SMV Tech Brew – Jeff Barnes

Last night about 25 people came together for a presentation from Jeff Barnes. The presentation started with a trip down memory lane talking about the evolution of CafeFX in Santa Maria. This was capped off with the demo roll that included many of the feature films that CafeFX during its 18 years in Santa Maria.

As always Jeff was a good storyteller and he made the presentation fun to listen to. The second half of the presentation was on Lytro camera technology and it is a real game changer. The data depth was amazing and the file sizes involved are just crazy but so are the abilities to edit after shooting. While Jeff went well over my head several times the parts I understood were amazing and the others probably was too. Jeff intended to get to the application for VR for this technology but we ran out of time. We are currently discussing with Jeff a possible second Tech Brew so we can finish our look at this subject.

On a personal note my son Ryan attended with his son Zeplen so here is a picture of three generations at a Softec meeting. For those that have been with Softec for a long time you might remember that my mother used to do guest check-in during the late 90’s so this makes it 4 generations of Softec in our family.

Call for Speakers 

Softec would like to hear from businesses or individuals that would be interested in speaking at Softec Events. Please reply to this email and include complete contact information, speaker bio, and topic description. Send this to events@softec.org
  • Softec holds Tech Brews in San Luis and Santa Maria each month and the presentation are approximately 20 minutes in length.
  • Softec holds Dinners that draw large crowds. Common format is a panel of experts talking on hot topics in tech.
  • Softec Open Houses are held in partnership with local businesses that are willing to give Softec an inside peek at cool tech things.
The first evaluation in giving someone a speaking slot is the WOW factor of the topic and speaker. Our mission in the community is to connect people, resources, and ideas to create a vibrant tech industry here on the central coast. We do this by creating fun events that attract smart people so they can meet other smart people. Over the last twenty plus years we have found that smart people talking about cool tech ideas create Softec moments.
Softec Moments are when people, ideas, and resources come together to create business formation or growth opportunities in our community. Many of the leading tech businesses in the region have one or more Softec moments in their history.

Kelly Irish at March’s Women in Tech Breakfast

We had a great time getting to know Kelly Irish at this month’s WIT breakfast. 

Kelly is currently a software engineering manager at MindBody. She received a BS in computer science from Virginia Tech and has worked as a software engineer for the past 20 years. She’s coded for small consumer focused startups to business management software, but the majority of her time was spent coding for government contracts from submarines to surveillance.

For those you who missed the breakfast—don’t worry! We recorded the interview.

Check out the link below for Kelly’s insights on submarines, coding, and women in tech: 

Want more? Be sure to stop by our Facebook page to hear about upcoming events, drop a comment, or request a future speaker.

 

VR Demo @ Santa Maria Tech Brew

Well after a few problems with scheduling caused by storm related power outages we got our sneak peek at an innovation in VR being developed by Trevor Orrick. This was the first time the device has been seen outside of the development team so it really was an exclusive sneak peak and the tech is very cool.

Their innovation is the control mat that you stand on to control the action within the VR environment. 

During the demo the group could see on the monitor what the person wearing the headset was seeing and the quality of the images was remarkable. The headset was another company’s product supplemented by the mat control developed by Trevor’s team.

After a short talk the group got to try the device and here is Tim Williams CEO from Digital West giving it a try.  I tried this for the first time and it was disorientating but I am sure with some time that I would get better.

It was a great event with about 20 people attending.

 

Bridget Benson at February’s WIT Breakfast

We had a great time getting to know Bridget Benson at this month’s WIT breakfast. Bridget is an assistant professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at Cal Poly. Her research interests span computer engineering and aquatic sciences, focusing on selecting and developing technologies to advance marine science research.  

For those you who missed the breakfast—don’t worry! We recorded the interview.

Check out the link below for Bridget’s insights on electrical engineering, marine science, and women in tech: 

Apologies for the background noise. These interviews are done in an informal, coffee shop setting. We’re working on engineering a better audio setup, so stay tuned!

Want more? Be sure to stop by our Facebook page to hear about upcoming events, drop a comment, or request a future speaker. 

New Year, New Venue, New Faces—WIT 2017

We’re gearing up for 2017—and there are some exciting new changes coming to Softec’s Women in Tech (WIT) group!

First off, we’re going to shake things up with new days, times, and venues for some of our monthly events. Here’s what we’ve got planned:

Breakfasts:

Breakfast will now be the first Wednesday of the month at Steynberg Gallery on Monterey St.

7:30-8:00 Networking/coffee

8:00-8:20 Program

8:20-8:45 Q&A/discussion

8:45-9:15 Networking

For our breakfast program, we’ll be interviewing local women in technology—focusing on relevant issues—so bring your questions. For our first meeting, we’ll be doing some group brainstorming around the topic of “What does it mean to be a woman in tech?”

WIT and Wine Happy Hour:

Our wine nights will be the second Tuesday of each month at Wine Shed.

This is a great opportunity to grab a glass of wine and network with our local women. We keep this program loose and informal—with just a few announcements. The rest goes wherever the conversation may take us.

Lunch:

Lunch will continue to be at noon on the third Thursday of the month at Shalimar.

Take a break from the workday and enjoy a casual lunch with your WIT friends. Informal networking happens over lunch.

Can’t make it?

We’ll miss you—but you can now follow us on our brand new Facebook Page! Stay up to date on our latest events, get audio files of anything you might have missed, and participate in polls so we can continue to bring you the discussion topics you care about most.
See you in 2017!

Softec is Raising Funds to Provide Immediate Relief to SLOHS Computer Lab that Suffered Major Fire Damage

Softec has been supporting local high school robotics for over 11 years and has given over $37,000 – so when the computer lab that contains all the robots used by SLO High VEX Team 920 burns down, we react quickly.

For those of you who have not heard yet, San Luis Obispo High School’s Computer Lab that burned early Thursday morning. The alleged perpetrators have been caught but the damage is total and severe. Softec has long been a supporter of the computer lab in Room 307. We hope to help get the computer lab and its students back on track as quickly as possible.

Our Softec VP, Stewart Morse, is a former SLOHS parent and Robotics sponsor – he explained that “Room 307 has been a safe environment during lunch for kids to go advance their technology skills and create lifelong friendships.”

This must be an agonizing loss for Mrs. Fetcho and the students. Casualites include the robotics equipment that the students have been developing and building for several months for a competition this weekend and a statewide competition in January.

 We have worked with the SLO Community foundation to setup a tax deductible account. Please support SLO High School.

UPDATE: Over $15,000 has been raised so far!

Tax Deductible Donations can be sent to the Community Foundation
Or by Check:
TO:
Softec, a fund with the Community Foundation SLO

ADDRESS:
The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County
550 Dana Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

We also have a GoFundMe Campaign at:
https://www.gofundme.com/friends-of-slo-high-robotics

Donations will go towards helping with the immediate replacement of computers, robotics equipment, desks, chairs, tools, etc. and equipment to support the clubs that met in that room.

Students make Robotics Great (Again)!

Last month over 700 people chose to invest in students instead of watching the presidential debates. Adults and kids alike enjoyed robotic creations and learned how to solve real world problems with technology – there was no accusations about 33,000 lost emails, missing tax returns, or negative jabs. Just passionate debates over battery technologies and construction materials.

SLO MakerSpace

From school robots to commercial drones, this event is designed to inspire creative technologies and encourage kids who have a talent for engineering. Grants are given to existing robotics teams and key connections and seed money provided to form new high school teams. Softec gave $7,500 in grants this year and $40,000 over the last 11 years.

RMD Robotics and Drones

Softec gave $7,500 in grants this year and $40,000 over the last 11 years.

Instead of going toe-to-toe on higher wages and better education, robotics clubs come face-to-face with real-world experience for our future engineers, business leaders and managers. Many teams have a marketing officer, treasurer, and HR director to account for the thousands of hours, ten of thousands of dollars, and relationships with sponsors. More than STEM – club robotics create opportunity for students of all talents teaching lessons more valuable than a typical child’s ‘first job’.

VEX Arena

Instead of a debate on higher wages and better education, robotics clubs create a real-world experience for our future engineers, business leaders and managers.

Softec and our sponsors take direct action to invest in our local economy. As a local non-profit software and technology trade association, we work to build and promote local events for our sponsors, and we focus this annual event as an investment in our students – where we create a multi-generational experience for all ages. And that is the truth – no fact checkers needed!  😉

Softec Robotics Expo – a unique intersection of learning and fun!

Softec’s 8th Annual Student Robotics Expo is this Monday, Sept. 26th at 5:50pm. This free event has packed the house each year – full of learning opportunities and plenty of fun.

What is unique about this robotics expo is the student exposure to more advanced robotics leagues and applications in the commercial industry to provide a taste of what their future in robotics can look like. Truly a multi-generational experience, with LEGO robots, full-sized and underwater High School robots – and commercial bots from the SLO County Bomb Sqad and drones used in the Wine Industry, there is certain to be something for everyone.

This event has grown in every way; in order to bring in new activities this year, we have moved to the Alex Madonna Expo Center! Last year we offered a Drone Obstacle course for the first time. This year we have a drone arena, bigger than last year’s course and located in the Expo Building to make piloting easier. So bring your drone or quadcopter – and compete for the best time in your assigned class.

The community’s support to put on this event has been amazing! CalFire will be providing a pool for the underwater robotics teams and we already mentioned the Bomb bot from SLO Sheriff’s Dept. Cal Poly’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and staff from Experts Exchange have offered to volunteer to help with setup and running the Drone Course. We also have several food vendors lined up: The Pairing Knife, RibLine, What the Truck, Paradise Shaved Ice, and Coastal Peaks Coffee

Several Robotics Leagues will be Represented:

  • FIRST – High School Robotics
  • MATE – Marine Advanced Technology Education
  • VEX – High school and Middle School Robotics
  • VEXiq – Elementary School Robotics
  • FIRST LEGO League – Elementary School Robotics

Agenda:

  • 5:30PM – Food vendors start serving
  • 6:00pm – The Robotics Expo Begins! Attendance is Free!