Tag Archives: Google

Android to be 100% open-sourced

I read an interesting blog post on Ed Burnette's Dev Connection this morning.  Google says that Android (the libraries, the core platform components) will be open-sourced 100%.  Ed talked to several Google employees last week at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco.  You can read Ed's entire article at his blog (linked above).

I think that an open sourced Android is great news, not only for the Android community but for the Java community as a whole.  Android is Google's flavor of Java, customized for what developers really need on a phone.  So, my understanding is that it's a subset that has some other essentials added in.  It doesn't run on the Java VM, but rather its own virtual machine: Dalvik

JavaFX Mobile, on the other hand, is Sun's revamped platform for mobile devices. JavaFX Mobile runs on the Java VM, not Dalvik.  It will be interesting to see if any of the work that Google has done on the mobile platform will make its way into JavaFX Mobile.  Already, the communities are working together. In fact, at JavaOne a few weeks ago, a JavaFX Mobile app was demonstrated on Android.  Nice!


Ann Arbor Tech events this week

It's the first week of the month.  Do my children wonder where their mother is? 

On Tuesday, Dec. 4, Brent Hill of Google will be presenting "Everything you want to know about blogs and RSS". That event will be at the Google office in Ann Arbor at McKinley Towne Center, 5th Floor, 201 S. Division, Ann Arbor, from 5-7 pm.  Registration is required, at www.annarborusa.org.

On Wednesday, Dec. 5, Kevin DuBois will be talking about the latest features of Ubuntu Linux, at the Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting.  That meeting will start around 6 pm at the SRT Solutions offices, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200, Ann Arbor.

On Thursday, Dec. 6, the Michigan Python User Group will meet at SRT Solutions offices to discuss distributed version control systems.  Mercurial and Bazaar NG are written in Python.

All of these events are free.  Hope to see you at one or more!

NOTE: There are NO SRT lightning talks this week.  The only December lightning talks will be NEXT Friday (Dec 16) from 3-5 pm, at SRT Solutions offices.


Both Android and Guice at CodeMash!

I'm happy to report that Dick Wall will be speaking on Android as well as Guice at CodeMash.  These should be highly technical talks.  Dick is co-host of the popular Java Posse (http://javaposse.com) podcast and a developer advocate on the Google Developer Programs team.

Dick has already submitted a sample Android application to the Android Developers Blog.  He has also written articles on Testing with Guice and Squeezing More Guice from your Testing with EasyMock.

I'm definitely looking forward to these talks!


Google and its mobile strategy …

Well, it's not A gPhone.  But it IS a free SDK for anyone who wants to develop applications for mobile phones.  AND they're asking for input from developers that they will use to further develop their product.  The SDK will apparently be available on November 12! 

They have developed a new mobile operating system, based on Linux.  Java already has a large percentage of the mobile device market, but this lets Google build a mobile-specific platform that developers can use.

And Google apparently thinks that this is even bigger than the idea of a single gPhone.  Rather, any manufacturer can build a phone with a platform supported by Google. 

Verizon hasn't jumped on board yet, but there's speculation that Sprint and T-Mobile have.  I'm really hoping Verizon does, as well.

 For more information, see:



Hype and Action …

Tom Meloche wrote an insightful blog post about the hype surrounding Google and the people who "poo poo" their impact on Michigan (and yes, Tom, I think that "poo poo" is the right term there).  I agree with him that Google could save Michigan.  Not only can using tools like Google Analytics and Google AdWords help Michigan business, but using Google's apparent interest in setting up shop here to attract more companies is also a good tactic.  The "Google effect" is strong. When Google goes somewhere, others do pay attention (including other companies).

Google chose Ann Arbor for its AdWords headquarters.  As one of the speakers mentioned at a Tech Talk earlier this year, Google is an engineering-driven company.  Where marketing and sales go, engineering is sure to follow, but WE have to show Google that we have the talent to support such an endeavor. We do; we just need to demonstrate it.  Google is well known to be "all about the data", not just in their applications, but in their business decisions as well.  Show them the data and they will come.  Notice I said "WE" have to do this. Not the governor.  Not SPARK.  Not any other business group.  Developers. That's who needs to make a strong showing to Google. 

What Google needs to see in order to even CONSIDER starting an engineering office here is hard and fast numbers of high quality developers.  Where will these developers come from?  They will nab those who WANT to stay in Michigan after college graduation but leave to work on one of the coasts, because that's where the "jobs are".  They will nab those who want to come BACK to Michigan after spending some time on the coasts and realizing that both cost and family ARE important. And they will nab those who ride on the coattails of the Michiganders keen to return as well as the other companies who see Google setting up shop in a midwestern town that is still incredibly affordable when compared to the coasts. And yes, they will nab some of the talent that currently works for local companies, like mine, but those employees will be replaced by others coming into the area.

So, as I suggested in my blog post about this back in August, after the Tech talks, I think that area developers, alums, and interested parties should send resumes to Google.  Let them know what talent is here.

Ann Arbor, Google, and Recruiting

Last night, Google presented the second of two talks, this one for the Ann Arbor Java User Group. The topic of the Java talk was "End-to-End Clustering" and it was presented by Ashok Banerjee, a Noogler  (he's only been with Google for a month or so).  He is an Engineering manager who used to work for BEA on the WebLogic team.  Ashok did a great talk on how to balance load and make software fault tolerant and highly available. He has an easy speaking style, and I really liked how he kept the audience involved, periodically checking to see if people understood, reminding them that if they shook their heads up and down (yes), their neighbors would see, but if they shook them side-to-side (no), only he would see, and he would further explain the topic.  This led to a nicely interactive discussion with points clearly stated.  There was some active audience participation as well, which is always great to see.

Ashok promised to share his slides from the talk, and once those become available, I'll link to them.

As with Thursday's talk on Test Driven Development, this talk was held at the Google Ann Arbor office. I had really pushed to have the meeting at the Google office, as had Susan Loh, who was coordinating the event.  Not only did having it there make things easier for her to organize, but it also exposed the company a bit more to the local developers. I, personally, hadn't had an opportunity to get up to the Google office, and I suspect others were in the same situation.  It's interesting to have a view into Google culture (it made me smile to see 2 high chairs in the cafe, and I can only surmise that a few Googlers bring in their small children once in a while for lunch).

Google really wanted this to be a tech talk, not a recruiting push, and Susan was fairly low key in her recruiting efforts, mainly just leaving some cards on a table and telling people that they were there. But I had an opportunity to talk to her in detail about Google and the way that the company does hiring and I thought that that information might be of general use.  I hope that I will accurately portray this, and I hope that someone corrects me if I don't.

  • Google doesn't hire based on experience.  They are really interested in getting good minds. 
  • Google also doesn't hire for particular jobs.  That is, when you apply at Google, you indicate preferences for a team that you might want to work on, but the company decides if they want to hire you first, and THEN determines what you will be doing.  I both like and hate that .  I like it because I think it's really cool that Google emphasizing hiring the right people.  I hate it because I see interviewing as a two-way street, and not knowing what position you're hired for seems like it makes that part of the process quite one-sided.  I would like to see that explored a bit.
  • Google has recently stopped emphasizing location when they hire.  It's easy to see how they have perhaps saturated the market in the Bay Area, and have to look outside that area.  They have engineering offices in Phoenix, Chicago, Boston, Boulder, Atlanta, Seattle, New York, and Pittsburgh.  They have sales offices in nearly every large city, including both Ann Arbor and Detroit.  There has been a lot of speculation that they might open an engineering office in Ann Arbor.  My conversation with Susan Loh last night did nothing to dissuade me from thinking that was possible, but over the past week, I did get a slightly different impression about how that might actually happen.

Originally, I had thought that at some point in the future, there would be a huge announcement that Google was opening an engineering office in Ann Arbor, and that the governor would throw a big party, SPARK would get all excited, the Ann Arbor News would notice, and then the hiring would begin.  But, I don't think that's how it's going to happen.  I mentioned previously my thoughts that Google is testing the waters a bit, trying to see who's here, to determine if a pool of developers is available to support such an endeavor. I still think that is basically true, and that these tech talks were a perfect way to start that. But, what I had missed was the location transparency that Google is now employing in its hiring. Basically, if Google is hiring irrespective of where someone might actually sit, then it's fairly easy to bring employees into an existing sales office.

That means that there's the potential that Google MIGHT be interested, even now, in hiring software engineers for the Google Ann Arbor office.

Susan mentioned that she was impressed with the local community and its response to these events (60+ people for each of the 2 nights), and with the number of user groups and other organizations that are active in the area.  The audience was lively, interested, and engaged in the presentations. I know that's what they want to see.  However, several people at Google (both in person and on podcasts) have mentioned that cold, hard data is the best way to make things happen.  If Susan, Ashok, and Russell go back and say we seem interested in having an engineering office here, that's one thing, but a nice array of resumes piling up on Susan's desk provides that data that Googlers like to see.  So, if you want to let Google know that you're here, send Susan your resume.  You can send it to her at sloh AT google DOT com.  Susan didn't do a strong recruiting pitch, but I'll do one for her, and for Ann Arbor. Let Google know that Ann Arbor is chocked full of technical talent. It's in all of our best interests.

Russell Whitaker: Test Driven Development in Python: A Quick-start Approach (Review/Recap)

Russell Whitaker, a software engineer at Google came to town last Thursday, August 2, to do a tech talk for a special joint meeting of the Michigan Python User Group and Ann Arbor Computer Society.  While the topic mentioned Python, it was pretty generic and could/should be applied across all languages so I hope that people didn't stay away because Python was in the title. It sure didn't seem like people shied away from the talk; the turnout was great, probably about 60 people or so.  The meeting was held at the Google Ann Arbor office, so I don't know if some people were coming just to gawk, but I think most people were interested in the topic.

Test Driven Development is one of those blessed technologies that has been getting a lot of buzz in recent years.  What I find interesting is that everyone SEEMS to think that they know what it is and certainly some people do, but it's always refreshing to have a talk like Russell did on Thursday, where we don't assume that we're all doing it the same way. One subtlety that Russell stressed that I think is often overlooked is the emphasis on driven, that the goal is not only to test the software, but to drive development forward with the tests that you write.

Russell is a natural speaker.  He did an engaging talk, and even recruited an audience member (Jay Wren) to pair program with him. That was a little stroke of genius as well, in my opinion.  For those people who haven't had exposure to pair programming, I think that the demonstration was particularly effective.  It's important to see how interactive the process is, that it's not one person banging on the keyboard with another back-seat driving.  And, they did their ping-pong programming while sitting on bean bags, which was entertaining as well.

One comment I got after the talk was that part of the purpose of the talk seemed like a recruiting plug to attract Googlers. As one of the people who was in close communication with the organizers of Thursday's event from the beginning, I can really say that wasn't the objective.  The stated objective from the Google organizers was a technical talk, not a recruiting event.  So, I think that two things are in play here.  One, Googlers like where they work, and it really does come across when they talk.  And two, see my previous post. I really do think/hope that they may be checking out the local tech community to see if they can attract talent to staff an engineering office.  I 'm confident that they can. Google just needs to see it.  As an employer in the area, I will admit that it makes me a bit nervous, but raising the bar for creating good places to work is a GOOD thing, for all of us.

Russell's photos are at http://tinyurl.com/ywznsw

Winston Tsang (local Rubyist) also took photos: http://tinyurl.com/2mrh2x, including a few good ones of Russell and Jay pair-programming.

I'm always curious about how people find out about events, and so I asked.  Python user group was the biggest, AACS, AAJUG, Ruby group, and a2b3 were good conduits as well.  Others heard by word of mouth (including a few who read my blog, thanks guys).

Ruby, Java, and Castle! Oh my!

It's the first full week of the month, so lots o' user group meetings going on. 

There's a Ruby User Group meeting in Ann Arbor tonight, Monday August 6.  It's from 7:00-8:30 pm on the University of Michigan campus, 1670 CSE. Details at their website: http://rubymi.org

Tomorrow (Tuesday, August 7) is the second Google tech talk in Ann Arbor, this one for the Ann Arbor Java User Group.  It's being held at Google Ann Arbor, 201 S. Division (Floor 5), from 6-9 pm.  Registration (required) and more info at http://www.aajug.org/.  I'll definitely be there, since the talk is on enterprise level clustering solutions. 

Don't burn out before Wednesday (August 8).  Jay Wren (who I'm thrilled to say is the most recent addition to the SRT Solutions consultants!) is talking at the Ann Arbor Dot Net Developer Group, on Inversion of Control and Dependency Injection, using Castle's Windsor IoC.  That meeting is being held at Ann Arbor SPARK, 330 E. Liberty (Lower Level), from 6-8:30 or so.  More info at http://www.aadnd.org.




Ann Arbor, Google, and Why You Should Submit Your Resume

Last night, Google, the Ann Arbor Computer Society and the Michigan Python User Group met at Google Ann Arbor for a Tech Talk.  About 60 people showed up for the talk by Russell Whittaker  Whitaker (Google Software Engineer) on Test Driven Development, and were also treated to appetizers and beer and wine.  Demand was high for the free event, with registration filling up quickly and those who weren't able to sign up ahead of time were active in their attempts to figure out how to get in (showing up at the door didn't work, trying to take someone else's place didn't work either; Google checks photo ids).

I'll write more about the talk itself later, but I have some ideas about what was happening here that I want to express.  I want to talk about what Google's plans are for an engineering office in Ann Arbor. Isn't that really what all of us want to know?  Are they going to do one, and when?

First of all, Google is an engineering-driven company.  In many cases, they have set up satellite sales offices only to follow with engineering offices later. Google Ann Arbor is the AdWords headquarters, so there is a lot of speculation and hope that an engineering office will follow.  But, in order to set up an engineering office, they need to know that they can attract talent in the area and to the area. The first step toward that, in my opinion, is to see who's here. 

Last night's meeting was a good indication that we have a vibrant tech community, full of people who are passionate about software development, people who would make great Google employees.  There's another meeting on Tuesday, August 7 at the Google Ann Arbor office.  That meeting is on end-to-end clustering.  Not only is that an interesting topic, it's also an opportunity for the Ann Arbor tech community to get together and to demonstrate our passion for software, both to one another and to Google.

So, if you want a Google engineering office in Ann Arbor, let Google know that you're here. If the Ann Arbor community sends resumes of highly qualified people, I think that they will come.  Work with Susan Loh (sloh AT google DOT com), who is a UM grad and is in town for the talks all week.  Get her your resume.

In the meantime, see you Tuesday?  Registration for that event is at http://services.google.com/events/annarbor_techtalk07_2.  Seating is limited and preregistration is required.  Don't miss out.

P.S. Even the local community needs to know "who's here".  I know that I met new people last night: people from Zattoo, a tv-to-internet startup here in Ann Arbor, and people from the Ruby user group, as well as some guys starting up a local Ubuntu LoCo team.  I hope that I can encourage everyone in the local community to go to user group meetings and become involved.  Jay Wren, the Ann Arbor Computer Society program chair, has been soliciting talks from the different groups in order to expose the diversity that we have in our user groups.  We need to learn from one another, and we need to know who's here.


Google Tech Talk for Ann Arbor Java User Group on Tuesday, August 7

Registration is now open for the 2nd Google Tech Talk in Ann Arbor. If you missed out on registering for the Python User Group/AACS Tech Talk, then register early for this one.
Google Ann Arbor is excited to host a special tech talk event in tandem with the Ann Arbor Java User Group. Join us for food, drinks, and a technical talk with Ashok Banerjee, Engineering Manager at Google.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007
6:00 - 9:00 PM

Google Ann Arbor
201 S. Division St., Fl. 5
Ann Arbor, MI

About the talk:
End to End Clustering

Ashok will discuss enterprise-level clustering solutions for
production systems. He will explain how at each level one can avoid a single point of failure. He will explore the mechanics, tips and traps, and ramifications for performance and throughput at each level.

He will discuss clustering at the following tiers: Global Load
Balancing, Site Level Load, Balancing, Web Server Plugins, SSL Accelerators, J2EE™ Application Clustering, Caching
HA Database, SAN/Veritas Volume Manager.

He will also focus on some protocols like HTTP, HTTPS, RMI, Protocol Tunneling etc.

About the speaker:
Ashok Banerjee, Engineering Manager at Google, works on the Google Billing Server. Prior to Google, Ashok designed and implemented Clustering (Load Balancing and Failover) on the Oracle Application Server and worked on the internals of the WebLogic Server. His interests include distributed computing, distributed transactions,
high performance messaging and persistence.

NOTE: Seating is limited, so registration is required for this FREE event.