Archive for October, 2007

Earthquake!

October 31, 2007

Everyone at SJSU should have felt the earthquake tonight. It was pretty exciting but I hope no one got hurt. I was in the middle of class, Math 271a with Dr. Stanley, when it hit. The whole building was shaking pretty hard and at one point it got worse and jerked my desk around. We all just sat there and waited to see if it would get much worse. Afterward the class ran over to our professors office to check out the USGS website to see how big and close the quake was. When I finally left the building I realized that everyone had already evacuated and there were hundreds of people waiting around outside. It looked like there were a few accidents on the streets around SJSU and on Highway 280.
Intensity Map
I sent text messages to my parents about ten minutes after the quake and then made a cell phone call with no problems. For some reason a lot of people were able to make phone calls from their cells while other weren’t. It might have something to do with the carriers they had, I have Verizon.

It turns out the quake was close by on the Calaveras fault. Hopefully no one go hurt and this event will help people get prepared for larger earthquakes to come. Just last week I was reading about how the Hayward fault is ripe for a large quake in the Mercury News.

Other accounts of the quake from SJSU:
Steve Sloan
Lindsay Bryant
Chris Hockett
Edris Amin
Andrew Venegas
Robert Scoble

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Computer Science Club

October 15, 2007

One of the best parts about the CS Department here at SJSU is the Computer Science Club. Studying Computer Science can naturally be a very lonely activity, spending most of the time reading books about algorithms and mathematics, and staring at computer screens. That is why having our own club is so important. It gives us a place to get to know each other and share ideas. The CS Club has its own room and other amenities that you can read about here.

SJSU CS Club Room

I think the CS Club is really important, and I wanted to make more of a difference, so I ran for Club Secretary when the position opened up earlier this month. I was elected and so far it has been a lot of fun. I have always wanted to get to know more of my peers and so far being secretary has helped me do that. First of all I had to introduce myself to everyone and explain why I was running for secretary. After that a lot more people seemed to know me all of the sudden, which is a nice feeling.

So I look forward to serving the club in the future and if anyone has any suggestions for me or the club, please let me know. I also encourage new students to stop by and check out the club.

Epocrates Presentation at SJSU

October 4, 2007

Glenn and Tom, from Epocrates, gave a presentation at MacQuarrie Hall (the CS/Math building at SJSU) today. Glenn comes from a Computer Science background and developed one of the original versions of the Epocrates software and Tom is the Main Manager at Epocrates. They both started working at Epocrates in 1999 so they know a lot about the company and are full of great information.

Epocrates is a company that provides a suite of PDA applications that are designed for use by health care professionals. They have some pretty cool tools that are helping doctors make fewer mistakes. For instance, doctors can add a list of drugs to be prescribed, and the Epocrates software can help determine if any of those drugs conflict with each other. Apparently their software is very widely used, and they have subscribers around the world.

During the presentation I learned about how Epocrates started, how their products developed, and the development process they use, among other things. I was expecting them to talk a lot about their products from an end user perspective which I have seen from many other presenters. Instead they talked much more about how the company started and how they develop software. This was a nice surprise because I’m not that interested in health care software but I am very interested in how an idea can become reality and how an entire business can be built around it. These guys are really smart so it was fun to hear about all the types of solutions they used to make their products better. Glenn and Tom were both very honest and open and had a lot of information to share with us. I appreciated the approach they took.

Dr. Louden, the Computer Science Department Chair, specifically pointed out that Epocrates was started by Stanford business students. He expressed that he would like to see more collaboration between Computer Science and Business students which is why he is asking CS students to get involved in the Entrepreneur Club.

One cool thing Glenn and Tom talked about is the fact that the developers at Epocrates developed their own PDA abstraction layer called XPlat that makes it easier for them to create software that will work on both Palm OS and Pocket PC. We were actually shown some of the XPlat code so we could see how it is used by the Epocrates software. I was also interested to know that they use Perforce for version control. In conclusion Glenn and Tom gave a great presentation and I’m glad they took the time to come talk to us.