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.

The Hacker Dojo is Home to Silicon Valley’s Cutting Edge Programmers

Inside Hacker_Dojo
One of the peculiarities of Silicon Valley is that communities of innovative and creative people tend to spring up. One of the earliest was the famous Homebrew Computer Club (with members like Steve Jobs and the Woz) in the mid 1970s. A more recent example is the Hacker Dojo in Mountain View. Formed as a permanent 24/7 place where programmers could meet and learn from each other, the Hacker Dojo calls itself “a community of engineers, artists, scientists, activists, entrepreneurs… continue…

What To Do When You’ve Being Laid Off After 17 Years

Posted In Looking in Tech
White Sands Coffee Mug
We had one fellow – we’ll call him Alan – join a meeting of the Coffee Club a couple of years ago. He’d just been laid off after 17 years in the same job as a mainframe systems programmer. His skills were dated and rusty and his previous employer did not wish to invest in helping keep its employees’ skills up-to-date.  Sound familiar? First thing we did was to turn Alan onto NOVA in Sunnyvale and the Career Action Center… continue…

Hackers, the Next Generation: Kids Show Off at DEF CON

In addition to Penn and Teller, writers from MAD magazine, a multitude of reporters, a multi-fold increase in the number of “friendly” representatives from U.S. Federal Agencies, and of course hackers and crackers by the thousands, this year’s DEF CON 19 in Las Vegas saw an unusual sight: kids. CBSNews Tech says there were as many as 60 kids aged 8 to 16 at this year’s event. Kids have been at previous DEF CONs, but this was the first time… continue…

Start a Coffee Club to Aid Your Job Search

Posted In Looking in Tech
White Sands Coffee Mug
Over the past six years I have had many friends and colleagues in sectors like IT, biotech, Internet, engineering and networking lose their jobs for one reason or another. While the impact has been particularly severe here in the Silicon Valley, it’s happened all over the U.S. No high tech center has been immune, and tech workers have had to become more adaptive, not only to face new and evolving technologies but to deal with  maddeningly myopic recruiters. Six years… continue…

Apple iCloud is Here… For the Chosen Ones

Clouds in the Sky
According to a recent eWeek article, Apple’s iCloud.com is now live but only available to registered developers. ICloud was touted as THE content repository for documents, photo, video, music, email and such at the June 6 Apple WWDC. This is a great way to share and synchronize all your content from your Mac, iPhone, iPod and iPad with each other – and have it secure, backed-up and available. This is certainly going to be a popular feature for all Apple devices. … continue…

Are Tech Companies Taking Their Eye Off Innovation?

Posted In Working in Tech
Campbell's Soup Can
Forbes just came out with its list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies, and the usual suspects are there: Amazon, Salesforce.com, Apple, Google, Altera, Boston Scientific, NetApp, Citirix Systems, Emerson Electric, Campbell’s Soup… Wait, Campbell’s Soup? Yes, Campbell’s is indeed listed. The company I work for didn’t make the grade but then I’m not surprised. Like many organizations impacted by a downtrend in business, one of the first items it cut was R&D funding. Examining the list more closely, I… continue…

Are Cisco Employees Valued, or Just Casualties of Management Missteps?

Posted In Working in Tech
Cisco Executive Briefing Center
Last Monday evening, as I was passing Cisco Systems headquarters on West Tasman Drive in San Jose, I knew something was up by the presence of three TV news vans with their antennas fully extended. A little while later, I heard on the radio that Cisco was laying off of 5,000 employees (of an approximate 70,700 population). I and others in the Silicon Valley have known Cisco has been in trouble for a while. Competitors have been eating into its… continue…