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Archive: February - 2013 (17)

  • Jobspring Partners Interview Series: Larry Mellon and Automation in Gaming

    On Wednesday, February 6th Tech in Motion was at KIXEYE for an awesome presentation by John Sasser and Larry Mellon on Load Automation and Scalability in Gaming.

    We had an exclusive with Larry Mellon after his presentation and were able to get to know more about his experiences.

     

    With over a dozen GDC lectures, Larry Mellon is an established leader in accelerating the production of online games via automated testing and metrics-driven development. His background in the scalability of parallel simulations and distributed virtual worlds from DARPA's Advanced Distributed Simulation and Synthetic Theatre of War programs provides the basis for solutions that support rapid prototyping, visibility and stable operations.

    Larry presented on how to use Automation to accelerate and scale the build/test/measure processes. He also covered the use of Analytics to iteratively improve the gameplay, system performance, monetization and the production cycle itself.

    JS: How did you get started in this industry, were you always in San Francisco?

    LM: I was a DARPA and NRL software architect, focusing on the scalability of parallel simulations and virtual training worlds. I saw a new, truly interactive media forming from the early MMO games, 3D accelerators and social networks, and I wanted to be part of making that vision happen. So I spent a year researching the field and published a couple of papers at the Game Developer’s Conference, which gave me some leads into the highly insular world of building video games.

    My path to San Francisco started from a desire to escape the frozen tundra of Canada and to work with the best people in distributed systems, both of which are California-centric. I spent ten years in the Washington D.C. research communities, and then moved to Walnut Creek to help ship EA’s flagship MMO project, The Sims Online. A quick stint in LA convinced us that the Bay Area suited us best, and the eclectic mix of San Francisco people, beach Frisbee and Golden Gate Park lured us out of the East Bay.

    JS: What are you passionate about technology wise?

    LM: Highly iterative prototyping and fielding of complex distributed systems, using aspects of automated testing, test-driven development, embedded application metrics and agile processes for iteration speed, stability and visibility. Think the scientific method, started up for the unique aspects of finding and fielding fun in massively concurrent virtual worlds. I also love the technology and physics behind flying Frisbees, and relentlessly experiment with optimizations to the distance/speed/accuracy problem. Yes, that means I spend a lot of time throwing Frisbees on the beach.

    JS: How did you select which topic to present on?

    LM: I’ve been working on another software engineering textbook, focused on the problems of building complex online games that are stable in both development and live environments. Online games must able to be quickly shifted in direction as rapid prototypes iterate and improve internally, and then go live as soon as ‘fun’ is found, and be easily scaled as a game grows in popularity. “Iterative Innovation in Games and Gardens” has been my obsession for years now; I picked out some of the material that I thought would be of broad interest but light enough to cover in 20 to 30 minutes. Solving these hyper-agile software problems is required for our industry to jump to the next energy level in the electron cloud, writing lectures provides tremendous clarity of thought for me, lets me geek out with others interested in the same problem, and hopefully gives others a basis for looking into these problems in their own unique problem spaces.

    JS: Have you attended a Tech in Motion Meetup before? What are your thoughts on it?

    LM: This was my first Tech in Motion meetup. I was quite impressed at the turnout generated, especially when compared to other SF meetups I’ve attended in metrics technology.

    JS: Are you active in the Meetup community? What about social media?

    LM: I’ve recently started hitting SF meetups; this was my first talk. I post snippets of social media type things and software type things to Facebook and have been slowly accumulating articles for a blog on technology thoughts, subconscious versus conscious decision making and humorous short stories.

    JS: What is one thing you hoped that attendees took away from today?

    LM: System-level, fully automated testing and embedded application metrics can be used to radically accelerate the rapid prototyping phases of game development, as well as stronger, cheaper stability at operational scale, and as prediction guidelines in the notoriously fuzzy problem of ‘where are we, right now, against our daily tasks and quarterly projection goals?’ A timetable for finding ‘fun’ is not predictable per se, but by examining multiple trends; one can roughly project and accelerate dates.

  • Orange County City Lays Claim to National Jobs Title

    Recently the Orange County Business Journal named Irvine, CA the national champion of job creation.  

    Here in Irvine, the jobs-to-population ration is 94.8%, which is the highest among the 100 largest cities in the U.S.

    This impressive statistic is no doubt due to a combination of factors, so we asked Jobspring Orange County's Regional Director, Dave Belsky, to gives us his take on what is influencing Irvine's success in job creation.

    JS: Is it surprising to hear that Irvine has gotten the title of highest job creation rate?

    DB: This is not surprising to hear and there are a lot of factors that go into this: Irvine has a much higher rate of college education than the rest of the state and probably, most of the country.  Irvine also has a better household income as well as a better education system. Not only does it's K-12 program attract people who want a great educaiton for their kids, but UCI is the only university to make the top 50 universities that is less than 50 years old.  Because of that and the general climate conditions here, Irvine is a model city for new economy jobs. 

    JS: In regards to positions in the technology field, do you feel that a large percentage of the jobs in Irvine are catered to computer science majors?

    DB: The jobs in demand right now across the country are people with a STEM background, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  There’s been a lot of talk about how the US ranks 30th in world math skills, but there are more jobs for CS people than people to fill them.  There is definitely a skills gap, and Irvine through a variety of different factors has been able to attract new economic growth related positions whether it is technology, electronics, research, biotech, medical, business and professional services.

    JS:  What would you say is the reason Irvine is such a business hub?

    DB: Irvine is a master planned community and that plays a role in the concentration of jobs located here.  It's also one of the safest cities in CA over 100,000 people.  The growth isn't merely domestic either; Irvine's climate and infrastructure has the ability to attract international companies to set up their offices here as well.  You see companies in the .NET space, Amazon, Google etc. set up their offices here because of the robust talent pool. Irvine is host to variety of large enterprise companies as well: Samsung, Western Digital, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Capital Group, Verizon, all of these companies have significant presence here. It's a pretty exciting place to be right now!

    Want to speak with Dave? Feel free to contact him below:

    Email: [email protected]

    Phone: (949) 553-4200

  • Weekly Market Knowledge Rundown

    At the beginning of every week our Jobspring offices around the country participate in “Market Knowledge” meetings. These meetings give our staff a chance to share articles and inform their offices about what’s going on in their local tech market.

    Since we find this knowledge share so useful, we thought that we would share some of these articles with our readers!

    Here are the articles our offices found the most interesting last week:

    Boston

    Facebook Partners With Carriers to Bring Cheaper Messaging Abroad(AllThingsD) - Facebook announced a multi-carrier partnership Monday morning that will allow users in certain countries to send Facebook messages with little impact on their cellular data plans.

    Submitted by: Zak Kovat

    Tech leaders plan virtual push on immigration(Boston.com) - Mozilla and AOL are working together to lead a “virtual march for immigration reform”—a necessity if the US plans to stay number one in business.

    Submitted by: Chris Walek

    Chicago

    Gusting Demand for IT Workers in the "Windy City"  (Wanted Analytics) - Chicago is currently the city with the 4th highest demand for tech talent, after Washington (DC), New York, and San Francisco.

    Submitted by: Lindsey Jefferson

    5 Ways To Ensure A Value-Match When Hiring For Your Startup  (Tech Cocktail) – Tips to ensure a culture match when hiring for a start-up.

    Submitted by: Brad Marek

    Los Angeles

    MasterCard Rolls Out MasterPass Mobile Payment System (ABC News) – MasterCard is set to release a new service that makes shopping from mobile devices even easier.

    Submitted by: Elise Rheiner

    Hands On With The Week’s Top Apps  (Mashable) – Several exciting, new apps became available this week for iOS and Android.

    Submitted by: Adrian Lopez-Obeso

    New York

    Social Media Week: Inside New York’s Startup Bubble(US News Blog) - Although New York is enjoying itself as a new hub for tech startups, several of the startups are having trouble securing second round funding.

    Submitted By: Emily Baumgartner

    NYU to Train Data Scientists for E-Commerce, Pharma, and Other Markets(xconomy) - With the field of data science growing rapidly, NYU is launching a training program to keep New York on top of cutting edge technology.

    Submitted By: Devon Ellis

    Orange County

    Microsoft Says Windows Phone Store Now Features More Than 130K Apps, 40K New Developers Registered Since WP8 Launch (Tech Crunch) - The Windows phone is gaining popularity and there are a plethora of new apps being published every day.

    Submitted by: Reed Kellick

    Nikon Signs Android Patent Agreement With Microsoft (Geeky-Gadgets) - Nikon, a leader in the digital camera industry, is now going to have Android Technology in their cameras.

    Submitted by: Brianna Schickling


    Don't see something on this list that you read about recently?  Comment below and share market information that's a must know!

  • Tech in Motion Recap: The DevOps Movement

    Recently Jobspring Boston hosted Tech in Motion Boston's DevOps Movement event at the Microsoft NERD Center.  DevOps is an elusive subject for many techies so the goal of the event was to explore the meaning of DevOps and how it fits into the professional technology world today.  We were lucky enough to host two guest speakers from diverse backgrounds.  

    Our first speaker, Thomas McGonagle of RedHat, presented the software behind the movement. From Thomas we learned that the DevOps movement is defined by its "agility, application, and automation." Unlike other systems that have just one of these features Puppet, OpenShift, and Vagrant can be used to combine all three. For more on Thomas' presentation check out his slides and to learn more about the man behind the slides see our Tech in Motion Interview Series below.

    After Thomas gave us the coding side of DevOps Rich Paret of Twitter, discussed the logistics of creating a DevOps team within a corporate setting.  Rich discussed the disconnect between the PM, QA, Development, and Operations teams of online service orientated companies.  Through the sharing of personal anecdotes and years of experience Rich helped us understand how to combat this disconnect and to create a truly successful DevOps environment. Overall it was a great night!

     

     

    Tech in Motion Interview Series: Thomas McGonagle, Red Hat

    JS: Did you always want to be a Software Engineer?

    TM: No, I had a more operations/systems engineering path to becoming a software engineer. My frist job was at the Volpe National Transportation Center where I worked as an operator on the FAA's Air Traffic Managment Network. It was a very larege distributed Linux network, and we used a proprietary (it didn't even use TCP/IP for networking) system for configuration management and command and control of hundreds of servers. My employer paid for me to get a graduate degree in Information Technology, and it was in graduate school that I focused on mesh wireless networking. Eventually, I heard about the DevOps tool Puppet and it clicked with me, because of my distributed and mesh wireless networking experience. Puppet was bascially an advanced version of hte system I used at the FAA, and a tool I desperately needed for configuration management and command and control of large mesh wireless networks. This sent me down the path of specializing in Puppet for hte last several years. Based on this experience I was hired to work at Red Hat as a Senior Software Engineer working on OpenShift. Red Hat's free auto-scaling Platform as a Service(PaaS) for applications.  As an application platform in the cloud, OpenShift manages the stack so you can focus on your code.

    JS: You have so much experience working with different platforms such as Linux, Puppet, and OpenShift- what's your favorite to work with?

    TM: I experienced a "gestalt" the first time I heard about Linux, Puppet, and OpenShift. Each technology clicked with me, and I have recognized each to be the "the next big thing". If I were to choose a favorite, I would probably have to say Linux. I got into it when I was 19 and in college, and it has been the foundation that I have earned my living from ever since. 

    JS: What advice can you give to people starting out as a Software Engineer?

    TM: It can be hard to do, but try to focus on an up and coming language or technology that you expect will become popular. Node.js is an example of one such language, it is being touted as the "next Ruby on Rails". Another would be R the analytics language or even Big Data (Hadoop, etc.) in general. It can be difficult to identify the up and comers, and it will be hard work developing the skills, but getting in early on a technology has its benefits. In order to figure out what the next big thing is, attend meetups, talk to lots of people, read blogs, and industry periodicals.Try to make an informed decision, try to get a sense for where things are going and then jump in with both feet. It will certainly be an adventurous and wild ride. 

     

  • Weekly Market Knowledge Rundown

    At the beginning of every week our Jobspring offices around the country participate in “Market Knowledge” meetings. These meetings give our staff a chance to share articles and inform their offices about what’s going on in their local tech market.

    Since we find this knowledge share so useful, we thought that we would share some of these articles with our readers!

    Here are the articles our offices found the most interesting last week:

    Boston

    Twitter Will Decide the Value of Your Tweets (Mashable.com)

    Twitter is making a big change in how your tweets find their way to the top your followers’ feeds.  Submitted by: Cristina Mata

    RI works to build innovation economy seen in Mass. and Calif. (Boston Business Journal)

    Rhode Island is looking to rebuild its economy on a foundation of tech innovation coming from the students at Rhode Island University.  Submitted by: Chris Walek

    Orange County

    Apple Doesn't Care, That's Why It's Winning (TechCrunch)

    Apple is not worried about making its products cheaper because of the “culture” they have created around their products (as luxury).  Submitted by: Jason Shotwell

    iPourIt Snags Series A Funding for Bartender-in-a-Box (SoCalTech)

    A Newport Beach company, iPourIt, just raised $800,000 in funding.  It’s a Self-service beer serving technology that lets consumers pour their own drinks

    Silicon Valley

    Tumblr Is Not What You Think (TechCrunch)

    Tumblr, the “anti-blog” social networking site, receives the more regular visits from American youth than Facebook.  Submitted by: Robb Silverstein

    San Jose's living wage rate: $15.78 (Silicon Valley Business Journal)

    The city of San Jose announced the 2013 living wage rate to be $15.78 per hour, determining it costs 68% more to live in San Jose than the national average.  This shows that as new technologies are emerging, salaries are rising!  Submitted by: Anthony Laden

    Don't see something on this list that you read about recently?  Comment below and share market information that's a must know!

  • #HackInteractive: A Hackathon Benefiting Camp Interactive

    This past weekend, Jobspring New York took part in HackInteractive, a hackathon benefit for the children of Camp Interactive

    Hackers all over New York City were invited to come hack on several prominent APIs to create an educational product to solve several issues that teachers, parents, and students face in the traditional education setting. A few of the APIs included: Bitly, Foursquare, Mashery, 10Gen, Tumblr, and Pearson Education.

    During the hackathon, a representative from each API partner was available for office hours to help the hackers with any problems they encountered. In addition to these representatives, the children of Camp Interactive were also available for office hours to help the hackers validate an actual need for their products. 

    {Above: Developers hacking away for the good of Camp Interactive}

    After 48 hours of straight hacking, Alexis O'Hanian (Co-Founder of Reddit) finally announced the winning hacks. The winners had been chosen from a panel of credible judges from the tech community and also education community.

    The Winner Was... Clever Text!

    Clever Text is an application developed to help immigrant children learn English and also facilitate parent-teacher conferences through a translator. It enables teachers to send out one email (written in English), and be automatically translated to the parents' respective language. 

     

    {Above: Clever Text presenting their hack}

    {Above: Sloane Barbour, Jobspring Partners Regional Director, presenting $500 prize}

    The Hackathon proved to be a huge success after raising a grand total of $30,000 for Camp Interactive. Some of the generous sponsors and donors included, Amazon, EBay, Jobspring Partners, GitHub, and Redbull

    Additional coverage from the event can be found via MediaWireMe and Storify.

  • Keeping Tech Skills Current & Interviewing Strategies with Jeffrey Eliasen

    Jobspring Los Angeles recently hosted Tech in Motion LA's February Meetup. The event was held at Satellite Santa Monica, and software engineer Jeffrey Eliasen gave a presentation. Jeffrey shared interview strategies for tech jobs, and discussed how to keep one's tech skills up to date with the latest trends. 

    Before the presentation began, the guests chatted amongst themselves and enjoyed some drinks. Once the presentation room filled up, Jeffrey dove into his discussion. He gave advice from his own job seeking experience, as well as from his time as a hiring manager. He stressed the importance of Self Marketing and constantly learning as technology progresses. After Jeffrey wrapped up his discussion, it was time to eat and mingle some more! This meetup was a great opportunity for our guests to network and learn ways to nail their next tech interview!

    We interviewed Jeffrey after the event and picked his brain about his experience in the technology field. His responses are below!

    Q: How did you get your start in speaking at Meetups?

    A: I love to speak, and I was attending a lot of meetups. I started telling the organizers I would like to present, and through conversations over time we found topics that would be interesting for the group.


    Q: What are your current tech projects?

    A: I have a particular fascination with big data and with distributed algorithms based on, for example, the map/reduce paradigm. In my personal time I am studying the tools and algorithms to allow me to explore data sets that I have access to. My business focus has mostly been refactoring existing systems for long-term maintainability.


    Q: You're a personable, social guy - would you say that quality has helped you in the tech field?

    A: Being socially adept and an effective communicator has absolutely made a difference in my ability to get work and to be effective in the work I do. I am often the person who bridges the gap between the stakeholders and the implementers, acting as a project analyst and manager and guiding the direction of the project over time. I also believe my communication skills have made a difference in every interview I've participated in, as I am able to develop rapport with the interviewers, better understand their questions, and more effectively express my answer so they can ascertain my abilities (and weaknesses).


    Q: What advice do you have for young techies?

    A: Keep learning, all the time. Find something new to explore every day.

     

    Q: You've discussed what you think will be the "next big thing" in technology - so on the flip side, what do you see fading in the near future?

    A: I'd like to see data consumption fade (we don't need more cat videos... right?), but I doubt that will ever happen; in fact, I think consumption will increase overall. As creation of content becomes easier on portable and mobile devices, I believe we will see the end of the desktop computer and a drastic reduction in the use of laptops for most people; wearables and hand-held devices will replace the powerful computers we currently lug around. The only people who actually need the larger machines are those doing tasks which require significant screen real-estate or specialized input and output peripherals, such as software development, video editing, graphics artistry, and the like. Even these users will switch to more portable technologies for their daily work in the next 10 years or so as the interfaces are developed to facilitate their specialized needs.

    If you'd like to join us at our next Meetup event, check out our Tech in Motion page for information: http://www.meetup.com/TechinMotionLA

  • Weekly Market Knowledge Rundown

    At the beginning of every week our Jobspring offices around the country participate in “Market Knowledge” meetings. These meetings give our staff a chance to share articles and inform their offices about what’s going on in their local tech market.

    Since we find this knowledge share so useful, we thought that we would share some of these articles with our readers!

    Here are the articles our offices found the most interesting:

    Boston

    Facebook Hires Chef to Juggle 150,000 Machines  (Wired.com)

    In the last 3 years Facebook’s empire of servers has grown from 30,000 to 150,000 causing the company to rethink their infrastructure and protocols for updating their system. 

    Sources: Fast-growing Boston tech company Gazelle considering move to Louisville Riverport (Insider Louisville)

    Gazelle, the flipper of unwanted electronics, is moving from Boston to Louisville, a big change for this Boston based company. 

    Chicago

    The Cities Winning The Battle For The Fastest Growing High-Wage Sector In The U.S.  (New Geography)

    Chicago comes in at No. 43 for The Top-Paying U.S. Cities for Tech Workers.

    America’s Genius Glut  (The New York Times)

    Four senators have introduced a bill to solve a problem we don’t have: the supply of high-tech workers.

    Los Angeles

    Microsoft Big On Westside  (LA Business Journal)

    Microsoft making its way to Silicon Beach.

    Snapchat moves to Venice  (LA Business Journal)

    Snapchat, a messaging app, is moving to Venice.

    New York

    Why NYC startups are winning the engagement race, and other Silicon Alley trends to watch  (VentureBeat)

    Even though Silicon Valley will continue to be the start up mecca for years to come, VCs, large tech companies and the technology press have recognized New York’s blossoming tech scene.

    Social media management startup Sprinklr grabs $15M from Intel & Battery to outclass Radian6  (VentureBeat)

    Sprinklr was founded in 2008 and launched its software in late 2009. The company claims to have had 400 percent year-over-year growth in 2012.

    Orange County

    The 5 Top Tech Jobs of 2018  (Dice)

    How tech jobs will look from now through 2018.

    Disruptions: Where Apple and Dick Tracy May Converge

    Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass.

    Philadelphia

    Microsoft's Surface Pro: More security blanket than tablet  (CNN Money)

    Microsoft Surface Pro: Good, but not great.

    128GB iPad now on sale: Will professionals bite?  (ZDNet)

    The 128GB iPad has gone on sale, but can Apple convince people to pay notebook prices for a tablet?

    Silicon Valley

    5 ideas from 500 Startups' Dave McClure's Demo Day warmup

    Dave McClure, founder of 500 startups, will be the first to bluntly address which startups will succeed over others.

    How the University of Phoenix will survive the education tech boom

    The article concludes that degree based learning will always be valuable, but the cost of learning will decrease as well. 

     

    Don't see something on this list that you read about recently?  Comment below and share market information that's a must know!

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