I recently hired a CS masters graduate. He's really bright; otherwise, we wouldn't have hired him. He's doing the usual new guy "toilet-licking" tasks; massive integrates of required-but-unpopular technologies, whitebox testing, automation and application profiling. Someday, he'll get to work on tasks specifically related to his masters. Hopefully, his masters will prepare him for success in those pursuits. For today, he gets to earn his stripes, like any other recent hire.
Ponca City, We Love You writes: "Saul Hansell at the NY Times has an interesting article on his technology blog about his conversations with executives at Yahoo and Google about how they plan to turn their e-mail systems and personalized home page services into social networks. Web-based e-mail systems already contain much of what Facebook calls the social graph — the connections between people. That's why social networks offer to import the e-mail address books of new users to jump-start their list of friends. Yahoo and Google realize they can use this information to build their own services that connect people to their contacts. Yahoo is working on what they call "Inbox 2.0" which will display messages more prominently from people who are more important to you, determining the strength of your relationship by how often you exchange e-mail and instant messages with him or her. "The inbox you have today is based on what people send you, not what you want to see," says Brad Garlinghouse, who runs communication and community products for Yahoo. "We can say, here are the messages from the people you care about most." There will also be some sort of profile system attached to Inbox 2.0 with a profile users show to others and a personal page where they can see information from their friends. "The exciting part is that a lot of this information already exists on our network, but it's dormant," Mr. Garlinghouse added."