gillbates writes: "I've been employed as a programmer and later as an engineer for about 7 years now. I've been considering a career change lately and am interested in what fellow./er's have to say. First, some background: a few weeks ago, I decided to run a line counting utility on the small projects I've done over the years — a few editors, a few games, a macro expander, etc... and found that I've written nearly a quarter million lines of code over the last 11 years. One of my most recent projects came in at 2300 lines of code, for about 40 hours worth of work.
I've often asked my colleagues if they code outside of work, and have only once heard anything in the affirmative. Yet I've done more than 100 projects in my spare time. In the seven years I've been doing this, I've only met one other person who has creative ideas for new software. It occurs to me that my creativity really might be exceptional — that I could be wasting it by working for a company which could care less.
In light of the above, I've been thinking about breaking out on my own and starting a software company. Maybe I'd write games; maybe I'd find some other niche. When I'm motivated, I have no problem cranking out the code, but what concerns me is that there could be millions of others who are just as creative and no less talented than I, and end up competing with them for an ever smaller piece of the pie.
So how many of you out there have successfully sold software you created or started your own software company? If so, what advice would you give to someone considering it? If not, how many of you have done projects on the side, perhaps for merely personal interest? Is the drive to create software really that rare, or have I just not met the right group of people?"
gillbates writes: "Today Lori Drew was convicted of three misdemeanor violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. She now faces up to 3 years in jail and $300,000 in fines — a troubling precedent for anyone who has ever registered with a website under a pseudonym."
gillbates writes: Today at Northern Illinois University, a gunman opened fire in a lecture hall, injuring about two dozen, killing five. With school shootings becoming more common, I can't help but wonder what effect this is going to have on the future of education. You can read the full scoop here. Being an NIU alum, it is kind of disheartening to see this happen at my school.
gillbates writes: "An MIT student was arrested at Logan Airport for wearing a solderless breadboard, which officials described as a "fake bomb". According to authorities, "Had she not followed the protocol, we might have used deadly force." The article doesn't say that she made any threats or otherwise indicated that it was a bomb. I can't help but wonder what implications this has for those of us who must routinely fly with prototype electronic devices (such as those en route to CES)."