Posts about Technology
What mysteries await below the waves? Thanks to a new startup in the Grand Rapids area, exploring the depths of the sea, or just your local pond, just got easier. Fathom Drone offers the world’s first affordable modular underwater drone, allowing users to explore depths of up to 150 feet with stunning 1080p quality video. Similar to aerial drones, Fathom’s underwater model is controlled via a mobile app or a physical controller and can capture HD video and pictures that users can share directly to their favorite social media channels. Thanks to the Fathom Drone’s streamline design and the manufacturing methods, it is able to offer the Fathom One model for the price of $600.
Do unread messages make your skin crawl? Does the thought of setting up email filters make you break into a cold sweat? Did accidentally hitting ‘reply all’ send you into a mental tailspin? If you replied ‘YES!’ to any (or maybe all) of the above, you’re not alone.
With nearly 1 billion active users around the world, it’s safe to say that Gmail is one of the most popular email services out there. Google’s email powerhouse is relied upon by businesses, universities and everyday people. What is the reason for such widespread popularity you ask? With a killer mobile app and sensational plugins, features and settings, Gmail allows users to create an inbox experience that is unique to them. But true Gmail masters are few and far between. Such a feat takes years of careful practice, preparation and a borderline obsessive amount of labeling. No matter if you’re looking to become a Gmail deity or just looking to add a little extra productivity to your day, here are a few tips to help you tackle your inbox.
Tara Reed recently joined the Grand Circus team as our new Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR).
What is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence and why does Grand Circus have one?
Diversity gets talked about a lot in tech circles. It’s not a new issue but one that has become especially topical since Google’s famous (and damning) 2014 employee survey. The survey results laid bare Google’s record on diversity; only 30% of Google’s workforce are women, 3% Hispanic and 2% Black. Not good.
So why does this matter?
At Grand Circus, we think that the tech industry should reflect the diversity of our broader community. We’ve baked this idea into our core values and it guides how we hire team members, recruit students and design programs. I’m proud of our record but in city where 90% of the population is Black or Latino we have more work to do.
At Grand Circus, we know that people want to know where they’ll be able to use their skills once the bootcamp is over. One of the awesome things about learning .NET at Grand Circus is that there are lots of local companies that use this framework every day right in our own neighborhood. Here’s a brief sample of a few companies that use .NET where bootcamp graduates could possibly work.
Located just down the road from Grand Circus, Quicken Loans is an online mortgage lender that employs hundreds of developers. Quicken Loans was recently listed as one of the top 5 places to work in America by Forbes. The company has a large development team, so there are tons of seasoned developers to learn from as bootcamp graduates grow in their careers. Dozens of Grand Circus alumni currently work for Quicken Loans in a variety of positions—everything from interns to software developers!
If you are considering becoming a .NET developer through our .NET (C#) Development Bootcamp, here are 10 things to know about the language you should know before you embark on our bootcamp:
1. I heard that .NET was only for Windows or PC users. Is that true?
Not anymore! Thanks to .NET Core, a set of tools consisting of the runtime, library and compiler components, you can create apps that run on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. .NET Core runtime, libraries, and compiler are all open source on GitHub and are taking contributions. (more…)
You’ve already learned the basics of using the command line for beginners in Part 1. It’s time to get a bit more advanced. Now that we can move around and see where we are in our file system, we can use the file systems to create new files and directories. Personally, this is one set of commands that I find to be much faster than any method of creation offered by the operating system.
Setting up new directories & files
mkdir <new-directory-name> – This command is short for Make Directory. It may come as no surprise to you that this command creates a new directory. Like cd, mkdir needs an argument to use for the name of the new directory.
Now we have made files and directories and now we can move freely among them we can actually manipulate them with a new host of terminal commands.
cp <source-file> <destination-file> – The cp command is short for Copy. This command allows a user to make copies of current files. This commands needs two arguments. The first is to designate the file we wish to copy. The second is to name the file that we wish to copy to. That file may not currently exist and that’s okay. Like touch, cp will create the new file then copy the source file’s contents into it.
mv <source-file> <renamed-file-or-location> – The mv (Move) command allows for a couple of different applications. Firstly, we can, as the name implies, move a file to another destination. The other, less obvious, usage for this command is to rename files and folders.
rm <file-or-directory> – Finally if we need to get rid of a file we can use the rm command. Like cd, rm accepts an argument that is the path to the file you want to delete.
flags – As if all of this wasn’t enough, each of these commands can be modified through the cunning use of flags. A flag modified or changes the behavior of a command. Flags are applied after the command. For instance, if you use the –l command in conjunction with the ls command, so ls –l, the command still lists all of the directory’s contents, but in list form. Additionally, if we include a –a flag with our ls command it will list all files, even hidden ‘dot’ files. We can even combine them to do both!
That’s a lot! But we’ve barely even had a taste of working with the terminal. Maybe in the future we can look a little deeper at commands like top, more, and tail. Working with the terminal can be a great skill to become fluent with. Many great software tools are best operated from the command line (see: git). It is my opinion that fluency with the command line is non-negotiable, essential skill for the modern developer. For some other information and practice check out Code Academy’s course on the subject or this e-book called, fittingly, The Command Line Crash Course.
We’re taught to believe that there is a logical progression when it comes to our careers, that there are just certain things you can’t do in entry-level positions. One of those things is undoubtedly speaking at conferences. Conference speakers, in this collective narrative, are subject matter experts with years and years of experience under their belts. They know their stuff better than just about anyone. I’m here to tell you that, at least in tech, this isn’t always the case. You can start speaking like a developer quite early on in your career!
Public speaking is one of the things we as human beings fear most. Even if you’re comfortable in front of a crowd, you might not feel qualified to talk about something you’re still in the process of learning. Newsflash: you will always be in the process of learning to be a developer! All any of us can do is keep pushing to hone our skills and share what we know with others who want to keep improving. Speaking needn’t be entirely altruistic, however. Preparing for a presentation is, in and of itself, a great way to learn! You’ll want to make sure you know your material inside and out, which often means researching and figuring things out that you might not have known before. There are tons of benefits to be reaped from the experience. Conferences can be incredible opportunities for networking, especially as a speaker. A larger event is likely to have at least one gathering specifically for speakers. It’s valuable to just get your name out there as well. You never know who’s in the audience. You might get your next contract or job or investor because someone saw you present.
One important thing to keep in mind is that not all events are created equal. Not every single opportunity to speak is going to be worth your time. Do your homework on the organization running the particular event you’re interested in speaking at. If the event is far away, will the organizers pay for you lodging and/or travel costs? Do they have a code of conduct? Is it robust or does it feel more like they’re checking off a box? Are there scholarships available for people who wouldn’t be able to attend otherwise? Do they offer childcare? Perhaps the most important thing to consider for you as a person new to speaking is how willing the conference organizers are to work with you on your talk. Many will be very happy to help you come up with a snappy title, craft your session description, and outline your talking points.
That being said, the preparation is really on you, so pick a topic you care about! It’s a lot easier to learn and talk about something that you have a vested interest in. You don’t have to be the world’s leading expert. Conference organizers will very likely ask what your intended audience is. If that intended audience is composed of managers or designers or other non-technical people, you needn’t worrying about getting too deep into the nitty gritty of the subject. Give them a starting point to build on! Your slides should be an even further distilled version of the points you want to make. No one wants to read a wall of text or, even worse, watch you read a wall of text to them. Keep those slides short and sweet, then elaborate verbally. This will become easier and easier as you practice your talk. (Because obviously you’re going to practice it over and over and over again, right?) Show it to your reflection in the mirror, your stuffed animal collection, your family, your friends, coworkers, random people on the street… Just practice! You’ll develop a rhythm and it will eventually be easy to fall into even if distractions come up.
But where to start? Some conferences have resources specifically devoted to new speakers. These present an incredible opportunity to get a foot in the door. Future Insights puts on excellent events and is very to their new speakers. Their Rising Stars program is a great avenue for new speakers to put their ideas out to an international audience. AlterConf is a series of smaller events in many different cities that focuses on diversity in tech and gaming. Self.conference is an awesome event here in Detroit that welcomes new speakers as well as more seasoned professionals. My very first tech conference (as well as my first speaking gig) was there! Interested in finding more events to submit talks to? Check out @CallbackWomen on Twitter. They have a constant stream of information on great events to attend and calls for proposals.
No matter what you choose to talk about or where you choose to do it, whether your presentation is five minutes or fifty, remember that this whole process is about learning. Just as we as developers are constantly challenging ourselves to get better at the things we don’t know, it’s important to share the things that we do know. Even if it seems like you don’t know a whole heck of a lot right now, it has value and you can use it to help someone else along on their own journey!
Incipia is a more recent addition to the Grand Circus coworking community.Incipia is an emerging mobile tech firm that aims to help businesses stay relevant and accomplish their goals in the age of mobile by designing, developing and marketing mobile apps..
Metro-detroit natives, Gabe Kwakyi (Co-Founder/CEO) and Gregory (Co-Founder/CTO) were inspired to return to the Motor City and start Incipia.
“We love Detroit. We grew up around here and we know other people who are a part of Detroit’s economic resurgence,” said Gregory. “I have a sister, for example, who works for Gleaner’s Food Bank. She’s given me a really good impression of what’s happening here and really understanding how local businesses play into it. We’re around a lot of other people who are doing the same thing and it’s really contagious.”
The contagious can-do spirit longtime and new residents of Detroit generate is one reason why other people like Gabe and Greg are inspired to become a part of Detroit’s economic recovery. Startup communities, like Grand Circus and Bamboo Detroit, are giving creatives a place and resources they need to get their start.
“We really wanted to join the tech scene of the city. We chose to join Grand Circus because we really wanted to be with a lot of other tech-minded people and we also wanted to teach,” explained Gabe. (Gabe’s teaching a Facebook and Instagram Ads class in January!)
Why Detroit instead of cities like New York or San Francisco? The answer was obvious.
“I moved out to Seattle for a year and then spent 2 years in New York with Microsoft and came back here to Detroit. In New York or San Francisco, you’re one of the small fish in a large ocean,” said Gabe. “It’s a lot of other people doing the same thing that we are. It would be more difficult to stand out in other cities that are more established, compared to coming back to Detroit, where the tech scene is exciting and growing.”
So what exactly makes Incipia different than any other tech firm aimed at developing iOS applications? According to Gabe, it’s their business model and array of services.
“We settled on our services and our business model. We do everything related to mobile apps. It starts with designing the app – how does it look? How does it feel? What’s the branding? Then there’s the development – building it, getting a prototype, testing it out. And that’s where other companies stop,” explained Gabe. “We take the process a few steps further by helping companies build a marketing and monetization strategy to acquire users and hit their ROI goals, as well as and help companies maintain and grow their apps over time ”