Exhaustion Got Me

Yeah, I didn’t write about what I’d meant to. I also didn’t run an errand I desperately need to.

I can forgive myself. This situation is taking every ounce of patience I have. (Yes, there’s something fishy going on that I’m not going to write about here. Let’s just say that I really shouldn’t have to put up with shit like this at this stage in my life. This is even more true when I’m doing a favor…..)

I haven’t gotten very far into Chopra’s book; my eyes get weird when I’m tired. But I’ve had time to think about it all more. With that consideration, I find myself really confirming my initial thoughts.

Similarly, I do know what I’m supposed to expect in my current position. I’m not getting it.

Whatever.

A friend, and former co-worker is coming by in a bit to discuss ITS757. One of the places I really take Mr. Chopra’s approach to heart is the emphasis on open data.

This change in thinking is something the certification wizards don’t understand.

The Weekend That Was

I probably should write a longer reax to what I saw at Start Norfolk Friday and Saturday, but that can wait until later this weekend.

I seriously blew the 30 seconds I had for the pitch after having microphone confusion. I did get to meet, speak with Aneesh Chopra, which was seriously cool. At the same time, I asked him why he’d gone around to invent a whole new process for technology acquisition. He said even the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) process took too long.

That irks me a bit, but it’s perhaps emblematic of the modern Democratic Party, who’d rather not have any sort of investigation into their decision-making. SBIR is fast when compared to normal acquisition, but it forces people to compete. When one of these things fails to work, which will happen, where’s the accountability?

As you can imagine, I have a lot to say about this, as well as reliance on “value” propositions. I was quite disappointed to see that academia is now embracing such nonsense. Of the seven elements of the “business model” presented in the first talk, only two are immediately quantifiable.

Unfortunately, my body got the best of me for the second half of Saturday, and today. I’m trying to be as well-prepared as I possibly can be for a full week of work.

It is what it is; meanwhile, the Windows Server 2003 support end date of 14 July 2015 draws a week nearner.

Admit You're Wrong

“Oh no, not yet.”
Background music here. (Along with the coolest CGI 1993 had to offer, and a depressingly-sad song set to colossal synth orchastra hits that prevent you from noticing first few listens…. I like that kind of thing.)
But back to the message. Everybody makes mistakes. We’re human. If Lovie Smith is the coach he’s purported to be, he’s telling himself that today, after last night. The key is learning to recognize when what you’re doing isn’t working, and to change things up.
Sticking to the football references, this is somewhere where Al Davis didn’t “get it.” Maybe speed, and throwing downfieldd all the time worked in 1983; it doesn’t work anymore. The coaching staff who got you to your last Super Bowl was boring “West Coast Offense,” and Rich Gannon. You didn’t win fast enough, and you got JaMarcus Russell.
So much of what I see being done in my career field is looking for JaMarcus. Hey, this worked in 2003, it should work in 2014. Cluestick — it doesn’t. In fact, trying to recreate it is foolish in light of what’s happened technologically.
So, what I’m trying to do is do honest analysis, and choose the best solution(s) for the current situation. Maybe they’re not textbook. Maybe they don’t lend themselves to an expensive multiple-choice test. Still, I am confident that ultimately, I can help someone make the correct decision based on the situation.
I’m writing this just before I attend Start Norfolk, so that’s affecting my thought patterns quite a bit. My current work position is also a bit akin to being a Tackle in an Art Shell Air Coryell offense. *sigh*

Admit You’re Wrong

“Oh no, not yet.”

Background music here. (Along with the coolest CGI 1993 had to offer, and a depressingly-sad song set to colossal synth orchastra hits that prevent you from noticing first few listens…. I like that kind of thing.)

But back to the message. Everybody makes mistakes. We’re human. If Lovie Smith is the coach he’s purported to be, he’s telling himself that today, after last night. The key is learning to recognize when what you’re doing isn’t working, and to change things up.

Sticking to the football references, this is somewhere where Al Davis didn’t “get it.” Maybe speed, and throwing downfieldd all the time worked in 1983; it doesn’t work anymore. The coaching staff who got you to your last Super Bowl was boring “West Coast Offense,” and Rich Gannon. You didn’t win fast enough, and you got JaMarcus Russell.

So much of what I see being done in my career field is looking for JaMarcus. Hey, this worked in 2003, it should work in 2014. Cluestick — it doesn’t. In fact, trying to recreate it is foolish in light of what’s happened technologically.

So, what I’m trying to do is do honest analysis, and choose the best solution(s) for the current situation. Maybe they’re not textbook. Maybe they don’t lend themselves to an expensive multiple-choice test. Still, I am confident that ultimately, I can help someone make the correct decision based on the situation.

I’m writing this just before I attend Start Norfolk, so that’s affecting my thought patterns quite a bit. My current work position is also a bit akin to being a Tackle in an Art Shell Air Coryell offense. *sigh*

Admit You’re Wrong

“Oh no, not yet.”

Background music here. (Along with the coolest CGI 1993 had to offer, and a depressingly-sad song set to colossal synth orchastra hits that prevent you from noticing first few listens…. I like that kind of thing.)

But back to the message. Everybody makes mistakes. We’re human. If Lovie Smith is the coach he’s purported to be, he’s telling himself that today, after last night. The key is learning to recognize when what you’re doing isn’t working, and to change things up.

Sticking to the football references, this is somewhere where Al Davis didn’t “get it.” Maybe speed, and throwing downfieldd all the time worked in 1983; it doesn’t work anymore. The coaching staff who got you to your last Super Bowl was boring “West Coast Offense,” and Rich Gannon. You didn’t win fast enough, and you got JaMarcus Russell.

So much of what I see being done in my career field is looking for JaMarcus. Hey, this worked in 2003, it should work in 2014. Cluestick — it doesn’t. In fact, trying to recreate it is foolish in light of what’s happened technologically.

So, what I’m trying to do is do honest analysis, and choose the best solution(s) for the current situation. Maybe they’re not textbook. Maybe they don’t lend themselves to an expensive multiple-choice test. Still, I am confident that ultimately, I can help someone make the correct decision based on the situation.

I’m writing this just before I attend Start Norfolk, so that’s affecting my thought patterns quite a bit. My current work position is also a bit akin to being a Tackle in an Art Shell Air Coryell offense. *sigh*

On Starting Your Own Business

Wow, has it really been almost a month since I’ve written anything? Considering what I’ve been doing lately, and me getting out of practice since the site where I’d been writing for more than twelve years died, I’ve been bad about keeping up here. (But it is a blog, and my blog, like every other one, sucks…) Initially, I was going to call this, “Choking on CoC,” but that’d be a bit more crass than I normally am.

Saturday, 23 August, I attended a seminar put on by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce about starting your own business.

While I did get a couple of helpful tips, on balance, spending the morning there was largely a waste of time.

Important take-aways:

  • If you run a seasonal business, you have to prepare for the thin months
  • People spent a lot of money researching how to do things in a totally suburban environment
  • S-Corp ueber Alles (And trying to figure out the HTML code for the u-umlaut is proving too much of a pain for me to deal with when there’s football on TV.)
  • Many who own sole-proprieterships choose not to pay themselves as employees, and rely on income derived from profits earned from operations

Other Intersting Factoids (some, admittedly depressing):

  • The top business for Hampton Roads is hair and nail salons
  • Creating “customer value” is the most important thing these days
  • Location, location, location!!1!

I did get some ideas, but absolutely zero contacts out of the session. With what I’m trying to do, and what I think Hatch Norfolk is trying to do with its 1000-Four effort, socialization with other business owners is very important. Not only did the speaker not engage his audience, there weren’t really any opportunities for interaction with other owners. I suspect none of them is doing what i’m trying to do with ITS757; why wasn’t I given the opportunity to collaborate with any of them?

I understand that one of the goals of these sessions is to recruit new CoC members, but recitation of stale ideas isn’t the way to do that. If I was planning on opening a T-Shirt stand at the Oceanfront, a hair salon, or a landscaping company, my take might be different.

(Maybe the recitation of stale ideas goes along with the soliloquy on the struggles of franchise owners. Of course, the focus was on things like chain fast food restaurants. This all taking place at a business within staggering distance for me of at least four chain sandwich shops… I think this sheds light on a fundamental misunderstanding of what business models are going to be successful in the future….)

At this point, I feel like I wasted my time and money. I think I’d feel that even more strongly if I dropped the Benjamins to join the CoC

Oh well. What else should I have been doing on a Saturday Morning?

Disgusting

Sleep isn’t something that comes easily to me lately. This morning’s nocturnal reflection involved the art of the upsell. Part of what I’m trying to help people avoid is getting ripped off by unscrupulous commercial providers.

  • Know what you need
  • Analyze who provides what you need
  • Make the buy

I’m reminded of a fast food chain who took two $0.99 menu items, cut a third off the portion size of each, and put them both into a cup for $2.

Great deal!!1!

Of course, there was a multi-million dollar TV ad campaign driving that message home.

In my professional life, I’ve never been okay with those sorts of tactics.

And that makes me a bad person.

If only there were some letters I could buy after my name to add weight to my opinion.

Write On Top

I’ve been kind of away from writing lately, mainly because I’m still trying to get something to bite work-wise. Eventually, I’ll get into a comfortable routine again. Maybe if I could find some prompts, like what I did for National Journal Writers’ Month the past three years, I’d be more prolific unprompted.

I have been trying to get together with the Hatch Norfolk folks. I see the things they’ve spawned, and am enthused. Some of the discussions I’ve had have made me think more of Bob Zubrin, and his proposed approaches to a Mars trip.

One of the things he really emphasized in The Case for Mars was that going big was a recipe for disaster. He used examples from polar exploration to drive that point home. In IT these days, unfortunately, “go big” seems to be the answer to everything.

I disagree wholeheartedly.

Use native facilities wherever possible. Actually develop through your requirements, and make architectural decisions based on those requirements, not on custom, or sales’ whim. Approaching a problem in that way will eventually get you where you set out to go. It may not be the way you originally whiteboarded it.

That’s okay!

Unfortunately, as I’ve been trying to get my business going, I’ve had to reflect back, and see when I’m about to make the same sorts of unwise decisions I’m trying to help people avoid. Figure out what you need to do, then choose the tool that will meet that need the most efficiently. I was reminded of this pretty quickly trying to figure out Postfix SMTP authentication for the first time in years. Yes, I could have figured it out, eventually. Yes, dovecot provides a mechanism to make it work. Yes, it’s still a royal pain trying to get it to work. Yes, I’d still need to buy certificates so my MUAs wouldn’t bitch.

Or I could just throw a few bucks towards a competent provider, get more reliability than I could ever hope to match, update the MX records, and move onto something else. (Resisting the urge to snark about doing it $whoever way.)

Other stuff from my interactions recently:

  1. I guess Woz is coming to speak, locally. I watched some of his stuff when colleagues were borrowing some of my stuff for the 5th HOPE conference where he was a featured speaker. If tickets aren’t outrageously expensive or hard to get, I’d go. The stuff he did with the Apple ][ was legendary. He didn’t really work on the original Macintosh; if you Google around a bit, you can find numerous quotes from the 80s and 90s where he hated on teh Mac. With the Classic OSes (System * and OS 8/9), I can understand where he was coming from. Apple’s NeXT buy seemed really unwise in 1997, but I think it played out pretty nicely.
  2. For a long time, I was very much against the use of databases. I’ve come around on that, though. For data that is infrequently written, but frequently read, it’s tough to beat a database. Whether that’s MySQLariaDB, or MongoDB, or Oracle, or SQL Server, or whatever, the data is stored, access is provided to it via a predictable API, and it’s not bound up in some proprietary data blob. There’s a reason Microsoft deprecated Access/JET.

So, more, more often, but I have an appointment now.

Guinea Pig

For the past three weeks, I’ve been doing a research study with a Fitbit One. It was offered to MS patients as part of some study.

I connected it up, and wore it most of the time, as instructed.

Thoughts?

I dunno. Since I’m not terribly active to begin with, I’m not sure how much my data will help. Did it help me track things like caloric intake? Yep. Did I forget it once in my few public outings? Yep.

Sadly, the one day I did forget it going out, was one of the most active days I had in the period. Naturally, the next few days were full of gluttony, courtesy HR Geeks, and Cogan’s Pizza.

Final verdict? Free, fun gadget to play with. It was something for me to do while I was busy getting ITS757 a big better organized. Finishing weight: Plus 0.5lbs. Max weight gain: Plus 0.5lbs. Minimum weight: -2.5lbs.

I’ll hand it over to my wife to play with for awhile, and may use it again if/when I find myself out in public more often.

As for ITS757, barring one of the Federal jobs I’ve applied for hitting, this is happening. The feedback I’ve gotten from most of the people I’ve pitched it to has been positive. As I’ve thought through things a bit more, I’ve been able to address some of the weaknesses.

Now to get the customers.

Where the threats lie

One of the things that’s been running through my head the past few days is that your data is actually safer “in the cloud.” Charles Johnson over at Little Green Footballs spoke to it when discussing Eddie’s disclosure of protected information to puppetmaster Glenn Greenwald.

I’m reminded of the abject shock and horror one of my former managers had when he found out I could have read any of his emails if I’d wanted to. Aside from the facts that a) I didn’t have time to do that, and b) I didn’t have context for many of them to understand them, I mainly didn’t read them because I really didn’t care to. You are worried about getting a gift for Stacy’s baby shower Thursday? Susan totally botched her sales presentation to Jones and Company?

I. Don’t. Care.

Neither does Google.
Neither does Microsoft.
Neither does Rackspace.
Neither does AT&T.
Neither does Verizon.
Neither does Cox.
Neither does Facebook, even though they might brighten Carol’s newsfeed after Susan totally blew that opportunity. (Here’s a hint, Facebook, Carol really likes videos with cats.  She could use a few extra this week, and maybe some dating prospects, as she’s insanely jealous that Stacy’s getting all the attention just because she got some action.)

Neither, probably, does Jason your Ops Guy. He’s just between modules on that vendor training you paid for, and there’s nothing interesting on Reddit, so time to snoop.

The NSA doesn’t really care about much of it, either. None of what they collected got released until Eddie stole the data from the NSA, and gave it to his buddy Glenn.

Maybe ultimately the weak spots are Jason and Eddie?