Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Vacation, Ken Kesey

I am back from a much needed vacation.

Had some fun playing frisbee on the beach with a friend I have known since I was 5. Our digital camera got canned before the vacation. My wife thought it made a fine toy for our 1.5 year old daughter. The camera didn't think so. We were reduced to using a disposable camera so no pics. My friend also has a young daughter so he also goes to bed at 10 PM. But we were pretty cool in college.

I'm not done yet, but I started reading Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. Good book so far. The book is based in Oregon, which I of course like. Kesey spent a lot of time in Oregon and was an interesting dude to say the least. Figured I needed a break from technical, business, and political books. I guess I should wait until the end, but so far I see the link between Kesey and Jack Kerouac .

I became interested in Ken Kesey after watching The Net: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet. I think "The Net" is worth a look, makes you think. I knew about Kesey before, but didn't know his LSD experiments created the Internet (joke, but watch the documentary - warning sub-titles)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Espresso I love you

I love espresso.

Portland is the epicenter for coffee Or at least one of them.

Check out this article from the Willamette Week:

Bean Town Thanks to a gang of coffee fanatics, Portland is the center of a new microbrew revolution.

That is what I'm talkn' about!!

Coffee is a big part of the Portland culture and I love it! At work, our team rips a trip across the street to our local independent coffee shop, J Cafe, at least 1x a day. We alternate paying. This is basically our Scrum stand-up meeting "if you will". We mix in cheap jokes and walk around the block and also talk about our projects. I dig this.

Each morning, I fire up my Francis! Francis! espresso machine and pull 4 shots. 2 for me and 2 for my lovely wife. Before long, our 1.5 year old will get in on the fun ;)

I am a b player barrista at best. No c player. I use "e.s.e. pods" (easy serving espresso). They work pretty well. I have been buying cases of Illy for a couple years. I just realized that e.s.e. is a coffee industry standard. I'm going to check out some of the other brands available at PodMerchant. Illy will be tough to beat though.

If you come to Portland, you must go to Stumptown. Best coffee ever flat out.

Yes, at this moment I am "over served" on espresso. Yes that is why I am blogging about it. SO WHAT!?!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I have been using Ubuntu pretty regularly for almost a month now.

Far and away the best desktop Linux experience I have ever had.

It isn't MAC OS X, but its pretty good. Especially since its free.

Very impressive.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Freedom to Fork - Hard Lessons for Compiere

I saw over on Matt Asay's blog that Compiere has been forked.

I do not know their founder personally (Jorg Janke), but I have met him a number of times in the past. I'm sure he doesn't remember me. I remember talking to him 1.5 years ago when he moved to Portland about VCs. He was moving into the same incubator as my previous employer here in Portland (an OSS ESB company that failed). He said something like, "they will take your left arm". Well, I don't know about that, but either he was too worried about losing his "left arm" (and neglected the most crucial part of OSS - community), OR they did take his left arm and he can no longer code like the dickens (they probably started talking to VCs six months ago and got very distracted by that and moving to SF - silly idea when you have a thriving international community and you are already in one of the most OSS friendly cities in the world!?).

Now I have no idea what the truth is here.

Just yesterday, however, I was on a 6:30 AM ccall extolling the virtues of the "freedom to fork". This crucial aspect of OSS gives the community incredible power over the software it invests in. This is software the way God intended it to be. It is separation of powers just like (we think/hope) our democracies work.

I hope that Compiere Inc. turns this around - it isn't too late. But it better shell out some of that $6M to make amends with its #1 asset - the community that is invested in it. Hey Larry Augustin is on the Compiere board! I just listened to a fantastic talk of his last week at GOSCON. Here is the summary:

One of the hardest parts of utilizing Open Source is building true community involvement. The benefits of Open Source only accrue when an outside third party community participates. This talk will describe various ways to help engage a community around your Open Source project.

Larry, give Jorg the presentation quick!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Utility Computing & Open Dater

Man, utility computing is really going nuts lately. Check out Sun (via Tim Bray): Sun's Shipping Container.

At OSCON, Tim O'Reilly talked a lot about Open Dater. At the time I remember being slightly annoyed because he talked about it a lot.

But as the months have gone by since OSCON, I have thought about it several times so he certainly got my attention.

Anyhoo, cool shipping crate, very cool shipping crate.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Celtic Wisdom

My mother is a voracious reader. She is into Celtic Christianity. I'm not terribly religious (in an organized way anyhow), but I dig the stuff she tells me about Celtic Christianity. It is apparently more in tune with nature which suits me fine.

Take this quote, for example from a book she read named Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

There is a lovely anecdote from the Munster region about a man who had died. As the Soul left the body, it went to the door of the house to begin its journey back to the eternal place. But the Soul looked back at the now empty body and lingered at the door. Then it went back and kissed the body and talked to it. The Soul thanked the body for being such a hospitable place for its life journey and remembered the kindnesses the body had shown it during life. page 209

She read that to me when she was in town. I thought about it a couple times since she left so I had her look it up for me. I figured it was worth sharing. Profound eh?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Fall Salmon

We went to the Salmon Festival at Oxbow Park yesterday.

Pretty cool.

They had all sorts of exhibits and some traditionally cooked salmon (yum).

I didn't catch any of the fish on film, but here is my curly-haired-daughter watching them. Every minute or so you would see a giant Chinook take a tear up the river.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Bradley C. Wheeler

Bradley C. Wheeler is a pretty impressive dude.

Quite an Open Source visionary "if you will". He is the founding force behind community source.

He gave the closing keynote at GOSCON today. He gave by far the best presentation I saw. And he has a certain irreverent zip to him that I relate to.

He also announced that the much anticipated Kuali 1.0 was released today. Pretty brave seeing its Friday the 13th. If you are in the market for a university ERP system, you may test drive it here. Hopefully it will be as successful as Sakai.

You may think that its easy to pull this type of thing off in academia, sure didn't sound like it was. But it is now because they have established the model. And there is major corporate involvement. This is not communism. As Brad said, this is creative destruction - exactly what capitalism is all about.

If they can build these things with OSS, what can't be built with OSS?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I attended an OSDL "Face to Face" meeting today here in Portland.

I could only attend part of it, but it was pretty interesting. I've been a believer in OSS for a long time. I see only a bright bright future for OSS. To put it short, OSS allows us all to accelerate innovation. We can take code that works and keep building up higher and higher in the stack. We don't have to keep re-implementing the same thing over and over again. We are only beginning to learn how powerful this concept is. There is a lot to come.

I'm going to GOSCON tomorrow and Friday.

Only thing not so fun about attending these conferences is I have to catch up on heaps of work at night. Oh well.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Good article on sprawl. Compares my town with a town in Arizona.

My mother is in town and is sitting next to me with her own PowerBook - she forwarded me the article.

She likes Solitare in Dashboard, email, the web, and genealogy (she has a 700MB Pages document with our family history going back to Bluetooth in Denmark - how big is your biggest Pages document?).

Anyways, I'm glad I don't live in sprawl hell. I love urban living. I love walking to work. Once we move from our condo a key requirement is that I must at least be able to bike to work.

But then again, this article reminds me just how complicated the world is.

Well worth a read I think.

One note on Pages - I think all word processors just suck and exist solely to torture us. She has shown me some doozy defects in her 700MB document.