Ryan Sloan
Georgia Tech grad, Microsoftie, and tech enthusiast

Running Code on my Wrist


Original Pebble – The model I own

Filed Under: Things my Grandparents would never believe.

A few weeks ago, I purchased a Pebble Smart Watch. I didn’t have a lot of experience in Wearables prior to ordering; although ubiquitous computing and mobility has always been an area of interest for me. After a couple of weeks with my Pebble, I can safely say that I’m truly impressed. The device itself has a ways to go in terms of its capabilities, and the ecosystem of applications is pretty weak right now, but there is clearly a huge amount of potential here. I wanted to write a bit about some of my observations so far, a little project I’m working on, and then do some wildly irresponsible forecasting about the future.

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On Confidence: Puddles, Men of Steel, and Faking it

I’ve spent most of my life regressing to the mean. I don’t mean that I’ve actually been getting worse at what I do, or getting any less intelligent, but every big transition in my life has been into a larger pond. I started my life in Paducah, Kentucky, a small town that – for all its faults – was a good place to grow up. I had some nurturing, positive influences from family and teachers, and I finished high school near the top of my class. From where I stood in 2006, it looked like I could do anything. The world was mine for conquering. I was headed to Georgia Tech, where I intended to double major in Computer Engineering and Mathematics before earning a PhD in Artificial Intelligence. My real journey was a little different than the one I had charted. Read the rest of this post

On “Getting Out”

Thanks to Angie (linked at the end) for Graduation Day photos!

Five Years. 132 credit hours. Over 2 GB of email. Three or four dozen all-nighters. More tests, quizzes, and homeworks than I can count. That’s the most obvious way to sum up my college experience. But it doesn’t seem to do it justice.

The five years I spent at Georgia Tech were possibly the five most important years of my life thus far. I learned a lot about technology, business, and (perhaps most importantly) myself.  It’s been a couple days since I strode across the stage, and the reality of the situation hasn’t quite set in yet. Nonetheless, I’ve spent a great deal of time reflecting during the last 72 hours. Reflecting on what I learned, where I’m going, and what it really means to be a Yellow Jacket. I have tried to think of a phrase or tagline to describe it, but that’s harder than it sounds. So instead, I’ve compiled a couple of bits of advice for current and future Georgia Tech students, and maybe students at other institutions could benefit as well.
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An Unlikely Project Manager

(Author’s Note: This is an old post from January 2010, restored from the old blog. Old comments were not transferred along with the content.)

On January 11th, I will begin my next adventure at Georgia Tech. I’m not really talking about Spring Semester 2010, which should be another chapter of Georgia Tech life. I’m referring to the fact that I will be embarking on my first adventure in project management. As the Information Technology chair for Georgia Tech’s Student Government Association I have a variety of responsibilities. Until this time, most of those responsibilities involved adding/modifying content on SGA’s website (and sitting in a lot of meetings, of course.) Next semester my committee is going to undertake a comprehensive rewrite of Course Critique. Course Critique provides grade distributions and survey information for every course offered at Georgia Tech. Unfortunately, the current incarnation is prone to outages (particularly during registration periods) and several portions of it are not functional at all (namely the mechanism that uploads and processes grade distribution and survey info — a critical component.) After assessing the code base, I decided it was best to begin a complete rewrite. But this time we are going to do it right.
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Living on the Edge

(Author’s Note: This is an old post from December 2009, restored from the old blog. Old comments were not transferred along with the content.)

or The One in which I Rebuke all things Shiny and Cutting Edge

Living your life on the bleeding edge can be exciting (I mean heck, Aerosmith wrote an entire song about it.) The Edge is an exciting place — gadgets are shinier, smaller, and more expensive there. It’s hard to resist the allure of a new gadget, or the features of a new technology. We’re all guilty of it from time to time. All it takes is one press release, one vague and over-hyped magazine article, or (for some of us) a late night TV commercial with a 1-800 number plastered across the bottom of the screen. Next thing you know you’re busting out the plastic. Trust me, I own a Snuggie or two. I think there’s some law of nature that says “He who Dies with the Shiniest Stuff Wins.”
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Adventures in Teamwork

(Author’s Note: This is an old post from November 2008, restored from the old blog. Old comments were not transferred along with the content.)

I recently finished up my first real team software project. One of the classes I’m taking this semester is CS 2340 – Objects and Design. This is the first software project class at Georgia Tech, so it’s full of…well let’s just call them “learning experiences.” Most of the students have never really worked on a team before, and if they have it’s been in a more restricted environment. Technically I work in a team at CSI, but on a day to day basis I’m on my own. Most all of my tasks are delegated by my boss, and it was rare to work in sync with someone else. Needless to say, I approached this project more sure of myself than I should have been.
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