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Interesting Work

Does anyone on this board do really interesting work.  I'm not talking about databases, internet programming / scripting, teaching etc.  I'm talking about graphics, games, operating systems, embedded systems, space shuttle type work.  You know, the interesting and challenging stuff, the low level stuff talked about in all the graphics and operating system books.  The kind of work where it's difficult to get a job without a masters degree and 10 years of experience (ok exaggerated a tad).  Not university level research either (boring).


Sunday, November 16, 2003

Device drivers.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Sunday, November 16, 2003

What are your objective criteria for "interesting"?

You gave examples of types of work, but I'm curious about your actual criteria.  The examples you give are what I'd call "cool".  But that's really just how something LOOKS from the outside.

Entrepreneur
Sunday, November 16, 2003

I'm a high school dropout with no degree and I designed one system that's used on the shuttle.

Nanoo
Sunday, November 16, 2003

Hi Carl


Sunday, November 16, 2003

Do I know you blank?

Nanook
Sunday, November 16, 2003

I do video games for PS2, GameCube, and XBox.  Depending on who you are, it's not as cool as it sounds.

Moosebumps
Sunday, November 16, 2003

Personally, I take umbrage at the idea that databases aren't interesting.  (=  I've been working on a package that uses mostly older, unsexy technology -- but it allows my users to have data-driven conversations they've never dreamed of having, which in turn lets them change what they do to more effectively help people.  Personally, I find that much more interesting than writing yet another fighting game.

Sam Livingston-Gray
Sunday, November 16, 2003

I do games for PC, PS2 and Xbox. Well, I used to. These days I just do endless Maya scripts and plugins.

It's not that cool. How cool do you think it would be?! It's basically <<insert dull shit here>> but with a spot more maths and you get something moving on the screen at the end.

OK, OK, so every now and again you meet someone who is impressed[0]. Every now and then, you meet someone who's impressed AND who is actually interesting to talk to, but then you have to tell them what you do.

No, I don't design the games.

No, I don't draw the graphics.

No, I don't play them all day.

Actually, I sit there and tell the computer what to do, in words of one syllable. Would you like me to tell you...

No, thought not. I'll just sit here in this corner.

[0] -- mental note: next life, must be gay and have a thing for spotty 19 year olds and bearded early-20s Star Wars fanatics with glasses.

Insert half smiley here.
Sunday, November 16, 2003

Note: lest my tone sound a bit depressing, I personally quite like having something on the screen at the end, and I've come to rather appreciate the maths too :)

Insert half smiley here.
Sunday, November 16, 2003

I'm starting a new job next week that *I* am dying to get into, but most of you would probably hate. [grin]

Philo

Philo.
Sunday, November 16, 2003

Half Smiley, let's see if I get this right-

- Design game play/flow - way cool
- Design combat heuristics - pretty cool
- Design game character appearance - cool if you're an artist

Make all the above work together - boring as hell.

?

Philo

Philo.
Sunday, November 16, 2003

Nanook

If it is Carl then...

OR acquantance only, but how many people have those credentials <g>


Sunday, November 16, 2003

>> "I'm starting a new job next week that *I* am dying to get into, but most of you would probably hate. [grin]"

What will you be doing at this new job Philo?

JJ
Sunday, November 16, 2003

Effectively, sales. I don't want to go into details until I start. Don't want to jinx it. :)

Philo

Philo.
Sunday, November 16, 2003

interesting work you do on your own. As far as games, the code maintainability doesn't exist.

Tom Vu
Sunday, November 16, 2003

Graphics & just a little bit of device drivers. 

It was cool for a couple of years, but its old now.  No longer interesting.

ted
Sunday, November 16, 2003

I wouldn't consider any of the stuff you listed very interesting.

There truly isn't very much interesting about the development process at any level.

Developing a perl script or a device driver both involve sitting at a desk in front of a computer for long periods of time.

oops
Sunday, November 16, 2003

Yeah. Reading about development is far more interesting and doesn't involve that at all!!!

Philo

Philo.
Sunday, November 16, 2003

Well, if you consider an embedded system for doing medical ultrsound imaging interesting (I do) then ... yes.

sgf
Sunday, November 16, 2003

I used to think what I did was elite. I work in the research center of a software company. My coworkers are mathematicians, electrical engineers, and computer scientists. Many of them have PhD's in their fields. We do the kind of stuff you call interesting. And I thought so too, until I met a bunch guys that were building a gravity wave inferometer in space.

No software project I can think of comes close to being as "interesting" as 50 brilliant scientists and engineers, working together from 6 different countries, on a project lasting 10 years, and costing 200 million dollars, to put four satallites around the sun, for an experiment that will furthur understanding of the nature of the universe. Compared to that, we might as well be bookeepers.

Except that I think what we do is more fun than what a bookeeper does, and more fun than what thoes guys are doing even. Sure what they're doing is taking part in human history, but on a day to day basis it isn't very rewarding. They won't see the result of their work for at least a decade. And even after they get it up, it could be decades more before they detect a gravity wave (if they even exist). Plus they have deal with government buracracy daily, and their pay sucks.

When it comes down to making real decisions, like what to do with your career, I think it's more important to have fun, to make a difference somewhere you can see, (and to make money), than to do stuff that gets written about later in textbooks.

I guess this means I can't call myself an idealist anymore ;)

JD
Monday, November 17, 2003

I don't know dude, keeping boos sure sounds like fun to me.

Oooh! I'm scared!
Monday, November 17, 2003

"on a project lasting 10 years"

I just lost interest. :-)

Philo

Philo.
Monday, November 17, 2003

what a place to ask!

.. all the people with the grippingly fascinating jobs don't have time for banter ;-D

i like i
Monday, November 17, 2003

Im making this awesome inventory system right now! It keeps track of things by listing them in all a database. The the users can like search and stuff to find out what things they have in store and how many and stuff. Way Cool!
Yesterday I wrote a query with four joins! Feeling envious yet?


One can always improve rotten eggs by painting happy faces on them say I

Eric DeBois
Monday, November 17, 2003

Not directly answering your question, but in my study of knowledge representations, it struck me a couple days ago that entering logical statements about the universe into a database is kinda interesting.  Which is weird, because right up to then, databases seemed the most horribly boring subject in computerdom.  But perhaps databases needed this image of boringness to fit in well with average businesses.  The only large company I can imagine that appears creatively greedy is Microsoft, and even that's probably changing due to the stock price. 

Modelling business should also sound intriguing, but again there are anti-interestingness forces at work.  Maybe if you worked with Walmart it would be better, from what I hear.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Monday, November 17, 2003

My job is just for the money.  I seek fulfillment elsewhere.

ted
Monday, November 17, 2003

Did you just discover Prolog, Tayssir?

K
Monday, November 17, 2003

I make clocks.

Big ones, little ones, odd ones.

One I've been wanting to make for a while is just your ordinary 7-segment LED display, like on your clock radio or microwave.

Except the digits are made up of high voltage sparks, with each digit about 20cm high.

Surprising, I've got (most of) the details worked out.  Now if I can organise some cash...

Oh, you wanted interesting computer stuff.  Well, there is a microcontroller in there...

AJS
Monday, November 17, 2003

Game development, especially if you're into a senior position, is challenging and fulfilling. (The pay isn't.) You get to architect VERY complicated systems, play with math, play with hardware, tweak/optimize things, and you have a chance of actually using and probably enjoying the software you've built (unlike, e.g. bank software).

Until you develop "game developer vision", where you can't watch a game without pointing out glaring rendering problems nobody else even sees :-)

Phoenix
Monday, November 17, 2003

Real-time process control has been interesting to me...  but I find whatever is next to be interesting.


Monday, November 17, 2003

Yes.  I'd looked at some of prolog implemented a couple times (older lisp books always do that), but you're pretty much right.  If you want to talk about it, feel free to click my name, or we can discuss here if you think it's interesting to the original poster.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Monday, November 17, 2003

From a job perspective, I work with databases. I wouldn't want to do anything else as I have found DB to be a very interesting topic for me.

As far as external criteria for interesting (challenging, changes the future of the world), I am raising a son and daughter. I can't think of anything more challenging. :)

m
Monday, November 17, 2003

Graphics device drivers.  It gets pretty weird at some points and you get blank stares when you try to explain to non-technical people what you do but it can be pretty interesting.  Playing with HW emulators (FPGAs) that allow you to test your driver on a device that is vapour ware and then getting the physical device and making it work is pretty good.  Having customers complain about nit-picky little bugs and bumping into OS bugs that have to be worked around sucks.  Also, as every where I guess, office politics blow chunks.

Fred
Monday, November 17, 2003

I write a custom app to be used by Fog Creek's internal staff.

o'my
Monday, November 17, 2003

I work on B2B and ecommerce type stuff, which isn't terribly exciting, but architecting things "the right way" I find quite rewarding.  Applying good design principles to a system as it grows in complexity is interesting, even if the problem domain itself isn't.

One of the most exciting things for me was making thousands of lines of code become uneccessary by looking at the problem in a different way.  It means that my team can add new functionality with just a few lines of code that would have required dozens or hundreds of lines before.

Maybe I'm just easy to please.

Jim Rankin
Monday, November 17, 2003

I used to work on graphics drivers.  There were things I hated about it, but one of the coolest things was getting visual feedback: when you booted with your latest build, you'd see pretty darn quick whether that little performance tweak broke BitBlts so bad you could barely see to shut down the system.

Now I hack Java.  Decent language, and Eclipse is a great IDE.  My work is challenging but not very fulfilling.  So I'm here mostly for the pay.

-Thomas

Thomas
Monday, November 17, 2003

I work with the measurement of large mirrors for NASA space telescopes.

David Fischer
Monday, November 17, 2003

David,

Here's a brief tip -- measure twice, grind once.

Smart Ass
Monday, November 17, 2003

Five years of financial applications, all in large multi-nationals with dilbert cartoons stuck all over cubicle walls.

Sigh, I need a change.

Realist
Monday, November 17, 2003

What is "interesting"? I have found a number of things so during my time in this industry, but for different reasons. Financial stuff was interesting (all those millions depending on my code, yummmm), embedded stuff was interesting (nice to do optimization for example) and a nice buzz when you go into a shop and say "I made that!". Actually, yeah, "I made that" is what is interesting for me about s/ware development, assuming it is not a steaming great PoS foisted on me by management.


Tuesday, November 18, 2003

I develop research software (data analysis, etc.) for a large pharmaceutical company.  Sometimes I get to work on problems that few other people have encountered: How should we analyze output X from multi-million $ machine Y?

The other 95% of the time is spent on death-march projects no one has ever tried to use.

Devil's Advocate
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

i was really looking for interesting work in or around the saint louis mo area i will be back.... the positions i have had so far are normal but interesting to me tow truck driver, taxi driver, delivery of lost luggage from the local airport... now these are interesting to me as i like to drive and meet new people

phillip dale stotler
Friday, April 23, 2004

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