Phil Windley’s CTO Breakfast

This morning was the November/December CTO Breakfast that Phil Windley
together. The breakfast started with a question about hiring good
talent. One of the employees from Canyon Bridge
said they have been looking to hire some good engineers, and have been
finding that few can answer some very simple questions. The
example that they gave was about reversing the order of a linked list.

There was a lot of talk about how to alter the hiring process, and also what types of questions people ask: What do you do outside of work? What Open Source projects do you work on?
There was also a lot of talk about how to gather names. Examples
were leverage your existing employees to get the names of “known good”
co-workers. The problem with this approach is that you can
quickly run out of references.

The conversation went on for a long time before it finally went over to the CP80
issue. CP80 is the “Clean Port 80” initiative to create laws
which forbid certain types of content to be delivered over port 80 …
the standard port used by web browsers. It again becomes an
interesting way to attempt to legislate morality. In the end, it
will not be technically possible, but could give lawyers a way to go
after the producers of “unacceptable” content. Yeah …
“unacceptable” to who? ([tags: ])

The conversation at one point moved to downloading content from the
Internet, and the subject of Digital Rights Management (DRM). 
Several sites were mentioned where you could get free content –  Pandora (which is a very cool streaming site – part of the Music Genome Project), and one of my favorites Epitonic. ([tags: ])

There was a brief exploration of the whole area of Wikis and the
inability of the “average” user to use “yet another markup
language”.  I have to admit that it truly aggrevates me that the
various Wiki platforms have subtle differences … and most do not
provide WYSIWYG editors.  and we spent some time discussing the
fact that there is a not a really good – Open Source – AJAX/WYSIWYG
editor.  I mentioned the fact that my parents can use Microsoft
Word, but that having to learn a whole symbology wasn’t going to
happen.  It reminded me of a great Podcast by Robert Lefkowitz @ OSCON 2005 … I’ll have to blog about that one!  ([tags: ])

Phil Burnes through out comments about Flock … a very cool Mozilla-based project, I brought up a very cool article that a friend sent me from Make
… it was about Mologogo
… which is a very cool mash-up of Cellular phones with GPS and Google
Maps giving you a very cheap “real-time” geopositioning/geolocation
system.  We wrapped up on one of my favorite subjects … wearable
computers.  We didn’t spend a lot of time on it … I’ll have to
bring some of my toys to one of the next breakfasts!  ([tags: ])

On the way out, Phil brought up a good point.  His gatherings
bring together an incredible group of people with diverse interests and
experience.  It is the level of experience of some of the people
that really brings a great spin to the whole conversation.  We
ended up going almost 2.5 hours … and it was a great conversation the
whole time … and we could have gone longer!  I’ll look forward
to January!

Jabra BT250v

Every now and then you buy a product that really just works.  I recently bought a Bluetooth headset for my cell phone – a Jabra BT250v
– and I have to admit that I am truly happy with this product. 
I’ve always used a headset, but the wired type.  When I upgraded
cell phones and bought a Nokia 6820
one of the features that I wanted was Bluetooth for a wireless
headset.  But I stuck with wired headsets for a year or two.

After destoying the wired headset for the second time by jerking the
headset out of my ear or catching the wire on various things, and
having to untangle the wire one too many times, I broke down and bought
the Jabra.  It is now something that I would not go without. 
The sound quality it great, it has a ‘vibrate’
feature so that I have now turned off the ring on my phone, and the
buttons on the earpiece allow me to answer a call, and change the

I have had two problems with it over the last month that I have had the
device.  The first I was warned about … if I am outside and
there is any wind, the people I am talking to immediately complain
about the wind noise.  I have learned to mute the phone, or warn
people that I am talking with.  The second was that one time the
headset locked up and would no longer communicate with my phone. 
The on-line support indicated that I would have to ‘reset’ the Jabra,
and that meant re-inserting it into the charging base … which was at
home.  That did piss me off.

One other thing that I have learned is that every now and then it will
‘disconnect’ from my cell phone, for example if I set down the phone
and walk away with the Jabra on my ear, or hooked in the neck of my
shirt.  Its easy to ‘reconnect’ by simply clicking the button on
the Jabra.  Likewise, if I switch my phone to speakerphone, and
then back to ‘normal’ the Jabra will be disconnected.  One quick
click on the Jabra button and it reconnects.  I have to say it is
one of the best investments I have made related to my cell phone. 
A very nice design, and very easy to use.