In Space, a Laptop Doubles as a VR Headset

Posted In Fun, Living in Tech
Astronaut VR
On Earth, the engineers and developers in charge of building the Oculus Rift and other virtual-reality headsets are concerned about weight: Who wants to strap on something so heavy it cricks their neck? But in space, weight isn’t an issue, which is why an astronaut can strap a laptop to his head via a heavy and complicated-looking rig and use it as a virtual-reality device. NASA astronaut Terry Virts recently did just that to train himself in the use of… continue…

Silicon Valley’s Car Dreams Could Boost Your Career

Tesla
The big news in the technology world this week is Apple’s reported decision to start some sort of automobile division, staffed with some very smart people who specialize in electric batteries and other components. According to The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other sources, Apple is building an electric, possibly self-driving vehicle that could compete with Tesla, arguably the world’s premier maker of electric automobiles. Apple isn’t the only tech giant exploring the possibilities of the automotive… continue…

Forging a Career Path When the Route Is Unclear

Posted In Working in Tech
shutterstock_Sergey Nivens
Up-and-coming companies seldom offer well-defined career paths that guide IT professionals from one position to the next. Enterprising employees are instead expected to identify an emerging role or need and pilot themselves to the next career opportunity. “You have to know where the company and your particular niche is headed to steer your own IT career,” said Katy Piotrowski, CEO of Career Solutions Group, a career planning firm based in Fort Collins, Colo. “The key is finding an opportunity that… continue…

IBM Thinks Data Can Improve Football Stadiums

Posted In Data, Living in Tech
IBM Atlanta Stadium
IBM has spent years highlighting its data-analytics capabilities in the context of professional sports. At the U.S. Open tennis tournament, for example, it sets up “digital walls” that display players’ chances of winning, among other data points. But now Big Blue plans on taking its sports relationship to a whole new level. According to Bloomberg, IBM is weaving its products into the infrastructure of an under-construction stadium in Atlanta. Not only will IBM technology manage essential services such as security… continue…

What Are the Best Coding Boot Camps?

shutterstock_MaIII Themd
For anyone who wants to break into a programming career, coding “boot camps” can offer a lot of benefits: In exchange for a few weeks of your time, you learn a new programming language that can eventually translate into a well-paying job. But which boot camps are worth the time and money? Switchup, which collects data on boot camps and programming courses throughout the country, has a new list of what it considers the top 32 coding boot camps. In… continue…

The Most Surprising Thing About Your Network

shutterstock_Yurii Andreichyn
When we think about networking, we usually picture talking to colleagues, classmates or former co-workers. But often, your most valuable “connections” may be people you don’t even know yet: the contacts of contacts of contacts. These distant ties can provide you with intelligence, strategies and opportunities unknown to those people closest to you—and they’re more approachable than you might think. Sound counterintuitive? It’s not when you think about it. Consider one of networking’s inherent weaknesses: We tend to know people… continue…

Banish Your Job Ghosts

Laschon Maximilian Shutterstock
While you can survive a toxic workplace, the emotional aftereffects can linger long after you leave. Your pent-up anger and guilt can affect your future job search. Don’t let that happen; the ghosts of bosses past shouldn’t influence how you look for work. Sort It Out No matter how long ago the lousy job, if the very thought of it still grinds you up, you haven’t processed it. Maggie Graham, a certified professional career coach, notes that you can’t just… continue…

Linux Kernel’s Biggest Backers: Corporations

Posted In Programming
WWL_Infographic_v3
Corporations love Linux. That’s the conclusion of a new report released by the Linux Foundation, which suggested that some 11,800 individual developers from 1,200 companies have contributed to the kernel over the past decade. “The Linux kernel, thus, has become a common resource developed on a massive scale by companies which are fierce competitors in other areas,” the report summarized. Intel is the top corporate developer by number of contributed changes to the kernel, followed by Red Hat, Linaro, Samsung,… continue…

Building a Dungeon Generator in C#

Posted In Programming
Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 2.57.03 PM
Procedural dungeon generation is a fun exercise for programmers. Despite the crude interface, such games continue to spark interest. A quarter century ago, I wrote a dungeon generator in procedural Pascal; now I’ve taken that old code and converted it to C#. (It’s amazing just how fast it runs on a five-year-old i7 950 PC with 16GB of RAM.) If you want to follow along, you can find my code for the project on SourceForge.  The first part of the… continue…

Marvel at a 1980s Touchscreen

Posted In Fun
Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 9.05.32 AM
Think touchscreens are a relatively recent invention? Think again: As far back as 40 years ago, scientists were exploring the possibilities of using fingers to interact with a screen. As demonstrated by the above video from 1982 (hat tip to Gizmodo for the link), their thinking wasn’t limited to capacitive or resistive touchscreens, which detect the pressure of a finger or stylus against glass; researchers also experimented with lining a PC screen with photodiodes that transmitted infrared. When someone touched… continue…