Common Job Application Pitfalls

July 9, 2014


So you’re applying for a job, now what?  The normal thing would be to send them your resume and cover letter—and that would be your first mistake.  I’ve read countless resumes, interviewed many applicants, and mentored many who were seeking a job.  Very few people do it right.  This blog post covers common mistakes when applying for a job, including mistakes in your resume.

I need to state up front that I am specifically talking about engineering jobs, although much of this applies to all jobs.  Just don’t write me angry emails because I got something wrong for people trying to become a cartographer, chef, or bus boy.

Before applying for a job, remember that it’s not just a job but a career.  You will hopefully be working there for 10 to 40 years, so behave like your life and livelihood are at stake—since it is!  This job is super important to you, and you need to show the employer that you realize this.  After all, why should they hire you if it isn’t important to you!?!?  I’m not telling you to grovel.  Just put in the effort that is proportional to the importance.   Read the rest of this entry »


Critique of “Science and Design”

September 16, 2013

I was in a civil debate with a friend, and he wanted me to take a look at the article Science and Design, written by William A. Dembski of the Discovery Institute.  Rather than do a quick review with him, I decided to do a better critique here on my blog.

Understand that I am going to especially focus on scientific accuracy.  That’s my “thing”.  It is a pet peeve of mine when religious people (of any faith) make scientific claims that are not supported by the evidence.   With regard to scientific stuff, I will hold no punches.  Deal with it.

When the quantum physics of Bohr and Heisenberg in turn displaced the physics of Galileo and Newton, scientists realized they needed to supplement their deterministic natural laws by taking into account chance processes in their explanations of our universe.

Right out of the gate, Dembski makes a fundamental error in his understanding of science.  Newtonian physics (and Galileo too) was not “displaced”.  As with most scientific theories, the theories were expanded upon or improved on.  We still teach Newtonian Physics in school because it is useful.   This is a minor point, and I am being a bit pedantic in pointing it out, but his misunderstanding about science is common and needs to be mentioned. Read the rest of this entry »


3-D Printer Chamber

August 28, 2013

About 6 months ago I got a new 3-D Printer, a Replicator 2 from Makerbot.  While the printer does a good job, it does have it’s flaws.

3-D Printer Chamber Overview

The first issue is sound.  While the printer is is only a little louder than a normal ink jet printer, it can take more than 12 hours to do a single print.  Over time, especially when sleeping, the noise can be more than a little bit annoying.  Most 3-D Printer owners never do anything about the noise, other than locate it in a good part of the house, and it is never a problem.  But this is me!  Two of the more interesting flaws are not unique to this printer, but hinder almost all 3-D printers at the hobbyist level.  Being the inventive type of person that I am, I set about solving some of these issues.

The second issue is one of temperature.   When the plastic is extruded, layer by layer, it comes out of the nozzle at about 220 deg. C.  It then starts to cool.  If it doesn’t cool just right, the print can warp as different parts of the print cool and contract at different rates.  With some practice, this can be managed, and warping kept to a minimum.  But drafts and other things can also effect print warping.  An open window near the printer could, in theory, cause problems should a cold breeze come in.  Some of the better 3-D printers are somewhat enclosed to help minimize this issue.  I thought I could do better.

My solution to both of these issues is to build a chamber for the printer.  This chamber is basically a box that the printer goes into, and insulation makes it both soundproof and allows some elevated and consistent temperatures inside the box. Read the rest of this entry »


Hypocrisy, Drunk Driving, and Gun Control

December 16, 2012

Disclaimer:  The point of this article is not to argue for or against gun control.  The point is to illuminate inconsistencies in the way humans think, and to make you stop and think about your own thought processes.

In the United States in 2007 there were 12,632 homicides with a  firearm.  This does not include firearm related suicides (another 17,352).   Accurate statistics of gun ownership is not available, but most estimates are around 200-250 million legally owned firearms in the U.S.  Also in the U.S. during 2007 there were 247 million registered automobiles, and 13,041 fatalities from drunk driving.   In 2006 there were 22,073 alcohol related deaths (I assume this includes deaths from DUI).

For our purposes today, the homicide rates from firearms and guns/DUI is identical.  Of course they are not perfectly identical, and they flip flop on which has more depending on the year.  But the numbers are close enough for this discussion, as absolute accuracy is not required.

Every life is precious.  Every life has untold value left untapped.  The loss of every life has a ripple effect on family, the community, and society.  So why do we not treat fatalities from DUI the same value that we treat fatalities from mass shootings? Read the rest of this entry »


Guns, Statistics, and Reporting Bias

May 25, 2012

Let me start this post with a little disclaimer.  This post is not about gun control.  It’s not pro or anti-gun.  It is about authors who write bad articles.  Articles where the facts are reported in a misleading way– intentionally or not.  This is irresponsible and has fostered a lot of incorrect assumptions about our society and has influenced the creation of worthless laws.  This post could be about almost anything:  climate change, health care, renewable energy, etc.  But I choose to use guns as an example– so you’ll have to just deal with it.

A recent Huffington Post article proclaimed:  Gun Deaths Exceed Motor Vehicle Deaths in 10 Cities.  The article quotes some numbers from a recent study and then goes on to make some interesting statements, including:

  • …gun deaths continue unabated — the direct result of the failure of policymakers to acknowledge and act on this ubiquitous and too often ignored public health problem.
  • And while the health and safety regulation of motor vehicles stands as a public health success story, firearms remain literally the last consumer product manufactured in the United States not subject to federal health and safety regulation.
  • Comprehensive regulation of the firearms industry and its products could include: minimum safety standards (i.e., specific design standards and the requirement of safety devices); bans on certain types of firearms such as “junk guns” and military-style assault weapons; limits on firepower; restrictions on gun possession by those convicted of a violent misdemeanor; heightened restrictions on the carrying of loaded guns in public; improved enforcement of current laws restricting gun possession by persons with histories of domestic violence; more detailed and timely data collection on gun production, sales, use in crime, involvement in injury and death; and, public education about the extreme risks associated with exposure to firearms.

The general idea of the article is that somehow we can reduce the loss of life through gun laws and regulation.  Before we get into this, let’s look at the statistics.   Read the rest of this entry »


AfterShokz Bone Conduction Headphone Review

March 31, 2012

I recently got some AfterShokz headphones, by VoxLinc, LLC.  After looking on the net for reviews of these headphones, and not finding anything by qualified people, I figured I should post my own.

(Disclaimer:  This review is based on my experience and opinion.  That’s all.  Don’t sue me if you don’t like what I have to say.)

The claim to fame for the AfterShokz is they don’t actually go into your ear.  They sit on the cheek bone just in front of your ear and use “bone conduction” to get the sound to your ear.  At least that’s what the marketing material claims.  The benefit of this is that you can still hear whatever is going on around you.  You can ski, bike, or even drive without the safety hazard of not hearing what is going on.

But let’s get to the meat of things, shall we?

These headphones work just OK for the stated purpose:  listening to music while biking, running, skiing, etc.  And that’s it.  The sound quality is just barely adequate.  They don’t sound as good as the standard Apple earbuds that come with every iPod/iPhone/iThing (the same earbuds that are universally panned by critics).  But the sound quality isn’t distracting if you are doing strenuous exercise when sound quality isn’t your top priority.  But if you’re just sitting around at home or in your office then these headphones will leave you wanting.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Amazing Ribbon Wave

December 18, 2011

Announcing the new, amazing Ribbon Wave!  Years of audio research and advanced entomological farming have culminated in what is arguably the most stunning advancement in audiophile technology.  The Ribbon Wave is, simply put, perfection in a silk ribbon that when wrapped around your cables will produce audio that has to be heard to be believed.

Ribbon Wave

We started by using selective breeding (no genetic modification here!) to produce Bombyx Audiophillia, a new species of silkworm bred for the sole purpose of making our Ribbon Wave.  The silk produced by B. Audiophillia can remove digital artifacts, unpleasant harmonics, and other irritating effects that modern technology does to our pristine audio.  This silk is woven into ribbons, which can be wound around cables and other audio devices to a dramatic effect. Read the rest of this entry »