You Should Want Better

Since I have been gone, I have gotten deeper into my hobbies.  When I last posted, I had just started rapping as a fun little hobby.  I am still rapping, and I still enjoy it as much as I did when I first started.  I have a bunch of songs now and now and hopefully I will put together a mixtape soon.  If I ever had the desire to sell my music I would do the best I can to make sure that it was the absolute product that I could put out.

The same goes should go for everyone else.

About a year ago I took up another hobby.  The story behind how I got into it is not very interesting so I will not get into that, but I will say that once I got started I have been hooked ever since.  This new hobby of mine......making jewelery.  As it turns out, I am not that bad at it, but I will say that it is a pretty expensive hobby to maintain.  Unlike the music that I make, I have a desire to sell my jewelry.  At this point I have sold or given away the majority of what I have made.  From what people tell me, I do pretty good work.  Like I said before, when I am selling something I make sure that it is the absolute best product that I am capable of producing.  I am a perfectionist, and I would NEVER sell someone something that I was not confident it.  Even when I am making it with the knowledge that I will be giving it away, I put as much time and effort into the piece as if I were going to sell it.  If something were to ever break or come loose or anything like that, I would gladly replace/fix the piece free of charge.

Sadly, most companies do not operate with the same ideals.

For example.....let's look at the idea of warranties.

If you ask me, a company that gives you anything less that a LIFETIME warranty has no confidence in their product.  To me a LIFETIME warranty says, "We are absolutely sure that we have made the best possible product that we are able to make, but we admit we make mistakes.  If it turns out that we have make a mistake, we will fix it for you free of charge". Any other warranty says to me "We are pretty sure that our product is good enough to last X number of years, but anytime after that we have no clue what's gonna happen.  GOOD LUCK!" There would be no need for a warranty the company were to MAKE IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME.  It is not that they are unable to make it correctly because there are too many smart people in the world for ignorance.  I think that the RIGHT is is the slightly more expensive way which does not make the board happy.

DISCLAIMER: Of course I am referring to the product going bad because of a non-user error.  If you do something stupid and mess it up then it is your fault.

Another example.....Playstation 3 & XBOX

Both of the video game systems have their respective issues (YLOD, RROD) that essentially render the entire machine useless.  These issues are not due to any error the user made, the systems just fail on their own.  To make matters worse, apparently there is an acceptable percentage of failure.  Meaning that when a company puts out a product, it is acceptable for a certain number of them to fail.  Again...NO CONFIDENCE IN THEIR PRODUCT.  Now that the knife is in, they twist it.  Apparently they charge YOU to have it fixed if it is out of warranty.  I do not understand why the buyer of a product is responsible for getting said product fixed if all the buyer did was use the product as directed.


This is all that I am asking for.  If your product is a piece of crap, own up to it and admit that it is crappy.  Admit that you really do not care about consumer happiness and you are just looking to turn a profit.  We all know it anyway.  No one would be shocked if Chevy held a press conference and said, "Yes.  We are aware that the Aztec is the ugliest vehicle on the road.  We promoted the person who designed it.  We also know that the Malibu is just awful.  We have a car coming in the next year or two that we promise will disappoint and frustrate all that look at it, let alone buy it.  We do not care because you still buy it and we are still making money."  No one think twice because they are just stating facts.

This is an issue that I do not think that anyone can change ever.  As long as making a profit is more important that consumer satisfaction then we are going to continue to see companies stick it to the consumer.  We need to start holding these companies accountable for their products.  If, by some miracle, were to collectively boycott PS3 and XBOX  they would have no choice but to listen to what we have to say and deal with our concerns.  I think that Toyota is feeling the effects of this now.  Ever since their cars started killing people they have been working to repair their image and get their customers back.  The sad this is that people had to die for everyone to pay attention.  No one would have said a word if it was just a short in the circuit that made the radio not work.


I feel like I got my point across.



When Other People Get Colds.....We Get Pneumonia

I guess it is only right that my 100th post would be my first post in about 2 years.  I have been telling myself that I would be get back to blogging for a long time, but I have not had the adequate motivation to return.....

At least not until today.

Before I get started I am going to start by saying that I am going to fill in the gaps intermittently as I continue posting.  It would be boring to just fill in all of the gaps in one long post.  My idea is, as I post I will be able to relate whatever I am posting about to something that has happened recently. 

Anyhow....let's get started.

Presently I am back at my alma mater (North Carolina A&T State University) teaching Physics labs and assisting with the recruitment efforts of the department.  We are attempting to increase the number of under represented groups in physics.  When you last heard from me I was studying at The Pennsylvania State University working on my Masters in Geosciences.  I have successfully attained that degree, and after three years I am happy to be closer to home.

During my time at Penn State I taught Introduction to Geology labs and had the opportunity to interact with the students on the same level that I am interacting with the students here at A&T.  Conventional wisdom would tell you (though that wisdom is COMPLETELY incorrect) that the students at a PWI would be LEAPS and BOUNDS ahead of the students a HBCU, especially in the areas of science and math.  Many people would lead you to believe that if a student wants to get ahead in life then an education at a PWI is the correct route to take.  I do not want to address the latter assumption, though I'm sure I will eventually, I will address the former.

When it come to BASIC mathematical and scientific concepts students EVERYWHERE are not coming into college with an adequate amount of proficiency.  I can not speak for the skills of students at the time of graduation because the labs I have taught are taken within the first two years of entering college.  I CAN say with a fair amount of confidence that kids are not getting any smarter, but I do not know if they are getting more stupid.

My issue does not come from the fact that the students do not know the material.  Ignorance is a problem that is easily fixed with study and hard work.  I start to become irritated when the student does not know the material, does not want to learn it, and does not see why they need to know it.  Hence the title of this post.

When I taught the geology classes at Penn State there were some students in the class that CLEARLY would never use geology in life (like the business majors), but there were some where it would definitely become necessary for them to access some geological knowledge (like civil engineers).  There were some that did need geology knew they needed it and tried hard to learn it and typically did well in the class.  Then there were some that needed it but did not know they did.  That always lead to me explaining to them how geology would help them sometime in the future.  Most accepted it, some didn't, that is expected.

Here is the difference.

The scenario is EXACTLY the same at A&T except for the fact that the students WILL NOT accept the fact that physics is important to their academic development.  In what universe is physics not important in architectural engineering?  mechanical engineering? any kind of engineering?  Why is learning about circuits not important to someone who's major is computer science?  How can you manage a construction site without knowing basic information about force and angles?  These are the question I ask myself whenever I hear, "Why do I need to know physics?"  or "I will never use this stuff again."

I am not discussing aptitude.  The students are more than capable of doing the work.  I am worried about the laziness and the unwillingness to learn something that is challenging.  I have had several conversation with professors that have been teaching for years, and they are stumped on how to alleviate the problem.

I am done for now, but I am sure that I will revisit this in the near future.

Happy 100th post to me.