Don't explain computers to laymen. Simpler to explain sex to a virgin. ~Robert A. Heinlein
I love Heinlein's book The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (a sci-fi novel about a libertarian revolution on the Moon) and I love this quote even more! Keeping your patience while trying to explain the most rudimentary computer functions is enough to drive a man insane. The non-laymen people are known as computer scientists and people wonder how they can do so much stuff. Are they smarter than everyone else? No, the way they think is just different. A computer scientist cannot be a doctor or a lawyer or anything else, only a computer scientist. That's the true sign of one. Hopefully in four years, that will be me.
I found a wonderful article written by one such person who started his own company. For any of you who are programmers or want to be programmers or are not sure about it, this article is a must read. It's so true, and my favorite part is about outsourcing. I can't tell you how many people I've nearly disemboweled for scorning my choice of a major:
First, trying to choose a career based on a current business fad is foolish. Second, programming is incredibly good training for all kinds of fabulously interesting jobs, such as business process engineering, even if every single programming job does go to India and China. Third, and trust me on this, there's still an incredible shortage of the really good programmers, here and in India. Yes, there are a bunch of out of work IT people making a lot of noise about how long they've been out of work, but you know what? At the risk of pissing them off, really good programmers do have jobs. Fourth, you got any better ideas? What are you going to do, major in History? Then you'll have no choice but to go to law school. And there's one thing I do know: 99% of working lawyers hate their jobs, hate every waking minute of it, and they're working 90 hour weeks, too. Like I said: if you love to program computers, count your blessings: you are in a very fortunate minority of people who can make a great living doing work they love.
Anyway, I don't think students really think about this. The drop in CS enrollment is merely a resumption of historically normal levels after a big bubble in enrollment caused by dotcom mania. That bubble consisted of people who didn't really like programming but thought the sexy high paid jobs and the chances to IPO at age 24 were to be found in the CS department. Those people, thankfully, are long gone.
If that was a speech I would stand up and clap! I've looked into the India situation and I've come up with just that. For programmers who intern there is no shortage of jobs. It's all about proving yourself, and there is no overseas substitute for a UT or Stanford or MIT graduate. The only thing I disagree with is his hatred for theory, which I think is necessary knowledge because someone has to know this stuff! It's good to know in case you ever need to use it and it helps train you to think in different terms. Hell I think the whole point of formal theory and such coming up is to get programmers to really understand and be able to explain what it is their doing, and I like that. Without knowing stuff like that, a computer scientist would just be an MIS major. Anyway, read the article to find out more because it's really good.
In gaming news, Gran Turismo 4 sold a million copies after being available in Japan for two days! You Halo 2 fanatics (it's great, but it's not the best game of all time ok) may balk at that since Halo 2 sold 2.5 million copies in its first day, but just wait for GT4 to hit stateside. You will see nerds rioting at game stores to get the copy they preordered back when the game was first announced! What's the big deal you may ask? Look:
That's just the tip of the iceberg (and it's in-game by the way). Over 650 licensed cars, over 6,000 possible car creations (paint and details and such), and over 50 tracks. The game is so gorgeous, but it won't arrive until February 22. If you're interested in seeing more, check out the new trailer at IGN (it's the last one on this page).
And now for a meme. Today, I'll be doing The Daily Haiku's Thursday Thinker: Why is the sky blue?
the sky turns blue for his Man
This stays true always
I'm still a beginner with this Haiku thing so bear with me. And as a quick note, the last audio tape factory in America is now closed! Crazy isn't it?