Categories
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?

Categories
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!


Categories
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.

 

Categories
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.

Categories
Current Events Hardware Players Tampa Bay

Win a System76 Thelio Linux desktop in The Mad Botter’s Fourth of July contest!

Mike Dominick’s Tampa Bay-based consultancy The Mad Botter — which develops automation/integration software — has a Fourth of July contest for high school or university undergrad students where the prize is one of System76’s gorgeous Thelio desktop Linux systems!
Mad Botter Fourth of July content icon (Mad Botter “Bot” dressed as Uncle Sam in front of American flags, fireworks, and balloons)

This is an election year, and The Mad Botter’s contest is an election contest. Contestants are asked to develop an open source project that addresses ballot access or in some other way assists with voting. Perhaps something to help people find the closest polling station? Virtual “I voted” stickers? An aggregator for open information about candidates? A “Yelp” for polling places? (You can find more ideas here.)

Here are the contest details:

  • No purchase is required to enter.
  • Your solution must be posted to a publicly accessible Github repository with the appropriate license included.
  • You must be a US high-school or undergraduate college student.
  • If you are below the age of 18, you must provide written parental consent to have your submission considered; this can be done via email.
  • In the event that you win, The Mad Botter INC is granted the right to post a picture of you in the winning announcement and other applicable venues; if you are below the age of 18 your parent or guardian also provides permission for this by consenting to your entering the contest.
  • The winning entry will be the one that shows the most practical potential and creativity and will be selected by The Mad Botter team.
  • All submissions should be sent to sales@themadbotter.com and include a brief bio, explanation of the solution, and a link to the Github repository.
  • Submissions will be accepted until 9/1/2020.

You can find out more at The Mad Botter’s Fourth of July contest page.

Also worth checking out

Mike has a podcast, The Mike Dominick Show, which covers technology and open source.

I was a recent guest on the show (Episode 25), and we talked about how the Toronto tech scene changed from dismal to dynamic,  how I stumbled into developer evangelism, learning iOS programming via raywenderlich.com and then joining them, SwiftUI, Python and Burning Man, the hidden opportunities that come with having to stay inside during the pandemic, and more!

Categories
Current Events Tampa Bay

What’s happening in the Tampa Bay tech/entrepreneur/nerd scene (Week of Monday, July 6, 2020)

Hello, Tampa Bay techies, entrepreneurs, and nerds — here’s hoping you had a safe and happy 4th of July.

Here’s the list of the week’s 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!

This week’s events

Monday, July 6

Tuesday, July 7

Wednesday, July 8

Thursday, July 9

Friday, July 10

Saturday, July 11

Sunday, July 12

No tech, entrepreneur, or nerd events have been posted for this day…yet!

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!


Categories
Current Events Players Programming Reading Material Tampa Bay

Local hero: Mike Dominick and his tech podcast, The Mike Dominick Show

Mike Dominick, who runs The Mad Botter — which develops automation/integration software — moved to the Tampa Bay area three years ago. It’s been my experience that Tampa Bay techies don’t do things halfway, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that in addition to the day job, he also has a technology- and open source-focused podcast named The Mike Dominick Show.

I had the privilege of being the guest for Episode 25 of the Mike Dominick Show, which we recorded yesterday afternoon (that’s its player above), and it was a fun conversation that covered:

  • The Toronto tech scene
  • Taking up the accordion
  • How I got into developer evangelism
  • Learning iOS programming via raywenderlich.com and then joining them
  • Remote work and the pandemic
  • WWDC 2020 and SwiftUI, Python and Burning Man
  • Windows Phone and my time as a Windows Phone Champ
  • What I’ve been doing while looking for work
  • The hidden opportunities that come with having to stay inside

Scrabble tiles in a tile holder spelling 'QUESTIONS'Mike ends each podcast with two questions — one tough and one easy. The tough question he asked me was “What question should I have asked you that I didn’t?” You’ll have to listen to hear how I answered that one.

Don’t just listen to my episode — be sure to check out previous ones, including these ones that I’ve enjoyed on my daily bike rides: