Follow Your Passion: Exciting Tech Careers For Geeks

Follow Your Passion: Exciting Tech Careers For Geeks

Follow Your Passion: Exciting Tech Careers For Geeks

Jennifer Dawson

As the world relies increasingly on advanced technology, careers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) field are increasingly in demand — which is great news for geeks. In the US, STEM jobs are expected to grow 13% by 2027 and 93% of all STEM positions pay over double the national average of non-STEM jobs, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates. So, whether you love video games, computers, space, or science, there’s an exciting job out there to suit your talents.

Video Game Designer

A video game designer is a great way to turn your passion for video games into a career. You’ll be involved in creating sketches, concept art, and animations to determine video game settings and characters, as well as the overall style and mechanics of a game. The average annual salary for video game designers is $73,864 with the potential to reach $86,563 after six years of experience. You’ll first need a four-year degree in computer science (preferably with specializations specific to video games), which costs about $167,968. College is investment, but you can keep debt to a minimum by looking after your finances. During college, you should also work on building a portfolio to help get your foot in the door.

Ethical Hacker

Ethical hacking is a great career match for computer nerds interested in IT security. The job involves testing a company’s IT security for vulnerabilities — it’s a complex role often using the same methods illegal hackers use to breach networks. The necessary steps are then taker to strengthen the company’s security. There are no set qualifications required to be an ethical hacker, but a bachelor’s or master’s degree in internet security, mathematics, or computer science are great springboards into the role. The average salary starts at about $72,000 and can advance to over $100,000 with experience.

NASA Scientist

If you’re fascinated by the endless mystery of space, working at NASA is the dream career. NASA scientists study all sorts of subjects including other planets, galaxies, comets, black holes, and stellar explosions — it’s your choice what you specialize in. You’ll also need to do essential research and testing in advance of any space mission. You’ll at least need a bachelor’s degree in physics, space science, astrophysics, or astronomy, but you’ll earn more with a master’s or PhD. Salaries range from $35,000 to over $100,000.

There’s no time like the present to start planning your future. With hard work and dedication, you can make your geeky passion your career.

Loot Crate
Pokémon GO Halloween Event Confirmed

Pokémon GO Halloween Event Confirmed

Pokémon GO Halloween Event Confirmed

Bob McFadden

Starting this week, Pokémon GO will host its first-ever holiday event. From October 26 to November 1, this Halloween event will allow you to channel the trick-or-treating spirit of the season. Candy will be handed out in increased proportions, and spooky species of Pokémon will spawn at an increased rate. You wanted a special Halloween event, and you got it! (Everything we asked for, and more!)

The amount of candy obtained by catching Pokémon will be doubled during the event. Usually, capturing a wild pocket monster nabs you 3 candy for the corresponding evolutionary family. During the event, this candy reward will be doubled to six. In addition, transferring a Pokémon to be, erm, “taken care of” by the Professor normally gets you one piece of candy corresponding to the type of Pokémon that you transferred. During this event, the reward for transferring Pokémon will be doubled to two! Similarly, you will get twice the amount of candy that you normally would by hatching eggs! Hatching eggs already provided the most candy out of any individual action in the game, and this upcoming week they will be even better!

But the most intense boost, as far as candy goes, is with Buddy Pokémon. While all of the other boosts double the usual reward, Buddy Pokémon will provide FOUR TIMES the normal amount of candy. The official site reads, “Buddy Pokémon will award Candy four times faster than they usually do.” This means that, while it previously took 400km of walking to obtain enough candy to evolve a Magikarp into a Gyarados, over the course of this event, it can be done with a much more manageable 100km!

Candy isn’t the only Halloween-themed bonus of the event, as there will also be an increase in specific types of spooky Pokémon! Expect to see Zubat, Golbat, Gastly, Haunter, Gengar, Drowzee, and Hypno out in much greater numbers leading up to All Hallows’ Eve. And while Zubat appearing more commonly gives me cold-sweat-flashbacks to spamming repels in various dark caves throughout my handheld Pokémon journey, the prospect of catching more Ghost-types excites me greatly. The Hex Maniac badge is considered by many to be the most difficult type-specific badge to complete, which makes it even more crucial to get up and GO throughout the holiday.

Don’t miss this fun chance to catch more Pokémon and collect more Candies in Pokémon GO leading up to a happy Halloween. Scare up some friends, grab your buddy and enjoy this spooky, fun celebration with us!

Happy Halloween!

Will Pokémon GO Be Ready for July Release?

Will Pokémon GO Be Ready for July Release?

Will Pokémon GO Be Ready for July Release?

Bob McFadden

This was the news that everyone was hoping for as Nintendo Treehouse streamed live from E3. Thousands watched with fingers crossed, praying to hear some type of release date. The Pokémon GO demonstration was rolling by, pretty much as expected, when YouTube personality JWittz went off-script and asked for a specific release date for the Pokémon GO Plus wearable device.

The moderator responded to this event as seen in this image: absolutely shocked at the sharp turn that the conversation had taken. The crowd hushed, as everyone was aware of what could be approaching. Everyone was even more shocked when Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto laid down the law with his personal expectations for launch. As Nintendo translator Raymond Elliget interpreted, Miyamoto began “So we actually wanted to get it out towards the end of July,” and then continued, looking over towards the Niantic employee, “but listening to the conversation earlier, we’re gonna be okay, right?” At first, there was a stunned silence as people tried to understand what had just happened. The President and CEO of The Pokémon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara, clarified, “That’s next month.” And JWittz shouted out to the crowd, “July!”, which resulted in a round of screams and cheers from the crowd.

Ishihara, Masuda, and Miyamoto, (from The Pokémon Company, Game Freak, and Nintendo, respectively,) all comfortably smiled and laughed, clearly pleased with the audience’s response. Meanwhile, right in the center of it all, Niantic employee Tatsuo Nomura was having a very different reaction: “Did he just say July?” He immediately threw the brakes on the hype train, laughing uncomfortably and clarifying, “So, we’re talking about Pokémon GO Plus right?” The cast of Nintendo all-stars laughed even harder at this, with Miyamoto holding his hand to the GO Plus on his lapel, half-agreeing and half-eye-rolling, “Yeah, we’ve gotta get this first.”

That Niantic employee, Nomura, is no scrub. He is a senior product manager who has been involved in this project since the very beginning, being a central part of the Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge that began back in 2013. He even personally makes an appearance in that April Fools video. He knows more about the current state of the app’s development than anyone else on that forum. And his clearly-uncomfortable reaction to an expectation for a July release is telling. At the very end of the Q&A, he reaffirmed, “We didn’t really announce the launch date yet, but right now, at this moment, the team is working to make the game. So please look forward to it. I’ve gotta start working right after this.” He certainly looked stressed over the pressure of constantly working to get a satisfactory game out on time. In response to Nomura’s slightly-panicked demeanor, Miyamoto held up his operational GO Plus device and reminded him, “We are ready now.”

Nintendo is ready now. Niantic isn’t. You can almost feel the slight tension between these two entities during the Q&A. The overseers of the Pokémon IP pointed out that they have commanded Niantic to take the catching system and “re-do it” three times already, and they anticipate potentially doing it again. Niantic expected to be able to develop the game largely on their own, but Nintendo had different ideas about the process. It seems that this has led to a little bit of an us-versus-them struggle. The Pokémon GO game started out with huge dreams and ambitions: it would include catching Pokémon in unique environments, social trading, huge events, connectivity with the main games, and the availability of every generation of Pokémon. Most of these haven’t been implemented in the game in any form. Even Pokémon localization is currently only complete in some specific big cities such as Niantic’s home in San Francisco, and has yet to be implemented in much of the world. Some of those features were surely intended to be included at launch, while for others the plan might have always been for a later update. In any case, as the expected time for release draws closer and reality is beginning to set in, the makers of Pokémon GO will be satisfied if they can get a working capture system out on time. That has been the core focus, and things like trading and extended multi-player experiences will have to come later. On the logic of releasing a game that focuses almost solely on catching Pokémon, Ishihara explains, “This goes back to my philosophy of developing smart-phone games, where you bring out the core experience when you first launch the application. Then, as people stick with it and they are wanting more depth of game-play, we add on more functionality and new features to keep people interested.”

Ishihara showed off the game a little bit, including his 3312 CP Arcanine. His super high-powered Pokémon reveals, as he admitted, that he has been playing this game every day for months. Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda also gave us a demonstration of Pokémon encounters. He approached the game demo very gingerly. He decided not to throw a Pokéball at an Abra with incense surrounding it, likely because he was aware of a known bug where that incense cloud deflects any Pokéball thrown. He probably did not want this gameplay bug to be exposed in front of thousands of live viewers. So he ran away from the battle and entered one with a Paras. In this battle, the app froze entirely, which is an extremely typical experience with the app in its current state. As such, they were well prepared for this, and they had another phone running and on the ready, where they were able to encounter a Rattata. The crowd, oblivious to the intense amount of bug-dodging that had just occurred in order to avoid embarrassment, made the appropriate “ooh” and “ahh” sounds when the Rattata burst out of the Pokéball, and you could hear their applause when it was captured. The demo was successful, as far as anyone could tell.

The basic game is there, and it works in a lot of ways. But on a non-superficial level, the game is still riddled with crashes and bugs. Frustration with this is inevitable while playing for any length of time. Some of the beta testers have even refused to update, or have abandoned beta testing out of frustration. This, of course, does nothing but compound the problem. Niantic has been in full-on flop-sweat mode trying to get the app operational. People already had super-high expectations, and they’re probably freaking out now that Miyamoto threw lighter fluid on that fire.

Niantic released update 0.27.0 on the day after the Q&A, which resolved one of the most prominent bugs where a Pokémon defending a Gym would not faint upon reaching 0hp, making them impossible to defeat. But in their attempt to resolve this and other issues, the update was widely believed to have even more crashes than before. Niantic didn’t take any time off for the weekend, and quickly updated to 0.27.1 on Saturday, which successfully sought to resolve some issues with crashing but once again caused additional issues. This time, there was a bug where, when you click on a Pokémon in the Pokédex, sometimes it would go to a different Pokémon of the same type, leading some Trainers to accidentally release some of their favorite Pokémon. This bug was patched in another release over the weekend, without increasing the version number. On Monday the app received another quick update to bring it to 0.27.2. This most recent hotfix is warmly received, and has apparently stopped many of the crashing issues, and also addressed some annoying bugs. However, the app no longer prevents the screen from going to sleep on many phones, making the game more difficult to play.

Last we heard, there were only about four-dozen employees at Niantic trying to get this ball rolling, and if one thing is clear, there is certainly no lack of effort. Recently, there has been an update almost every day. Some of them have just been trading bugs for other bugs, and it has been a struggle, but progress is being made. They have already put in a lot of sleepless nights, and probably won’t see any rest until the app is publicly released. Will Pokémon GO actually be released by July? Meeting that deadline is going to be an absolute battle, but the heroes at Niantic are bringing a brutal warfare to the front lines of that battle. We are cheering them on, and I personally want to believe in them. And if they don’t make it, it certainly won’t be because they didn’t try.

The Myth of Objectivity in Art

The Myth of Objectivity in Art

The Myth of Objectivity in Art

Jonathan Jagmin

“Well, you know, that’s just like, your opinion, man.” The Dude knows what he’s talking about.

All too often in any discussion of any form of art, one will hear the term “objectively” thrown around on a rather consistent basis. Normally, said term will be used in the configuration of “objectively bad,” as a way of asserting one’s negative opinion as being solid fact. It’s a weak tool for attempting leverage in presenting an argument, because when it comes to matters of art, there is very little true objectivity to be found.

Let’s back up for a moment and discuss a couple of simple concepts: subjectivity and objectivity. Subjectivity is simple enough to explain. Subjectivity is a personal reaction, your opinion or feelings on a matter, based upon personal preference, experience, beliefs and so forth. It is a truth that exists only in oneself. Objectivity is also easy to define, but more rigid in example. Objectivity is an immutable law, the hard analysis of an object by means of measuring its metric values. To put these concepts in the simplest of all possible terms, subjectivity is the expression of opinion, while objectivity is the statement of fact.

Understanding these concepts is paramount to wading through the multitude of analyses and reactions to works of art that come into being on a daily basis. Anything from the newest episode of Game of Thrones, to Academy Award-winning films like Birdman, to recent videogame releases like Fallout 4 are subject to legions of clashing measurements, opinions, and critiques on a daily basis. In too many instances, these critiques are the spark that creates a clashing of ideals, sometimes this will result in intelligent dissection of the subject material. Usually though, the end result is a “discussion” devolving into little more than name-calling and personal attacks. In this latter scenario, more often than not, the holy hand grenade of “Objectivity” is invoked; a critical strike against the opposition.

In truth, the concept couldn’t be more ridiculous, as there is very little true objectivity to be found when discussing works of art. It’s simple enough to be able to say, “Yes, this film is objectively functional because the camera was on, and images are appearing on the screen in front of me.” One can absolutely say “This album is objectively a working piece of music, because I can hear it and interpret these sounds as musical in nature.” However, there isn’t much beyond mere function that one can state is or isn’t anything from an objective viewpoint. Everything beyond mere function is opinion, and the problem lies in people confusing mass opinion for fact.

A phrase I hear all too often is something akin to “Metroid: Other M is a good game, but a bad Metroid game.” Just swap out the proper nouns and you’ll hear this boilerplate language used everywhere. This is an asinine statement. Essentially, the assertion being made is “if it didn’t have the word ‘Metroid’ in the title, then I would have no actual basis for complaint.” This type of sentiment stems from a mass opinion of what Metroid is supposed to be. The vast majority of people feel that Metroidshould be either a side-scrolling or first-person action-adventure game with minimal dialogue or story. Okay, that’s fair, since most of the games in the series conform to this standard. However, merely bucking tradition doesn’t make something objectively bad. The only basis for making such a statement is the existence of preconceived notion, which is merely an older opinion. The older age of an opinion does not make it more valid than newer, younger opinion. If that were the case, the original Star Warswould “objectively” be a bad movie. It was receiving negative, scathing professional reviews long before it ever became a social phenomenon.

What this all amounts to, is that no form of art can be objectively bad or good as a whole, unless it is simply non-functional. The very nature of art is an entirely subjective experience, its execution not based upon measurable metrics, but upon feeling and personal experience. The only intelligent way to observe or judge art is to gauge how accessible it might be to a population of individuals. A recent videogame like Legend of Legacy is a perfect example. The game is a spiritual successor to the SaGa franchise, and as such it is difficult, light on story, highly repetitive, and built from a conglomeration of odd gameplay systems with almost no in-game explanations or tutorials. Knowing this, it is hard to recommend such a game to just anyone. For a fan of games like Final Fantasy or Bravely Default, it would be hard to recommend something likeLegend of Legacy, especially if you’re looking for an experience heavy with story. On the other hand, for someone who wants a game like Romancing SaGa, Legend of Legacy would probably be a godsend, a modern-day fulfillment of that fan’s unique little desires. In the typical mold of videogame reviews, a professional website would take this analysis and assign it a numerical score of 6/10. To any regular passerby, this would appear as “oh, it’s a bad game”, when in truth it’s a game meant for a specific audience. The two are not synonymous.

This is the foundation from which my philosophies on art analysis arise. The simple fact is, down to my core, I do not like or enjoy a fair deal of modern videogame offerings. I have absolutely no interest in chasing down objectives in Fallout 4, advertising my kill/death ratio in Call of Duty, or building recreations of the “Death Star” inMinecraft. I am a minority in these opinions, but that does not make my opinions objectively wrong, nor does it make the legions of fans objectively correct in their assessment of these being “good” games. It simply means they are very, very accessible. It simply means that the fans have a louder voice than mine. Being loud doesn’t make a person right instead it just makes them more easily heard. Being more accessible doesn’t make Madden a good game rather it just means it’ll make more money. And let me clarify: under no circumstances do I consider any of those aforementioned titles to be “bad” games. I consider them widely accessible, just not for me.

This is how I choose to approach my analysis of any form of art or expression that may happen to drift through my transom. I do not attempt to act as a mouthpiece for the sum total of humanity, telling the world that Batman v Superman is factually an excellent movie and everyone should like it. I speak solely from my own personal experiences, and hopefully those that listen will glean something useful from them. After all, “It’s just like, my opinion, man.”


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