Building a PC – Part 0

The first step in building a PC is deciding what kind of computer you actually need. This is why I have labeled this as Part 0 (Zero) instead of Part 1, as it really is a pre-step in your Custom PC Build Project.

For this post we will talk about the following PC Build Types:

  • Budget PC
  • Basic Desktop
  • Workstation / Power User Desktop
  • Gaming PC
  • Home Server

The first type of of Custom PC Build is the “Budget PC”. It is a very basic PC that is mostly used as an Internet Browsing PC, although with the level of hardware available today even a Budget PC can do basic School (Primary School tasks should be fine, however some more advanced High School tasks might be slow to do) and Home office tasks and probably be OK to use as a “Work from Home” PC if your Internet is fast enough. It should be able to stream 1080p video but it would struggle to keep up with 4K videos and video conferences probably will look very fuzzy and choppy. Specs in 2020 for a Budget PC are not as bad as they were in the past. You are probably looking at a 4-core / 4-thread CPU (possibly a 2-core CPU, but they are getting more difficult to find, and really not worth the money anymore), and somewhere between 4GB and 8GB of RAM (a Store Bought Budget PC will probably have between 4GB and 6GB, but the cost of 6GB vs 8GB is so small a difference in a custom build even in the budget range you will probably opt for 8GB if you go for more than 4GB). You probably will only have 1 storage device so it probably will be a hard drive (probably between 1TB and 2TB) not an SSD, although you could get a 32GB – 128GB SSD for under $100 these days if you look, good enough to boot from, but again since we are talking about building a budget PC, lets assume SSD is off the table, but in the future could be a nice upgrade. A budget PC will definitely not have a discrete graphics card so you will have whatever Integrated Graphics comes with the CPU you buy.

The second type of Custom PC Build is the “Basic Desktop”. It is your everyday home PC that can be used to Browse the Internet, Watch Videos, Stream at 4K (if your Internet Connection Speed is fast enough), participate in Video Conference and calls, Edit Photos, and do basic School (both Primary and Secondary, and probably most basic college projects that don’t require any specialized software) and Home Office tasks like using Microsoft Office to edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations or to use as a “Work from Home” computer. It’s a relatively powerful computer, can be used for basic software development and some basic video editing, but you probably won’t do heavy video editing or play the latest games on this type of computer. It is one step above a “Budget PC Build”, but this kind of PC will definitely last you quite a bit longer as it should be able to keep up with the times better than a Budget PC. In 2020 a Basic Desktop will have between 8 to 16GB or RAM (with 16GB recommending by the Author), a SSD (between 256GB and 512GB) and possibly a second Hard Drive for additional storage (between 2TB and 4TB). The CPU will have between 4 and 8 cores and 8 to 16 threads (the author recommends at least 6-cores), and it may or may not have a discrete graphics card (if a discrete graphics card is used probably at previous generation GPU with 4GB to 8GB of VRAM).

The third type of Custom PC Build is the “Workstation” or “Power User Desktop”. It is a very powerful desktop computer for the home, that is on par or better than Workstations used in most large corporations. It can handle 3D CAD, heavy video editing and rendering, be used for advanced software development, and pretty much handle anything you can throw at it, including play most of the new games on the market. The biggest difference between a Workstation and a Gaming PC will be how much you spend on the graphics card (you are still going to get a relatively power graphics card for rendering and other GPU tasks, but it might not need to be the latest and greatest card on the market) and the “coolness” factor. The Workstation in 2020 will have a lot of RAM at least 32GB, multiple SSDs and secondary Hard Drives, at least 8-cores and 16-threads, plus a Graphics Card with at least 8GB of VRAM.

The fourth type of Custom PC Build is the Gaming PC. It is basically a workstation build but has the most powerful graphics card you can budget for and it will have the coolness factor added in. Most probably you will want to go for a Case with a Glass or Clear Plastic side and the cables, fans, and other parts will have multi-colored LEDs, some even have mini-LCDs integrated on the motherboard for effects. Water-Cooling will be used most probably, because gamers like to overclock their CPUs, RAM, and Graphics Cards. If you aren’t going to overclock, water-cooling is still typically used for gaming PCs for the coolness factor as the tubing and other components are usually translucent and lit up for effect, although if you aren’t going to overclock, water-cooling is not necessarily required, even basic overclocking can be achieved with passing cooling given enough fans and the right CPU Cooler (heatsink).

The fifth and final type of Custom PC Build is the Home Server. Here you want to get a Server level motherboard used for small businesses or an AMD Threadripper, and you want to spend more money RAM, CPU, and Storage, and not so much on the graphics. In 2020, we are talking about specs like a CPU with at least 16 Cores and 32 threads (although the author recommends a 32-core 64-thread CPU) and somewhere between 64GB and 256GB of RAM (the author recommends between 126GB and 256GB so you can run multiple VMs simultaneously). You will be running either Microsoft Windows Server (Microsoft offers a version called “Essentials” which is cheap enough and powerful enough for a Home setup) or you can run a Linux Server installation. With this type of hardware you can run a Hypervisor and run both Windows Server and a Linux Server simultaneously, again the reason for maxing out the RAM and giving it as many CPU cores you can afford. This kind of setup you want to consider multiple physical network cards one for each OS you will be running, a very good power supply, and top of the line fans, because it will be running 24/7 as your home server. I do not recommend water cooling for this same reason, I don’t trust water-cooling solution for 24/7 machines. You don’t want it leaking and destroying your server in the middle of the night.

The next parts in this blog series will discuss building a “Basic Desktop”, as this is the most common setup you will find in most people’s homes.

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

Caesar Cipher in C

A simple C implementation of the Caesar Cipher. Supports full wrap around for Alpha Numerics. Does Modulus for shifts larger than 26 for Alphas and 10 for Digits.

Background on Caesar Cipher: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_cipher

/*
 Copyright 2019 Robert C. Ilardi

 Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
 you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
 You may obtain a copy of the License at

 http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

 Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
 distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
 WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.
 See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
 limitations under the License.
*/

//To Compile: gcc CaesarCipher.c -o CaesarCipher

/*
 Usage: ./CaesarCipher [SHIFT] [MESSAGE]

 A nice generic Caesar Cipher C program I just wrote
 for the hell of it.

 Use negative numbers to reverse the shifting.
*/

#include <stdlib.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <string.h>

typedef unsigned int bool;

const bool TRUE=1;
const bool FALSE=0;

int main(int argc, char* argv[])
{
	int shift, tmpShift;
	char *mesg;
	char *outputMesg;
	char ch;
	bool isAlpha, isUpper, isLower, isDigit;

	if (argc!=3)
	{
		fprintf(stderr, "Usage: %s [SHIFT] [MESSAGE]\n", argv[0]);
		return EXIT_FAILURE;
	}
	
	shift=atoi(argv[1]);
	mesg=argv[2];

	printf("Shift Amount: %d\n", shift);
	printf("Message: %s\n", mesg);

	outputMesg = (char*)malloc(strlen(mesg)+1);

	for (int i=0; i<strlen(mesg); i++)
	{
		ch=mesg[i];
		isUpper = (ch >= 'A' &amp;&amp; ch <='Z');
		isLower = (ch >= 'a' &amp;&amp; ch <='z');
		isAlpha = ((ch >= 'A' &amp;&amp; ch <='Z') || (ch >= 'a' &amp;&amp; ch <='z'));
		isDigit = (ch >= '0' &amp;&amp; ch <= '9');

		if (isAlpha)
		{
			if (shift > 0)
			{
				if (shift>26)
				{
					tmpShift=shift % 26;
				}
				else
				{
					tmpShift=shift;
				}

				if (isUpper &amp;&amp; (ch + tmpShift) > 'Z')
				{
					ch = 'A' + ((tmpShift - ('Z' - ch)) - 1);
				}
				else if (isLower &amp;&amp; (ch + tmpShift) > 'z')
				{
					ch = 'a' + ((tmpShift - ('z' - ch)) - 1);
				}
				else
				{
					ch += tmpShift;
				}
			}
			else if (shift < 0)
			{
				if (abs(shift)>26)
				{
					tmpShift=shift % 26;
				}
				else
				{
					tmpShift=shift;
				}

				if (isUpper &amp;&amp; (ch + tmpShift) < 'A')
				{
					ch = 'Z' - (('A' - ch) + abs(tmpShift) - 1);
				}
				else if (isLower &amp;&amp; (ch + tmpShift) < 'a')
				{
					ch = 'z' - (('a' - ch) + abs(tmpShift) - 1);
				}
				else
				{
					 ch += tmpShift;
				}
			}
		}
		else if (isDigit)
		{
			if (shift>0)
			{
				if (shift>10)
				{
					tmpShift=shift % 10;
				}
				else
				{
					tmpShift=shift;
				}

				if ((ch + tmpShift) > '9')
				{
					ch = '0' + ((tmpShift - ('9' - ch)) - 1);
				}
				else
				{
					ch += tmpShift;
				}
			}
			else if (shift<0)
			{
				if (abs(shift)>10)
				{
					tmpShift=shift % 10;
				}
				else
				{
					tmpShift=shift;
				}

				if ((ch + tmpShift) < '0')
				{
					ch = '9' - (('0' - ch) + abs(tmpShift) - 1);
				}
				else
				{
					ch += tmpShift;
				}
			}
		}

		outputMesg[i]=ch;
	}

	outputMesg[strlen(outputMesg)]='\0';

	printf("Output Message: %s\n", outputMesg);

	free(outputMesg);

	return EXIT_SUCCESS;
}

Posted in Computer Fun Stuff, Development, Programming General, Security, Technology | Leave a comment

As a red blooded American Capitalist why read Karl Marx?

So some of you may be asking yourself why I have read Marx and why am I even willing to go see his statue while I’m in town in Berlin, the answer is simple: “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” – Sun Tzu; The Art of War. And yes Socialism in all its forms is my enemy. Why because socialism is the enemy of individual freedom by its very definition. And an enemy of freedom is also my enemy…

Know thy Enemy…

~Robert; Germany, July 2018

Posted in Philosophy, Politics, Society | Leave a comment

We Need An Internet First Amendment NOW!

Let’s get the Hashtag: #InternetFirstAmendment trending!

Today, Alex Jones’ InfoWars was removed from the social media platforms: Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, and Apple iTunes PodCasts. This is a major attack on the freedom of expression on today’s Internet.

You don’t need to like Alex Jone’s or agree with him, but he does have the right to his opinions and he should have the protected right to say what he wishes on the Internet.

It should be up to the consumer to “change the channel” if they don’t like what his brand of content says. We cannot give up our right to share ideas and read other people’s ideas to a handful of big tech firms. The Internet has become the new Public Forum, and therefore our speech and writing on the Internet needs to be protected by the First Amendment.

When I started creating content on the Internet back in 1994, I was in high school and was creating HTML pages by hand on a web hosting platform was known as GeoCities.

On Today’s Internet, users do not need to know how to code even a simple markup language like HTML, and instead can use “Social Media” tools like Facebook and Twitter, or post Videos to YouTube and other video hosting sites.

It has become easier than ever to use the Internet to share our ideas and for the most of us, at least in the Western world, the majority of our daily communications is now done on the Internet, and usually it is made via a couple of dozen web sites at most.

Internet Censorship is on the rise, and we need to put a stop to it once an for all.

I am a capitalist through and through, but more than that I’m an American and somewhat of a Constitutionalist, especially when it comes to our rights, like Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press.

I know the First Amendment is meant to protect speech in the public square, however the new public square are these Social Media sites.

So I’m asking everyone who believes in their own right to their ability to share your thoughts, your passions, and your opinions, to start making calls and writing to your Senators and your Representatives, at the Federal level, but also at the State less as well. Please ask them to work towards a bill and hopefully an Amendment that basically says if a Technology Company, Web Hosting Service, Domain Registrar, Social Media Platform, and Media Sharing Platform like YouTube and Apple’s iTunes, as well as Search Engines like Google and Bing, that if they want to continue to operate within the United States, they MUST respect the first amendment.

We aren’t talking about making private companies government owned, but just like any other telecommunications company like your Land Line Phone Company, Cellular Phone Company, your Cable Company, and Broadcast Radio and TV, among others, they need to be regulated to prevent them from removing anyone’s content.

Let it fall to the realm of the US Courts to determine if someone’s account violates an actual Law. This way everyone’s Due Process Rights are protected, and everyone’s rights to a fair and free Public Forum on the Internet are protected.

Level’s of Internet Censorship Slide:

 

 

Posted in Politics, Society, Technology | Leave a comment

Calculating the value of Phi aka the Golden Ratio in Perl

I was watching a video by 3blue1brown and decided to code up the Continued Fraction of “phi” aka “The Golden Ratio“. It’s pretty simple, it’s basically a recursive function (Here’s a link to the Mathematical Definition of a Recursion and the Programming Definition of Recursion) of 1 + 1/x. But you can code it in a loop. I did a quick Perl Script using an infinite loop. You first hit the golden ratio at 9 iterations, and at 11 iterations of the loop the value becomes metastable at a precision of 6. Here’s the script and output:

Perl Script to calculate Phi using the Continued Fraction (a function call in a loop here):

Standard Output paused at 21 iterations of the loop:

 

Posted in Science | Leave a comment

Planning on NOT having Social Security and Having Personal Savings

Disclaimer Notice:

  • None of this is financial advice, what is presented in this blog are simply observations, commentary on Social Security in the United States, and some basic math from the given data on Social Security taxes.
  • You can calculate your own projected savings using the Government’s own compound interest calculator here: https://www.investor.gov/additional-resources/free-financial-planning-tools/compound-interest-calculator
  • Remember to speak with a certified financial advisor or planner regarding your own personal savings, it’s worth the time.
  • Important: Any investment or savings is subject to market conditions and banking regulations and all investments come with risk of loss of principal including up to your entire principal amount invested.

Before we begin, bottom line: It’s probably best to have multiple sources of income during retirement, instead of planning just one, such as Social Security.

Should you depend on Social Security for your retirement? Well in my opinion, as most financial planners would tell you, no, not alone, you definitely need additional savings. Yes, I do know this is hard to do for most Americans. Also will Social Security even be there when you retire? Well that depends on when you are going to retire, and I also believe that it will exist in some form for some time to come. If there’s ever going to be an end of Social Security it has to be wind down appropriately otherwise the Congress and President who preside over that time would be kicked out of office quicker than you can blink an eye.

Here’s how I imagine a process to wind down Social Security would go:

  1. Most likely those currently receiving Social Security would continue to do so for the reminder of their life.
  2. Those closely approaching retirement age and who are eligible to receive social security would probably receive their benefits from the program.
  3. Some cut off birth year would probably be set given those people ample time to participate in some other replacement plan or other independent retirement and savings plan. Say the bill to wind down Social Security would set some birth year where anyone who has at least 20 years or more before retirement will be excluded from receiving Social Security.
  4. Those who have at least 20 years or more left before retirement and who have paid into the Social Security system would receive some type of one time Lump Sum payment to be reinvested in an IRA or their 401Ks some similar retirement accounts.
  5. Social Security Tax would end however the American people who are still working would still be on the hook  via normal income tax for paying current retirees and those near retirement (less than the 20 year mark mentioned above) via debt issued by the Federal Government to continue to pay for those peoples’ Social Security benefits.
  6. 401K and other retirement pre-tax retirement savings limits would probably be increased considerable by the same bill that winds down Social Security.

Quick Facts:

  • As of 2018 Max Social Security Tax is $7960.80 / year or $663.40 a month.
  • That is based on Social Security Tax of 7.3% capped to $128,400 of gross income.
  • If you just save that amount over 30 Years it’s $238,824 in principal (savings without interest).
  • If you can get an average of 5% return (we are picking 5% out of thin air just to run the Compound Interest Calculator on Investor.gov. You need to speak with a financial advisor and work with them to figure out what investments or savings plans work for your individual situation and risk appetite. Remember Interest is not guaranteed, you can get 0% return or even negative, potentially losing your entire savings, everything depends on Market Conditions, Banking Regulations and your individual choices.) year over year over that 30 year period, starting with ZERO in your retirement account contributing $663.40 a month getting compound interest annually you will have: $528,906.38 for retirement.
  • For more Return on Investment interest percentage numbers you can use that are realistic when playing with the Investor.gov’s calculator, you can Google: “what is the average return on 401k”
  • Since all retirement income calculators use 20 years of retirement, if you have a savings of $528,906.38 for retirement that would give you a yearly income in retirement of $26,445.32 / year. This doesn’t include continued interest on your remaining savings each year while you are retired.
  • The maximum social security benefit as of 2018 is $2,788 / month or $33,456, however the average monthly payout is $1,372 or $16,464 / year.
  • Our own savings plan listed above yielding a savings of $528,906.28 in total savings is slightly above the mean of those two numbers ($24,960). So you are doing much better than the average Social Security recipient but you are getting  less than the maximum benefit.
Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Updated Recipe for Success Pie

So about 6 years ago, during my Year-End Reviews of my Employees, I came up with this concept which I called “The Recipe for Success Pie.” It can really be shortened to “Recipe for Success” (please see the original “recipe” blog article here: “Original” Recipe for Success Pie), but since I planned to visualize it as a Pie Chart, I added the Pie bit to the title.  After reflecting on the year end review and preparing for helping my employees set their goals for the upcoming year, I started to put down some ideas into an Excel spreadsheet and assign percentages to each. Each item was called a Success Factor and then I assigned each Success Factor with my opinion on how much that factor added to the success of an individual within the domain of Corporate America anyway.

I thought this Pie Chart could be of great help to answering one of the most difficult set of questions faced by Managers or Employers from their Employees; that is the questions around “Advancement”.

It is also extremely useful for Job Seekers as well.

Specifically back 6 years ago, I planned on using this Pie Chart when an Employee had questions around Advancement, either for Promotions or Compensation. Also I wanted to use this for more junior employees that I felt had the potential for Advancement up the corporate ladder.

Again it is also something which I could refer to when someone, such as a Student or other person coming to me seeking advice around how to land jobs and climb the ladder in Corporate America.

When you see the Pie Chart below in this post, please don’t pay too much attention to the *exact* percentage values, they are approximation based on my field in industry and they are there simply to give the slices of the pie an approximated portion of what I personally consider the important factors to success. The actual values should not be considered exact in any way, but just as the actual recipe for success is something that is more of an Art than a Science, and therefore even the title of this post is technically incorrect, I think seeing the portion of the pie and how they relate to each other in terms of their size is more accurate of a representation than the actual numbers. I know this might seem confusing at first, but I assure you once you see the graph it will make more sense to you.

So what are the Factors of Success? From my personal experience, and yes these factors may vary slightly from person to person and industry to industry; if you ask a successful person what made them successful, they may give you a slightly different “recipe”, but I feel in some underlining way, most if not all of these factors have played a role in the success of most people.

Recipe of Success (The Ingredients or Factors):

Note: Lowest Order of Importance is most important; 1 being the most important. There is a 0, however that’s really undefined; you’ll see what I mean when you read this part. Also you will see that the Order of Importance is not in order, this is because I felt the reader would be able to relate to the Factor Order listed below instead of the actual Factor’s order of Importance.

  • What You Know
    • Order of Importance: 2
    • This factor represents your Skills, Knowledge, Education, and Experience.
    • Note: An Educator I know, once pointed out, I should have/could have listed “What you Learned” as a separate slice of the pie. But to me What you know includes Knowledge gained through Experience, so I do not think Education needs it’s own Slice.
    • Education both from established institutions such as Schools and Universities as well as Knowledge gained from personal and professional projects is invaluable.
    • Most of the time, personally I value Knowledge gained from projects both personal and professional over official classroom based education and textbooks, especially in the realm of technology and specifically software development.
  • Who You Know
    • Order of Importance: 4
    • Everyone will tell you knowing the right people is your ticket to success, in school, jobs, and otherwise. However I feel the next attribute of my Success Pie is more important. Knowing the Right People of course is important, but just the fact that you “know” someone is unimportant. I know people that know CEOs of companies, but those same CEOs wouldn’t give them jobs, because they either lack too many of the other Factors of Success or they are more of an Acquaintance and really don’t know them, or in general just wouldn’t put their name on the line for that person.
    • In my experience, people throw the word “Friend” around too casually. Acquaintance is more appropriate for most of the relationships in our lives; again in my opinion.
    • However you must first know someone before they get to know you and you get to know them. That’s where the next ingredient comes into play.
  • How You Know Them
    • Order of Importance: 3
    • This factor is really the second half of “Who You Know”. As I mostly explained already, simply the fact that you “know” someone is insignificant. It is how you know them or rather really how they know you, that’s important.
    • This is why I have it as double the size of “Who You Know”.
    • In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to network professionally.
    • This includes the depth of information on the professional level, although sometimes for some people even some personal facts are important, but remember TMI (Too Much Info) when getting into the realm of personal facts.
    • A person in a position of power that you want to leverage to help you succeed needs to know that they can trust you. That you will not hurt their own reputation, and that if they give you a task that you will succeed and make both you and them look good. They need to know that you will be a good representative for them.
    • These reasons and others are why “How You Know Them” is more important than “Who You Know.” But again it’s a complimentary ingredient to “Who You Know.” But please remember there’s a big difference and simply knowing someone doesn’t count for much by itself.
    • Some people will disagree here, but they do not understand what I mean, if they are “close friends”, etc, that means they trust you, which again relates to “How You Know Them” or “How They Know You.”…
  • What You Do (Or “Deliver”)
    • Order of Importance: 1
    • This is possibly the most important factor of success.
    • Everything up until this point helps you to Deliver. And what you Do or Deliver is the most important thing for your successes in life.
    • You have to Walk the Walk, not just Talk the Talk.
    • When you list experience on a resume, you better make sure that you actually Delivered what your experience says, because good interviewers can see right through the people who never delivered, but were still “part of a project.”
    • Your Skills, Education, Past Experience both Professionally and Personally, Connections, all add up to this moment. This is the moment you take center stage and show to the world you can actually do it; make it happen.
    • What you Deliver is why you get promoted, get more job offers when you aren’t even looking, get the big bonus or that raise, or grow your team and responsibilities.
    • This is when you earn that Pay Check, make it count!
  • Luck (See Below for expansion on this, too many sub-factors…)
    • Order of Importance: 0 (Why ZERO? Because I think it’s hard to quantify how important Luck really is, and will vary person by person.)
    • What is Luck? Luck is:
      • Being in the right place at the right time.
      • Saying the right things.
      • Knowing the right people.
      • Doing the right things.
      • Succeeding at a task instead of failing against the odds.
      • Making the right choices in general.
      • Getting the chance to work on the right projects.
      • Getting hired for the right job that will give you the opportunities to gain experience, exposure, etc.
      • Graduating at the right time.
      • Working for the right group or department or company.
      • Going to the right schools.
      • Participating in the right extracurricular activities.
      • Being seen when it counts.
    • The list can go on and on. This is why it’s considered ZERO on my list of ingredients in terms of Order of Importance. The definition of Luck itself is infinite and cannot really be determined. We can list components of what is luck, but really you only need some of them to help you be successful, not all of them.
    • I hear all to often people saying I just wasn’t lucky. Although there may be some truth to this because you might be equally as good as someone else or maybe even better but maybe you missed some of the other attributes of what makes a person successful, or perhaps it really is a missing component that I listed under luck, for example, being at the right place at the right time.
    • I am a Capitalist and I believe in the principals of Capitalism. And my Recipe for Success “Pie” applies only to a Capitalistic Society. I even wear a T-Shirt that says “Capitalist” on the front of it in a baseball styled font. So I don’t believe that we have to live in a Socialist vision of a fair society.
    • Instead I believe that our Government should support Capitalism and Freedom and simply allow for the chance that someone, anyone, no matter where they come from or who they are, can become successful, but that does not mean that any specific individual will be successful.
      • Obviously I mean: Equality of Opportunity but NOT Equality of Outcome!
    • I don’t want to make this post get too political so I’ll stop it right here. But let’s face it, Luck does play some roll in a Capitalistic Society, and that’s ok…

Any how, it’s now time for Pie…

I’m interested if any other managers feel points from this post or my Pie Chart are useful for their own Employee Reviews when an employee asks about advancement. Please feel free to contact me on my contact page or leave some comments. Also I would like to hear any general comments from anyone if they agree or disagree with any of my points, or feel I should even consider adding additional “Ingredients” to my Success Pie.

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

Wisdom is Real and Meaningful

Back in College, a humanities professor I had, postulated that Wisdom is meaningless, and there is an assumption that just because someone is older they are wise and someone who is younger and educated via the modern western education system is “smarter” than an older person who is wise. At the time I agree with him, however given my own life experience, I believe he and I were both wrong in this assumption and instead while not all older people are wise, true wisdom can exist.

We see similar terms all the time, such as Street Smarts or Common Sense. These are real. And this type of knowledge is sometimes difficult to explain via writing in the traditional sense of how western education now takes place. In the past we valued apprenticeships, and I believe this was a type of education that imparted wisdom and knowledge onto the apprentice by the master. So Yes, Wisdom is real, and is extremely valuable. Wisdom and teaching styles such as Apprenticeship extremely useful tools in the passing and development of knowledge.

Happy Easter!

~Robert

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

Universities need to teach Freshman the Economic Prospects of their Majors

In this video I will discuss the need for Universities to teach a Zero Credit Required Course for All Freshman on Economic and Job Prospects related to each Major.

The University was first created in Medievial Bolonga, in Italy. The University of Bologna founded in 1088 is the world’s oldest University having even coined the term “University”. The idea of creating well rounded educated individuals while a noble endeavor and one that I believe is still valid, needs to be put into context given the cost to obtain a undergraduate degree and our need for specialty in our advanced world economy.

There needs to be a better balance between the general humanities and the specialties of the sciences. In today’s world and probably for the foreseeable future a engineering or science degrees, including medicine will outpace the need for any liberal arts degree at least within the economy. Students should be explicitly told this and shown how each of the offered majors at a particular university relates to the job market predicted by the time they graduate and the broader economy itself.

This is why I believe like many universities including my own which had a “Student Life” or “Campus Life” zero credit required course for the first semester or all incoming freshman needs to give a zero credit required course to all freshman to give the students an unfiltered hard hitting view of the job prospects and economic reality of each major the university offers.

This way the students can make better decisions around majors they choose and whatever the do choose at least the have the foreknowledge of their future earning capabilities. Another possibility is to charge different tuition rates for different majors, perhaps higher for the sciences and less for the liberal arts.

 

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Defining Sub-Generations of the Millennials (In preparation to discuss High Performance Workspaces)

I’m planning on doing a blog entry on “High Performance Workspaces” and how corporations are saying these are the types of work environments that attract Millennials. I personally highly dislike these so called “High Performance Workspaces”. But in preparation for that video, I want to define the differences in the different age ranges of the Millennial Generation, because I have observed that they are not just one homogeneous group, indeed, I believe their are at least 3 distinct sub-generations or sub-groups within their generation.

Background Info for the chart I created below:

Date Ranges for both Generation X and Millennials have been pulled from Gallup’s definition of the two generations, which are:

Generation X Birth Date Range: 1965 to 1979

Millennial Birth Date Range: 1980 to 1996

So first a little about myself, just to frame the conversation. I’m part of the Tail-End of Generation X, sometimes called the Xennials.

I have broken down the Millennial Generation into 3 separate sub-generational groups, simply named Early, Mid, and Late.

Early Millennials I define having birth date ranges between 1980 and 1985.

Mid Millennials I define between 1986 and 1992.

Finally, I define Late Millennials between 1993 and 1996.

My personal feeling, based on observations I make of my younger cousins and their peers is that the Millennial birth date range should extend to somewhere between 1999 and 2001, however we’ll stick to the Gallup definition.

At the time of this writing I attribute the following observations to Early, Mid, and Late Millennials:

Early Millennial Attributes: In the process of buying their first homes, or are in their first homes, after renting, I find these millennials, moved out of the parents as soon as possible after college. Most are married, some with 1 child and perhaps another on the way. They are in the late stages of the beginning of their career or have settled into their career. While they have adapted to social media as a large part of their social life, they grew up through their teenage years, high school, and even most or all of college without social media, and therefore lean towards real-world social interaction more than their mid and late millennial counterparts. They can balance real-world social interaction with social media interaction equally well. When speaking with them verses an Late Generation Xer, there is almost no real difference. They also fall under the Xennials moniker of the mixed stage of Generation X and Millennials.

Mid Millennial Attributes: Still living at home or perhaps renting, usually with a roommate or perhaps they live together with their significant other, but not married yet. They have only begun their career but many still are working jobs just to make some money to live, such as a Starbucks Barista or other low-wage job. They are still questioning what they really want to do with their life. Where they are with their career search highly depends on what they studied in college. If it was a hard science degree or professional degree, they are probably already in the early stages of their career perhaps already settled into their careers like their Early Millennial counterparts. But if they have a social science or other liberal arts degree, even something like a generic Business degree they may be highly under-employed as their degrees ill-equipped them for the corporate world. These are the Millennials into ideas like Tiny Houses and are trying their best to live out the idea that they are special individuals and they can’t be tied down to a “traditional cubical type job”. This group may have older siblings in the Late Gen-X or Early Millennial range, and if they do not fall into the Millennials that can afford to take care of themselves without much of their parents help, they are constantly compared to their older brothers and sisters or cousins and friends. It creates a hostile environment around the Holidays, and a lot of competition. Usually their older siblings will ignore the competition as they realize there really isn’t any competition to be had. so these Millennials are in actuality competing against their own sense of self. These Millennials grew up with early generation web sites that grew into what we know today as social media. Throughout high school and college, they were using things like Instant Messenger and Chat Rooms, and you start to see the breakdown of where it’s almost easier for this part of the millennial generation to communicate online. Were their old counterparts in the Early Millennial sub-group probably met most of their significant others in the real-world, probably post high school these mid millennials have been using dating web sites for most of their adult life’s to find companionship.

Late Millennials Attributes: They are either still in college or have just graduated, perhaps they are going straight on to graduate school. Most of them are moving back home with their parents right after graduation without job prospects. Again this is highly dependent on their degrees, but also how they spent their summers during college. If they achieved an internship, they are more likely then their peers to be able to find employment that will lead to a career and one that will allow them to support themselves without the help of their parents. The rest will follow the mid-millennials to under-employment type jobs like Baristas or other retail or low wage service jobs. They will be forced to work because their parents tell them they have to do something with their life, and probably complain a lot that their parents “just don’t understand them”. They are still seeking out ways to display their so called “uniqueness” to the world, because they have been told they are special their entire lives and can do “anything they want”. However it’s interesting now, once they return home, their parents are usually on their case asking them, when will they move out of the house and get a real job, etc. They are completely consumed by social media, and many prefer texting or chatting online over real-world conversation. To find them without a smart phone in their hand is like trying to spot a unicorn. Simply it does not exist. Dating to this sub-group is almost exclusively assumed to happen online unless they met someone in college. Even at that point, many for whatever reason still date people via online platforms. Like their older Mid Millennial friends and family, they find themselves in a competition against themselves as their direct friends probably and many of their mid millennial counterparts are in the same situation as they are, and their older siblings in the Early Millennials or Late Gen-Xers simply don’t want to be bothered with their annoyances, they have their own life’s at this point to take care of, and they are quickly drifting further away from this range of Millennials in terms of social standing.

 

Year Born Age as of 2018 Millennial Sub-Generation Age at September 11th Attacks Age at Start of Housing Crisis 2008 Estimated Start of High School Year High School Graduation Year College Graduation Year
1980 38 Early 21 28 1994 1998 2002
1981 37 Early 20 27 1995 1999 2003
1982 36 Early 19 26 1996 2000 2004
1983 35 Early 18 25 1997 2001 2005
1984 34 Early 17 24 1998 2002 2006
1985 33 Early 16 23 1999 2003 2007
1986 32 Mid 15 22 2000 2004 2008
1987 31 Mid 14 21 2001 2005 2009
1988 30 Mid 13 20 2002 2006 2010
1989 29 Mid 12 19 2003 2007 2011
1990 28 Mid 11 18 2004 2008 2012
1991 27 Mid 10 17 2005 2009 2013
1992 26 Mid 9 16 2006 2010 2014
1993 25 Late 8 15 2007 2011 2015
1994 24 Late 7 14 2008 2012 2016
1995 23 Late 6 13 2009 2013 2017
1996 22 Late 5 12 2010 2014 2018

 

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