July 14, 2016

Apollo 11 software is available on GitHub

Of course, who cares about 50-year-old assembly language programs? Far more interesting is the fact that one of the lead programmers for the moon mission - arguably one of the most important technological achievements of the 20-th century - was a little kid. (Well, she looked like a little kid.) You should read about her - Wikepedia & an interview on the Medium web site.

She is smart and was well-prepared, and happened to be in the right place at the right time. These are the ingredients for having an impact in your career. How does a young person get into a position to have such an impact? There is no guaranteed formula, but you must always be on the lookout for what ideas and technologies are new and small now, but might someday become a big thing. You want to be there at the beginning. Of course, we often didn't know that something big was beginning until well after it is on its way. Sometimes a thing that looks like it should be a big deal ends up being a big dud. It's a bit of crap shoot. The important thing is to always keep learning and keep moving.

One thing that is almost certain: You won't have much opportunity to make a big impact if you are working as a little cog inside of a big company. (Insert name of popular job destinations: John Deere, Rockwell, Microsoft, Google, IBM, TI, etc, etc, etc.)

Final sidenote: Margaret Hamilton was also the name of the actress that played the wicked witch in "The Wizard of Oz". I guess it's a good name to have if you want some notoriety.

Getting hired at Google, Amazon, and Facebook

Speaking of getting a job as a small cog, Sarah Cooper offers some help in understanding why those interviews are the way they are. (Even funnier than her points is the fact that most of the commenters seemed to think that she was serious. The tech work world must be a sad and humorless place - I guess it's a good thing I don't have real tech job.) I also like her insights on "The Future of Work in 5 Charts", "2 Types of Travelers". and "Boomers vs. Millenials @ Work".

July 13, 2016

What it might take to build a carbon-nanotube computer.

For you semiconductor wannabes. This a very readable overview of carbon-nanotube transistor technology and discussion of possibilities for eventually replacing silicon.

June 19, 2016

Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice, with the most daylight of the year (in the northern hemisphere). In Ames, the sun will rise at 5:39 a.m. and set at 8:53 p.m. for a total of 15 hours and 14 minutes of sunshine. (If you happened to be in Stockholm, Sweden you would get 18 hours and 37 minutes of daylight, which would be awesome.) So get up early and plan to stay up late so that you can enjoy all the beautiful sunshine. Go do something pagan!

As an added benefit, tomorrow is also the June full moon (the strawberry moon). This is a rare coincidence - the last time the summer solstice and a full moon occurred on the same day was 70 years ago. So tomorrow you can party all day with the sun gods and all night with the moon gods.

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