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One of the challenges I see with the learning-to-code lit out there is the "pick a language" issue. The usual stack exchange-type answer is "it doesn't matter", which is sort of true, but that's not sufficient. Beginners have no sense of why/when you'd pick, say, C over Java, or even Javascript vs. C++, C# vs. Java (similar in many ways, except the communities and platform accessibility), Python vs. PHP, etc. Each language really does have +'s and -'s. I think just a better understanding of the entire language ecosystem would help people feel more confident that they are learning the "right" thing, because it could be discouraging to be two weeks in and suddenly come across some internet ramble claiming another language is this or that. 

Anyway, that's my two cents as someone who took 3 programming courses in college, picked it up again as a hobbyist a year ago, and has never written anything longer than 4,000 lines. 

1 year, 6 months ago on The future of becoming a job-ready engineer

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Like most things, I suspect the solution is somewhere in the middle. Certainly there are losers in technology - ask taxi drivers about ride-sharing. Andy Grove, the long-time Intel CEO, wrote about the role of start-ups and what might be called scale-ups in technology in summer 2010, and I think it's still relevant today (link below). He suggests a greater emphasis on scale-ups, which might well be anathema to the VC community in a bad IPO environment or really anyone with a predilection for acquisition. 

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_28/b4186048358596.htm

1 year, 6 months ago on What’s good for Silicon Valley might not be good for America

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@RyanKrebs I believe it means you become an expert in everything if you spend 10,000 hours doing nothing. It's the Zen of Gladwell.


1 year, 7 months ago on You don’t want experts. You want jacks-of-all-trades

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@semilshah That's my understanding. Look at any posting now, they're incredibly specific in most cases. Perhaps Bryan is only talking about CEOs...but even that seems dubious, it's more that being an expert CEO isn't necessarily the same thing as being an expert programmer in some particular framework. 

1 year, 7 months ago on You don’t want experts. You want jacks-of-all-trades

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Worth noting it doesn't work with (free) Visual Studio Express editions and there's none of the nice graphical playpen of Xcode. That said, Xamarin Studio looks pretty nice and modern. I was driven away from iOS development because Objective C drives me nuts (mostly with the goofy function names and the whole @ system for properties and whatnot), so maybe I'll come back to it now that I can use C#. Granted, I'm largely a hobbyist with this sort of thing. 

1 year, 8 months ago on Xamarin 2.0 launches to help developers build native apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone

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Fascinating. Love this sort of nuts-and-bolts stuff.

1 year, 8 months ago on Convertibles: Great cars, bad vehicles

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To dispel a common misunderstanding - you can "3D print" metal. Techniques are generally called Direct Metal Laser Sintering or Selective Laser Sintering. 

It's rather higher-end than the standard plastic 3D printers, but it does exist, at least in the sense that we've had plastic 3D printers where I work for...I don't know, twenty years probably? I've seen lots of parts from both the metal and plastic variants of such tools.  

1 year, 9 months ago on 3D printers could force the NRA to beg for government regulation

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This looks really, really similar to Endnote. Perhaps a bit more web-driven and such, but certainly the same product category. Lots of older scientists use Endnote. 

I will address this purely from the perspective of a Ph.D. student at a major university (I finished mine a few years ago). On their own website, their claimed advantages over Endnote don't seem very exciting. Free access to some journals doesn't matter when you've got university access anyway. Cost doesn't matter because you typically get a discount through the university and it's just not that much money for a tool that is quite so important. Public/social group options...it's a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have. Paper recommendations would be nice, but again not a game-changer to me, as the web of forward and backward-looking citations is enough to keep you busy. The API and associated apps will probably be useful for a small subset of users who require very unusual features. 

It's nice, maybe evolutionary, but not nearly as exciting as the article might lead you to believe. 

1 year, 9 months ago on Creating scientific apps just got a little bit easier, but does it matter yet?

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 @K3 Very good points.

 

I am particularly concerned about the driving part of this. If a variety of styles are available such that it's harder to differentiate between these and regular glasses, as the technology matures will people be watching movies in the corner of their glasses as they drive? Or checking emails? And constantly going back and forth from road to glasses the whole time, tiring out their eyes even more?

 

I just got lasik to get rid of glasses, so it is difficult for me to imagine anything that would make me go back, aside from sunglasses on occasion. 

2 years, 3 months ago on Don’t Laugh at Google Glass: They’re Goofy, but They Will Save Us from Ourselves

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Reminds me of appliances. Dishwashers, washing machines, television (for babysitting in some cases...), etc that automate some previously manual process. 

2 years, 5 months ago on The 4 Categories of Apps, and Why 3 of Them are Terrible Places to Invest

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