David comes out of the database world. He goes way back into the roots of “Cloudscape”, now known as Apache Derby; knows a whole lot about many layers of the big Java/database stack. He’s extremely hands-on and gets things done.

David’s blog is at Van Couvering Is Not a Verb and he’s on LinkedIn.

[Background:] Sun (along with a lot of the rest of the high-tech sector) has started shrinking its workforce. It seems that we’re axing whole projects rather than trying to spread the pain evenly. I totally support this approach, but the downside is that we lose good people who were working on projects that turn out not to be good investments for Sun in these tough times. So I’m going to use this blog to highlight people that I think smart employers out there should be looking at.

If you’re another Stray Sunbeam, publish something for me to link to and drop me a line.


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From: SusanJ (Jan 28 2009, at 14:51)

This is a suggestion for a possible career move for someone with the right personality, the freedom to do volunteer work for a while, and technical skills associated with document processing and converting documents to different formats.

Our US K-12 schools are spending large amounts of money to convert required educational materials to various accessible formats: large print, synchronized text and speech, braille, etc. [Last week someone told me they'd just paid $US 6000 (6K, not a typo) for a brailled 6th grade science textbook.] My Canadian colleagues say the situation is similar in Canada.

There are actually fairly good technical solutions already in place but they aren't necessarily being used.

My feeling is that the best place to start is to find out how "your" school system handles these issues. You should try to understand both the needs as well as the impediments to the use of technology.

(Here's an anecdote to make my point about impediments. At a US high school, an older English teacher is in the habit of distributing copies of a lot of material that he's written out by hand. The itinerant teacher -- who was the person who told me about this -- of a braille-using student in his class thus had to spend considerable time on data entry prior to converting the material to braille. The school administration knew about the problem but didn't feel it appropriate to force the English teacher to change his methods.)

I would hope that cost savings resulting from more effective use of document processing technology would result not in job losses but in better support for students.


From: Lars (Jan 30 2009, at 13:21)

This is the first time I see that an employee of a company tries to help people which are fired by the very same company to find new jobs via his blog.

This is very impressive, courages and I would like to express my admiration for this action.

Best regards, Lars


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