Things I do not understand

People. I don’t get them. Relatives, ex’s, ex relatives. How we can have a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law and then we don’t when its over. Suddenly those people are no longer related either. Its like the divorce happens to such a wide audience. You are never supposed to contact those people again. My so-called ex-brother-in-law (is there such a thing?) has never called me, sent me a card, referred to me since the divorce; yet my ex-sister-in-law still does. There is something strange with people. Especially people you have or had a relationship with. What happens is that we are basically handed the divorce to them as well. Not that I miss my ex-mother-in-law. She was a real pill. I would never hope to find another like her again. I think she managed to create some kind of bi-polarity and craziness in all the family she was the matriarch over. How? Because she’s a person and is the singular of people. We really cannot ever put ourselves in someone else’s shoes or feel what another feels or make another person happy. None of those things can happen. We can never “be as one” or blend together in some gooey soup of love and harmony. After my years here, I’ve realized that people are the worst things about people. They all think that either you are wrong and they are right or you right and then are wrong and they cannot wait to communicate all that BS. I will never understand people. And that’s okay. Along with people is this special thing called friendship. I don’t understand that but I do know that as we get older its harder and harder to make them and keep them. We all drift a thousand ways apart and cannot find the space or time to reach out. Others I have known and perhaps loved have left and some soon might. You never know.

Space. I don’t understand any of the concepts of space. Personal space, space in the universe, space and how it affects time. Whether there is a continuum or not and we can cross over the vortex and see things over across the space thing. I’ve heard people say,

give me some space

What exactly does that mean? We all have space. There is the space between us and the millions of miles of space that separate us all as humans.

I’ve tried mightily to be something I am not and I blame space on not achieving it. I cannot be like person X or Y because I am not in their space. I also do not know what it means to be in someone else’s space. I had believed it was a universal law that people cannot operate the same space.

I guess I will puzzle over space just like I do over people.

Time. I do not get time. The clock madly charts its course across our temporal and spatial skies and takes away things and gives other things. Getting old is not running out of time. Its making time look different and behave different but in the end; it does not really exist. I’ve heard people say,

give me some time

I don’t think its possible to give someone else time whether it exists or not. Time is not one of those things you can give or take. It does that all on its own dear readers.

So what we are left with we can understand you may ask. Well, there are some things we can discuss and dream about and wonder over. We can look inside ourselves and question what we find. We can travel a path that is either crooked or straight and wonder why. We can create and destroy and find and lose and value and hate. We are the Ecclesiastes of life ourselves. If you say you don’t understand God. You are lost. Because that is the most personal of things. Science is outside looking in. Faith is inside looking out. Don’t get confused and believe that anthropologists and archeologists are atheists. We are not. Faith and belief are central poles of existence to life for the good and bad. Many bad things have happened because said they believed in a thing or did not.

So in the end, we cannot really understand another person, invade their space or time; become one with them. Lose ourselves in an altruistic goo of life. Make another happy until we are happy. People, time, space. Think about it.

Sitting in a Starbucks I spy on others that may be spying on me. Who knows who thinks what. And who gives a flying fuck. We’re put here on earth not to satisfy another but to chart a path for ourselves. We may touch others and we may allow them to touch us. Friendships may bloom. People may say they love us. We may divorce and find a measure of peace or war.

Its all about the Mocha Frap I have right now and I watch it steadily going down. Is there a place where it stops? Is a glass half full enough?

Ask and you may answer.

Friday Night Still Glad you are not here blog post

A week ago I said glad you were not here on that Friday night. Here it is another Friday. I walked today the good walk and my legs told me so. Here at home for a change. Feel like I put in a good week at work. Earned my money and leave most days feeling really good. I perhaps bring something they need. It sure beats the hell out of the last place. Sometimes you just know a thing sucks without even considering all the evidence.

Now its another Friday and my times move this way and that. Will I stay at the current place? Will they offer something else after this that I can go do? I don’t know. I do like the place and the people and what I do. I’d like a job as an infrastructure PM for them for another year. That would be just about perfect for me. Maybe another 1.5 years. Then I could walk away from the technology work forever and implement “Mike Plan B”. That’s the plan where I go write the next great Novel by some Asian beach or sitting in the sun in Malaysia considering my Visa requirements. Or maybe staying the course in the good ole US of A and riding the rails back and forth, here and there, up and down this great country and the one to the north. Maybe I will never see India again but I find it hard to believe. India has this thing for me that wants me back.

But now its Friday and its beer and pizza and I must order and buy supplies. Then I must drink and get shit-faced and watch movies and consider the rest of things. That absolute Etcha Sketch with the lines I can never hide. The ones that still piss me off at times.

Welcome to your Friday if you are here. Enjoyment is good. Misery is optional.

Blog Memories and Thoughts

Every so often I type in some search word to see what accumulated BS and/or wisdom this blog has perpetuated. Some of the posts seem almost intelligent and articulate and philosophical and others seem like the rambling of a somewhat mad guy. From about 2009 to 2014 I lived in a house where the fractured family held court. My kids came and went and my ex-wife mostly went.  The blog chronicles those years pretty well if not angrily in some posts. I have had conflicting feelings about some of the posts but its dawned on me that I went through the stages that people say and I wrote about a lot of it on this here blog.

From being an archeologist to doing project management. Finding okay jobs and then accepting jobs I now wonder whatever prompted me to take. They were all grist for some mill where I tested and tasted the waters of existence. The blog chronicles some years with sets of things called categories divided into months and years called archives. Its all there.

The life of Mike is all there. Divided up and roughly defined by topics and posts and subjects and searchable data. WordPress maintains this all so well for me. I can “find” and I can search and I can write into a mysql database out there in a VPS I own. Its all a thread of an existence which still moves onward.

I watch friends, and I have a few, do their things. Some people could call me a friend but I doubt that they satisfy my somewhat demanding and demented criteria of friendship. For those people, they are something else. They cannot cross the Rubicon of my relationship requirements so I have let them go, they have let me go, or both have happened.

All of the places I’ve worked, the two kids I’ve had, the ex-wife that seems to still want to order me about. Its all in the blog. Its like a vicarious measuring stick of my life since about 2005. Some things went missing like an entire month in 2009 when I was in India working. Some pictures were not kept as I moved things around here and there. Such is life though folks. We all lose those precious photographs and then going through a box we happen across them.

I’ll take my daughter force to see a person she happens to admire and love and I’m glad she does. RWR is getting older and we shall travel to the Antelope Valley to see him. The same valley that took me to isolated canyons and fields of wild flowers, and prehistoric archeological sites perched in wondrous ecologies. The memories still abound and I write these things down not for future posterity but so in another year when I am doing whatever I shall be doing then, I can run yet another search and I will find this. This post is nothing special but a mile marker in a life beset by calamities and happenstance.

Rarely are all the orbits in perfect pitch good friend “D”. Never assume they are or as someone said,

when you assume you make an ass out of u and me

And this blog will continue I am gathering and not be erased any time soon. It catches the crumbs of an existence that sometimes I was bewildered by, sometimes I hated, and sometimes had stages to go through to get to the other side.

I’ll select enough categories to find this retrospective again. Mikes Thoughts is just that. If you happen to read here perhaps you only come back once and figure out that the whole blogging thing may be moving a bit slower. There are those of us who maintain them and update them and have love/hate relationships with them. We stop and we are 5 pound chickens trying to lay 10 pound eggs. A terribly constipated feeling results and life seems less.

Don’t refer here looking for answers to your own stages for I have none. Instead I’ll go out and walk soon at Irvington Park and wonder and wander down streets and see tree lined blocked with kids playing and dogs barking. I won’t know and I won’t care.

That’s enough.

On the Eve of Google IO my hunches…

Google IO starts soon. I happened by the GooglePlex the other day when walking and saw the guys. They all looked pensive, excited, whatever.


See. The normal smiles and moving around gave way to silently standing and waiting. Perhaps patiently to see what Android N might be.

I’ve thought through what I’d like to see and since I am so well connected to El Goog I know they

will read this blog post and deliver the goods. So, things which may or may not happen and my hunches:

  • A new 7 inch tablet much like the Nexus 7 2013 is probably not going to happen. I have not seen a single credible or even less leak. I don’t think tablets are big news any longer. Perhaps after Android N launches we will see them add one.
  • The cosmic integration of Chrome and Android will happen. Just not the way you all think. The big news is the Play Store on Chrome while still having the apps store on Chrome. This will open up Chrome to so many choices. I don’t believe Google will lessen their OS’es by one and somehow magically combine them.
  • New phones. There have been some leaks from credible sources about two new phones from HTC. I say yay! I want HTC to succeed. I had the Nexus One and in its day, it was the king. Now a metal Nexus perhaps modeled after the HTC 10 but with more memory, no SD card (there will not be an SD Card dudes, get used to it), and perhaps a few other goods will launch on new phones. I am not sure about the two. We will want and see.
  • Android N itself will be showcased but its still a work in progress so I think we will see some of its features that there have been some clamor for. Split screen, maybe force touch and maybe not, windowed mode? I think Android N is about a few things after seeing the developer release running on a Pixel C I had. Exact features though? Not sure.

Probably whole bunches of stuff around VR and brand new Google apps to be loaded and much more. Maybe other things will be more of a keynote and I am completely wrong. We have a few days to see.

Finally, Android is a thing and the iPhone is not a thing. iPhone lost its last tableau of innovation and only seems bent on copying itself and taking an earlier phone form factor and making it into something quasi new. Perhaps the legions of faithful buy this and keep on buying it. Good for them. To me that whole ecosystem is boring and the real things left they probably will never do. Give users some rights on the devices. Create real file systems people can use. Allow users to set realistic default applications. Allow icons and customization. Stop charging so much!

The Friday night glad you are not here blog post

This is Friday night and I cannot think of anyone really I would wish were here with me. I’m sorry all you guys that read this and think,

wow, if I could be with Mike tonight we could have enlightening conversation, sparkling discussion, and energetic discourse

Nope. Sorry. I don’t care to have you over for any of that. I don’t care to meet and have coffee or tea, discuss the relative merits of open source and Linux, meet business contacts or establish new relationships for any reason whatsoever.

I’m done with work this week and since I cannot work OT I am truly done. This is the end of the second week and its still good. Amazing, eh? The last place was on the negative pole of existence and this place is on the positive. Work is not work. The new boss is not the same as the old boss. Thank God. The last place with its strident emails which made me feel like a bad grade schooler, its interminable 90’s era social mores, and a company which really had no clue what it wanted to be or how to get there. All them things all stuck in my craw. Left me feeling back months ago completely underwhelmed.

Perhaps now its a emergency with international teams, a mission which seems daunting, and a great company focus where people actually look at others as team members and not the blame factor. So now I feel I contribute. I’ve learned a lot in two weeks there.

But now its a Friday. Beer in the fridge. Chips and salsa waiting patiently for their turn. A quiet night where the cell phone rings and I practice effective call screening. I don’t care to talk and I don’t want to discuss business objectives.

Here’s one more piece of news. I have my LLC and is real even if its website is not yet. Tomorrow, I’ll change its DNS and set up a alias website on my Digital Ocean VPS. I’ll set email up with strong rules using postfix. Now I am a company of one and it will stay that way. I tried having kindred souls and they weren’t. I tried including someone who seemed entrepreneurial and he wasn’t. Now its just me and I can work at things or not. I have a business plan and I know what I’ll do and the people I’ll work with. I’ll launch the website and build some content this weekend after DNS decides to do its thing.

Its Friday and its beer time almost. I’ll watch an old movie or three and then drink a beer or six. That’s a Friday night for ya.

A Saturday Morning

Here it is Saturday morning. Yesterday, I got to return to the GooglePlex area and walk the Stevens Creek Trail and part of the San Francisco Bay Trail in a wonderful 2 hour excursion. The area around the technology complex includes Microsoft, Linkedin, and a whole host of other companies. The big thing is Google there though. Its Google here and there and everywhere. Their loaner bikes go zipping all around. There’s a wonderful sports facility for the Google folks.  Its one of those campuses that are more than a campus. Its like a city or something.

I’ve decided to explore the restaurants and shopping around where I live and there are all kinds of places I need to eat, check out, and familiarize. That’s really good since I get tired of driving longer distance back over to south Fremont.

I also got to talk with RWR yesterday for the first time in more years. I really must do better with him I feel. We’re all getting older and who knows how long a person has. RWR is special and if you search on his initials on this thing, you can find numerous posts about him.

Now its Saturday morning with instant coffee and instant coffee thoughts. News blurs on and I’m thankful for the work I have. Its a great job on a project which always challenges me with its complexity. So much more than the last thing! I no longer worry about changing someone’s travel plans on some travel site or building ethernet labels or having someone track me and if I’m late give me a session on timeliness.  They tell me at work now I will stay past my project and work on other projects and they want me, like me, appreciate my abilities. Its a nice change from a place that blamed me for just about anything that happened even when I demonstrated that really there was no blame that could be attached. Its easier to find a scapegoat and blame the new project manager instead of a so-so technical team that was fully loaded on the company.

I drank my required beer last night and watched old movies. It was good again. Life was good even if I spend it in the Bay area which I really don’t like that much.


May Day and McDonalds – a blog post for the ages

Sitting here in Mcdonalds on 1 May makes me remember so many trips I’ve taken for some reason and other McDonalds I’ve sat in. In Japan, I would seek out the places for a cheapo lunch. In India, I’d walk over to the Ascendas Mall food court and have lunch there. There was a KFC there too. I remember walking down this busy street to get there. One time, a water buffalo blocked the morning traffic on the toll road and the traffic was even more backed up.

I dwell on Chennai every so often and see things here which remind me of things there for whatever reason. Back then life was this mix of simplicity and dread. I really did not have much in the evenings to do besides walk over to the Savera Hotel and revisit the Bamboo Lounge and avail myself of cold draft beers and perhaps some over-priced finger foods. Perhaps I would walk down to Zara’s and have these ice cold bottles of Kingfisher and talk with a bartender or two. I met a guy there one night that was traveling in India and we agreed to try to meet up again. Never did happen but the barkeep told me had come back looking for me or something another night. Such is life.

I remember other places my feet took me like Singapore and Kyoto and Sydney and Eugene and Portland and Seattle and Santa Barbara. So many places where I could find a McDonalds for whatever reason. Sometimes a cheap breakfast and other times a cheaper lunch. When you’re walking a city, food sometimes does not matter unless it happens to be Seattle, Portland, or Eugene. Then its beer. Beer matters there. Stopping in at so many brewpubs, taphouses, and public houses for a lunch and a sampling of the beers. Perhaps a small plate in Portland would tide me over and a glass of their River Ale which may have been the best I had there. Deschutes Brewery had to be a favorite place. But so many others including the restaurants off season in Seattle where tables were ready and staff were friendly. The first night at this bar by the hotel and the barkeep telling me that some of the customers were prostitutes and some were still celebrating Halloween. Hard to tell the difference he chuckled.

Travel memories naturally return and I have not been out of the country to Asia for way too long. No side trips to Japan or visiting the places in Tokyo which always kept me going. No Lion Beer Hall in the Ginza or the Akihabara or Shinjuku. Shinjuku home of the mighty sky scrapers and stores that go up and not out. Amazing!

So why do I dwell on this on a May day in a McDonalds in a place I don’t really care about in a life which seems stalled sometimes at the speed limit? I don’t know. I have a feeling something will happen next. A seminal thing. An important thing and I have to wait. Life is not a random set of events I am sure. There is a web of connectedness that ties events and causes and hell and heaven and as my mom would say,

you make your own hell on earth

Everything is tied together and a thing you do good may yield bad and a thing you do wrong may yield the positive. There is the you in the events though and you influence, change, make amends and can change the power of the force either for the light or dark. But assuredly you make your own hell here.

I think a lot of my mom not just on May day but soon to be mother’s day. I think of failed relationships and how these are tied to things still evolving. My daughter force’s graduation from high school. My son’s finally finding something of value in work. My time slowly siphoning out of some cosmic slipstream and still things seem tantalizingly out of reach. Yet a gesture away on this May day.

Thanks mom. You taught me a great deal and you never really knew it. I was a lot to take and you took it with gusto and some relief perhaps when I left. I look now at things and think there is no coulda, woulda, shoulda. Its all the way it ended up and my life became simpler for it all. No more homes and boats and back yards and pets that no one cared about but me. I live a life in solitude most of the times. Perhaps I’ll tell my daughter about this blog one day and let her read it all. Maybe she will learn something from the 12 years or so of detritus buried here.

This is Mikes Thoughts and not Mikes technologies or anthropologies or social networks. Its an adventure of one on this May day. Take it or leave it.

A time to refrain, a time for war, time for peace

Not only the bible but the Byrds tell us this. There is a time for everything under the sun as you probably know. Each thing has its place and time. I’m on the tail end of a rather amazing IT career path punctuated by numerous successes and failures. Nothing good about success and nothing bad about failure. Success does not breed success out there. Its a crazy market for jobs and what you do to the utmost one day is a “ho hum” moment the next. Failures are the dots at the end of sentences in a resume you never wrote or want to. They mark the things and make you remember its not all easy peasy. You are supposed to work at things and then they either come to you or not. Some things like opportunities may knock lightly at the door or just wait outside in their temperamental way and then silently tiptoe away when you arrive too late.

I’ve been working at a startup idea or ideas the last months. A few things have come and gone. I’ve found out that having a bunch of co-founders is no joy and trying to find a person who shares the passion is a exercise in frustration and futility. I had hoped to find a person that would take up the challenge of a new thing, become a technology leader, show his entrepreneurial spirit. Instead, I got told what he wants out of the whole deal is $250 an hour then we can talk about the other stuff. Somewhere when the venture and entrepreneurial spirit were handed out he was waiting at the back of the line and only got a dribble. But I also understand his issues. He’s faced with a lack of future and a present which is very daunting. He has no real measure to success and the present is not a ramp for him to tomorrow. Even my little plan for working a few more years is something he cannot even reach to. I feel sorry for him but I also know I can never work again with him. He and I are just too separate.

So there is a time for everything. A time to work and time to do a startup and a time to learn and time to refrain from learning and just do. I’ve pulled back from major expectations to a set of goals in a business plan I can deliver on. Call them passion things. Whether any of the so-called investors or advisors buy into this thing is not a concern. The main thing is the goal I have for myself with it. I want to launch a new business, do all the right steps, learn how its done. If at some point, it can be the primary thing and I can stop with the IT project management thing I am there with that.

Its easier to just do this myself, enjoy the value of having an LLC in my name. Make mistakes that cost no one a single thing. Not have a group of people that don’t want to move at any speed besides slow.

And now for the first new job blogpost

What a difference a job makes! I went to my new thing. Today is my second day and already its better because its late and they should have had a PM a month or two ago but I dig it completely. Its a project which needs someone to do the work on and its real and I own a nice big part of it. Tomorrow I’ll meet with our services vendor which is none other than IBM. Of course, there are issues with IBM.

The reason I like the new job is that its a challenge and it requires a lot of turning around in short order and getting a number of vendors on board and working toward a goal.

I’ll be here until September and then I guess will either stay for another project or move along. Between now and then I’ll save some $$ and will go hunting again. No more full-time work ever again. I learned my lesson with it.

So, two days in and its fun, challenging, and sometimes frustrating. I feel like kicking IBM’s butt a few times and tell them to get with it. Then I remember they really can’t. They are IBM and they go about all this glacially slow. I’ll show them though. I know what they do and how they do it. I’ll hang with them and make then into a partner that can do the work starting tomorrow.

How the Android and Chrome Convergence Will Work

No; I don’t have any indisputable proof but if you go back and look, in about 2009 or 2010 I said that Android would dominate global marketshare for cell phones. I was wrong about tablets but perhaps read on and ignore that. Here is how I think the supposed convergence will actually happen.

There has been recent news about the play store coming to Chrome OS devices. This is big news and it signals how Chrome will gain millions of apps which have history of development, pathways to new devices, and also allow extensions of how we use Chrome. Imagine for a moment, the use of Word or Excel on Chrome without the rather pitiful online version. This would be the full monte folks able to run on a chromebook. Same with other productivity applications that have been on Android for some time. The Android subsystem would manage updates much like it does on regular Android devices. JR Raphael saw this coming months ago with an innocent thing being ported over but now we can see the full impact. Suddenly the chromebook is not a “online experience” primarily. It becomes much more. It shares the same ecosystem but still has its own apps or extensions perhaps. The main thing is the convergence is not about taking two OS’es and making them into one. The real thing is making apps available on one from the other. Huge deal for chromebooks and Androids. Suddenly you get the same app on both platforms to do tasks. Becoming more productive is only a sideline of this whole thing. The real thing is the ecosystem being shared. Barriers to how a device is used or not break down. Apps can run dynamically and share data and perhaps we can use the tools like fastboot and adb finally on chrome devices or perhaps we even more beyond those tools and get a network aware method of doing this basic work. File systems become shared between chrome and androids. This is huge! This one thing cannot be done on IOS devices still. There is no mountable file system and each application uses a data file in its own sandbox. Android is so much more and one can plop down an XLS file and use it across applications. Suddenly though, you can use the same file on your chromebook or advanced chrome browser enabled windows, MAC, or Linux platform. A thing as simple as making a file available and not copying it to cloud storage is huge. This is all done securely though in some manner that El Goog will work out. Finally, I think a large thing is to provide the same user experience on apps from a phone to a chromebook. Perhaps finally we can see some tablets which cross over and allow one to become productive by using both sets of apps to full advantage. The Pixel C’s idea may be to extend the ecosystem with its powerful processor and display which I think still is not really used. Its not just side by side apps folks. Its ecosystem by ecosystem apps where each can share transparently and you can work wherever you find yourself with whatever device.

A new chromebook inherits all the apps just like it does now but you also can share remote file systems you have mounted before by entering some kind of key. Your phone truly becomes an extension and things like SMS on a chromebook become real without installing clumsy helper apps.

Yes dear readers; the entire thing is plausible and possible. We already have the beginnings of it as JR pointed out so long ago. The convergence is not about slimming down to one mobile OS. Its about making an ecosystem available to another and then blending them to make you more productive. Imagine the popularity hit of chromebooks in schools and colleges and work. I’ve always dreamed of a workplace where a chromebook is handed out and we RDP to classic windows server to manage the day to day. The chromebook matters not. Everything is saved in the cloud. Powerful juice readers! By allowing android apps both the remote windows session and the local chrome OS session become more enhanced.

Will it happen? Who knows.