|Coffeehouse||Why people build things for free||50||May 25, 2004 at 10:58 AM|
... in order to get a job in Microsoft Research do you have to have a PhD or be the inventor of something like a laser printer? Just curious as to what the "bar" was set at for entry in that area.
In general, you do indeed need to have a PhD or distinguished yourself in a research area. Lesser-qualified people can work in MSR, but they tend to be supporting developers, equivalent to grad students in academia. That's not to say that the RSDE's (Research Software Development Engineers) don't do any research -- they actually do get support for writing papers and so forth -- but they fill more of a supporting role in the research organization.
If the command is typed, it's a throwback to the old days. If I speak the command into a microphone, it's a futuristic new interface.
I'm a command-line guy at heart for most tasks. For some reason, using drag-and drop and the like seems very crude to me, like trying to get my young children ready for bed. I can't just say "Time for bed!", instead I have to say "get undressed", "put your clothes in the hamper", "go to the bathroom", draw the water, "get in the tub", "wash your face", "wash your body", and on and on for a couple dozen small steps. That's what I feel like with most GUI interfaces -- I have to take the computer by the hand and show it yet again how to do a series of sub-tasks to accomplish a larger goal.
With a command-line interface, I can marshal whatever collection of tools I need for the task, and issue a few high-level instructions and the computer will get back to me when it's done. If I have to do this more than a few times, I write a new command to do it (it's not easy at all to script across a collection of GUI-based tools).
Now granted, there are some opeations that I wish I could use a more hands-on approach, but the current mouse-based approach is still far too crude. I use a tablet exclusively both at home and at work (that is, a standard PC with a tablet/stylus pointing device), and that helps quite a bit. But I still can't do natural things like selection via circling, or things like that. Dragging is about as advanced as it gets, and that's pretty durned crude, particularly with a corded brick.
I've been a staunch double-spacer since my seventh-grade typing class, have been known to reformat text to correspond with this. This whole thread has been quite interesting; I've known Bill for a while, and his opinions on typography carry a lot of weight with me. Whipping out a ruler and opening the nearest book convinced me that I've been reading single-spaced text just fine for probably my whole life, even though I didn't realize it. Further, it turns out my wife converted to single-spacing years ago when she became a technical writer (I'd fathered children with a single-spacer without even knowing it!)
What's most surprising to me is that I've converted over with relative ease -- I'd have thought that this would be hard-wired into my genes at this point, but I guess the brain is pretty good at adapting.
Interestingly, I've also converted to single-spacing my mono-sized code comments, and to no ill effect that I can see. I believe that a lot of these objections about "too many dots" are overblown, though I reserve the right to double-space if I feel it's absolutely necessary.
All in all, I'm a convert.
Some more encouraging news on this front:
Japanese Joint Venture to Develop Super Capacitors
By Yoshiko Hara
April 26, 2004 (7:00 PM EDT)
TOKYO — Four companies have agreed to form a joint venture company to promote an electric double-layer capacitor system. Also know as super, or ultra, capacitors, the next-generation electric charge capacitor could eventually replace nickel-metal-hydride and lithium-ion batteries in certain areas.