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Why Do So Many College Science Majors Drop Out?

nadador Academic rigor is a good thing (841 comments)

My first several semesters as an undergrad were brutal. The assignments were very abstract, the courses hard, and some of the computer science classes were clearly designed to fail half the students at mid-semester, or so it seemed to me.

And I'm glad.

Being an adult and having a career is often full of hard work, most thankless, and sometimes tedious. I'm glad that my professors in college didn't coddle me, or try to spare my feelings. Adjusting to work life was hard enough, but it would have been doubly difficult if I had been under the mistaken impression that the purpose of work was to entertain me.

So, I'm all for adjusting coursework to make it more engaging and for capturing the imagination of young students and keeping them interested. But, when I put on my old man hat, I also want to make sure that students understand that there will also be a lot of hard work that will be terribly important and will be terribly boring.

more than 3 years ago

RIM Announces BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet

nadador Re:Are there really people with 4-digit UID... (184 comments)

No. We 4-digit people all downloaded those floppies and used them on our parents' Windows boxes so that we could feel morally superior to Windows users while also not having to actually convince our parents to run Linux on their computers. Ah, memories.

more than 4 years ago

US Lawmakers Eyeing National ID Card

nadador Re:And what's the problem here? (826 comments)

> We live in the present. The sons/daughters are not responsible for the sins of the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfathers/mothers.

This would be true, if the crimes committed against American Indians were actually in the past. In my lifetime, the federal government (through the Indian Health Service) forcibly sterilized American Indian women:

And by the way, I do believe the individuals are culpable for sins committed by the societies to which they belong, so we, collectively, as Americans, do bare the stain of those crimes.

more than 4 years ago

What Has Your Phone Survived?

nadador Old Nokia survived being run over (422 comments)

Back when cell phones just made phone calls, my wife had an old Nokia with a 4-line display. It fell out of her purse, and neither of us noticed. The next morning, while parking my car, I rolled right over it, smashing the display. It still made and received calls as if nothing had happened.

more than 4 years ago

Best IT Solution For a Brand-New School?

nadador Re:Why? (411 comments)

> Sure, computers are not the answer to every
> educational problem. Traditional methods that work
> should not be thrown away. But to ignore all of the
> possible lessons that would not be possible without
> computers is very short-sighted, and unfairly
> limits the experiences the students might be able
> to have.

I want to agree with you. I want to believe that there are educational opportunities that are not available without instructional technology. I want to believe that the fact that I have never seen any instructional technology that works better than a book and a teacher doesn't mean they don't exist.

What concerns me, however, is that the cost of getting these (possible existent) opportunities into the classroom is to allow intellectually lazy habits to develop, e.g. indoctrinating children into the world of middle management PowerPoint presentations or into becoming so dependent on spell check that they can neither write nor spell on their own.

To the original poster, I think that your decision should rest on what the teachers in your school are going to do with this IT infrastructure. Given the comparative expense of computers and textbooks, I would set a high bar for putting any computer in the classroom.

more than 5 years ago

How Do I Manage Seasoned Programmers?

nadador Quality - motivation (551 comments)

"... team stays motivated while reporting to me ..."

Most of the replies I see so far are really answering the question 'What makes a good manager?'. 'How do I keep experienced people motivated?' is an entirely different question.

When I was young, I didn't need anything from my manager(s) to be motivated. It happened naturally because I wasn't yet jaded or cynical. I hadn't seen one hundred page coding standards, TQM, Six Sigma, or AS9100A, and I hadn't been forced to repeatedly take training on how to avoid stabbing myself with writing utensils. The newness of any challenge was enough to make me excited.

Now that I'm older, what I need most to be motivated is to know that the people who manage my work (and rarely understand what I do) care about the quality of the product we produce. If you actually care about the quality of the software you deliver, then you will do lots of things that others have suggested. Its important, however, that you communicate that you're doing it because you actually care about delivering a quality product.

You'll fight for reasonable schedules and budgets. You'll offer your people ways to grow technically and organizationally. You'll value technical skill and put up with a little bit of personality shenanigans in order to keep good people on your team. You won't let your process slide, but you also won't pretend that a well-written TPS report is your actual product.

The most important thing is that a desire for quality is a motivation that managers can share with the people they manage. A junior programmer (no matter how old) may have a hard time understanding the business drivers that influence what you do, but that programmer does want to have his/her work appreciated. As a manager, you probably don't care that some feature of Java EE 5 makes your code so much more elegant the way that your programmers will, but if you understand that its increasing the quality of your code, you can appreciate it, too.

My advice to you, as a 'seasoned' software engineer, is to actually care about quality and tell your team that you do.

By the way, take some of the advice you're being given with a grain of salt. People with 11-digit slashdot IDs are not 'seasoned'. They're brand new :)

more than 6 years ago

Meet the 5-Watt, Tiny, fit–PC

nadador HP t5135 (310 comments)

I use one of these at home with an almost complete Debian install on a USB memory stick:
US$200, no fan noise, very low power.

As many have pointed out, if you purchase an entire system with power consumption as a priority, you can achieve a lower total power consumption. But for US$200, I've cut my 'check email, look up something on Wikipedia' power consumption by two orders of magnitude since I don't need a workstation for that.

more than 7 years ago



Job search for oldsters?

nadador nadador writes  |  more than 6 years ago

nadador (3747) writes "I'm old (as witnessed by my 4-digit Slashdot ID). I have two bachelors degrees and a Master's degree. I've been working for my current employer since I finished my undergrad seven years ago. And I have absolutely no idea how to find a new job. Monster, Dice, etc., seem full of junior-level positions, which I am more than willing to do should I need to (I'm not a snob), but I don't know how to go about finding more senior positions. Do I need to target specific companies? Is it a matter of knowing the right people? How do you search for a job when you're not fresh out of college?"


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