Wednesday, April 15, 2009

10 techs about to go 'extinct'

I see these articles all the time.

Anyway the latest is on Foxnews.

Here's the list.

1. Landline phones.

I want what the writer is smoking. The baby bells will never let this technology die, and marrying DSL (broadband internet) to landllines is a great way to do that. Its like how the cable companies package standard-def and HDTV. Is there any reason to watch a SDTV channel if a HD one is available? No. But they get more money.

2. Floppy disks.

Floppys are dead. We have one instrument in lab which only takes floppy disks. We have a few computers with a FD drive inside, just so we can read that one instrument. Otherwise, yeah stick a fork in it. My ferret Luci ran off with all my FDs at home, none of our 3 PCs have a FD drive. It's done.

3. Wristwatches

Haha, right. My watch is just an essential part of me, i'm severely affected at work if I dont have it. the timer feature is invaluable.

4. VHS and VCRs

Yup, also dead. We have a stack of VHS tapes, at one point I thought i'd convert them to digital. Alas it was such a PITA to do so, i gave up (the A/V syncing was quite difficult). Thank god i convinced my wife to ditch her 9 seasons of X-Files, the earlier ones which were about dead due to tape degradation.

5. Beepers

Nope, gonna be around a while. The reason is cost, pure and simple. It costs $10 or $15 a month to get a pager, vs $100 a month for a blackberry. Heavily used in hospitals.

6. Film cameras

Nah, will never die. Purists like film, they always will. Film may be a hobby at some point, but it won't die.

7. Typewriters

Nah, need em for forms. Maybe in 50 years they will be dead; but they are still useful.

8. Portable CD players aka Walkmans

Probably dead. Haven't used one in 10 years. MP3 players are the new thing, and convergence devices like the iphone are the next gen, but again most people can't afford the $100 a month.

9. Dial-up internet

Hopefuly dead. I can't image why people would pay for this when for basically the same price you can get DSL. In our area the bare minimum DSL is $25 a month. Pretty good deal.

10. DVDs.

Got a long way to go. Yes, they don't look that great on 1080 HD screens, but you can upconvert. And many of us are loath to pay Sony a zillion dollars to upgrade their DVD collections.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I'm hyper-stressed nowadays, mostly about my career/job stuff. Friday we have off, labmates wanted me to come in, i resisted. Gotta come in Sat. anyway. Got a deadline on April 15th (next Wed.). Got two papers to finish up, write up, send out. Got a trip in June. Got a trip in July. My fellowship is up end of June. Not sure what will happen then. I really want to switch out of academia, but the job market is abysmal.

My friend, a new assist prof, took 7 years to get from PhD to prof. Most prof. openings have 100-200 applicants. It requires a grant in hand (or K award), at this point. Can't teach, no experience. Not that great at research.

So, what do you have after 10 years? Not much. A few papers. A few awards. Not much at all. Starting over in another field is starting from ground level, high school level. That after 10 years of education is humbling. I probably wont get another fellowship; was lucky to get the first. The competition is too much. It's always the top 1% or 5%. This means 95% of the field isn't getting these awards. What do you do? The field is collapsing, Pharma, the dream for us, is just not hiring at all, actually almost all of them are laying off research staff. Outside of pharma and academia, there is the Fed; gonna apply to them next week.

I wonder what will happen after the depression is over. I think for our industry the fundamentals are still there; not much profits, few new drugs; this isn't a wise career move I think. I think the whole giant is going to collapse; it may take 20-30 years, but they can't afford many more cycles of producing one or two good drugs every 5 years.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

PhD comics

This strip is very funny (the one published 4/6/09, sorry, idk how to link it properly), in the light that we watch NCIS alot.

"If TV was more likely real science"

*Serial killers would have plenty of time to get away*

"Quick, run this PCR sample!"

"Yeah, that's an overnighter"

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bike rides!

Apparently I missed the spring kick off ride today! Oh well. But there are some more coming out. The weather is awesome and I really want to be outside (i'm at work all day today).

Anyway here is the list of Raleigh/Durham training bike rides for the MS150 in the fall.

Also here is a list of rides from NCDOT, most are not in the raleigh/durham area.

Here is a list of rides from the Carolina Tarwheels (local bike group).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Baby tiger video

Aww, cute!

Great story, hopefully in a few years she'll still remember the guy, but more likely she'll try to kill him.

Google auto-pilot

And the Google April fools is....Autopilot.