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On a New Road

I've moved againTuesday August 30, 2011
I've surprised myself and made another career change. I had a great time at Google, met lots of interesting people, but I met some folks outside doing something completely outrageous, and after much anguish decided to leave Google.

I'm now at a small startup called Liquid Robotics They have a growing fleet of autonomous vehicles that rove the ocean collecting data from a variety of onboard sensors and uploading it to the cloud. The robots have a pile of satellite uplink/GSM/WiMax communication gear and redundant GPS units. They have a bunch of deployments. For example, one is a set of robots patrolling the ocean around the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico monitoring water chemistry. These craft harvest energy from the waves for propulsion and can stay at sea for a very long time. The longest that one craft has been out is 2.5(ish) years. They can cross oceans.... Slowly. They only move at 1-2 knots, which is a great speed for data collection.

I'm their new chief software architect. I'll be involved in both the onboard software - sensing, navigation and autonomy - and in the datacenter, dealing with the in-rush of data. The current systems work well, but they have a variety of issues that I look forward to working on. This is going to be a lot of fun.


Good luck in the new role!

Posted by Lucian Revnic on August 30, 2011 at 11:31 AM PDT #

James, Wanted to wish you good luck on your journey at Liquid Robotics. That company is doing some very cool stuff! Regards, Chris

Posted by Chris Danielson on August 30, 2011 at 11:44 AM PDT #

That's one of those officially "cool" jobs... :) Congrats.

Posted by Greg Duncan on August 30, 2011 at 11:53 AM PDT #

Sounds very interesting, keep us updated and best of luck with it.

Posted by Rich Midwinter on August 30, 2011 at 11:56 AM PDT #

Although I'm a perfectly unknow in this world, I'm using Java day in and day out as a coder and as a simple user, so I'm glad to read you're gtting such a wonderful job. Congratulations, and all the best for you.

Posted by Miguel Rojas on August 30, 2011 at 12:27 PM PDT #

Congratulations. Have some fun. Make a difference! Faith in humanity (partially) restored :)

Posted by Jon Ellis on August 30, 2011 at 12:41 PM PDT #

What an exciting change of direction James! It doesn't get any cooler than building things that move with Java. ;-) When do you move to Hawaii?

Posted by Mike Duigou on August 30, 2011 at 01:18 PM PDT #

Congrats! This is exciting and unexpected! It's definitely a great way for you to apply your skills, though. I love how they can cross oceans.

Posted by Ben Atkin on August 30, 2011 at 03:01 PM PDT #

Sounds great. I'm sure you'll enjoy it and they'll enjoy you. Remember: don't be evil!

Posted by Boob on August 30, 2011 at 04:21 PM PDT #

James, Nice. I was surprised when you went the Google route. I did that too, and it was not a good fit. I'm sure you'll have a blast at a smaller company!

Posted by Ron Ten-Hove on August 30, 2011 at 04:52 PM PDT #

Yes! u r.

Posted by sola on August 30, 2011 at 05:11 PM PDT #

Wow! This is a great job!

Posted by Qingye Jiang (John) on August 30, 2011 at 05:32 PM PDT #

Any chance of you telling what the "completely outrageous" refers to?

Posted by JC on August 30, 2011 at 05:39 PM PDT #

Sounds like a fantastic job, good luck.

Posted by John Bokma on August 30, 2011 at 06:21 PM PDT #

Put those autonomous bots to work finding deep water shipwrecks and you'll be golden - pun intended....

Posted by Dave Wick on August 30, 2011 at 06:27 PM PDT #

[Trackback] ??? ???? ??? ??? ??

Posted by outsider's me2day on August 30, 2011 at 06:34 PM PDT #

Cool work. Good Luck !

Posted by Xinsong Li on August 30, 2011 at 06:44 PM PDT #

good luck with your new role, and have fun.

Posted by Ian on August 30, 2011 at 06:46 PM PDT #

congratulations! follow your heart will be great!!

Posted by nikshe on August 30, 2011 at 06:48 PM PDT #

Congrats! Very interesting project! I hope you will push Geo BI on a new levels.

Posted by @wiisniper on August 30, 2011 at 07:22 PM PDT #

When you come to the Big Island, consider yourself invited to an observatory tour at Gemini...

Posted by Larry O'Brien on August 30, 2011 at 07:25 PM PDT #

Good Luck!!!!!

Posted by Justin Song on August 30, 2011 at 07:37 PM PDT #

Lucky you :)

Posted by Jeong Byeong Hak on August 30, 2011 at 07:49 PM PDT #

I saw your blog post and then went and read the write-up about the wave glider technology. Then went and read the shark bite article on WSJ. This is a very impressive technology and the potential is vast. Congratulations on your new job dude, at the very least you are going to have some awesome stories to tell at the next party :-)

Posted by technikhil on August 30, 2011 at 07:55 PM PDT #

How does it get away another ships or the surfing board that Keanu Reeves has gotten on ?

Posted by sola on August 30, 2011 at 08:20 PM PDT #

Nice to hear that ! the site h-t-t-p:// is infected have a look !

Posted by geekwindow on August 30, 2011 at 08:38 PM PDT #

I guess it's Real Time Java ;-) I still remember that we had a talk in SUN ERI China several years ago, you said your goal was to make Java work in Real time devices, and Real Time Java was your mostly interested.

Posted by M@x on August 30, 2011 at 08:50 PM PDT #

Great to take the adventure. Expect to hear that you make the new history!

Posted by Leo Wang on August 30, 2011 at 08:52 PM PDT #

Congrats on what sounds like an exciting career change. Looking forward to reading about it in your blog.

Posted by Glada Elems on August 30, 2011 at 08:57 PM PDT #


Posted by chenxiaojunceo on August 30, 2011 at 09:34 PM PDT #

All the best dude!! U r doing great job!! I wish to meet u oneday!!

Posted by Chris Minja on August 30, 2011 at 09:35 PM PDT #

We expect great success in the new destination we face, hope you continue to reap fruit to the technological area, not important where you go.

Posted by skinfire on August 30, 2011 at 09:47 PM PDT #

Do you have to pay your signing bonus/shares/relo assistance back to Google?

Posted by Sporkman on August 30, 2011 at 10:20 PM PDT #

Good luck James, I'm sure you will find nerd heaven if you follow your heart.

Posted by Vimal George on August 30, 2011 at 10:49 PM PDT #

Seems a great match! Take care and see you around!

Posted by Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart on August 30, 2011 at 11:09 PM PDT #

I hope you get to help mankind explore our oceans like never before using Java and Robots. I bet a lot of answers and solutions (as well as new problems) lie in the depths of our oceans. May you learn a lot in this new adventure and hopefully you've found something that floats your boat for a few years. ;)

Posted by Gubatron on August 30, 2011 at 11:17 PM PDT #

Big RedGreenBlueYellow doesn't deserve a genius like you. Good luck!!!

Posted by Timd on August 30, 2011 at 11:59 PM PDT #

"This is going to be a lot of fun" very cool sir

Posted by somsakra on August 31, 2011 at 01:09 AM PDT #

Let's also cross fingers that you don't leave and mess up the next project because of your job-ADHD.

Posted by Meauo on August 31, 2011 at 01:17 AM PDT #

Good luck James with Liquid Robotics

Posted by Peter Ostsee on August 31, 2011 at 01:22 AM PDT #

The software developer openings at speak of "a broad range of software development in C, C++ and C#." No mention of Java. That's surprising. Anyway, I hope you'll have a lot of fun there, James. It sure looks like an ultra-cool company.

Posted by Winni on August 31, 2011 at 02:04 AM PDT #

I remember back in the good old Sun days you have been always interested in robotics and realtime, so this job seems to be the perfect match. Have great fun and keep us posted. Mat

Posted by Matthias Schorer on August 31, 2011 at 02:18 AM PDT #

Hi James Congrats on the new exciting job! But are you moving because you are getting a higher salary? Regards Dennis

Posted by Dennis on August 31, 2011 at 02:56 AM PDT #

That's more like it James!

Posted by Me on August 31, 2011 at 02:56 AM PDT #

Respect! This is a wise decision... ENJOY THE RIDE!

Posted by Paul on August 31, 2011 at 03:38 AM PDT #

That's not surprising at all, Winni. Java is an inferior language that's been designed as a dumbed down C++, and it's been constantly adding back features that have originally been thought of "too hard" or "ambiguous" or whatever JG was raging on about at the time.

Posted by on August 31, 2011 at 04:24 AM PDT #

Oh noes!!1! I had hoped that you would help us stop Google on their way to WORLD DOMINATION (TM) by throwing some Java sand into their software gears...

Posted by brainfart on August 31, 2011 at 04:36 AM PDT #

Good Luck!I just heard of a OS called TinyOS which is designed for sensor and so on. I'd like to know if you are using it or something like that. I think AI would improve our life a lot and I'm so exiting when I think about it.(I'm a Chinese and my word may be not so fluent.)

Posted by Bin Wang on August 31, 2011 at 05:50 AM PDT #

Good Luck

Posted by Surachart Opun on August 31, 2011 at 05:57 AM PDT #

Wow, completely awesome. I would jump on such an insane job in an instant too:P

Posted by Paul on August 31, 2011 at 07:20 AM PDT #

Foda-se Gosling and congratulations!

Posted by on August 31, 2011 at 09:23 AM PDT #

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Posted by Software Development on August 31, 2011 at 09:27 AM PDT #

Yes! This is a very cool company! I'm sure you'll have a blast there!

Posted by Gilles Gravier on August 31, 2011 at 09:38 AM PDT #

Sounds like a great adventure. Definitely worth jumping ship to a ship that makes small ships like this. All the best from your friends at TSS.

Posted by Cameron McKenzie on August 31, 2011 at 10:13 AM PDT #

Great news. In a few thousand years, long after humanity vanished new intelligent lifeforms will reach earth and analyze this planet and find the remains of such robots, analyzing these little critters in order to find out about humanity... They will go like: "Great, they have hardware and some nice little software running there, but why on earth was this little device equipped with 128 GB RAM???????"

Posted by Another Voice on August 31, 2011 at 10:28 AM PDT #

It seems to be a radical career change. Cool project. Good Luck! :)

Posted by qun on August 31, 2011 at 05:35 PM PDT #


Posted by Sem on August 31, 2011 at 06:49 PM PDT #

The ad on the side is Goldline International with Beck's picture. Seriously?

Posted by Randall on August 31, 2011 at 07:13 PM PDT #

Seems like the perfect narco trafficante device.

Posted by James on August 31, 2011 at 07:20 PM PDT #

Sounds like a great product to work on. Not a single interesting problem that can't be found. Let me know when you are looking to hire somebody and bring them into something that is completely alien to them.

Posted by Greg on August 31, 2011 at 07:24 PM PDT #

That sounds freaking awesome. I mean, seriously, that sounds like a pretty awesome field to be in. you get to mix big data with electronics with real world constraints with sensor networks. Color me jealous.

Posted by Ed on August 31, 2011 at 08:28 PM PDT #

If you need any help with video compression for video, audio, or images. Will help. Great ideas are just floating around :)

Posted by Dennis Perov on August 31, 2011 at 08:46 PM PDT #

pirates of carribean/africa will now have a tough time.. outsource the production of hardware to china- the way steve jobs did. this thing could become a world commodity.. try to open source the data extracted.. community will provide cool softwares on top of sample data..

Posted by p p on August 31, 2011 at 09:13 PM PDT #

Good luck at new work! Interesting to looking for company evolution after coming new chief software architect ;)

Posted by Dmitry on August 31, 2011 at 09:22 PM PDT #

I stopped at "Upload it to the cloud." Cmon, man. Christ on a bike...

Posted by Dan B. Lee on August 31, 2011 at 11:28 PM PDT #


Posted by Gautam on September 01, 2011 at 12:33 AM PDT #

Ha~ good luck for you !

Posted by Stone on September 01, 2011 at 02:06 AM PDT #

Fantastic your new job, you are very lucky. Paolo

Posted by in3aqk on September 01, 2011 at 02:49 AM PDT #

What happened @ Google? Inquiring minds are interested in the juicy details.

Posted by Dirk Pitt on September 01, 2011 at 03:45 AM PDT #

Cool gig! All the best. I'm sure you'll make quite a splash at Liquid. The ocean's pretty harsh. I wonder if there are space-based applications for this type of tech? P.S. I got the math answer wrong three times but it still let me post. Your standards have dropped...

Posted by Asad Quraishi on September 01, 2011 at 05:06 AM PDT #

Good Luck with your new job and intersting venture!!!

Posted by Pradeep Kamasani on September 01, 2011 at 05:39 AM PDT #

Is there any java development in LR? vacancies page says there is C, C++ and C# vacations. James lives Java? )

Posted by oxy on September 01, 2011 at 07:11 AM PDT #

I believe you will create compilers for Robotic World. After some days, when the whole world, and companies start using Roberts, That time i believe all the schools and colleges will have a paper for the language which you are going to create newly for the robotic world :) Have fun. I love your inventions :)

Posted by Prince Roy on September 01, 2011 at 08:25 AM PDT #

All the best for your new job. But I want to know why you quit Google? May I have your mail addresss. I want some mail conversation with you.

Posted by Naresh on September 01, 2011 at 09:58 AM PDT #

Goog luck James.

Posted by Davide Perini on September 01, 2011 at 11:20 AM PDT #

Follow your own course ,despite what others say.

Posted by lcon on September 01, 2011 at 11:51 AM PDT #

The chinese are stealing robot technology..and no one cares

Posted by Joe Stilwell on September 01, 2011 at 01:10 PM PDT #

Wow, your new role looks exciting, Congratulation and all the best for your new job.

Posted by Nikesh on September 01, 2011 at 01:43 PM PDT #

James Congratulations. Please keep in mind saving the salmon and other ocean wildlife. Collecting data on salmon and whales in the north will be difficult with these devices, but eventually you will be in a position to drive some engineering changes. Ironic that I am asking a chief engineer to tackle this, the government should be driving practical work on this already.

Posted by canadian on September 01, 2011 at 02:27 PM PDT #

Thats the coolest job james !!! All the best for the journey ahead !!

Posted by softy on September 01, 2011 at 11:22 PM PDT #

May the luck be with you :) !

Posted by Barat on September 02, 2011 at 02:22 AM PDT #

Innovative people like you inspire me a lot. Good luck and have a great journey ahead.

Posted by Ashutosh on September 02, 2011 at 06:11 AM PDT #

This sucks, your real talent is now wasted. Like the heart surgeon who becomes the 'medical' guy on a TV show.

Posted by on September 02, 2011 at 05:13 PM PDT #

+1 :)

Posted by Emmanuel Okyere on September 02, 2011 at 11:09 PM PDT #

good luck.

Posted by nhl jerses on September 03, 2011 at 01:28 AM PDT #

good luck in the new role.

Posted by Zhyar on September 04, 2011 at 01:56 AM PDT #

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