Why am I posting this? Well, yeah sure, the IE8 details are interesting. But on a more personal note, I found Jane Kim’s discussion about her college experience and her major to be strikingly familiar. The parallels are frighteningly uncanny and I’m curious as to how common this pattern of experiences is amongst Computer Engineering majors.
MEMORIES OF THE UCLA SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
You see, I graduated from UCLA with a Computer Engineering degree and when I arrived, the “weeder” classes in year 1 started off with 100 students and there were about 8 girls in the class – just like Jane did at Northwestern. (I’m curious however as to how many were left at Northwestern by the end of her freshmen year though. We had 5 left and I still remember all their names: Lisa, Liz, Vivian, Maria, & Karen.)
Additionally, if I had to do it all over again, I’d drop the ‘electrical’ aspect of the major and just gone straight Computer Science because to be blunt – I loathed circuit design. I’ve been programming since I was 10 years old, (Pilot on the Atari 400s, BASIC on Apple II’s & Commodore PETs, & Pascal/Assembly on the original IBM PC!) and I never had a problem working 72 hour straight trying to code some little Star Trek game or my own Infocom adventure.
But I once had two lab partners on a stupid circuit board that was wired with EEPROMs to play “pong” on a CRT and after 24hrs of work on the board, my partners… well… bailed! Giving up on a lab = “F”, so I stuck around for the next 24 hours trying to figure out what was wrong – following every since single trace and every single wire, reprogramming every chip, and verifying every connection. Sure enough it was a bad wire but in the end I decided that working on hardware was the equivalent of Hades for me.
Well, that and LISP. Coding recursion is elegant but it still makes my brain hurt.
COMPUTERS WERE PRETTY COMMON BACK THEN
I think Ritzy, by the way, is wrong. I don’t know how old Ritzy is, but I graduated about a full decade before Jane did and back then, full computer labs in schools and computers “in the curriculum” were NOT uncommon in major cities on the west coast. I know that most of the cities along the Pacific Ocean had some form of computers in most of their high schools. Seattle, San Francisco, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Diego, and Portland – I had friends that I graduated with that came from all those cities and we all had Apple IIs/Macs/PCs in school. So either Ritzy is 5-10 years older than I am or she grew up in a more rural town.
BTW: It’s too bad Jane’s still stuck with a crappy office phone. My Nortel & my Tanjay are more up-to-date than that thing she’s got sitting next to her. Someone needs to bring Building 50 up to Unified Communications.