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.

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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!

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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!

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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, July 31

Tuesday, August 1

Wednesday, August 2

Thursday, August 3

Friday, August 4

Saturday, August 5

Sunday, August 6

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Sourcetoad is looking for a full-stack developer!

by Joey deVilla on July 28, 2017

Do you live here or nearby? (Photo of Tampa wall mural.)

Do you know these? (Icons for PHP, Python, JavaScript, ReactJS, SQL.)

Do you want to work on interesting projects like these? (Photos of a cruise ship, anime, a medical worker with an iPad, children using computers as school, a scientist testing water quality in a pond, a smartphone in a hand.)

Would you like to work with gear and swag like this? (Photo of my Sourcetoad-assigned MacBook pro, dual monitors, and more.)

Are you comfy with a non-corporate dress code? (Photo of CEO Greg Ross-Munro in a Sourcetoad t-shirt and utilikilt.)

Would you be able to work with this guy? (Photo of Joey deVilla on accordion performing in front of a room full of developers.)

Have you always wanted to work someplace with a 5-star Glassdoor rating? (Screenshot of Glassdoor’s page for Sourcetoad.)

We’re looking for a full-stack developer! (Picture of Sourcetoad logo.)

That’s right, we’re looking for a full-stack developer with strong problem-solving skills, solid javaScript chops, experience with Python or PHP and a track record of building applications with large user bases. You can find out more about the position — and if interested, apply for it — at Stack Overflow Jobs.

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Last night, the upcoming Hack Hospitality hackathon (taking place in St. Pete at Station House and The Iron Yard from Friday, August 25 through Sunday, August 27) held an info session where they covered the details. For the benefit of those of you who couldn’t make it, here are the slides that organizer Trey Steinhoff put together.

Hack Hospitality is organized by Startup Tampa Bay, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Ryan Sullivan, Gracie Stemmer, and Trey Steinhoff and whose mission is to empower entrepreneurs and inspire the next generation of leaders in Tampa Bay. They help organize a number of events here in Tampa Bay, including Startup Weekend, Startup Week, and Startup Social.

Why hack hospitality?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Leisure and Hospitality category accounts for 154,000 jobs in Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater, which is about 12% of total non-farm wage and salary employment in the area. Tourism in the area — buoyed by having two of the best beaches in the U.S. (Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach) — helps drive our local hospitality industry, as does Tampa Bay being the home of hospitality powerhouses including national ones like Bloomin’ Brands (Outback Steakhouse) and local ones like Ciccio Restaurant Group.

The hospitality industry doesn’t always make use of the latest technology, and the technology they use often comes from a mish-mash of vendors and often doesn’t connect well. They also don’t have much exposure to the tech industry, and Hack Hospitality aims to fix that by bringing the two groups together to create practical, useful, and usable solutions for hospitality.

The hackathon will feature people from the hospitality industry, who’ll present challenges that teams can try to solve. They’ll also be available during the hackathon so that participants can ask the questions and make use of their domain expertise.

This is a developer-focused hackathon. The goal isn’t to come up with the best pitch or most viable business idea or business model; it’s to create code that people working in some part of the hospitality industry will find useful.

The schedule, rules, and code of conduct

The hackathon will take place over the weekend starting Friday, August 25th. Here’s the schedule:

Friday, August 25
  • 6:00 p.m.: Registration
  • 6:30 p.m.: Dinner and networking
  • 7:00 p.m.: Introduction, keynote, and overview of challenges
  • 7:30 p.m.: Teams form and choose a challenge
  • 7:45 p.m.: Breakout sessions with individual companies
  • 8:15 p.m.: Teams start working on solutions
Saturday, August 26
  • 8:00 a.m.: Doors open
  • 9:00 a.m.: Breakfast provided by Ciccios
  • 11:00 a.m.: Company reps arrive
  • 1:00 p.m.: Lunch provided by Ciccios
  • 6:00 p.m.: Dinner (details TBA)
  • 11:00 p.m.: Videogame and dessert hour
Sunday, August 27
  • 8:00 a.m.: Doors open
  • 9:00 a.m.: Breakfast provided by SaltBlock
  • 11:00 a.m.: Company reps arrive
  • 1:00 p.m.: Lunch
  • 3:00 p.m.: Official presentation practice and tech check
  • 5:00 p.m.: Closing keynote
  • 5:30 p.m.: Team presentations
  • 6:30 p.m.: Dinner provided by SaltBlock
  • 7:15 p.m.: Sourcetoad prize
  • 8:00 p.m. Afterparty!

Here are Hack Hospitality’s rules:

  1. There is no maximum or minimum team size.
  2. All team members should be present at the event. Leaving the venue for some time to hack elsewhere is fine.
  3. Teams can get advice from organizers, volunteers, sponsors, and others.
  4. All work on a project should be done at the hackathon.
  5. Teams can use an idea they had before the event, but they can’t work on its implementation before the event.
  6. Teams can work on ideas that have already been done. Hacks do not have to be original. You will be judged on the quality of that hack.
  7. Teams can work on an idea that they have worked on before (as long as they do not re-use code).
  8. Teams can use libraries, frameworks, or open-source code in their projects. Working on a project before the event and open-sourcing it for the sole purpose of using the code during the event is against the spirit of the rules and is not allowed.
  9. Adding new features to existing projects is allowed. Judges will only consider new functionality added during the hackathon.
  10. Teams must stop hacking once the time is up. However, teams are allowed to debug and make small fixes to their programs after time is up. Making large changes or adding new features is not allowed.
  11. All projects remain the intellectual property of individuals or teams that created them.
  12. By participating in the hackathon, you represent and warrant that you are the sole author and copyright owner of the project, and that the project is an original work of the team, or if the project is a work based on an existing code, that the you have acquired sufficient rights to use and to authorize others; and that the project does not infringe upon any copyright or upon any other third party rights of which you are aware, and that the project is free of malware.
  13. Projects that violate the Code of Conduct are not allowed.
  14. Teams can be disqualified from the competition at the organizers’ discretion. Reasons might include but are not limited to breaking the Competition Rules, breaking the Code of Conduct, or other unsporting behavior.

And here are the judging criteria:

  1. Demo > Pitch. You are not judged on the quality of your pitch or the quality of your idea. You are judged on the quality of your hack.
  2. Technology: How technically impressive was the hack? Was the technical problem the team tackled difficult? Did it use a particularly clever technique or did it use many different components? Did the technology involved make you go “Wow”?
  3. Design: Did the team put thought into the user experience? How well designed is the interface? For a website, this might be about how beautiful the CSS or graphics are. For a hardware project, it might be more about how good the human-computer interaction is (e.g. is it easy to use or does it use a cool interface?).
  4. Completion: Does the hack work? Did the team achieve everything they wanted?

And finally, there’s a code of conduct, which is best summarized as “Don’t be a jerk”:

  • Harassment-free experience for everyone. We do not tolerate harassment of hackathon participants in any form.
  • Hackathon participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the hackathon without a refund (if applicable) at the discretion of the hackathon organizers.
  • Full details will be at tampabayhackathon.com.

Prizes!

There will be a number of prizes for the solutions that are judged to be the best, including gift cards for local businesses, swag, and more to be announced as the hackathon draws closer.

Sourcetoad will provide the grand prize for the overall first place solution: $3,000 in cash! Not bad for a weekend’s work.

Sponsor organizations

Hack Hospitality is made possible through these sponsors:

Sourcetoad! They’re a great company with great people, and that’s why I now work there. We’re a tech consulting and software engineering company with offices in Tampa, Florida and Perth, Western Australia. One of our specialties is building software solutions for the cruise industry, for whom we make web, mobile, desktop, kiosk, and smart TV applications for a number of uses, ranging from in-cabin movies and TV to hotel, activity, excursion bookings — basically a lot of the behind-the-scenes software that makes a cruise-goer’s trip even better.

We’ll be there to provide our knowledge of the cruise and hotel industries, as well as access to data sets and APIs that participants might find useful for building their hospitality solutions.

Ciccio Restaurant Group are the people behind some of my favorite Tampa Bay Restaurants, including Green Lemon and Daily Eats. Among other things, they’ll provide breakfast and lunch on the Saturday.

SaltBlock Hospitality Group specialize in both catering/event production and hospitality management, and they’ll supply the meals on Sunday.

The Station House is a St. Pete institution. Part coworking space, part café/restaturant, part lounge, part yoga studio, part event space, it’s five floors of awesome in a beautiful brick building located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. They’re providing a beautiful, comfortable space in which to have the hackathon.

Also participating is The Iron Yard Tampa Bay, who occupy the Station House’s third floor. The Iron Yard is more than just a “bootcamp”-style coding school; it’s the social heart and soul of the St. Pete tech scene, thanks their opening their space in the evenings to the tech community for meetups and get-togethers, and their involvement in tech and civic events.

How to register for Hack Hospitality

It’s simple — go to TampaBayHackathon.com to find out more, or if you like, you can go straight to the registration page.

There’s a $20-per-person registration fee, but attendees will be provided with food, drink, and more.

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This month’s project: A checklist app

Checklist apps are a mainstay — they’re popular enough for there to be a healthy number of them in the App Store, including these seven big players. At the next Tampa iOS Meetup, we’ll build a simple version that lets users add or remove items from a “to-do” style list, mark or unmark them as complete, and edit the details of any item in the list. Along the way, we’ll cover such items as:

  •  Table Views, the UI elements that provide viewers with a visual list
  • Segues, which move the user from one “screen” to another
  • Classes, and how to use them in object-oriented programming

Bring your MacBook, because this is a hands-on programming exercise! You’ll get provide a “starter” project that you’ll work on as Joey walks you through the process of building a basic checklist app. By the end of this session, you’ll have a working checklist/to-do list app that you can use as a jumping-off point to create your own list-style applications for the iPhone or iPad.

New location

Tampa iOS Meetup had a new location: the offices of Joey’s new employer, Sourcetoad, who are located in Carrollwood on Busch just east of Dale Mabry. It’ll be the home of Tampa iOS Meetup from now on. It’s located in Twin Lakes Office Park, and the map below should make it a little easier to find Sourcetoad in the complex (we’re in unit #1018):

Also…

There will be food and drink — I’m aiming for pizza, for both carnivores and vegetarians.

As we move to our new location, we’d like to thank Wolters Kluwer and John Wang for being Tampa iOS Meetup’s home for the past year. Your hospitality is greatly appreciated!

The details, and how to register for this meetup

So what’s Tampa iOS Meetup about, anyway?

Tampa iOS Meetup is the Tampa Bay area’s meetup for beginning programmers and developers new to iOS development. We take a hands-on approach because it’s our answer to a question that I’ve been asked again and again, and it goes something like this:

“I’ve been studying iOS development for some time, and I’m still having a problem writing apps. I know how to program specific features in iOS, but I don’t know how to turn a bunch of features into an app.”

It’s one thing to go through tutorials that show you how to program a specific feature. It’s a completely different thing to take the knowledge from those tutorials and then write an app. My goal for Tampa iOS Meetup in 2017 is to show you how to make that leap by walking you through the process of making apps.

If you’re in the Tampa Bay area and you’ve always wanted to learn iOS development but needed some help getting started, Tampa iOS Meetup is for you! It’s a regular gathering aimed at people new to iOS development or software development in general where we cover all sorts of programming topics as we build applications together in a casual, fun, hands-on setting. Find out more at the Tampa iOS Meetup page.

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