All posts for the month December, 2011

When I was in college I seriously considered pursuing double BCA and CS degrees. I had already gotten into the impacted Broadcasting program and adding Computer Science would have been easy. I took a few CS classes and was going to apply for double major status, but then cold hard reality hit.
My father, who paid for my first year could no longer afford to support me, and college loans only covered part of my expenses. He moved down to the Los Angeles area and I decided to stay in the Bay Area. I had to drop the non-essential classes and take part time jobs to support myself.
I realized that while computer technology was always evolving, communication techniques were practically set in stone. Also, if I dropped BCA, I might not be able to get back in if the situation changed. So, I dropped the CS classes.
A few years ago I looked into reapplying for a second degree after graduating only to find my state college was no longer accepting applications for second degrees. Due to budget cuts if I wanted a CS degree I would have to find a school in the Bay Area. Easy enough right? Wrong. All the schools I considered were too expensive.
So, I decided to continue educating myself and eventually work myself into a position where I could pick up a CS degree. I did attend a vocational school for a hefty fee, but fell short on my certifications goals thanks to splitting my time 3 ways.
Every few years I look into my finances and my former college’s admissions information. When both allow I will go back and get the degree I should have walked out the door with. Had I known about the future closure of secondary degree openings I probably would have just stayed in school. But when I graduated I had over year’s worth of units beyond the graduation requirements.

The following was posted on a special interest web forum and I thought I would share it here since it relates to things I often touch on. This article briefly explains my approach to talking to and getting my issue resolved or at least something back from them. When I have to call any support line or help center from banking to utilities to tech support, I usually try to empathize with them, and take a peek into their perspective so I can make the process as painless and beneficial as possible. It has been modified slightly for this audience. If you have found any particularly good techniques not mentioned, please let me know in the comments.

Continue Reading

In the beginning there was nothing but undifferentiated ether that took form when something decided it was time for the infinite void of indifference to chose what to be. Some things spun off into matter and some to energy, and everything changed in the longest  instantaneous blink of an eye. As things cooled down, patterns emerged and took form.

The patterns became more and more complex as time went on. Eventually, man too would create virtual universes cast in electrons and controlled by gates pulsing to the beat of an unsteady clock.

As engineers worked, they invented ways to work in this universe and be able to comprehend it all. Initially there were patterns that became patterns of letters glowing green or amber rasterized onto dim black screens. And so this was the interface to the world of electrons for decades. Then some very smart people started thinking about better and faster ways to express data, and new paradigms to work in, and the graphical user interface (GUI) and mouse were born farther back in time than most people realize.

As time marched on more people began to refine the GUI and human interfaces that controlled them: trackballs, touch pads, touch screens, etc. But all this might not have happened if not for one person, and it’s not who you’d think it is…

Continue Reading

Did I already write and publish my axiom about Tech pundits? If not, it goes something like this:

The minute a tech pundit starts dismissing new technology, they lose touch of their field and lose relevancy.

I’ve always followed the “Evolve or Die” axiom, and try to learn one new thing a year. So, often I touch on those that say, “I can’t” or “This (insert new technology) won’t work” and hold them up as examples of how defeatist attitudes can’t accomplish anything truly worthwhile because they’ve given up and proclaimed failure before actually trying.

So, in relation to this entry, a tech journalist online-friend of mine frequently tweets about her site’s latest article. Last night I had the honor to read why the as-of-yet-unannounced iTV (Apple’s rumored iOS based television set, and the natural evolution of AppleTV and iOS) will have an unworkable or unreliable Siri/Gesture based interface, by Aaron Kraus. Luckily (since it was getting late), or unluckily, I only had a 140 character rebuttal to work with. But now that I have the time, a proper response is in order. Here’s why and how this guy got it “oh so wrong.”

Read the rest on Dice News…

Everyone makes Mistakes. It is inevitable. If you never make a mistake you are either unrealistic with yourself, you never try anything new (which is a mistake unto itself), or you are an alien whether you realize it or not. My mistake in relation to this article was not keeping up with all the apps flooding out of the iTunes Music Store.

So, when it came time to actually look for apps, I had almost no clue what was out there. Nor did I know how much trouble it would be narrowing down the multitude of choices when it comes to singling out one of potentially hundreds of apps that perform the same basic function. Just type in any common task or remotely popular thing into a search in the store and often you will have to click “Show 25 More” more times than you’re willing to in order to see all the choices. Just to test this, as I was writing I typed “job search” into the AppStore search: I had to click “Show 25 More” 10 times before I ran out of apps. On top of that, how does one narrow down your search especially in light of scams on any store that allows buyer reviews? I eventually found salvation that came from an unexpected source…

Continue Reading