Monday
Oct042010

The Social Network

image credit: Jeff Hester/FlickrI just seen the movie "The Social Network" and was blown away particularly by Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of Ben Mezrich's book "The Accidental Billionaires" and David Fincher's execution of the script. Whenever Hollywood does films about hackers, programmers, or the subject of computer science in general, it never gets details quite right. In stark contrast to these kinds of movies in the past, the Social Network delivers with stunning precision. The programs that were running on computer screens were accurate and the dialog with respect to programming jargon was as well. I love the line where Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) says, "I have to break out Emacs and modify that Perl script" and "I need a linux box with an Apache backend". Those lines or anything like them would have probably never made it into a mainstream Hollywood movie if it were not for the due diligence of the filmakers. Aarons Sorkin's style of fast paced highly intellectual dialog was perfect for this film. The way the screenplay was executed by the actors, particularly Jesse Eisenberg was flawless. This movie is so much about our time, about this generation, and about taking chances, and not settling for the status quo. With that said, I think that it is unfortunate that some will walk away from this movie thinking that this is the actual story as fact, and that Jesse Eisenberg's Mark Zuckerberg is the Mark Zuckerberg. This would not be unlike the way some reacted to the movie "The Pirates of Silicon Valley" and its depiction of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. I will say that in reading Ben Mezrich's unauthorized book and reading David Kirkpatrick's authorized book, there are overlapping parts of the story and where Ben Mezrich is one heck of a good story teller (see also "Bringing Down the House") it is just that - a story of what may have happened and Mezrich stipulates just that. If you want a more non-fiction account see David Kirkpatrick's book "The Facebook Effect" which to me is just as interesting, actually even more. In closing, this film is a must see and I would love to read your comments.

Sunday
Apr252010

Summer of Code

image credit: Rodrigo Paoletti/FlickrEvery summer Google hosts an event called "Google Summer of Code". It is a chance for student developers to get experience in writing code for open source projects and get paid for doing it. Google describes it as the following:

Google Summer of Code is a global program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects. We have worked with several open source, free software, and technology-related groups to identify and fund several projects over a three month period. Since its inception in 2005, the program has brought together nearly 2500 successful student participants and 2500 mentors from 98 countries worldwide, all for the love of code. Through Google Summer of Code, accepted student applicants are paired with a mentor or mentors from the participating projects, thus gaining exposure to real-world software development scenarios and the opportunity for employment in areas related to their academic pursuits. In turn, the participating projects are able to more easily identify and bring in new developers. Best of all, more source code is created and released for the use and benefit of all.

 

 

Sunday
Apr252010

So You Want To Become a Hacker

image credit: Ton MJ/FlickrThere has been a lot of coverage in the press over the past couple of years about hackers (particularly the illegal and malicious exploits associated with them). However, being a "hacker" doesn't really mean that at all. A Hacker is a person who takes a lot of interest in manipulating technology to bend to their will. The malicious and illegal activity the media talks about refers to "crackers" or "script kiddies". That said, if you want to become a hacker, there are a lot of resources available these days that were not available years ago, particularly via the internet. An excellent resource to get you started is Eric S. Raymond's essay "How To Become A Hacker". It is filled with exceptional advice and guidance. So if you are ready to dive into the world of hacking, check out this website: "How to Become A Hacker".