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Comment linkedin (Score 1) 182

You might consider cranking up your network on linkedin. I've had a few friends describe to me how they've used linkedin to solve this very same (common) problem. ie. they find a job they want, find out who is hiring or who is involved, search for that person on linkedin and then find someone you know who also knows that person.

If you can build a network of 100+ people, you may start to notice that you have a second degree connection to people on the inside of the places you want to get hired.

I'm not job hunting right now, but I've tested this a little and the theory holds at least in my region.


Submission + - Mars Rover Finds Watery Wonderland (

sciencehabit writes: The Curiosity rover has entered a martian terrain offering clear signs of ancient water and tantalizing hints of a scientific bonanza. In a press teleconference, NASA rover team members reported the discovery of mineral-filled veins and small mineral spheres that require that water once saturated the muddy floor of Gale crater. But geologists are particularly enticed by the sedimentary rock that Curiosity has roved across on its way from its landing site. As it descended deeper into the exposed strata and farther back in geologic time, it first encountered pebbles and cobbles laid down in deep torrents of water, then sandy sediments deposited by less turbulent currents, and finally fine, silty sediments. The silty sediments speak of a far quieter time in Gale, perhaps when a placid lake filled the crater. Lake sediments are the ideal place to look for organic matter lingering from ancient martian life, which is what Curiosity will do when it begins rock drilling in a few weeks.

Comment Re:Ha, you threaten teacher jobs and see what happ (Score 1) 570

Masters or MBA? They are not the same thing.
In any case, how many people with a master's degree do I know that make less than 80k?

Answer: most of them

Speaking as someone who got their masters in CS recently, it is by no means a path to career success! Sometimes I suspect it might even be a negative (in hiring).

Comment Re:Ha, you threaten teacher jobs and see what happ (Score 1) 570

Agreed, teachers can do important work (i.e. really make a difference in dozens of lives). How many of them try to make a difference? Probably most of them (at least when they start). How many actually succeed in making an important contribution? hmmm

Anyway, my point wasnt to denigrate the work of teachers or to say that programmers are special. I was merely pointing out that the salary reality is the opposite of what you would expect. What most people expect is well-paid developers and poorly paid, much-abused teachers.

Comment Re:Ha, you threaten teacher jobs and see what happ (Score 1) 570

Canada My teacher friends in Toronto (in their early 30s) make 70-80k. Toronto is an expensive place to live, but I was still kind of floored to get this news. I have been told by friends in the local school system (in our small city about an hour outside Toronto) that a handful of senior teachers in our city are making over 100k. Yeah, that's more than most of the developers I know (including myself).

Comment ZZT (Score 2) 246

ZZT is how I got my start. It is a very old game and of course the "graphics" are terrible, but the game is solid and it's fun. Once you get a little way in you'll come across levels such as The Bank. The Bank is an amazing room (for a ten year old) and for me the concept of programming soon clicked from that experience. In The Bank, you see how you can combine pushers, blocks, and sliders to create a really cool combo lock mechanism. Then, as I recall, there is a little character with some basic programming.

Anyway, the neat part of ZZT is the editor. You can make your own rooms and as you build your own rooms, you are effectively programming. From simple things like placing monsters and choosing types of breakable walls, to creating physical machines using pushers and sliders, and, finally, to programming using the ZZT object scripting language which allows you to create objects that react to events (e.g. 'touch', 'shot', 'timer', etc.) with actions (e.g. 'print message, aka talk', 'move', 'shoot', etc.).

ZZT is the game that did it for me. After a little time there I was moving on up to Turbo Pascal and QBasic. I don't know what contemporary kids would think of ZZT today, but I would think you might be able to convince them to give it a shot.

ZZT is freely available to download and still has a small dedicated fan group following online.

Comment efficient campaign machines (Score 1) 895

There's another possibility. The campaigns are smarter and better informed. Marketing, 'consumer' research, targeting are all advancing by leaps and bounds.

If you need 50.1% of the vote in order to win a particular state and you can show through your science of marketing that you probably have 51% why continue to spend money in that state???? Why throw away your money? Save it for an emergency. Need more money? fund raise some more. Have enough money? Sleep in and cuddle up with the soooooo sexy Laura Bush (mmmm mmm mmm) or go clear some brush.

An efficient machine doesnt waste resources (money, sleep, opportunities for sex and clearing brush) if it has already produced its output (an election win).

I'm not saying they have a perfectly tuned machine (clearly no one knows the outcome for certain). But I do think it's tending in that direction and we may rarely ever see 55%+ again.

Just a little theory.

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