Category Archives: Current Events

Breakfast Out

On Friday mornings, I head out for a big breakfast out. No lunch these days. I’ll go to Black Bear Diner or perhaps Country Way or Anny’s Restaurant. They all offer the one day a week of big food I like. I used to do the same on my one day per week in the office at Cisco.

My Acer Chromebook is very cool these days and I usually take it to Starbucks along with the Nexus 7 2013. I like both for what they do and neither require super human strength to lug around. I had wondered how much of my T60 tasks would be rendered on the Chromebook and now it appears that almost 90% of my tasks are effortlessly done. Some things are more difficult on the Nexus 7 but what I really enjoy on it is consumption.

I also enjoy a workflow I’ve tried to normalize which is my EverNote note creation, use of Google Calendar for all tasks and events. I don’t need a more structured todo or “” thing which I have tried before. It does not work. GTD is overkill for me and I seem to subconsciously rebel against it when I try. What I need is a simple method of setting a reminder of a thing on a particular day, have the system remind me, and have it show up within my daily calendar events. I could use a different calendar I guess; but even that is too much for me. I think a lot of people find a usefulness to GTD or other more heavy duty reminders; but for me, creating the event and setting a reminder in Google Calendar is all I need. For more detailed recording and tracking, Evernote now has a scheduler for reminders and I can set the note to remind me of a more significant endeavor. It shows up on all my devices.

There is no more workflow to the “Events by Mike” approach. I don’t like things which require more learning, require me to test tools, track the tool instead of the event. For me, I reach a point where I’m more concerned about the tool itself than what its tracking. I also require something that is the same across all platforms I use. I want my Nexus 5 phone to see the same events as my chromebook as my regular laptop. Some of the tools I’ve seen are really silos of your information and you are held captive by the tool and the actually tracking of the event becomes a secondary focus.

I’ve been here at IBM now for three months. In the middle of a crazy project which will wind up in February. I’m going to hit the road in February for a week. Not sure where I will go; but it has to be better than this place and will involve trains and planes. It won’t be to Japan or Singapore or India this time. I’ll take a second trip later this year for 10 days and venture toward a trip to Japan I still want to take.

Gonna get dressed here soon and do the breakfast thing out. I will eat big!

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Christmas Morning

It used to be late to bed and early awakenings. Santa did come though and gifts await.

Now I’ll just wish everyone Happy Holidays. Thanks for reading the blog.

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Walking this Evening

A set of stream of consciousness thoughts while walking this evening for 1 hour and 15 minutes on the so-called BART Bridge walk.

Why do we all believe that we can actually understand how someone else feels? I have no idea why this is. We have no way of knowing how another person feels, what motivates them, why they do what they do. I believe we do this based on some social altruism where we think its admirable to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. Rest assured, people need their shoes and there is no room for you in there too.

When the sun starts setting, we have more philosophical thoughts. I wonder why this is besides our lives are supposedly dictated by the sun and its epic ways or more accurately by the earth’s ways. When I view the sun setting and its pink, orange and red clouds, I admit that I see things out there. Sometimes driving with my daughter I see a bear. One time I saw this huge Elmer Fudd head. Luckily he was not chasing a wascaly wabbit.

We walk because… I have heard every reason and when I mention some of my previous sojourns in Japan, Singapore, and Sydney people wonder. The reason I do the long walks is because i can and because I get to see things others on buses rarely experience. Of course, they probably see things I don’t.

Finally, my own technology experiences. I think about android and Linux sometimes to tell the truth when I walk. Linux has been a love affair for me and I’ve done things with it in data centers, built custom operating systems, managed the delivery of very complex applications that exercised the unique abilities of Linux. I see a world out there which I am not able of convincing anyone of the value. Linux and open source can make a difference in world-wide climate, agriculture, ecology. We can use Linux to build solutions that can rapidly deploy. One idea I had around this was building a bunch of cheap android phones as little web servers over mobile data, satellite or whatever and using them as switched on schools or education tools. Suddenly people can be mobile with their web services, front ends to databases, small CMS sites. Android phones are very capable of doing this with their quad core processors and 64gb of memory.

These are some of the things I wonder, wander, see when I walk. I never find answers to these things because the answers transcend the walk. One other thing I know. One day I’ll find the ways and means to leave. I don’t belong in this house any longer. I need to find my own way in the world. Its a stupid dependency situation where I just remain and allow things to continue. I understood today that I am to blame for this. I have decided a few times to move and then not move. While walking today, I bitch slapped myself.

Man that did not feel good; but it was needed. BTW, Linux and Android still rule. I don’t care about global market share. I care about Mike market share.

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So I’ve come to the conclusion that Windows 8 on a non-touch laptop is dangerous to my mental health. My ex wife had to get a new laptop so she went for a cheap Asus running Windows 8 with some Asus “goodness”. What a horrible compute environment that is. The classic desktop is not classic whatsoever and finding basic things is hard.









Who in their right mind ever came up with this? For someone not used to computers in general, this is supposed to be easier to navigate? Perhaps if your screen is a touch screen it is. Finding the “tile” for desktop makes it look something like this.

Really? That’s it? Notice the IE icon where the START menu was and the exploding right info bar which I could never reliably get to come up no matter how many times I pushed on things.

Installing programs would end at 96% all the time. So is it installed or not? Well, the overly complex printer drivers seemed to install but the hour glass thing kept spinning behind all the other windows I had open until I force closed it with the task mangler.

After a few hours of this, and my daughter telling me how much better 8.1 is, I was glad to escape to the simple world of Linux. I can see why people rebel against this, try to get Windows 7 back, install the classic desktop package. For something that is supposed to save you time and effort, a new user like my ex wife is completely lost and requires a 15 year old savvy computer user to walk her through the steps. I’m not even sure where installed programs go in the metro view. How does one open something like LibreOffice or Adobe Reader in metro? No start -> run… Big fail.

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December the First

Wow! December the first already. Many interesting things going on in my last month living here. I took my daughter to the Banana Leaf restaurant last night. Very nice mix of Malaysian and Singaporean food. She’s a foodie so enjoyment comes with a new place tried.

Today I celebrate almost two weeks with my nexus 5. I’ve noticed that LTE is a battery burner and I don’t get stellar signal here. I fell back to T-Mobile H+ service and everything is better. Battery life is very good now. Honestly, this phone has such a vibrant screen and response and I’m living and loving the Google Now integration to help me get my days planned out.

I bought a new toy for myself as well. Got a Acer C720 Chromebook for some reason. Honestly, I think almost 90% of my laptop activities can be replaced. Otherwise it’s a toy. A plaything. We shall see how the basic things I do on a laptop fare.

I’m heading out for my hour plus walk soon. Then I’ll go meet my new landlord for my room and pay a security deposit. I’ll be moving January 5th after the last run of the holidays.

That’s about it for me. How about you? How is your December going to be?

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Lots of words to be said. Once my favorite holiday of all time. This morning I sit here watching the clock spin around on its axis. Will cook a 14lb Turkey bird outside on the grill which will take about 3 hours. Will perhaps flash a ROM or two on the Nexus 7. Silently and impatiently wait for January. I’m still thankful for what I have and don’t have. I’ve figured out you should be thankful for both in this world. One day I think I will adopt this lifestyle I’ve been reading about behind the scenes. Even computers have to reboot every so often. My debian laptop does not really require it but my work laptop gets unhappy with its updates and patches and hotfixes.

So anyways to you all out there from this Mike here…

Hope you enjoy, have peace, solitude if you want, family if you don’t. I’m not a social guy so I tend to walk other paths in my life. I do treasure friends that are split in continents and timezones.

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I’m a Debian, what are you?

So I’ve made no bones about it on this here site. I’m a Debian guy. Not a buntu, not a suse, not a rhel (that sounds too much like rpm hell). I don’t like the *buntu any more. Call it a personal preference but yet I have a few friends that do the good work for Canonical. They perhaps understand. Maybe its like deodorant. Mine is best. Yours covers the sweaty, grimy odor. But yours. What the hell is up with yours? Did you forget to remove the cute little plastic cap?

Anyways, every so often I take a laptop screenie selfie just to show what Im working on now for a home system. The home system is a Thinkpad T61 with 3g of memory and a 500g hard drive. It runs Debian Jessie or testing. At first I settled on Gnome 3.x. Gnome 3.x is painful and so is Gnome 3.8. Almost painful like Unity painful. So I went to XFCE because its a kinder, gentler world. Now my world looks like this,

Screenshot - 11242013 - 03:45:47 PM

Not satisfied with things, I wanted to have my favorite Windows application running too. Enter Codeweavers and their bundled up Wine implementation. Now things are divided into so-called workspaces and I have Evernote running in its own, happily sync’ing my ever growing notes about stuff.

xfce and evernote

This creates a nice workplace environment for me. I also added in Skitch and a Mindmapper tool which will read my Dropbox from Codeweavers. Confusing, eh? Linux running some Windows applications? I don’t think so. I think Linux is meant to do that and we just have the tools to get it done. When I used OS/2, I created this alternate winos/2 launcher to run some Lotus application for some business partner back when the GAP did OS/2. I had to create the launcher to actually run a OS/2 2.1 virtual instance but OS/2 was the power. Truth be told, its probably the most customizable and interesting environment I’ve ever used. OS/2 Warp was what my friend Dave would call “The Bees Knees”.

So, anyways, there is how I do multiple operating system applications without the need for VirtualBox or VMware. I don’t have many needs there but I do want my Evernote.

Lifeways these Days

I’ve given a lot of thought to my lifeways. I’ve lived in this thing for four years now. I told my friend Ed who is still going through divorce and custody that no one could ever know what its like to just stay home after divorce. Its like someone cut out pieces of you and then put in substandard parts. Like a fancy Porsche with parts from a used Volvo or something. It may work, but its not efficient. Take my word for it…

Do not ever live at home after divorce

Leave the house as soon as you can. Get out on your own. You deserve it. My day arrives on 5 January. I’ll move to a room elsewhere. I’ll create a bubble of life and build a new reality where I work most of the time and travel the other bits. I’m gonna hit the road next year for places guys. No more holding me back!

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Today it’s back

I had decided to put this thing to sleep until 5 January. No one really asked me to come back but a number of basic changes to my life have come along. I did not choose the original date arbitrarily. It’s the date I move out from this place. The date I get my life back. It’s a new start for the old me.

I’ll be hitting the road next September if not sooner. India needs me. It’s not happy unless my feet gets to touch it’s soil. Japan has been asking too. I miss all the places I wandered and many I have not. From here on out I’ll hit the road a few times each year. I know what I need.

So for better and even better I’m back.

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I go Walking

Out the door. To the street. Alone. Thanks Albert…

We read so much of the crush of the crowd that we have somehow forgotten how to be alone and not lonely.

I’ll soon away. Walk to the far parts of places where I have been but not seen. Every walk indeed is a new place with a new face to the old trace.

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Stories I was told

Well perhaps many years ago, my mom told me stories about life. We lived in Florida way back when and she decided at some point to make the drive from Florida to California believing that work was bound to be better. It seems the Florida economy suffered and a single Mom had no real chance to find something upwardly mobile.

So we drove. We drove across the US in this beat up old Rambler and I remember seeing the desert especially and someone telling us there was XX miles to go until water, food, and gas. We drove on. We reached a point where we could have lived in Los Angeles or Lancaster and my Mom for some reason chose Lancaster. Lancaster then was this isolated little desert place and its one or a few of its claims to fame was Edwards Air Force Base.

You can see how it looked. The Air Force Base was the largest single piece of property throughout the valley. If you travel to Rosamond its a small little berg of a place. Mojave has an airport where some interesting historic things went down.

Never did I realize back then what hold the desert would continue to place on me. I went away to school much, much later but I knew I just had to practice archeology in the valley. I got a nice position at Edwards AFB doing federal historic preservation and managed to stay there for about two years. In the end of my tenure, I wrote environmental impact statements for rather large projects. I also got to spend about three days per week in the field on federally mandated field surveys and studies. The base asked me to study the locations and distributions of smaller archeological sites along certain landforms; they subsidized a research interest of mine looking at prehistoric cooking pits and let me dig some up. They let me study the edges of the Rogers Dry Lakebed looking at prehistoric sites in transition ecologies.

For those that think the desert is a grim, featureless, thirsty wasteland, one just has to look at the spring wild flower displays and see its not so.

Walking through this tapestry always made me question the preconceived notions that the desert was a barren wasteland. Dave, the botanist, and I would walk across the gunnery ranges at Edwards in the spring times and see so many fields of this that it finally produced a sense of another world all situated within the so-called forbidding ecosystem.

Truth is the western extent of the Mojave Desert is a truly unique geological, meteorological, and anthropological scape. It provided historic settlers with the best of many worlds. Some would harvest salt along the edges of the great dry lakebeds, other like Pancho Barnes entertained many historic aviation figures.

The prehistoric inhabitants understood the places. The desert is full of these unique places. Places where water would gather. Places that certain animals could be expected. Hills and buttes where certain rock types came up. They understood the places and they seemed to be able to travel across the lands, understand the weather, know the beauty and in the end leave trash behind that we could find.

All of this brings together the desert into a thing of beauty, a place where the forces come together in a giant V laying on its side. A wondrous sphere of life and the forces of life. The desert is the final ecosystem I think. Other landforms come and go but the desert persists and is often created as the others perish or change.

Bringing it all around…

So we stopped in Lancaster and my Mom got a job. A better job. We were settled and life got better there. California was the land of opportunity compared to before. Life became more and I would always want to get back no matter where I ended up. Even sitting in a hotel room in Chennai, I would remember the sights and sounds of life in the desert. I’m sure you all have had the place. The place where your spirit emanates from; the place where you are in control. For me, it was wandering the desert in solitary pursuits. I could rummage through airports in Vietnam, Korea, India, Singapore, Japan and miss them terribly; but the real essence of my being still seems linked to the unique Antelope Valley.

Relationships are terribly spatial and temporal things. They come, they go. They don’t last when they are not supposed to (thank God!). As I’ve said a few times, if you seek happiness only in others you will be forever disappointed. Don’t get there.

Instead journey forth to your desert. As another person I respect said,

I go into the wild

Chris knew that the wild was not outside but it was the blending of both. Sometimes our wilds are in our minds and souls and we have to move toward those places. For me, there is a thing about the desert. A cosmic linking where Roger will forever stand in his blue jeep and call me to yet another hill to search.

Do you have a place like that?

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