Monday, December 14, 2015
There are things to put away, to throw out, to clean, to organize. There are things to repair, and perhaps some that are irreparable. Though I don't often know what that means. But life goes on. There are always dishes to wash, and dinners to prepare in a month that could be very productive, or that could be left with nothing to show for all that time.
But there is a whole lot of grading between now and then.
Monday, December 07, 2015
(I forgot to add the general anti-anxiety drugs I take every night just to attempt to sleep. They often work. )
When it takes a couple of years to realize the pattern of abusive relationships I've allowed myself to fall into, an abusive childhood, and the realization that all that was wrong in life was not all my fault, the world looks a bit different. I still remember the days when I felt too weak to leave the house. Now things are a lot better. I'm not at my peak productivity from a few years ago, but I can remember that life again and how I did it. Next step is reminding myself what of those times I can repeat, and what I can do better.
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015
Working in engineering, as a programmer, then academic has a few narrowly defined benefits.
I just might be returning to all three of them with an ongoing project to design some meaningful kits for learning digital basics for CS students. Building boards licensed as "Open Hardware" would make sense, and better yet if combined with Creative Commons textbooks and other learning materials. I'm finding that the concepts are not as complex as the textbooks imply, and finding a way to demonstrate these clearly isn't simple.
But aside from LittleBits or Arduino, there aren't many attempts out there. LittleBits doesn't go down to the component level, and Arduino requires way too much wiring. Why not build a common interface between similar kinds of integrated circuits, and not bother with the learner wiring up power, ground, and trying to match the pin numbering scheme against the logical output coherently.
I don't quite get the difference between a latch and a flip-flop, other than a rough description. So I'm the first customer, I guess. At least not experienced enough to choose between them. That's just practice, preferably with a kit like the one I'm working on...
I've changed schools and have apparently fallen off the tenure track wagon again. That's 4 schools as an adjunct, now 3 of which as FT faculty of some sort. Which makes me either a drifter or an academic (which is essentially a drifter with a PhD and a couple of publications nobody will ever read.) So there's the experience of being a PT adjunct and FT student, being a FT adjunct and working on a dissertation, a FT faculty who adjuncts PT while working on a dissertation, being just FT faculty with no dissertation. I've decided not to contemplate any remaining scenarios. I've reached a point in my career where I've taught college courses for as many years as I worked as a programmer. So, there's that.
There are the observations of both being an adjunct, being tenure-track, and being non-tenure track full time. In a field other than Computer Science or another STEM field, I wouldn't bother. Getting a single tenure track job is hard enough for some STEM, not to mention non-STEM fields. But its a matter of working in what is considered a highly employable field while colleges everywhere are on increasingly shaky ground. I just don't have the stomach for those kinds of risks these days.
That makes 3 different careers since undergraduate college, counting a couple of years doing technician work and printed circuit board design way back in the 90s living in Southern California. Common wisdom holds that it takes almost 10 years to become an "expert" in a field, after which there are some decisions to be made. I've subjectively verified the well-known observation that academia and industry really don't understand each other, nor really care to. Both sides have their own versions of anti-intellectualism that is frustrating to watch.
It's too early on a Monday to even begin the discussions about "computer science" versus "information technology" in either side of that debate. But the story of my experience is in justifying doing things "on the computer" to a reluctant or even hostile audience when it's cheaper/easier to just do the job once or twice "without the computer". For better or worse, I never believe it's "just this one time" and cost things out into the dozens or hundreds. Innately, I believe in buildings things once correctly and walking away, even though not always being able to deliver on that vision.
I don't like the way STEM subjects are often presented- mostly textual material written at a grade level far higher than the topics covered would otherwise require. But, writing PhD level works to be read by undergrads is hardly new, but it does explain a few things. They're full of these misunderstandings, once you get past the Grade 14+ reading levels. It's the obscurity of the discussions in these works that hides the underlying confusion about what is and what isn't CS. But, I just think of it more as engineering than "science", though it then leads to discussions about where the real "engineering" part is explicitly covered.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Basically, it's like the technology tree in Civilization, but not so clearly defined.