information to the other devices in your home. But moving information around isn't the only thing your house chores require; you also have to load the dishwasher, move clothes from the washer to the dryer, get the mail, cook the dinner, water the plants, mow the yard, and feed the dog.

Yes, it's neat to be able to set the temperature on your hot water heater from your iphone. But these sorts of flag-setting and value-editing and stream-routing tasks don't actually remove the more burdensome aspects of home operation. Just the easiest-to-automate.

Setting your DVR from your phone isn't effective automation. The Roomba is.

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