Categories
General

What Wikipedia articles have you read recently?

What wikipedia articles did you read recently? 
Just looking through my past history, I think its interesting to keep a list of articles that you read, just to see what kind of person you are. In general, The more wiki articles you read, the more knowledgeable you are. I read on average about 10 unique articles per day. I have this weird habit of searching on wikipedia for whatever topic happens to be on my mind. In fact, I probably know enough tidbits to beat alot of people at Trivial Pursuit. But its also to keep track of what you happen to be interested in.

So here’s mine for the past three days (notice many articles are related because of how wiki linking works):
March 21:

  •  Harley Davidson
  • Piaggio
  • Vespa
  • Blooming Onion
  • Onion Ring
  • Kindle Fire
  • Adobe AIR
  • Blackberry Playbook
  • Magic Johnson
  • Charles Barkley
  • Scottie Pippen
  • Patrick Ewing
  • 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team
  • Len Bias
  • HP TouchPad
  • French’s
  • Mustard (condiment)
  • Polymorphism (computer science)
  • Polymorphism
March 20
  • Nathan’s Famous
  • Hot dog
  • Battle of Gettysburg
  • Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
  • Basketball
  • Wilt Chamberlain
  • Bill Russell
  • NBA 2K10
  • Steve Nash
  • Larry Bird
  • New York Knicks
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Chicago Bulls
March 19:
  • Suan Cai
  • Coleslaw
  • Taylor Swift
  • Yiruma
  • Concorde
  • Alaska Airlines
  • First Air
  • Canadian North
  • Boeing 787 Dreamliner
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Boeing 737
  • Boeing 247
  • Douglas DC-3
  • Curtiss-Wright
  • Boeing
  • Porter Airlines
  • Ontario International Airport
  • Long Beach Airport
  • Southwest Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Simcity (2013 game)
Interesting, isn’t it? So the past three days, I was interested in airlines and aircraft, basketball players, some tech gadgets, and various food. See, there’s alot you can tell about yourself just by looking at your Google / Wikipedia history!

Also, I recorded a cover of drops of jupiter…classic song.

Categories
Business School/Work

Conferences in San Francisco

I went to San Francisco a few days ago to attend two conferences, mainly the Tedx Presidio and Richard Tapia Diversity in Computing. I will talk about my experiences, but first the location.

San Francisco

In front of Golden Gate Bridge
Me in San Francisco

This city is probably the most beautiful and unique city I’ve been to. Climate is a world away from Toronto. Always sunny, and moderate. The city has a unique architectural design that incorporates Art Deco and avante garde with unique gardens and parks coexisting with skyscrapers. The city has an amazing amount of rolling hills and valleys, which can be a pain to walk on, but looks fantastic as scenery. There exists some of the most romantic places I’ve ever been, including the Japanese tea garden in Golden Gate Park. In any case, San Francisco really left a deep impression on me, and is definitely more fitting to me than Toronto.

Tedx Presidio

At the Palace of Fine Arts
At the Palace of Fine Arts

A very cool conference. Located at the Palace of fine arts which has an amazing Roman-inspired palace on the grounds, this inspiring conference included speakers ranging from the San Francisco municipal government to Autodesk corporation to two young entrepreneurs (who started a business to grow mushrooms from coffee grounds) from Berkeley.  Each of them brought something amazing to talk about, and how technology fuses with businesses, and green energy / sustainability in particular. Attendees were mostly from around the Bay Area, Oakland, San Jose, etc.

Richard Tapia

 

At Google San Francisco
At Google San Francisco

The first night, I got to meet with a lot of great students from UC Berkeley, Rice, Stanford, Georgia Tech, University of Virginia and University of Illinois. It really amazes me how diverse computer science can be. I also got to meet with industry executives from Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Cisco, Lawrence Berkeley Labs, Intel, US Department of Energy, Netapp, and Symantec.

Second night, got to hear some great speakers from Rice, Intel, Microsoft (Bing), Georgia Tech, and got to visit Google San Francisco (they have it all btw, the buffets, mini cafes, pool tables, and even a slide I got to ride!). I also got to hear a lot of great project ideas from over 60 students, from across various universities in the U.S. Made friends with people from Chicago to Nashville. Although we are all from different places, near and far, we are all bound together by our common interests (computer science), and our similar language (C++/Java).

Third night had speakers from UCLA, Berkeley, IBM and Google. I got to have lunch with an interesting PhD researcher from UT San Antonio who worked on web security. Met Dan Garcia from UC Berkeley, who was one of the top CS education researchers, and he gave me feedback on my own project, which was great. I also met a cool student from UC Irvine who designed a poster that won the Tapia award that night, who was interested in Chinese culture, and Canadian culture.

Interview
I had an interview with a small startup company on the last day I was there, and they gave me a really good impression with the company culture. First met with the HR manager, which was the standard behavioral questions. Second, I met the engineering manager who asked me to draw UML diagrams about the travel industry. This was fine because I was familiar with class diagrams but not that knowledgeable about travel websites. Third I met a senior software engineer, where I explained to her my development cycle at Environment Canada. I think this part went well because I knew my stuff from my previous internship. Fourth I met a senior web developer, which I struggled with, because I wasn’t a front end developer, but I did my best explaining MVC, Design patterns, RESTful interfaces, and Semantic HTML. Fifth, I had a pair programming session with the previous two developers. This was my first time pair programming, and I got a good feel for it, but made several amateur mistakes throughout. In the end, I felt that I could have done better on this part if I wasn’t so nervous, and the IntelliJ IDE which I wasn’t familiar with, and I didn’t get time to start on the second test class. Overall, I think I did alright, and while coding on the white board was familiar to me, programming while two people staring at you was not, and I think it was partly because I was nervous and hadn’t done that before. However, I tried my best, and hope that I will be able to get an offer (cross your fingers for me >.<).

Edit: Got the job!!! =]

Additional Comments

At the Fairmont San Francisco
At the Fairmont San Francisco

I’ve mentioned before how fitting California was to me, and how it was my ‘calling’ and, after visiting there, I believe that my hunch was right. There was no other place as fitting, no other place in the world which had the perfect combination of culture, diversity, technology, music/entertainment, business, and innovation for me as the Bay Area. I felt an almost instant connection to this place which seemed so new yet familiar to me. I’m also pleasantly surprised by the fact that about half the attendees to the Tapia conference were female, which is great because females generally constitute about 20% of the IT workforce. Most of the attendees were African American or Hispanic American, which was great since it’s very rare to see that diversity in computer science.
I was the only conference attendee from Canada. I asked my colleagues from UofT if they wanted to attend but no one responded. I’m really disappointed that out of my whole Facebook list of 500 friends, that not even one expressed any interest, because it was a great conference and you really have to keep searching for these opportunities if you want to network. It was my first time going to such a far place by myself, and I enjoyed the freedom =].

Categories
Business Programming Tech

The Digital Revolution

Firstly, this post is designed as a way to show off my Piclens slideshow capabilities so the amount of images present may be more than my previous posts.

Today, I’d like to talk to you (dear readers and stalkers of my blog) about an important issue in society today. We are experiencing, or perhaps in the midst of, a digital revolution, started in the 1980s and continuing through the present. Like the industrial revolution before it, this revolution has social, political, economic, military and industrial impact. Therefore as soldiers of the digital revolution, our first step would be to familiarize ourselves with the technology.

Cloud Computing

How it works
How it works
Web 2.0 tree
Web 2.0 tree
Software as a service
Software as a service

The first trend I want to talk about is the notion of cloud computing.
Cloud computing is the concept of computing in a cloud – that is, the need for desktop applications is reduced to the concept of computing inside web applications. It combines the trends of software as a service and Web 2.0 in order to provide the needs of “anytime,anywhere” computing to everyone who has access to the internet. This development is another example of tying together other technological trends which I will explain further.

Knowledge anytime anywhere
Knowledge anytime anywhere

Social networking and media sharing

We live in an age where unprecedented access to information has become commonplace, where a person with no access to any books or institutions but can still obtain knowledge via the internet. This is vastly different then what we had 20 years ago and it is one of the most striking amenities of the digital revolution.

Blogs gives us unprecedented information on other people's lives
Blogs gives us unprecedented information on other people's lives
WoW, the largest MMORPG
WoW, the largest MMORPG

The propagation of social networking allows us to be connected to people all around the world, giving us a constant source of contact and with it, its good and ills. In a way, this proliferation of constant networking gives us citizens a deprivation of privacy but also a good platform for our social agendas. Even games allow us to network with others and to escape to a different life online, separate and distinct from our real lives, perhaps out of a need for social interaction or a need to have fun. Regardless, the social web is everywhere and it is hard to not be caught in it.

Youtube allows sharing of videos
Youtube allows sharing of videos
Flickr allows sharing of photos
Flickr allows sharing of photos

In addition, the advent of these web trends and techniques allows us to view photos, art,audio and video like never before. New sources of inspiration exist for users worldwide. The importance of ideas such as web, media and technological convergence is thus an important goal for the future. I will take a look at more of these devices later in this post, but take note that devices aside, all we need is a browser in order to enjoy the fruit of web convergence’s labors.

Twitter allows us to constantly notify others of our status
Twitter allows us to constantly notify others of our status
Facebook is the largest social networking site in the world
Facebook is the largest social networking site in the world

We as people, also have the right to refuse the invasion of our privacy for social purposes. But in this ever more interdependent world, are we losing contact with the outside world? Are games and social networking and MSN distracting us from the pressures of real life? Are we pressured to adopt the new trends of the time in order to stay ahead?
I think as this revolution sweeps over everyone, we have the urge to always stay ahead with new technology concepts.

Integration with real life

Ebay, The largest online auction site in the world
Ebay, The largest online auction site in the world
Amazon, the largest online retailer
Amazon, the largest online retailer

The extent of how online services affects us extends to our daily needs. Shopping online is now considered as a normal alternative to shopping at a brick and mortar retailer. Online matching making and sites such as craigslist blurs the online and offline way of interacting in a way that we have never seen before. Imagine that not so long ago, computers were limited to those with a high income and now it permeates our lifestyle where ever we go.

Open source development and hardware

Drupal is an open source CMS
Drupal is an open source CMS
Joomla!, another open  source CMS
Joomla!, another open source CMS

So as we struggle to stay ahead of all these new innovations, developers such as myself will also have to learn new web programming techniques. This is also facilitated by new Open source software development, new web programming tools such as AJAX and Ruby on Rails, and new CMSs such as the one on this website. Even development methodologies such as Agile has been used to take advantage of fast-paced development. These new trends allow developers, alongside consumers to develop new tools to establish this notion of cloud computing and web convergence.

Wordpress powers this blog
Wordpress powers this blog
PHP and MySQL work well together as web 2.0 tools
PHP and MySQL work well together as web 2.0 tools

But as we move forward, we take notes from the tools of past so we can better serve the people of the future. These new tools for web programming, that allow developers to serve the consumers, must evolve as the trends evolve. But as I will explain further, this evolutionary process is not only for the web, but extends to the whole of this digital revolution.

Ruby on rails is a popular web 2.0 application framework
Ruby on rails is a popular web 2.0 application framework
The iphone which started the multitouch trend
The iphone which started the multitouch trend

New trends in hardware often follow the software. The advent of Multi-touch computing is evolving, with many mobile phones and now tablet pc’s taking advantage of this trend. Hand-in-hand we must also consider the development of multi-touch applications to go along with it. Existing Frameworks for it have already been developed. One area of development must fuel the other.

Netbooks are also a prominent computing trend
Netbooks are also a prominent computing trend

We can also see the power of PCs grow exponentially over time, as predicted by Moore’s law. The evolution of all this should lead us to believe that in a few years time, the supercomputers of today will be the laptops and PCs of tomorrow. Such is the rate of technology that a brand new device would be rendered obsolete in a matter of weeks. Such is the convergence of technology that the smartphones of today were the PCs of yesterday, and even simple devices such as mp3 players can double as clocks and calculators. Such is the importance of internet to our daily lives that pocket-sized computers, tablets, and miniature laptops called netbooks (all with GPS functionality) were designed primarily to access the internet anywhere where there’s a wireless or cellular (3G) reception.

The web as we know it, dominated by applications
The web as we know it, dominated by applications

So looking from that standpoint, one must wonder when the digital revolution will end? Perhaps it never will, since over the past century, developments such as the automobile, airplanes, telephones, TVs, electric appliances and the PC which came about in only the last 20 years have come at a staggering pace in comparison to the previous centuries. Therefore, to wrap up this discussion, I think the question of “What’s the next big trend?” is not as important as “What trends will be the most influential and the most lasting?”, because just because a trend is big doesn’t guarantee it a status in this ever changing world. It’s the trends that have the most lasting consequences, the ones which act as ‘milestones’ in this digital revolution, that will shape the trends after it. So I encourage everyone to take part in computer science and software design and be a part of it, because although this field is constantly evolving, the rewards for experiencing the future are much greater. Thank you.