It’s that time of year again, when I’m preparing to teach Introduction to Software Engineering at UofT. This will be my third time teaching the course and I have more students than ever, almost twice as many as last year. As part of this course, third-year students in computer science work in teams to implement a software application for a client. Consequently, a lot of the preparatory work is finding clients. Our clients have been non-profits, social enterprises, and schools that needed some software built. Here are some Q&A to help you decide if this is a good opportunity for your organization.
A blog post on Backblaze’s web site shares stories from employees, friends, and families about how they participated in a “hard drive farming.” In this scheme, they purchased external hard drives two at a time from retail stores and sent them to Backblaze to help the company survive a worldwide hard drive shortage. Although the stories are engaging and the images are amusing, underneath it’s a story about how climate change affected a Silicon Valley startup’s business plan. The hard drive shortage was caused by unprecedented flooding in Thailand, which produces about half of the world’s hard drives.
OK, dear readers, are we ready for another TWO examples of sub-optimal information systems design?
Example 1. I cannot order printed cheques for a new account from a third-party vendor, because I have never ordered cheques before.
I will be teaching CSC 301: Introduction to Software Engineering at University of Toronto this fall. The course is meant to teach software process for small teams, also known as agile. Students work in teams to complete a software project. I would like the projects to be for social enterprises to incorporate service learning into the course. As a result, I am now looking for non-profits or social enterprises who need some software built. Here are some Q&A to help you decide if this is a good opportunity for you.
After careful consideration and discussion, we have chosen the winners of the Singular Source Short Story Contest.
We received a total of eight submissions to the short story contest, which made for a small slate of high quality candidates. There were no bad stories and every one was entertaining in some way. Every entry was read by all three judges independently. We subsequently met to discuss our assessments and to decide on a winner. (Actually, getting all of us together at the same time for a conference call was the most difficult part of the process.)
I develop software for Many Roads Studios.
I'm a sessional lecturer for the Department of Computer Science at University of Toronto.
In all things, I see puzzles. I like figuring out how to make hardware and software do what I need them to. I like to figure out why things are they way they are, especially human relations and human institutions. I also see social justice as both an engineering problem and a social process.