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Debugger, Summer 2008

 EDITOR'S NOTES

This will definitely be the first issue of The Debugger that I edit. Jim has retired. I thought it might have been an idle threat, but I should have known that Jim means what he says and as usual I was not able to change his mind. Jim has left a big hole in the department that we will struggle to fill. Now back to being the editor which would not have been my first choice. As the newly elected chairperson, I approached several of the faculty in an attempt to recruit an editor. You can guess at their response by the fact that I am now the editor.

This issue centers on the challenges facing me as a new chairperson and the challenges that are facing the department. The cover was inspired by my election to the chair. The question is will it be a throne or the electric chair? Time will tell, but the world does look different from this side of the looking glass. The “green” color for the cover is also symbolic in that I would like to go to an all electronic version of The Debugger. If things work out, this will be the last issue of The Debugger that is mailed in hardcopy form. This move may save a tree or two, but I have an ulterior motive. It will save us over $2,000 to go electronic and that savings can be used in many areas.

I have always felt a strong relationship with students and that has carried over to our alumni. In the past, when I reached out to our alumni, they have always been very gracious and interested in the department and IUP. I would like to strengthen the relationship between the department and our alumni. I believe that keeping in touch with the real world only helps us provide our students with a valuable relevant education. I frequently use the example of a swimmer. If all you have done is read about swimming, you have no idea of what it takes to stay afloat.

In addition to the regular features, this issue contains an article by Harold Price who was foolish enough to congratulate me on being elected and ask if he could help. I asked Harold to write an article in which he chronicles his career. I believe that it will not only be interesting, but might serve as an example of what can be accomplished, what were the critical decisions and circumstances that lead to his current position. This will be the initial article in a feature I call “How I See It”. If anyone wants to share their career path, or how you see it please let me know.

Homecoming is fast approaching and it is great to interact with past students and their families. Please consider this a personal invitation to attend the weekend and the homecoming breakfast.

Charley Shubra, Editor

 

From the Chair, Charlie Shubra

Well hello to all of our readers. This past May after a spirited election(many iterations or was it recursion), I was elected chairperson. I appreciate thecongratulations and condolences that manyof you sent. I spent the summer trying to understand budgeting, scheduling, travel, faculty management, student interactions, psychology etc. What a different view it is from this side of the looking glass. My limited experience has engendered anincreased appreciation for the challenges and efforts exerted by previous chairs. I want to thank the progression of chairs for their hard work most recently Bill Oblitey and Jim Wolfe. In the short period of time that I have been in office, I have found that Carol is indispensible (read that as I do not want her to retire in a year as she has promised). She works tirelessly while always having time for faculty, students and parents.

The department is facing many challenges, although I prefer to look at them as opportunities. Budgets remain tight as the university yet again is requiring a $420,000 cut in the budget of the college of NS&M on top of the cuts last year just to balance the budget. We ran the department on $55,000 last year which includes all but the faculty and staff costs.

In the past, faculty diligently worked together to produce courses packed with concepts, theory and practical applications. Our grads and interns performed very well and the grads and their employers told us that we were doing a good job. Now we have to be accredited which means a designated group (ABET or NSA) needs to assure us that we are doing a good job. This is fine except, we have to expend massive amounts of energy in theaccreditation process which takes away from the time and energy we could be using to keep up with the technology and doing research. We have made progress in the reaccreditation of our IA track. An initial step was in gaining recertification (good until 6/2013) for Information Systems Security Professionals, NSTISSI No. 4011, Senior System Managers, CNSSI No. 4012 and System Administrators, CNSSI No. 4013E. This effort was mainly headed up by Bill Oblitey and Rose Shumba. With that under our belts, we now strive for CAE-IA reaccreditation in the Fall 2008 semester. Efforts towards gaining ABET accreditation for the LAS track continue with a target date of Spring 2011 for the visit of the ABET team.

We have made progress in replacing some ageing computer lab equipment and some of our servers. See Joe Shyrock’s update on facilities. I also really appreciate the efforts and work ethic of our technical support staff.

We have excellent news on the enrollment front. We are welcoming close to 90 new freshmen or transfer students to our major this school year. Perhaps we have turned the corner on being able to meet the need for computer science grads. It will only take 4-5 years before these students graduate. Daily, I am receiving inquires from companies looking for graduates, interns or part time student workers. Numerous companies are looking to play a larger role in the department with PNC leading the way. We will be working to nourish these connections as a way to improve the educational and career opportunities available to our students.

The liberal studies component of the curriculum is undergoing a revision and perhaps information and technology literacy will finally have a place as one of the learning skills. There is some promise on this front. I will keep you informed.

We are going to conduct a search for two full time tenure track faculty positions this year. With retirements and faculty moving to other positions, the staffing is getting critical. We also have 1-2 retirements looming in the 2-3 year time span. We need to fill the current open positions with people of at least the same quality as those we have lost. I would love to be able to hire candidates with a strong industrial background and at least a master’s degree. This does not fit with the performance indicators set by PASSHE (Harrisburg) so we continue to be turned down by qualified PhD’s candidates.

I would like to report that the memorial service for Jim Maple went very well. There were many remembrances, tributes and a slide show which chronicled Jim’s life. The Maple family has established a scholarship fund in Jim’s name and I would encourage you to contribute to that worthy cause which goes to support students. To make a contribution complete the form included below.

Time for the Cobol class. Yes I am entering my 35th year of teaching Cobol and I still enjoy the students. With all of this going on, my golf game has suffered, but I know that I can still play as well as some of the grads (Larry Moon and Derek Fairman excluded).

 

Carol's Corner, Carol Miller

 

Hi Everyone!! Hope you all had a great summer and I hope to hear from you allabout it. The summer here at IUP was quiet and Indiana was quiet. The weather in Indiana could not have been more perfect.

As you know, we lost Jim Wolfe this summer when he decided he’d had enough of us and retired. We replaced him with six new faculty. No, I’m just kidding, it didn’t take that many.

Also want to send get well wishes to Tom Cunningham who is under the weather and to Tom’s wife, Helen, who is recuperating after surgery.

I had a quick email from Adnan Al- Ghourabi (5/02) about a job opening as an IT Associate with IHS, Inc. I tried to get the word out Adnan, but I’m not sure how successful I was. Good luck!! Thanks for thinking of us.

I also had a nice email from Derek Ochs (12/95). I was happy to hear that Derek has been reading his Debugger and has noticed the many changes in the department. You know, Derek, since you’ve been reading the Debugger and haven’t contacted us in all these years, I think you need to send a cheesecake!! So, what’s Derek been up to these many, many years? After leaving IUP he went to Shared Medical Systems (which is now part of Siemens) for five years. He then went to Columbus Ohio and worked for UUNet ( which is an ISP) for another five years. While he was at UUNet, they were bought by Worldcom which eventually changed it's name to MCI and then became one of the biggest Bankruptcies in history. (Do you think Derek working there had anything to do with that??? Just kidding!!!) Then, he decided to change things a bit and took a job consulting for BMW in Dublin Ohio. A year later, he met a man who was beginning a startup company called ClearSaleing; Derek joined him and is there as we speak. ClearSaleing designs software that allows companies to track and manage their online advertising. The company is doing very well and has fifteen employees now as well as a large customer base. Most of Derek’s work is on the Microsoft and Sql Server platform, and he’s mainly programming using ASP.Net and C#. At peak times, their system has to handle over 400 web transactions per second, so there is a lot more challenge in this job than in previous jobs. While he was at MCI, he met Denise and they were married in 2001 and now have three year old Nathan who keeps them on their toes, not to mention they just bought a house in Dublin Ohio. We congratulate you, Derek, on your marriage, your son and your life accomplishments. Derek promised to send a picture but I haven’t gotten it yet (double cheesecake!) Derek, if I remember, and I’m not sure that I do, you’re from somewhere like Marienville which is not too far to drive here for Homecoming breakfast if you spend the weekend with your parents!! Think about it.

Also, heard briefly from Dave Wagner (12/84). Dave’s daughter is going to be looking at colleges and just could be looking at IUP and just could stop in here at some point. It would be kind of nice to meet Dave’s daughter and let her know that she can pretty much do as she pleases in college and her old man can’t say much about it, right Dave??? Great hearing from you, Dave.

Angela and Brian Rhea (5/02) sent pictures of Ava Leigh. She is just adorable, and I think she looks like her grandfather, Tom Kirkpatrick. Angie has started a new career as an Avon representative so she can be a stay-at-home mom to Ava. Hope all goes well with that Angie. Always good to hear from you and see those pictures! Also, I heard through the grapevine that Brian has gotten a nice promotion at Wachovia to Vice President of Technology. I’m not sure I have that title right; so, if not, you can let me know.

Ben Dadson’s (12/93) daughter, Helena, was part of the group of East Pike Elementary School that recently has been given a CAR United Project “Kids and Plant, Naturally” award for their courtyard project at East Pike School where they’ve transformed the courtyard into a bird and butterfly garden. Not sure when we last had an update from Ben, but he is still here at IUP and is an assistant dean in the College of Humanities.

Our congratulations to Zach Palmer (5/04) on his admission John Hopkins University to pursue a Ph.D. He was also granted a graduate assistantship. He will begin in the fall and we all wish you the best of luck, Zach. Please keep us posted on your progress!

I had a really nice phone call from Denise Cattley (8/88) and discovered she was the person who stopped in to see me one day after I had already left. She was on her way through from Ohio (she lives in Columbus) to visit St. Francis College in Loretto PA where she was investigating programs for physicians assistants. So, Denise is planning a big career change. She’s been an employee, a consultant, self employed and, since 2003, a massage therapist and is also going to school full time. She’s a very busy girl. It was so great talking with you Denise and I do hope you’ll stop in again and see us. Let me know which school you decide on.

Valerie Bonito (12/93) sent me wonderful pictures from her European Tour. Also got a few emails as she was traveling. I think Val had a BALL. One of her messages said she wasn’t sure she was coming back. Well, Val, I know you made it back, and I’m so happy for you that you got the opportunity for a trip like that. Thank you SO much for the emails and most of the all the pictures. I really enjoyed seeing them - although I’m sure I didn’t enjoy them half as much seeing them as you did taking them.

Melissa Peters (5/08) accepted a job with Cliffstar Corporation of Dunkirk, NY . Cliffstar is the largest manufacturer of private label juice in the United States and Melissa is a Crystal Reports programmer. She really likes the people at Cliffstar and says it’s a great company to work for. Thanks Melissa for the update. Please remember to keep in touch.

Ron Edwards (8/89) stopped in one day. However, it was a Saturday so we weren’t in the office. Ron even sent a picture of him trying to get in the locked building. Now, Ron didn’t know it at the time, but we were actually over in Sutton Hall since that was the day of Jim Maple’s memorial service in the Blue Room. Had he known, he would have stopped over. He did Drive around town and walk through campus taking pictures and visiting their former residences, checking out the HUB and the Oak Grove and seeing what’s new uptown. Ron said he heard that the construction/development here is the largest in the nation. If any of you alumni out there haven’t been on campus for awhile, you really need to make the trip. You won’t believe it! Ron is also coming to the alumni breakfast this fall. It will be great to see you in person Ron, rather than as an image breaking into the building. And, I think Ron has been in touch with TJ Hall about a Pittsburgh reunion so keep your ears open for news on that. Thank you, Ron, for the update. I’ll see you in October.

I also heard from Alan Daily (5/89) and, as Alan said, “long time, no chat”. Ain’t that the truth?? I can tell by Alan’s email that he hasn’t changed a bit over the years. Right now he is a Sr. Network Engineer at nationalgrid which is an international energy company. He takes care of the data/voice network from wall jack to wall jack with all the switches, routers and WAN links in between. His background includes CTO & CBO of the Acton Lab; Senior System Administrator of ICS Corporation; Senior Programmer Analyst for AIM Corporation and as a programmer for North American Communications. And, his best and most favorite role yet - Alan and his wife, Yvonne, have a four year old son, Sean, and they’re living in Acton, MA. Alan, it was great to hear from you and don’t be such a stranger.

Patrick Conroy (5/75) sent a nice note on the passing of Jim Maple, and I did pass that along to his family. Thank you so much for your kind words.

I had a wonderful email from Holly (Anthony) Whoolery (5/00) who said she loves reading about her classmates every time the Debugger is delivered and finally got around to writing. Thanks, Holly!! She has a wonderful website and I will include the address, but she also gave me the highlights and I will give them to you. She’s been married since June 24th 2006 to Kerry Whoolery Jr. and they bought a house in Fairchance PA which is right outside of Uniontown. They have a child, Cody, who was born in May of 2007; however, their first child, Noah, who was born in January 2006 was a victim of SIDS in April of 2006. Our condolences to you both on your loss. They also have five cats, Digger, Cali, Ally, Lucky and Little D. Holly is currently working as a programmer analyst in Uniontown PA for OST, Inc. which is a small business that contracts with many companies, both private and public. Right now she’s working on a project for the FAA. She just started with OST in April, and she loves the ten minute commute (vs. the commute to Cranberry she had before), the people are great and the project she is currently working on is converting an automated frequency application from VB to VB.NET. Holly and Kerry’s website is http://www.freewebs.com/whoolerys/, so please feel free to take a look at it. I know you’ll enjoy reading about Holly and how she met Kerry and their life. Thanks so much Holly for writing. Come for Homecoming breakfast!

Chris Wastchak (5/03) sent me a nice update. Chris switched jobs from Mindmatrix to Gather, Inc. www.gather.com where he is doing Java and says it is very exciting and cutting edge social network-y stuff and it really keeps him busy. Chris and Jennie are living in Penn Hills, outside Pittsburgh and other than work, he is doing kid things - lots of running around, parks, zoo, SandCastle, pools, friends, church, etc. Charlee will be three on September 9 and Eli turned one in May but Chris says Eli is commonly mistaken for a 2+ yr old for maturity and size. Jennie is being a stayat- home mommy and Chris said her job is tougher than his. We all believe that!! So, life is good for Chris and Jennie and they’re planning on coming up for homecoming breakfast hopefully. Great hearing from you, Chris and I sure hope to see you at breakfast in October.

I had a nice email from Drax Felton (5/99). Drax had been working for First Commonwealth Bank in Indiana; but he left that position and moved to North Carolina and is now working for Lowe transportation and logistics. They are the ones who route all the trucks to make sure they get the hammers, nails, and ceiling fans to the right stores. He’s currently working on modernizing the transportation department’s platform by moving it to a Service Oriented Architecture. Drax said Lowe’s is chronically short of IT staff, and he’ll will gladly provide contacts to anyone from IUP who wants to work in sunny Mooresville, NC for a Fortune Top 50 company that spends zillions of dollars on IT. (Drax, you should get a raise for giving them that plug.) His wife Laura just graduated from IUP’s Post Masters Certificate in School Psychology program. She interned in North Carolina, so that wasn’t such a bad thing. On February 28th they had a baby boy. His name is Paul Robert Felton. We send congratulations on becoming a father! Thanks so much, Drax, for keeping in touch and please continue to do so. If anyone wants to contact Drax about jobs, his email address is Drax.R.Felton-2@lowes.com 

Mike McFail (12/07) is entering a Ph.D. program in Computer Science at Purdue this fall. We wish you much success and luck in your studies, Mike. I know you’ll do well. Please keep us informed on how it’s going.

Eric Smith (5/99) called one day. He was looking for help for one of the non-profit organizations in this area his company is affiliated with and I hope Bill Oblitey contacted you about this, Eric. Eric is still working for Bank of America. He’s also pursing his MBA at the University of Delaware, he’s still single and he’s rented a condo at Rehobeth Beach DE for the summer. So, we still have time, let’s all go down and visit.

And, I had company on another day I was off (hey I do work some of the time!!). I was really sorry to have missed Warren Hilton (5/95), his wife, Jana, and their little girl, Kennedy. I felt really badly that I missed you guys. I would have loved to meet Kennedy. Why don’t you come for the Homecoming Breakfast!

Congratulations are in order for the Ringhoff family. I had an email from Vickie (Pearce) (12/94) telling me that little Rylee is going to be a big sister in October. Vickie, Jeremy and Rylee are going to welcome a new baby girl into the family. Keep us posted Vickie. I was trying to convince them they need to come to the Homecoming breakfast but Vickie thinks that might be cutting things a bit close.

All you alums who live in Indiana probably read the nice article in the Indiana Gazette about MobilVox, Inc. which is a wireless technology and software development company located in Reston VA but they’ve opened a branch right here in Indiana. They’ve just received a large grant from Homeland Security to develop software to prevent radio controlled improvised explosive devices in the US and many of our grads are now working for them. One of the first was Todd Orange (12/03) and the article names Geffrey Caruso (12/00). We’ve had several interns there over the years and they’ve pretty much all stayed with the company. Gary Esworthy (12/08) and Adam Altemus (5/07) are a couple more. Adam is aslso helping with our programming team this semester. Thanks Adam!!

Brad Crooks (12/88) is now a Senior Sales Engineer at Violin Memory in Pittsburgh. We hadn’t heard from Brad for awhile and considering his parents live right here in Indiana, all I can say is “shame on you Brad”. But, you are forgiven. Brad has a rather checkered past - work past that is. He has worked as a consultant at Software Specialists, Inc.; a citrix architect at Bayer; as team lead at Citrix Cerner at UPMC; Channel Application Engineer at Intel Corporation; Senior Sales Engineer at Westinghouse Communications; Senior Telecommunication Analyst at PPG; Senior Sales Consultant at Entex Information Services; Consultant at Unisys Government Systems; and as a Consultant at Marriott Corporation. Did I miss anything Brad? I know Brad has three children but I have no details. You know, Brad, homecoming is coming up and your kids would love to see the parade.

Mike Whyte (5/01) was kind enough to send us a couple job descriptions from Penn State - which I tried to get out there. Thanks Mike to you, too, for thinking of us.

I have news of Joe Oravec (12/89). Joe is a software Engineer at Lockheed Martin and has been with the company since 2007.

And, also news of Mike Krynicki (5/95) who is now a sales engineer at Verizon Business. Prior to that he was Vice President of Strategic Services at 4C Technologies in Pittsburgh. Mike, we haven’t seen you for awhile either!!

I had a really nice visit from Bonnie (Slowik) Matous (5/96) and two of the kids, Becca who is now 2 and she is as sharp as a little tack, and Sara, the baby, who is six months old. Sara was a surprise for me. I hadn’t known she and Tony (5/98) had had a third child. Ben, who is four, was off doing his own thing that day. Bonnie, it was really great to see you. Stop in any time.

Quinn Yost (12/96) , his wife, Rhonda and their two kids, Zaphillia and Zachary, stopped in for a visit one day they were in town visiting Quinn’s family; and the kids, in fact, were going to spend a couple weeks here. Those kids are really something. We had fun while they were here. They are still living in Des Plaines IL and Quinn is still working for Endeaver Corporation. It was great seeing you all and I hope you stop in again next time you’re in town. I also had a really nice visit from Tanja (Soltis)Petersen (12/01) along with Noah and Bridgette who are two of the cutest kids on earth. Anybody out there who knows Noah’s dad, Brian (5/02), would be scared straight if you saw Noah. He is the absolute clone of Brian. When I saw him walking down the hall and my mind was somewhere else, I thought “Oh, there’s Brian Petersen”, then I realized he was three feet tall. It’s scary!!! I think I told you in the last edition that Bridgette is a leap baby, so she won’t be one for another four years. Brian is working downstairs in Stright and Tanja and the kids stop in fairly often plus I see Tanja out walking on occasion. Tanja is going to give me an update on Sherri Soltis (12/95) and on Dan Sterrett (12/04). Thanks Tanja!!! It’s great seeing you.

Todd Campbell (5/98) is a Web/Email Marketing Specialist at Cox Communications in San Diego. Previously he was Web Developer at Cirgular Wireless and a Software Developer at Shared Medical Systems. I don’t think we’ve heard from Todd since he was at Shared, so, Todd, we need to hear more from you.

Jennifer (Baldwin) Taylor (5/91) sent me a long overdue email and she even said I could flog her for not checking in. I’ll flog you a little bit, Jen; partly because you aren’t the only one and partly because you have such interesting news. The past two summers Jen took a leave of absence from her job as a senior program manager at CleanCustomers LLC to adopt two little boys: Andrew from Kazakhstan in 2006 and James from Guatemala in 2007. She spent 2 ½ months in Kazakhstan and came home with a 12 month old son, and a meager command of the Russian language. Her trip last summer to Guatemala was for only a week. She not only came home with James, but she got to use her high school and college Spanish trying to communicate with James’ foster mother. She wasn’t planning on another summer off this year, but the economy took care of that when she was laid off in April. So she will spend this summer looking for a job (although I think from her blog that she already has found one, she just didn’t say where it is). The biggest thing she’s going to miss about her job is the handful of IUPers she worked with. The Taylors have a blog with lots of pictures. It’s at mowgie.blogspot.com and be prepared to spend a lot of time, because it has a lot of information and it’s really fun. Actually, Jen, I printed out the whole thing and spent several evenings reading about your new family and all the milestones you’ve gone through. It was great!!

Mike Pace (12/03) is an Operating Systems Engineer at UPMC in Pittsburgh. Prior to that he worked at Raytheon. Send us an email, Mike, and let us know how things are going.

I think Zack Howe (12/96) has changed jobs since we talked with him. He’s now an ETL Architect for Bank of America. He’s no longer working as an ETL Consultant for Coca Cola. We haven’t seen you for a bit, Zack - breakfast is coming up!!!

I had a great visit with Dan O’Donnell (12/87). Dan was with his daughter, Mariah, who is looking at colleges (that made me feel REALLY old). We caught up on a lot of lost time. Dan has two other children, Brianna and Ian and I’m sure they will be visiting IUP, too, when the time comes. Dan had been working under contract for Siemens in Malvern, but he, too, was a victim of layoffs and has been idle since April; and, let me tell you, he looks really broken up by having the summer off. He plans on looking for another job at the end of summer and has a few leads. He was telling me about being at a conference in Utah and ran into Chris Munson (5/87) and they were discussing TJ Hall (5/88) and who walks by, but TJ. So, they had a really nice time together. Dan, it was really great to see you and hopefully we’ll be seeing you once in awhile in the future.

And, Donnie Wishard (5/95) is planning on coming the the Homecoming Breakfast this year. It will be great!!

I had a long, wonderful email from Rene (Morozowich) Karnash (5/01) and she had big news. She and Patrick had a little boy (Eli James) on June 13. He was 7 lbs. 8 oz. And 20.5 inches long. She sent a website which, of course, I’m including, for you to check out pictures and videos. It’s www.patrickandrene.com. They are all doing well - getting to know and like each other! They also moved. Patrick changed jobs and is now working for the township where they grew up. He is the Facility Manager of the Hempfield Township Athletic Complex. So they moved to Irwin just a few weeks before Eli came and they’re right down the road from Rene’s parents which I’m sure has really been helpful in these early weeks on first motherhood. Rene’ is planning on going back to work in September to West Virginia Career Institute in Uniontown. She wanted to try for something closer but hasn’t had much luck so far. She got her master’s in Multimedia Technology at California University of PA . She’d like to find something a little closer to home so she can spend more time with Eli. Nicole was on campus for May graduation. Her sister graduated with her BS in chemistry. We applaud Nichole on her graduation. Wish we could have seen you when you were here, but it was so great to hear from you, Rene’, and hopefully you’ll make a trip up here in the near future.

Jane (Cunningham) Harnagy (5/87) and husband, Bob, have been very busy in the ice cream/pizza business they’ve been running for the past couple years and summer is their busy busy time. Jane would like to make a trip to PA to see her mom and dad since they’re both having a bout of not so good health, and hopefully she’ll be able to get away and come visit.

I think that’s all the news I have for now. I want to remind everyone about the Homecoming Breakfast on Saturday, October 4 at 9:00 a.m. in 327/329 Stright Hall. Please try to make it!!

Carol

 

News from Tompkins Lab, Joseph Shyrock

 

The beginning of the semester is here and everything is busy as usual. There are some new things down the road for the department. For beginners a new server just arrived. It is a Dell PowerEdge, 1950. It is a pretty impressive machine. It was 4GB of memory and 1 TB of storage. The server will be slowly taking over the role of the server HETNT1 (nearly eight years old.). This server hosts applications and runs metering software for the classrooms and open lab for comp sci. In addition to the replacement of HETNT1, KODIAK is also being replaced. The replacement for KODIAK will be online for the spring classes. More on this to follow soon... In addition to the new severs, we are anticipating getting new machines for Tompkins lab (and Stright 220 lab). The specs have not yet been pinned down yet. I do know they will be Lenovo machines; the state contract with Dell is over.

The department is also finishing up installations of new multimedia equipment in Stright 229 and 331. This will then mean every classroom in Stright hall will be equipped with a computer and projector along with a DVD and VCR player.

I'll be sure to let you know how the new lab computers and Linux server are coming along in my next update!

 

How I See It

 

Harold Price - IUP CS graduate, 1978. I’ve worked in my field since graduation (and a few years before that). I had a traditional job for a few years, and have been consulting for large and small companies, and working with start ups for many years. I do my consulting work from a corporation I own, and I usually aggregate the work of other consultants and contractors.

Career Timeline:

1. IUP - Transferred from Music Education to Computer Science, 2nd semester freshman.     · 1st semester sophomore, through my senior year, worked at computer center as a programmer. Started for a few hours a week at work study wages, ended up nearly full time for standard wages. · First post graduation job, worked at Honeywell, major mainframe computer manufacturer, they were hiring people who had used the operating system that was used at IUP.    · While working that job, started working on an embedded systems and communications protocol project as a hobby (amateur radio/packet radio).    · After five years, left the “real” job to become an independent consultant, working on commercialization of the hobby project for use with low earth orbit satellites.    · After about five years, consulted for, and then worked full time for a startup company that used embedded systems and similar communications protocols.    · After about five years, left that company and went back to being an independent consultant, swearing never to be an employee again.    · Consulted on several major projects, using embedded systems and communication protocols.    · After about five years, I received backing from two partners I’d consulted for previously to form a small consulting company to “do interesting projects”. Worked on more space systems, including porting TCP/IP to a satellite for NASA and using it to run an embedded web server that hosted a telemetry page, all running on orbit, I managed a set of employees, contractors, and consultants, to develop one of the first streaming audio systems for radio stations that did interstitial ad insertion, and received a patent.    · After a few years, the partners rolled-up our consulting company into a larger group of companies with revenue of about $40M. I became VP, CTO, and an employee. After two years, I left, vowing never to be an employee again.    · Went back to consulting, and managed a team of four consultants and worked with two off shore companies to develop a WiFi-based music player for a startup, and also worked to support all the various long term projects I’d worked on in the past, streaming audio, satellites and other embedded products.    · After about five years, I’m now leading the same group from 15 years ago on an improved version of a product we designed and built, this time as an owner along with one of the original partners. It has all been largely based on knowledge gained from class work and working at the computer center, and the hobby project 25 years ago.

 

What have I learned that might be relevant?

1. Learn how to program, don’t learn a language. I credit IUP for this – it was a computer science program, and not a technical training school. In my career, I’ve made money writing code in 8 languages, 5 assemblers, and five operating systems, including Windows and Linux.

2. Knowing how to debug, or in the larger sense, problem solve, is important. I’m not sure it can be taught. It can be nurtured and practiced, however. It is all in asking the right questions, of others, or yourself. I’ve always debugged complex systems assuming something is true (or false, works either way), and do some simple experiments to prove the assumption. You’d be amazed at how many people are at a total loss as to how to proceed when something doesn’t work. If you are a problem solver, you will go far in your career.

3. While at Honeywell, a cynical but smart programmer told me that the job of management is to pay you as little as possible to get the job done, and if you didn’t ask for more pay, it was your own fault. Lesson – sometimes you will find yourself in a position to ask for, and get, additional compensation. Make sure you deserve it, can back it up, and ask.

4. Know what your company does, what your manager does, and make your “value add” address those issues. There is enough written about this elsewhere that I don’t have to here. I’m just going to testify that it is true. You have to bootstrap this. In your first job on the help desk, you aren’t going to be advising the CEO. But you can make yourself more valuable to the people above you. If you find yourself in a company that doesn’t encourage wider learning for the companies benefit, start looking for another job.

5. Consulting. I was working for Honeywell at the time of the personal computer explosion, and I was also working (for free) for an open source hardware and software project as a hobby – though we didn’t call it open source then. It was an ad-hoc group of mostly young people who made a “packet radio’ product – the first that was sold commercially for under $300. On that spare time job, I learned about hardware and hardware debugging, and embedded software. I found that I was having more fun working on this project than the mainframe project, and when the opportunity came up to consult for a company that wanted to use the technology to make a low earth orbit satellite using the packet radio technology, I took the job. Nearly everything I’ve done in my career since then has been an offshoot of a spare time project. Note: I did disclose to Honeywell that I was working with the hobby group, and you should make sure you follow your company guidelines as well.

6. I got lucky when I left my “real” job and became a consultant. There is much uncertainly for a consultant about where the next job is coming from, and how health care is paid for, and all the business aspects. Here, again, I got lucky. I had married an IUP accounting major at graduation, and by this time in her career, she had a good job. Her regular paycheck and healthcare made it possible for me to take the leap. Her accounting skills allowed me to concentrate on consulting, and not on the books, taxes, business license, sale tax forms, etc. That was lucky.

7. I’ve learned that it is possible to remain close to the technology, if you want to. You have to struggle against being promoted up past your fun zone, while still retaining a career growth path.

What’s coming next?

I’m the wrong guy to ask. When I was a student working on the inside at the computer center, mainframes where the only type of computers that mattered to me. My advisor, Dr. Tompkins, tried to interest me in a 6502 KIM-1 microprocessor board. It had a little button, a little light, and a couple of eightsegment display digits. I showed no interest, then. If I had, who knows – the 6502 processor led to Apple, and millionaires. The 8080 processor lead to Microsoft and even more millionaires. The mainframe operating system I ended up working on generated zero millionaires, which I met, anyway.

Heck, I worked on a mainframe email system and didn’t see the future lurking in email.

I can tell you this – be an early adopter. Keep training, read the journals, see how things fit together, try to understand the bigger issues, and be able to see how they affect you, your boss and your company. You may not be able to predict the future, to see the revolution before in comes, but if you can at least recognize it when it arrives, you’ll be better off than most people.

 

Highlights from the CREU group, Dr. Rosemary Shumba

 

I am happy to report some exciting achievements by the Women in Computer Science group at IUP, the CREU group. CREU is an acronym for (Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates in Computer Science and Engineering), a program funded by NSF through the ACM CRAW (Computer Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research).

The CREU group was started 2004, after receiving an ACM CREU grant to support undergraduate women research. During the 2004-2005 academic years, four students worked on a research project on "Computer Security Awareness". For the 2005-2006, CREU funded yet another project, "The Use of HCI Techniques in Security Tool Evaluation". During the 2006-2007 year we were funded to work on "Security and Biometrics”. In a paper presented at the 2007 ISECON, Dr Patricia Joseph, a Slippery Rock Computer Science professor, described the IUP group as one of the best advertisement for recruiting other women in computer science.

The group presents their research findings/work at both regional and national conferences, with one highlight being at the ACM Grace Hooper Conference in San Diego, in 2006. The Grace Hooper conference, named in honor of one of the pioneers in the development of the electronic computer is a very prestigious and the biggest ACM woman in computer science national conference. All expenses; board, flights and food were paid by the Dean, the department and the Graduate School. The CREU group is very thankful for the support.

Often, the CREU group has been invited to present at some SSHE schools in PA. In the fall of 2007, Slippery Rock, Computer Science department invited the group to present their research work/findings to female students and faculty. This event was a catalyst for the Slippery Rock students to start a similar group, under the mentorship of Drs; Patricia Joseph and Deborah Whitfield.

The CREU group runs a Big Sister- Little Sister mentorship. This program pairs freshman female students with seniors or juniors. To even further the program, this year, each freshman will be paired with CREU group alumni. Two of our alumni, Melissa Karolewski (Missy) and Ometere Ehinlaiye (Tute), who are both working and also in graduate school, have agreed to mentor the younger CREU group members.

Here is what some CREU group alumni are doing out there; Missy is working as a testing engineer for Lockheed Martin in Philadelphia while she studies for a Masters in Information Security at James Madison University. Tute is doing a Masters in Computer Information Systems with a concentration in Security at Boston University, Alicia Coon is working for NSA, and Jennifer Hiserodt is a Cyber Intelligence Analyst at the National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance in Pittsburgh while doing graduate studies in Information Security and Assurance at Robert Morris University. What a great accomplishment! Well done women!

There are great benefits of being a member of the CREU group. Besides gaining the research experience, students also receive a stipend of $3,000 (a year) for their work. This is paid fully by CRAW in two checks; first check comes in December and another one at the end of the academic year.

More work by the IUP CREU can be found at the below website: http://www.iup.edu/page.aspx?id=25415 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS, MARK YOUR CALENDARS

 Homecoming Breakfast 9am October 4, 2008 Contact Carol Miller to RSVP 724 357-2524 camiller@iup.edu Do It Now!

 Twenty Year Reunion If anyone is interested in a twenty-year reunion for the Class of 1988 over Homecoming weekend, contact T.J. Hall at thall02eds@yahoo.com with your thoughts and comments. Also, let him know if you are interested in helping to organize the event.

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