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Good CS Recruiting Starts With an Engaging Tech Talk

Good Quora entries on the most effective recruiting events to attract top computer science students on campus:


“I Look Like An Engineer” SF Campaign

Have you been following the wildfire spread of #ILookLikeAnEngineer? A campaign starting in San Francisco to raise awareness about tech diversity and the faces of women in tech.

Good article on 11 Startup Skills You Won’t Learn in School

Article in Inc. by Young Entrepreneur Council  @YEC


Flash on Android

Good discussion lead by Stephen Chin ( http://flash.steveonjava.com/ @steveONjava), and Andre Krutzfelt from the Adobe AS3 team, last night at the Google Technology Users Group  (thanks Van, Kevin, Tom  @sv_gtug ).

Stephen walked us through Screen Orientation, Density Explorer, Multitouch Gestures, and Touch Point API’s on Flash Professional CS5.  Slides and video can be found on Stephen’s site.

The “Burrito” preview of CS5.5 is available, with release expected in Q2.

We saw screen shots of the newer Panda Board (next step up from Beagle Boards) for android testing set top boxes, tablets, and smartphones.  They run about $150 – $250.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panda_Board .

Flash Player and Flash applications work on Android (Froyo Android 2.2 needed as minimum to run Flash apps).  Flash applications CAN be deployed on iPhone using Adobe Air (2.5 or 2.6), though Flash Player in a web browser cannot work on iPhone.

For good development links for Android, Air, Flex, iPhone, see Stephen’s slide #35 (basically http://labs.adobe.com and http://developer.android.com ) and his lists of recommended blogs on slide #36.  See his blog for sneak peaks of portions of his upcoming “Pro Android Flash” book, co-authored by Oswald Campesato and Dean Iverson.

Random Tidbits:

  • Motorola Atrix just announced – most dense smartphone screen to date for Android (275ppi)
  • Photoshop Express is a nice, free app on Android Market
  • New Flash Player typically released quarterly.
  • Flash 11?!?!?  What?!?!?
  • Adobe Product Crib Notes:
    Flash = visual, animations, RIA;
    Flex = SDK for RIA built on Flash;
    ActionScript (AS3) = OO language similar to JavaScript
  • Android TV and Android  car (DVD & GPS)  in China:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76gTWZKSAI8

Word of the Day: “Spimes”

I attended a great mobile usability meetup last night – more on that later – and was introduced to the word “spimes” – objects of the future tracked in space and time.  Our context included purpose, environmental impact, and enabling better choices in regard to mobile UI.

Now the Wikipedia entry:

Spime is a neologism for a currently-theoretical object that can be tracked through space and time throughout the lifetime of the object. The name “spime” for this concept was coined by author Bruce Sterling. Sterling sees spimes as coming through the convergence of six emerging technologies, related to both the manufacturing process for consumer goods, and through identification and location technologies. *

These six facets of spimes are:

  1. Small, inexpensive means of remotely and uniquely identifying objects over short ranges; in other words, radio-frequency identification.
  2. A mechanism to precisely locate something on Earth, such as a global-positioning system.
  3. A way to mine large amounts of data for things that match some given criteria, like internet search engines.
  4. Tools to virtually construct nearly any kind of object; computer-aided design.
  5. Ways to rapidly prototype virtual objects into real ones. Sophisticated, automated fabrication of a specification for an object, through “three-dimensional printers.”
  6. Cradle-to-cradle” life-spans for objects. Cheap, effective recycling.

With all six of these, one could track the entire existence of an object, from before it was made (its virtual representation), through its manufacture, its ownership history, its physical location, until its eventual obsolescence and breaking-down back into raw material to be used for new instantiations of objects. If recorded, the lifetime of the object can be archived, and searched for.

Spimes are not defined merely by these six technologies; it is, rather, that if these technologies converge within the manufacturing process (CAD and automated manufacturing are already in wide use in the manufacture of many things today; RFIDs are becoming more and more prevalent in consumer goods) then spimes could indeed arise.

Recent James Gosling Talk – comments and video link

I had the pleasure of hearing James Gosling, “Father of Java”, talk recently at the Mountain View Googleplex for the SV Web JUG and SV JavaFX UG groups.  He simply opened up with Q&A, and the questions poured until he cut them off.

It’s refreshing to hear someone with deep expertise talk easily, candidly, and with humour.  Gosling said he was “shocked as hell” by the recent IBM and Apple truce, and thinks Oracle really didn’t know what they had bought when they got hold of Sun/Java.  A big question mark hovers over real-time embedded as they don’t yet understand it.  Still, Gosling is optimistic about Java under the Oracle umbrella.
What to do with Java as we move toward multi-core  computers is a fascinating issue for him – what happens when core count becomes exponential?

Gosling is frustrated by all the attention web engineering gets when he claims it is only about 10% of the computing landscape.  Biology; modern medical research, such as protein folding; computer simulation in modern materials; and “neolithic” car systems replacement are examples of a few other areas dependent on computing.  Most scientists write code!

He points out that it is challenging to get kids excited about computing and tech jobs:  Enrollment in tech related majors has declined since the dot com bust due, in part, to a false sense that all the tech jobs are overseas when the truth is there are LOTS of tech jobs EVERYWHERE.  He pointed out the efforts of the Alice project at Carnegie-Mellon to engage youth in tech.

What is Gosling up to now?  Working with VW and the Stanford Lab Vehicle Group on the math behind skidding.  Watch how their vehicle does on a gravel climb at the Pikes Peak Rally in 2011!

Fun facts:
·         Second favorite language is Scala.
·         He’s hooked by the “lame but damn compelling” game of Fruit Ninja.
·         He crawled the tunnels of CERN before they turned it on.
·         He attended the Washington DC Rally to Restore Sanity.

You won’t find Gosling on social media anytime soon – he’s simply not interested – but I recommend you catch his next talk and watch the  video from November 17th, 2010 on Markana. Hear his commentary about the forking of Java due to Apache quitting the JSP;  the Java mobile world becoming fractured;  Steve Jobs deprecating Java for the Macs;  Java ME’s incredible popularity outside of North America;  the philosophical difference between Oracle Open World and JavaWorld; and why he developed Java.

Props to:  Van/Kevin (from SV Web JUG), Stephen/Keith (from SV JavaFX UG), Max Walker, and Aleksandar (Saša) Gargenta

Well Employed, But…..HAPPY?

You are a great engineer / developer / lead / manager and are well-employed in this economic downturn. But are you HAPPILY employed? If you are a good to gifted developer, don’t settle for “employed” – people with big things to build are looking for you!!!

  • Are you underpaid?  If so, but you like your environment, team, and challenge, go ask for a raise!
  • Do you want, and are you on, a promotion track?  Is your company growing enough to provide that rapidly?
  • Are you sufficiently challenged?  Are you innovating with the most cutting-edge tools and technologies?
  • Are you constantly learning new skills?  If you are not, your market value is shrinking as time passes.
  • Are you loyal?  Ensure your company is loyal to you as well, and keeping your best interests in mind as well as theirs.
  • Do you have significant equity?  If you do not, perhaps a startup – early, mid or mature stage – or a small or mid-sized company is a good move for you now.  If your expertise is building the company, you should have a piece of the investment.
  • Are you aware of your options “out there”?

Assess your current situation, improve what you can on your current job, and talk to a recruiter like me to keep tabs on other opportunities, which skills are in the highest demand, what the market is paying, and which opportunities come with pay, benefits, AND equity.    Recruiters – or Head Hunters as the good ones LIKE to be called – have access to jobs and companies that you may never otherwise find.  There is no obligation to simply check in with us once in a while.  🙂