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Comment San Diego libraries are now homeless shelters (Score 4, Informative) 197

Librarians have enough to do. Libraries have become homeless shelters, and librarians have to deal with the demented and the despairing. In San Diego, the beautiful new downtown library now has roving security guards rousting the poor, especially those who dare to nod off. Same problem in the smaller branch libraries. Maybe a trip to visit and chat with some librarians would be in order. With all the cuts in hours and salaries, listen to them tell you what they need. Making them adjunct faculty could be a non-starter, given their already onerous workload.

Comment Labor arbitrage destroys US-based career paths (Score 1) 332

The economics term for this is "labor arbitrage" and it has gutted many high-tech companies with rich-kid executives treating workers as fungible resource pools of interchangeable servants. US hardware engineers and US software developers are replaced by hordes of low-paid overseas technicians, especially in what are perceived as support roles such as data management, specs documentation, and quality assurance testing. I can corroborate the truth of this from personal experience, from my time at both Hewlett-Packard and Qualcomm. Entire US departments disappeared in just a few days. Fortunately I continue to self-train in new technologies as a lifetime hobby, and so have managed to stay just ahead of the worst of it, for now.

Comment Intersect your coding with an interest like music (Score 2) 255

Once comfortable with your programming language of choice (for example, Python) seek out API libraries for the language that are geared to a second interest, such as graphics, user interfaces, math, maps, needlepoint patterns, or whatever. My limited knowledge of (but great interest in) music has been enhanced by digging through the PythonInMusic wiki, plus studying the excellent book (with associated code library) "Making Music with Computers" by Bill Manaris ISBN-13 9781439867914. Rummage around on the net to find the intersection of your personal area(s) of expertise or a nascent interest with your coding language. The things you find interesting outside of computers all generate some sort of data. Work with it.

Comment Re:Still plenty of sparky things to invent (Score 1) 223

Actually, I am counting on good old capitalist greed -- or, more politely, people voting with their dollars for projects they deem useful and significant -- per the SEC, "The final rules, Regulation Crowdfunding, permit individuals to invest in securities-based crowdfunding transactions subject to certain investment limits." http://www.sec.gov/news/pressr... National boundaries are becoming less of a barrier. Work where you want, invest where you will. If you like sparky things, there will be a way to convert them into sparkly things. Life is short, study hard. All else will follow.

Comment Still plenty of sparky things to invent (Score 1) 223

Given that we are in need of ever-better automotive electronics, solar energy devices, wind turbines, battery technology, smart buildings, power transmission, quantum computing, plus mechatronic and optoelectronic technologies yet to be developed, I suspect electrical and electronic engineering (EEE) knowledge and skills will remain important. The SEC in the US will soon be allowing folks who engage in crowdsourcing to also buy shares of stock in projects. Maker fairs are popping up everywhere. Sounding the death knell for growth in EEE jobs given the interest in EEE seems counterintuitive -- technolust for all, and all for technolust!

Comment Read "Introducing GitHub" by Bell and Beer 2014 (Score 1) 343

The 125-page book "Introducing GitHub" by Bell and Beer published by O'Reilly in November 2014 is a great introduction to version control and GitHub in particular for non-technical people. It is specifically aimed at an audience of project managers and product managers. ISBN 9781491949740. Well worth the twenty-five dollars, and the quiet weekend you will spend on it.

Comment The Transparent Society by David Brin 1998 (Score 1) 140

David Brin's 1998 book "The Transparent Society" (ISBN 9780738201443) is cogent and still timely -- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/transparent-society-david-brin/1100622841 and see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Transparent_Society -- consider mentioning it as supplementary reading at least.

Comment Willpower is the key (Score 1) 418

Bang away for ninety minutes a day upgrading your skillset. Make this a habit first thing in the morning. An extremely useful book is "Willpower" which discusses the daily depletion of will, and how to compensate for that, and enhance it -- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/willpower-roy-f-baumeister/1100482735 Just as folks tend to sleep in ninety minute cycles, so too is studying best done in uninterrupted ninety minute chunks. Microsoft toolsets mutate often, but they share a common design philosophy, so if you know VB and an older edition of .NET you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you can "upgrade" to C# and the latest .NET. Forge the habit of an early morning hideout study period of ninety minutes with your laptop and a computer book, and work your way through tutorials. And whatever worked for you to get you to your current level of knowledge is probably still a valid approach. Remember too that you are over the biggest hurdle, which is understanding how the edit-build-run-repeat cycle works in your IDE (likely Visual Studio).

Submission + - Tethr puts disaster-zone worldwide connectivity into your backpack (bbc.com)

shmorhay writes: "Aaron Huslage, an experienced disaster-zone communications expert, has used the lessons learned from setting up wireless networks in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to create an open-source communications hub packed in a waterproof Pelican box that will help first responders link to the outside world from within crisis zones. See the BBC news article at http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120413-communicating-in-a-crisis and see his application for funding at http://newschallenge.tumblr.com/post/19450685278/tethr-evolving-networks and also at http://angel.co/tethr ."

Comment Harwani's recent PyQT intro to Python programming (Score 1) 525

B. M. Harwani just came out with a very nice introductory Python programming book that covers Python basics in the first part, and then focuses on using PyQT to build GUI applications that link to a MySQL database. This combination of Python, PyQT, and MySQL works well on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The full title is "Introduction to Python Programming and Developing GUI Applications with PyQT" by B.M. Harwani, Dec. 2011, ISBN-13: 9781435460973, 300 pages, $30 -- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/introduction-to-python-programming-and-developing-gui-applications-with-pyqt-b-m-harwani/1103826486

Comment Zenna Henderson's Ingathering (Score 1) 1244

Zenna Henderson's stories of The People were published as a single volume, titled "Ingathering", which I highly recommend. Trivia bit -- a 1972 made-for-TV movie was filmed of one of the stories starring William Shatner as the non-alien doctor who performs psi-augmented emergency surgery on a child, plus Kim Darby (of "True Grit" fame). But read the book first to immerse yourself in a delicate female perspective on alien contact. Deeply moving in many parts.

Comment Interview village elders (Score 1) 157

Bring along digital voice recorders such as those used for dictation, a couple of laptops, plus digital still cameras, possible a small and cheap digital video camera. Get your students to interview the village elders about THEIR knowledge, and post the results to the web on your return. After all, these folks are part of a culture that survives in a hostile world right next door to Mars. Let them show and tell YOU what arctic science is all about.

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