I’ve been listening to Pandora for about a week and I love it. A piece of software has not had such an effect on what I do with my computer since Movable Type.
I must be the only sofware engineer in the world who does not have their own personal mp3 collection. I love music, but I’m not terribly organized (anyone who knows me can confirm the typical state of my desktop, both real and virtual). Aside from having an historic aversion to sorting and organizing, I have a specific challenge with music. I don’t have a good memory for it. I can remember arcane technical detail from my software development experience of the early 1990’s; however, I can’t recall many of the bands I heard play at Lupo’s or the Living Room, let alone albums or song titles. It is hard to connect what I am in the mood for with an array of album covers or song titles.
Pandora lets me chose one song or artist and then it creates a perpetual play list of songs I might like, and most of the time it is right on target. The application grew out of the Music Genome Project which sought to “capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level,” and then proceeded to catalog their findings in what must be a gigantic database. Pandora makes this database available to me without searching. With only the barest of a suggestion from me, it has an idea of what I might like. Of course, as these folks know better than I, offering up a song or an artist is no small suggestion of my taste in music. A single song has a number of qualities that indicate what I’m into.
It is no random chance that I found Pandora, since they use OpenLaszlo as a development platform. It’s always nice when someone uses your tech to create something wonderful. It’s at the heart of why I write software. Seeing Pandora was particularly cool, since they really understand what we call the “cinemtatic user experience” or, as we say ’round the office, what it takes takes to make an application Laszlo-riffic. I don’t intend to take any credit away from the Pandora folks. While our platform enables beautiful design and makes it possible to build a fluid and intuitive interface, great design doesn’t happen automatically. Great design takes inspiration, insight, thoughtfulness, and most importantly, people who care about it.
“If programming languages could speak, really speak, not just crunch bytes and stream bits, they would have much to say that is both wise and profound.” Burningbird told that story in a parable of languages.
Harry Chesley adds, on a similar note, what might be said if a group of programmers walk into a bar, to which I can only add that the LZX programmer would declare:
If you read this blog and you write software, maybe you want to work with me at Laszlo…
I’m leading Laszlo’s Application Development Group. Our first application is Laszlo Mail. You can see it live and in action if you are an Earthlink customer. I really never thought writing an e-mail app would be fun, but this project has changed my mind. There’s real innovation required to create a effective mix of web application data model and desktop application UI. We develop our applications using the OpenLaszlo platform with Java code on the back-end. You don’t have to know LZX to apply. I’ve found that any good engineer can pick it up pretty quickly.
User interface developers seem to be a rare breed these days. I certainly appreciate what it takes to create a highly scalable server, but with old-world web technology, user interface development consists of generating a stream of text (well, HTML). For the past ten years or so, most industry jobs simply did not provide the opportunity to design or develop great interactive UIs. Don’t get me wrong, I love the web. I just think it can get a whole lot better.
I’m looking for a software developer who is passionate about building great user experiences — software that is usable and that people want to use. You might be an AJAX guru… or you could be a Flash developer, but if so, you’d better have some real engineering experience and know-how. Or perhaps, like me, you used to develop desktop applications before moving to client/server or web application development.
Anyway, we’re hiring. It could be full-time or contractor, but must be local to the SF Bay Area, since you’ll want to come into the office most days. If you’re interested, send your resume along with URL references to your work (if available online) to resumes _at_ laszlosystems _dot_ com. Also, include a note that you learned about the job opening here. I’m interested to know if this blog-o-sphere recruitng tactic will work.