Monday, December 29, 2008

UH ICS: 0, UH Linguistics: 1, MIT CS: 4

tonight was another successful Holiday Science and Tech Job Fair w/ Global Pau Hana Mixer at the japanese cultural center. as usual there was a good crowd and a lot of employers (i think the free food and beer has something to do with it). the idea for the event is to...
Meet Hawaii’s high tech companies and learn about the many diverse opportunities awaiting you. From full-time to internships and how you can be part of Hawaii’s growth in technology.

there was a nice crowd tonight and we talked to a lot of people for about 3 hours straight. i really enjoy talking to students and job seekers wanting to learn about our company and our industry. for the rest of this post, i'm going to concentrate on the students...

i talked to four MIT computer science students (i'm guessing someone told the MIT hawaii students about event in an email or something). they were all looking for internships and in my opinion they were pretty impressive. one came in a suit and we had a pretty good conversation about what his expertise was and what he was interested. he asked good questions and really wanted to know how to prepare himself for the future. he was a good student; i guess thats why he goes to MIT! anyway, i think its great that we had a bunch of students from MIT show up. last year, we talked to a bunch of USC and Pacific University students.

on the other hand, i talked to one student in the UH linguistics department that was really new to programming. she was just starting to take a few ics classes, because she was interested in applying computational techniques to her linguistics knowledge. she was super excited about programming and learning more. very enthusiastic. i think thats awesome and she is the type of person that we want working with us.

one of my friends asked me after the event if i talked (or seen) to any UH ICS students. unfortunately, i didn't talk to any. for some reason i've been seeing many more mainland university students with hawaii ties are looking for internships and work in hawaii. this increase probably doesn't help the uh ics students chances, especially when they are under represented at job fairs like this. this is the second "job fair" in a row that i've been a little disappointed with the UH ICS turnout (the other was the ICS industry day).

in all i had a lot of fun at this years event. it was great to talk to a lot of great students and job seekers. its an awesome event. i can't wait to shift through the resumes to contact a few them to chat more.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

google workshop for women engineers

Up to 75 female computer scientists will be selected to attend a 3 day all-expenses paid workshop at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California January 22-25, 2009. This special workshop will include technical talks and career workshops, and a unique occasion to build and strengthen networks of women in technology. Students will also enjoy tours of the Googleplex, have the opportunity to meet with Google engineers in their research fields, and have fun exploring the San Francisco bay area.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

aiea high school career fair and ics industry day

i had a couple of STEM events last month. the aiea high school career fair and the ics industry day. one of the events was really successful the other wasn't.

i've given a lot of talks at a lot of different stem events; roosevelt career fair, ics industry day, coe fall career day, honors program, and coe career fair.

and one of the things that i've noticed is that organization of the event is really critical. for example, (now that i think about it more) the aiea high school event was really organized well. here's why...
  • BEFORE the presentation started i over heard one student said to the other, "ryan, you want to be a software engineer". ryan responded with, "yeah maybe". woah! they know what a software engineer is.
  • it seemed like the students really wanted to learn about what we did.
  • when i asked, if they liked math, they pretty much all raised their hands. i think we got the entire math team or something
  • when we were done with the presentations the students asked a lot of questions.
  • after the presentations were long over, a handful of students visited us again in the gym to ask more questions

    aiea high school got it right. they seemed to put the right students in the right presentations. i was super happy with the students we met at aiea. (i was pretty surprised at this! i graduated from aiea high school...)

    on the other hand, the ics industry day was sort of the opposite. it probably wasn't organized the best. (and i can be critical of the organization because i helped organize it!). this event usually attracts more than 30 students, but for some reason this time around i would guess that we didn't get more that 10. maybe one can claim quality over quantity at this statistic, but it still discouraging nevertheless. AND i feel bad that i let the other companies down, by not meeting their expectations.

    we happened to be bring our intern to the event, who is from the college of engineering. and after the event, our intern explained how he didn't understand how come the ics students didn't come to the event. i think he also said, he didn't understand why they didn't come to the fall career fair either. something is different in the students... hm... i get way more resumes from engineering students compared to ics students. engineers seemed to be much more prepared when i talk to them. engineering students walk around the fair talking to and questioning the companies. ics students seem to stumble upon us. i can't tell you how many times i get the "oh i didn't know this was going on today" from ics students. i don't know why that is.

    needless to say, i was little disappointed in the turn out. but, i was really happy with the few students that i talked to. for example, i talked to one student that i met on techhui. he seems like a pretty bright student. regardless of the low number of students, talking with students like that makes it all worth it.

    next time things are going to be different in the ics industry day. i think i made a few errors in my planning that i will correct. for example, i will keep the presentations to much shorter; like 10 minutes max. or maybe no presentations at all an just go with table presentations. i want to talk to more students.

    upcoming events: another roosevelt career fair, 2008 Holiday Science & Tech Fair with Pau Hana
  • Monday, November 17, 2008

    DFTC and more core values

    atlassian just put out this cool video about their core values:

    create useful products people lust after
    open compnay, no bullshit
    build with heart and balance
    don't $#&@ the customer
    play as a team
    be the change you seek

    i thought this was awesome, particularly because it really lets the software culture of our generation shine through. note to other software companies out there; we think atlassians core values are awesome.

    i might as well continue the core values talk and share one of my favorite talks about core values. its from mitch kapor, the founder of lotus development and now on the board of directors of mozilla foundation, linden lab (makes second life), and is doing many other things...

    here is what mitch kapor had to say about trusting your employees; download this podcast and fastforward to 31:30 (note the following is a paraphrase of his talk):
    how do you trust the people you hire?
  • its earned and built. no found. its on going process, invest in it.
  • i think it helps shared framework of principles and values
  • a set of external set of standards
  • if you are willing to invest in a discussion of about what we believe in and what standards are we going to hold ourselves accountable to,
  • then you have a means by which to negotiate and navigate all of the stuff that happens, because stuff happens in a company. you never have enough resources
  • you can't watch everyone. it requires people to have a lot of initiative. but if you know everyone is operating against the framework of principles then you know they are guided
  • everyone will learn together
  • people will sort themselves out and trust will be built
  • it requires a commitment; everything worth while requires a commitment
  • there needs to be an equal commitment (from the company)
  • if you put on after the fact, its going to fail.

  • in closing, you must provide a clear vision of your company's values and goals. you need to trust your employees, but more importantly you need to allow your employees to trust the company. and DFTE!

    Saturday, November 15, 2008

    make for stem

    i've recently been reading a lot of the MAKE blog and like Geekdad it has a lot posts that are STEM related. its a pretty cool blog that extends their magazine information,

    The first magazine devoted entirely to DIY technology projects, MAKE Magazine unites, inspires and informs a growing community of resourceful people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements, and garages.

    by definition this is all cool STEM stuff that could be used to generate interest in students. i want to highlight a couple of their postings are related to software.

    scrolling mario game in scratch

    You can play his game by visiting the project's page on the Scratch site. If you would like to check out his code, make an account and download the file. Scratch is pretty easy to get started in, and has many possibilities. You can get a free download of Scratch as well.

    and Processing Monsters by Lukas Vojir

    I'm trying to get as much people as possible, to create simple b/w monster in Processing, I'm gonna later use in a short music reactive video.. while the bottom line is to encourage other people to learn Processing by showing the source code.. more about processing monsters

    here are some other postings that i liked:
  • MAKE: Blog: Gear heart
  • MAKE: Blog: Umbrella stand will water your plants
  • MAKE: Blog: LED "Art Object" is the new LED throwie
  • MAKE: Blog: The Ocarina of iPhone?
  • MAKE: Blog: WattzOn - Personal energy audit
  • MAKE: Blog: momo - haptic navigational device
  • MAKE: Blog: Stribe kit released
  • MAKE: Blog: "Dumb" eco-questions you were afraid to ask

    check out more of my shared STEM blogs.
  • Monday, November 10, 2008

    an idea called EventMedia

    so, i yet another one of my ideas. here it is... well it has to do with iphones and its called EventMedia. and just by that description it sounds really boring.

    my idea is pretty general, but i have a pretty good example. here is the general idea; i want to be able to introduce web technologies to live events to supplement its entertainment or even educational value. seems pretty obvious right?

    lets say you are at the Players Championship (a golf tournament). you are a huge Sergio Garcia fan, but you can't give up the chance to see Tiger. so, of course you follow Tiger. as you are walking along the course, you wish you were two places at one time. actually, tiger and sergio rarely swing at exactly the same time. so, you are really wishing that you could follow all of sergio's shots and all of tiger's shots. so, you turn on the special Players Championship EventMedia application and you select "virtual follow sergio". this application will notify you (via vibrate) 10 seconds before sergio takes his shot. it will give you his current tournament score, his current shot (on the whole), distance to the cup, his club selection, his past scores on this hole, etc visually on the screen. you watch sergio hit his next shot on your iphone for the next 20 seconds as wait for Tiger to make his way to tee box. awesome! other features include, "eagle chances" notifications, "blow ups" notifications, real time leader board, press conference feeds, and of course TV commentary as you watch it live. add in the social aspect of spectators "twittering" cheers, picture gallery, and maybe event real time betting and you get more awesomeness.

    the idea is pretty simple and obvious. EventMedia could be applied to all sorts of sporting events (woah think about the advertisement possibilities), business situations like conferences, large public gatherings like political rallies, etc. or this could be a huge hit during an olympics, where you want to be some many places at once.

    imagine this... EventMedia initiates the wave via your iphone at your next football game... while recording it for your facebook profile! hahaha.

    Sunday, November 9, 2008

    pro bono publico

    just by chance i started on a pro bono publico project for a good cause. a few weeks ago i got a call from the University of Hawaii Center of Disability Studies. i was confused at first... my contact was going on about how my name was recommended by Gerald Lau from the ICS Department (thanks Gerald) and that she couldn't get any students interested in doing a project for her even though they were going to pay. so, during that phone call i decided that i'd help in whatever way i could. but there was a catch... the catch was that they were desperate to get something working ASAP.

    their needs were simple. the Center of Disability Studies were putting on the Pacific Rim Conference on Disabilities, a major international conference, but they didn't have an automated online system for their call for papers. instead, they had a PDF form that required them to manually extract information and manage the paper submissions. the conference can attract up to 350 paper submissions, so a manual approach is obviously not ideal. the task wasn't really that big or complicated.

    i pitched the idea of working on the project to my company and i pitched it to some of my programmer buddies. but... i had a feeling that waiting to line up either option would take too long. whenever you have to pay someone something it becomes a much lengthier process to get started. so, i pretty much decided to do whatever i could for free; pro bono style.

    so, what do you think is the first thing i started to do? i bet you are saying, "you started to hack". thats a safe guess, but that would be WRONG. the first thing i started to do was start the project management process. i started to note the problem, features, requirements and tasks. i don't have my original document, but here is my living project management document

    last week friday was my customer demo. i showed off what i was able to accomplish over the weekend and at night. i even had someone QA my work. but... i found a bug during my demo, apparently my project management skills aren't that great. (just in case you are wondering, it was a minor bug that i fixed in 5 minutes. and we didn't release yet so no big deal). i release the system on saturday and monday is the big integration day at UH. hopefully things go well...

    the people at the center of disability studies have been really nice; saying thank you way to much. they have been trying to get me on as a side contractor, i've been considering but i think thats best left to the "professional side contractors". i'm much more interested in pro bono work. its much more inline with my thoughts about socially conscious programming and paying it forward.

    anyway, i've done programming for free before mostly for friends and family, but never for complete strangers. so, this was a new experience for me. what made it really possible was that i had a feeling that i could accomplish it or that i could ask my coworkers for help. that really lowered the risk and made it much easier to commit to. in all this was a lot of fun! it was great to work on something that meant so much to someone. i enjoyed this experience a lot and hopefully i'll get to do it again soon.

    Sunday, November 2, 2008

    what does your bomomo art look like?

    i really enjoy reading posts like this from geekdad; 4 Flash Games to Help Educate Your Kids. in this post, i found bomomo to be particularly interesting

    This art-based game is beautiful. It allows you to explore shape, and more beautiful in its open-ended style that allows you to play and create amazing images forever. A series of bubbles follow the mouse in very subtle ways, in the beginning it is a little slow, so may be difficult to hold children’s attention. But, there are ample buttons to click and options to try. And, you can save the final results as a jpg file.

    i like these types of applications because i think they are relatively quick to understand, they aren't that complicated, and they are really interesting. i think they would work great to get kids interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). here are a couple of other applications that are equally cool; pivot, light bot, and of course scratch.

    here is my bomomo art:

    i think bomomo is cool because i never created effects like this before. each mouse stroke is a new experience. and you start to wonder what other cool things you can make by changing the angle or speed of the mouse pointer. then you realize there are a whole bunch of other things to try out. you never really get it to do exactly what you want and you can never really make something you intend. but, i think thats part of what makes it interesting. you have to resign to the fact that its art.

    i decided to ask a few of my engineering friends to try out bomomo and see what they could come up with and hear what they thought about the application.

    JaredS: It was a nice way to generate random pieces of artwork. The different "brushes" provided some very unique forms that would be difficult to replicate using another more standard paint-like program. The app responds nicely to mouse movements and the interface is very slick and simple.

    RyanK: Sort of trial and error to figure out what it all does and why and how.....I liked and disliked the fact that it tells you nothing. It was fun getting it to do what I wanted.

    RobertP: Bomomo is cool. It’s fun to see what all the different tools can do and what kind of pictures you can make. It is something different each time. It brings doodling to a new dimension.

    JasonL: if he made the size adjustable with keypresses and the color adjustable with keypresses this would be a better application. cause using the mouse with one hand and the keyboard with the other is a real possibility. and an undo button. but someone could take this app and become an artist with it having control on the color and the size of the dots would allow a "real" artist to make beautiful artwork. and if the artist needed new designs...just create a new tool with a different algorithm. but seriously that is one of the coolest things

    ChadK: Actually, I think the cool part of it is that it provides a medium for art that could only be produced through software. Also it doesn't allow you to have a lot of control so you have to allow yourself to think more flexibly.

    AltheaL: the program reminds me of the first time finger painting – having fun and being curious!

    it seems like my friends had fun with bomomo. their art work is pretty cool. in all i think this is a really cool application that could be used in a classroom. what do you think?

    btw, here is a gallery of other peoples bomomo art work.

    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    COE Fall Career Day

    this past wednesday was another College of Engineering Fall Career Day. here are some observations and comments:

    (btw, if you are student check out these posts; after the career fair, make students awesome, and you need to do a honors thesis)

  • actually, i'm not sure if it was just an engineering event, i thought that the Information and Computer Science Department was involved as well, but there weren't that many students. the COE site has a has an events listing and of course it showed this event. but, i noticed that there wasn't an event listing nor a fall career day listing on the ics department site. but, i'm sure they have it post on their mailing list.
  • there were are few engineering professors walking around and talking to the companies. one professor, tep dobry walked by last semester and mentioned he got a few good students. and because of that we hired one as an intern. the point is that its great to see the professors going out there an promoting their students. we had a lengthy discussion about his student and his other students. we were discussing our needs, their classes and the future. i really appreciate that kind of involvement from the faculty. there were a bunch of engineering faculty walking around. it was good to talk to gerald lau from the ics department.
  • i didn't get many ics resumes. but, i talked to a handful of students that didn't have their resumes. it was good talking to them, they all seemed really intersted. and as usual i recommended ics 413, because i think none of them knew what junit was. i often give these students my personal email address, hoping that they will contact me...
  • i met a lot of EE students. its pretty cool because we hired a couple of interns that know a bunch of students. all their friends came to visit us. they all seem like good candidates. they seem to have a lot of good experiences with cubestat and micromouse and if they are anything like our interns then we think they will do great.
  • i heard a few students talking about the BS in computer engineering and wondering if its good. most of the discussion was from the EE students wondering if the ICS courses were good. and whether i thought it was a good move. i'm not sure what to think about that new degree...
  • i think a large majority of the students need to work on making a great first impression. sell your skills, stand up straight, eye contact, and stop trying to steal the pens! haha. seriously, i think a few of the younger students need to practice a little more professional communication. the Center for Career Development
    and Student Employment
    actually has a lot of great resources for that. i did a few practice interviews. trust me it really helps!

    i think this year was a little bit slower that most and we were in a strange location in the corner. but, i thought it was a pretty good career fair. i was pretty happy with the ee and ics students i talked with we had some good conversations. and for me its all about just talking with students; even though they don't work for me, i hope that i help them learn more about our industry.
  • Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    programming from scratch

    as you probably know now, i've been promoting scratch at the lacy veach day of discovery events.

    Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web.

    Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also gaining a deeper understanding of the process of design.

    i really like scratch, because it has a lot of great resources for educators, parents, and kids. here are some resources:
  • learn how to use scratch
  • information for educators
  • referrals and quotes
  • research on scratch
  • they even have a conference on scratch

    they even provide ways for the students to upload their scratch creations, comment on others, and even download scratch files. its a great way to create a community of kids and educators. check out the:
  • projects
  • galleries
  • forums
  • and scratches to help promote scratch

    how we scratch
    here is a short summary of how we utilized scratch for the lacy veach events.

    first of all, our role in lacy veach day of discovery is to provide interactive displays that hopefully teach the students about cool technology related to space exploration. we decided to use scratch to accomplish that, since we felt that programming abilities is often over looked in the aerospace industry.

    anyway, here are some things that we did to make scratch work in this type of event;

  • we developed quick lesson plans for students that would help teach the students scratch in about 5-10 minutes. the goal was to teach them some initial concepts that they can take with them as they try out the program in more detail at home. basically, we tried to have the students create two sprites and move them in different ways.
  • we created user accounts on the scratch site to upload their scratches to. here is the user account for the 2008 event; and here is the account for the 2007 event;
  • we created fliers to give the parents and students making sure that we told the parents that the program was free and that it could be downloaded. we also made sure that we told the parents and students that their creations were going to be posted online.
  • we brought our computers and network. we gathered up 5 of our own laptops, complete with a entire network so we can exchange files between the computer. this was important because we wanted to display the students work on a projector.
  • we created a demo application that looped through the students creations so the students and parents could view their and others creations. this was useful as a way to attract students and parents to our display.

    lessons learned:
  • we talked to as many parents as we did students. parents are amazed that this sort of resource is available and free for that matter. the parents seem to be really interested. so, make sure you have enough volunteers to work with the students and parents.
  • some kids are really into it and want to do more than the basic examples. the scratch cards come in handy in these situations.

  • scratch is awesome because kids think its awesome. its really cool to see the kids face light up with interest when they see what they can do. they really get into it. and to me thats what programming is all about. its the creativity, challenge, and accomplishments that make programming awesome. hopefully, more organizations, teachers, mentors, and parents use scratch as an education tool.

    if you need help, let me know.

    Monday, October 27, 2008

    lacy veach day of discovery 2008

    this past weekend we participated in lacy veach day of discovery, which is a large scale science fair with exhibits and workshops. we had a great time with all the kids. i even learned a lot! science is cool. we presented programming from scratch and its becoming a yearly tradition for us a referentia systems inc.

    at the event we taught kids how to program with scratch, an interactive programming language that creates animation, games, music, and art designed for kids to help develop 21 century skills. it was a huge success. the kids at the event were great. my friends did a great job of helping the kids. overall it was a huge success. we posted the kids' scratch creations on the scratch mit site. check it out!

    here are some pics of my crew at the event:
    my coworkers at referentia are awesome. without them our scratch display wouldn't be possible. they really step for this event. it must be something about teaching kids to program that gets them into it. so, thanks to those referentians that helped out, it really does make a huge difference. (i remember learning logo when i was a kid and its probably a huge reason why i ended up in computer science; read more about my strange academic journey)

    here are some pics from the rest of the event:

    this year seemed to be a lot bigger than last. there were many more exhibitors and it was pretty fun to walk around checking out the displays;
  • Astronaut Onizuka (check out the Onizuka Day on Hilo)
  • BAE Systems
  • Bishop Museum - they had a a cool globe projector.
  • FIRST robotics (Moanalua, ROC, Sacred Hearts, Waialua)
  • HaSTA
  • Hawaii Academy of Science - i talked to them about the Hawaii State Science Fair. this event seems really cool. i want to go check it out next year, i think around april.
  • Hawaiian Astronomical Society
  • HECO - heco was there in full force. they always do a great job of helping the kids
  • Institute of Astronomy - these dudes are really smart. i talked with them last year and the stuff they are doing is really cool.
  • NASA Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center
  • Pearl City Elementary - there were a bunch of kids from pearl city.
  • Referentia!!!!! - YAY!
  • Robofest
  • Starbase (couldn't find a link)
  • UH College of Engineering

    there were also presentations;
  • keynote speaker Astronaut Stanley Love
  • assembly with special 3D program, student interns at NASA
  • science Magic--science demonstrations with a flair

    and a bunch of workshops:
  • The Incredible Mars Pathfinder Mission
  • Dr. Gadget presents Gadgets that Float and Glide Through the Air
  • Water Powered Bottle Rockets
  • Meteorites: Rocks from Space
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells
  • Gases in Space Living
  • Polynesian Star Compass
  • (see the full listing here)

    it was an awesome day of learning. now that i've learned more about the different workshops and presentations, i actually want to be a kid and sneak in and learn. there are some many great exhibits, workshops, and presentations. WOW! anyway, i had a lot of fun talking with the kids and parents. i can't wait till next year.
  • Wednesday, October 22, 2008

    re: Path to AwesomeNess...

    here is a comment that i left one of our interns on his blog; path to awesomenes.... i wanted to share this with the rest of you, so i added it to my blog.

    this path to awesomeness post started as our internship program that we presented at the uh ics industry day. our presentation was titled; make students awesome. so, we had the idea that our intern keep track of his progress in a blog.

    so here are my comments.. and you can read austen's comments at his blog.

    that is a pretty good start. here are some comments.

    2) learn to research
    the idea here is that you learn about researching about all sorts of things, including hacking. but, i intended it to be more general. like doing actual research. for example, an honors thesis is research. the important aspect of research is that you are able to form new ideas, communicate them, evaluate them, defend them, and utilize them. conducting research is an important part of what we do as a company, but it is also very important for your development.

    perhaps the thing to do here is learn more about how we do research in our company. if you don't know what "research" we are doing, then ask.

    5) learn how to increase your marketability
    this one is really important. you have to learn and develop things that will separate yourself from your peers. figure out what the norm is and go way beyond it. when you think you went far enough, go further.

    6) learn about the industry
    this one is important too. you need to know about your options. what types of companies work in hawaii. i say this not so that you only groom yourself to work at company Foo. but, more so that you learn what possibilities out there in hawaii and on the mainland. learn about what other companies do. what technologies are they working with. what are they researching. what software development processes do they follow. are their projects meaningful, etc, etc?

    you are on your way. if at the end you have learned a lot about these six areas, you will definitely be AWESOME!

    good luck.

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    my ics courses

    today, a few of us visited the ics department to plan the uh ics robocode competition. while, i was walking around the post building i stumbled upon this document; information and advice for computer science majors and minors. it seemed pretty interesting and i wanted to see what type of information the department provided its students. so, i took a copy for myself.

    the document seems pretty interesting at a high level. i'm not really sure it offers a whole bunch of advice, it does have a lot of information. anyway, if you have been following my blog for a while, you'll know that i've tried to lay out a lot of advice for students. so, i won't go into a lot of details about process, work habits, communication, soft skills, 6 steps to awesomeness, undergrad thesis, etc. instead, i'll give you a pretty concrete piece of advice.

    Take ICS 413/414/613
    Software Engineering
    from Dr. Philip Johnson

    is that clear enough for you? here is a current website of the fall 2008 ics 413 class. and look it even has a quote from me:

    The skills you acquire in ICS 413 provide professional advantages. Aaron Kagawa, a software engineer and recruiter for Referentia Corporation, has this to say: It has been my experience that learning technologies like Ant, JUnit, Eclipse, and Subversion and practices like Code Reviews, Extreme Programming, and User Testing will separate you from the rest of crowd when applying for entry level Software Engineering positions. While recruiting and evaluating University of Hawaii ICS students one of the first questions I ask is "Did you take 413 Software Engineering?" Followed by, "Do you know what JUnit is?"

    anyway... if you are still wondering what classes i took, here is a list of all of them. i also included my grades in those classes for one reason. i got pretty good grades. but, i guarantee it is not because i'm smart. i got good grades because i worked my ass off. if you read my academic journey you'll see what i'm talking about. here it is, all the ics classes i took (note i started UH in 1998. i didn't start taking ics classes till 2000)

    spring 2000ics 101(lab)A

    spring 2000ics 111(lab) [lew]
    Bi had a fantastic ta that really helped us
    fall 2000ics 141 [gersh]

    fall 2000ics 211 [biagoni]

    spring 2001ics 212 [peterson]

    spring 2001ics 311 [suthers]

    fall 2001ics 312 [sugihara]

    fall 2001ics 313 [stelovsky]

    fall 2001ics 321 [deryke]

    spring 2002ics 331(lab) [ikehara]

    spring 2002ics 413 software engineering [johnson]
    spring 2002ics 415 web programming [stelovsky]

    summer 2002ics 491 [gilbert] programming

    summer 2002ics 499 [gilbert] programming
    fall 2002ics 414 software engineering II [johnson]
    fall 2002ics 499 [johnson]
    Aworking on my honors thesis
    fall 2002ics 691 [johnson]
    Aa class about hackystat. i was the only undergrad in the class
    spring 2003ics 463 hci [hundhousand]

    spring 2003ics 499 [johnson]
    Aworking on my honors thesis
    i finally got my undergraduate degree! grad school starting
    fall 2003ics 613 software engineering [johnson]
    Agrad level software engineering
    fall 2003ics 623 data security [peterson]
    Adr. peterson is a genius
    spring 2004ics 691 [quiroga]
    Ainformation architecture
    spring 2004ics 699 [johnson]
    Amasters thesis work
    fall 2004ics 624 data management [nordbotten]

    fall 2004ics 664 hci [strevler]A

    fall 2004ics 690 [suthers]

    fall 2004ics 691 [binstead]
    Adesign for mobile
    fall 2004ics 699 [johnson]
    Astill working on the masters thesis
    spring 2005ics 699 [johnson]Astill working on the masters thesis
    spring 2005ics 700A

    summer 2005ics 699 [johnson]Astill working on the masters thesis
    i finally got my masters degree!

    hopefully, this is interesting or useful to some of the students. if you have any specific questions about the classes i took let me know.

    Saturday, October 18, 2008

    current student activities

    things are a little crazy these days. there is a lot going on. here is a short list of things that i'm working on.

    ics alumni association
    i've been pushing hard to help create an alumni association for the department. its definitely an uphill battle. i've been talking about it for a while on my blog. but, it wasn't till the department realized that they need to drive the need that we really started.

    we are working on a coding competition for the department. originally, it started as a Topcoder event, but it since has changed to a Robocode Event. we changed it because of a couple reasons, first the topcoder competition was going to be held at 6AM! for some reason thats the only time topcoder could give us. second, topcoder is pretty hard and doesn't seem like a lot of fun.

    while working on the alumni association we created a techhui group called ICS Mentors. this got us a little attention, but it has died down. we also, just created an ics alumni website; we plan to use this site as a place to get membership information, plan events, etc.

    there are a few issues that we are facing. first, we have a small group of people, which i all we need for now until we flesh out the details of the association. but, my worry is that the other graduates that i talk to just don't seem that interested. where am i going to find the volunteers in the future. my worry is that it is just going to die after this event. oh well.... my second concern is actually creating a non-profit organization. i hear it is a little difficult to organize and finish the paper work. i'm falling behind in getting this done and it is a concern.

    anyway, the robocode competition is just starting to get formalized. i'm starting to learn about robocode and even compiled my first robot. i'll be posting my notes and tips here. i really hope that the students are interested in joining the competition. and i really hope that we (the alumni association) can pull this off.

    lacy veach day of discovery
    lacy veach day of discovery is next week! referentia is going to support this event by conducting another scratch programming teaching event for the students. i'm pretty excited about doing this again. we had a great time last time and hopefully we can do it even better. we are trying to get more laptops so we can teach more kids. and we have even more volunteers this year. its going to be awesome.

    planning this event was a lot easier this year, because we are doing scratch again. in fact, this decision has taught me a good lesson about how to run these events. plan well for one year and you can reuse your efforts the next year. this not only makes it easier to support these events. it also lets you improve how you approach the lessons and even plan it more efficiently. thats cool!

    career fairs
    i have three upcoming career fairs; the UH engineering career fair, aiea high school career fair, and the UH ICS industry day. each event is different. for the aiea high school event we are going to give a 30 minute presentation. i did this last year and it seemed pretty successful. this year, one of my engineers is going to give the speech. the engineering career fair is always fun. its actually pretty tiring talking to all those students. career fairs are a great way to help students. i always look forward to talking to the students and offer and advice i may have for their job seeking journey.

    sheesh thats a lot happening in the next few weeks...

    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    light bot for stem

    light bot is a software-development education game that helps teach software concepts to kids. its pretty cool, because i'm betting that the kids won't even notice the learning going on. a bunch of us at work played with it for a while and it kept us entertained. and some parts were actually challenging. we had engineers that came up with different solutions. the differences in choices were actually pretty interesting.

    in all light bot seems like a good intro to some software techniques. its fun and challenging. i would recommend to try to have your students try it out. but, of course there are other options out there like scratch (we used scratch for lacy veach), alice, or even the old school logo. for the super advanced there is always something like processing.

    Monday, October 6, 2008

    pivot for stem

    our friends at geekdads are at it again, with the Pivot Stick Figure Editor is a Great Animation Tool for Kids post. ken introduced us to a cool tool called pivot. its basically a stick figure animation tool;

    Pivot makes creating individual frames really easy, and moving animations is based on a simple click and drag process. Each figure has different points (red dots) that can be manipulated and a single point (yellow dot) to move the whole figure. A simple left-hand-side toolbar has about 5 or 6 options which are simple to grasp and not overwhelming for young users.

    So I began to create a stick figure waving at us from the computer screen and within a couple of minutes I had about 5-10 seconds of animation. Within 5 minutes, my four year old and six year old were asking for a turn. They mastered the basic concept very quickly. Together we worked out you could insert any jpg background from the hard-drive and they were away.

    Despite my own beliefs in the capacity of children and their ability to do things that we never acknowledge (so never see them do), I was amazed at the speed at which they picked up the basic concepts using Pivot. After a few days they had realized they could create their own stick figures to animate and had begun to use the simple drawing tool to save their own stick figure props like beds, cannons and barbells.

    so, i thought this posting was pretty cool. it seems like something a teacher can bring into a computer class and make a lesson out of it. so, i decided to try pivot out.

    here's what i thought;
  • its not the easiest thing in the world to get started with. i started up the program thinking that i would create an awesome demo animation. no such luck. i made one really lame animation.

  • as i worked through my own animation i'm not sure what i was learning. but, its definitely true that i was thinking. or maybe i was just confused on how to make my stick figure run.

  • i got the hang of it, but i quickly got a little impatient. it wasn't flashy enough.

  • well, those seemed negative. the fact that i made an animation is really cool. i had fun making it and running through the examples. i think its a pretty cool little application. here is my lame animation;

    (click on the image to see my animation)

    maybe its an entry point to bigger and better animation software. i don't know about that. but, i definitely think its shows kids that computers is cool and fun. to me thats the main point. it got me thinking. i think thats 90% of the battle. kick starting imagination is key!

    ps. i'm thinking there must be hundreds of these little applications that teaches something different. i have a few others i want to share...

    Sunday, October 5, 2008

    2008 hawaii's top high-tech leaders

    tonight a few of us from referentia systems inc attended the 2008 flavors of technology and technology industry awards. it was at the hawaii prince hotel and it was awesome.

    the cool thing was that i won an award for high tech leaders. here was a little info about it;

    Technology News Bytes and the Pacific Technology Foundation honor individuals who are highly regarded for their leadership and service in Hawaii’s high technology industry.

    To recognize and reward outstanding individuals for their leadership and service in Hawaii’s high technology industry, both within their organizations and in the community at large.

    All nominees must be:
    • Active professionals serving their current organization for at least one (1) year
    • Individuals who have improved or advanced their organization using technology
    • Recognized by their co-workers and collogues for their commitment to excellence in their profession
    • Known for their expertise in technology
    • Highly involved with professional organizations
    • Active contributors and volunteers in the community
    • Nominations are accepted from the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Nominations are limited to a maximum of two (2) nominees per company, and can be either self-nominations or third-party nomination

    i was surprised to find that i was even nominated. thanks to ian kitajima for the nomination. i had to rush a little on the questions, but here is a first draft (which i revised later).

    anyway, the event was awesome. there was a coat and tie dress code, so we all got dressed up. here are some pictures from the event (i hear that there is a video of me accepting the award).

    we actually had a csdl reunion of sorts; austen ito, james wang, robert brewer, and me. we also cheered on rosemary sumajitfor for winning her high tech leader award. yay rosemary! i hear that robert and philip have won awards in the past too. csdl represent!

    also congratulations to my friends lynn fujioka and dan leuck for their awards!

    anyway, i'm not sure that i really deserve this award just yet. there is so much more that i need to accomplish. i'll continue to push forward. but, a lot of the credit has to go to the awesome people at referentia. starting with the leadership from nelson to all the engineers that help me help the students. referentia has allowed me to grow in this capacity and i think thats awesome.

    Friday, October 3, 2008

    my academic journey

    this is my academic journey

    little kid days
    i was a sports and outdoors kid. i wasn't allowed to have a nintendo and i couldn't watch tv during the week. so, that meant i found myself outside almost every single day after school from when i was in elementary to high school. i didn't need to be told i couldn't watch tv; i didn't want to. i played ayso soccer and little league baseball, played basketball and football with my friends, went surfing, hiking, bike riding, camping, fishing, etc. you name it we did it. it was a lot of fun.

    i did okay in school;
  • i was a very curious kid; asking why about everything
  • i liked math and science and did everything i could to get out of reading
  • in elementary i won two science fairs for my demonstrations of magnets and the ozone.
  • for some reason i still remember winning a lei making contest and winning second place in our chess tournament.
  • i also remember taking two computer programming classes. one was in my elementary school where we learned logo. i really liked hacking logo on the macintoshes. next in my intermediate school we had a graphics programming class where we made animations. i remember these classes pretty well. i must have really liked them.

    i remember my parents going over my report card with me every term. i was always upset that my friends got money for good grades and i didn't. my parents used to say my grades were for me and only me; and that i should do it for myself. this is where i eventually learned to be responsible for my education.

    high school
    high school centered around two things; baseball and having fun. i played for aiea high school JV and Varsity teams. baseball consumed a lot of my life and homework did not. i still got really good grades, but didn't do nearly as much studying as i probably should have.
  • i didn't learn trigonometry. i wasn't interested and it showed.

  • when we had reading assignments; i would do all i could do to fake it. i don't think i read one fiction book in high school.
  • i didn't learn anything about using the computer, i didn't even know we had a computer lab.

    i'm not sure that i learned a lot in class, but i made sure we had a lot of fun. high school was a blast... but with all that, i still got pretty good grades. i graduated with honors. i even got a scholarship to the university of hawaii.

    i really learned a lot about life playing baseball. i played baseball all my life, but things changed when i started playing at the high school level. we played baseball year around and my game changed and my roles on the teams changed. i went from a bench warmer to the veteran starter. i went from a freshman follower to a senior leader. these experiences were real. i learned a lot about being a leader. and i learned a lot about being a mentor.

    i think the valuable thing about baseball was that i was able to really focus on baseball. i wasn't going to back down and i wasn't going to give up. competition drove my constant improvement of myself and my team. every practice meant something. every game was a stepping stone.

    i mention baseball in my academic journey, because there is nothing quite like high school sports. for me, it was one of the most important academic experiences that i've gone through.

    my first semester in college was shocking... my techniques for getting by at aiea high school wasn't working. i was playing to much... i couldn't BS my way through the tests by just being there in class. ha! i was actually pretty surprised. but, i wasn't playing baseball any more. so, i kind of lost focus. but, luckily some how one flunked pop quiz and a few family problems kicked me in the ass and i regained focus. this time i was focused on school. i was self driven. i didn't have a team anymore, i had to do this by myself and i better kick some butt. this was an important lesson for me.

    but! i was an agriculture major in the college of tropical agriculture and human resources. besides a scholarship, what the heck was i doing in there? this is where i made my second realization that i HATE WORKING OUTSIDE (but i love playing outside), i really don't care how plants drink water, and i really don't care about bugs and soil.

    so, i quickly left CTAHR and ventured out into taking ICS (Information and Computer Science) 101 and ICS 111. i took these classes just because i remembered that i used to like computers when i was a kid. i really had no clue what programming was.

    the internet!
    this was right about the time when i got my first computer and got the internet! woah.. i was 19 years old learning about all this crazy internet stuff. i would ask my friends what does "www" mean and what does this yahoo site do. they'd laugh at me, but i was soaking up like a sponge. it was really interesting particularly because in high school i didn't geek out like this.

    i did well in ICS 111 and i enjoyed learning java. so, i figured to keep on going. so i took another class. eventually, i told my CTAHR adviser i was out of the college and moved to ICS. the only problem was that i wanted to work with people and help people and i didn't know how would do that in ICS.

    i got a few computer jobs, learned a lot more and realized that i really liked working with computers. i got good grades in my ics class, but i wasn't learning that much. i was a senior in college taking 400-level ICS classes and i began to think what i was going to do with my life. the scary thing was that i was pretty much getting a 4.0 in my major and i had no idea what i was going to do or where i was going to work. my initial thought was that i needed to work for a web company. thank goodness that changed when i took ICS 413 ...

    ICS 413 taught by Dr. Philip Johnson turned my university education around. for the first time, i learned what it was like to write real software. imagine that... i took ten ICS classes and didn't know what it was like to write software. this class changed my life. i felt like i just learned what computer science was all about, so i couldn't bear graduating right after that ICS 413 semester. it tuns out that Dr. Philip Johnson convinced me to do my Honors Thesis. committing to this meant that i delayed my graduation for at least a year. i was in no rush, so i did it. (now, i realize that everyone should do an honors thesis).

    during my honors thesis work, i started to see that software was all about people. wring software is people management; its peopleware. AHA! i found out that i can help people with my geek knowledge. geek + people is awesome! i found my calling! i found myself using the same people techniques i learned in baseball.

    i eventually finished my honors thesis; The design, implementation, and evaluation of CLEW: An improved Collegiate Department Website.

    grad school
    now, i was about to graduate with my bachelors of science in information and computer science with high honors and was faced with another "what now". i still had no clue where i would working in hawaii. so, i applied to various graduate programs around the country, but i got rejected from all of them. luckily i was offered a spot in CSDL as a graduate research assistant. i jumped at that opportunity.

    i did my graduate research working on the hackystat system. while working on that project i got to be part of a few publications:
  • Comparing personal project metrics to support process and product improvement
  • Practical automated process and product metric collection and analysis in a classroom setting: Lessons learned from Hackystat-UH
  • The Hackystat-JPL Configuration: Round 2 Results
  • Hackystat MDS supporting MSL MMR
  • Hackystat MDS supporting MSL MMR: Round 2 Results
  • Hackystat-SQI: Modeling different development processes
  • Hackystat-SQI: First Progress Report
  • Improving Software Development Management through Software Project Telemetry

    one of the awesome things that i got to do during my graduate studies was an internship at the jet propulsion laboratory in pasadena california. it was a great experience and was really useful as a talking point for interviews, etc. not to mention a really really really really cool place. i got to see the mars rovers, went into the mission control rooms, saw them testing the mars rovers, saw them building the next satellites, watch cassini fly through saturn's rings, and talked to a lot of rocket scientists!

    after my internship i finally finished my masters thesis; Priority Ranked Inspection: Supporting Effective Inspection in Resource-limited Organizations. yay! school is over. (actually i got into the PhD program, but i decided that i was done for a while. write a thesis is a lot of hard work).

    work work work
    i entered the job hunting with relatively little information. unfortunately, my time at the ICS department didn't teach me about our local high tech industry. so, i applied to places were my friends worked. and it turns out i accepted a job where i didn't know anyone; Referentia Systems Inc was my new home.

    i've been working at Referentia for the past 3 years now. i was hired as a software engineer and now i'm a engineering supervisor. at the end of it all, i rely on much more of my soft skills, outward thinking, and the wonderful paradox than my technical skills.

    moral of the story
    i don't think there is a moral of the story... its just the way that i did it. its has been a long journey and i feel really fortunate and grateful to be where i am now.

    i think its ironic that some of the most important lessons that i use today in the real world comes from times out on the baseball field.

    there is so much yet to come. i've recently become really interested in helping others through their journey. i've learned this from leaders like ian kitajima. i've just started this next chapter but some things are already in motion;
  • making students awesome
  • Dept ICS TopCoder Software Engineering Competition
  • ics alumni association for real this time

    wish me luck!
  • Wednesday, October 1, 2008

    my public shared items update

    if you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that i really like the idea of sharing information and knowledge with people. so, i started a few public shared items from my google reader. here is an updated to my list:

  • p-stem (new) - these are items related to the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) initiative, which aims to help bolster education in these subject areas in our school systems to create more future scientists and engineers. i try to share cool things that can be shown in school, that parents can show their kids, or for me to just learn more. STEM is really important and i think these little cool things need to make its way to the kids. here is another community that leading STEM in hawaii; SIP.
  • p-maps (new) - i'm becoming interested in GIS (geographic information systems) and mapping software. i wanted a place to organize things that i liked. google shares doesn't seem like the best place to put it, but its the only thing that i've go going. besides, the point of this share makes me consciously look out for GIS-mapping-posts.
  • my shared items - this is a generic list of things that i like. posts that make it to here are items that i really like. if you are going to only subscribe to one feed, subscribe to this one. (haha of course that is just my personal opinion, i have heard people say that my shares suck)
  • p-environ - this feed is for environmental things that i come across. these postings aren't necessarily good or bad; its just that they are somewhat interesting and have to do with the environment. i started this feed to discuss things with my cousin dana. interestingly, i find my self sharing a lot of google related environmental initiatives.
  • p-google - this feed is for google stuff. duh.. i set this feed up because i noticed that i like a lot of things from google and that people that read my shared stuff might not care a lot about google stuff. i like google stuff, so i wanted a place to put it; then figured why not make it public.
  • p-robotics - this feed is for robotics stuff. robotics is coming on strong these days. its a buzz word these days. anything with robotics gets some attention, especially in hawaii. anyway, i set up this blog for my friend tom (oleg the intern), to help feed him information that might be helpful to him as he figures out what interests him. i also am sending to this feed to lynn, maybe it might be useful for her. there are other robotics groups out there that i'm starting to look into; and the techhui robotics group.

    so, there are a few reasons why i share with google reader:
  • it helps me keep a look out and focus on subjects that i care about
  • it helps me keep a record of interesting posts, which allows me to find it faster when talking to people about it.
  • it helps me share with people (although i'm not sure how many people are looking at my public shares)

    somethings that i don't like about using google reader for this:
  • its hard to build "knowledge" from all these individual shares
  • it is impossible to discuss individual posts.
  • it is impossible to work collaboratively on a subject matter. something like twine can do a much better job, but i don't really have a community to collaborate with on these subjects.

    anyway, those are my public shares. it is a work in progress. i continue to strive to share knowledge and making the process easier. here is what you can do to help me:
  • add these shares to your google reader and let me know what you think of the content
  • let me know if there are better ways that i should be considering; twine or other sharing sites
  • share back, send me your public rss feeds
  • Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    ahead of the majority

    In 1965, Patsy Takemoto Mink became the first woman of color in the U.S. Congress. Seven years later, she ran for the U.S. presidency and co-authored Title IX, the landmark legislation that opened up higher education and athletics to America's women. PATSY MINK: AHEAD OF THE MAJORITY is the story of this dynamic trailblazer who, battling racism and sexism, redefined American politics.

    Ten reasons why you should know about patsy mink
  • She co-authored Title IX.
  • She was the first woman of color to serve in the U.S. Congress.
  • She was one of the first women to run for president, entering the Oregon presidential primary in 1972.
  • She ran in 22 elections, more than any other politician from Hawai'i then or since. She is the only Hawai'i politician to serve at the county, territorial, state and federal levels.
  • She introduced the nation's first comprehensive Early Childhood Education Act in 1971. Congress passed the legislation, but President Nixon vetoed it.
  • She authored Hawai'i's "equal pay for equal work" law in 1957. The national law was passed six years later.
  • She defended a strong civil rights plank at the 1960 Democratic National Convention.
  • She was the first Asian American woman elected to public office in Hawai'i.
  • She was the first Japanese American female lawyer in Hawai'i. She originally wanted to be a doctor but was rejected by all the medical schools she applied to in 1948.
  • She led a crusade in college against the the University of Nebraska's segregated housing policy. The school rescinded the discriminatory policy because of her efforts.

    Patsy Takemoto Mink is my grand aunt. aunty patsy has been a guiding force in my life to help others and standing up for whats right. my life goal is to help people and i hope continue my aunty's legacy.

    i feel greatly honored and humbled by Kimberlee Bassford's work on her documentary PATSY MINK: AHEAD OF THE MAJORITY. the documentary is going to be debuted this month in the hawaii film festival. we are really looking forward to seeing the movie and participating in the events.
  • Sunday, September 28, 2008

    trying to keep my creativity alive

    i guess i have an active imagination, because i keep on thinking of new ideas. although, i have no idea how good they are. but, as someone pointed out, i should write them down. so, i try formalize my ideas and build upon them. if you are wondering why this is important watch this video; Talks Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?
    here are some of the highlights:
  • "we get educated out of creativity"
  • "if you are not prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original"
  • "you become frightened to become wrong"
  • "we are now running companies where mistakes are the worst things you can make"
  • "we don't grow into creativity we get educated out of it"
  • "professors look at their body as a transport for their heads"
  • "you have been steered away from things you like "
  • "suddenly degrees are worth nothing"
  • "academic inflation"
  • "creativity is having original ideas that are useful"
  • "rethink the fundamental principles that we are educating our children"
  • "remove all insects from earth in 50 years all life will perish. remove all humans from earth in 50 years all life will flourish"

    anyway, here are some of the ideas that i had recently.

    twitter twin
    not sure how i thought about this one, but wouldn't it be cool to find your twitter twin? the basic idea is that since the character limit is set and there are only a set amount of things you could type in, i would think that some of your tweets have to be duplicates. so, lets say you twittered, "obama is cool" then maybe you could see that 20,000 other twitter users said the same thing. but if you said something like, "new rule: stop putting down the other candidates. its lame." i wonder how many other people think like that.

    when i twitter something my "followers" can respond. but i often think about how my thoughts, tweets, are similar to totally random people. this might work better if the subject area is narrowed; for example the elections twitter view.

    hawaii night life pics
    everyone has mobile phones with cameras these days. you see these pictures all over peoples facebook or myspace profiles. its pretty cool to see your friends pictures from their nights out. you can kind of get a sense of the "quality" of the club by looking at the pictures. whether its crowded, how dark it is, etc.

    i began to think that it would be cool to organize all of our pictures by time and location instead of user profile. what if we chunked up a friday night into hour blocks and then categorized it by location (ie, pearl, level4, bar35, etc). then as the night goes on the people take pictures and upload it to the site, which is automatically sorted and categorized.

    its kinda like the hawaii nightlife diaries, but created by masses.

    world perception
    after the presidential debate, i got to thinking... i wonder which candidate other countries prefer. i'm not sure that will change my preference, but knowing that answer is definitely interesting. i think there are a bunch of things i would like to know what the world thinks. what does the world think about Tibet? what does the world think of global warming? what does the world think about America?

    maybe we can find out the answers to these questions with a world wide polling system of some sort. i really like this idea, because I (we) are only fed what we hear in the news, what we read in the newspaper, etc. that information is very country specific and in some cases that is not a good thing.

    it would be fantastic if there was a virtual world wide meeting place to express your thoughts on world problems.

    tangible internet
    it would be cool to some how make the internet tangible. something you can touch and gain information from. something not traditional (not like a printed paper or something). i guess i just realized that i hate having to sit in front of this computer screen to get information.
  • Sunday, September 21, 2008

    learning a lot from the geekdads

    geekdad is a blog from wired magazine; "Tech toys, science projects and other nerdy things to do with your kids." its a pretty good blog especially when they talk about cool things parents can do with with their kids. for example, this posting making fireflies, or 10 websites for geeky kids. this blog is fun.

    but, there are other geekdads and geekmoms out there. and i'm finding that i'm learning a lot about being a good dad from their blog postings, web pictures, and twitter messages. i really appreciate the view into their family activities. i really do appreciate it. i gives me new ideas of what i can do with my family. their posts reminds me that i need to stop working and start playing. i've made it a real point to stop working during the weekends and instead take family field trips (well, i should have said try).

    like this blog posting from geekdad ryan:

    We got Blake a guitar for his birthday... the reason I thought a guitar might be good for him is this... I secretly believe that he has some sort of hidden musical talent.

    i've been thinking about getting my kid a drum set. he totally loves listening and dancing (or what seems to be dancing) to music. he has one little drum that he plays all day and goes into a total fit if i take it away. he knows how to play different sounds on the drum too. i've been thinking about getting him a little kid drum set. but, i didn't know if people actually punished themselves with that sort of decision. maybe i'll buy it and take it to grandma's.

    or like this twitter from geekdad russel:

    swam in the pool with the kids. so fun! no one else around

    i can't wait to play in the pool with my kid. sounds like good times!

    these geekdads share their stories of awesome family times; whether its a trip to the zoo, a surprise weekend at a hotel, or taking the kids to the park. technology makes sharing these stories possible. cause lets face it, geekdads' don't typically sit around the lunch table and talk about family outings.

    i look up to geekdads like pavel, ryan, and quinn. i'm learning a lot from their example! thanks guys.

    i try to do my share of sharing with my family blog, posting of videos and my picasa web album.

    UPDATE. i just recently saw this website from the honlulu advertiser. whats the deal with that. is there a dadslikeme site?

    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    the excitement of a startup company

    no, i didn't quit my job to join a startup. but, i have been working with a startup company, knowledge reef systems, for the past few months. its been a lot of fun working with these guys.

    Integrating patent-pending technology licensed from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Knowledge Reef System’s innovative kReef™ software platform is designed for hosting online, information-intensive communities that exist wherever knowledge workers are found—businesses, government, academia, professional societies and even consumer-oriented groups where learning and sharing information is paramount. Its unique information recommendation system uses the power of social behavior to automatically discover and intelligently route information to community members based on their interests and needs. The kReef platform simplifies the discovery and delivery of knowledge in online communities of shared interest. Knowledge communities hosted on the kReef platform offer well-targeted audiences that will accept relevant, data-rich advertising from the kReef’s integrated product data delivery system. Founded by Gary Ebersole, an experienced serial entrepreneur, Knowledge Reef Systems seeks Series A funding.

    knowledge reef systems main product is kReef systems.

    The kReef (pronounced kay-reef) resource networking service helps knowledge workers discover, organize and share information in the social context of trusted colleagues. Designed to mimic how information naturally flows between people in the physical world, the kReef software uses the relationships between members as "filters" and "routers" to ensure that only relevant information is recommended to members. It goes beyond basic social networking services and search engines to bring community to content in a uniquely integrated resource networking service that delivers an information-rich experience for its members. kReef's resource networking discovery algorithms can locate and recommend information resources stored in kReef that would not be easily found with user-created profiles and conventional keyword search technology.

    i worked with KRS on pumping robotics data into their service and returning the analyzed data to the user in a customized widget. (not sure how much more details i can give at this point). it was fun working on those components. and it was cool to see the usefulness of their service come to life. startups are exciting.

    here is a PDF of their company information.