Software Engineer becomes Extinct circa 2016

03/31/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Computers and Internet, software

What is an "High Tech" worker? Since the Internet Bubble of the late 90's, many folk use "high tech" to be synonymous with "software" or "computer technology" or "Internet/Web". The first decade of my career was spent in aerospace as a system engineer [that's system, not systems, and refers to someone who architects and analyzes an entire system, not designs the subsystems that make up that system], manager of system engineering, and finally, consultant. As such, I've never actually considered software engineering as particularly "high tech", and certainly not the definition of the term.

An article at Fast Company states that

U.S. high-tech jobs
But software engineers can always get a job down at the garage.end quotation
-- Fast Company

I was pointed to the article from FlatWorldSoftwareDevelopment...

According to Fast Company, the occupation known as Software Engineer will disappear in the US around 2016...

"Do you think so too?end quotation
-- Flat World Software Development

I'm going to ignore both these folks assumption that "high tech job" equates with "software engineering job" and categorically state that "high tech" jobs won't ever disappear from the USA. Innovation can occur anywhere, and will continue to do so. Much of early rocketry came out of Germany and the old USSR; much of early Internet technology came out of Norway, as does much innovation in Wireless today, though Korea is big there too, as is the USA on the software side. The USA continues to innovate in software [read/write web, enterprise-class open source solutions, and security come to mind], bio- or life-sciences, "green" technology, nanotechnology and other material sciences, and even, still in aerospace.

Innovation can't be outsourced. It occurs wherever someone acts on an idea. [Come on, how many great inventions have you thought of, but never developed?] Acting on the idea makes one an innovator. Innovation, in whatever field, leads to jobs.

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Mela is home

03/20/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Computers and Internet, Personal

I spent the weekend pretty much away from my own computer, working with my parents' new Apple iMac, MELA [Italian for apple]. Even though Mela worked fine out of the box, there was quite a bit of set-up to be done, in order for my parents to be able to use it.

The first order of business was to download and set-up Yahoo!Messenger for the Mac. That worked fine.

The next was to get their contacts off of their old Outlook. That didn't work out well, as it wouldn't export. I tried sending the contacts from my palm via bluetooth, as the whole category for family, as that would have most of their contacts. But only the first four would send. I wound up doing sending them one at a time, via bluetooth. It took awhile, but was easier than typing them all in. I did type in the one's that I didn't have. I then exported Mom's new address book as a vcard file, and imported it into Dad's.

Next was importing bookmarks from the last backup, and setting up everything's preferences.

I'm not sure I like the built-in mail client. I can't figure out how to subscribe to IMAP folders on the mail server, for one thing. But it wil work natively with spamAssassin on the server, so that's good.

I also added and configured some widgets, like Sudoku & stock tracking and set-up their dot-Mac accounts.

Then I had to learn how to really use the iMac, so that I can answer their questions. Using control or alt or apple/command, with the mouse or a key. Learning to squeeze the mouse and using the scroll ball thingee - stroke lightly works best. They're now set-up with the basics, but there's much to learn, much to do, and then help them to learn as well.

Nothing like being the home CIO & help desk. :D


It's a Mac

03/17/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Computers and Internet, Personal

The decision been's made, the money's been paid. I've bought my parents an iMac Intel Core Duo. Spent some time investigating TabletPCs and Apples, old and new.

The TabletPCs don't use a touch screen, as I knew; they use a digital pen. What I didn't know was how they work for selection and control. The Toshiba and HP/Compaq units, at least, that were available at the local CompUSA, work like this. To simulate a left mouse double-click, you press down on the point. For a right click, you press a button on the barrel while pressing down with the point. I felt this might be confusing for my parents, and maybe even impossible for my poor, old arthritic mother.

I was thinking that the Tablet would allow them more freedom in use, even more so than their old, dead Sony laptop, that handwriting might be easier than typing, and if not, they could use the keyboard. However, the disadvantages just seemed to outweigh the advantages.

The iMac really won out with its clean display. I think it will be very good for my parents to learn a new user interface as well. So my partner and I spent some time today at Robert Scoble's favorite Apple store in Palo Alto, and came away with the iMac. Surprisingly, the other area where the iMac won out, was in price. I also considered a Mac Mini plugged into an LCD screen [maybe even an Apple Cinema Display] :>> to replace their aging - but working TV.

But to duplicate the specs of the 17 inch display iMac with a Mac Mini or TabletPC would bring the price over two grand US$. Granted, since my first home computer, a Kaypro 64 in 1984, I've always set $3000 as the reasonable price for a reasonable PC. But not today. Here's what we got for $1299:

  • 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo Processor
  • 2MB L2 cache shared across the two cores
  • 512MB DDR2 SDRAM
  • 160GB SATA hard drive
  • Slot Loading superdrive (DVD+R, DL/DVD+/-RW, CD-RW)
  • ATI X1600 graphics with 128MB GDDR3 SDRAM
  • Built-in iSight video camera (web cam)
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • 2-Firewire400, 3-USB2, 2-USB1.1 ports
  • 802.11g built-in
  • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR built-in
  • Every audio and video I/O port you could ask for
  • All the software my parents need including some of the best A/V & photo software around

I couldn't go wrong. :p

Set-up back at the office couldn't be easier. It found our WLAN, and accepted the hex code for the passphrase without an hitch. As I write this blog using Safari [testing web designs we make on Safari will be much easier than going to said Apple store and telling the staff why we're there], MELA [Italian for Apple] is getting its updates.

Now for the hard part...

Bringing MELA to my parents and giving it to them. :-/


New Laptop for the Old Folks

03/14/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Computers and Internet, Personal

My parent's laptop died this weekend. It's a five year old Sony, so no real complaints. Dad is going nuts without access. I spent the day setting-up an old Dell that we kept as a spare, even though it has intermittent video problems. I thought this was a quick fix, while I decide what to get for them. But Murphy was against us. On logging into an account, it can no longer find the harddrive - so odd seeing a message, please insert disk into /dev/.../harddisk/DR-2; like it's removable media. /sigh

I'm considering getting them either an Apple or a TabletPC. The Apple for its reliability, simpleness and iLife software - all they use a computer for is email, web, IM and photo storage. The TabletPC has appeal because they can use it anywhere easily, and they really liked the touchscreen on their old 3Com Audrey. Of course, with the Apple, I can test web designs on Safari without going to an Apple store. :-)

What they really need is a Palm LifeDrive with a 10-inch screen & a 40GB harddrive. I think that should be our next venture.

Any thoughts?


Crunching Naked

02/18/06 | by JAdP | Categories: books, Computers and Internet, Entertainment

Once again, Mike Arrington's generosity led to a splendid party. Techcrunch and these parties have become the signature for Web2.0 events.

The Naked Conversations TechCrunch Party is now officially overend quotation
-- Mike Arrington at 2:01 a.m.

I left well before Mike posted that, but not before I got to hook up with some folk I knew and meet some folk for the first time. Mike's events are always great for networking.

  • Of course the whole point of the party was to pick up another copy of Naked Conversations [Buy the bookNaked Conversations] and have it signed by the authors, Shel Israel and Robert Scoble. Mine was signed by Shel, but Robert was out "checking on the food". While I had met Shel and Robert before, and exchanged email and blog comments with them, this was my first opportunity to talk to Shel for a bit. He is indeed as nice a guy as his card proclaims.
  • I saw Andrea and, later Ethan Stock of Zvents, both of whom I had met at the Riya Launch Party.
  • Buzz Bruggeman was there, as was Bill Daul, both of whom I had met at ANZA. Bill introduced me to Douglas Engelbart. Both Doug and my father were among the first radar men in World War II, though I don't think they knew each other then.
  • I was interviewed for a podcast by Michael Johnson of PodTech News - I'll link to it when it's released.
  • Alex Moskalyuk of Yahoo!Tech and I had a good talk about tagging analysis and corporate significance.
  • I met Andy of Microsoft, whom Bill describes as a bright young fellow.
  • And I chatted for a bit with Brad Meador from ClearContext who is seeking to change the way you use email.
  • Reintroduced myself to Scott Beale from Laughing Squid.
  • Waved to Marc Canter and spoke briefly with Dave Winer

It was a great time. Mike, thank you and your sponsors very much for your generosity.


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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

View Joseph di Paolantonio's profile on LinkedIn

37.652951177164 -122.490877706959


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