31 January 2011

Its All Down Hill From Here

 Haha. Please don’t take me too seriously. But I’m sooooo old now! Yesterday I turned 26 years old, which as I’ve been told is on the old half of my twentieth decade, which I’ve also been told is bad, or at least least good than the first half. haha. And then apparently you become really old when you hit your thirties, hence, all down hill from here! ;) In all seriousness though, I am so happy about the place I am at in my life right now! To be 26 and have gone the places I have, to have had the successes I have had, the wonderful family and friends all around me, and to be on this incredible journey is just amazing. I wake up so happy and excited to be here. And everyday I get to continue trying to make the world a better place. Wow. I will say that my birthday was lovely though. My mom cooked a wonderful dinner and birthday cake - it was great! I’m glad I was home for it.

28 January 2011

Upverter: Exciting Feedback!

 Today on the Upverter blog I wrote about some of the great feedback we’ve received lately. We have always had long term goals to try and fix some of the very real, real world problems with doing electronics, but a particular piece of feedback has prompted me to talk more about those long term goals. You should give it a read! I’d really like to start a discussion on what people really want and need. Assuming you want to build the boards you design - how do you want to do it? What can we do to make that easier? Get the idea?

26 January 2011
Holy Shit… Stuff is Working!!!

 Haha. Seriously though, it is! And with any luck we can start tossing around Alpha invitations in another week or so. A week! Its been 152 days since I started Upverter and in that fantastically short, busy, and life altering 5 months we have managed to (almost) cobble together a pretty cool piece of software that we are really hoping changes the way people look at electronics. I’m just so very excited to be here! I wake up so excited everyday to make the world a better place, and we are just so very close to sharing the start of our vision with the world. So for lack of anything else to write about today - be excited! And if you haven’t already done so head on over to the upverter.com landing page and sign up for the beta!

24 January 2011

Brotherly Love

I love my brothers. All of them, lots and lots. We are fascinatingly different, complimentary, hard working and down to earth guys. Guys guys. We love our mother and look up to our father. Don’t get me wrong, we raised our share of hell as kids! I’m surprised the house is still standing. But we have really grown into our own since then.

Now I’ve only ever been an oldest brother, its kinda obvious to say, but all of my brothers have at least me as an older brother, and little Denny has a full five goons looking out for him. But I don’t know what that’s like. I was always on the front line. I don’t know why I mentioned that. I guess maybe its important later. But as boys we were always knocking heads, a lot of the time because we were trying to define ourselves, and it was hard to be different, to be brothers and not step all over one another. We ended up there in the end, but it sure wasn’t always as graceful as it is lately.

Anyway, as kids Clint and I were always pretty similar. Mitch and Jake were far better athletes, Denny and Grayson were young, but Clint and I both did drama, we were both a little awkward, we likes video games, we did good in school, we overlapped a lot. And there were a couple wars as a result. For some reason there was an unwritten rule that we couldn’t do or like the same things, and that made it weird. So we had our scraps, we diverged, and I guess we’ve grown up a lot since then. And I honestly have to say that in the last couple years we have become really great friends. Its awesome. I’m so very proud of all his accomplishments in school and how hard he works. Its a neat kind of proud feeling.

I’m just so happy for him.

That he is doing so great, finding his way, and in the end he is gonna work his ass of and he is gonna win. Maybe this is where the big brother stuff comes in… But I also just love hanging out with him! Chatting over coffee, drinking beers, harassing women, shooting pool, anything. He is just such a great, down to earth guy, and we connect. Its cool. So… It’s Saturday night, and freezing cold outside. Clint, Meg, a Million of her girlfriends, Mike, Stefi, Aivar, Gloria, Other Meg and I’m sure about a hundred other people, and Me all meet up at some bar downtown. And we just have a rockin’ good time. The Guinness is flowing, the girls are dancing and the boys are shooting the shit. It was great. I love those kind of nights, and I love that it was Clint and I just hanging out.

And that’s it really. Sorry for the emotional moment!

But I was kinda just sitting here today and thinking about how much fun it was hanging out, and how I’m really glad we have this. In the rest of the world - everything is great. Got tons done over the weekend and the countdown is on!

21 January 2011

Upverter: Soldering Olympics

 Why did we never do this? I mean really? It was such a damn good idea! Well, it turns out someone else had the balls to pull it off. Props to the hackers in NYC. Read all about it in my Upverter blog post for today. In other news shit is great! We are hacking up a damn storm. Alpha is coming up and we gotta kick-out some awesome before then!

19 January 2011
In Need Of Fashion

 Well I guess really I’m in need of clothes. It turns out as I am now hovering around 200 lbs, not much of what I own for the 25% larger version of my self fits anymore. I am making do pretty well with 2 pairs of jeans left over from my wanderings around the sub-continent of India (I was an even smaller version when I was living there, thanks mostly to being perpetually food poisoned), a couple t-shirts that seem to fit, and a couple long-sleeves that I picked up last fall during my decent. But a few weeks back I got a phone call. It was a generally supportive phone call, but a big theme in it was that I need to dress more like the role I am trying to fill, and that I will be better received as a result. I have no idea if that is true. But I have always been pretty fond of following my own compass. Of doing it my way because I can. But I can’t get the idea out of my head that I will somehow contribute to our business failing because I dress/look like a grub. So I have decided that over the next couple weeks I’m going to try and be a little better. We have very little money for things like clothing, and I don’t think I need much - but I have recruited a couple “fashion consultants” (i.e. female friends) and my very fashionable brother Clint to help give me and my wardrobe little bit of an update. I think my shopping list is as follows, there are a few other things I’d like (new spring/light jacket, new winter jacket, new messenger bag) - but I have to stay moderate and cheap. I think my budget should be maximum $500 / 4 hours which ever comes first:

  • One pair of formal-ish pants
  • One pair of dark jeans
  • One pair of shoes (sneakers have bit the dust)
  • Two blazers
  • Two long sleeved shirts or light sweaters
  • A few formal-ish or collared shirts
  • A few blazer appropriate t-shirts
  • A pair of gloves (dogs ate mine the other day)

Here is what I’m going on right now for inspiration:

17 January 2011

HTML5

 HTML5 is bad ass. I can remember 10 years ago when I was hacking away on HTML2, and 3 was gonna change the world. I can’t help but think of all of the incredible things that have been done with javascript and ajax since then. Gmail, Facebook, Mockingbird, etc, etc. Its pretty wild. And now here is HTML5. Its gonna destroy whats let of flash. Its going to destroy IE’s market share unless they get their shit together. Its going to define Chrome as a leading browser. Its sooo exciting. And the best part is a few months back we made the right choice. Obviously I dont really know that yet, but it sure looks good. We are building a leading edge, life changing HTML5 app just as HTML5 is set to revolutionize a browser near you. Hang on - This is about to get awesome! In case you are living in a cave this was prompted by the release of the W3C HTML5 logo. Its the big orange one up top. Its bad-ass.

14 January 2011

Upverter: Whats Missing For OSHW?

 OSHW should be huge. It should be just as big as FOSS. But it isn’t and we spend a lot of time at Upverter trying to figure out why not. Whats missing from the ecosystem? the tools? why hasn’t OSHW exploded into a mecca of open cellphones and routers. Why can’t I by an open source alarm clock? In my Upverter blog post today I talk a bit about our guesses as to whats missing. The tools and technologies that, if available, would spark the OSHW guys into massive growth. Its by no means perfect and we are missing a lot of answers, but after talking to a hundreds of hackers, like I said, these are our best guesses.

12 January 2011

Operational Transforms

 If you read the title and went jibbly-jibbly, or buhahaha, or ugh then you probably know the pain we are going through right now. If you read the title and think I’m talking about doctors or robot aliens - this post might not be for you… An Operational transform is a way of mathematically thinking about the things that need to happen behind the scenes for a piece of collaborative software to work. Meaning when you and your buddy are hacking away on a Google doc, the software needs to merge your changes with your buddies changes so that you can actually collaborate rather than stomping on one another. And we are way down deep in the underbelly of ugly that is building all of the bits so we can support collaboration. I do have to say that despite being scary - the things that this allows you to do really are pretty neat! Being able to simultaneously edit a graph or a document with another user is pretty darn impressive. Especially when its a feature that previously hasn’t been even remotely possible. For anyone interested in Operation Transforms or how to add this kind of support to a software project here is a shortlist of links that helped give me a basic understanding of what we needed to do.

10 January 2011

Distributed Effort… Again…

 We are again as a team distributed. Steve in Palo Alto, Mike in Toronto and me in Exeter. The big difference from a few months ago is that Steve in full-time, Mike is wrapping up in Toronto and we all are now part of a very aggressive program with some pretty strong encouragement to release a public beta in the next couple months. And we have lost a bit of time to the growing pains that come from changing working styles again. I don’t have Steve beside me - which means we aren’t pushing each other forward in the same way, we can’t talk and whiteboard, and our schedules diverge. Thankfully we have gotten pretty good at this! We have a big support network of tools, lots of communication expectations, and we are all self-starters capable of working on our own. I guess I just miss working next to Steve. I liked being in the same head-space as him. and I was looking forward to having Mike join us. All together and working - like some bad Asian fusion of super powers comic book thing. It was gonna be prefect, and it will be, just a little longer coming. As for everything else, we are getting back into the grove. Steve and I have been doing a decent job of Skype + Jira collaboration. And we are even set to do some remote pairing one of these days. So work really is as good as can be right now!