Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shovel Ready

I liked this meme from the TV this morning, am looking at several "shovel ready" initiatives right now: XRL, ToonTown and Gnu Math.

Unfortunately, that reads like an incomprehensible code language to non- readers of these blogs, meaning attracting investments, even with stimulus money, gets to be an exercise in translation. Let's see if you're lost.

XRL: eXtreme Remote Livingry, with a play on URL and eXtreme Programming (XP). Geeks wanna camp, witness Foo Camp and Bar Camp (from FUBAR), but don't want to lose bandwidth for so doing, ergo REI, Columbia Sportswear, North Face and like that (Banana Republic) need to think about jobs in this area. Some geeks expect to be carried (not saying they will be), others don't know how to safely survive if more than 30 feet from a fridge.

ToonTown: yes, thinking Roger Rabbit, also of Portland's ambitions to work with Japan on the Manga (storyboards, comics) it'll take to galvanize interest in engineering lifestyles. Destructive engineering, aka soldiering, is only appealing if you get to live on an aircraft carrier or fly planes, and those jobs are hard to come by i.e. we need more brands of Reality TV than just Pentagon channel (a kind of NCLB). Show 'em DNA splitting, chip fab, immune system cartoons -- the kind of stuff you need to know in health care, robotics, XRL design and recycling. Contributors in this area might include Pixar, ILM, and our local giant Laika, among others (I'm not tracking the Tokyo exchange the way some are)

Gnu Math: this is where we rescue kids from squaresville squeaky chalk world and switch 'em to "ClayMation Station" (note ToonTown and trains both in this picture). Geodesic spheres, not just because we think they're architecturally cool, but because Nature uses them to store carbon atoms, and viruses come in frequencies (more of that health care stuff). I've been writing it with Python, but have no disrespect for Ruby or Perl, just a competitive drive to apply spit and polish to what I know best. To each his own, and I'm quite open minded about Haskell, would happily attend lectures, though I'd probably need to keep running the laptop and multitasking a little. I'm hoping to attract sponsors to these efforts, have this Oregon Curriculum Network website ready for cloning, bouncing off.

Each of these are huge employment opportunities, and not just around Portland, Oregon. What'd be required is lots of fast meetings (some slow ones), maybe on the hoof like in West Wing, or Sports Night. We don't always get butt time in this business. On the other hand, geeks in their XRL HQS (call centers, editing stations, specialized care clinics) do lots of TV editing. That takes focus and concentration, as does reading and writing computer code, like I do so much.

On the health care front, what I've been focusing on lately is integrating LMR and CRR systems within your generic research hospital. Statistical studies work off clinical research records, not the legal medical record, at least a lot of the time, with a goal being to bridge these two sets more effectively. We see workflow issues, plan for HIPAA compliance, with FOSS offering all the technical ingredients at an affordable price point, even when you factor in developer costs. To talk about FOSS isn't to exclude Microsoft, a proud sponsor of OSCONs, Pycons, other venues (OS Bridge?).