Friday, August 31, 2012

Phillips versus Flathead

Throughout this blog, I've mentioned my feelings of inadequacy toward engineering when I entered college. I didn't know how an engine worked, I couldn't set up a circuit bread board for the life of me, and I barely knew the difference between a Phillips and flathead screwdriver.

I have a secret for you....Most people are in the same boat. Most college freshman might have some calculus or a little bit of physics. However, there are people who will show off, saying "Oh the fluid flow of blah-blah-blah." Or will basically recite what they've heard their parents say from political discussions of engine efficiency...but remember children, political propaganda isn't always correct with its facts.

So as a result, I will continue this blog showing you what some common tools are. I assume you don't know, and you shouldn't be embarrassed asking.

The Phillips Screwdriver
See how the tip of the screwdriver is a cross? Yep...that's pretty much all you need to know.

The Flathead Screwdriver
See how the tip is...well...flat?  As a way of remembering the difference between a flathead and Phillips, I usually think, "Flathead...tip is flat...and Philips is the other one." Fairly easy.

And now for shoes and giggles:

The Allen Wrench (or Hex Key)
These little pieces of metal come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  They are also one of the most important pieces of hardware when constructing Ikea furniture...when you move out of the dorms, you'll know what I'm talking about.  Just make sure you remember how torque works, make sure to hold the long end of the Allen wrench when using it (see my Testing Serena's Strength or Why Engineering is for Men blog posts for an intro to Torque).

That's my 2 cents for the day. Feel free to request or show other tools that are your favorites. For moving out of my apartment this last week, all of the tools are used are included a scissor (the most important tool of any college student), but I'll refrain from lecturing about the importance of a scissor.


*BTW, the links in this blog post link to other blogs that show how to use tools (other than the ones shown above). They actually look very interesting! Feel free to check them out!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Integrity and Values

As many of you know, I've had a fair share of good, and unfortunately, bad employers. I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I definitely know a thing or two about when to run...and honestly, I've made the correct decision only a few times. But here are a few words of advice to look out for:
  • You don't have the job until it's in writing....and you pass a drug test. In the past, I've had recruiters tell me they will hire me, and I'll never hear back. Be excited that they may want to hire, but remember, nothing is for sure until you get that job offer in writing.
  • When a recruiter yells at you, reconsider employment. The goal of the recruiter is to weed out recruits and encourage their best candidates to accept employment. Remember, it's a marketing scheme. When you interview with a company, the recruiter should represent the company in the best light. If they aren't treating you with respect (without even hiring you), how will they treat you later?
  • Know the laws of the land. I've accepted employment with a group that ended up doing some border-line, if not, illegal things. For instance, not paying the last paycheck, forcing us to work through lunch, and again, and not treating their employees with respect. My former coworkers and I joke about how awful it was, but all of us have learned not to put up with it. Know federal and state employment laws and make sure to know the terms of your contract if you need to quit.
  • Be aware of too-good-to-be-true "promises" made by a recruiter. There's a good chance it's not competitive.  I know of one company (not to be named), that will say to its recruits, "Well you will work more hours, but we pay you better than other companies." Or one line close to my heart is, "Well, we are paying for your housing, so we're reducing your pay." Sounds like a good deal? Don't sign the employment contract right away, and make sure to ask your friends about their perks and pay ranges. 
  • Rash decisions can be bad decisions.  If a recruiter is having you make an employment decision within a few hours (this has happened to me), they probably aren't respecting your time; it's more likely that they procrastinated and have to make up for it by using you.  Think the decision through and ask your parents, friends, professors, and advisors if it's a good idea or not. 
  • Never say, "I need to talk this through with my parents," although you probably will. You are a grown adult.  Say instead, "I need to think this through, I'll get back to you by ____ day."
  • And finally: if a company is unwilling to negotiate until it comes to the final point where you are denying employment, be wary. This has happened to a friend of mine and me on two separate occasions.  Both of us mentioned our intentions very clearly from the beginning: "If I can't do/go/get ______, I'm not going to accept employment."  These particular companies said, "There's no way we can do that," although it may be very reasonable (like location, increased pay, job duties- minor items).  It got to the point where I said, "I cannot accept for insert reason here. Thank you for the opportunity."
I will mention that in the day and age, it's hard to be picky, and you may have to grateful. But think your decisions through. Know what the competitive rates are (ask your friends or more experienced students), and know your qualifications. Also, know that it may be hard to find another job. So make sure to think it through!


Happy Design Wednesday!

No, that is not a new thing. I just wanted a cool name to call me drooling over cool tech online.

Check out the new Bend desk!  Imagine modeling or creating digital art on this thing. Not having to worry about your bamboo tablet not syncing correctly with your screen or having to pen something in then upload it then deal with photoshop not recognizing part of your piece; everything is created in one place.

I want one of these; day when its not so bulky. Until then I will be content with my extended screens and tablet making it impossible to see my desktop.


N. Riazi

Monday, August 27, 2012

Autodesk Education Roadshow

Autodesk Education Roadshow at Yale University

So a month or so ago I had the opportunity to be a part of the Autodesk Education Roadshow. Me and a couple buddies helped build the model of the Rallier Roadster. We got to go out, see the car, and get to know the people who built it and it was an incredible experience. The team is now traveling the US in it visiting schools. Find out when the Roadster will be coming to your school here.

In addition me and my friend Eric got interviewed about the vehicle and about our work on it which you can see here.

I am so blessed to have been able to be a part of such an incredible project. Has the Roadster hit any of your schools yet? If so what did you think?


N. Riazi
Autodesk Platinum Expert
West Regional Manager