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Thu, 29 Apr 2004
Yesterday and Today, what a difference a (long) day makes.
Yesterday (Tuesday) was a long day. It started first thing in the morning, when it look like Abigail was coming down with the chicken pox. Ordinarily I'd have been enthusiastic, since it would mean having all the kids get chicken pox at once and being done with it. Unfortunately, on Wednedsay my parents were due to arrive from the East Coast. Their trip had already been postponed once, so there was a lot of glumness in the house at the prospect of telling them that the kids were out sick. After consultation with their doctor, they decided that they still wanted to come, which replaced glumness with wariness. Combine this with a 9 hour power failure that started shortly before dinner, and you had an entire family that was spinning a little sideways.

This morning (Wednesday) Michaela and I trundled off to the airport to pick up Mom and Dad, or A-Ma and A-Yeh, as they are known to the kids. This is one of the few bits of Chinese language that they kids know. In spite of her excitement Michaela fell asleep once we got off the ferry, so she missed the entry to the airport and the parking garage. She did, however, get the grand tour of baggage claim until we discovered A-Ma and A-Yeh sitting at a table.

It's been almost two years since we've seen my parents, and all of the kids have changed significantly since the last time we saw each other. Thus far it's been fun to watch my parents getting reacquainted with their grandchildren, and vice versa. In principle, I'm on vacation, so blogging will probably be suitably erratic.

[01:34] | [family] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Mon, 26 Apr 2004
Rad Scientists
I tend to read the newspaper in large batches, so I'm perpetually behind. In the Seattle Times for last Sunday there was an article on the "new generation" of NASA scientists. I wonder if some of the stodginess
"It was a lot of nerdy-looking white guys with crew cuts. I grew up thinking the average person doesn't get to do that."
was due to historical context. I mean, my dad was a hardware engineer, and he used to go to work in a suit every day.

The ability to express yourself is part of the creative side that all scientists and engineers share. It's good to see this being more acceptable at places like NASA. If it's a goal to attract people to the sciences, then we need to dispense with as much nonsense as possible. Maybe one day scientists can have as much "cool" as rock stars and athletes.

[23:16] | [culture] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sun, 25 Apr 2004
Danah's book Exercise
Via Danah Boyd:
  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 23.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
Ok, 2nd nearest book because the designated text in Putting Metaclasses to Work is a theorem. From Slack : Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency:
To understand this possibility, it helps to return to the model of the organization as a linked set of tasks where the nodes are people and the links are passed information, work products, and by-products.
[23:25] | [books] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sat, 24 Apr 2004
Fame and fortune not required
This morning I (along with many others, I'm sure) read a front page article about Pat Tillman's death while serving his country in Afghanistan. I was reading the article over breakfast, and Abigail, young newshound that she is, asked me what it was about. From the look on her face, I could see that the explanation I gave didn't quite connect with her ability to understand. What I wanted to say to her was: I hope you'll be like this man when you grow up. A person who realized that life is more than just fame and fortune, and who was brave enough and selfless to to do something about it, even when he held fame and fortune in his hand. A person who thought more about others (his country) than she did about herself. Lately, the American way seems to be much more about fame, fortune and self, and less about humility, sacrifice, or service, which makes the loss of Tillman and every other soldier all the more dear.
[23:30] | [society] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Fri, 23 Apr 2004
Ben Galbraith posts about the Avalanche Co-op. While Ben is skeptical of the ability of a
loosely organized band of hetergenous companies can effectively produce and support enterprise software
he also wonders
why the companies involved don't just open-source their software
Odd that Ben likes open source but doesn't believe that loosely organized bands of companies (what about individuals) can produce or support enterprise software.

I think that what these companies are trying to do is to smooth out some of what they perceive to be the unreliable aspects of open source software. I don't view this an attempt to extort money out of member companies, but more an attempt to solve the free-rider and other problems that corporations face when attempting to use/develop open source software. My guess is that these companies are going to end up using (and hopefully contributing back to) open source software as part of what they end up doing. In a way, you can look at it as something like a gated, for-profit version of the ASF, which employs staff developers. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

In my mind this is a logical next step in the phenomena that Doc's IT Garage is trying to deal with -- reversing the dynamics of the vendor-customer relationship, using open source style (or more neutrally, commons-based peer production) ideas as one of the ways to do that.

[00:07] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Thu, 22 Apr 2004
Master Ben
There's a reason that Stefano calls Ben Hyde "Master Ben", and I totally concur, although I suspect that Ben needs to work a bit on his Yoda inflection. Over the past few days Ben has posted a number of really insightful posts about open source. The topics include optimistic vs pessimistic coordination, an elaboration of the interplay of optimistic co-ordination and commitment of reputation, and shaping the nature of the exchange across the community boundary/membrane. Required reading for people trying to understand how to make things go in an open source way.

I hope to have such deep thoughts by the time I reach my 900th year. ;-)

[23:22] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
It's a bug in Meetup.com
Julie's already written a bit about yesterday's trip to the Seattle Weblogger's meeting. I think that we spent the last of the BloggerCon/DaddyCon stored energy to make it there and back. Originally, we hadn't planned to make another one of the Seattle meeting until May due to a jam-packed April schedule, but changing your mind at the last minute can be fun too.

This month I was glad to meet Joe Heck over at Rhonabwy. Joe didn't make it to the last meeting that we showed up for, and I've been reading his blog for a while, so I was glad to meet him in person. I didn't even know that he was interested in Chandler. I'll add his name to the list of people clamoring for pylucene as a separate project.

Good to see some familiar faces as well. Even though Anita doesn't think of this as her meetup, I certainly do. It's not that she does anything that looks like she's trying to take it over, it more that she's very good at making people feel at home and introducing people. I saw her doing that again last night, and I think it's great. Good to see Jack as well, although the events of last week were still heavy on him. I was glad to see him having a good time. Phil showed up early and remembered us and the girls before vectoring off to the Democratic meetup, and today he sent the nice gift of a photo. Scoble was also a familiar face, even though it's probably been a year since I last saw him in the flesh. But reading his blog pretty much keeps me up to date on his comings and goings. It was interesting to hear about his adventures in anti-professional video. Maryam, however was not a familiar face, and it was good to meet her and get a little bit of a sense for her as a person. She and Julie spent some serious time talking, so I hope that she enjoyed the meetup.

The whole blogging thing has been interesting for me and Julie, because I never expected to find us really into something like this together. Julie is as engaged with blogging as I am. No, she's more engaged. So it's really been interesting to watch things play out with her and blogging and then have it cross over into the physical world.

Which brings me to my penultimate thought on last night. Nothing against the Democratic meetup, but I consider it to be a serious bug in Meetup.com when they allow two large meetups to be scheduled at a venue that can really only hold one. If Meetup.com were totally free, I might not mind so much. But since you have to pay money in order to propose venues, it would be nice if Meetup.com could warn two meetups that they are speeding towards each other like locomotives.

One of the most interesting things that happened all night was when the organizer of the Democratic meetup called his meeting to order and discovered that there was a second meetup in the space. It took a little while (over all the noise and bodies) to make him aware that we were a weblogger's meetup. When he repeated that to his people, it sort of felt to me that he didn't know what webloggers were or what role they've been playing in the campaign. I found this to be very interesting, since the Democratic party is supposedly the party of weblogging. Somebody forgot to tell this fellow, or worse, he knew but had decided that the webloggers hadn't contributed very much and/or didn't have much else to contribute. I have no idea if this analysis is correct or not, but I did see the interaction with my own eyes, and I think that it was Phil that I double checked my reaction with.

[23:03] | [computers/internet/weblogs] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Wed, 21 Apr 2004
New Googleites
Congratulations to Jeremy Hylton and Greg Stein, who have joined Google.
[16:49] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 20 Apr 2004
More protocol papers
Of course, no sooner do I do the protocol papers post, but Mark Baker and Bill deHora come up with their own lists.
[11:30] | [computers/open_source/osaf/chandler] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Scoble on persuasion
Scoble has written a really good piece on persuasion. If you haven' t already read it, you should go over and do that. As I finished the piece and thought about it, I realized that to persuade me, you need a pair of qualities.

First, you need to have honesty: [via m-w.com]

a: a fairness and straightforwardness of conduct b : adherence to the facts
Without honesty, you cannot have trust, and without trust, your ability to persuade is limited. Saying your product can do something it can't is fundamentally dishonest. Admitting that your product has weaknesses as well as strengths is honesty in action.

Second, you need to have humility [again, via m-w.com]:

not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive
I'm not talking about being a doormat here. But when Scoble talked about the
"our product/idea/meme/service/etc is the best and the rest are crap" point of view
that's not humility that he's seeing. That's arrogance, and it's very off putting. The ability to admit your limitations as a person, and as a company are signs of humility.

Honesty and humility are the foundation for persuasion. After you have these two, you can add passion, excitement, and the willingness to go an extra mile. If you can do these things you'll persuade me. I'm willing to pay a bit more money to deal with individuals and companies that can learn to treat me this way. Not only will you persuade me to buy your product, but you'll make me a customer for life.

And of course, remember that you can persuade both for and against. Intuit persuaded me against their entire product line with the TurboTax DRM situation last year. They persuaded me not to buy TurboTax last year. And they lost a customer for life.

[01:17] | [society] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Mon, 19 Apr 2004
MNot's protocol design papers
Mark Nottingham has posted a list with his recommendations for papers on protocol design. This is very timely since we're having lots of discussions about the Chandler sharing protocol right now.
[23:06] | [computers/open_source/osaf/chandler] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Crypto-gram RSS feed
There is now an RSS feed for Bruce Schneier's excellent Crypto-Gram Newsletter. I hope that other e-mail newsletters will follow suit.
[11:59] | [computers/security] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sun, 18 Apr 2004
DaddyCon: Day 3
Today was a light day on the DaddyCon program. The main events of the day were a trip to the neighborhood park (which got cut short for a potty run) and multimedia presentations courtesy of ABC Sports (the ladies segment of this year's World Figure Skating championships -- with the girls' favorite: Sasha Cohen) and a few of the BloggerCon attendees whose photos included Julie.

By all accounts I think that DaddyCon has been a success. All the signs are there:

  • Kids tired of Dad? Nope.
  • Dad tired of kids? Nope.
  • Kids well fed, clothed, and well rested? Check, check, and check.
[23:03] | [people] | # | TB | F | G | 5 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sat, 17 Apr 2004
DaddyCon: Day 2
The arrangements for a conference excursion can certainly be interesting. Since the attendees at DaddyCon are usually in bed by 8:30, the excursion was planned for this morning. It turns out that today is the new session of the Park Dept. gymnastics programs, which have become a staple of the 18 month - 5 year old stage of each girl's life. Today was Elisabeth's first ever gymnastics (which for 18 month olds consists of free run of a gym full of gymnastics equipment for about 45 minutes), followed 15 minutes later by Michaela's class (Abigail have moved on to bigger and better things). So the challenge was to get all 3 kids to class by 9AM, and figure out how to engage the two children who would not be participating in a particular class. For Elisabeth's class, this was straightforward, since the older two can sit for quite a while given an ample supply of books. For Michaela's class, this was less straightforward because 5 1/2 year old Abigail has to manage 19 month old Elisabeth. One of the instructors was quite skeptical that Abigail would be able to manage Elisabeth, and I have to admit that I wasn't exactly sure how this was going to work. But Abigail was game to try, and this was the only way that the kids were going to gymnastics today, so we went for it. All I can say is that Abigail and Elisabeth demonstrated convincingly that their presence in the class was not a problem. I did walk over to check in on them from time to time, but they pretty much did everything themselves for 45 minutes, while surrounded by older kids doing dancing and various gymnastics maneuvers.

Another issue at conferences is typically the menu, or what is supposed to pass for the menu. Kids have such a different frame of reference from adults on this issue. While I was concerned about variety in the menu, the girls have their priorities set quite straight. The want to make sure that there's enough "veggiebootie". When queried for today's lunch menu, they were unanimous in selecting cheese sticks (yesterday's choice), and every day I've been asked the question, "What day are we eating hot dogs"? (The answer is tomorrow.) If only all conference planners had it so easy.

Like all modern conferences, we had guests joining us via electronic media. This afternoon Julie joined us via the AIM/iChat backchannel from BloggerCon, which resulted in a trio of children climbing on me (imagine monkeys in a tree) as Julie and I IM'ed briefly (during which I did some MoveableType administration). Abigail did a good job of narrating her mother's IM's for her sisters.

We're adhering to a weekend schedule, which basically means as much free time as possible until the kids get bored of activities. Today we were out and about (gymnastics and a trip to Battle Point park) quite a bit. (kids will sleep well). We also did good mileage in the crafts department as well. Abigail constructed a house out of construction paper -- she is quite good at building things out of paper. Perhaps there is an engineering gene that is passed down or something. I'm quite certain that she doesn't know that her daddy is an engineer or what an engineer ever does. It's interesting to examine a child's innate gifts and tendencies. The great challenge is figuring out how to allow them to blossom -- to become a reflection of who they truly are. As a parent, it's easy to have your own notions about what/how your child ought to be, and try to enforce/implement/(some other verb) that in the child's life. It's much harder to try to learn and discover who your child is and then figure out if there is anything that you can or should do to help them to become fully themselves.

[22:48] | [people] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Fri, 16 Apr 2004
DaddyCon: Day 1
DaddyCon is a multitrack conference punctuated by a number of general plenary sessions. There are usually three tracks, but occasionally two of the tracks combine:
  • Track 1: Abigail
  • Track 2: Michaela
  • Track 3: Elisabeth
  • Track 1 and 2: Abigail and Michaela
Today there were five plenary sessions: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two outdoor playtimes. All week the girls have been querying me about the nature of our diet while Julie is at BloggerCon. I'd given them a number of joking replies ranging from "worms" to "steak and eggs". It turns out that Julie actually did stock the freezer with steak, which I was not astute enough to defrost (perhaps on Sunday, since Michaela is a steak monster). I did succeed in producing a very passable set of scrambled eggs (I used sesame oil to enhance the taste). Lunch and dinner also passed uneventfully (all parties obtained the necessary nutrition, and no candy, pre-cooked, or fast food was involved). Outdoor playtime number 1 went fine. Outdoor playtime number 2 was really fun. The older two girls were taking turns going down a slide in the neighborhood, and I would boost Elisabeth up to them, so she could ride down the slide in one of her sisters' lap. Abigail and Michaela were doing such a good job of getting up the slide, that I was pretty much a human conveyor belt for Elisabeth. Then we moved on to the other playground in the neighborhood, which we had to leave because Abigail took a dive off a milk crate into some wood chips and ended up with some wood induced cuts, which turned out to look worse (due to the blood) than the actually were.

I found the combined track 1 and track 2 particularly enlightening. Elisabeth has a decent sized nap in the afternoon, leaving a large block of time to work with the girls on their schooling activities. Today being Friday, I felt that we should try to stick to a normal weekday schedule, so after lunch we did some more school like activities. Julie and I talk about what the kids are learning and how they are progressing, and of course, when I see Abigail reading a book to her sisters (which she likes to do), it's hard not to miss the progress that she's making. But working with them for an afternoon (not surprisingly) gave me a better picture of what and how they are learning. Actually, it hardly seemed like school at all. As soon as I released Abigail from the lunch table, she was practically begging me to be allowed to work on her workbook. Michaela was also enthusiastic, albeit perhaps not as much as her older sister, to work on her assignment as well.

Earlier this week, Julie had a post titled "The sensual, physical pleasure of caring for young children". I definitely felt that as I spent the day today. The girls were excited to be home alone with me today. They were really cheerful when they woke up in the morning, and Elisabeth was really sweetly cheerful when I got her up from her nap. People have told me that the 3-6 or 7 range is the golden age of having kids, when they are old enough to interact with but not old enough to start rebelling or whatever. I don't know if that's true or not, but a day like today makes me want to grab every day I can with these little people.

[23:34] | [people] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Thu, 15 Apr 2004
Wiki as lab notebook?
Lisa Dusseault has been keeping at least a piece of her engineering notebook online on the OSAF wiki. This has turned out to be pretty useful to me in keeping up with what she's thinking about. I've been doing this on paper, and I started keeping bookmarks in del.icio.us. Today I decided that I was going to try a wiki notebook. I was really tempted to just do this here in the blog, but that would probably result in subjecting people to a spew of ill formed thoughts and random links, without sufficient context. I thought about asking for a blog off of blogs.osafoundation.org, but I decided to go the wiki route for now. We'll see how this works. Familiar facilities that I'll have to do with out (at least temporarily) are search (in the process of being fixed) and categorization -- what does that even mean on a Wiki. I've very mixed feelings about Wikis, so I'm not sure how long this will go before I get frustrated with it. This would be a perfect application for Chandler itself, if it were ready. Just one more motivation to work to get done so I can eat the dogfood. In the meantime, if you are interested in half baked ramblings....
[23:31] | [computers/open_source/osaf] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Coming soon... DaddyCon, er BloggerCon
The other reason that it's conference week around here is that Julie is leaving early tomorrow for BloggerCon II. I'll be holding down the fort at home, a reversal of our usual conference situation. So while she's meeting folks at BloggerCon, I'll get the chance to spend a lot of time with our girls. While she treats you to her thoughts on the conference, I'll treat you to my adventures with the girls.
[20:46] | [computers/internet/weblogs] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
In honor of Tax day
Back when we lived on the East Coast, we had a friend who though that people would pay more attention to the issue of taxes if they actually had to write a check for the amount of their taxes every month instead of having them autodeducted from their paychecks. I think of him every year on this particular day.

We even had an income tax digression at the Bainbridge Island Geeks meeting...

At least TaxCut got our taxes to Uncle Sam on time.

[00:26] | [society] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Wed, 14 Apr 2004
Conference week around here
O'Reilly Open Source Convention.
For more than one reason, it's conference week around here. The OSCON 2004 program is now out, and registration is open.

There will be a Chandler presentation, and I'll also being giving an Apache XML presentation based on the content in my book.

[23:42] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Don is one of us...
I've suspected Don Box of being a "sympathizer" from various small comments he's made over time. But a few days ago he confirmed it.
[23:21] | [computers/programming/lisp] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

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