Yesterday I spent most of the day hanging out with professors and students at Carnegie Mellon. What an amazing place!
Second, I spent an hour with Randy Pausch, co-director of the Entertainment Technology Center. You know how sometimes you meet someone, you have no clue what they do, but within the first minute you realize they are just freaking smart and you’re going to have an interesting conversation? That is what happened in the first minute of meeting Randy.
And, it wasn’t exactly an easy conversation either (smart people often challenge you). He took Microsoft to task (and really all of the industry) for not doing enough to build relationships with academics. He says it’s a rare day when he gets a call from a hiring manager at Microsoft. Says that five minutes with him on the phone will teach you more about a candidate than a day-long interview. Great lesson for anyone hiring students (and Carnegie Mellon has more than its fair share of the best).
Anyway, Randy also showed me Alice — a new programming environment that makes it fun to learn how to program. This is a HUGE advance in the ability to make programming fun for newcomers. I got video of Randy showing it off (Randy has been working on this since the early 1990s). Stephen Figgins over on O’Reilly has more.
Thank you CMU for the wonderful day!