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.

Friday night between this and that blog post

Its Friday night and I finally quit out of the current work. I’ve walked out of a few places and felt bad. When I left IBM with only two day’s notice I felt like I was leaving a great deal behind. I liked the work there quite a bit and the team I was on. Its been gradual steps down even though Barry at TiVo was great to me.

By the time I got to the current place, it seemed even 3 weeks ago it was not to be. I just could not find the things I had enjoyed previously and I felt a sense of dread going in. I started interviewing about a month ago and managed a few interesting possibilities. One really intrigued me with a Bank and the second was with Veritas. I would have taken the Bank position but it was kind of formal looking. Then Veritas started showing more interest primarily because of the IBM stuff I had done. I waited a week to get word on a second interview and in-between those times the Bank faded and NetApp fell down. I was counseled at work about being late and having projects which were troubled. I was told work hours were 830am to 5pm. Told there was a dress code. Told there was no working from home. It dawned on me that the place was not some scrappy startup but something completely different. A little company that will always be little. No vision, no plan. Just continue going with what they do.

By 3 April I knew my time was limited and then a week later I decided it was time. I gave notice on 8 April and walked out today a free man. But Veritas offered a position to me to do a very sensitive data center move to none other than IBM facilities. Its my type of thing. Bigger, more pieces, more international in scope and I understand how IBM works only too well.

I’ll start there in a week or less and feel better the first day than in three months at the current place. Such is the way it is with work for me. If I don’t hit my stride and feel that a thing is kicked forward; I’m falling behind and there is something about the work, the people, the environment that is not good. I will no longer ever do full time work for anyone.

Now I can kick the can forward a few more feet and get a thing to last me for months. I can go deliver for someone that needs me.

The Evolution of KFOG Radio or the Demise of Quality

I am not a big time KFOG radio fan here in the Bay area but I do admit to enjoying two of the shows since whenever. Those would be 10@10 and Acoustic Sunrise. Both were great in how they spirited me away to another decade, another sound, another year. Some years were dark years that 10 took me to. Other years were enlightened and I had walking trips that framed them or the divorce or the resurgence of happiness and hope.

Now KFOG Radio sadly dear readers has suffered and lost its way and will soon evolve to yet another thing. I seem to remember KFOG evolving before at some point and making changes to various and sundry staff. This evolution though cancelled out decades or perhaps centuries of musical knowledge in a fell swoop. Somehow we get new talkers and maybe a new music format if you read this Evolution news. Lets be honest though with a few facts or at least my attempt at facts:

  1. Listening to KFOG was never about the music except for the two things mentioned above. Music in the two things about was a presentation and explanation.
  2. Listening most times it was the chatter that was funny, stupid, and sometimes enlightening. No, it was these DJs that entertained, cut stupid jokes, and told us the truth sometimes about a world we all shared but some never saw.
  3. Evenings were fun with Dred. I miss the evenings and his different formats for presenting music.

So what we get to is its not the music except for a few rare cases of presentation and style. It was the guys there that made the difference. Hell, folks, we can get music from just about anywhere that we enjoy. Streaming via Spotify or Google Play Music. We can mix it ourselves into decent playlists or accept the ones that the service does.

What we lost is style and it remains to be seen if tomorrow’s evolution is really that or if its just another death knell in a station which has lost its way and stumbles along behind Pooh Bear and Piglet in the 100 acre woods. At least Pooh and Piglet may know where they are going. The 100 acre woods is not that big. For KFOG radio, they have no idea and cannot tell where they started, where they are, and what they turn into. Their woods is a dark and danky place with reducing numbers of people that give a sh*t.

Good luck on your evolution. I don’t hold out much hope. The entire radio scene here in the Bay area sucks in a few ways. Now it sucks in one more. Maybe the new cast of DJs and one of my favorites “No Name” will make it turn around. Nothing is cast in stone.

We shall see.

 

 

A week to go

Now I can start saying,

last Monday, Tuesday…Friday

I don’t know if I am completely happy, a bit unhappy, or feel simply relieved. I only lasted 3 months at a full-time job and my friend Nancy-o told me I never did belong there. I kinda think that’s the way of it. I took the job with the best of intentions but the truth is that it was never meant for me. I don’t mean this as a downer against the company but they really are not meant to hire outsiders. The entire process they have is tightly integrated with a set of silos they have built for years now. A new person is faced with a formidable task. None of the silos can or ever will talk to one another and yet they will introduce a fourth one I think. This means that the project team will have to do the work across 4 different unique platforms not even counting Salesforce. A huge waste of time when they should have picked platforms that integrated.

I think the company though is not innovative or even trying to widen its services margins by introducing new work. I think they have done basically the same thing for 10 years now and will make a hire here and there but never extend or enhance their platform of services.

Its a shame really and I think it drives people away when they find out that the company is not built on more revolutionary or even evolutionary standards. Its built on a set of practices that were good in the 90s perhaps. But even companies starting then should evolve. Services is not a stagnant beast. It needs care and feeding and change. Even if one fails at the change, its a test worth taking.

So I’ll leave there in 5 work days and will never look back. Its the second or so failed thing I have done in 20 years. Both things share a certain economy of scale.

What to do next Monday?

Well I sure won’t get up at 530am in a week. I will attempt to stay up later and sleep in. I may hit the road for a few days and try to erase some of the feelings and figure out what happens next. Is it the Bank? Perhaps another thing? Could be or not. Will it be a thing that suddenly surfaces and becomes predominant?

Could it be my startup. This thing which crossed a boundary today becoming a real company. We filed our LLC paperwork today and it was this basic feeling of accomplishment. I have no doubt we will find early adopters or beta customers. We offer a unique thing which can save small to medium sized businesses with a lower investment in tools and techniques.

Tonight I will most likely not dream and will fall down to the futon and sleep this hard sleep for 5 hours and then had to the morning at McDonalds. I’ll know the days left are the last days.

A new thing will beckon and that’s good.

Saturday Morning again

Last night somewhere inbetween the second and third beer, I figured it all out. Unfortunately I was a bit shitfaced so I lost it again when I woke up this morning. I do know that I am so very glad to be almost done with the current work thing. It just is not the thing and this little voice that has steered me to things has let me know that this is right.

I’ve been thinking with my instant coffee the next step. I have a week to go and then I’m out of work. I have some really nice next things which are down the path quite a bit. They are all contracting things. I will never do full-time again. I hate the company culture, the dress code, the enforced no work at home standard. But most of all at the current place, I hate the slide backwards in time toward a yesterday where companies behaved a certain way and never had a disruptive moment in their entire lives.

I may rent a car next week and just drive somewhere. I have the feeling that I want to see the ocean. Perhaps drive down the coast until I reach Hearst Castle and San Simeon. That’s always a great day or so. I don’t have a tent or sleeping bag and I am not that good at camping any longer. Don’t know what I’d do for a hotel or how long I’d stay.

The whole startup thing is not progressing unfortunately. I’ve had some thoughts to redefine how our engine would work so I have gone back and will be working with our architect to redefine the methodologies a bit. There is a thing of value in there but I need to be able to apply some time to it and think through how it will work. I am not going to be rushed into doing a thing until Vernon and I can be sure that it brings value, that we can explain that value to others, and most of all that we have the right set of founders engaged.

Now I will finish my morning instant coffee and dream Saturday dreams. I’ll go pick up my daughter soon and take her places she needs to go.

Add-on This and That…

I decided to write another part of things here. I’ve journeyed far and wide trying to find a device which can be both tablet and laptop. I really am tired of carrying a thing around which cannot be used in both roles. I tried an iPad Air 2 with a keyboard. Tried the Google Pixel C. Both are nice devices but there is a target for them and its not what I need. What I found was something I already had. I had bought myself a Surface Pro 3 awhile back on Swappa and started using it more recently. While the device has quirks and some strange moments with the Chrome browser; it really does bridge the gap nicely for me.

I can run Office 365 apps on it painlessly. I installed SmartDraw to get something akin to Visio. I have both OneDrive and Google Drive for file sharing installed. I can install the metro or Windows 10 apps and I can install classic windows freeware or open source apps. While everything may change again with a new set of devices; the Surface Pro 3 i3 with 4gb and 128gb of disk space is plenty for what I do. The Surface Pro 4 is really not necessary at this point or the next.

I would not recommend the Surface unless you want something that truly can be a laptop replacement and you can adopt and adapt Windows 10 to your ecosystem and tool needs. For me, its not a far reach. I am not a evangelista for any specific OS platform except for Linux on servers. Other platforms really depend on the habilis and the use. Make use of what works for you and you will be more useful.

 

The Choc Full of Nuts Coffee Morning

For whatever reason, I beat the alarm clock up this morning by a bit. Perhaps still considering the give and take of a job interview that I felt somehow went awry. There are three or four jobs which I would want, which satisfy the requirements for pay, get me away from the current place. I don’t need something immediately but it would be nice to have a path to it within a month from next Friday or so. I really want one more job as a consultant and then one more after that. I’ve altered my needs based on never wanting full-time employment ever again in technology. I don’t do well with company culture and those little known stanzas in the handbook like “appropriate dress” or “we don’t work from home”. I don’t get either of those by the way. But they are somewhere in there and perhaps in my excitement I read over them.

Now its a choc full of nuts instant coffee morning and I’m dwelling on the things that present themselves via morning news, reading stuff on my tablet/laptop, wondering. The coffee reminds me of so many mornings on the road in Singapore, Japan, India. In Singapore, I’d wake up early to catch the morning bus shuttle to Changi. There was a hot water pot in the room and these bags of instant joe. One or two would get brewed up while I waited. Even though the company had bought me breakfast as part of the hotel cost, I could not avail because the breakfast place did not open until 6am and often my flight check-in was right around then. I remember that morning bus out of Singapore and always wishing I could stay longer there. Its a great place to eat and drink.

In India, the coffee in the room was heated up or I got some downstairs in the dining room at the Raintree Hotel after a dinner there before leaving. Often a specialty dish the hotel staff insisted on me trying but the choc full was always there waiting.

On a few side trips to Japan, I would order room service but they had a wide variety of chock full of coffee, tea, and even ramen in the room. I never ate expensive foods there because its so darned expensive. I would do a simple breakfast or maybe one of the days splurge and have the buffet the hotel offered. Lunches were spent at a McDonalds or a Udon place or I bought a bento box from one of the vendors on the street. Very cheap!

Now though I sit in this 12×16 room and I wonder. Does the startup have a chance? Will we get it together and become a real business? Will one of the folks I trust come forward soon and offer more than casual advice? I know what we need to do at a few levels. I know the people that can deliver it for us. Now the choc full brings back memories of other times in a small room in a cheaper hotel in Singapore in 2011. Hearing the people coming and going. Walking the city streets there and nodding at locals. Knowing the tourists because they either want to blend in or look unique with the copious t-shirts on about their home place.

The coffee is good this morning early as my time dwindles down at the current place. I’ll go in for awhile today I am thinking and do a few things. Just awhile and a few. I am not interested in being some dedicated guy to the end.

Interview Questions of Note

I did a final interview for one of the contract positions I want today. I had this feeling that I knew all the answers and actually was able to provide concrete examples from projects I had done, linked project planning to things which were real world. But I still will not get the job. You ever felt you aced a thing but the person that aces is not meant to get the job? Its like they will take someone else that maybe missed a question or did not know a thing. Maybe its too many damned years doing the same thing. Questions like:

  1. What don’t you like about doing project management?
  2. What was the most difficult and the most easy project?
  3. Name a fruit you like

Well maybe not the last one. The last one was me fucking with you. The first two were probably my life and death for the position. I guess the real truth is I have been doing this for too long. I need something else. I know the answers to the 1.5 hour questions too well. I know how to answer all the up and down ones, all the tricky ones, all the ones meant to mess you up. I don’t get messed up too often. I also don’t ever tell lies in an interview. I don’t want them calling a reference and that person saying something incredulous.

Now if I can just get the damned thing and get the f away from where I am.

I really hate this about technology jobs. Its like buying a car. The next car is always best, the last one was crap. The current one sucks. When I did archeology interviews were easy. The project person would ask if I wanted to work on a thing and tell me when to be there. I would agree. Done deal.

I have two or three other high stakes positions which I’m in the hunt for. One is a tactical engagement. Move this stuff from here to there and get done by X date. Another is a long term relationship with a technology partner. The first one is ending up at an IBM data center. That created some interesting dynamics in the interview when I told the interviewer that I knew how IBM managed their data centers because I did that for almost 2 years. We will see where it goes.

I also got an invite for a nice sounding position with NTT doing infrastructure projects. We’ll see how that goes as well.

The Startup Thing

I feel we are at this important point in our little startup. We need to get the business side of things done. Outline how we will become a real entity for our business advisors. We cannot just be 4 guys who are doing a cool thing. No amount of pushing will get this done unless I do it though. I get the feeling that my colleague is not so interested in doing the business as he is in finding cool technology toys we should go look at. We have a set of business advisors that can help us track this thing. We need to do our parts. Once we get the LLC done, we can get the EIN, get a business bank account. Brand the business and be able to do work in the state of California.

The end of the game for the current $COMPANY

The current place is fading fast. Soon another memory of perhaps a failure or a thing I jumped out of just in the nick of time. I don’t like ignoring the voice when it speaks. I have ignored it before at my peril. A friend told me its my conscience. I will listen forever now to the voice because when I have not, bad things came along.

Well, that’s about it dear blog and my one reader who will post the usual spam that aKismet will carefully file away so I don’t ever see it. To the guy that seems intent on telling me about SEO, I don’t fucking care. Okay? Your comments really don’t get seen until I’m bored one night and then I do a blanket delete

Changes Ahead, Stability Behind, Risk Ahoy!

Lets face it dear reader or readers. I’m not sure if there is more than one of you :-). Life is not meant for the faint of heart. Many authors and philosophers have pointed out that risk and endeavor and desire and change all require commensurate attention. If you are looking for stability and no change, you should live on a deserted island where all your creature comforts are provided. That’s not the way real life is folks. Real life if there such a thing is based on risk and change. It challenges us, makes the evening walks more charged, makes you realize that there is a gap between the here and now and the next. Its not abnormal folks. Its a normal thing. So in the spirit lets tear apart how change works for a single person.

Changes Ahead

Change is necessary. Evolution happens. We rarely see the three poles of existence in harmony. As human beings engaged in the business of living, change may be scary and sometimes not desired but we need it. How else can we gauge where we should be from where we are? No matter the age, we need to know there is something out there to be and its not what is. Whether its a job, a relationship (gasp), a social contract, a thing to learn. All of these things chart out what is an what needs to happen to get to the point. And lets face it, many of the steps are hidden and you cannot see all the places to rest your foot easily.

Stability back there

Stability is dreaded to me. I don’t exist well where I am not challenged somewhere. I want a technology startup. I feel the need to create a thing that another may find value in. Most of all, its this dream of how a thing could work and what I need to leverage and change the stability.

If you think all this change stuff ends at some moment in your later years. Wrong. The minute you succumb to stability, you stop growing I believe.

Now its time to move to the risky side.

Don’t avoid risk endorse it

Risk is not some dreaded condition we mitigate out of existence. Its a necessary part of our growth. Some risk we learn to control but other risk lay outside the current methods and we must learn how to adapt to the change it causes and let go of the stability it threatens. In other words, this is part of the three things of life we have to confront. We must learn to risk and risk again to make life pirate rich. To sail the seas and challenge, we cannot sit in the safe harbor. Life is about risk dudes. Once we let it go, we become less. We are the detritus from which there is no escape.

Risk is life.

Why of the why’s

So why do I bring this up over instant coffee on a Sunday morning with instant coffee thoughts? Because I am making changes, dropping stability for awhile, and risking and its a heady broth of life. I’ll end a work thing which I thought I wanted because its not exciting. Its actually boring and I felt there were no places we met. Simply put I want more for myself. The current thing did not challenge but in areas that were unimportant to my growth. I can do so much more than what they asked.

Now its engaging the three areas. Lets see what happens next!

Its the McDonalds hotcakes, sausage, and coffee post

Its a Wednesday morning at the usual breakfast haunt. I come in to the same McDonalds most mornings because this is one of the few that do not get the order wrong and it has this clientele which interests me. Truth be told, I like to watch them all doing their social contact stuff here in the mornings. Some high schoolers enter and leave, older guys and gals filter in and out for the morning fix of coffee and talk.

There are two people that interest me more for some reason. These two come in for breakfast almost every morning and sit in the same spot. The woman seems to be an upwardly mobile type with a nice smart phone. Maybe from China or Vietnam or South Korea. The guy reads books on rocks and minerals or biology. I wonder. Is the guy a high school teacher? Does he even work? I have to be curious about what that relationship is all about. Its just the anthropologist in me to wonder the why of things. Then there are two guys with laptops that join up each morning. They sit side by side and power up and read and talk to the guy and gal. But not in english. So I wonder if the guy reading the books even understands what in heck is going on. Then most leave by 8am and a new crowd filters in. This crowd is different. No laptops out and powered up. This is time for communication at the McD’s. Talk is the main exchanger and not laptops. So I watch. I drink some coffee. People drive through or come in and then out again. Here I sit with the laptop going and watching. There is a culture and social thing here at this McDonalds. A ebb and flow of life where the customers and the staff seem to know their times and who should be in when.

Its all amazing but understated and I still watch. I’m an inveterate people watcher I guess. There is something about the whole thing which is interesting at a few levels. I wonder what drive people to this particular McDonalds. Geography? Friends? Work?” School? I think McDonalds is a social tool for finding and reinforcing contacts with people. I can sit here and have discussions with people in passing and its okay. Out in the parking lot or down the street its not. Its here where its okay to engage. People in other places simply ignore or go into another state of mind or being. McDonalds and the coffee and the lukewarm hotcakes and the all day breakfast is a social bonding tool!

Its all amazing and yet its so common. I think being the anthropologist in the McDonalds lets me postulate all sorts of things. So and so is an upwardly mobile professional who is rushed for time. Nice shoes, nice pants. Expensive pen and paper supply he brings in. Then there is this other guy with the paper. He reads it carefully end to end and goes through however many cups of coffee it takes to get through it. Then there are workers. Lots of workers. Construction and road crews and PGE and FEDex and UPS. They all come on in for a brief sit and stay. Their conversation is jovial and full of a variety of innuendo. Its all good though.

Whether its the guy and his wife or the construction workers or the retired guys and gals here to formulate social contracts and ensure communication is forever with strangers that are almost friends; its all goes down at my McDonalds.

If you want the food, perhaps come here. If you want the anthropology and ethnography, this is the place for you. Its a microcosm of all the worlds we find ourselves but the rules are different with the coffee served.