Those Halcyon Days

Note: This was a originally a fairly different post about Millenials and hyper self documentation.I had started it way back in 2015 and just saw the draft slowly drowning in my blog drafts queue.Then I heard a song whch changed my life. At least it changed the life I was living today. Who knows what fuck I’ll be living tomorrow. 

I was in the office today banging out some code (yes hw engineers can code, they can even develop software if need be) for performance testing I had taken on. It was pretty low intensity think-work so I decided to put some music on. As luck would have it, Lisa Shaw’s tune All Night High came on. After the first listen I put it on repeat, that was at 4:00pm, its been on repeat ever since and it is now 6:26pm-There is something about the combination of her voice and Migs’ production- and during that period of time the part of me that used to know how to live managed to swim ashore and dust off memories of parties and clubs I had been to. Where there was an abundance of people just dancing their asses off. Places like Nikes in SF, a place in NYC Don-Els (I hope that’s the right name), a particularly epic rooftop party in Brooklyn, some Chocolate City joints at MIT, some amazing sets in Barcelona, and even a get-down in Tel-Aviv. And then there were the people, the thinking I used to do for no other reason than just to think.

I had convinced myself that those sorts of times and experiences were occurring less and less because of age. That’s a lie. At least for me. The truth of the matter is that I gave up. I guess I finally ran myself into a state of being caught up. 

My life in tech has been pretty good in a lot of ways over the last 33 years, though the last 10 or so I have watched the lustre of my passion and experiences ooze off into some hole where I can’t see much less try to retrieve them from kind of like this . Well at least the ooze part. Some of it is the industry itself, and some of it is me changing.Tech or at least tech as I understand it is not a bad place. It’s just not a place I want to be.

I started writing this blog at a time when I believed my next move was to become an analyst for one of those shops which builds opinions and then key-influencerizes a market into existence based on those opinions. It’s a good thing no one hired me as it would have been hard for me to sing a lot of the songs that career path would have required from me. I am going to write about the industry sometimes. However I am going to write about the things in the industry I want to write about. I am also back in school and you know how dangerous that can be for someone who is ready to revisit their education. Did I foget to mention I just watched The Spookl Who Sat by the Door again today ? Hmmm, I wonder what that’s about… Not feeling the Bern but I guess I have freed my ass, I hope my mind will follow….

 

 

 

Prince and the arts

Music for this blog entry: A couple of songs sharing the joy of music. The first by sister Esperanza Spaulding, the second my Mayer Hawthorne.
Losing Prince is to lose the person behind some of my most memorable moments while I was in my very early 20s. I remember hearing “Head” for the first time on the first day of my college life on the east coast. Or how many times we played Darling Nikki on the record player in a friends dorm room at Boston Univ. Or how “Erotic City” was the game changer at MIT’s Chocolate City parties back then
Prince and many others provided the sound track at important touch points throughout my life. Artists like Prince were able to produce more art because they were paid for their efforts. It’s something we need to remember in the “everything should be free on the internet era”. Try to imagine your life without the work of people like Prince and those in who produce other art forms. I am betting it would not be nearly as rich.
If you aren’t doing so already.Use Prince’s memory to motivate you in actually materially supporting  music and other art as opposed to acquiring them for free.
How priceless is the emotional joy Prince and others have brought people ? Is it worth 1, 2 maybe three Apple’s, a couple Tesla Incs, a few Googles ? Maybe more ?
For those of us in communities of color maybe it’s time we lead by example and show the world how we commit  to enabling our incredible artists with material support .I’d rather that then a gazillion more average or even exceptional  “Software language or Framework du jour”  coders… Wouldn’t you ?
7, by Prince and the NPG…
All 7 and we’ll watch them fall
They stand in the way of love
And we will smoke them all
With an intellect and a savoir-faire
No one in the whole universe
Will ever compare
I am yours now and u are mine
And together we’ll love through
All space and time, so don’t cry
One day all 7 will die
All 7 and we’ll watch them fall
They stand in the way of love
And we will smoke them all
With an intellect and a savoir-faire
No one in the whole universe
Will ever compare
I am yours now and u are mine
And together we’ll love through
All space and time, so don’t cry
One day all 7 will die
And I saw an angel come down unto me
In her hand she holds the very key
Words of compassion, words of peace
And in the distance an army’s marching feet (1,2,3,4 – 1,2,3,4)
But behold, we will watch them fall
And we lay down on the sand of the sea
And before us animosity will stand and decree
That we speak not of love only blasphemy
And in the distance, 6 others will curse me
But that’s alright, (that’s alright)
4 I will watch them fall(1,2,3,4,5,6,7)
All 7 and we’ll watch them fall
They stand in the way of love
And we will smoke them all
With an intellect and a savoir-faire
No one in the whole universe
Will ever compare
I am yours now and u are mine
And together we’ll love through
All space and time, so don’t cry
One day all 7 will die
[(Just how old)]
And we will see a plague and a river of blood
And every evil soul will surely die in spite of
Their 7 tears, but do not fear
4 in the distance, 12 souls from now
U and me will still be here – we will still be here
There will be a new city with streets of gold
The young so educated they never grow old
And a, there will be no death 4 with every breath
The voice of many colors sings a song
That’s so bold
Sing it while we watch them fall
All 7 and we’ll watch them fall
They stand in the way of love
And we will smoke them all
With an intellect and a savoir-faire
No one in the whole universe
Will ever compare
I am yours now and u are mine
And together we’ll love through
All space and time, so don’t cry
One day all 7 will die
(Just how old)
(Just how old)
(Just how

IBM and Hairdryers, who knew

Musical accompaniment included here

Poor IBM. They seem to have found themselves in a bit of hot water  or is it steam around their recent advertising which managed to spawn a “Hack the Hairdryer” meme and earn the ire of some.

The irony in all of this is that IBM has a WOMAN, Gina Rometty, an electrical engineer running the company. Having worked in corporate space myself, I have to imagine final approval had to have been made somewhere near the top, and that maybe even a woman was involved. If such is the case, it shows how hard and builtin this sort of thinking is AND how hard it is to avoid making mistakes.

This latest misstep also underlines the limitations of a “diversity” based model stood up as the solution for improving the “numbers” of  under-represented groups within a given community. Thinking about it, where is the master list for these groups, I mean gee whiz, someone ought to know right ? Or maybe that is the problem; we aren’t being specific enough about what group we intend to help.

We need to go back to first principles and determine what diversity really means. If we really want to see a change,answering that question honestly might help to determine what the tech community is really capable of not to mention being a really good first step.

We also need to address the thinking of communities , after all, and especially with the millennial generation, it’s all about communities.This means community leaders and members need to dust off that little used self-reflection skill set (or maybe develop one) and come to  a true  understanding of why a hair-dryer was chosen as opposed to a lawnmower. While we’re at it, lets update our notion of “meritocracy”  and add the word “equity” to our conversations as well.

 

So what exactly did Facebook Open Source for Deep Learning HW

Facebook recently announced it was open sourcing it’s AI/Deep Learning HW design, Big Sur.

I am not a member of OCP so it’s not clear I can get all of the documentation. However, from the way the industry media is falling over itself heralding this act of open sourcing it must be something compelling right.

In all of the articles I have read so far I have seen nothing of new processors, switch fabric ASICS etc… That is not to say that motherboard level design is trivial however I would have expect something more significant based on the column inches I have pawed through in the last two days

Maybe someone can help me understand what I am missing

Building and SELLING pschidt is not easy

First, the song, Devo’s rendition of “Working In A Coal Mine”.

I don’t know Elon Musk, nor have I ever worked at Tesla. Most interesting to me about Musk and Tesla is how they have managed NOT to take over the car industry, despite the quality of their product. In fact, over the summer an article from Yahoo News indicated that Tesla might be losing 4K/ copy of the Model S.

I point this out NOT to criticize Musk, Tesla or their efforts, instead I just want to underline how difficult it is to design, build, distribute and sell a product. Especially a product of this scale. Nonetheless and despite the challenges Tesla forges on.

I am not sure what their end-game is, and I am not necessarily a fan of electric cars. It’s not clear to me that e-cars are the most innovative solution for transportation and managing global warming. However , I do admire their trying.

In the immortal words of “Lonesome George: Ride on Josephine, ride on”

 

 

 

Off Topic, at least for this Blog

The accompanying tune: I don’t usually write publicly about stuff that happens outside of tech, after the events in San Berdoo however I felt compelled to do so. Here goes

It’s funny the flip-flopping that people do when it suits them. Sometimes, people often times public figures will swear words don’t have meaning, and other times, they fall over themselves declaring how words can hurt.

I have watched over the course of the last 20 or 30 years, how our discourse has become increasingly less civil; the acceptance of intolerance when speaking of others who hold different beliefs and values. SO much so that I doubt we can even parse rhetorical nuance anymore. It’s very black and white these days, you are either good or evil.For or against us, not shades of grade. Worse still, you’re not supposed to evolve and rethink positions you may have in previous years

I had hoped upon hope that the shooters in San Bernadino had no connection whatsoever to any “terrorist” orgs in any capacity. Don’t get me wrong, what they did was horrific, but seeing the rhetorical trajectory of all things related to the practitioners of Islam I knew any connections found would not help. Alas, my hopes were dashed.

What irks me though, is that while there was a short search for a connection in this case. There was no need of any similar search regarding the beliefs of the planned parenthood shooter. It was pretty clear, and worse tolerated that the shootings at Planned Parenthood were to be viewed as stimulating a national discourse around abortion rights.I even heard as such on an NPR show of all places while at the same time taking the recent shooting NOT as a catalyst for discussion. Instead, a dictum for more intolerant “they’re not one of us, they don’t have OUR values” acton

Words do in fact matter, what people,whether they are prominent nationally, or just a friend next door, say has an affect on someone somewhere, for good or for bad. I wish folks would remember that and at least take responsibility for it when the “collateral” damage as a result of their words occurs

I live in Oakland, I am from Los Angeles

First the music.

I was out in Oakland yesterday for a spell to meet a friend who as relocating out here for a while. He’s a performing artist so I agreed to check his gig out and then go hang.

We found ourselves in Jack London Square at a block party which was part of the Megapolis festival. As a testament to how out of touch I have been with Oakland over the last few years. I was surprised to find out this was the 4th year for Megapolis.There are lots of reasons why  have been disconnected from the community.Work, parenting, my own projects, to name a few.

As my friends observed, things have changed significantly. Oakland is well on its way along the path of gentrification, ah yes gentrification, that special code word. BTW Why do we speak in code so much ?

In any event, Oakland has changed, and I am slowly  wrapping my head around the fact that some of this change change might wind up being good for Oakland despite my frustration around the how and the who.

P.S. And then there is our new mayor. The honorable Libby Schaaf who getting her feet on the ground and teasing us with some of her true colors. The comments at the end of the linked piece are interesting as well.

It always seems hard for people to account for the frustrations people develop around not being heard, or worse, recognized; and how those frustrations can often times provide an environment in which protest can often time also be the space for random venting as well.