Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

People

July 15, 2008

I was looking through some photos from Spring semester. Last semester I had a fun time at school because there were a lot of good spirited people hanging out at the Computer Science Club. Pauline Wang and Neil Tong organized a couple of outdoor activities and invited all of the CS Club. You can see below the picture of many of the club members and friends at the barbeque we had. This was right after we finished playing Ultimate Frisbee.

Just finished playing ultimate frisbee.  SJSU CS Club poses.

We also went to the beach and there was pretty much something fun and interesting going on all the time. A lot of the pictures I’m looking at were taken by Neil. You can get an idea of what people of what CS students are like by checking out his pictures. Here is Neil’s flickr page.

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.

Java Closures

April 25, 2007

Last week I went to a really cool talk given by Dr. Neal Gafter about closures in Java. I wasn’t really excited about going, but I was between classes so I stopped by to hear what he had to say. I was pleasantly surprised. The subject was much more interesting than I had anticipated and it turns out that closures are very powerful.

Dr. Neal Gafter was a very enthusiastic speaker. You can see from his profile that he has been involved in some really interesting activities such as the development of C++ and Java. He has his own blog where he has written much more about Java closures for anyone who is interested. I think a good post to check out is “A Definition of Closures”, which describes the history of closures.

Dr. Cay Horstmann, a Computer Science professor at SJSU, has also written about closures on his blog as well as more details about the talk. Actually it turns out Dr. Horstmann is the one who setup the talk as he was teaching the topic in one of his graduate courses. His post “Dr. Gafter comes to SJSU” was easy to follow and goes over the main points of the talk.

Thanks to Dr. Gafter and to Dr. Horstmann for making this talk happen. The talk was very informative and exciting.

There is another talk that may be interesting coming up this Thursday, April 26, at 4 pm in BBC 202. The talk is being given by Bob Sutor, IBM’s Vice President for Open Source. Check out the flyer here.

UPDATE: I went to the IBM talk and I thought it was interesting. Steve Sloan wrote about it in this post.

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Another Free Barbeque and Voting

March 21, 2007

I wrote last month about the free barbeque hosted by Associated Students. Today there was another barbeque that was even better. The food was probably the same, but the great weather and cool band made all the difference. One thing that surprised me though was the fact that they weren’t using the event to promote the election in any way. I figured they’d have a sign up or something that would say, “don’t forget to vote”.

I honestly believe that a large percentage of students don’t even know the elections have started. The only reason I know is because I walked by the voting tent and picked up a flier. But many people probably don’t walk through campus that way. I read the Spartan Daily on most days, but I didn’t learn that the election had started. I did read several articles about how the election is very important this semester and about how the last election had a very bad turnout. But after reading those articles, I was still wondering when the elections would start. Most of the people I talk to don’t know about the election and don’t know you can vote online. The barbeque would have been a good way to get the news out.

My recollection, is that in the past, Associated Students did a much better job of raising awareness about the election. Now I know why less than 2% of the student body voted last year. Another thing that might be stopping people from voting, is the confusing link. The placement of the link on my.sjsu.edu, is very small and off to the side. It makes it look like it is a link to something unimportant, like a disclaimer. When I was trying to show some of my friends how to vote, they had a hard time finding that link. It should be big, centered, and obvious in purpose.

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MESA Day

March 18, 2007

MESA Day

Last weekend was MESA Day at SJSU. There were students from high schools and middle schools who had worked on projects for months and were being judged. A group of us from the CS Club judged the Cyber Surf competition. The students created webpages about one of the other competitions following given criteria. All of the students did very well. One interesting thing we heard from students, is that many of them learned web design through customizing MySpace. Actually I was most impressed by their presentations. I know when I was that age, I would have been seriously nervous about presenting to a group of judges. So I think these kids have a lot of potential, because they have the confidence to give something a try, and put their best foot forward.

I was also glad to see that three of the CS Club officers attended. In the picture are Glenn Jahnke, Evan Luine, and Michael Butler. I just think its good that our officers are involved in community service on campus.

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Free Barbecue Courtesy of A.S.

February 26, 2007

On Wednesday I enjoyed a free hotdog, drink, and chips courtesy of Associated Students. I’m honestly glad my A.S. fees are being used to feed me and my fellow students. This event did raise my awareness of some things that A.S. will be doing for the benefit of students this semester. Every Wednesday they will have a free event; either a barbecue, noon concert, evening concert, or moonlight movie. The schedule can be seen on the A.S. website here.

Associate Students Barbecue

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Linux Installfest at SJSU

February 20, 2007

Keith Callenberg wrote on the SJSU Linux User Group discussion page that there will be an installfest on Saturday February 24 in MacQuarrie Hall 227. If you want to install Linux on you computer or laptop, they are willing to help. The LUG also has a pretty informative page up here that explains more of the details and even provides a map to MacQuarrie Hall. You should read about my previous experience with their installfest as a reminder to back up your system before trying to install Linux. They do have a 200 GB hard drive for backup purposes, so go ahead and ask to use it.

Linux Club Officers

Picture of SJSU LUG officers (left to right) Andrew Tomlinson, Keith Callenberg, Evan Luine, Jeffrey Thompson.

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IBM Mashup Talk

February 8, 2007

On Wednesday Dr. Volker Markl, from IBM Research, talked about project MAFIA (The Mashup Fabric In Almaden). I found it interesting because I didn’t know how seriously IBM was taking mashups until this talk. One of the things they are working on is how to create mashups in a more declarative manner, which would make them faster to create and possibly easier to search for. From what I understood, one of the problems with declaring mashups declaratively, is the ambiguity of the data sources. Dr. Markl mentioned that he believed that localized semantic standards might arise that would allow more data sources to be used in a uniform way. On behalf of SJSU Computer Scientist students, thanks for the talk.

Dr. Volker Markl giving talk

The picture above is Dr. Markl (left) and our Department Chair Dr. Kennneth Louden (right).

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Volunteering for MESA

January 31, 2007

Thanks to Glenn Jahnke, the Vice President of the Computer Science Club, I’ll be volunteering this Saturday to help some youths learn html and css. MESA is an organization that tries to promote math and science to educationally disadvantaged students. I think math and science are really cool so I’m glad there is an organization trying to bring opportunities to people who have less access to it. MESA will be having a competition, amongst their students, to see who can make the best math/science related web page, and we will be helping them with the how to make a web page part. I don’t often get a chance to use my programming background to help people so this will be very worthwhile for me.

My Appearance in Spartan Daily

January 4, 2007

I was in the Spartan Daily and didn’t even realize it. I went to this little group called the Socrates Cafe that my Philosophy teacher told me to check out. I’m not sure if they are doing it next semester but there schedule is here so you can check it out.

There weren’t many people attending when I was there, which was cool in a way because it allowed each person to engage in the conversation.