September 2, 2005
First off, I left JPL a few years ago. It was sad but they are running out of funding for the big space projects and it doesn't look like things will change soon. The last time I looked for work was in 1995(!) Let me tell you the face of computer work has changed dramatically since then. The Web seems to have sucked up most of the computer types for website work. This does not surprise me. What surprised me is how all encompassing the demand was.
There are almost no straight programming jobs anymore. In fact, most computer jobs don't even resemble Computer Science anymore! Now, most computer jobs are what I call advanced window dressing! Lots of eye candy but no real substance or content.
In fact, I recently talked to a few new graduates in Computer Science from the local universities here. It seems the subject matter they teach now is mostly concerned to help you find a job rather than teach you computer science. So new graduates are now more concerned about making a pretty website rather than programming it to do something. What happened to basic algorithms and data structures? What happened to clean code and elegant design? They all get thrown out the window in support of the Web which was developed by a multitude of ad hoc committees which really don't communicate with each other.
Perhaps the time is ripe for a second wave of Real Programmers. :)
Although I have been doing Web related work for the past ten years, I also write custom software for scientific and business applications. I'm constantly looking for more work.
April 29, 2001
I also created CDs. I recently helped create a triple CD-ROM which is part of the Global Rain Forest Mapping Project. This triple CD maps out the rain forest of Central Western Africa. This is a joint project with several agencies including NASDA, Japan's counterpart to NASA. The data was generated from JERS-1, a Japanese satellite orbiting the Earth, and is the first of a series of 20-odd CDs to be produced showing the rain forests. One can actually see the destruction of these forests through controlled burning. This CD is also IS0-9660 compatible which means it can be read on multiple platforms including PC, Mac and Unix. These CDs are unique because the data included here are not easily accessible or impossible to get from other sources.
Earlier, I also helped create a double CD-ROM which is part of the Global Rain Forest Mapping Project. This double CD maps out the rain forest of South America.
I was also an upgrade webmaster for the Galileo homepage. Galileo was a very successful mission to Jupiter. Among other things, I have reorganized the FAQ and made a global clickable map of Europa, one of Jupiter's moons. It is speculated since Europa is one of the few moons in the solar system that contain substantial ice/water, there may be life on it!
I was one of the redesigners for the entire Imaging Radar homepage. I created an animated GIF below. It's pretty cool. Click the image below to see it.
I ported an educational CD-ROM from the Macintosh onto the PC platform. This project is getting a life of its own! I have ended up rewriting/reformatting most of the HTML and text files on the CD. The CD is now ISO-9660 compatible which means it can be read from multiple platforms including PC, Mac and Unix! In fact, the new CD is now on-line! It is connected directly to the CD-ROM drive on this machine so it may be a little slow in responding.
My previous tasks were to create webpages for the entire Radar Science and Engineering Section at JPL and a World Watch homepage for disaster preparedness. The latter webpage is a Red Cross-JPL joint effort.
six month contract was working with the
Imaging Radar group
Airborne Imaging Radar Synthetic Aperture Radar (AIRSAR) group.
One of my tasks is to bring up a web server on a
Power Macintosh (Mac)
computer and create the
I am using the
web server software for the
will have a feature where users may search for various
radar images and the order these images from a
database also located on the
I am writing the interface between
My first six month contract at JPL was programming in C and Fortran under the X-Windows and Unix environment on a DEC Alpha and Silicon Graphics machines. I was geocoding radar images for the Alaskan Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) facility.
In case you are curious, this is how I commute to JPL (62K GIF). How else am I going to beat the L. A. freeway traffic?
Last updated : December 16, 2005
Copyright 1995-2005 Al Wong, Los Angeles, California, USA