August 2017

Every week, I compile a list of events for developers, technologists, and tech entrepreneurs in and around the Tampa Bay area. We’ve got a lot of events going on this week, and here they are!

Do you have an tech or entrepreneurial event in or around the Tampa Bay area that you’d like to see listed here? Drop me a line about it at joey@globalnerdy.com!

Monday, August 14

Tuesday, August 15

Wednesday, August 16

Thursday, August 17

Friday, August 18

Saturday, August 19

Sunday, August 20

{ 0 comments }

No matter where you stand on the firing of James Damore — whom I prefer to refer to as “the manifestbro” — you should take away this valuable lesson:

If you write a document that becomes such a public relations nightmare that it requires the CEO to cut short a family vacation to deal with the mess, update your resume.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

{ 2 comments }

Of course I got her to sign my laptop.

I accompanied Anitra to the Women in Agile session that took place yesterday at the site of this week’s Agile 2017 Conference in Orlando. While she attended the session, I continued with getting caught up on a freelance project at the hotel’s coffee shop.

After the session, I remarked to Anitra that I had a look at the conference schedule and saw that one of the speakers was Rebecca Wirfs-Brock. “I pretty much learned object-oriented programming from her and Scott Ambler.” (It turns out that he’s also speaking at the conference.)

You have to remember that in the mid-1990s, internet access outside an academic or government organization — if you had it — was done via dial-up modem, search engines were in their infancy, you got your software tools — even if they were free-as-in-beer — from dedicated stores (I used to buy mine at “Developer’s Workshop” in Toronto) or mail order, and if you wanted to learn a new programming language or paradigm, your best option was dead-tree books. I learned a lot about oriented design from Designing Object-Oriented Software, which she co-wrote in 1991, and some noodling with CodeWarrior on my first Mac, a Quadra 660AV.

“She was sitting at my table at Women in Agile!” Anitra said. “Do you want to meet her?”

“Yes, please!”

And so Anitra led me to Rebecca, and we had a wonderful conversation in the conference center lobby, largely about:

  • How I’d graduated from computer science before object-oriented programming was being taught to computer science undergrads, so I’d learned a lot of it from her book, and later, the original pre-UML edition of Scott Ambler’s The Object Primer. (It occurred to me later the edition of Rebecca’s book that I owned was an “Eastern Economy Edition” that I’d bought in the Philippines as I was still making “first job out of school and working at indie software company making interactive CD-ROMs” wages.)
  • Applying the things I’d learned about OOP from her to Lingo, the object-oriented programming language of Macromedia Director that I used for developing CD-ROM software at Mackerel Interactive Multimedia and teaching the most unlikely people about CRC cards.
  • The need for a return of the prominence of software design — called software architecture these days — and the need to encourage developers, who are so focused on unit testing, to get back into big-picture thinking when building software. I suggested making them watch episodes of the UK edition of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, because at their core, they’re entertaining examples of designing practical, functioning systems that meet customer needs and expectations.
  • What other big names from the object-oriented world of the 1990s are up to these days.

At the end, I did what any good computer science fanboy would do: I took out a sharpie, and asked her to autograph my computer.

{ 0 comments }

Every week, I compile a list of events for developers, technologists, and tech entrepreneurs in and around the Tampa Bay area. We’ve got a lot of events going on this week, and here they are!

Monday, August 7

Tuesday, August 8

Wednesday, August 9

Thursday, August 10

Friday, August 11

Saturday, August 12

Sunday, August 13

{ 0 comments }

Google’s Go Gopher, dropped into the increasingly zeitgeist-y “this is fine” comic.

Reported first on Motherboard and then published nearly in full on Gizmodo, the ten-page manifesto titled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber is a screed published by an unidentified Google senior software engineer that went “internally viral” late this week. It calls for the replacement of the search giant’s race and gender diversity programs with one that would encourage ideological diversity, particularly to make it a “safe” workplace for social conservatives.

I’ve read the document on Gizmodo. It appears to be the 2017 edition of that particularly toxic brand of libertarianism that’s one of Silicon Valley’s stocks in trade, mixed with a lot of “men are better than women, and that’s just the way nature and science are”, sexism in its scientific disguise of “evolutionary psychology”, broflake-y talk about psychological safety, and a whole lot of completely unresearched assertions that cry out for [CITATION NEEDED].

Predictably, given that the current socio-political environment in the U.S. has made bigotry cool again, the manifesto is finding more than just fringe support among Googlers. Motherboard quotes a few:

“I’m impressed. It took serious guts to post that,” wrote another. “I hope nothing happens to the guy.”

“We should all go and respond with support,” another replied. “The more the supporters, the safer he is.”

“The fella who posted that is extremely brave. We need more people standing up against the insanity. Otherwise ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ which is essentially a pipeline from Women’s and African Studies into Google, will ruin the company,” another comment in the thread said.

This is nothing new. I saw this sort of rant in the late ’80s posted by poorly-socialized computer science and engineering students on Soapbox, the forum on the mainframe at my alma mater, Crazy Go Nuts University. I later saw it in the very early 1990s when I gained access to Usenet. It would pop up again on Slashdot, then Hacker News, then Reddit, then 4chan, and then 8chan when 4chan just wasn’t vile enough. It’s repeated often on “men’s rights” sites like Return of Kings and other places in the “manosphere”. I’m sure the essay’s getting slathered with praise on the alt-right’s favorite social networking site and terrible-people-magnet, Gab, whose official Twitter account posted this:

(If you ever need to prove that no technology is purely sociologically, culturally, or politically neutral, Gab makes for fine evidence.)

All this reminds of one of my favorite lines from Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Written when internet access was a rare and precious thing even among computer science majors, it captured the techie mindset quite well, particularly in the way it summarized how a lot of men in tech view women.

The line comes from the end of a section that introduces Juanita, and I’ll close this article with it (the formatting, for emphasis is mine; the words are Stephenson’s):

Her name is Juanita Marquez.

Hiro has known her ever since they were freshmen together at Berkeley, and they were in the same lab section in a freshman physics class. The first time he saw her, he formed an impression that did not change for many years: She was a dour, bookish, geeky type who dressed like she was interviewing for a job as an accountant at a funeral parlor. At the same time, she had a flamethrower tongue that she would turn on people at the oddest times, usually in some grandiose, earth-scorching retaliation for a slight or breach of etiquette that none of the other freshmen had even perceived.

It wasn’t until a number of years later, when they both wound up working at Black Sun Systems, Inc., that he put the other half of the equation together. At the time, both of them were working on avatars. He was working on bodies, she was working on faces.

She was the face department, because nobody thought that faces were all that important — they were just flesh-toned busts on top of the avatars. She was just in the process of proving them all desperately wrong. But at this phase, the all-male society of bit-heads that made up the power structure of Black Sun Systems said that the face problem was trivial and superficial.

It was, of course, nothing more than sexism, the especially virulent type espoused by male techies who sincerely believe that they are too smart to be sexists.

{ 1 comment }

It’s that time of the year in Tampa Bay: time to nominate the people and organizations that help make the Tampa Bay tech scene great! The 14th Annual Tampa Bay Tech Awards, organized by Tampa Bay Technology Forum, will take place later this year, and we need you to nominate this year’s Tampa Bay tech rock stars and supergroups!

The deadline for nominations is Friday, August 18th at 5:00 p.m., and the award categories are:

  • People awards:
    • Technology Executive of the Year: This award recognizes a C-level technology executive who has made a significant and positive impact on their firm and the technology industry. Nominees must hold the title of CIO, CTO, CISO (or a variation thereof) and have direct oversight of at least 10 subordinates on their staff.
    • Technology Leader of the Year: Recognizes a demonstrated leader who has made a significant and positive impact on their firm, their technology field, and our local region’s technology community.
    • Emerging Technology Leader of the Year: Recognizes an up-and-coming young professional (must be no older than 40 on or before December 31, 2017) who has made a positive impact on their firm and the technology industry regardless of title.
  • Company awards:
    • Excellence in Service: This award recognizes a Tampa Bay organization committed to advancing our region’s technology community and able to demonstrate excellence in the quality, innovation, or results of the work with at least one local technology firm.
    • Technology Company of the Year: Recognizes a Tampa Bay headquartered company committed to advancing our region’s technology community and able to demonstrate excellence in their people, programs and projects within their industry.
    • Technology Project of the Year: Recognizes a technology project – developed and lead by an in-house team in Tampa Bay – that created regional, national and/or international impact through visibility for our region, disruption within your industry, or transformative effect on your business.
    • Workplace Culture Program of the Year: Recognizes a company or organization that developed an innovative and effective workplace culture program. Emerging Technology Company of the Year Recognizes a Tampa Bay headquartered company creating an impact through innovation, fast growth, and giving back to our community.
  • “Technical” Honors: This year, they’re soliciting suggestions for ‘technical’ awards. You can provide your thoughts for an award, and justify it in the form!

Want to help grow Tampa Bay into a major tech hub? One way to help is by participating in events like this, which bring together the local community, connect techies to opportunities, and show to the world beyond the Sun Coast that tech happens in Tampa Bay. If you know someone or some company in the Tampa Bay tech scene that should be recognized for their efforts, achievements, and contributions, go and nominate them!

{ 0 comments }

If you’re a developer in the Tampa Bay area and are wondering what to do tonight, go out and meet your fellow developers at one of the following events! You might learn something new, or you might meet some new friends, or even find new opportunities. It’s after-work events like these that turn ordinary cities into interesting tech hubs, and Tampa Bay’s can become one — but only if you get out there and participate.

My very own Meetup group, Tampa iOS Meetup, will take place tonight in its new location (and my new workplace), the offices of local development shop Sourcetoad! Tonight’s exercise will be building a to-do/checklist app for the iPhone or iPad using the Swift programming language. This is a beginner-friendly meetup, but it’s also a workshop — bring a Macbook with Xcode installed and follow along as we code the app!

Hey, Android developers! My friends Scott Thisse and Mike Traverso run the Tampa Bay Android Developers Group, and they’ll be at The Iron Yard tonight, where they’ll have two presentations: Easier data persistence with Room and Chiu-Ki Chan giving a talk on how to become an Android expert. The venue’s in St. Pete’s lively downtown, and there’ll likely be some socializing afterwards in one of St. Pete’s many eateries or drinkeries.

Is .NET more your thing? My friend John Lam has what you want as he’s hosting the St. Pete .NET Meetup, which also takes place at The Iron Yard. He’ll walk you through two interesting applications of Microsoft’s cloud technology — HPC (as in high-performance computing) and building your own HPC environment using Azure Batch.

If your interests run towards intelligent agents and assistants, Tampa Bay’s Amazon guy Steve Tingiris is hosting Tampa Bay Alexa and Lex Developers tonight at Florida Funders. He’ll have a guest speaker tonight — John Kelvie, founder of Bespoken, who’ll talk about building skills with the Alexa AudioPlayer API, demonstrate how to build a podcasting skill from scratch, and incorporate some of the new Card features enabled by the Echo Show.

Code for Tampa Bay, the meetup for civic-minded coders who want to write applications to benefit the Tampa Bay area, is roadtripping to see their Orlando counterparts and show their support. Join Mike Turtora and other civic-minded coders for this roadtrip!

{ 0 comments }