Aurelius Prochazka
Aure on Zinn

Welcome to my new home page!

I relaunched this site on February 12th, 2012 with tons of new information about my projects.

The goal of aure.com is to let all of my friends, collaborators, and future friends and collaborators know about what I have been up to, what I am capable of, and what I am currently working on.

Not that there's not enough to explore on this site alone, but I also have a presence on the following social networking sites:

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Author Research, Books, Presentations, Tutorials, ...

Upcoming Lecture

On Tuesday May 24th, I'll be giving a talk at the Agilistry Studios. The topic is "Pragmatic Thinking and Learning," which is the title of the excellent book by Andy Hunt. I'll give an overview of the book, as well as present my own take on the psychology of programmers.

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hunt

Sci-Fi Lullabies

In 2001, I joined the Los Angeles-based band "Sci-Fi Lullaby" and in 2011, I used Sibelius notation software to create a beautiful transcriptions for 31 of the band's greatest songs, compiled in "Sci-Fi Lullabies: The Music of Art Martinez and Anthony Rodriguez.

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book front

Rails Tutorials

In 2006, I was blogging Ruby on Rails and Addison-Wesley contacted me to write a book. The result was a book and screencast entitled "RailsSpace: Building A Social Networking Web Site Using Ruby On Rails" which lives on today as "Rails Tutorial: Learn By Example."

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railsspace

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Scientist Fluid Mechanics, Computer Science, Energy Patent, ...

Aeronautics

In 1997 I received a Ph.D. from the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories at the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT). PDFs for my thesis on the "Stability and Structure of Stretched Vortices" and associated publications are available here.

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thesis inside

Principal Scientist at Cool Earth Solar

From Cool Earth Solar's inception in 2007 to late 2011, I served as Cool Earth Solar's Principal Scientist. As with any start up, I wore many hats and contributed to many aspects of the company's development. My main contributions, from a scientific standpoint were the creation of Cool Earth's Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, patenting a low-cost metstation for solar prospecting, and finally fund raising for the metstation project which was awarded $95,000 for my proposal entitled “Portable Low-cost Meteorological Station for Solar Resource Measurement and Forecasting” selected for funding by the California Energy Commission.

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aure _with_concentrator

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Entrepreneur

I began my first Internet company in 1994 while still in school at Caltech pursuing my Ph.D. in Aeronautics.  The story goes like this.  The Aeronautics Computer Lab had just got a web server set up for the division and allowed the students to have personal web pages at ~username URLs.  Some friends and I set up pages and discovered that we could watch the server logs to see if people were hitting our pages.  We then began to compete to see who could make the most interesting pages to get the most visitors from the most countries.  Quickly, we decided to pool our resources and put all of our work under the teaching assistant's account at "~ta" but to make the initials more interesting, we rechristened T.A. to stand for "The Asylum" and gave the pages insane look and feel.

At The Asylum we created many "firsts" on the web, including a public bookmarks repository (precursor to del.icio.us), a public writing forum (precursor to wikis), and a web based Lite-Brite emulator and gallery (sort of a primitive, single-celled ancestor to Flickr!).

We gained a lot of attention for these sites and soon film studios and record companies were calling the lab tracking us down to hire us to build dynamic websites for them. It was certainly awkward to get phone calls from Universal Pictures while your Ph.D. thesis advisor was in the lab so we started "Creative Internet Design" and opened an office with a phone number of its very own.

We spent a few years building custom websites in Perl/CGI while getting our degrees (which we all managed to do, take that you Yahoo! millionaire Stanford dropouts!). Slowly the stress of building websites from scratch in Perl wore us out and the company disbanded. I looked back at the websites and realized that many of them were very similar, so I began offering standard web components to my clients. Meanwhile, Philip Greenspun was running Photo.net and getting many requests from people wanting the code the site ran on. Philip assembled his friends to beef up the Photo.net code and together we founded ArsDigita and open-sourced our code as ACS (ArsDigita Community System), comprised of standard web components and written mostly in Tcl. We used ACS to get exposure amongst poor developers, which led us to be found by rich companies who wanted customizations to the toolkit. Unfortunately, venture capitalists also eyed ArsDigita and once we accepted their money they also had influence.

I took a bit of a break from starting companies after the ArsDigita experience, and spent a few years consulting and writing a book about Ruby On Rails.  In 2007, I was lured back into the startup world by my friend from GALCIT, Eric Cummings.  Along with several other Caltech friends, we demonstrated Cool Earth Solar technology and landed 21M in funding from Quercus Trust.  I left Cool Earth Solar in September 2011.  

Caltech invited me back to be a speaker and panelist at the GALCIT Entrepreneurs Forum. I delivered a humorous and hopefully informative presentation about my experiences as an entrepreneur. Below, is a video clip where I am giving suggestions to upcoming graduates of GALCIT interested in starting businesses.


 

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 caltech

 

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coolearth

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Musician Guitarist, Bassist, Drummer, Singer, Tech Geek, ...

Music Games

I am strong supporter of using fun and games in the learning process. I play Rock Band and Guitar Hero on my drums and sing those games on my guitar, in an exercise I call Guitaraoke (Guitar+Karaoke).

I have written two suites of ear training games, Guitar Games and Piano Games.

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guitar games_box

Music Studio

The hub of my all music endeavors is my music studio computer on which I record original music and cover songs using my musical equipment:

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superpaul