Friday, February 14, 2014

Cruise Note Number One

Recently took a Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Pride. It was fantastic, and I'll post more. But for now: The Pizza Pirate pizza shop on the ship makes amazingly good pizza!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Goals for the Week

Goals for the week of December 8, 2013


  1. Two visits to the gym
  2. Christmas tree up and decorated
  3. Christmas shopping is finished
  4. Written plan for my work projects is created
  5. Blog about the future is started with one post
  6. Outline for goal-setting book is done


Sunday, November 03, 2013

If I Could Go Back To Age 20...

On Facebook, a high school classmate recently asked,
If you could turn back the clocks to when we were 20, what would you do differently??
I guess I pretty much suck as these kinds of questions, because I have a Zen belief in "Your Path" including ups and downs ... that there's no such thing as "having arrived" and no one is exempt from regrets and mistakes.

But focusing on those mistakes only robs us of the happiness we can otherwise enjoy.

Nonetheless, if I could go back to age 20 and have a do-over, I'd...


  • Slow down
  • Criticize less and smile more
  • Spend more time sitting on the sofa with my children, watching funny TV shows
  • Hug my wife more often
  • Ignore pop culture
  • Work hard but always leave on time
  • Ask my parents to tell me all about their grandparents
  • Discover my love of cooking earlier
  • Start surfing at age 20 (I waited until I was 40 to start)
  • Get into bodybuilding earlier (didn't do that until late 30's)
  • Love the unlovely
  • Get out of the independent, fundamental Christian cult
  • Go to a Lutheran Church instead of batshit crazy IFB church
  • Listen more
  • Tell any company that thought they "owned" me to go fuck themselves.
  • In warm weather, more windows down, less air conditioning


I guess, in short, be a better person.

(Here's the cool thing; I can still do these things!)

All The Best,

-- Don

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Final Chapter

Tomorrow, I fly to San Antonio to begin the Final Chapter (work-wise) of my life: I start Monday at Rackspace as a .NET Developer Advocate for Open Stack.

This isn't a job; this is the culmination of years of work, decades of dreaming and a lifetime of preparation. To write computer code, to write documentation, and to speak in front of crowds about the work I've (we've) done is almost the perfect job for me.

(The perfect job would be to teach surfing to supermodels at a topless beach, but I digress...)

I'm not going into this as my next job; I'm looking at it as the summit of my career. I fully intend to carry on this vocation until I retire or die -- either one at a very old age if I have anything to do with it.

Working with Open Stack means I'll be pushing the bleeding edge, surfing the frontal edge of technology. I'll be surrounded by brilliant, mostly young, people -- two things that I enjoy. Like anyone, being intellectually challenged is fantastic. Being around young, energetic people fits my own mindset; That is, young at heart. I don't lift weights and surf and read reddit because I'm "the old guy"; I do it because aging gracefully is for the lazy.

I intend to stand out at Rackspace. I expect to be a "star". I have every reason to believe that my contributions will be great, and recognized as such.

In short, I'm totally amped.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Acquire and Shut Down

Snapjoy is the latest.

I wonder what Dropbox is going to do with the technology.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Music

Diggin' some Huey Lewis & The News right now!

Ouch

Bit my lip.

HATE when I do that. Not only hurts, but I keep rubbing it with my tongue -- as if it's going to magically disappear.

Oh the hazards of being a software developer.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Uncertainty

You cannot know both the speed and location of a given object at the same time.

Get over it.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Help Me Get This Open Source Idea Moving

Last October, two friends and I traveled to New Jersey to assist in the recovery efforts following Superstorm Sandy. Unfortunately, other than delivering some clothing and food, we spent our time riding around in a truck, trying to find out who wanted our help ... where we were needed ... what we could do.

It occurred to me that this area -- coordinating volunteer efforts following a disaster -- was ripe for improvement. Given that technology is a terrific tool for mobilizing groups of people, my mind delivered the following:

A combination mobile application and web site (and Google Glass app!) that allows the overseeing authority [OA] (Red Cross? FEMA? Armed Forces?) to direct and instruct volunteers, and also gather data.

How it works:

Disaster strikes. Hurricane, tornado, earthquake, terrorist attack, etc.

(Just writing that is heartbreaking)

So you're a volunteer. You head to the area. Perhaps alone, perhaps a Team of volunteers that will act as a unit.

On your way, you use your mobile app to indicate your skills, abilities, assets, etc. For example, "Three people in our team. Skills include Destruction, Construction, Counseling, Technology, Cooking. Assets include chainsaw, generator, 700 pounds of food."

At this point, the overseeing authority is able to use the web site to view the location of Teams, since their GPS will provide their location.

The OA is now able to see where teams are. Assuming they are getting requests for assistance, they can  use the web site to direct one or more teams to a specific area.

The mobile app and Google Glass app allow the Team to record pictures and/or videos for damage assessment, success of efforts, etc.

The OA can publish "How To" videos to the mobile users.

All this time, metrics are being gathered and published.

This all runs on "The Cloud", allowing it to easily scale UP and DOWN as activities start and wind down.

OTHER IDEAS WELCOMED.

Some unknowns:

Who do we make sure the OA is, in fact, the legitimate OA?
How can we mitigate legal issues, e.g. a volunteer gets injured.

The Goal:

This solution will become a worldwide standard.
This solution will be pre-loaded on EVERY smart phone sold in the world.
This solution will be THE standard for coordinating relief efforts.

Technology:

Undecided. I have a bias toward Ruby on Rails. IT MUST BE BASED ON OPEN SOURCE SOLUTIONS.

Comments welcome.

Finally ...

WHERE DO I START? HOW do I get this rolling?

Friday, May 03, 2013

Friday, week almost over ...

... and I'm digging Pink Floyd's album, "Dark Side Of The Moon".

Never gets old. In fact, it was on the charts for 741 consecutive weeks!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Eyesight

I'm at the point where I wear contacts AND reading glasses.

Ugh.

I need stronger contact lenses.

Techie Love

jQuery ... I love you.

Needed to sort a table. Didn't want to make a round trip to the database and make the stored procedure, or even some server-side code, do the work.

jQuery Tablesorter ... dozen lines of code ... done.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Music

I *REALLY* like Boz Scaggs.

Web Services

No matter how many times I create web services, whether SOAP (ugh) or REST ... I never get over the amazement. They are SO COOL.

What I love is the hiding of complexity and technology. The consumer knows only a URI and gets back some JSON. No need to know whether the provider is Windows, Linux, OS/400 ... Commodore 64 ... whatever.

The consumer also doesn't know that your Windows server is picking up the request, querying a DB2 database on a mainframe in Toledo and a MySQL database running on a Linux box in Marlboro, then retrieving some NoSQL data from a CouchDB instance running in Paris.

So cool. I love that.

"Here's a URI. That's all you need."

Odd Day

Odd feeling today.

The sales of my deceased parents' condo settles today. It will no longer be in the family. The memories will be in my mind, no longer to be refreshed by visits to the home.

Weird. Sad. The circle of life rolls on.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Son

Ian arrived Thursday afternoon and left Sunday evening.

I'm fighting off some depression today; it's to be expected. I always get "down" when he leaves. I only have so many moments with him in my life, and I cherish each of them.

When he's around, he brightens my world with his enthusiasm, his bright future and his wit. He always challenges me intellectually, yet shows the proper respect that I'm not even sure I've earned. I could have done much better as a dad, yet somehow grace blessed me with a wonderful son nonetheless.

Much better than I deserve, to be sure.

Don't take your time with your parents or children for granted. It'll end much too soon ... much sooner than you think.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Son

My son is visiting for the next few days.

I can barely wait to leave work and get home. I'm always glad when he visits and sad when he leaves.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

About Use Case Documents

They describe something the Actor does.

They're NOT a functional decomposition.

They don't need to be extremely detailed.

There's ONE Happy Path.

Nitrous.IO

Mind. Blown.




This is the future of development and the IDE as we know it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Job

Got the offer in writing today. It's good.

Fortune 500 company that is on the rise. Good salary, good benefits, good perks, good people to work with ... all around a good deal.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Music

"Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day..."

SOAP. UGH.

Just told "We can't use REST, have to use SOAP".

UGH.

Language

A guy at work today said "what the hell", then said "Oh; Sorry about my language".

I almost died laughing. He has no idea...

Great Weekend

Had a great weekend. 

Friday night was a bit ... over the top. Rich and Sue visited for the weekend and we all really drank too much Friday night. Oops.

Saturday, Rich and I worked on the patio. Raymond came over and helped a bit, too. I leveled sand and put down the pavers. Rich cut pavers to fit into small spaces. Raymond helped move pavers. 

The patio is almost finished. Another two hours of laying pavers and probably an hour to spread the polymeric sand and it's done.

Made gumbo Saturday evening for dinner. Terrific.

Used the leftover T-bone from Friday night's dinner to make huevos rancheros on Sunday morning for breakfast. Best meal of the weekend ... 10 out of 10.

Spent Sunday resting.

Great weekend.

Friday, April 12, 2013

SQL Skillz!

My mad SQL SKILLZ won me a free lunch today.

Don't MESS with me when it comes to tuples, baby!


Corvette: The Final Answer

Not now.

After my income takes off later this year and I'm pulling down seven figures, I'll just buy a 2014 Stingray and be done with it.

(How's *that* for "confidence"?)

I Love DivShot

I just discovered DivShot the other day.

I LOVE it. This is getting me through a sticking point for all my website ideas: That of NOT being a designer. With DivShot, I can create nice-looking sites on my own.

Well done.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

WGet or cURL?

Anyone have a winning argument one way or the other?

Numbers

"Crunched the numbers" regarding keeping the 2006 Elantra Limited or selling it to get the 1989 Corvette.

When you factor in depreciation -- which is a real thing, you can't ignore it -- the Corvette is $2,400 *cheaper* over a five-year period.

Granted, I may need that for repairs. So let's call it even.

I'm driving a Corvette instead of an Elantra.

Yes, I factored in MPG, high-octane versus regular gasoline, even that fact that new tires for the Corvette will cost more.

On a monthly cash flow basis, based on gasoline use, the Corvette will cost me about $30 a month more.

I can see where I'm heading with this...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ixnay on the Ettevay

One of the great things about being married is to have another person to validate your thoughts, feelings, ideas...

When I got home today, Patti raised some REALLY GOOD questions about buying a strong-running-but-still-24-years-old Corvette.

I have to agree with her assessment that "perhaps the timing isn't right".

It's all good.

1989 Corvette

Just realized, if (when) I get that Corvette, I can then ride around listening to Huey Lewis And The News or Foreigner ... any kind of old-school stuff.

(I'll probably listen to the Rat Pack all the time like I did in my Spyder)

This Is What I'm Considering...




Corporations

I'm running into the "We've always done it that way" a lot at a large, corporate client.

I can't let it bother me. They're not rejecting me or my ideas; They're rejecting progress in general.

Frustration

At work:

1. See the client's current situation.
2. Suggest Best Practice to improve situation.
3. Be informed that the system is too old to implement new solution.
4. Commence frustration...

Planning To Reduce Anxiety

Got home from work last evening and slipped into a terribly grouchy mood. I was "out of sorts". Things conspired against me, including:

1. I was getting the lawn spreader out of the shed, I was wearing flip flops, and saw a mouse. No problem, but I didn't really want a mouse running on my almost-bare feet. Gave me the heebie-jeebies.

2. Had to walk on my unfinished patio in order to get the automatic skimmer going in the pool.

3. Had to see the weeds that need pulled.

4. Had to see the patio sans fence.

5. Applied the lawn fertilizer in my flip flops (so dumb), resulting in grit in between my feet and flip flops. Uncomfortable.

6. When removing the automatic skimmer, I held the hose so that the water ran outside of the pool, it splashed in the sand (because my patio's not finished!) and splashed sand all over my feet and legs.

At this point, I was grumpy.

I mostly felt overwhelmed. Between the patio, fencing to be installed, and weeding and mulching to be done -- it's TOO MUCH! ARGH!

But this morning, I calmly wrote down the tasks, scheduled them over the next three weekends, and I feel MUCH better.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, sometimes a little planning can ease the mind. Laying out what needs to be done and when it will be done eliminates the "unknown", which is where anxiety hides.

Hope this helps someone.

What People Are Doing With The Smartphones

Overwhelmed

I felt overwhelmed yesterday when I got home from work.

I have three things I MUST get done NOW!:

1. Finish laying patio pavers - a good Saturday will do that.
2. Install a fence; A good weekend for that.
3. Weed and mulch the yard; A good weekend for that.

That will pretty much take up April -- which is fine. Then I'm all set for May and summer.

Funny; when you plan things, the feeling of being overwhelmed goes away.

Note to self: PLAN your future.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

250 MPH??

A lady at work said her former husband had a "custom-built" 1986 Mustang that "he got up to 250 miles per hour".

Yeah, SURE he did.

That'd take about 1,400 horsepower.

Yeah.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Shamokin

I had the occasion to drive through Shamokin, PA, recently.

What a dank, dark, depressing place. Ugh.

Paleo Eating

I started eating "Paleo" at the beginning of 2013.

Since I've done that, my chronic heartburn has stopped.

Fencing

I'm putting a fence around my above-ground pool.

The challenge is this: The material cost is about $700, but shipping is $300. That's insane! ... Shipping will be 30 percent of the total cost.

Gotta be a better solution.


Thursday, April 04, 2013

Microsoft SQL Server SSIS

Been using SSIS today.

I haven't used this since the old DTS days.

This is nice. This is fun. This is powerful.

Well done, Microsoft.

Amazon, You're Too Easy

Amazon's One-Click is just too easy.

Add to that the ability to preview and instantly purchase *and play* music ... oh boy.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Application Development Come 2015

Read this today:

"By 2015, 80% of all application development will be for mobile devices."


Wow. Time to switch while others get left behind.

Overwhelmed

It's the time of year when I feel overwhelmed. My immediate (April) tasks include:

1. Finish laying pavers for the patio.
2. Put a fence around the patio.
3. Open the pool.
4. Spread topsoil.
5. Weed.
6. Spread mulch.
7. Fertilize the lawn.
8. Set up patio furniture and lawn ornaments.


On top of that, I have one, big, "one-off" project of finish:

Cut and stack firewood.

I'll be thankful for good weather.

Actually, looking at this list now that I've written it down ... I'm excited.


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Why Do I Do What I Do?

Why, when I *know* I should do something that will benefit myself, do I procrastinate -- or worse, simply don't do it?

It's some sort of mental block.

I need to find a way to kick myself to being the person I want to be, know I can be, and used to be.

Perhaps working out will do it.

I need _something_ to shake me up.

Apps


There are two platforms for building apps:

1. Web apps
2. Mobile apps

Desktop apps are, for the most part, dead.

As Wi-Fi becomes more widespread, many mobile app needs will be filled by responsive web apps.

Just a note to myself.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Housecleaning

Every once in a while -- as in just a few moments ago -- I delete all my Pandora stations and start over.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My son posted the following on Facebook. It's spot on:

If I get promoted in November, I'll need to consider voting for Romney. I mean, screw the "freeloaders" right? I got here all by my damn self with no help from anyone. 

Well, except for public school, public library, state grants for college, state-assisted college, federal subsidized loans, NIH for funding my undergraduate and graduate research, tax breaks for education, public transportation to take me to work, cops to keep me safe, military to employ me as a government employee and teach me things, military to keep me safe, FDIC to protect my investments, roads to ride my bike on, New York State for helping me get health insurance which paid out nearly 30,000 dollars when I was hit by a truck, public parks where I got to run cross country and hang out as a teenager, VA benefits to help out my grandpa in his last days so I could enjoy being around him, social security for the people I love, clean rivers and mountains enforced and cleaned up by the EPA so I can enjoy the great outdoors, food and drug regulation and enforcement (even if it needs improved) so I don't end up with poisonous milk like in China, NIH CDC to stamp out diseases, National Weather Service so I can obsessively check if it's snowing (it's not yet), and subsidized housing so the guy trying to work his way up from nothing can be close to his job. 

But BESIDES ALL THAT, and surely some more, I did it all by myself and am completely self sufficient.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Father Has Passed Away

On Sunday, August 26, my dad of 84 years passed away. We were very close. He was as fine a father that one could be.

This I wrote as the closing prayer at his memorial service today:

Just as the sun arcs across the sky, the lives of others arcs across our horizon.

Some are like shooting stars. The appearance is too brief, but so spectacular that you feel blessed having seen it.

Others move so slowly, you forget that they are moving, and you start to expect them to always be there.

Their light helps us to find our way, to see through dark times. Light, warmth, energy.

As we know, the sun eventually sets. It’s out of view. It’s, in a sense, gone.

Not really gone. It is now lighting another part of our existence, a place where we don’t currently stand, a place to which we’ve not yet traveled. The light shines there, instead.

In a similar sense, by Faith we believe that loved ones merely fade from our view, their light gone from our lives, but shining on in another place, a place where we don’t currently stand, a place to which we’ve not yet traveled.

My prayer includes the joy of having lived in the light of my dad, the comfort of knowing he’s shining on just over the horizon, and a bit of a challenge that my light will shine to light the way for others.

May you carry this prayer and contemplation with you and remember it every time you recall my dad.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I'm a Two-Percenter

My I.Q. is in the top two percent. It can be a curse.

The problem with being very intelligent is that you see mistakes and ignorance all around, and it bothers you. Ignorance truly must be bliss.

The worst combination is ignorance plus arrogance ... which defines Religious Fundamentalists.

I resent being calledl "elite" because I'm well-educated. It's not a coincidence that the well-educated are the more open-minded.

If this post bothers you, you need to examine your own beliefs, intelligence and education. There's no shame in being less intelligent; The problem lies in the pride of not deferring to those with more knowledge.

I realize this post may come across as smug, arrogant or conceited. I also know that many of my friends will agree with me, if only silently. That's fine, I'll say that which is understood yet not spoken.