Napkin Diagrams

Engineering, Technology, and DIY

Monthly Archives: December 2009

Get a Job, You Lazy Bum!

Career Fair Attendees
Are you a college student or graduate? Are you in or around New Jersey? Do you find yourself often saying to a roommate, “We’ve got no food, no jobs… our pet’s HEADS ARE FALLING OFF“? Well, cheer up, buckaroo. It’s almost the 2010 and with that comes new opportunities:

The New Jersey Collegiate Career Day

When: Thursday, January 7, 2010 — 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Rutgers University, New Brunswick (Map + Directions) — Brower Commons & Student Center
Parking: Rutgers Athletic Center, Livingston Campus — 83 Rockafeller Rd, Piscataway, NJ (Map + Directions)
(shuttles will be running from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Attire: Business. No backpacks, etc.

More info and employer lists after the jump.
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Tunnel Your Way to Secure Freedom with SSH & SOCKS5

Data Tunnel
Sometimes the normal method of connecting to the internet simply isn’t enough. Firewalls, bandwidth limits, and insecurity really rain on one’s parade. There is hope, however, for addressing all of these issues with one simple technique:

A SSH & SOCKS5 Tunnel

The nitty gritty details of these two protocols is beyond the scope of this blog post, and so only the general concept of each will be given. SSH, or Secure Shell, is a way of connecting two devices with an encrypted connection. It’s quite a useful little protocol, allowing one to run programs remotely, transfer files securely, and more. SOCKS5 is the protocol that will allow network traffic to be sent through the SSH tunnel. Unlike a standard HTTP proxy that one may find on the net, SOCKS5 can handle more than just browser traffic.
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Crossing the Atlantic: The Nina, the Pinta, and the Rutgers Slocum Glider

The Rutgers Slocum Glider

This week marked the end of an epic journey for one little sea vessel, built by Rutgers undergraduate students and NSF RIOS summer interns, across the Atlantic ocean. After 255 long days, the Slocum glider arrived in Cape Touriñán, Galicia, Spain. It made it completely intact, carrying data and a little barnacle buildup. It crossed the 3,308 miles, collecting temperature, salinity and ocean depth, using nothing but a battery and ocean currents, which is quite an impressive feat.

Way to go Rutgers! Now, just imagine if all of that stadium money went into endeavors like this.

Project home page with more information
Rutgers University Coastal Ocean Observation Lab

Streaming to Xbox360 With Mac: Connect360, Rivet, or PS3 Media Server?

Mashup of Apple and 360 logos

Monitors are nice and all, but there’s something about watching a movie on a big tv and a nice sound system. The easiest way to get it from your mac to the tube would be a direct HDMI cable, but not everyone has laptops or adapters. What’s that? You have an Xbox 360? Well then, you’re in luck! There’s a few options out there now to stream media from a Mac to an Xbox 360 for playing on your living room set and achieve media seamlessness.
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Application for F.E. / EIT (in NJ)

In an earlier post, I gave a general overview what it takes to get a Professional Engineer’s Licence. This is a quick follow-up to discuss the Fundamentals Exam application in New Jersey.

The New Jersey State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyor handles registration, testing, and licensing for the state. Their website has a bunch of pages and pdfs, but doesn’t give much insight into what each are beyond their titles, so one has to check each one manually.

Typical Test Times: April, October
Typical Application Deadlines: December, July

Important Bits:

  • Application Fees and Exam Dates — You’re going to want to check this first. It’ll give you relevant exam dates, how much it will cost, and most importantly, when you need to have everything submitted by.
  • The F.E. / Engineer-In-Training Application — This is the application itself, served up as a pdf. You’ve got to print it out and physically send it in to the board by the appropriate date. It says that responses must be typewritten. Unfortunately, the editable text boxes in the pdf were not done properly to align with the given line layouts, so you’ll have to manually make adjustments.

Items You’ll Need:

  • Photo ID — Portrait taken within the past 6 months. Larger than 0.25in wide
  • Certified Check or Money Order — The Application fee has to be sent in with the form as one of these methods. You’ll have to go to the bank for this. Regular checks, cash, and credit cards are not accepted.
  • Three (3) References — These can be peers, professors, co-workers, etc. However, one of these must be a currently licensed Professional Engineer in the U.S. and know of your experience. Take note that most professors are not licensed, so finding a suitable reference can be difficult for those just starting out.
  • Social Security Number
  • Official Transcript — This one will be done after you get your application number sent to you. Your university will need to send an official transcript, with the application number, directly

NJ Board Contact Info
Contact: Arthur Russo
Phone: (973) 504-6460
124 Halsey Street, Third Floor
Newark, NJ 07102

Dr. Feynman or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Uncertainty

Many people fear uncertainty. It makes them uncomfortable. They don’t feel in control when everything isn’t crystal clear. Many will seek out some explanation and stubbornly cling to it, closing their minds for fear of being sucked into the shadow of doubt once more. Attacking the other possibilities, rationalizing one’s own decision, trying desperately to make it completely true to ease the mind. Agnostics, for example, are often criticized by theists and atheists alike as being afraid of commitment, trying to play both sides, and so forth, and this is quite unfortunate.

Here is an excerpt from the brilliant physicist Richard Feynman’s The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1981).
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Build a Flamethrower with PVC and Copper Materials

Assembled flamethrower
Two summers ago, Dmitriy, Rich, and I found ourselves bored one Saturday. What are three guys with a little cash and a lot of time to do? Go to the hardware store, of course! Walking up and down the isles, searching for inspiration, led us to our eventual project: flamethrower.

Learn how a flamethrower works and how we built ours after the jump…
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FreeNAS as a Print Server? It’s Easier Than You Think!

A mashup of FreeNAS and FreeBSD logosEarlier this year I had written this Instructables guide, but figure it would fit well here.

FreeNAS is an excellent network storage solution simple enough for anyone to install. The system and space requirements are ridiculously small for this stripped-down version of FreeBSD. It’s got all manner of features accessible through it’s clean web GUI, more than most will ever need. It even lets you stream media to game consoles!

Despite it’s impressive built in abilities, there was one thing that I wanted it to do besides act as a great NAS, and that was to be a print server so I could share my HP Deskjet 6540 USB printer among my Windows and Mac OSX boxes. Easier said than done. After hours of playing around with CUPS and a few broken installs later, I saw the light.

On the FreeNAS forums, user sgrizzi created a thread on how to make it work with LPR , using the LPRng package, for a LiveCD based setup. It was extremely helpful, and he/she should get most of the credit, but the thread really needed to be condensed and clarified to be a useful guide for the average user. That is exactly what this is for, as well as to modify it for a standard full install of FreeNAS.

Head on over to FreeNAS as a Print Server Instructable for the real meat and potatoes.

The Professional Engineer License: What is it and why would you want one?

Engineering, like many other professions, has a registration and licensing system in place. This is to ensure that certain standards and regulations are met. Safety and quality would be difficult to maintain if under-qualified people were engineering all willy-nilly, except in the case of a British dystopia, when rogue heating engineers are needed to fight the oppression.

Not all engineers need to obtain a professional engineer’s (P.E.) licence, and in fact, many aren’t. One can get by without it, working under a P.E, however career growth and abilities will be limited. A P.E. is required for such things as signing off on designs, dealing with government contracts, and running a firm or freelancing. In addition to the direct benefits, the licence will open up career opportunities, allow for further progress up the business ladder, garner a higher salary, and further set one apart from one’s peers. Therefore, in industry, it is a very good thing to have.

The process to achieve this status is long and difficult. The generall path is:

  1. Graduate from an ABET accredited college or university and obtain a B.S. in engineering.
  2. Pass the Fundamentals Exam, sometimes known as the Engineer-In-Training exam
  3. Work for several years under the supervision of a P.E.
  4. Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam of the desired field

The first time pass rates for the F.E. and P.E. are around 75% (source), but it is not uncommon for a hopeful to take either multiple times to succeed. Exams are held twice a year — mid-April and mid October.

In the United States, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) oversees all of this. Each state, however, handles their own certification, which brings up two issues. The first is that, while some states will except licences obtained in others, a licence is generally valid only in one particular state. If a P.E. moves, he will need to get re-licensed in the new state. The other problem is that some states have more confusing websites and applications than others. The New Jersey F.E. application in particular will be discussed in a later post.

Do you have your P.E. licence? What were the deciding factors in getting it (or not)? Tell us in the comments!