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Real estate techies burn midnight oil

Competition spurs on-the-fly apps

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SAN FRANCISCO -- On Thursday morning, Mike Griffiths was zipping along under the influence of caffeine -- a monstrous can of Monster Energy drink and a can of Red Bull energy drink stood beside his laptop as he typed code. That capped off the "espresso or two this morning," he acknowledged, and "I don't usually have coffee." That wasn't the only "java" that Griffiths, 22, was tapping into. As senior programmer for a three-person team competing in a race to build a real estate Web application over a two-day period, he was already deep into a project involving Java programming language, PHP, Ajax, MySQL Administrator and other techie development tools that would assist in meeting a fast-approaching deadline. Griffiths has worked for Real Estate Webmasters, a real estate technology company based in Nanaimo, Canada, in the province of British Columbia, since he was 19, and he's a sort of "rock star" when it comes to programming, said Morg...