Archive for the 'Technology' Category


Professional Networking in Rochester

Apr 13, 2010 in Technology

wpid-prof-networking-2010-04-13-11-01.jpgFor a municipality of about 700,000 the Greater Rochester Area has an impressive range of opportunities to connect with fellow professionals.

While I have been here for 6 1/2 years, for a good portion of that period I didn’t have a pressing need to network locally. Much of my networking involved other regions like California, Boston area, Germany, France, Finland and St Petersburg in Russia. Over the last months I invested a lot more time in connecting where I live. While at first it seemed that the professional networking centered around Digital Rochester and user groups like RJUG, searching and interviewing local connections revealed many more networks each with a different focus thus together providing you with a complete menu of options.

It took me some time to discover these groups. To enable you to shorten your search time I am sharing what I found. Here’s the run-down:

Digital Rochester
Good for the plain vanilla business networking. Digital Rochester hosts a general network gathering on the first Tuesday of the month. A good chance to meet pretty much anybody but that is its limit as well: the wall of 200-300 people during the monthly evening can be daunting to scale. My tip to get going: just walk up and start talking with whoever is standing by themselves, and slowly you’ll start to collect familiar faces. Another one: bring somebody!

Digital Rochester also does various seminars. My favorite series is the Thursday morning Rising Stars where local entrepreneurs relate how they got started. This seems to attract a more senior-level audience as well.

The August Group
This may well be one of the best job opportunity networks. It meets in smaller groups led by a moderator at the Bagel Bin. During the group meetings news about job fairs and career advancements is shared. Participants discuss their job hunting approaches and successes. It is a very good resource to quickly build a network. Seems to focus up to mid-level positions but provides good pointers to fellow networks.

This one is present in other regions as well, at least Buffalo, Chicago and the Boston area as far as I know now. Execunet organizes panels with recruiters and others discussing various aspects of the job search and how the web and social media area changing it (you really should have a good profile on LinkedIn). Execunet as the name suggests aims to serve those seeking senior positions.

PeerNet Rochester
A Yahoo Groups based network for members to pass news about opportunities about. PeerNet appear to focus on technical and finance positions although others are posted too. I like that joining the group requires writing an introduction email to the group. The group owner has provided quite a nice template to help new members talk about themselves. To me this is very important because often you have no idea or it is very hard to explore who else is part of the network. The ability to mine the membership and make your own connections besides during monthly activities is very valuable.

A group similar to PeerNet. Also requires a reference from an existing member for example. The two may have some overlap in posted opportunities but ABCPNG also lists ones outside the Rochester area.

Rochester Social Media Club
RSMC attracts professionals who use social media (twitter, facebook etc) for their business. This is a bit of a loose circle in the sand and in a way that is its appeal. The monthly gatherings at Label 7 in Pittsford attracts extremely well-connected professionals and so is a good place to upgrade the quality of your network, discuss local business trends and hear about general business opportunities: the self-employment, small-business ratio is high among the audience.

Stands for Rochester Professional Consultants Network. RPCN recently revamped its website and that was really necessary. Mainly seems to attract consultants in the sense of contractors (electrical etc etc), accounting and financial services. Meets on Fridays at the Pittsford Public Library.

Then there is a bunch of user groups good for connecting with fellow technology-minded folk.

The Rochester Java User Group. The name is becoming a bit misleading. Borrowing from GNU: What does RJUG stand for? RJUG is not Java. Recent meetings have discussed Android, JavaFX, Google’s Go language, Erlang, Amazon Web Services and next week Google Web Toolkit. The group meets the second Tuesday of the month at RIT. You can find RJUG on its web site, LinkedIn group and Facebook page. RJUG also twitters.

Rochester’s Linux User Group. LUGOR meets the third Wednesday of the month. This group regularly has intriguing speakers like recently Richard Stallman.

User group for Amazon Web Services. One of the good places to meet the technical power brains of Rochester.

Visual Developers Upstate New York. Appeals to visual software development of any kind. VDUNY meets the fourth Wednesday of the month.

Upstate New York Oracle User Group. This may be now a mandatory user group for many of us to join…
Features mainly to the DBA crowd.

There are other organizations as well like Hi-Tech Rochester, Rochester Top-100 and Greater Rochester Enterprise but I don’t have (yet) direct experience with them.

What are your favorite business networking places in Rochester, what are your thoughts on the ones described here?

JavaOne & WWDC: A tale of two conferences

Jun 09, 2009 in Technology

Sun gathered the faithful last week in San Francisco and Apple is doing so this week.

I attended and participated in both conferences many times but am not at either this year for the first time in many years. “Withdrawal symptoms?”, a friend asked. No, surprisingly not. I didn’t miss the internal mayhem that is Sun’s preparation leading up to JavaOne. But now that WWDC is underway I do have the temptation to reflect a bit and share with you.

I attended WWDC the first time in 1989. I worked for KPMG Peat Marwick and so put on the business suit that Monday morning to register for the conference. I looked about the long line snaking to San Jose’s Convention Center seeing only jeans, shorts and t-shirts. I turned around, walked back to the hotel and changed. My ego has the fondest memories of the 1996 conference when the OpenDoc team included an OpenDoc component that I had written in their on-stage demo.

My first JavaOne conference was in 1997, just before joining Sun, watching Graham and Larry present JavaBeans. The next year I was on stage together with Graham doing JavaBeans demos. That was pretty cool too.

But I want to talk about this year’s conferences rather that those close to ancient past.

When you’re part of something it seems that the world at large evolves around it, pays rapt attention. Only when you’re on the outside do you see that the larger world may not be paying so much attention. Last week I did not see any mention of the JavaOne conference on On my Yahoo page where I track JAVA stock news a few Sun announcements came by but nothing that seemed very major. Larry Ellison was on stage but Yahoo only appeared to report that Oracle is (still) interested in netbooks. From arguably the industry’s most important software developer conference only a few years back JavaOne seems to have descended to the common ranks of all the many conferences that take place during the year.

Such a pity. As my neighbor Cort who works for IBM and I were chatting last week: such a missed opportunity. Such a shame that at Sun we never really figured out how to capitalize on having invented the most significant software technology of the last decade. We Javasofters should have Ferrari’s on our drive ways. I’ll take mine yellow, thank you. We were probably a little too nice to the industry and Sun competitors rather than focus on our own commercial success. From that perspective JavaFX is interesting but is there enough time left? It will be intriguing to watch what Oracle can do.

Leading up to WWDC’s opening keynote yesterday, had various articles speculating about the conference and possible Apple announcements. blogged live during the keynote as did several other news outlets. CNN HeadLineNews made brief mention of the conference. And Apple had a fair amount of news: updated laptops, Mac OS X news, new iPhone apps, new iPhone OS, new iPhone. Oh and the conference was sold out. It sold out in late April already. Looking at the breadth of the news, the size of the conference, this appears to be a company that’s ticking very well. And so it appears WWDC is inheriting JavaOne’s crown as the significant yearly developer conference.

The saying goes “execution is everything.” I do think that’s one of things that plagued Sun since 1995: picking and choosing from all the opportunities before it and sticking with any one of them long enough.

Which leads me back to JavaFX and Android for just a moment. The iPhone adoption numbers (eg its share of mobile web usage) that Phil Schiller released during the keynote were just very impressive. In contrast Sun announced its JavaFX app store last week but without the financial component, JavaFX is not pre-installed on phones by any carrier as far as I know. On the Android side, there still seems to be only the one T-Mobile G1 phone. Certainly I had expected Google with its market muscle to have had a much great impact on the market by now.


That’s it! I’m Outta Here!

Jan 22, 2009 in Technology

Today I am leaving Sun (well, officially it will be Monday). It was a very eventful 11 1/2 years. I joined Sun in ‘97 as product marketing manager for JavaBeans and Swing, in ‘99 became involved with the Java Community Process, helped create JCP 2, got to have the Jini team in my organization, lead the TCK work, and played my role in the open sourcing of Java.

What’s next? Don’t know yet. Together with the most sad happening of Rachel and I divorcing there’s lots of change. It is exciting and sure also a little scary not to know where I’ll be by the end of this year. First, I am going to take some time off. Rachel and I will be selling our house so that’ll require my attention. When that’s done I’ll have to make up my mind whether to stay in Rochester or go somewhere else. As of this writing I am in Santa Clara, California and the blue skies and sunny weather sure are a nice contrast to the snow and cold in Rochester which makes returning here a definite possibility but in the end it will be driven by what I want to do next and where that opportunity is located. Seattle, Boston, San Diego, Santa Fe?

JavaFX Talk for RJUG

Jan 15, 2009 in Technology

This Tuesday I presented on the JavaFX technology to the Rochester Java User Group. It was a lot of fun to do a technical presentation again – it’s been a long time since I spoke on technical stuff. Dave Cok of RIT brought his compiler class to the presentation. That was a little daunting – language theory is not my strongest side – but was very motivating as well.

I used my pet project to talk about how one might migrate a Java project to JavaFX and how to mix Java code and JavaFX code. I have been rewriting Bahamontes in JavaFX and named that project “Anquetil” to stay with the theme (this reminds me that should upload what I’ve been doing with Bahamontes since July ‘07). In order to get the Anquetil work in a state to fit my talk it was a mad scramble during the weekend and Monday. It also became a time scramble because I stared myself blind on two programming mistakes: situations where you know that it is something simple that you have done wrong in the code but you’re just not seeing it. I entertained the audience with them, and here they are for your delight as well.

The first code snippet (why do I get null pointer exceptions during runtime!?):

public class Mapping extends JPanel {
        public void Mapping() {
                mapClient = new Exec();

        private void myLayout() {
                setLayout(new BorderLayout());
                setPreferredSize(new Dimension(1000, 450));
                JLabel mapLabel = new JLabel();
                        new MouseAdapter() {
                                public void mousePressed(MouseEvent evt){
                add(mapLabel, BorderLayout.CENTER);
        private Exec mapClient;

And the second (why is the calendar component not showing on the screen in the way I want!?):

public class MyCalendar extends JXMonthView {
        public MyCalendar(final RideData parent) {
                datePicker = new JXMonthView();
                        new java.awt.event.ActionListener() {
                        public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent evt) {
                        new Date(parent.getFlaggedDates()[0]));
        private JXMonthView datePicker;

Anyways, onto JavaFX. Sun released version 1 of JavaFX on December 4. The technology makes it much easier to create media-rich applications that run on desktops, laptops, in browsers, on cell phones, settop boxes, Bluray players and so forth. With the new plug-in in Java SE 6U10 applets are much more powerful, can interact with JavaScript and with CSS stylesheets, and you can drag them out of the browser.

The part of my own talk that I enjoyed the most was discussing the JavaFX Script language. It has a number of features that enable you to write very efficient code such as “bind”, “on replace” and the operations you can do on sequences. The language has a concept of time (it knows what seconds, milliseconds, minutes and so on are), transformations, interpolations making it very easy to do animations. We examined the source code of some of the samples that come with Netbeans 6.5 and did things like “what happens if you remove ‘bind’ from that statement?”

– The JavaFX website:
– Get Netbeans 6.5 with the JavaFX SDK:
– The new plug-in:
– Language tutorial:
– API reference:
– Josh Marinacci’s blog:

Growing RJUG

Oct 28, 2008 in Technology

Met with Tom and Rob yesterday evening at Timothy Patrick’s – an Irish pub, appropriate no? – to brainstorm on how to grow the Rochester Java User Group. How to get on average a larger turnout at the meetings, how to attract more members.

Over the last year or so we did manage to attract quite good speakers – James Gosling, Ted Leung, Neal Gafter, Brain Leonard and others. But the size of the audience could have been better for these speakers and topics. So we’re going to try a number of things to see if we can change this.

One approach is to broaden how we reach out and connect to the membership. Currently the main avenue is the web site and the mailing list. We’re going to try some of the social networking places like LinkedIn and Twitter to give potential interested developers more ways to find us and to communicate with us. The mailing list is mainly one directional, a LinkedIn group gives the possibility for a member to start discussions. And the web site could do with a refresh.

Getting good speakers is one thing, making sure speakers cover topics that match the local interest is at least as important. To that end we’re going to hook up with local companies doing Java development and talk to them about what value RJUG could provide to their developers. In this vein, we do get regular participation from RIT (one or two of the professors, a few students) but not much if any from UfoR (maybe because the meeting is at RIT?), and so an action item for me to go talk to the faculty there.

In addition to learning about new Java technologies the user group is seen as a place for networking. While our meetings aren’t specifically geared towards that, we do have a social aspect attached to each meeting: those interested go to McGregor’s (aka Conference Room M) afterwards just ti chat. Something we don’t really advertise in the meeting announcements (ie you have to have been to a meeting to know about it).

During the summer months it is always hard to get people into a conference room in the evening. Thus far this meant we don’t have meetings then because of the very low turn out. Perhaps during that time of year we solely focus on the networking aspect at a nice beet garden and forego the formal part.

In good silicon valley style we decided that we need a logo and a t-shirt. Now, Duke was open sourced under a BSD license, so no hurdles to our creative skills!

Mobile Warrior am I

Aug 15, 2008 in Technology

So proud of myself. In between running some errands and visiting the Sun office in Fairport, Patrick and I did a video chat with me in my Mini Cooper parked outside Starbucks in Pittsford Village so I could connect to their T-Mobile Hotspot wireless network.

Afterwards I went in and got my usual Tall Vanilla Latte.

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