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What’s happening in the Tampa Bay tech/entrepreneur/nerd scene (Week of Monday, September 6, 2021)

Here’s your weekly list of tech, entrepreneur, and nerd events — plus a little area tech news — for Tampa Bay and surrounding areas for the week of Monday, September 6 through Sunday, September 12, 2021.

This is a weekly service from Tampa Bay’s tech blog, Global Nerdy! For the past four years, I’ve been compiling a list of tech, entrepreneur, and nerd events happening in Tampa Bay and surrounding areas. There’s a lot going on in our scene here in “The Other Bay Area, on the Other West Coast”!

As far as event types go, this list casts a rather wide net. It includes events that would be of interest to techies, nerds, and entrepreneurs. It includes (but isn’t limited to) events that fall under the category of:

  • Programming, DevOps, systems administration, and testing
  • Tech project management / agile processes
  • Video, board, and role-playing games
  • Book, philosophy, and discussion clubs
  • Tech, business, and entrepreneur networking events
  • Toastmasters (because nerds really need to up their presentation game)
  • Sci-fi, fantasy, and other genre fandoms
  • Anything I deem geeky

By “Tampa Bay and surrounding areas”, this list covers events that originate or are aimed at the area within 100 miles of the Port of Tampa. At the very least, that includes the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, but as far north as Ocala, as far south as Fort Myers, and includes Orlando and its surrounding cities.

This week’s events

This list contains only events that are outdoors or online for the time being

Here are the COVID case graphs for the morning for Friday, September 3 for the area counties — Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas:

Needless to say, these are all-time highs. With that in mind, I’ve chosen to limit the events listed to outdoor or online events. Be safe, be responsible, get your shots, and we can get back to those better numbers that we had in the spring and early summer!

Monday, September 6

Note that this is Labor Day, and that some of the listed events for this day may have been scheduled on “autopilot”. Double-check with the organizers to make sure it’s actually happening!

Tuesday, September 7

Wednesday, September 8

Thursday, September 9

Friday, September 10

Saturday, September 11

Sunday, September 12

Do you have any events or announcements that you’d like to see on this list?

Let me know at joey@joeydevilla.com!

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!

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Tampa #1 on Forbes’ list of emerging tech cities (and other Tampa tech news)

Tampa is the #1 city on Forbes’ list of emerging tech cites in the U.S.

“Tampa is quickly turning into Florida’s tech capital,” says the August 24th article in Forbes titled Emerging Tech Cities In The U.S.. “It has been exploding in the tech industry for several years now. There are over 50 software and IT companies in Tampa.”

In order, the cities in Forbes’ list of emerging tech cities are:

  1. Tampa (“Tampa is responsible for over 25% of Florida’s tech jobs, and there has been a massive surge in tech jobs in recent years.”)
  2. Miami (“In 2020, two of tech’s biggest names (and wallets) relocated to Miami to make it their permanent home. Founders Fund partner Keith Rabois and Blumberg Capital founder David Blumberg moved to Miami.”)
  3. New York City (“It’s not entirely a shocker considering how New York City is one of the centers for everything. Even that underplays the truly momentous amount of technological innovation that’s come out of that city in recent years.”)
  4. Austin (“It’s another city that’s been blowing up for the past few years as a result of an influx of tech talent.”)
  5. San Francisco (“You simply cannot comment on the current tech scene without considering its most famous, iconic setting.”)

12 Things You May Be Doing Wrong in Your Job Search (Tuesday @ 10:00 a.m., online)

When a job search starts to get frustrating, it may be that you’re making a few missteps. Find out if that’s the case at this Computer Coach workshop, 12 Things You May Be Doing Wrong in Your Job Search. Their workshops are always free, and Computer Coach are always helpful! (They’ve even helped me out.)

Tampa veterans use technology, connections to help Afghans evacuate

Quiet Professionals (whose name is derived from the sobriquet for the Green Berets) is a defense contractor based in Tampa’s Rocky Point, and they’re doing their part in Afghanistan with their OSINT (open source intelligence) dashboard to help people in Afghanistan find help and escape. You can find more in these stories:

You can also find out more on the Project Afghan Relief Fund site, and even directly help with a donation. I did, and you can too.

Tampa Bay coffee shops put tech to work to compete with national chains

Here’s a Tampa Bay Business Journals story on how three of our own local coffee chains — Blind Tiger, Buddy Brew, and Kahwa, all of whose brews I enjoy regularly — are competing against the megacoffeecorps with technology.

Give them some business! You won’t just be getting great coffee; you’ll also be investing in a local business, and helping the local area more interesting and less sterile.

Do you have mobile dev skills? These local companies are hiring.

A little while back, I posted an article titled So many Tampa Bay mobile dev job openings, so few applicants. The situation hasn’t changed much — there are still lots of local places who are looking for mobile developers:

Want to learn Android development or sharpen you Android dev skills? Join the GDG Suncoast Meetup and keep an eye open for their Android Study Jams, which happens every Wednesday.

I’m also looking at rebooting my Programmers of Portables meetup soon — watch this space!

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Hardware Music Uncategorized

Putting my ’90s synth — the Korg Wavestation A/D — back on active duty

The Korg Wavestation A/D

Front view of the Korg Wavestation A/D rackmount synthesizer
The best damned synth of 1991. Tap to view at full size.

Long before I became an accordion player, I was a synth player. Over the years, I’ve bought and then sold or given away a number of synths, but there’s one that I kept: A Korg Wavestation A/D.

The Korg’s Wavestation A/D is the rack-mount version of the Korg Wavestation EX keyboard synth, which in turn is a revised and expanded model of the original Korg Wavestation. The Wavestation series of synths set itself from the other synths of the era by using a technology called wave sequencing, which could be described as building sounds by pasting sequences of different waveforms together, in a way similar to George Martin’s cut-and-paste approach to the calliope sounds on the Beatles’ Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!.

I bought the Wavestation from my friend, Canadian TV/film composer Stephen Skratt, back in 1993, when I was playing keyboards in a band with my schoolmates at Crazy Go Nuts University

Joey deVilla as a university student circa 1992, on stage with the band “Volume”.
Me, circa 1992.

…and I’ve done other live gigs with it (that’s me in the pink wig)…

Stephen Skratt, Joey deVilla, and Karl Mohr jamming on keyboards in 1999.
Stephen Skratt, me, and Karl Mohr jamming on keyboards in 1999.

…and I’ve even used it for some multimedia software projects:

Opening screen of "Welcome to Echo Lake", a multimedia promo for Delrina's "Echo Lake" family album application.
My first software deliverable after graduating from University: A multimedia promo for family album software.

I’ve held onto it ever since, having taken it from Kingston to Toronto, then San Francisco during the dot-com bubble and back, and it’s now at my current home in Tampa.

Simply put, the Wavestation is a beautiful-sounding synth, and even 30 years later, it still sounds great. If you’d like to hear what it sounds like, check out this video by Espen “I am the 80s” Kraft:

Bringing the Wavestation back to active duty

One of my plans for this year is to create a series of videos covering software development and other tech topics including security. Those videos will include music, and I thought that while there’s nothing wrong with licensing some music, why not write my own?

With that in mind, I pulled the Wavestation out of its closet, where it had been sitting, plugged in my small MIDI keyboard controller (the original version of the M-Audio Axiom 25), hooked it up to powered speakers, and turned it on:

The good news was that it still worked. The screen came to life, and pressing keys resulted in those rich Wavestation sounds:

LCD display of Korg Wavestation A/D displaying the name of the currently selected sound: “The Wave Song”.
Tap to view at full size.

The bad news, which I was expecting, was that while the built-in sounds in ROM remained, all three RAM banks which held the sounds that I had lovingly created so very long ago were gone. They had been replaced by copies of the ROM sounds. I no longer had a synth with 200 sounds (or in Wavestation parlance, “performances”, or in general synth terms, “patches”) — I had four identical banks of 50 sounds:

Page 4 from the “Korg Wavestation A/D Performance Notes” manual, which shows the 50 “performances” (synth patches) in ROM.
Page 4 from the Korg Wavestation A/D Performance Notes manual. Tap to view at full size.

I suspected that the battery that maintained the contents of the Wavestation’s RAM had died long ago. I confirmed this theory by tweaking the settings for one of the sounds in RAM, turning the synth off and back on again, then checking my edited sound. It had reverted to a copy of the ROM sound on which it was based.

I’ve done RAM battery replacements on numerous devices over the years, so I felt comfortable with going inside the Wavestation to see how big a chore replacing the battery would be.

The first step was to pop the top panel from the Wavestation. It’s a pretty simple process where you remove six screws — two on each side, and two on the back. Here’s what the inside looks like, as viewed from the front panel:

Korg Wavestation A/D with the top panel removed, as viewed from the front panel.
Tap to view at full size.

Here’s what it looks like from above:

Korg Wavestation A/D with the top panel removed, as viewed from directly overhead.
Tap to view at full size.

If you’ve ever had to replace the battery of an early- to mid-1980s synthesizer with battery-backed memory, you’ve probably dealt with the annoyance of that battery being soldered in. This was probably a cost-cutting measure (compared to today’s prices, synths in the ’80s were quite expensive), and manufacturers probably believed that we’d all upgrade to later models long before those batteries died.

I found a pleasant surprise waiting for me on the Wavestation’s main printed circuit board:

Korg Wavestation A/D with the top panel removed, as viewed from directly overhead, with the battery clip pointed out: “OMG! A proper battery clip!”
Tap to view at full size.

It was a proper battery clip, and in it, a battery that I had in plentiful supply in my tool closet: The ever-lovin’ CR2032 3-volt battery, which powers all sorts of things, including the CMOS RAM on ThinkPads, which I covered in an earlier article.

Close-up of Korg Wavestation A/D main circuit board, with battery clip in center.
Tap to view at full size.

The clip makes it easy to swap out the battery. Pressing against the spring pops the battery out:

Close-up of Korg Wavestation A/D main circuit board, with battery clip in center and battery popped out.
Tap to view at full size.

With the battery replaced, I put the top back on the Wavestation, powered it up, changed the name of one of the sounds in RAM, and powered down and unplugged the Wavestation. I plugged it back in and powered it up, and yes, the change remained in RAM!

LCD display of Korg Wavestation A/D displaying the name of the currently selected sound with its updated name: “IChangedTheName”.
Tap to view at full size.

In case you were wondering what the Wavestation sounds like, here’s a sample:

This recording isn’t of me playing a tune, but just holding down one or more keys. It shows the sort of complex sounds that the Wavestation can make.

Next step: Restore those factory RAM sounds

Even with a new battery, I still have 3 banks of 50 sounds that each are a copy of the 50 sounds in ROM. I’d like to start off with a straight-out-of-the-box 1991 experience and get those factory RAM sounds back. In order to do that, I’ll need a couple of things:

  • The sound data, which thankfully has been preserved by Wavestation enthusiasts and can easily be found online, and
  • A USB to 5-pin DIN MIDI interface to move that data from a computer to the Wavestation:LiDiVi USB-MIDI interface.
  • The SysEx Librarian macOS application to transfer the sound data to Wavestation.

I’ll cover this process in an upcoming post.

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Current Events Tampa Bay Uncategorized

Even more online events this week!

In addition to my weekly listing of events in Tampa Bay, here are even more online events aimed at techies taking place this week from all over the world, and most of them are free! Thanks to Diversify Tech for the finds.

Monday, April 27

  • ThoughtWorks — Infrastructure Webconf @ 1:00 PM (FREE!)
    Our Infrastructure WebConf allows technologists interested in DevOps to listen and ask questions to Infrastructure specialists Marion Bruns and Max Griffiths. Our ThoughtWorks’ subject matter experts will explore best practices and thought-provoking learnings on the state of Infrastructure, testing and workflows for Infrastructure teams.
  • General Assembly — Inside the Design Studio @ 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM EDT (FREE!)
    This inspiring panel event series invites key players in New York City’s design community to offer a rare insider’s look at how they work and create. From branding to user experience to city planning, panelists will discuss how they approach projects from a design point of view, how design thinking methods help with problem-solving, and much more. Plus, they’ll cover opportunities within the field and their vision for the future of the industry.

Tuesday, April 28

Wednesday, April 29

  • Red Hat Summit, Day 2 (FREE!)
    Red Hat Summit is the premier open source technology event for thousands of IT professionals to innovate and focus on high-performing Linux, cloud, automation and management, container, and Kubernetes technologies.
  • Candor — Free resume workshop — honest advice on getting your resume in front of recruiters @ 1:00 PM EDT (FREE!)
    In this session, Candor cofounder Niya Dragova will share insider tips on nailing your resume.
  • IBM Developer — Hands on Introduction to NLP @ 12:30 – 2:00 PM EDT (FREE!)This workshop introduces Natural Language Processing in Python. Attendees learn how to process text with NLTK and Gensim to derive useful insights. Foundational concepts like tokenization and part of speech tagging and complex topics like Word2Vec, sentiment analysis and topic modeling are covered.How can computers interpret something so human like language? Can they actually understand what we are saying or are they hiding behind a façade of rules and algorithms? How do these systems of zeroes and ones make sense of words? This workshop introduces Natural Language Processing in Python and sheds light on how computers interpret our language. Attendees are introduced to NLTK and Gensim that help them tokenise, process and represent textual data. We will see how data is distilled into different linguistic features that power Machine Learning applications like text classifier, sentiment analyzer and topic modeler.

Thursday, April 30

  • Deserted Island DevOps @ 10:00 AM EDT (FREE!)
    Join us April 30th for a free one-day event celebrating DevOps and Animal Crossing, streaming live on twitch.tv!
  • QuarantineCon Virtual Career Fair @ 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM EDT (FREE!)
    Spring has come into full swing, and so has fresh conversation surrounding career and professional development. As a continued response to remain safe through social distancing, shelter in place, quarantine, etc., and still build community, Jopwell and QuarantineCon are partnering to bring together industry experts with a virtual career fair! We are creating space to discuss several career-centred topics, including “Navigating Today’s Job Market” and “Cold Outreach 101.” Featured speakers include Carla Harris, Vice Chairman at Morgan Stanley, and Nadia Abouzaid, Head of Recruitment at Jopwell.
  • Activate Conference — Accessibility talk: How to be an A11y @ 7:00 PM EDT (FREE!)
    Featuring Aisha Blake, software engineer at Gatsby.js

Friday, May 1

  • Byteconf React 2020 @ Friday through Sunday (FREE!)
    Byteconf React is a 100% free single-day conference with the best React speakers and teachers in the world. Conferences are great, but flights, hotels, and tickets are expensive, so not everyone can go. Byteconf is streamed on YouTube, for free, so anyone and everyone can attend. RSVP to receive your free ticket, and we’ll enter you in our free monthly giveaway, with a chance to receive a free 45+ hour React course from Udemy. See you on May 1st!

 

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Current Events Tampa Bay Uncategorized

What’s happening in the Tampa Bay tech/entrepreneur/nerd scene (Week of Monday, April 27, 2020)

Greetings, Tampa Bay techies, entrepreneurs, and nerds! Welcome to week 5 of the Florida general stay-at-home order! I hope you’re managing and even thriving. While it appears that event organizers are adjusting to our new, temporary version of “normal” with online events, this coming weekend’s looking a little quiet. 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!

To stay on top of the latest Tampa Bay events as well as all sorts of interesting tech articles, be sure to check out Global Nerdy (globalnerdy.com) regularly!

Monday, April 27

Tuesday, April 28

Wednesday, April 29

Thursday, April 30

Friday, May 1

Saturday, May 2

No Tampa Bay area tech events have been announced for this date…yet!

Sunday, May 3

No Tampa Bay area tech events have been announced for this date…yet!

Do you have any events or announcements that you’d like to see on this list?

Let me know at joey@joeydevilla.com!

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!


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“Share your mobile app with others” meetup — Wednesday, January 15, 7:00 p.m. at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop

Tomorrow — Wednesday, January 15 — is the very first Share your mobile app with others meetup! It takes place at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in Temple Terrace (at the corner of E Fowler and 56th), and it’s for anyone who:

  • Wants to show their mobile app to other locals, or
  • Wants to see mobile apps written by locals. That’s right, you don’t have to be a developer to attend!

From the meetup page:

Network with other inspired entrepreneurs/developers/app lovers about experiences whether it’s:

  1. App ideas
  2. Hiring developers
  3. Learning to code
  4. App marketing/advertising
  5. Comparing journeys
  6. Creating a team

I am personally not a developer but have an IT background and have hired app developers of my own and would love to share my experience with others.

I’ll be there with a couple of apps to show, and to see who else is doing mobile development in town. I’ll also answer any questions that people may have about mobile development.

The meetup page says that they’ll set up on the long island table in the middle of Fuzzy’s (pictured above). I’ll see you there!

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Samsung ups the version-number and number-of-cameras-on-a-phone ante, reminds me of Macromedia and Gillette

Leaked Samsung Galaxy S20 photo showing the back of the new phone

XDA Developers has released what is purportedly a leaked photo of one of the next Samsung Galaxy phones, shown above. The series is expected to go under the name “S20”, with the phone above being the Galaxy S20+.

The version number of the Galaxy phones have generally followed the iPhone’s, which is probably why they’re leaping from 10 to 20 (in case you’d forgotten, the current flagship iPhone is the 11).

While Samsung’s leap in version numbers is a big one, the concept of a version number leap is nothing new. Those of us who were working in the industry in the ’90s may remember Macromedia Freehand’s leap from version 5 to 7, completely bypassing 6, back in 1996. This was a response to Adobe Illustrator 6:

Jumping version numbers is easy compared to actual hardware changes, but Samsung are doing it anyway, with a fourth camera to counter the iPhone 11’s three. It reminds me of this Onion article which became real:

I’ll close this article with the early contender for the title of “Sticker of the Year”: