R. Emmett O'Ryan

R. Emmett O’Ryan is the pen name for an inventor, scientist, engineer, architect, program manager and author who has been living, working and writing in the Silicon Valley since the early '80s. He is a fourth generation Californian.

2012: The Future, Not the End of the World

Posted In Working in Tech
A friend and colleague from NASA’s Ames Research Center sent me an interesting email about a webpage they maintain at NASA dedicated to 2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won’t End? At first I had to scoff and thought to myself, “oh great, our tax dollars at work!” Thinking back at the “End of the World Scare” from last May (then October), and some of the hysteria it caused, I decided, “OK, this makes great sense for NASA… continue…

One Way of Setting Goals for the New Year

Posted In Working in Tech
Every since I left college, I have used the time at the end of each year to reflect on what I have done to achieve my goals, and then set new ones for the next 12 months. Yes, it sounds rather corny but for me it helps me measure my own personal and professional growth. In other words, I do this for ME, not my employer. Let me share a couple of secrets as background: I tend to be rather… continue…

Choosing What Training You Need

Posted In Working in Tech
Job Training
Recently at a meeting of a Coffee Club in Menlo Park and then at a virtual Skype mentoring session with a student I mentor from a university in New York, I heard the same question: “What high-tech training and skills do I need to learn now so that I can be competitive in the job market today and into the future?” Everything depends on the individual. It depends on your background, skills, capabilities, interests, and where your strengths and weaknesses… continue…

New Year’s Resolution: Take Charge of Your Training

Posted In Working in Tech
training
Many high-tech workers believe that if they work hard and do a great job, their companies will make sure that the employees have jobs and are rewarded for their loyalty. Part of that prize: the latest in training. It makes sense for the company to keep up-to-date with the latest and greatest in order to be able to compete, right? Wrong!  What may have been the case as recently as the 1990s hasn’t been true for a while. While it… continue…

How the Grinch Hacked Christmas

The Grinch
Here in Silicon Valley, we tend to share information and the latest developments with each other at lightning speed via IM, Twitter, Facebook, email, SMS, etc.  The grape vine here is probably faster than most government communications systems when it comes to getting information out. Last Friday, an extremely agitated colleague from a local Internet security company texted me. He said that “the worst data breach since WikiLeaks has happened.”  He proceeded. According to the link he sent, Santa got… continue…

Hospital Turns Away Patients Because of Computer Virus

malware
It’s long been feared that computer viruses or malware would someday disrupt critical infrastructure like hospitals.  And it looks like it’s finally happened. According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article on Dec. 9, the Gwinnett Medical Center in Gwinnett County, Ga., had to divert patients to other hospitals after a system-wide virus shut down patient registration at its campuses in Lawrenceville and Duluth.  The effects were felt throughout the system for all of last weekend. According to the article, “the infection,… continue…

The Best Approaches to Job Hunting in Silicon Valley

What are the best approaches to job hunting in Silicon Valley? Here’s how I go about it. Resumes and Curriculum Vitae (CV) I personally take a different tack than most: I always have an up-to-date resume and CV available. I have a master CV which I keep updated on a monthly basis, and revise it again when something eventful happens (like learning a new technology or programming language).  My personal CV is currently about 30 pages long and covers my… continue…

Latte From Your iPhone

Posted In Living in Tech
coffee
Coffee lovers, this may be the best news you read all day. Back in 1996 at Digital’s Western Research Lab in Palo Alto, California, one of the experiments conducted by research engineers involved their newest machine. The objective: use the new Java programming language and engineering skills to remotely brew a perfect cup of cappuccino in the office kitchen. After three weeks of programming and development and connecting the electronic cappuccino maker to the R&D Network via a control module,… continue…

Silicon Valley’s Job Landscape

Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is an interesting place to work.  Once one of the most fertile valleys for agriculture in the United States, now it is the most fertile valley in the world for creativity, ideas  and new innovations–where new technologies are born and where people are constantly reinventing themselves and creating new industries. The Valley of today is not the same Valley of 1990s, when it was just “the Santa Clara Valley.” With the continued growth and speed of the Internet,… continue…

You Say ‘Hacker’ Like It’s a Bad Thing…

Hackers have had quite a year. From WikiLeaks and LulzSec to Anonymous to the guy who tapped into Scarlett Johansson’s cellphone, they’ve been cast as the villain du jour by the mainstream media. But what about the good things hackers have done?  Like the light bulb? “Hackers are NOT what the mainstream media portrays as people who break into networks, computers, and do bad things,” says Larry Maloney, a volunteer with the Hacker Dojo, a community center for those good… continue…