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The AuthenTec Software Group and my LinkedIn profile

In response to the AuthenTec Software team being let go in Melbourne, I have put together an online forum here for the software group to keep in touch with. It's an open forum where former AuthenTec Software employees can communicate, but is not limited to that group. Feel free to post any information there that you would like to share with us.

LinkedIn is also a great tool for maintaining your professional network, as well as an alternative way to present your resume. You can find my resume here. I will work on getting my references together for my job search using LinkedIn. Once they are ready, you should be able to view them here through my LinkedIn profile page.

Long time, no updates

Well, to put it lightly, I have been extremely busy over the last few years! Things have always been moving at great speed within AuthenTec, and I have been busy in my personal life too. Additionally, operating system upgrades to Vista and Windows 7 left my blog completely broken for the longest time. I finally have it all working again, so here's an update.

Unfortunately, it's not good news. AuthenTec merged with it's competitor Upek a few months ago, and we were told at the time a workforce consolidation would take place. AuthenTec has a software group here in Melbourne, FL and Upek has a software group in Prague, Czech Republic. Outsourcing is the trend these days, so our entire software group has now been let go in favor of the group in Prague.

Therefore, I'm in search of work again. I would definitely like to stay in Windows software development work and continue to live here in Melbourne, but that just might not be possible with unemployment where it is these days. So we'll see how it goes.

The cat is out of the bag

Let it finally be known the real reason for us selling our townhouse in Redwood Shores... we actually wanted to move back to Florida! It's just that I didn't know how long it would take, or how good the outcome would be. Things have worked out very well for us, I found a new job in only two months and we're going to be living in Viera close to where my parents live. I managed to stay in Windows software development work (which I didn't think would happen) for an interesting company called AuthenTec.

There were multiple reasons for us leaving, the most important was to be closer to family now that we have a young child. We didn't have any family out there in California and we didn't like the weather there as much as we do here. So for those of you we left behind, we will miss you and if you find yourself in Florida sometime down the road, be sure to stop on by!

Welcome to Silicon Valley

We just sold our cute little townhouse in Redwood Shores and we're making our move to the heart of Silicon Valley. Housing prices have gone up so much in the last few years that we just had to take advantage and sell. It was a really nice place and I'll miss it, but it's onward and upward now. We'll be living about 3 minutes from where I work, happily watching everyone commute in from all over the bay each workday. The only trouble is that we now join the ranks of renters in Silicon Valley who throw away lots of money each month for a place to live.

A nice side effect of the move is that I had to change my Internet provider from Comcast to AT&T's DSL service. I'm impressed with the new conection, which is almost as fast as my old cable connection at a fraction of the price. I just ran a speed test over at Speakeasy and got 5,137K download and 615K upload. Therefore, the speed of this website is only about 150K slower than with Comcast's Business Internet service. Way to go AT&T!

Back up again, at a price

Well, I'm back on broadband again and now serving it up faster than ever before. My new connection supports 768K download rates, if I were to allow it for everyone. Comcast held me to their Fair Use Policy and I needed to keep my servers going, so I upgraded to a business account. It's a quite pricey, but the extra speed is nice. We'll see how long I can hold out paying this much.

It turns out that Comcast doesn't pay someone to hunt around their networks looking for people running servers, they just respond to complaints. Therefore, someone out there must have complained about my website or mail server. Thanks a lot! Now I'm paying 3 times the price for my internet access. I hope you're happy in your revenge on me. I have my own mail server so I can experiment in ways to fight spam, not generate it. I can't help it if someone else sends out spam that has my mail server as the return address. It's just another trick that spammers use to bypass the filters.

Comcast pulled the plug on me!

Remember what I said back in May about just being interested in providing a useful site to the small number of people I know. Well, it looks like this site has gotten a little more popular than I expected. Friday morning my broadband connection was down, but I didn't think too much of it. Then I get a call from a guy over at Comcast Security, and he says there's "malicious" activity going on with my computer so they had to suspend my service. He wouldn't give me any details about what exactly that activity was, other than I'm running some servers. I never knew this, but it's against Comcast's Fair Use Policy to have servers of any kind running on their network. I've been running this way for years! Anyway, now I'm in lymbo with no broadband and I'm not sure when or if I'll get it back. In the meantime, I'm limping along with a 48K dial-up connection, yikes.

This seems to be a bit of a grey area to me. Why pay people to search out users with servers, call them up, and then suspend their service? All they have to do is put up a big firewall like what you would find at your job. No more servers for anybody, job done. I think they don't do it because it would break lots of applications that people really like to use. What does it matter what I do with my connection as long as it's legal? I feel bad for the ISPs these days, they are really finding themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Big News

Haven't updated things here in a while since we've been rather busy lately. This is because we became parents on the 29th of June! James Louis Roberts was born at 12:17am at a weight of 8 lbs, 12 oz and 21 inches in length. You can check out the latest baby pictures here, all in full size originals. Now it's time for me to get some sleep.

Update for the work situation

As I mentioned previously, KLA-Tencor just put a number of their e-beam products into sustaining mode. Thankfully, I've been spared the recent set of cutbacks and I'm now being moved over to one of the last remaining e-beam systems, a review product that's still in development. The company feels that this product is the future for them and they're pulling in key Engineers from all the discontinued e-beam systems.

My hard work over the last two years has paid off, the company sees value in the software I have created which is good. However, I would really much rather work hard creating software that I can own and market myself. A one guy coding type of company is my dream. This way, I would directly benefit from the quality of my work, which I feel is the best (of course).

Big changes at work

KLA-Tencor just put a number of their e-beam products into sustaining mode, which means no new development for the forseeable future. Looks like quite a few people there will be losing their jobs, hopefully I will not be one of them. I had a favorable conversation with my Engineering manager last week, but you never know what can happen.

This reminds me of a few years ago when GE-Imatron went into sustaining mode, and most of the Engineering staff (including myself) was let go. Parts of this site, such as the Imatron Forum and my resume page were created to deal with that situation. I learned a lot and had quite a few good opportunities come out of that time. It's interesting being on the other side now, people are just dissapearing and it's very quiet in the mornings.

About my Site Certificate

When you access any of the SSL secured areas of this website for the first time, your browser will complain about my certificate. I'm not too thrilled about paying $450 for a trusted VeriSign certificate that will only last one year, so I created my own for free that will last 10 years. If you don't want your browser to complain, download my certificate and add it to your Trusted Root Certification Authories group. There are some applications out there, such as the Windows Media Player, that require trusted certificates in order to play content.

Which brings me to my music collection. Back in the Napster days, we all ripped our CDs to MP3s and downloaded a few as well. I wanted to listen to my music at work and at home, but there were no iPods to be found yet. Therefore, I put the whole collection up on my website and my 300K bandwidth allows me to stream it out to work in real-time. There was only one big catch. Most emplyers block you from downloading MP3s via http, so I had to secure the content using SSL. Since it's all encrypted, nobody knows you're downloading MP3s and employers typically will not block SSL content.