April 23, 2011

People sure are lazy

When my family switched cellphone carriers, I got an iPhone. Over the last couple of months, I've become hooked on Zombie Farm. The game allows you to plant and harvest Zombies, mutate them with crops and launch invasions against a variety of enemies.

In an effort to learn as much as possible about the game and how to succeed in it, I started looking at the Facebook group. Lately, I've been answering questions on the discussion boards. It amazes me how friggin' lazy people are!

There are over 20 pages in the discussion boards, covering all practical matters of the game including: how to open the mausoleum (answer: win 3 rusty fragments and fashion a key), what to do about glitches (answer: un-enable Game Center) and how to reboot the app to get the latest Easter items (answer: restart the device). But rather than search through the pages to find the information, people just create a new thread to post their question.

If that wasn't enough, the spelling is atrocious! Does no one pay attention in school anymore?

April 17, 2011

What to do after graduate school

I was talking to two of my friends about what we want to do when we graduate and enter the real world. It use to be a dilemma of choice: do I want to work in academia, extension, government or industry? [Not to mention the follow-up question of "Do I have to do a post-doc to get a full-time position?"] Each option had its own pluses and minuses, and sorting through those to find the desired balance required careful consideration. Now, with the lingering recession and the government's budget battles, there really isn't a choice. The only place consistently hiring is industry.

Public universities are mired in financial squabbles with the state and federal governments, and the allocations given to agriculture-related disciplines have been declining. This means that even though a large proportion of the professors in my field will be retiring in the next few years, departments are combining faculty positions, so the number of available jobs is still low.

Extension is suffering a lack of funding from state and federal governments as well as from the public universities. Ironically, some of these same universities brag about their outreach within the state due to these extension centers! I heard on the news lately that some politicians are even arguing that extension has outlived its purpose and is no longer needed.

Government, as I'm sure you're well aware, is arguing over single-digit percentages of the country's entire debt. Not having a working budget, but anticipating a declining budget in the future, means government positions are slim pickings. Plus, veterans are given preference, even if they lack other qualifications.

My mentality is that it is better to have a job, even if it isn't exactly what I want, then to move back in with my parents while I search for my ideal/dream job. And if industry is the only group that's hiring, then that's where I'll go!

April 03, 2011

A birthday present to myself

I've ordered a new digital camera! My current camera is a Kodak Easyshare V530, which debuted in 2005. I purchased it around Thanksgiving and although it has been quite reliable through the years, the rechargeable battery needs to be replaced again. Since the camera is 6 years old and a lot of advancements have been made with digital cameras, it made sense to upgrade.

I decided on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS6. The reviews for this camera are pretty good and it has better zoom and macro capabilities than my old camera. Consumer Reports rated the ZS7 (the successor) very well, and reviews I found for this model say that it has the body of the ZS5 (predecessor) with a lot of the features of the ZS7. I didn't want to purchase the ZS7 because it has built-in GPS, and the major complaint on Amazon is that the battery is constantly drained because of the camera updating its location. Plus the ZS6 is significantly cheaper!

I have to admit that it took quite a while to read through reviews -- both online and in print -- and decide what options were most important for me. [Goodbye HD quality video recording!] I also didn't want to have to install a particular software package onto my computer in order to download photos. Hopefully transitioning to this camera will be a piece of cake.