Thursday, November 30, 2006

Garlic - 1 Month

1 month since I planted garlic. Seems to be doing well so far. I used wheat straw as mulch. Problem is the stuff keeps germinating so I've been spending a bit of time plucking wheat plants out. I think this will die off once the weather gets cold. But with it in the 70s this week it shows no signs of stopping soon.

Monday, November 20, 2006


On Friday I resigned my position with Progress Energy. I am sad and excited and happy and nervous all at the same time. It's very confusing. I'll start with R.H. Donneley in December. I'll be doing senior architecture work with Active Directory and Exchange plus other messaging systems. Pretty much the same thing I've been doing, but this is a more senior position in a more complex environment and should prove challenging and rewarding. My goal is to fully apply all the Rob 2.0 skills I've been learning and put them to good use at RHD. I will start by listening. A lot.

I'm definitely going to miss many of the good folks at Progress. I'll have to make an effort to stay in touch. I learned more about soft skills here than anyplace before. However, my technical skills were probably atrophying from disuse. My new job will force me to crack open some tech books I'm sure.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Book Reviews

I told myself I'd review books as they come off my reading list. Haven't been keeping up. So here's some catchup...

Madeline Albright's The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs examines the important role religion plays in international politics and the highlights the lack of attention it's getting in the Bush administration. Key takeaways were that the three Abrahamic religions have more in common than they have separating him and that we'd do well to leverage these commonalities rather than focus on the "otherness" of the less familiar Islam. Can't we all just get along?

Adam Mansbach's comedy, Angry Black White Boy (Or the Miscegenation of Macon Detornay) is a very funny novel about a white suburban kid who is blacker than most black people. He's totally "down" with hiphop culture. Winds up starting a race riot in NYC when he suggests that white people take Malcolm's "Day of Apology" literally. Thousands of clueless folks come to apologize for what they do not know. Violence ensues. Very odd ending of the novel which was quite depressing. Leaving me the feeling that there really is no hope for every gaining understanding between the two cultures and there will always be animosity. Can't we all just get along?

For work as part of the Rob 2.0 project I listened to an audiobook version of Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. I have to say. It sucked. Psychobabble through and through. Oh, there may have been a nugget or two of fairly obvious common sense. But basically the premise is that relationships are more important to success then intelligence. OK. I got it. But there were no helpful tips about how to get from here to there. I suppose it helped to raise my awareness of the issue. Like I was unaware before. Oy.
Finally I finished Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End. As usual I love this sci-fi author's highly imaginative technology. Unlike prior works of his I loved (The Peace War, Marooned in Realtime), the technology here is near future. A natural extension of current web-based tech projected out about 50 years. I hope it all comes true. I can't wait. Wearable computers. Passing of certs around to validate identity. Reputation engines ala Ebay today (think Wuffie). Cool stuff. Plus a really engaging story to keep things moving along. I especially like the UPExpress company which delivers packages in near real-time by sending them semi-balistically and then using paragliders and GPS to get them on target. Similarly a tactical strike team is launched into LEO ready to project power to quell a potential terrorist strike. Launch em high, then let em fall and finally deploy at the last second as the situation develops. Developing info streams in via mass use of analysts that are chewing on data ala wikipedia. All totally cool. As usual, I feel like I'm born about 100 years too early. :-)

Happy Halloween

I'm rather proud of this jack-o-lantern I carved. Scary, huh?