Day 2: Internet Companies

Another day of touring complete! Today, we managed to visit LinkedIn, Mozilla, Facebook, and visit a reception for the Google Code-in winners put together by Google. Over the course of the day I received swag from ever visit… leaving my with quite a collection at the end of the day! Tomorrow, I leave from the Domain Hotel at 8am and arrive back to Domain at 9pm – all day at the GooglePlex!

LinkedIn

The four of us (Gautam, Aneesh, me, and my dad) drove to LinkedIn at 9:30am and toured their campus for approximately an hour. We met with a couple of recruiters, Unfortunately, we arrived at LinkedIn about five minutes late and our tour ended ten minutes late leaving us no time for a picture.

Mozilla

We left LinkedIn, rushed to the Mountain View Caltrain station, picked-up Gaurav Narula and his father, and hurried to Mozilla’s offices – arriving exactly on time. At Mozilla, we toured their facilities, talked to a few developers, ate lunch, and watched a little bit of a brown bag Air Mozilla talk.

Facebook

In the evening we visited Facebook where I had the opportunity to gawk at Mark Zuckerberg from a distance and tour the campus.

Domain Hotel

We ended our day with a reception at the domain hotel where we met the rest of the GCI winners and the Googlers leading our group. Unfortunately, I’m far to busy with sending out follow up emails to continue posting these updates, so you’ll have to ask me about the rest of my trip yourself.

Day 1: Intel & Khan Academy

Left to right: Kevin Schmitz, Aaron Schmitz, Gautam Gupta, and Aneesh Dogra

Well, day 1 touring Silicon Valley is done. Today I toured Intel, met with the developers at Khan Academy, and got my luggage back from United. Tomorrow I’ll be visiting LinkedIn, Mozilla, and Facebook before visiting a reception hosted by Google.

Intel

Although Intel was our first tour out of about fifteen we have scheduled, it will be hard to beat. We (me, my dad, Aneesh Dogra, and Gautam Gupta) arrived at Intel at 10:50am and checked in with security. We were immediately met by 3 Intel employees including Bruce Horn – who worked on the development of the first Mac, developed the Macintosh Finder, and had his signature molded into the case of the Apple Macintosh 128K alongside those of greats like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

These three engineers talked with us while we were given a thirty minute guided tour of the Intel Museum. From there, we were ushered into a lounge area within the Intel Headquarters where we talked about Intel with the three engineers and watched them demo their Intel Android phones for about thirty minutes.

Next the engineers took us to the Perceptual Computing Lab where we met with a fourth engineer who spent twenty minutes demonstrating some cool projects they were working on with facial recognition, speech recognition, natural language processing, and smartphone controlled PC’s.

We continued with the original three engineers to a conference room where two members of Intel’s Interaction and Experience Research (IXR) Lab talked about user experience research at Intel and two additional engineers demoed cool new smartphone applications that I’m not really supposed to talk about.

After the people from IXR left, we spent ten or fifteen minutes talking about all the opportunities at Intel before we traded contact information and head for the exit. After we turned in out guest badges, one of the engineers even took a photo of our group in front on the Intel sign. Today Intel definitely moved up on my list of companies to work for!

Khan Academy

After lunch, the four of us headed to Khan Academy’s offices (Khan Academy provides 1000′s of wildly popular instructional videos on a wide variety of educational topics such as Algebra in addition to creating open-source education software). Unfortunately (as we knew in advance), Salman Khan himself was out of town giving a commencement address at MIT, but we still got to meet a handful of developers and designers at Khan Academy who talked about Khan Academy’s goals and future before shifting gears and giving us demos of three or four exciting new features that their team is working on. Surprisingly, this time of year almost half their team is interns, and they have a ton of new projects in the loop! I definitely added Khan Academy to my list of places to apply for a job next fall.

Off to the Valley

Well, I’m at gate waiting for my flight out of MSP. In about 6 hours I should land in San Francisco for my Google Code-in grand prize trip. I have so many awesome plans for my week in Silicon Valley. In addition to touring Google, I should have the opportunity to visit Facebook, Twitter, Intel, and a handful of other amazing tech companies. Hopefully, I can keep this blog updated with all the cool things I get to see each day. Let’s do this!

Good bye, Facebook!

Well, it’s the end of April. The end of my month without news… In hindsight, the month went very well, and I was able to spend my time doing better things. So, this month I’ll continue my news fast. In addition, though, I’m taking the next step in slimming my use of the internet.

Today, after careful consideration, I deactivated my Facebook profile. I know I’m not gone for good. I really don’t plan on taking more than a couple weeks off. What I do know, however, is that when I come back I will use it less.

Google Summer of Code

It looks like I’ll be spending my summer programming! This Monday, Google announced the selected students for its Google Summer of Code (GSoC).

Out of between 40 and 50 applicants, only 8 were selected to work with Joomla – an open source content management system based on PHP. My project for the summer will be to create a package that allows Joomla! developers to easily utilize Google APIs.