Current Events Hardware

What if WeWork’s jamoke CEO accidentally changed the processor industry?


In order to understand this story, you need to be aware of this news item: Softbank is considering the options of selling outright, selling part of, or making a public offering of Arm, the British chip design firm behind the chips that power just about every smartphone, a whole lot of IoT devices (including the Raspberry Pi), a fair share of Chromebooks, and soon, Apple’s computers.

Softbank is considering this move because it needs the money. It has an activist investor that wants to see some changes, because it’s made some embarrassing investments leasing to considerable losses of both money ($16.5 billion for the financial year ending March 2020) and face.

One of those embarrassing losses is the fault of Adam Neumann, cofounder and CEO of WeWork, and the jamoke pictured at the top of this article. You may remember the story from last year, where the company — effectively a Regus pretending to be a Netflix — had to delay its IPO due to concerns about its pretend profitability and flaky, cult-of-personality non-leadership.

These concerns led investors to take a closer look at their numbers and Neumann’s aberrant behavior and business dealings. This in turn led to Neumann stepping down as CEO in September, SoftBank taking control of their investment, and paying Neumann $1.7 billion to leave the board.

Simply put, Neumann’s hijinks cost Softbank a lot of money, and they now have an investor putting serious pressure on them to sell off assets to raise cash. Arm could be one of those assets.

At the same time, there are a number of interesting developments where Arm chips are concerned…

At WWDC 2020, Apple announced that they were moving their computers off Intel x86 chips, whose notoriously bad design is really showing its age these days, and to their own custom Arm-based chips. (Arm has “standard” chips, but if you’re a big player, you can work with them to have them design custom chips for you.) The Arm-based processors in the current line of iPhones run circles around not just the processors in Samsung’s flagship phones, but also most laptops as well.

Any talk about what Arm chips will mean for Apple is all speculation right now, but if you want to hear some really good speculation, as well as a decent Arm vs. Intel discussion, check out episode 777 of This Week in Tech:

In that episode of This Week in Tech, host Leo Laporte and his panel agree that Windows PC OEMs will probably end up switching to Arm processors, and they’re not the only ones saying it.

Arm also had a moment in the sun on the mainframe front: The new holder of the title of “world’s fastest supercomputer”, the Fugaku, is powered by Arm chips.

There’s a pretty good chance that Arm will end up being the de facto chip design to rule them all in the 2020s — and their maker is up for sale. In fact, there’s an unnamed interested buyer. I have a guess, and I’m not the only person to have the same idea:

(In case you’re wondering: Apple had $245 billion in their cash reserves last year, and Softbank bought Arm for $32 billion a few years ago.)

What do you think?

Programming What I’m Up To

Computer Coach’s “Intro to Python Coding” course (taught by Yours Truly) starts tonight!

The online Intro to Python Coding course that I’m teaching on behalf of Tampa Bay’s own Computer Coach Training Center starts tonight at 6:00 p.m.. For the next five weeks, on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to 10:00, I’ll be leading a class of Python learners through “code along with me” exercises in the Python programming language.

Photo: Joey deVilla points at a projected screen of code with co-presented Angela Don.
Dropping code science at BarCamp.

The format of the course will be pretty much the same as the one I use at Tampa iOS Meetup, where I lead the group through a “code along with me” exercise. I project what’s on my computer on the big screen, and everyone follows along, entering the code as I explain what’s happening.

Since Python has a REPL (Read-Evaluate-Print Loop), I can also have the class go through some exercises and try little coding challenges. It will be a “learn by doing” kind of class.

The main textbooks for the course (which will be provided to students) are Python Crash Course, 2nd Edition…

Book cover: “Python Crash Course, 2nd edition: A Hands-On, Project-Based Introduction to Programming”

…and Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, 2nd edition (which is free to read online):

Book cover: “Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, 2nd edition: Practical Programming for Total Beginners”In order to minimize confusion, we’ll all use the same tools in the course, namely the Anaconda Individual Edition distribution of Python 3.7 and associated tools…Logo: Anaconda…and Visual Studio Code:

Logo: Visual Studio CodeBoth are available free of charge, and run on macOS, Windows, and Linux.

It’ll be fun! Watch this space; I’ll post some snippets from the course as it progresses.

Interested in signing up? Visit Computer Coach’s site and speak to them. Don’t dawdle — it starts tonight!

Current Events Tampa Bay

What’s happening in the Tampa Bay tech/entrepreneur/nerd scene (Week of Monday, July 13, 2020)

Hello, Tampa Bay techies, entrepreneurs, and nerds! Welcome to the weekly list of online-only events for techies, entrepreneurs, and nerds based in an around the Tampa Bay area.

Keep an eye on this post; I update it when I hear about new events, it’s always changing. Stay safe, stay connected, and #MakeItTampaBay!

Why this list has only online events

In the spirit of “Show, don’t tell,” I’ll explain with the three charts below.

Graph: “Daily new coronavirus cases, 7-day average trend line” for April 9 to July 9. The graph shows a marked rise after the phase 1 reopenings.

Graph: “Daily hospitalizations, 7-day average trend line” for April 9 through July 9. The graph shows an upward trend since the first week of June.

Graph: Daily fatalities, 7-day average trend line” from April 9 through July 9. The graph shows an upward trend from mid-June.

This week’s events

Monday, July 13

Tuesday, July 14

Wednesday, July 15

Thursday, July 16

Friday, July 17

Saturday, July 18

Sunday, July 19

Do you have an upcoming event that you’d like to see on this list?

If you know of an upcoming event that you think should appear on this list, please let me know!

Join the mailing list!

If you’d like to get this list in your email inbox every week, enter your email address below. You’ll only be emailed once a week, and the email will contain this list, plus links to any interesting news, upcoming events, and tech articles.

Join the Tampa Bay Tech Events list and always be informed of what’s coming up in Tampa Bay!

Career What I’m Up To

The Great LinkedIn Premium experiment

Image: Dee Dee from “Dexter’s Laboratory” pressing a button with the LinkIn logo on it
Ooh! What does this button do?

I decided to see if LinkedIn Premium will help with the job search and activated the one month free trial. I’ll keep you posted by writing about the features I find and my experiences with it.

Hardware Humor

Two printer posts; one printer truth

I saw these two posts about printers this morning — one on Twitter, the other on Facebook, in a neighborhood forum where someone was asking for office equipment and furniture that people were no longer using:

I find that I use our home printer about once a year, typically for printing a letter that I need to enclose with a paper form that I’m sending via snail mail.

How often do you use your printer at home (if you have one) these days?

Current Events Programming What I’m Up To

I’m teaching an online Python programming course!

Photo: Man’s hand on Mac laptop, with Python book on the side. Caption: “Intro to Python course / Starts this Monday!”

Graohic: Computer Coach Training Center logoI’ll be teaching a live online course on Python programming on behalf of Computer Coach Training Center starting Monday. Here are the details:

  • What: Intro to Python Coding course
  • When: Monday and Wednesday evenings, 6:00 – 10:00 p.m., starting Monday, July 13 and ending Wednesday, August 12 (6 weeks, twice a week)
  • Where: Online.
  • How much: $900 — and Computer Coach has grants that can cover the cost if you’re unemployed and based in the Tampa Bay area (contact them to see if you qualify)
  • What you’ll need:
    • A computer that was made sometime in the last ten years. My main computer is a 2014-era MacBook Pro, but I’ll be doing demonstrations on a 2012-era Lenovo ThinkPad running Linux Mint, a 2009-era Compaq laptop running Peppermint Linux, and a $35 Raspberry Pi.
    • An internet connection. This is an online course, after all.

To register for this course, visit this page and tap the Attend Online button. Someone from Computer Coach will contact you.

Screenshot: The Meetup page for the Python course, with the “Attend online” button highlighted.

The course description

Photo: Woman’s hands typing on Mac laptop.

This is an introduction to the Python programming language. Now in the top 10 programming languages according to the TIOBE Programming Language Index, it is versatile enough to have a wide array of uses, from simple scripting to powering Instagram, Spotify, Netflix, Dropbox, and more. Its combination of simplicity and vast scientific and math libraries have made it the preferred programming language for data science and machine learning. If you’re looking for a first programming language, Python is an excellent choice.


This is not a passive course! This isn’t the kind of course where the instructor lectures over slides while you take notes (or pretend to take notes while surfing the web or checking your social media feeds). In this course, you’ll be actively taking part in the learning process, entering code, experimenting, making mistakes, correcting those mistakes, and producing working applications. You will learn by doing. At the end of each session, you’ll have a collection of little Python programs that you wrote, and which you can use as the basis for your own work.

The course will start at the most basic level by walking you through the process of downloading and installing the necessary tools to start Python programming. From there, you’ll learn the building blocks of the Python programming language:

  • Control structures that determine what your programs do,
  • Data structures to store the information that your programs act on,
  • Functions and objects to organize your code, and
  • Using libraries as building blocks for your applications.

You’ll write all sorts of programs…

  • You’ll use Python in “immediate mode” to perform quick calculations (and you’ll sharpen your command-line skills in the process).
  • You’ll write scripts to simplify or automate tedious tasks.
  • You’ll build web applications.
  • And since it’s a networked, data-driven world where no application is an island, you’ll learn how to use Python to interact with web services and databases.

Better still, you’ll learn how to think like a programmer. You’ll learn how to look at a goal and learn how you could write a program to meet it, and how that program could be improved or enhanced. You’ll learn skills that will serve you well as you take up other programming languages, and even learn a little bit about the inner workings of computers, operating systems, and the internet.


Current Events Entrepreneur Tampa Bay

St. Pete Pitch Night: Online tonight at 5:00 p.m.!

St. Pete Pitch Night takes place online tonight from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.! See pitches from five St. Petersburg entrepreneurs as they compete to win up to $5,000 by pitching their community-based businesses.

From the 34 business who applied, these were the ones selected:

  1. Eat Your Words Custom Cookies
  2. Eventron
  3. Oh Yes! Shave Club
  4. Jun Cyber
  5. Cope Notes

To be eligible, contestants had to meet these requirements:

  • Scalable and/or innovative concept
  • In business for 4 years or less
  • Previously presented at 1 Million Cups OR currently enrolled in an entrepreneurship program at a Tampa Bay college or University

Admission to attend this online event is $5.00. You can find out more about St. Pete Pitch Night on the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce site or the St. Pete Greenhouse site, and you can register to attend St. Pete Pitch Night here.