Category: Me

Launched GeForce.com finally!

This blog post is long overdue. The lapse in posts is because of this ginormous web app called www.geforce.com.

There have been a ton of write-ups about it and it’s definitely the most public and awesome thing I’ve ever been lucky enough to be a part of. This is really the whole reason why I moved out to California and lead the web team at NVIDIA was to architect this application. It is an incredible accomplishment and I’m extremely proud of everyone that made this happen.

some press:
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/news/video/nvidia-launches-geforcecom-website/

http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/extremewindows/archive/2010/11/09/nvidia-launches-geforce-com-announces-geforce-gtx-580.aspx

http://news.sketchucation.com/introducing-geforce-com/

http://news.bigdownload.com/2010/11/10/nvidia-launches-new-pc-game-based-site-geforce-com/

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2372512,00.asp

Award winning web development!

I’m very happy to be part of the multi-award winning NVIDIA web team. 🙂

We won the Outstanding Website Award for our industry and we beat Intel, Dell and bunch of other really big sites!

http://www.webaward.org/winner.asp?eid=12434

The second one we got was really cool because it was for one of our many Flex applications, the Game Browser. Unforunately, I didn’t get to build this entirely from the ground up. A previous(great) developer, Brian Strong built that. I wish I did because it’s realllly cool but I did make some updates like adding the video player and some new filters.

http://www.webaward.org/winner.asp?eid=12435

Shout out to Shawn for all his help.

Safari 4 is Fast!

Apple’s newest iteration of Safari is by far, the fastest browser available right now.  I’ll be the first to say that I didn’t believe them when they said it on Monday at the WWDC. After some due diligence and some testing myself, Safari 4 is 4.5x faster than Firefox 3 on my last gen Macbook Pro.

That saddens me. I looooove me some FF. Hopefully Minefield (Firefox’s codename for their nightly builds and unstable versions) will get some much needed upgrades to get it back to the top of the list. Until then, I’ll be rocking Safari 4. Hard.

Here’s a great little write up with some great charts(that i stole) on the same topic.

🙂

gotta keep it fresh

so yeah, i don’t post enough. need to keep posting or google is gonna drop me. 😀

here’s something that i launched a couple of weeks ago.

Pretty simple, just some filters based on XML data. The badass view was voted to the secondary view so make sure you find your way there.

i’ve been writing a lot of php/ajax lately. meh. boring if you ask me. 😛

hmmm…let’s see other news. flash builder is coming out. yeah, flash builder. not flex builder. i guess i’m still considered a ‘flex’ developer because i suck at timeline stuff in flash but besides that, i think i’m officially a Solutions Architect? i don’t know anymore, my current title is Senior Web Engineer and I like the ring of it but it’s not specific enough for me.

I guess being a jack of all trades is a good thing (obviously it is, i’m just complaining about no more flex builder). I joked at lunch today and called slums our very own Ozzie Smith. if some of you that don’t know who that is, he is one of the few players in the MLB to ever play every position on the field.

that’s all, new gti pics soon to follow. :D:D:D:D:D

remember me?

EDIT- To anyone looking for a remember me component for Flex, just use the shared object 😉

It’s been a long long time since I’ve written anything in here. Needless to say I haven’t really been focused on personal projects. I’ve been having a great time in California, it’s really been a complete 360 on everything that I’m used to.  Work has been insane to say the least.  I’ve launched a couple of things since september……

First we have a Game Browser and widget. Just some updates to the big one, added trailers, extra filters and tracking through Omniture. The little one is pretty cool, just about all of the same features as the big one, just less space to show em and an embed code for you to drop one on your page if you’d like.

Next we have a Graphics Plus Microsite and widget as well.  This campaign is showing off the power of the NVIDIA gpu. Very very cool stuff. The widget got over 130,000 impressions this month so far and has been embedded on over 1100 pages. Something that was left out of the job description here at NVIDIA is that there will be times when the Marketing department will have an idea and it will need to be spec’d, built, localized in 14 languages, and tracked in 2-3 week time frames.  It’s totally worth it in the end when you finally launch but it’s a little scary when you first hear the launch date.  Unfortunately no embed code for this widget, partners only.

An Optimized PC Configurator needed to be re-written to be more dynamic. It’s not really aesthetically pleasing, but it does what it needs to do and I didn’t have the say/time to re-design. The coolest thing about launching applications for a world wide company is seeing your app in japanese.  The first time you see the app you’ve been building for weeks in 14 different languages, it’s a great feeling. Here’s the configurator in English and Japanese.

Last is a simple widget that is hosted on the download confirmation page for the NVIDIA driver. This is one of those times where Marketing will come over and say “We need something here, can you have it by Friday?”.  It’s not great, design or code-wise, but it get’s over 15,000,000 impressions a month. 😀 Seriously, it gets that many impressions.  I can’t link directly because of ASP variables and whatnot but if you want to check it out, just download a driver or act like you are and click cancel when you are prompted for download. It’s the little widget at the bottom. It’s basically just the bottom half of the Games Browser Widget.

All apps are fully integrated with Omniture Web Analytics and are fully localized in 14 languages. That adds quite a bit to development but I’ve streamlined both processes so that it isn’t as big of a pain as it usually is.

So that’s it for the past 5 months. Usually most developers have worked on 1-2 projects per 6 months, I’ve been on about 10. From my favorite movie Fresh, Samuel Jackson – “Bring him to the park and put the clock on em, I’ll chew his ass up”. You really get to know a developer when it’s crunch time and the “clock is on em”.
I have two more apps that are in approval stage as I type and will be launching within the week. In the meantime, I’ve been stepping into the rails game. More from that wonderful world in the next post.

How it all started

I was trying to think about what to write about here first, and I thought, “Hey, It’s called robotoole.com for a reason”. So I will explain my trials and tribulations of becoming a software engineer in todays re-energized IT world.

It all started in 2002……ya it’s going to be one of those rants. I had just “graduated”, I use that term loosely because I didn’t get a relevant piece of paper that a real company gave a crap about. Who needs english class anyways? I guess human resources does because they could care less what you know unless you have a BS in comp science or equivalent. It was my own fault, I knew some basics of programming already from young AOL hacking and thought (pre 9-11, literally months), the market is so great, I just need some credentials and I’m in. I was so excited because I was chock full of Java knowledge and was ready to make my mark on the world wide web. Too bad it took me almost 4 years to get anyone to respond to my resume. I jumped from Atlanta to Boston to Hartford back to Atlanta and then back up to Boston where I finally found a job in Providence. Waiting tables and doing crappy HTML sites here and there trying to stay somewhat fresh the whole while. My first real opportunity was where I just left on Friday afternoon, Connect Studios.

This company was literally the best thing that could of ever happened to me. I was two weeks away from getting my real estate license and giving up on ever finding a programming job. Connect was a startup web development company and I was employee #3. It was myself(Java/Backend guy), a designer, and a php developer. As soon as I walked in the door I was learning. On my first day, my boss walked up to me and said “I want to make the blog on our site dynamic, I(my boss) threw it together in Flash and its just sitting there nice and static”. I thought to myself, did this guy even read my resume, where did it say I knew Flash…I thought he was kidding at first. Zomg! what I am I going to do?. Sourceforge to the rescue! On my first day I was editing a Flash Blog in Actionscript 2.0, and installing WordPress. It took me about 3 days to get it approved for our company website and mission 1 was accomplished. I built 1 and half html/php based sites (learning php as I went), and that was the last time I used Dreamweaver on a daily basis. About a month in, my boss walked in asked the php guy and myself if we wanted to learn Flex. It was right back to the old bread and butter. Software Development.

I jumped on the opportunity to get paid to learn, and the php guy is still editing drupal sites. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just think he has the wrong mindset for the IT field. Not wanting to learn anything new means you’ll be outdated very very quickly. You might have a good run if its something mainstream like PHP or Java but eventually you’ll need to learn something new. Very excitedly, I went to Barnes and Noble that evening and the bought the only Flex Book they had. Honestly I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought, sure I’ll learn this Flex thing for this project, no prob. Little did I know I was learning 3 languages over the course of this next month instead of just Flex. Actionscript 3, MXML, and ColdFusion for the backend. I was in over my head for that first month, big time. I stuck with it though, sitting in the corner with instrumental beats flowing through my headphones while I read and read and read. I can’t stress enough how incredible of a learning tool Lynda.com is as well. I honestly learned more there than anywhere else.

After the designer left and a new one stepped in that actually had a Flash programming background, it was on like donkey kong. I had someone there that could show me the intricacies of the Flash Player and Actionscript as a whole. There was a lot of “WTF that works in Actionscript 2.0” but after that initial shock that AS3 was actually a more structured programming language then the ever forgiving AS2, we really started to make some headway.

Luckily, my boss had no problem moving far away from the HTML based projects and towards the software development side of things. The only problem with the company was that my boss who was also the owner, was a partner in another company, the company that actually made him money instead of costing him money. He opened the web shop as a personal side project and it took way too much of his time away from his main source of income. Eventually it was myself and the two other developers running the show, because he couldn’t devote enough of his time to us. The natural progression of the quality of my code is what really impressed me the most, apart from the experience of running a web development company. Handling a client from the initial email inquiry to the final delivered product is something that cannot be taught. You have to experience that for yourself.

A little over a year and a half pass, and a lot of projects later, things started to change. The whole time I worked there, we were always kept in the loop. Then the visits slowly started diminishing as the last couple months let on. I got a funny feeling like something wasn’t right, so I updated my resume and posted it on Dice on a Sunday afternoon. When I posted my resume I had no intentions of leaving, just wanted to see what was out there for me if I did have to go back on the market. Sunday evening I posted it, Monday morning I was awoken by a recruiter, then another an hour later, then another, then another…until I took my phone number down. duh. I had no idea what to do. I tried for so long to get a real world job and got nothing, i mean NOTHING, in response, and now I have people emailing/calling me like I just won the lottery. The whole process was very surreal to say the least.

The one thing I made sure I did when I finally got this opportunity to write code for a living, was to not feel like I wasted a single moment. I really busted my ass for the past year and 7 months. A week hasn’t gone by where I didn’t work 50+ hours. Mostly ranging from 55-60 but who’s bragging. Not my girlfriend thats for sure. I really didn’t want to think I wasted this chance, and I didn’t. Not a second, Sun-Fri every week, whether it was crunch time or we were right on schedule. To see that it all came to fruition is the craziest part. I am a “hot commodity” now and I have the power to chose where and what to do.

Now if I had been writing Java this whole time the phone might not have been ringing as much, but it still would of been ringing. Flex is the future of the Rich Internet Application world. I am so excited to be a part of this ever growing community. I owe so much to this community that has taught almost everything I know, I can’t wait to pay it forward.