Susan, i can't tell you how much i loved this story! My father was an engineer; I don't think he ever understood where exactly in my math or physics homework I struggled. When I went to him for help, he used to ask me a few questions first, and told me, "Come back to me when you understood the basics."
I learned then not to go to him for help, unless I was very well versed on the topic.
@Ghery- well there you go. You are the exception, not the rule. I find that in the age of MP3, even a CD player can be tough to lay your hands on. A couple of years ago I wrote a blog about my experience trying to listen to game four of the 2010 world series, which fell on Halloween (check it out: Where have all the transistor radios gone?). All about the perils of upgrading CE appliances.
Thanks, burn0050, for the Kodu link. And thanks to Silverlock for link to MIT's Scratch site for kids. Keep 'em coming. What are the best Internet tools do you like that teach kids some programming or engineering skills? Thanks again.
Scratch looks awesome! I also found Kodu (http://fuse.microsoft.com/projects/kodu) the other day - visual game programming, I guess you could say. I hope I can get my kids interested in these things...
I never met an engineer until I started work at EE Times.
One asset I often see in common is a kind of no-nonsense view of the world that when posed with a mystery of how something works (like a TV set or the universe) feels compelled to tear it apart or think deeply.
My dad wasn't an engineer, but he did have a knack for anything electrical or mechanical and always imparted useful hard-earned knowledge bits like: "Don't buy anything electronic in your cars, it's going to break first." I also learned not to carry credit card debt and be nice to people. :-)
My nine-year-old daughter seems to have caught the programming bug cia MIT's software-creation site Scratch (scratch.mit.edu). She loves to take other people's projects and "remix" them to do something fun.
I'm not sure, though, whether she likes the creation aspect of it the most or the social aspect. Either way, I'll take it.
Replay available now: A handful of emerging network technologies are competing to be the preferred wide-area connection for the Internet of Things. All claim lower costs and power use than cellular but none have wide deployment yet. Listen in as proponents of leading contenders make their case to be the metro or national IoT network of the future. Rick Merritt, EE Times Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, moderators this discussion. Join in and ask his guests questions.