Warren Myers : wonder how many zombie film/tv/game creators are/were computer science nerds

August 23, 2017 06:13 PM

As you all know, I am a huge zombie fan.

And, as you probably know, I was a CIS/CS major/minor at Elon.

A concept I was introduced to at both Shodor and Elon was ant colony simulations.

And I realized today that many people have been introduced to the basics concepts of ant colony simulations through films like Night of the Living Dead or World War Z and shows like Z Nation or The Walking Dead.

In short, ant colony optimization simulations, a part of swarm intelligence, use the “basic rules” of ant intelligence to game-out problems of traffic patterns, crowd control, logistics planning, and all kinds of other things.

Those basic rules the ants follow more or less come down to the following:

  • pick a random direction to wander
  • continue walking straight until you hit something
    • if you hit a wall
      • turn a random number of degrees between 1 and 359
      • loop up one level
      • if you hit food
        • if you are carrying trash
          • turn a random number of degrees between 1 and 179 or 181 and 359
          • loop up two levels
        • if you are carrying food
          • drop it
          • turn 180 degrees, loop up two levels
        • if you are not carrying anything
          • pick it up
          • either turn 180 degrees and loop up two levels, or
          • loop up two levels (ie, continue walking straight)
      • if you hit trash (dead ants, etc)
        • if you are carrying trash
          • drop it
          • turn 180 degrees, loop up two levels
        • if you are carrying food
          • turn a random number of degrees between 1 and 179 or 181 and 359
          • loop up to levels
        • if you are carrying nothing
          • pick it up
          • either turn 180 degree and loop up two levels, or
          • loop up two levels (ie, continue walking straight)
      • if you hit an ant
        • a new ant spawns in a random cell next to the two existing ants (with a 1/grid-shape probability, in a square grid, this would be a ~10% chance of spawning a new ant; in a hex grid, it would be a ~12.5% chance of a spawn), IF there is an empty cell next to either ant
        • if you are both carrying the same thing,
          • start a new drop point
          • turn around 180 degrees
          • loop up two levels
        • if you are carrying different things (or not carrying anything)
          • turn a random number of degrees between 1 and 359
          • loop up two levels
    • if you have been alive “too long” (parameterizable), you die and become trash (dropping whatever you have “next” to you in a random grid point (for example, if the grid is square, you’re in position “5”, and your cargo could be in positions 1-4 or 6-9:

There are more rules you can add or modify (maybe weight your choice of direction to pick when you turn based on whether an ant has been there recently (ie simulated pheromone trails)), but those are the basics. With randomly-distributed “stuff” (food, walls, ants, trash, etc) on a board of size B, an ant population – P – of 10% * B, a generation frequency – F – of 9% * B, an iteration count of 5x board-size, a life span – L – of 10% * B, and let it run, you will see piles of trash, food, etc accumulate on the board.

They may accumulate differently on each run due to some of the random nature of the inputs, but they’ll accumulate. Showing how large numbers of relatively unintelligent things can do things that look intelligent to an outside observer.

And that’s how zombies appear in most pop culture depictions: they wander more-or-less aimlessly until attracted by something (sound, a food source (aka the living), fire, etc). And while they seem to exhibit mild group/swarm intelligence, it’s just that – an appearance to outside observers.

So if you like zombie stories, you might like computer science.

Mark Turner : DefCon 25

August 15, 2017 03:06 AM

Having worked in IT for (gasp!) twenty-five years, I have long enjoyed the side of my job that deals with securing the networks I am responsible for. Network security is a game to me; trying to find and stop hackers before they find and stop me. As my blogging has revealed over the years, I enjoy solving a good mystery. How far back can a track an attacker? Or an adversary? How much knowledge can I dig up? This is all very fun.

My current job doesn’t deal with this directly as I am lucky to have a great team who watches the network. Still, I have to pay some attention to what’s what. So, when the department budget allowed for sending me to my first DefCon, I was delighted to go. Two weeks ago, I was on a plane to Las Vegas to join 25,000 other “hackers” in an intense, three-day powwow of matching wits, sharing forbidden knowledge, and proving points.

This year is the 25th anniversary of DefCon (i.e. “DefCon 25”). DefCon gets its name partly from the U.S. Department of Defense’s “Defense Condition” levels, as popularized by the movie “War Games.” Partly, it’s a made-up word with the “Con” meaning “convention.” DefCon was started (if I am correct) by Canadian bulletin-board owners who decided that on-line meetings were not enough. It has continued to be one of the premier conferences/training sessions that draws attendees from around the world.

Now, the term hacker in the public mind tends to have a negative connotation but this is not entirely true. The title of hacker in the industry vernacular is actually a badge of honor, bestowed upon a developer who can quickly kick out computer code. You’ll find many computer people proud to call themselves hackers yet they don’t break into computers. In an effort to protect the positive connotation of the term hacker, the IT community introduced a new phrase to describe computer criminals as “crackers.” This term has more or less failed to catch on, so “hacker” now describes both types.

It takes a lot to willingly get me to Las Vegas. It’s a fake city out to take my money and I don’t particularly enjoy having my money taken. Only if there’s an interesting conference am I likely to go. DefCon qualified so I booked my plans.

DefCon fully complies with the “what goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas” saying. DefCon organizers have no idea who will attend or who has attended. There is no way to register for the conference, and thus no way for DefCon (or the authorities) to track who shows up. Everyone pays cash at the door, whether you’re a government employee, a computer geek like me, or a journalist. I was not sure how this would work in practice but somehow it did.

There are several accounts out there that describe more of the DefCon experience so I’ll focus on my own here.

I’d never seen so many geeks in one place. I’m also not used to going “full geek” in public for three days straight but it’s easy at DefCon. No matter how “leet” you think you are, there is someone here who is eons more masterful at doing what you do. You just go with the flow.

My colleagues and I picked out talks we wanted to attend from a large list of concurrent discussions. There were workshops and villages also, where attendees could roll up their sleeves and practice the skills that were being discussed. Vendors were also present to sell hacker tools of various varieties. It was mind-boggling! I shopped the vendors, practiced my lock-picking skills, and observed the various ways that cars could be controlled via computer. Never have so many warranties been voided in one place.

I was even bold enough to connect my phone to DefCon’s WiFi network. DefCon is said to be the “world’s most hostile network environment” and it’s easy to see why. Fake wireless access points and cell towers abound. Any device that connects here must be considered hacked and then wiped clean after the conference. That’s why you’ll see more flip phones and other “burner” phones here than probably anywhere else.

Still, I couldn’t resist trying my own burner phone on DefCon’s network. I figured if it got hacked I wouldn’t really lose anything and later I could study how it happened. DefCon was smart with its network this year, however, and required WiFi clients to use a cryptographic certificate to connect (called 802.1x). This seemed to eliminate all but the most dedicated hackers and I did not hear of anyone who used this new procedure having falling victim to hackers. Impressive!

At past conferences, DefCon used to play a game called “Spot the Fed.” Lately Feds have been welcome. Feds even give talks and panel discussions. Indeed, I attended many talks were by private-sector security professionals who were often collaborating with federal agencies on cases. I was pleased to see this kind of trust displayed though there is still so much more to be done.

The real adversary here seemed to be state-sponsored Russian and Chinese cyber criminals. Most people I heard from seemed to have their sights on these bad guys. As such, I came away from DefCon thinking not that these DefCon hackers have the goal of disrupting society but that of improving society. The aim is to point of the flaws in the things we use because pretending something works when it actually doesn’t doesn’t do anyone any good but the bad guys. Though it’s sometimes not easy for an outsider to see, DefCon attendees have morals (some of them strongly held) and the overall vibe I got was that if you’re a company or government that is being a dick to others you just might get some electronic karma sent your way. Like, for instance, the Anonymous group taking down the website of some jerk who really deserved it. This action may even be considered a touch patriotic. I was glad to meet the people who really are keeping everyone safe by their calling out when the emperor has no clothes. That’s how we progress.

There were too many talks to attend them all, and too many conversations which could’ve lasted longer. It was exhausting, fun, eye-opening, and mind-blowing. I cannot wait to go back.

Warren Myers : pi-hole revisited

August 11, 2017 05:59 PM

Back in November, I was really up on Pi-hole.

But after several more months of running it … I am far less psyched than I had been. I’m sure part of that is having gotten better internet services at my house – so the impact of ads is less noticeable.

But a major part of it is that Pi-hole is just too aggressive. Far far too aggressive. Aggressive to the point that my whitelist was growing sometimes minute-by-minute just to get some websites to work.

Is that a problem with the site? No doubt somewhat. But it’s also a problem of blacklists. When domains and IPs are just blanket refused (and not in a helpful way), you get broken experience.

Pi-hole has also gone to a quasi-hijack approach: when a domain has been blocked, instead of it just silently not working, it now returns a message to contact your Pi-hole admin to update the block lists.

I hate intrusive ads as much as the next person .. but that shouldn’t mean that all ads are blocked. I have unobtrusive ads on a couple of my domains (this one included).

But even with Pi-hole, not all ads are blocked.

Part of that is due to the ever-changing landscape of ad servers. Part of it is due to the inherent problems with the blacklist/whitelist approach.

Content creators should be entitled to compensation for the efforts (even if they voluntarily choose to give that content away). Bombarding visitors with metric buttloads of advertising, however, makes you look either desperate, uncaring, or greedy.

The current flipside to that, though, is the pay-wall / subscription approach. Surely subscriptions are appropriate for some things – but I’m not going to pay $1/mo (or more) to every site that wants me to sign-up to see one thing: just today, that would’ve encumbered me with over $100/mo in new recurring bills.

Maybe there needs to be a per-hour, per-article, per-something option – a penny for an hour, for example (which, ftr, comes out to a monthly fee of about $7)- so that viewers can toss some scrilla towards the creators, but aren’t permanently encumbered by subscriptions they’ll soon forget about (though, of course, that recurring subscription revenue would surely look enticing to publishers).

As with the per-song/episode purchase model that iTunes first made big about 15 years ago, you could quickly find out what viewers were most interested in, and focus your efforts there. (Or, continue focusing your efforts elsewhere, understanding that less-popular content will not garner as much revenue as popular content will).

Imagine, using my example of $0.01/hr, how much more engagement you could end up garnering while visitors are actively on your site! A penny is “nothing” to most people – and probably just about all who’re online. Maybe you’ll have a handful of people “abusing” the system by opening a thousand pages in new tabs in their hour … but most folks’ll drop the virtual coin in the nickelodeon, watch the video / read the page / whathaveyounot, and move on about their day.

And not everyone will opt for the charge model. Sites that do utilize it can have some things marked “free” or “free for the next 24 hours” or “free in 7 days” or whatever.

Ad companies like Google could still work as the middleman on handling transactions, too – any time you visit per-X content, there could be a small pop-up that indicated you’d be withdrawing Y amount from your balance to view the site (I’m sure there’ll be competition in the space, so PayPal, Facebook, Stripe, Square, etc etc can get in on the “balance management” piece). And at the end of whatever period (day, week, month), Google can do a mass-settle of all the micropayments collected for each site from each visitor (with some percentage off the top, of course).

No ads. You’d actually Get What Your Pay For™, and issues like the recent Admiral thing would go in a corner and die.

Mark Turner : What if the president ordering a nuclear attack isn’t sane? An Air Force major lost his job for asking. – The Washington Post

August 11, 2017 02:15 AM

Like any good student with a sensitive question, Harold Hering approached his teacher after class, out of earshot from his classmates.

“How can I know,” he asked, “that an order I receive to launch my missiles came from a sane president?”

It was 1973. President Richard M. Nixon was seriously depressed about Watergate. Hering, an Air Force major who rescued downed pilots in Vietnam, was training to be a missileer — the guy who turns the keys to commence nuclear Armageddon.

“I assumed there had to be some sort of checks and balances so that one man couldn’t just on a whim order the launch of nuclear weapons,” Hering, now 81, told Radiolab in a remarkable interview earlier this year.

Hering was wrong. And decades later, so is anyone who thinks President Trump, having recently threatened “fire and fury” for North Korea, can’t order a nuclear attack anytime he darn well pleases, even from a fairway bunker on the golf course.

Source: What if the president ordering a nuclear attack isn’t sane? An Air Force major lost his job for asking. – The Washington Post

Mark Turner : As a Woman in Tech, I Realized: These Are Not My People – Bloomberg

August 11, 2017 02:12 AM

A woman in tech suggests there’s a kernel of truth in the “Google Memo.”

No, the reason I left is that I came into work one Monday morning and joined the guys at our work table, and one of them said “What did you do this weekend?”

I was in the throes of a brief, doomed romance. I had attended a concert that Saturday night. I answered the question with an account of both. The guys stared blankly. Then silence. Then one of them said: “I built a fiber-channel network in my basement,” and our co-workers fell all over themselves asking him to describe every step in loving detail.

At that moment I realized that fundamentally, these are not my people. I liked the work. But I was never going to like it enough to blow a weekend doing more of it for free. Which meant that I was never going to be as good at that job as the guys around me.

Source: As a Woman in Tech, I Realized: These Are Not My People – Bloomberg

Mark Turner : The N&O called him an ink-stained traditionalist. Watch what happened next!

August 11, 2017 01:49 AM

Courtesy North Carolina State Archives

I spent my lunch hour tromping through the woods, showing the N&O’s Craig Jarvis the ruins of Isaac Hunter’s tavern. Craig had discovered my posts on the tavern and wanted to see it for himself. When my vague, emailed descriptions of the spot didn’t get him there I offered to take him there myself. After five or more minutes of us ducking under fallen trees and getting all turned around, I practically cheered when I found the foundation stones again! Craig was just as excited as I was, snapping photos on his phone and pondering how it all once looked.

I was happy to share it with him and didn’t think twice about meeting him there. I don’t know anything about the story he’s writing nor do I know (or particularly care) if I’ll be mentioned in it. What matters to me is that he’s telling the story of a place that was very important in making Raleigh what it is today.

OK, so maybe I was a little hard on the News and Observer. I know the paper has to adapt to changing conditions but I do not want to see the coverage dumbed down just to generate more clicks. I also don’t want to see journalists forced to pimp their articles just to remain in good graces with their boss. But I absolutely do want journalism to succeed. I want the News and Observer to succeed.

I also want the spinach. Lots of spinach. I want local coverage, even if it means fewer clicks. Tell me about the city’s budget, and about the controversy surrounding the latest audacious development project. Let me know about disagreements between city and county officials. Convey the complex jargon of transportation plans (rail realignments, commuter rail plans, etc) in terms I can understand. Be firm but be fair.

So while I was very, very close to canceling my N&O subscription again, I will give the paper’s new plan a chance to prove itself.

But don’t expect me to like the clickbait headlines, ok?

Mark Turner : Running for my life

August 10, 2017 01:03 AM


Update 11 Aug: I fixed a few of these stats, thanks to actually checking Strava this time. 🙂

Fifty-two times this year, I’ve hauled myself out of bed in the morning and shoved one foot in front of the other in an effort to get healthier. That’s a total of 158 miles so far this year. It wasn’t a new year’s resolution thing but simply a challenge to myself to see if I could do it. Somehow I’m still sticking with it, showing some real improvement in my stamina and my speed. I just ran a mile this week in 8:03 (averaging 9:40) and when I began on March 8th I averaged 11:01.

How’s my health doing? I definitely have more stamina for exercise now and enjoy those endorphins post-run. Running’s become a habit, so that’s good. I’ve dropped most of my flab, too. Last weekend I was pleasantly surprised to find my swim trunks are now too big for me. That said, I still run out of energy late in the day and have been hitting the sack well before 10 PM many recent nights. I’m hopeful that’s just jet lag residue from my trip to Las Vegas last week so hopefully it’s just temporary.

You can follow my progress on Strava if you like. I’ll follow you back (and cheer you on, too).

Mark Turner : What’s your preference, clickbait or spinach?

August 09, 2017 01:18 AM

847″ /> Serious journalism, like spinach, is good for you.

Update 10 Aug: Perhaps I was a little hard on the N&O. I’m giving it a chance.

What’s everyone talking about today? Spinach, that’s what. N&O Executive Editor John Drescher compared “obligatory” stories about government process to spinach and apparently our spinach days are over. Instead, the paper is apparently now all about chasing clicks.

And local voices don’t matter anymore, apparently, so away with the metro columnists, Barry Saunders and the like. Quirky cat stories will now rule the day. I’m left with the impression that local matters – the stuff where a local newspaper shines like none other – will no longer be a priority for the N&O. If it doesn’t have national appeal it’s gone.

Can I be honest here? I hate, hate, hate the N&O’s new clickbait headlines (and yes, John, no matter how hard you go lipstickin’ this pig these headlines are absolutely clickbait). This is one step away from putting emojis and text shortcuts in headlines (“Y U NO PASS BUDGET, COUNCIL? LOL”). My intelligence is insulted every time I see one. In fact, I make it a point not to click on any story with an asinine headlines. Nothing good is ever behind a clickbait headline.

The N&O website is also bogged down by the worst pop-up advertising you’ll find on the web, here or anywhere else. While some of my media pals might look down on my use of ad blocking software, I would not need it if sites like the N&O weren’t full of exploding ads and self-playing videos. There are rules of decorum on the web and assaulting your web visitors has always been frowned upon, no matter how lucrative it might seem.

Last week I got notice that my N&O subscription is due for renewal. The notice is still sitting on my desk. I am torn between my fervent desire to support serious, take-no-prisoners journalism and my growing realization that the News and Observer no longer supplies it. I don’t want to hurt the newspaper but I also don’t want to reward its retreat.

We’ve fed you some spinach over the years — undercooked and not tasty. “Spinach” is what we sometimes call the obligatory stories about government process, as we dutifully report incremental changes recommended by a subcommittee of a blue-ribbon panel.

Enough with the spinach. Starting this week, we’ll be working harder to answer your questions and present the news in a way that is more relevant, with more video and more focus on topics that we know you care about.When most of our readership was of the print paper, we never knew with precision how much each story was read. Now we know how much digital readership each story has, and we’ve used that as a guide for which stories we will cover.

While measuring readership is important to us, it’s not the only factor we’ll consider when deciding what to cover.

Source: New coverage in The N&O about state employees, television and religion | News & Observer

For the record, my wife prefers her spinach lightly cooked (some would say undercooked) while I prefer it on the slimy side. 🙂

Wikimedia Commons spinach photo by Victor M. Vicente Selvas. Thanks for contributing to the public domain!

Mark Turner : A Total Solar Eclipse Feels Really Really Weird | WIRED

August 08, 2017 10:07 PM

A great account of what to expect during this month’s solar eclipse.

Have you ever witnessed a total solar eclipse? Usually when I give a lecture, only a couple of people in an audience of several hundred people raise their hands when I ask that question. A few others respond tentatively, saying, “I think I saw one.” That’s like a woman saying, “I think I once gave birth.”

What these people are remembering is some long-ago partial solar eclipse. These are quite common. They occur every few years in various places across the globe. But believe me, if you’ve seen a total solar eclipse—when the moon passes directly between the sun and the earth—you’ll never forget it.

Part of what makes a total eclipse so breathtaking has to do with invisible light. During the “moment of totality”—the minutes when sun is completely blocked—observers experience the exquisitely odd and wondrous sensation of solar emissions, both visible and invisible, vanishing right in the middle of the day.

Source: A Total Solar Eclipse Feels Really Really Weird | WIRED

Mark Turner : Brian Shul, SR-71 pilot

August 08, 2017 01:44 AM

Author Brian Shul

Someone shared a clip from a talk Maj. Brian Shul (USAF, ret.) gave on his seven years as an SR-71 Blackbird pilot and I found myself looking up his whole talk and becoming captivated by it. Shul not only piloted the world’s highest-performing aircraft, he is an excellent photographer, too, and captured many once-in-a-lifetime photos of this glorious aircraft in action. Shul’s talk is funny, poignant, and inspiring as he expresses his love for flying, photography, and his love for life. It’s an hour long but well worth watching!

Mark Turner : Minutes from my April 2014 city council petition for a Frank Street sidewalk

August 07, 2017 02:12 AM

To go along with my last post on the Frank Street sidewalk, here are the official minutes from my petition to the City Council for a Frank Street sidewalk, from the Council’s session of 1 April 2014. Don’t think I ever blogged about this here, for whatever reason (oh yeah, because I had just started a new job). One councilor told me afterward it was one of the most engaging presentations he had seen at City Council.

SIDEWALK – FRANK STREET – REQUEST RECEIVED; REFERRED TO LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE

Mark Turner was on the agenda to request that a sidewalk be installed on the south side of Frank Street between Brookside Drive and Norris Street. He read the following statement into the record:

Good evening. I’m Mark Turner and I live at 1108 Tonsler Drive in East Raleigh. Tonight I’m here to ask that Frank Street be added to the City’s list of Sidewalk Projects.

Conn Elementary School has served the surrounding neighborhoods for almost 60 years. Generations of kids have walked to and from this school and dozens still do every school day. During October’s national Walk To School Day, Conn families were featured on the school system’s website when they demonstrated how much they value walking to school.
Over the years that my own kids have attended Conn, I’ve watched families walk down Frank Street along a dirt path (seen here on the lower right). This path often becomes muddy when it rains, forcing some to walk in the road to avoid the mud. I became concerned that these families did not have a safe and convenient way to get to school, so I decided to petition the property owners to approve a sidewalk.
The proposed sidewalk would be located on the south side of Frank Street between Brookside Drive and Norris Street. Roughly half of the property is City-owned as part of Meadowbrook Open Space (or known to the kids as “The Creek”). The other half is owned by a single owner. This presents an unusual situation. One-half of the affected property is publicly-owned and one-half has a single, private owner. Because City staff does not factor any City-owned property into sidewalk petitions, this means that just one signature made the difference of whether this project would live or die.

Well, in spite of two years of petition attempts (and all of these signatures I delivered on a thank-you card to the property owner), I have twice been unsuccessful at obtaining the property owner’s permission for a sidewalk, and that’s why I’m here before you this evening. The lack of just one signature keeps dozens of kids and their parents walking in the mud … instead of walking on a sidewalk.
Now, I think this is a shame and I hope you’ll agree. Sixty years with no sidewalk is long enough. Please consider adding Frank Street to the list of Sidewalk Projects for the benefit of our community. Thank you.

City Manager Ruffin Hall said Assessment Supervisor Jimmy Upchurch was present to answer questions. The petition process is the subject, so this request could be approached through regular sidewalk funds. If Council decides on that approach, staff suggests a public hearing be held.

Assessment Supervisor Upchurch stated Mr. Turner did not indicate there is existing sidewalk on the north side of Frank Street from Brookside Drive to Wake Forest Road. He learned from his conversations with the property owner through the petition process that she is reluctant to sign a petition because her thought is the existing sidewalk is already there and pedestrians choose not to use it. There was some thought that pedestrians might use the sidewalk if the crosswalk at the intersection was on the other corner; the crosswalk to the school is on the south side of the intersection instead of the north side where the existing sidewalk is located. He thinks the school system provides a crossing guard at that intersection. Mayor McFarlane asked if the crosswalk could be moved. Assessment Supervisor Upchurch replied he had talked to City Transportation staff. They looked at the intersection and indicated it is not conducive to relocate the crosswalk due to sight reasons. There is a lot of traffic coming over hill to the signalized intersection and the crosswalk’s location on the south side of the intersection provides an additional distance barrier.

Mr. Gaylord asked if the property owner understands she would not have to pay for sidewalk installation. Assessment Supervisor Upchurch replied the first petition was submitted under the City’s prior process where there was sidewalk assessment, and he is not sure whether that affected her decision not to sign. It was clearly indicated in the second petition that there would be no cost to her. The woman’s daughter spoke to Assessment Supervisor Upchurch on her mother’s behalf. The woman who owns the property is an elderly woman and the property is rental property with a quadraplex unit on the site. The owner has several concerns/reasons for not wanting a sidewalk on the south side of Frank Street. She believes the existing sidewalk could be utilized in a better fashion, especially if the existing crosswalk could be relocated. She is not interested in signing the petition. The City’s policy has always been that the City remains neutral in a petition so it does not sway a petition one way or the other. City-owned property is not counted in the requirement for sufficiency and the City does not sign to promote or block a petition. Since there is only one property owner, her signature is needed to validate the petition.

Mr. Odom asked if this involve a full-length sidewalk or just a section. Assessment Supervisor Upchurch responded it is a section. Ms. Harris’ property and the City’s property are bounded by Norris Street, Brookside Drive, and Frank Street. Parents park on Norris Street while dropping their children off for school in the morning and when waiting for them to get out of school in the afternoon. The children coming up Norris Street have to cross Frank Street to get to the north side to walk on the sidewalk. That is why they tend to walk on the dirt path on that side. If a sidewalk was installed, there would be a safe place for children to walk on both sides of the street for that block. There has not been a petition request to install sidewalk all the way down Frank Street on the south side in that block.
Mr. Gaylord noted this is a good example of the challenge caused by the high percentage requirement of property owner signatures under the City’s current policy. This is a public right-of-way being used by the public, and this property owner gets to decide whether the City proceeds with a public amenity being used by the public in a public right-of-way. He would like an analysis of the number of projects approved under the new process v. the old process.

City Attorney Tom McCormick reminded the Council members they can authorize sidewalk installation without a petition. This is a unique situation where the Council may want to exercise that authority. Mr. Gaylord said he was going to suggest that. Ms. Baldwin stated this seems an appropriate conversation to be having because it reflects what Council spent a long time discussing this afternoon relative to school safety, sight lines, and leapfrogging other projects. She drives by this area frequently and there are a lot of issues with sight lines and safety. This falls under the bigger issue Council discussed today, i.e., school safety and how Council moves request like this forward. She thinks it should be discussed with the item that was referred to the Law and Public Safety Committee earlier today. Ms. Baldwin offered to have an off-line discussion with Mr. Turner about the discussion that took place during the Council’s afternoon session. Mr. Gaylord asked that staff come back to Council with statistics regarding the adoption rates of sidewalk projects as he mentioned earlier. Mr. Weeks said he agrees with Mr. Gaylord’s comments.
Without objection, Mayor McFarlane referred this request to the Law and Public Safety Committee.

Mark Turner : Frank St. Sidewalk is finally here!

August 07, 2017 02:04 AM

Frank Street sidewalk is a reality!

At first I didn’t believe her. My friend Dana Deaton sent me a message and offhand at the end she asked me “have you seen the sidewalk at the end of Frank Street? It’s a miracle. Thanks for your work on that project.”

Wait, what? WHAT? You mean, the City of Raleigh finally put a sidewalk in on Frank Street? It did not matter that I had just driven 150 miles from the beach and had yet to unpack, I had to drop everything and take a look at this miraculous public works project.

It was over five years ago that I pulled out all the stops to convince the City to install this sidewalk. In 2012, I filled out the city’s petition, knocked on the requisite doors, and came within one vote of success. That one vote, though, was impossible to acquire, even though I went the extra effort to show what it would mean to the neighborhood kids and their parents.

I begged. I pleaded. I charmed. And when that didn’t work I may have even pestered a bit. A bit.

But I never gave up. I could not let this one vote deep-six a project that would be so beneficial to the community.

It was time to regroup, so now I went directly to council. One vote is preventing this project, I told them. I need your help to make this worthy project a reality.

I made my case and they agreed! My project was added to the list. I thought my sidewalk might appear with 2-3 years and went about my business. Here is the report to Council after the item returned from the Public Works committee:

SIDEWALK/CROSSWALK – FRANK STREET – PUBLIC HEARING AUTHORIZED
Chairperson Baldwin reported, by split vote, the Law and Public Safety Committee recommends waiving the 75% requirement for accepting a petition to include a sidewalk/crosswalk on Frank Street with the understanding the project would go through a public hearing process. On behalf of the Committee, Ms. Baldwin moved the recommendation be upheld. Her motion was seconded by Mr. Maiorano. Mr. Odom stated he thinks this is a real problem and we need to look at the entire policy. Mr. Crowder talked about the possibility of changing the policy to 50 plus 1. The motion as stated was put to a roll call vote which resulted in all members voting in the affirmative except Mr. Odom and Mr. Crowder who voted in the negative. The Mayor ruled the motion adopted on a 6-2 vote.

Later in the meeting under Council report, Mr. Crowder talked about reallocation of sidewalk, funding, etc. He asked that an item be placed on the next agenda as a special item to talk about the percentage a person needs to get for a sidewalk improvement petition. He stated 75% is not democratic. He feels we need to consider this and it was agreed to place it on the next agenda.

But even though Council approved it it still languished. There are more city sidewalk projects and not enough funding. I knew Frank St. would have to compete with the other projects. Still, with city staff saying it was one of the most worthy projects they had seen I thought it would move sooner. When it did not materialize after a few years, though, I supposed the city had somewhere put the brakes on it and I wondered if I would ever see it.

So today was a victory for me that was a long time coming.

Mark Turner : Read the Full Text of Bill Browder’s Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee – The Atlantic

August 04, 2017 11:45 PM

Bill Browder explains how Putin became the biggest crook in the world.

For a time, this naming and shaming campaign worked remarkably well and led to less corruption and increased share prices in the companies we invested in. Why? Because President Vladimir Putin and I shared the same set of enemies. When Putin was first elected in 2000, he found that the oligarchs had misappropriated much of the president’s power as well. They stole power from him while stealing money from my investors. In Russia, your enemy’s enemy is your friend, and even though I’ve never met Putin, he would often step into my battles with the oligarchs and crack down on them.

That all changed in July 2003, when Putin arrested Russia’s biggest oligarch and richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Putin grabbed Khodorkovsky off his private jet, took him back to Moscow, put him on trial, and allowed television cameras to film Khodorkovsky sitting in a cage right in the middle of the courtroom. That image was extremely powerful, because none of the other oligarchs wanted to be in the same position. After Khodorkovsky’s conviction, the other oligarchs went to Putin and asked him what they needed to do to avoid sitting in the same cage as Khodorkovsky. From what followed, it appeared that Putin’s answer was, “Fifty percent.” He wasn’t saying 50 percent for the Russian government or the presidential administration of Russia, but 50 percent for Vladimir Putin personally. From that moment on, Putin became the biggest oligarch in Russia and the richest man in the world, and my anti-corruption activities would no longer be tolerated.

Source: Read the Full Text of Bill Browder’s Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee – The Atlantic

Mark Turner : Somehow I went from a social media producer to a consumer

August 03, 2017 05:16 PM

A colleague will soon be working in Australia. It reminded me of my visit to the country eleven years ago, and how I crafted several blog posts to describe my trip. Such as this one:

We bought tickets for the jetcat ferry to take us to Manly, where we could walk to Bondi Beach. The ferry provided gorgeous views of the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and my personal favorite: the sailboats racing through the harbor! It was cruel to pass these beautiful sailboats as they raced across the water, all the time knowing I didn’t have time to join them! I can’t remember a harborside city I’ve visited that had more sailboats in the water.

Clinton was amused at my happy trigger finger. “Settle, nettle!” he chided me as my camera whipped around this way and that. With a grin he reported eleven shots taken of a passing sailboat.

“Cut me some slack,” I said in defense. “You gotta understand. Not only can I not believe I’m here, it’s been winter for me for the past few months. I’m soaking all of this up!”

And this one:

As the crowd milled around the front of the bar, I again pulled out my camera and took a shot of the festive crowd. As I snapped the picture, I heard a voice beside me.

“Why are you taking pictures?” came the not-exactly-friendly voice. Had I known what was to follow I would’ve answered “I’m shooting pictures for Girls Gone Wild In Full-Length Lab Coats!” Alas, I did not.

“Because you just don’t see this kind of thing in the States,” I answered, looking up. Next to me were too mall-security types. One had a walkie-talkie microphone on his shoulder. I looked for badges but didn’t see any.

“Why,” I asked, sizing up the situation. “Is there something wrong?”

“Are you with them?”

“Uh, no. I’m an American tourist,” I answered. “I just wanted to capture this on film.”

“You can’t take pictures here,” one of them motioned. “Its to protect their privacy.”

I considered the privacy of a crowd of rowdy people on a public street, but gamely played along.

Then the other one leaned in. “There are females over there,” he said. I almost expected him to do the Monty Python “wink-wink-nudge-nudge” bit.

Oh my god!! He was right! There really were females over there, outnumberd by guys two-to-one in the crowd thirty feet away from me. If you squinted really hard, you could even tell!

It’s a reminder that I used to write pretty well and that I don’t really do this much anymore. I blame the lure of social media, catching up with everyone else. Those short snippets of updates don’t seem like much on their own but they do add up. And perhaps I’ve become a bit more private lately.

At any rate, I miss crafting scenes out of words and will strive to do more of it. Writing is still fun.

Tarus Balog : 2017 Dev-Jam – Days 4 and 5

August 03, 2017 04:26 PM

Apologies to my three readers for the two-plus week delay in writing this up. I know you’ve been waiting for this post with more anticipation than Season 7 of Game of Thrones, but things have been crazy busy in OpenNMS-land of late.

As you know, this year’s Dev-Jam was held at Concordia University in Montréal. For most of the week we had access to a nice, large space which included air conditioners (the Grey Nuns building does not have central air), but due to a scheduling conflict we had to move out for the day on Thursday.

We moved to the basement cafeteria, which worked out rather well.

Dev-Jam: Grey Nuns Cafeteria

There were no A/C units but with the windows open there was a good cross breeze and it was comfortable. By the fourth day of Dev-Jam people are pretty much settled into a routine, so the day was mostly spent working to finish up various projects.

On Friday we moved back upstairs. The last full day of Dev-Jam is always bittersweet for me, as I love the “show and tell” part where people share what they have been working on, but I hate the fact that it is over for another year. We also forgot to bring the equipment we usually use for video capture (it was left back in Minnesota) so while the sessions were recorded, they haven’t been posted to Youtube yet.

Dev-Jam: Jesse White presents on Minion

Jesse kicked off the presentations talking about work he was doing to assign specific monitoring tasks to particular Minions.

Dev-Jam: Markus presents on Doughnut Graphs

Markus followed that with his work on adding “doughnut” graphs to the user interface. These resemble the graphs available with Compass™, our mobile app. That is supposed to be a green doughnut and not a grey one but the projector didn’t render it very well.

Dev-Jam: Christian presents on IFTTT

As OpenNMS wants to be the monitoring platform of choice for the Internet of Everything, Christian did some work on integrating it with “If This, Then That” (IFTTT)

Dev-Jam: Ronny presents on ASCIIBinder

Ronny is our “documentation czar” who led the effort to create the most awesome docs.opennms.org site. He explored using ASCIIBinder to manage our growing collection of documentation.

Dev-Jam: Seth presents on ReST

I work with some amazing people, and years ago they saw the potential in adding ReST functionality to OpenNMS. It was a great decision and makes OpenNMS extremely flexible when integrating with other systems. Seth presented some of the work he is doing to extend that feature.

Dev-Jam: Alejandro presents on Drools

OpenNMS has a couple of ways to correlate alarms. The basic method is using the “vacuumd” configuration and SQL, but a stronger (although more complex) method is to used the Drools business intelligence engine. Alejandro presented some work he is doing to move some of the legacy vacuumd tasks to Drools.

Dev-Jam: Jeff presents on CLA Assistant

Contributor License Agreements are a controversial topic in open source, but we use one for OpenNMS. The main reason is to ask any contributor to certify that they have the right to contribute the code. It may seem trivial, but not only does signing such an agreement make the person think about it, it does give the project some cover in case of a dispute.

We currently manage our own CLAs, but the website CLA Assistant aims to make it easier. Jeff presented on what he found out about the service, and we may be migrating to it in the future.

Dev-Jam: Antonio presents on Enhanced Linkd

And last but not least, Antonio talked about the work he is doing on Enhanced Linkd. This is the process that figures out Layer 2 connections between devices. It is non-trivial as vendors seems to relate this information in different ways, and we really appreciate the time he has put into that part of the project.

It was great seeing everyone again, and it was also cool to hold the conference in a new location (well, cool once it was over, it added a lot of stress to my life). I’m eager to start planning next year’s conference.

Warren Myers : i wrote a thing – paragraph, a simple plugin for wordpress

July 29, 2017 12:06 PM

Along with becoming more active on Mastodon,  I’ve been thinking more about concision recently.

One of the big selling points for Mastodon is that the character limit per post is 500 instead of Twitter’s 140.

And I was thinking, “what if there was a way to force you to write better by writing less / more compactly / more concisely?”

So after a couple weeks, I sat down and wrote an incredibly simple WordPress plugin. Introducing Paragraph.

Paragraph removes all formatting of a post or page, effectively turning it into a wall of text.

How does this help you?

If you see your writing as an uninterrupted wall of text – or a “paragraph” – you may notice that what you’re trying to say is getting lost in the noise.

It could also help force you to write more often but shorter each time.

Or maybe you’ll find it completely useless: and that’s OK, too.

Mark Turner : Media notes: Sanders says N&O told him ‘goodbye’ and that his ‘services were no longer needed’ – Raleigh & Company

July 24, 2017 01:28 AM


There’s turmoil at the News and Observer, with columnist Barry Saunders getting shown the door last week. I didn’t always agree with Barry but I enjoyed reading his columns. He was one of the outsized personalities that give the hometown paper real flavor and his loss is devastating to the N&O in my opinion. I’ve long said that there were two main reasons I kept subscribing to the N&O: Joe Miller’s Take It Outside column and Barry Saunders’ column. Now both are gone.

At a time when newspapers around the country are demonstrating their value in holding the powerful accountable, McClatchy seems to be going in the opposite direction. It’s sad, because it doesn’t have to be this way.

Some say the N&O is all about “generating clicks” nowadays, and reporters are being pushed to produce clickable content. As someone else said, reading social media is like reading the National Enquirer. Is this really the direction a media company wants to go?

I miss the days when the News and Observer was fully in the game. We need good journalism now more than ever.

As The McClatchy Company’s reinvention initiative continues to roll out at The News & Observer, changes are ongoing.Reporters met with editors in recent days to discuss how the initiative relates to their job and what changes may be coming for their roles. Others are finding out that they have lost their jobs.

The most prominent change, revealed in this story, is the departure after 24 years of columnist Barry Saunders, 59. According to multiple sources, the move wasn’t his decision. Saunders didn’t respond to a voicemail message.

But during an appearance Saturday night on WRAL-TV’s public-affairs program “On the Record,” he confirmed that he was forced out.

“I can tell you that that decision was made above my pay grade,” Saunders said on the show, which was taped Friday. “I was told that they were saying goodbye. Remember the old Manhattans song, ‘we called you here today for a bit of bad news’? I was just told my services were no longer needed there.”

Source: Media notes: Sanders says N&O told him ‘goodbye’ and that his ‘services were no longer needed’ – Raleigh & Company

Tarus Balog : 2017 Dev-Jam – Day 3

July 20, 2017 08:36 PM

By Day 3 we’ve settled into a rhythm, so I don’t have much to report from the actual OpenNMS side of things. Personally, I spent way too much time trying to figure out why Twitter is blocking links to this blog. It’s been ad-free for over a decade, yet Twitter thinks it is spam.

We believe it was because we were using dlvr.it to post things I write here to the OpenNMS Twitter feed and thus it got flagged as automation (which is, apparently, bad). I can understand it, but my complaint is that there is no clear process for getting it resolved. I think I’ve submitted the proper request and I’ve even tried to back-channel some help through friends of friends, but I think I’m just going to focus on posting on Google Plus from here on out, unless I need to complain. (grin)

So the gang worked while I bitched at Twitter. Oh, I do have a picture of a Canadian food product: ketchup flavored potato chips, modeled by Jeff.

Dev-Jam: Ketchup Potato Chips - photo credit Jessica

I can report on what we did in the evening. Usually Dev-Jam involves seeing a Major League Baseball game, specifically the Minnesota Twins. However, the only MLB team ever in Montréal, the Expos, played their last season here a year before Dev-Jam started (2004).

However, Montréal does host an international fireworks competition, so we got tickets. It’s held at La Ronde, which is an amusement park in the Six Flags chain. La Ronde is located on the northern end of St. Helen’s Island (Île Sainte-Hélène). While the park itself wasn’t very crowded, it turns out that Metallica fans, including our own Alejandro, were descending on the southern part of the island for a concert.

To get there from Grey Nuns, we took the Metro. The Metro station on St. Helen’s Island is near a museum called The Biosphere, complete with a geodesic dome created by Buckminster Fuller. Might be worth a return visit.

Dev-Jam: Montréal Biosphere - photo credit Mike

We took a free shuttle to get to the park, and our tickets also granted us admission. Out of habit I had taken my grandfather’s pocket knife, not realizing they would have metal detectors, but they had a cool system where I could drop it off and pick it up later (so I didn’t have to hide it in the bushes).

As soon as we got into the park, the sky opened up and poured on us. Some of us found shelter under building overhangs, some on rides and some just got wet. One of the rides was the carousel, where Ben, Seth and Cynthia seemed to have fun.

Dev-Jam: La Ronde Carousel - photo credit Mike

Luckily, the rain didn’t last too long. Since it was National Hot Dog Day, we decided to find some. As a fan of the show Silicon Valley, I suggested we try out the “Not Hotdog” app. Seems to work.

Dev-Jam: Not Hotdog - screenshots Mike

Afterward there was just enough time for a ride on Le Vampire.

Dev-Jam: Le Vampire Rollercoaster - photo credit Chris

Jessica is in the back of this shot, with Ronny and Jesse in the front.

Then it was time to see the show. There are three seating sections: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Gold had free beer but we had been told that the Silver section (Argent) had the best views. I wasn’t disappointed. And this being Quebec, there had to be clowns.

Dev-Jam: Fireworks Clowns - photo credit Ben

In section 307 we were on an elevated platform looking out over a lake. The fireworks were launched from the other side of the lake and synchronized with music. As this is an international competition, the presenter for our show was Germany. They played the German national anthem and introduced the performers.

Dev-Jam: Fireworks Introductions - photo credit Ben

The show … it was amazing.

And when I say it was amazing, I mean it was like I had never seen fireworks before, and I’ve seen them at places like EPCOT at Disney World. Since we were pretty close to the launch site, it was like they took up your whole field of vision. Plus, I never knew there were so many different types. They used the whole area, from high overhead down to the lake itself (at one point in time it was if the water was ablaze in green fire). Shells would explode overhead in a burst of color, followed by a second color and when those faded there would be a ring left that slowly faded away.

Dev-Jam: Fireworks Above - photo credit Ben

Sometimes the sky would just be a fountain of gold, and at other times the action would be at ground level. At times I felt they were telling a story. Not exactly one I understood, such as the red fountain thingies seem to be fighting the shooty yellow thingies, but it still evoked an emotional response.

Dev-Jam: Fireworks Down Low - photo credit Ben

The emotional high point for me was when they played Pachelbel’s Canon. I know it is cliché but the “Canon in D” is one of the most beautiful things ever made, and to see it illustrated in fire was simply breathtaking.

Speaking of things to take your breath away, soon after the show started the air was filled with smoke and ash from the fireworks. While it really didn’t detract from the show, people with health issues related to breathing should think carefully about attending.

Dev-Jam: The Bridge at Night - photo credit Ben

The show was 30 minutes long, and by the time we headed out to leave so did 40,000 Metallica fans. This was further complicated by the bridge to the island being closed so people could watch the fireworks. Rather than waiting for buses to arrive once the bridge was reopened, we decided to walk. There was a great view from the top, and the bridge itself was lit in green.

Dev-Jam: View from Bridge - photo credit Ben

We got back to the dorm around midnight, having had a great time. I hope I get a chance to see the fireworks show again, perhaps at next year’s Dev-Jam.

Tarus Balog : 2017 Dev-Jam – Day 2

July 19, 2017 03:50 PM

Dev-Jam was fully underway by Tuesday morning, starting with another Canadian tradition, Tim Hortons.

Dev-Jam: Tim Hortons Box

Lots of great discussions were going on. Ronny demonstrated Project Atlas, more formally known as the GraphML Topology Provider. This allows you to use GraphML to create topologies within the OpenNMS user interface.

Dev-Jam: Ronny Doing a Demo of Atlas

There is also a topology.xml file on the OpenNMS Forge github repository that can be used as an example.

Jesse gave us a demonstration of Project Helm. This is a Grafana plugin that let’s you combine fault and performance data from multiple instances of OpenNMS on one dashboard.

Dev-Jam: Jesse Doing a Demo of Helm

While it is just in alpha, the goal is to let users manage alarms directly from the dashboard, including acknowledging them, adding “sticky” and journal notes, etc. We have been working for years now on making a robust ReST interface for OpenNMS and it is really paying off by allowing us to create features like this. Since all of the communication between Grafana and the OpenNMS system (or systems) is via ReST, there is no need to store and manage data locally.

Dev-Jam: Helm Screenshot

If you want to play with Helm, you should be running the latest Horizon 21 snapshot.

We have a person named Roberto attending Dev-Jam for the first time and I was eager to find out why he was interested in OpenNMS, so I spent some time talking with him. His company deploys underwater fiber-optic cable. Their customers used to be large telecommunications providers, but now they deal mainly with very large Internet companies, and those companies are requesting a higher level of monitoring information. It was one of those “very large Internet companies” that suggested they use OpenNMS, and it was interesting to learn about the challenges of running and managing undersea fiber.

Only a small part of the cable contains the fiber as most of it consists of a thick protective sleeve. The sleeve has to be thicker near shore since there is a greater chance of damage from things like ships’ anchors. Also, electrical current flows through the sleeve which attracts sharks, who then proceed to bite the cable. Here’s a video:

I’m eager to see how they end up using OpenNMS.

As I mentioned before, we are staying in the Grey Nuns Residence at Concordia University. According to Wikipedia there is a crypt in the basement where nearly 300 bodies are buried, most of them nuns who had lived at the Grey Nuns Motherhouse. It is off limits to visit, but I wanted to see if I could at least find the entrance.

Our conference is being held in a large room called E104, and most of the rooms of the people attending are also on the east side of the residence. My room, however, is on the west side and to get there I have to walk about 200 meters (it is a big place). You go out of E104, down to the basement and along a very long corridor before heading up several floors.

Along this corridor you will see a nondescript door,

Dev-Jam: Door to Grey Nuns Crypt

and if you peek through the little round window you can see into the crypt.

Dev-Jam: Image of Grey Nuns Crypt

The graves are marked with plain wooden crosses, and the one nearest the door died in 1885, although there are certain to be much older graves in the crypt. Apparently there was a project to move the bodies out of Grey Nuns but the government balked due to the fact that some of the people buried there died of infectious diseases (the history of the Grey Nuns [pdf] confirms that several nuns died of the Spanish Flu of 1918).

It is a pretty solemn place and in stark contrast to the rest of the dormitory.

Speaking of things definitely not solemn, for dinner we all headed to a Japanese restaurant nearby called Kinka Izakaya. Izakaya means a pub, and the menu consists of lots of small plates, kind of like Japanese tapas.

Dev-Jam: Dinner at Kinka Izakaya

The place met a number of criteria: good food, can seat 24 people and close to the dorm. We also had to try a “Sake Bomb” in which a small amount of sake is suspended over a glass of beer. You then drop the sake into the beer and drink. Yes, there is video:

Good times.

Tarus Balog : 2017 Dev-Jam – Day 1

July 18, 2017 04:00 PM

Dev-Jam is an unstructured conference. Our goal is to simply put a bunch of incredibly smart people in a room and see what happens. That said, we do officially start and end the conference. On Monday morning we get together to make introductions and to talk about projects that we want to pursue during the week. This allows people with similar interests to work together if they want. On Friday we have presentations on what got accomplished.

Dev-Jam: People Around a Table

I usually start off the week, and then turn it over to Jesse White (our CTO and GM of The OpenNMS Group Canada).

Dev-Jam: Jesse White in an MC Frontalot shirt

I thought it was cool that he was wearing an MC Frontalot T-shirt as we commissioned him to produce a free software song that we released on Independence Day (July 4th).

Another cool thing about OpenNMS is that we try to work as transparently as possible. While a lot of projects allow public access to their git repository, I believe OpenNMS is the only one that has a repository for every branch that automatically builds packages as commits are made (the list can be found at http://yum.opennms.org/repofiles/ but be patient as there are so many it can take a minute or so to load). We also publish a weekly newsletter called “This Week in OpenNMS” (or TWiO). This week Ben posted some ideas bouncing around this year’s Dev-Jam which include:

  • updating packaging (yum/Debian) infrastructure including better support of upstream PostgreSQL packages
  • improved wifi link support in Enlinkd and topology
  • improving the opennms.com and opennms.org web sites
  • simplifying collection of OCAs
  • integrating DigitalOcean and Xen requisition tools
  • Spark chat integration
  • ReST infrastructure improvements
  • discussing how to improve Docker image generation
  • grafana dashboard for UPS data
  • northbound interfaces for Drools (scriptd-like interface for alarms)
  • structured data monitor (using the XML collector infrastructure)
  • Cisco ACI integration
  • OSGi deployment of ReST services
  • donut charts on the front page
  • rewrite the node list page
  • migrate documentation to AsciiBinder
  • trigger IFTTT events when alarms change
  • porting the Go version of the minion to a new platform

Dev-Jam: Laptop and Can of Cheerwine

I should note that Ben is also a fan of that North Carolina export, Cheerwine.

Dev-Jam: People Meeting to Discuss the Website

Jessica, our graphic designer, pulled together a meeting to discuss our web presence. We recently revamped the opennms.com website and we are looking to determine improvements needed for the opennms.org website.

Speaking of Jessica, she also designed our Dev-Jam shirts.

Dev-Jam: Front of Dev-Jam Shirt

The front is meant to represent summer camp.

Dev-Jam: Back of Dev-Jam Shirt

The top symbol is for Montréal, the bottom is Ulf the OpenNMS mascot, the tag to the left represents coding and the right image is for fireworks (we are attending the competition on Wednesday).

It’s not all work. Recently I read about a restaurant very close to Concordia (where we are holding the conference) that offered free meals to people who need them. I wanted to support that, so for lunch a group of us went to Marché Ferdous, which had been written up on sites such as CNN, the BBC and Huffington Post.

Dev-Jam: Marché Ferdous Entrance

It’s a small shop a couple of blocks away from our dorm, and I got the falafel platter.

Dev-Jam: Marché Ferdous Falafel Platter

My meal was about CAD$10 so I paid with a $20 bill and told them to keep the change. Always gotta pay it forward, yo. (grin)

The falafel was just okay (I’m spoiled as I get to eat Angie’s falafel on a regular basis – some of the best falafel on the planet and I should know as I’ve had it pretty much all over the planet) but the sides were excellent. Everyone else got meat and really enjoyed it.

After lunch we took a side trip to a SAQ store to check out the spirit selection. Later that evening there was a tasting …

Dev-Jam: Monday Whiskey Selection

… which probably had something to do with the decision to screen Strange Brew, eh?

Dev-Jam: Strange Brew on Screen

Tarus Balog : 2017 Dev-Jam – Day 0

July 18, 2017 01:46 AM

♬ It’s the most wonderful time of the year ♬

It’s hard for me to believe that we are getting ready for our twelfth annual OpenNMS developers conference, Dev-Jam.

Dev-Jam: Welcome to Montreal Sign

This year we changed venues from our normal spot at Yudof Hall at the University of Minnesota to Concordia University in Montréal, Quebec, Canada. We have to plan these things out months in advance, and back in January there was talk of greatly increasing the effort required to enter the United States, especially for visitors from other countries, requiring them to, among other things, reveal social media passwords. Since a large portion of people attending Dev-Jam come from outside the US, we thought it prudent to move the conference. Plus, The OpenNMS Group now has a corporation in Canada, so it also seemed to be a nice way to mark that development.

After searching around for a place to hold the event, we settled on the Grey Nuns Residence, a large dormitory. While the individual rooms are not as nice as Yudof, the conference space is really large and should work out well. Plus, Grey Nuns is considered one of the most haunted places in Montréal, although so far no one has reported anything unusual.

We have over 20 people attending this year, which is down a little bit from normal. We have several people from Minneapolis who attend, and by moving it to Canada it became difficult for them to make it. In an ironic twist our friend Muthu from India was unable to get his visa to Canada approved in time to make the conference. But outside of some weather delays everyone else made it here safely.

So did the Cheerwine. It has become a Dev-Jam tradition for me to bring the North Carolina made cherry-flavored soda to share with everyone, and sometimes it gets a little, soggy, in transit. All 48 cans made it to Montréal, although it won’t last all that long.

There is a bit of adjustment to being in Quebec. I get to practice my (poor) French, and I love the fact that it is like everything has subtitles (legally, English should appear under the French in no more than half the size). Plus we’re having to get used to things distinctly Canadian such as Thrills chewing gum. Flavored with rosewater, the taste has been compared to soap, a fact that is proudly displayed on the box.

Dev-Jam: Thrills Gum Box

Another Montréal tradition is poutine. This is a dish of thin french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.

Dev-Jam: Poutine

The one I tried was a variation that included chicken and a whiskey BBQ sauce. This was from a restaurant chain called St-Hubert which specializes in chicken (seriously, the set menu offered chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken, ribs, chicken, chicken, and, you guessed it, chicken). It was good, and it was nice to find a place to serve 20+ people comfortably.

Dev-Jam: Dinner at St. Hubert

While change can be challenging, I think this is going to be a great week. Outside of David and myself, both Mike and Craig have made all twelve Dev-Jams, and DJ has made all but one. One of my goals with OpenNMS is to built something that lasts, and it is nice to have traditions that have continued for this long.

Mark Turner : Life before the Taliban: Photos show Afghanistan before it plunged into hell | Daily Mail Online

July 18, 2017 12:49 AM

These fascinating photographs from Afghanistan in the 1960s are a far cry from the war-torn images in the news today. The eye-opening collection was captured by university professor Dr Bill Podlich from Arizona, who swapped life in America to travel to Kabul with his wife, Margaret, and two teenage daughters, Jan and Peg. Using his Kodachrome film, his images show a peaceful Afghanistan making strides towards a more liberal and Westernised lifestyle – a stark contrast to harrowing sights seen during the Taliban regime.

Source: Life before the Taliban: Photos show Afghanistan before it plunged into hell | Daily Mail Online

Mark Turner : Chasin’ Jesus: Guns, guns, guns

July 18, 2017 12:48 AM

Interesting commentary on guns.

Reading about guns every day, and — of course — seeing them on TV and in films as instruments of redemption. The perennially armed cops in the US are already heading to fatal shootings in excess of one thousand before the end of 2017; and there is the development of the Redneck Revolutionary movement — supposedly antifascist — in which ostensibly antiracist white people remain rooted in, and celebrate, gun culture. “Racism no – Guns yes” is their mantra apparently.

American culture is Baudrillard on steroids and acid. The simulacra has taken over as we withdraw into our electronic life-support and hallucination dens. We come to believe that what we read and see in audiovisual media is true, in part because we have eschewed real experience as too troublesome or risky. We need a reality check on guns.

Source: Chasin’ Jesus: Guns, guns, guns

Mark Turner : 43 stunned reactions to Donald Trump Jr.’s damning emails

July 14, 2017 12:16 PM

My favorite is this one from Sal Gentile: “Donald Trump Jr. is like a Scooby Doo villain who wears a mask of his own face.”

On Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr. released a June 2016 email chain with Rob Goldstone in which the pair set up a meeting between Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer. While the decision to publish the chain was apparently a hasty attempt to get ahead of a damning New York Times story that detailed the emails, many observers were left stunned that the president’s son published the most concrete evidence yet of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia’s government.

In the email exchanges, Goldstone explicitly stated the existence of “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful” to Trump. “This is obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” Goldstone wrote.

“If it’s what you say I love it,” Trump Jr. responded.

Source: 43 stunned reactions to Donald Trump Jr.’s damning emails

Mark Turner : Trump’s Russian Laundromat | New Republic

July 13, 2017 08:22 PM

This story and the links in it offer a very detailed look at Trump’s troubling connections to Russian organized crime.

In 1984, a Russian émigré named David Bogatin went shopping for apartments in New York City. The 38-year-old had arrived in America seven years before, with just $3 in his pocket. But for a former pilot in the Soviet Army—his specialty had been shooting down Americans over North Vietnam—he had clearly done quite well for himself. Bogatin wasn’t hunting for a place in Brighton Beach, the Brooklyn enclave known as “Little Odessa” for its large population of immigrants from the Soviet Union. Instead, he was fixated on the glitziest apartment building on Fifth Avenue, a gaudy, 58-story edifice with gold-plated fixtures and a pink-marble atrium: Trump Tower.

A monument to celebrity and conspicuous consumption, the tower was home to the likes of Johnny Carson, Steven Spielberg, and Sophia Loren. Its brash, 38-year-old developer was something of a tabloid celebrity himself. Donald Trump was just coming into his own as a serious player in Manhattan real estate, and Trump Tower was the crown jewel of his growing empire. From the day it opened, the building was a hit—all but a few dozen of its 263 units had sold in the first few months. But Bogatin wasn’t deterred by the limited availability or the sky-high prices. The Russian plunked down $6 million to buy not one or two, but five luxury condos.

Source: Trump’s Russian Laundromat | New Republic

Mark Turner : Q&A: Garry Kasparov on the press and propaganda in Trump’s America – Columbia Journalism Review

July 12, 2017 07:29 PM

Insightful commentary on Trump and the press from Russian democracy activist and chess legend Garry Kasparov.

while all traditional politicians understand the importance of messaging and perception, they realize that avoiding substantive questions only leads to more of them. During the campaign, and during his presidency, Trump has attempted—with considerable success—to transcend that norm, as with so many others. He responds instead with counterattacks and bold statements and accusations, knowing they will get more attention than subsequent fact-checks. It’s one of many ways that Americans are learning from Trump that much of their democracy was run on the honor system, on agreed standards, not laws, and now there’s someone who isn’t going to play by those rules.

Source: Q&A: Garry Kasparov on the press and propaganda in Trump’s America – Columbia Journalism Review

Tarus Balog : Freedom Feud

July 10, 2017 06:25 PM

My official title at OpenNMS is CEO, but I’ve worn several hats in the last 12+ years, including accountant, receptionist, HR manager and janitor. Now I get to add record producer to the list.

I guess it all started back in 2012. OpenNMS was doing pretty well and I wanted us to give a little something back to the community. As a fan of MC Frontalot I came across his FAQ and found out that you could actually book him for things like conferences, kids parties, bar mitzvahs and the like. We were sponsoring the Ohio Linuxfest (by the way, I’m a keynote speaker there this year along with the ever amazing Karen Sandler) and I decided to see if I could book him to play a show. Turns out he is pretty affordable (for contrast, Henry Rollins starts out at $10,000 per event, which isn’t unreasonable but doesn’t count as affordable for us just yet). I booked him to play a solo gig and finally got to meet the man. He did a great show, everyone seemed to enjoy it, and we became friends of a sort.

While Front is very much a nerd, he had not had much exposure to free software. A lot of musicians rely on Windows-based software to create their music (Front mainly uses Reaper and Professor Kliq is such an Ableton fan he has their logo tattooed on his wrists) and thus they aren’t used to using open source. The OLF event went so well I hired him a few more times, and I think it was at SCaLE when I suggested he write a free software song. His reply was, well, why don’t you commission one.

Front is talent for hire. He did a couple of tracks for New Relic, “Nerd Life” and “Small Data“, and while we don’t have anywhere near the budget of that company we felt that free software deserved to be examined under his lyrical microscope, so we started the process.

Note that this was a couple of years ago, back in 2015, so it took awhile. Front and I had a number of conversations about free software and I started him on his education. I pointed him to the works of Richard Stallman and Eric S. Raymond (notably The Cathedral and the Bazaar), as well as Lawrence Lessig and organizations such as the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). We also talked about the classic “free as in beer” vs. “free as in freedom” confusion that arises out of the term “free software”, which ended up forming the basis of the song.

Later in 2015 I wanted to do something special for the OSCON show in Portland. This time I decided to hire Front along with his band. In the previous shows he’d done for us it was him and “DJ CPU” providing the music, and while those were great shows I was unprepared for the “live band” experience. It took it to another level. During that show Front performed a bit of the song, but it wasn’t until last year’s All Things Open that the whole song was played for the first time (again with the band, since, awesome).

With the song almost complete we now how to figure out how to present it to the world. I wanted a video, so I decided to turn to animator Chad Essley. Chad had done the video for “Shudders” off of Question Bedtime and we had gotten to know each other through a fund raising promotion he did for the EFF where we sponsored adding OpenNMS references to that video. I felt he could do a good job with it, since he is both talented and he gets the subject matter.

Now when I said “record producer” above I basically meant I signed the checks, but it was cool watching artists such as Front and Chad work out even small details when it came to the video. Animation can take a really long time, so we debated on combining it with some live action, etc., to both speed up the process and reduce the cost. It was at this point that I was introduced to the concept of a “lyric video”.

Ed Sheeran had just come out with a new song, and in order to promote it as quickly as possible he released a video that pretty much consisted of just the song’s lyrics. While at this point in our process we had a portion of the animation completed, I thought that adding the lyrics to it would both speed things up as well as improve the experience, as Front’s rhymes on this track are some of the tightest he’s ever written. The end result is both a video that is fun to watch as well as one that gets the message across in an entertaining manner.

It seems to have been well received, and as I write this it has had over 10,000 views and mostly positive comments, and we got a shout out on Boing Boing.

Speaking of lyrics, the phrase that has gotten the most comments is the line “Pull down capitalism till it’s rubble and chain”. When asked about it, Front commented:

I thought it was funny to equate Free Software with that dirty commie yearning for collectivized well-being and shared responsibility! Those two realms of thought are not directly in line with each other as far as I can tell. But I imagined the kind of business dude who is reflexively distrustful of free software, and I pictured him saying, “you mean… LIKE COMMUNISM??” Thought I’d give him a little dig at the end there.

I can’t remember if I shared my story with Front when we were first talking about creating this song, but when I got started with OpenNMS I was called a communist a number of times on various message boards. It confused me, since it came mainly from people who made their living as network management consultants. I was thinking, hey, here is a tool that lets you provide better solutions for your customers while showcasing your unique talents via your ability to deliver them, and that’s communism? Sounds like good business to me. But there is still that element of “anti-capitalism” associated in free software (I blame the phrase “so you can help your neighbor” in the Free Software Definition, but that’s just me).

The whole process was a lot more work than I thought it would be, but I’m very pleased with the result. Check out the video as there are a lot of in-jokes and Easter eggs, and I’ve been told that “floppy head Lawrence Lessig” was met with approval by the man himself.

Oh, in the spirit of free software, Front has published the song under the Creative Commons (CC BY-SA) license, and I am hoping to see a few cool remixes come out of this. I’ve reached out to both Professor Kliq and Raccoon Fink and if they find time to play with it, I’ll be sure to let you know (and let me know if you find some out there). Front is working on a new album tentatively entitled The Internet Sucks so maybe this track will make the cut.

Warren Myers : update: keeping your let’s encrypt certs up-to-date

July 10, 2017 04:57 PM

Last year I posted a simple script for keeping your Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates current.

In conjunction with my last post sharing the “best” SSL configs you can use with Apache on CentOS, here is the current state of the cron’d renewal script I use.

systemctl stop httpd.service
systemctl stop postfix
~/letsencrypt/letsencrypt-auto -t -n --agree-tos --keep --expand --standalone certonly --rsa-key-size 4096 -m user@domain.tld -d domain.tld
# you can append more [sub]domains to a single cert with additional `-d` directives ([-d otherdomain.tld [-d sub.domain.tld...]])
#...repeat for every domain / domain group
systemctl start httpd.service
systemctl start postfix

I have this script running @weekly in cron. You should be able to get away with doing it only every month or two .. but I like to err on the side of caution.

I’m stopping and starting Postfix in addition to httpd (Apache on my system) for only two reasons: first, I am using some of the LE-issued certs in conjunction with my Postfix install; second, because I don’t know if Dovecot and my webmail system need to make sure Postfix is restarted if underlying certs change.

Mark Turner : When Will Climate Change Make the Earth Too Hot For Humans?

July 10, 2017 12:26 PM

Terrifying commentary on climate change.

It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas — and the cities they will drown — have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.

Indeed, absent a significant adjustment to how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.

Source: When Will Climate Change Make the Earth Too Hot For Humans?

Warren Myers : tech news channel on telegram

July 09, 2017 03:18 AM

I have started a Tech News channel on Telegram.

Follow it at @datente.

Warren Myers : ssl configuration for apache 2.4 on centos 7 with let’s encrypt

July 07, 2017 03:36 PM

In follow-up to previous posts I’ve had about SSL (specifically with Let’s Encrypt), here is the set of SSL configurations I use with all my sites. These, if used correctly, should score you an “A+” with no warnings from ssllabs.com. Note: I have an improved entropy package installed (twuewand). This is adapted from the Mozilla config generator with specific options added for individual sites and/or to match Let’s Encrypt’s recommendations.

Please note: you will need to modify the config files to represent your own domains, if you choose to use these as models.

[/etc/httpd/conf.d/defaults.conf]

#SSL options for all sites
Listen 443
SSLPassPhraseDialog  builtin
SSLSessionCache         shmcb:/var/cache/mod_ssl/scache(512000)
SSLSessionCacheTimeout  300
Mutex sysvsem default
SSLRandomSeed startup builtin
SSLRandomSeed startup file:/dev/urandom  1024
# requires twuewand to be installed
SSLRandomSeed startup exec:/bin/twuewand 64
SSLRandomSeed connect builtin
SSLRandomSeed connect file:/dev/urandom 1024
SSLCryptoDevice builtin
# the SSLSessionTickets directive should work - but on Apache 2.4.6-45, it does not
#SSLSessionTickets       off
SSLCompression          off
SSLHonorCipherOrder	on
# there may be an unusual use case for enabling TLS v1.1 or 1 - but I don't know what that would be
SSLProtocol all -SSLv2 -SSLv3 -TLSv1 -TLSv1.1
SSLCipherSuite ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-CHACHA20-POLY1305:ECDHE-RSA-CHACHA20-POLY1305:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256
SSLOptions +StrictRequire
SSLUseStapling on
SSLStaplingResponderTimeout 5
SSLStaplingReturnResponderErrors off
SSLStaplingCache        shmcb:/var/run/ocsp(128000)

#all unknown requests get domain.tld (over http)
<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot /var/html
    ServerName domain.tld
    ServerAlias domain.tld *.domain.tld
    ErrorLog logs/domain-error_log
    CustomLog logs/domain-access_log combined
    ServerAdmin user@domain.tld
    <Directory "/var/html">
         Options All +Indexes +FollowSymLinks
         AllowOverride All
         Order allow,deny
         Allow from all
    </Directory>
</VirtualHost>

SetOutputFilter DEFLATE
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/plain text/xml text/javascript text/css text/php

[/etc/httpd/conf.d/z-[sub-]domain-tld.conf]

<Virtualhost *:80>
    ServerName domain.tld
# could use * instead of www if you don't use subdomains for anything special/separate
    ServerAlias domain.tld www.domain.tld
    Redirect permanent / https://domain.tld/
</VirtualHost>

<VirtualHost *:443>
    SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/domain.tld/cert.pem
    SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/domain.tld/privkey.pem
# if you put "fullchain.pem" here, you will get an error from ssllabs
    SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/domain.tld/chain.pem
    DocumentRoot /var/www/domain
    ServerName domain.tld
    ErrorLog logs/domain-error_log
    CustomLog logs/domain-access_log \
          "%t %h %{SSL_PROTOCOL}x %{SSL_CIPHER}x \"%r\" %b"
    ServerAdmin user@domain.tld

# could put this in defaults.conf - I prefer it in each site config
    SSLEngine on

<Files ~ "\.(cgi|shtml|phtml|php3?)$">
    SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
</files>
<Directory "/var/www/cgi-bin">
    SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
</Directory>

SetEnvIf User-Agent ".*MSIE.*" \
         nokeepalive ssl-unclean-shutdown \
         downgrade-1.0 force-response-1.0

    <Directory "/var/www/domain">
         Options All +Indexes +FollowSymLinks
         AllowOverride All
         Order allow,deny
         Allow from all
    </Directory>

</VirtualHost>

I use the z....conf formatting to ensure all site-specific configs are loaded after everything else. That conveniently breaks every site into its own config file, too.

The config file for a non-https site is much simpler:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot /var/www/domain
    ServerName domain.tld
    ServerAlias domain.tld *.domain.tld
    ErrorLog logs/domain-error_log
    CustomLog logs/domain-access_log combined
    ServerAdmin user@domain.tld
    <Directory "/var/www/domain">
         Options All +Indexes +FollowSymLinks
         AllowOverride All
         Order allow,deny
         Allow from all
    </Directory>
</VirtualHost>

If you’re running something like Nextcloud, you may want to turn on Header always set Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=15552000; includeSubDomains" in the <VirtualHost&gt directive for the site. I haven’t decided yet if I should put this in every SSL-enabled site’s configs or not.

Tarus Balog : Rhythmbox: Repeat One Song

July 06, 2017 08:00 PM

I use Linux Mint as my default desktop environment. One of the reasons I started using it was that the default applications for many functions were the default applications I would choose if I were making a distro.

Their choice for music player used to be Banshee. I really liked Banshee – it reminded me of the early versions of iTunes before that application became too complex. Unfortunately, Banshee is no longer under active development, and the last release was back in 2014.

As the underlying libraries have changed and matured, Banshee has not kept up. For example, if I plugged in my handy Banshee would hang if the MTP mount was being accessed elsewhere. Mint recently decided to switch to Rhythmbox, and I’ve finally made the decision to start using it.

One of the things I’ve learned about open source is to be patient learning a new app. The reason there are often numerous open source solutions for various tasks is that people do things differently, and it can take awhile to understand how a particular application is designed to work. I’ve found that many features I thought were lacking in Rhythmbox were there, just implemented differently than I expected. If the feature is, indeed, missing, you can often add it with a plugin.

I’ve recently been exposed to the music of Imogene Heap, starting with her album Sparks. I really like the sixth track “Lifeline” and I wanted to listen to it a couple of times on repeat. There is a repeat button on the menu, so I clicked it, but that just repeats the playlist. In other apps you can click that icon multiple times and it will rotate through various options: i.e. repeat playlist, repeat song, etc. Not so with Rhythmbox.

A quick search and I found a plugin hosted on Github to add this feature. I downloaded the repository, unzipped the file, and then copied it to ~/.local/share/rhythmbox/plugins/. I then went to Tools -> Plugins and enabled “Repeat One Song” (no restart of the app needed). Now, under the Edit menu, I have the option to repeat the current song.

Repeat One Song Screenshot

Not quite as nice or intuitive as clicking on a button, but it works.

While I see this as a great example of the awesomeness of open source, it also brought out the downside of free software. There was this comment:

This should not be a plugin.. It should be there by default if rhythmbox wants to call itself a music player.

Seriously? A bunch of people write a complex piece of software, give it away for free, build in a way to extend it, but no, that’s not enough. This guy isn’t satisfied that these folks didn’t cater to his every need, even though edumucelli has gone to the trouble to add it.

Free software isn’t a free solution, and I just wanted to post this to remind people, including myself, that often it takes an investment of time to really get to understand how an application works.

In open source, often our first goal is to make something that works before we make something that is easy to use. I’m not proud of this, but quite frequently the motivation behind the developers of free software is to solve a problem important to them and it just happens to be useful to others. And even companies that focus heavily on UI and try to build intuitive interfaces can get it wrong. I’ve had to work with recent versions of iTunes and find it rather difficult to do simple things, although I’m certain that if I used it more I would learn what I needed to do, just like I have with Rhythmbox.

Which I’ve grown to like. It works well with my mobile device and I’m eager to watch it improve even more in the future.

Mark Turner : At the Crossroads

July 06, 2017 12:14 PM

Dark money headquarters


I couldn’t end another visit to Warrenton without visiting the belly of the beast. On the first floor of this nondescript office building, tucked behind a small bank on a quiet Warrenton street, is the law firm of Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky. This is where billionaires go to buy elections. Hundreds of millions of dollars in dark money have passed through these doors on their way to skewing elections towards conservative candidates across the nation.

Forty-Five N. Hill Drive is the legal address of Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS PAC, American Crossroads, and several other right-leaning advocacy groups. Crossroads GPS, if you’ll recall, contributed nearly 99 percent of the funding to Dallas Woodhouse’s CarolinaRising group, which in turn spent 97 percent of its money to get Thom Tillis elected to the Senate. This appears to play fast and loose with IRS and election laws though as of yet regulators have taken no action. HVJT was also instrumental in filing voter challenges during McCrory’s failed reelection attempt. Several voters falsely accused of fraud have filed suit against a McCrory campaign official.

I plan to learn more about HVJT and the ways of bleeding edge campaign finance and law because what’s being done here undermines democracy.

Mark Turner : Mike “Bo” Boran

July 05, 2017 06:12 PM

Mike “Bo” Boran

Speaking of Herndon High School, last month one of my favorite teachers at Herndon, Mike “Bo” Boran, passed away. Bo was my Government teacher in senior year and a great listener to his students. Before he went into teaching, Bo was an up-and-coming musician whose former bandmates went on to form The Mamas and the Papas. I was always blown away by this.

The advent of Facebook gave me the ability to reconnect with Bo and I enjoyed hearing what was on his mind. He still remembered me after all these years. He was particularly impressed that my great uncle was Fred Turner, of Gideon v. Wainwright fame.

Bo inspired me and so many other students who were lucky to be in his class. He made it easier for me to survive high school and taught me to have a clear view of what was really going on in government. I am grateful to have known him.

Bo in The Smoothies, upper left, performing as Michael Rand

Mark Turner : Fourth of July with the in-laws

July 05, 2017 05:59 PM

I spent the long Fourth of July weekend with the family and in-laws in Virginia. We spent the weekend playing games (including ping pong), cycling town the W&OD bike path into DC, shooting fireworks, and playing card games (Spoons). Oh, and we watched as Travis created a few videos: one for his grandparents’ wedding anniversary and another just for fun. It was a hot weekend but sure was fun.

On the biking trip to DC, I bailed out early due to an irritated eye. After getting a Doc-in-a-Box to tell me it was okay, I wandered around my old Holly Knoll neighborhood snapping pictures. Hard to believe it was 30 years ago that I lived there.

The Herndon High School Class of 1987’s 30-year reunion is this October so we’ll soon be back in town.

Mark Turner : President Trump is out of his mind

July 05, 2017 12:12 PM


Yesterday, President Donald Trump lost his way from the stairs of Air Force One to the limo parked directly in front of him. Fox News captured the video of him confusedly walking away from the limo.

I don’t know how you can explain how this is the behavior of a sound mind. He is either high as a kite, drunk, demented, or suffering under some other frighteningly-incapacitating disease. The limo is as big as a bus. It’s RIGHT THERE. Why in the world would you take a right turn?

Congressional Republicans need to answer for this. It’s time to invoke the 25th Amendment.

Mark Turner : Why I don’t like Nextdoor, part 4,671

July 05, 2017 11:20 AM

A friend of mine recently posted this observation about NextDoor:

Not sure why I still use Nextdoor. Someone asked about the round reflective stickers you sometimes see on mailboxes. From the paper deliver, etc. A response:

I’ve been hearing about something like that happening in other areas where homes that have dogs are targeted to be stolen, the. re-sold for sparing with fighting dogs & for medical research.

#myneighborsareidiots

If you’re only seeing the world through the lens of paranoid neighborhood Nextdoor posts you’re liable to freak out at everything. The Internet and television’s greatest blessing – bringing news from far away – is also its curse. The obscure crime that happened once and thousands of miles away is brought to your doorstep. The folks across the street could be terrorists. Dead people really can come back to life as zombies and eat your brain.

Well, something has clearly eaten these people’s brains. I keep hoping people will take a deep breath and realize, as a great president once proclaimed, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Warren Myers : raas – the failure of “-as-a-service” in the physical world

June 26, 2017 05:31 PM

Roads are empty something like 90% of the time.

8% of the time, they’re rightly-sized. 1.5% of time, they’re a little tight

1.5% of time, they’re a little tight.But that .5%? Holy CRAP

But that .5%? Holy CRAP are they ever too small when they’re too small.

Imagine if the “*-as-a-Service” model could be applied to roads: expand their capacity on-demand as use requires. It works for businesses expanding and contracting their technical needs (a la cloud computing).

It [could] work for getting fancy dentures when you need them.

I guess this is what flying cars are supposed to alleviate – but with ~220,000,000 registered drivers in the US, imagine even 0.1% of them driving flying cars. That’d be 220,000 flying cars. If even 1% of them decided to utilize the “flight” aspect at any given time, that’d be 2200 vehicles in the air. 2200 vehicles with no flight plans. 2200 vehicles in an unknown state of fueling, repair, etc. Air travel is currently the safest form of transport. Would that still be true with 2200 angry drivers trying to escape from the traffic they find themselves in at the same time? Especially given the non-uniform distribution of those vehicles (they’ll dominantly simultaneously appear in ultra-densely-populated areas and ultra-rural ones), this wouldn’t be the utopia of George Jetson. It’s be the insanity of Back to the Future Part II when the Delorean arrives in 2015 from 1985. But worse.

My best professor once said, “no one has gotten elected saying they want to eliminate roads”. But followed that up with, “every time roads are expanded, they get just as busy during busy times, and waste an awful lot of concrete the other 23.2 hours of the day”.

What we need is a way to carry-over the technological paradigm of “*-as-a-Service” into physical infrastructure. Because it sucks. Bad.

I don’t know best to approach that. Certainly the “sharing economy” models of Uber & Lyft are a component.

And self-driving cars will help.

But only when they’re not only “self-driving”, but when they’re actively communicating and optimizing with other vehicles. But what happens when you are “optimized” into a “slower” path because other vehicles were “optimized” into “faster” ones?

It’s certainly a thorny area of societal thinking to wade into. And one that needs lot of thoughtful input and consideration from many quarters.

Warren Myers : the jetsons used cash

June 25, 2017 05:56 PM

They had flying cars. That would fold-up into a briefcase.

They had magic bubbles that’d pop out from their fingers to shroud themselves on their floaty-seats that delivered them to school or the mall.

But they used cash. Really? With all the crazy futuristic stuff they tried to wedge into that program, the creators thought we’d still be using cash in a flying-car future?

Maybe they were onto something. Cash does have the value of being tangible, and not being tracked.

Mark Turner : Cops, the public, and stereotypes

June 24, 2017 01:34 AM

A friend recently drove by a traffic stop conducted by the Raleigh Police Department and was surprised at the number of officers who responded. Four units were there and the driver, a black male, had his hands firmly and safely planted on the side of the car from his place in the driver’s seat. My friend turned around a few minutes later to see what happened and came across the driver still parked there, but now alone and doubled-over sobbing on the steering wheel. She shared her experience on social media.

I respect my friend tremendously and I take comfort that she cares so much for our neighbors. Nobody wants to see an incident in Raleigh like those that have taken place in various places in the country, where innocent black men – doing everything right – get shot to death by hotheaded cops. My black friends are understandably concerned about being pulled over and in an instant possibly losing their life.

I also know a few cops, and I’ve paid close attention to the Raleigh Police Department (RPD) since I moved here. I’ve gone on midnight ridealongs through some of the roughest neighborhoods in Raleigh, protected only by a bulletproof vest and my trust in the cop taking me along. From what I’ve seen, RPD is a professional police force. RPD’s force is one of the best-trained in the country and has the national accreditation to prove it. The officers I’ve interacted with (willingly and, on seldom occasions, unwillingly) have always been polite and treated me with respect. The interactions I witnessed on my ridealongs were also unfailingly respectful, no matter what the transgression. This was not always reciprocated, though, by those pulled over.

Why did police respond the way they did to the driver my friend saw? There could be any number of reasons but it probably wasn’t due to the driver’s race. Unfortunately, my friend didn’t ask the driver or the officers so we’re left to speculate.

And also to assume, and it’s this that can really twist things out of proportion. We think we know what happened when we don’t. The media arrives on scene, races to piece together what happened as quickly as possible and more often than not presents a distorted view. Then their audience takes the pieces they are given and they weave their own truth out of it. It’s Telephone Tag, writ large and fueled by hysteria.

The shooting of Akiel Denkins is a case in point. Media interviews of Denkins’ friends often painted a rosy picture of him. Bumper stickers urge “Remember Akiel Denkins” as if this was another case of officer overreach. In truth Denkins was a convicted drug dealer. Yeah, he may have been taking GED classes but he was skipping those classes the day an RPD officer found him out “hustling” drugs in a known drug area. Officer D.C. Twiddy noticed Denkins had a warrant for arrest and tried to arrest him. Denkins ran and then foolishly pulled a gun on the arresting officer, who shot him. Pulling a gun on an officer is a sure path to getting killed.

On the other hand, obeying Minnesota officer Jeronimo Yanez’s commands should not have gotten Philandro Castille killed and there is no excuse for his death. It haunts me and I feel for my friends of color who deal with this kind of profiling every day. I can’t say I know what it’s like – I’ll never know what it’s like – but I can say I understand their pain.

It is wrong to stereotype people, whether they be another race or on the other side of the badge. It’s wrong to assume we know the full story, or we know intentions, when often we don’t. I know both that many friends have been unfairly profiled and that police officers are often unfairly maligned.

And it’s okay to be against both. As Jon Stewart explained, “You can truly grieve for every officer who’s been lost in the line of duty in this country, and still be troubled by cases of police overreach, those two ideas are not mutually exclusive. You can have great regard for law enforcement and still want them to be held to high standards.”

So I’d be happy if some police didn’t lump all black people together and some of the public didn’t lump all police officers together. Let’s get away from the stereotypes and take people for who they are. It’s not easy to do but the stakes are far too high to keep repeating the same mistakes.

Mark Turner : Washington Monthly | The Ossoff-Parnell Lesson: Stop Chasing Romney Voters

June 22, 2017 05:48 PM

The lesson of the special elections around the country is clear: Democratic House candidates can dramatically outperform Clinton in deep red rural areas by running ideological, populist campaigns rooted in progressive areas. Poorer working class voters who pulled the lever for Trump can be swayed back to the left in surprisingly large numbers—perhaps not enough to win in places like Kansas, Montana and South Carolina, but certainly in other more welcoming climes. Nor is there a need to subvert Democratic principles of social justice in order to accomplish this: none of the Democrats who overperformed Clinton’s numbers in these districts curried favor with bigots in order to accomplish it.

But candidates like Clinton and Ossoff who try to run inoffensive and anti-ideological campaigns in an attempt to win over supposedly sensible, wealthier, bourgeois suburban David-Brooks-reading Republican Romney voters will find that they lose by surprisingly wide margins. There is no Democrat so seemingly non-partisan that Romney Republicans will be tempted to cross the aisle in enough numbers to make a difference.

The way forward for Democrats lies to the left, and with the working classes. It lies with a firm ideological commitment to progressive values, and in winning back the Obama voters Democrats lost to Trump in 2016 without giving ground on commitments to social justice. It does not lie in the wealthy suburbs that voted for Romney over Obama in 2012, or in ideological self-effacement on core economic concerns.

Source: Washington Monthly | The Ossoff-Parnell Lesson: Stop Chasing Romney Voters

Mark Turner : Biggest Credit Bubble in History – simplest way to strip cash – BMC software – most insatiable buyers leveraged-loan mutual funds

June 22, 2017 11:48 AM

BMC software borrowed $750 million via one of the riskiest forms of debt, payment-in-kind (PIK) notes, where, if push comes to shove, BMC can chose to pay interest not with cash but with more of the same debt.

The amount it owes gets larger, as its chances of survival shrivel. Instead of defaulting, the company will simply hand the lender more paper that’s increasingly worthless.BMC promptly forwarded the $750 million to its owners, a group of PE firms let by Bain Capital that had acquired BMC only seven months earlier.

Time is of the essence. Platinum Equity, which had acquired Volvo’s rental car division, waited only a week after closing the deal before sucking $262 million out that the company had obtained by issuing PIK debt.

So far this year, these already overleveraged companies have issued nearly $21 billion in junk-rated debt for the purpose of paying special dividends to the PE firms that own them — the most since the bubble of 2007, before it all blew up spectacularly.Of that, $3.5 billion were these reeking PIK notes.When a default occurs, the PE firms have the cash, and the lenders get stuck with largely worthless paper.

Source: Biggest Credit Bubble in History – simplest way to strip cash – BMC software – most insatiable buyers leveraged-loan mutual funds    

Mark Turner : Tech Mega-Buyouts Edge Toward Comeback as BMC, CA Plot Deal – Bloomberg

June 22, 2017 11:31 AM

Don’t miss this little fact: Bain and Golden Gate helped themselves to their own $750 million dividend from BMC a year after buying the company.

Four years after Blackstone Group LP and Silver Lake Management battled to take Dell Inc. private, buyout firms are back in the market for big leveraged technology deals.

BMC Software Inc., owned by Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital, and CA Inc. are considering a potential deal that would see the software companies combine as part of a transaction to take CA private, according to people familiar with the process. CA shares rose as much as 16 percent Tuesday, valuing the New York-based company at more than $15 billion.

If a deal goes ahead, and if it’s structured as a leveraged buyout by the private equity firms followed by a combination with BMC, it would be the biggest LBO of a tech company since Silver Lake and Michael Dell won the fight to buy Dell in 2013 in a transaction valued at almost $25 billion.

Source: Tech Mega-Buyouts Edge Toward Comeback as BMC, CA Plot Deal – Bloomberg

Tarus Balog : A Brief History of an Open Source Company

June 21, 2017 06:26 PM

I’ve been invited to give a keynote at this year’s Ohio Linuxfest being held in Columbus, Ohio, on 29-30 September. I am both excited and humbled as this is one of my favorite conferences of the year and I know a lot of amazing people will be there to share their knowledge of free and open source software.

Ohio Linuxfest Logo

I take my presentations pretty seriously, especially keynotes, so I wanted to come up with something that was both funny and interesting. They asked me to speak on running a business around open source software, and I immediately thought I should come up with some click-bait title like “Ten Things About Open Source Business, Four of Them Will Shock You!” but it just didn’t feel right. Then I thought about Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and that seemed more fitting.

My most popular talk so far has been on starting an open source business, but that focuses mainly on the mechanics of the process. For this talk I want to trace my history with OpenNMS starting with my first day on the job and then describing how it grew to become what it is today. In those 15+ years I’ve had a lot of adventures, some good and some bad, and I’ve met a some wonderful people. It is the work of many of those people that actually make OpenNMS what it is – I act more like a “crap umbrella” with my one job being to block all of the things that might keep the team from being productive – and I want to talk how that came about. This presentation will consist almost entirely of real world examples of the problems we encountered and our decision process for solving them.

I hope it will be entertaining and useful, and look forward to seeing you there.

Mark Turner : Swarm of 464 earthquakes hits Yellowstone National Park | Daily Mail Online

June 21, 2017 03:46 PM

It’s low risk but low-risk doesn’t generate clicks. 🙂

Hundreds of earthquakes have hit Yellowstone National Park in the space of a week, according to experts.

A total of 464 quakes have been recorded over the past week at Yellowstone, which sits above one of the world’s most dangerous supervolcanoes.

This is the highest number of earthquakes at the park within a single week in the past five years.The recent activity has raised fears that the supervolcano is about to blow.

If it were to erupt, the Yellowstone supervolcano would be one thousand times as powerful as the 1980 Mount St Helens eruption, experts claim – although they say the risk is ‘low’.

Source: Swarm of 464 earthquakes hits Yellowstone National Park | Daily Mail Online

Mark Turner : A Massive Lake Of Molten Carbon The Size Of Mexico Was Just Discovered Under The US

June 21, 2017 03:43 PM


The Yellowstone volcano has a massive chamber the size of Mexico.

A recent scientific discovery has drastically changed our view of the global carbon cycle and identified a new significant risk. Researchers have discovered a giant lake or reservoir made up of molten carbon sitting below the western US.

The molten carbon (primarily in the form of carbonate) reservoir could drastically and immediately change the global climate for over a decade if it were to be released. Thankfully there is little risk in the near future of this happening. The carbon sits 217 miles beneath the surface of the Earth in the upper mantle and has no immediate pathway to the surface. In total the lake covers approximately 700,000 square miles, approximately the size of Mexico. This has redefined how much carbon scientists believe sits locked away in the Earth’s mantle and its interaction with surface and atmospheric carbon.

Source: A Massive Lake Of Molten Carbon The Size Of Mexico Was Just Discovered Under The US

Mark Turner : Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital – Rolling Stone

June 21, 2017 12:59 PM

And this is where we get to the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a “turnaround specialist,” a shrewd financial operator who revived moribund companies as a high-priced consultant for a storied Wall Street private equity firm. But what most voters don’t know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America’s top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.

Source: Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital – Rolling Stone

Mark Turner : Route to Air Travel Discomfort Starts on Wall Street – The New York Times

June 20, 2017 10:12 PM

When an unlucky passenger was violently dragged off a full United Airlines flight in Chicago in April, setting off a public-relations nightmare for the company, the blame naturally fell on the cabin crew, the police and eventually airline executives.But ultimately, the episode was set in motion elsewhere — on Wall Street.Relentless pressure on corporate America is creating an increasingly Dickensian experience for many consumers as companies focus on maximizing profit. And nowhere is the trend as stark as in the airline industry, whose service is delivered in an aluminum tube packed with up to four different classes, cheek by jowl, 35,000 feet in the air.

Source: Route to Air Travel Discomfort Starts on Wall Street – The New York Times

Tarus Balog : When Not To Start an Open Source Company

June 20, 2017 03:10 PM

Over the weekend, Chris Aniszczyk posted a link on Twitter to a very interesting article by Matt Klein about his decision not to start an open source company around his project, Envoy. I thought it raised a number of interesting points worth a few comments.

First off, Matt works for Lyft, which, in case you haven’t heard of it, is Uber without the moral decay. I abandoned Uber some time ago, despite being an early adopter, and I’ve been very happy with Lyft. One of the main differences is that Lyft allows you to tip your driver, which I almost always do with few exceptions. The fact that Lyft is able to keep and motivate people like Matt speaks volumes for their corporate culture.

It also demonstrates a wonderful trend of commercial companies starting and maintaining open source projects. I’ve been working with open source for almost two decades and I can remember when any software developed at a company was considered confidential. To this day there are a number of vendors who consider their SNMP MIB files (which, I should point out, are really only useful to people who have purchased their products) proprietary information. Companies like Lyft, Paypal and Facebook, none of which would self-identify as open source companies, have gained a lot of value for little cost by making the tools they use open source.

When talking about open source for the enterprise, I often talk about the fact that it is the processes that a company uses to serve its customers that make it unique and define its value, not the tools used by the company. So often with commercial software you have to change those process to fit how the application thinks you should work, and in the process you lose some part of what makes you special to your customers. With open source you can fit the application to those processes. It is how you use the tools and not the tools themselves that is important, and so there is a lot to gain and little to lose by making them open source.

Getting back to Matt’s article, he is a project maintainer for Envoy, which is a “high performance C++ distributed proxy and communication bus designed for large service oriented architectures.” While I don’t consider myself a coder so I don’t claim to fully understand the its advantages, I do recognize enough buzzwords in that sentence to know that it would attract some attention from investors, and Matt was approached about leaving Lyft to start a commercial business around Envoy. He decided not to, and as I read his article about his decision I realized I’d found a kindred soul, someone who was more interested in creating something of value that would last versus making a quick buck.

He had me with this paragraph:

In my opinion, the best opportunity to commercialize OSS lies with projects that can be easily turned into SaaS products. Ultimately, even if software is completely open, many customers are happy to pay for a turnkey solution that “just works” and has a defined SLA with 24/7 monitoring and support. In some sense, customers pay for the operational expertise that comes from deeply understanding and running the software, versus the software itself.

Amen.

I’ve been making a living on open source for 15 years now working with OpenNMS, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about business models. We started out with the “service and support” model, which kept the doors open but limited growth. Then our clients started asking us for features, so we added custom development, which was time intensive but allowed us to finance OpenNMS features which attracted even more customers as the platform became more powerful. When we hit the problem of trying to balance the “release early, release often” philosophy of open source with the need for stability, we adopted the Red Hat model of splitting our application into a feature-rich, rapidly developed release (which we call Horizon™, similar to Fedora) and a more stable, subscription-based release that may lag in features but is better suited production environments (which we call Meridian®, similar to RHEL). But ultimately we came to the decision that what we really wanted to do was to offer OpenNMS as a service.

One company that inspired that decision was Automattic, maintainers of WordPress. I don’t think I know of a more powerful piece of software that is easier to install. They have a famous “5 Minute Install” that is quite simple. First, you drop the software into the webroot of your web server of choice. Next, you create a database account on your database of choice with certain permissions. Then you navigate to a web page and follow the prompts.

However, for a lot of people, terms like “webroot” are gibberish, and even with WordPress you still need some minimal database skills to maintain it. So Automattic offers up WordPress as a service. For a small monthly fee they’ll do everything for you, and this has generated revenues on the order of tens of millions of dollars per year.

OpenNMS is way more complicated, thus the value of a hosted version should be greater. In order to do so we needed some way to access the client’s network in a secure fashion, so with Horizon 20 we introduced the Minion. The Minion software allows for OpenNMS functionality to be distributed. It is built on the Karaf container, so once installed all of its features can be remotely managed. For smaller networks, the Minion can be sold as an appliance and talk to a hosted version of OpenNMS. It can bring a complex and powerful tool like OpenNMS into the hands of the masses.

For larger companies it solves issues of scale as Minions can be deployed to cover even the largest networks (our goal is IoT scale). We’ve had them in production at one client for months now handling over 2 million events an hour. That translates to around 555 events per second, although the system itself can handle over 10,000 events per second so they have room to grow. If they ever hit that limit, we can simply add more Minions. They have the option of hosting all of OpenNMS in their own data center, or they could choose a hybrid model where some of the functionality is outsourced.

For pretty much the first time in the history of OpenNMS, we are seriously and actively seeking investment. There are a number of companies entering this space who have raised enormous amounts of money, and we think we can be competitive for far less money and provide a better solution. Plus, also for the first time in the history of OpenNMS, we have a reason to make it easier to use versus spending all of our resources making it more powerful.

Matt talks about investment in his post (remember Matt? As usual, I’ve made this all about me. Meeee!) It was actually his stories about dealing with investors that prompted me to write this. As Envoy started to get some traction, investors wanted him to leave and start a company. He writes:

Over the last few months I’ve been told by several investors that no OSS has become ubiquitous without having explicit commercial backing. I think this is false and is situation dependent. If anything, I would argue that if I were to leave Lyft now and start a platform company around Envoy, it will decrease the chance of Envoy becoming ubiquitous, primarily because it would negate all of the reasons laid out above.

That first sentence is interesting, since “ubiquitous” and “commercial” are a little vague. I would make the claim that the Apache web server was ubiquitous until its success spawned NGINX, and it was backed by the Apache Software Foundation which is a non-profit. Is a foundation “commercial”? The idea that for a project to become successful it needs a number of people to spend a lot of time working on it seems obvious, and the best way to achieve that is to pay those people to work on it.

He goes on to write:

It took me a lot of time to ultimately understand the previous simple point. Investors are extremely persuasive. They capitalize on “fear of missing out.” However, it’s important to realize that the opportunity cost is hugely mismatched between investor and company.

When he writes “investors” above I believe he means specifically venture capitalists. We’ve talked with a few VCs in the past and I can remember the almost “strong arm” tactics they used. If I hear “a rising tide lifts all boats” one more time, I might have to hit somebody. I’m not saying that all VCs are the same, but many of them come across as gamblers and not investors. I’m risk friendly but I don’t gamble. I’m heavily invested in wanting to build something with OpenNMS that outlasts me (it is already much bigger than me as the team I work with has way more to do with its success than I do) and I don’t want to gamble with it.

I do hope that there are some investors out there that can appreciate that aspect of our company as well as the fact that we’re profitable, have mature products and wonderful customers. Perhaps private equity or perhaps another company that shares our vision and wants to advance the project through acquisition. In any case we’re looking for them.

When I was a young man, old guys like I am now would tell me “work on something you love, not just for the money”. I always dismissed it with the thought that with enough money I can buy love. When you immerse yourself in something as personal as an open source project for ten to twelve hours a day, year after year, you really do have to love it and the satisfaction you get just can’t be bought. Matt’s thoughts are similar:

Ultimately, on a personal level I’m just having too much fun solving tough computer science problems at large scale at Lyft and building a community around Envoy. The bar to do something different is therefore extremely high, and it took a long time to realize that it’s perfectly OK to accept that and keep going down the existing path that I’m on. On another level, leaving now to start a company would feel very much like not following through on my original goal of open sourcing Envoy; the industry desperately needs a high quality and community-driven solution to microservice networking. Follow-through is something I take very seriously.

With that attitude the success of Envoy is almost assured.

Mark Turner : BBC – Capital – Why you should manage your energy, not your time

June 20, 2017 02:15 PM

Interesting approach.

Many of us will have had that sense of there just not being enough hours in the day to do everything we need to do. Tasks that should take only a few minutes can stretch into hours, all while other work mounts up.

For most, the solution is to work later into the evening or even over the weekend, which leaves many of us feeling exhausted, stressed and burned out. But what if working less were the key to getting more done?

Source: BBC – Capital – Why you should manage your energy, not your time