Captain Kirk Finally Gets to Go Into Real Space, The Final Frontier – But May Return Alone Or The Only One Alive

This morning, William Shatner will ride aboard Blue Origin at 90 years of age to be the oldest person ever in space. He missed being the first actor in space by a week as the Russians did that to shoot a movie.

Anyone who knows Star Trek fully gets that the red shirts are the ones who get it on away missions.

He isn’t the first Star Trek Alumni to go to space, just the first one that is alive. Some ashes of Scottie and Gene Roddenbery were sent up a few years back.

There is always the Who is the best Star Trek captain or best series. I am in the TOS camp. The rest use the TOS playbook, but with less daring, panache, creativeness and conquest. For Picard, Sisko, Janeway and Archer fans, they wouldn’t be Captains in the running if there wasn’t a Kirk, end of story.

Even in the movies, the best one is always the Wrath of Khan. It has the best villain, ironic ending and mano a mano story.

I have been a huge Trekkie all of my life. I was alive and watched it during it’s actual first run. When Chekov discovered the Botany Bay on Ceti-Alpha 5, I had goose bumps in the Theater.

The only thing that bothers me about this is that the Enterprise NCC-1701 was a cool ship. Blue Origin looks like a flying dick.

Anyway, live long and prosper.

Blue Origin Employees Accuse Jeff Bezos' Company of ...

Finally Signs Of Star Trek Technology Here On Earth

I have been a huge Star Trek fan since TOS. I’ve met some of the actors at conferences for work.

I went to the Star Trek Experience at the Vegas Hilton. It had all the props from all the series in timeline order. There were 3 ships hung above. One was the NCC-1701, there was either the Voyager or Excelsior and I think a Klingon Bird of Prey. No matter, the props were good enough.

I lived each episode as I went down the display case. The actual phasers, tri-corders, costumes and ample descriptions. It took me hours to get through.

Later, they added a Borg exhibit and you get to experience 4D assimilation.

I still have a Tribble at home.

If they would only give me a replicator I’d be in heaven. They probably shouldn’t give me a phaser because I couldn’t promise to keep it on stun for some people.

Foreign Languages and Klingon’s, Why Posting Has Been Light

Being a person of a certain age, I need to exercise my brain, body and even spirit. You stay in balance that way.

I’ve been using Duolingo to learn Italian for a couple of years. I would have picked French but the wife speaks every language in Europe it seems except Italian. Those are the two best sounding languages so it’s been the one I chose first when exercising my mind.

See my travails below how I turned it into a competition to beat others and dominate.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve meandered my way from rookie to the Diamond league, where most people who stick with it will stay with it and work hard, just because of human desire I suppose. The reward for that is that everyone studies hard and you need to do more to stay in the league.

HOW IT WORKS

Of course you learn, but you can use it on your computer or mobile device. Each is different. On the phone, you have 5 hearts (tries) before you fail a lesson. On the computer you can keep going, but get a continuously lower score.

There is a 15 minute double points score available as a bonus for finishing each round of lessons. If you do a practice on a finished lesson you can get max points with no hearts loss. Sure, this is sounding like a video game but everything is a competition to me. I’m a man and it was born in me. I can’t help it and I don’t apologize. I accepted it and use it to fuel my desire to learn.

There is more, but that gives you an outline of how to game it, but this blog is about how I got wrapped up in something else instead of blogging. Oh, and how I slayed the competition.

THE PLAYERS

As I stated, by the time you get to the diamond league, you are pretty well committed. Some are learning because they are in a new country. Some took languages in school. Others are near borders and naturally speak the language. Most have a reason to be in that league.

I’d taken German in high school so I added that language a few months back. It is good to learn Spanish because of the makeup of the country so I then added that. Just because I couldn’t stand not being able to do it, I picked up French. I’d already started Danish because of some in-laws so add that to the mix.

There is a pay version of the app and you can get points a lot easier and never run out of hearts (like having unlimited outs in baseball). It’s an unfair advantage to the free players but they paid so good for them. They can get points at twice the rate of us plebs, but it’s where I am at now. It makes winning that much sweeter.

There is always some inspired player who wants to win the league for the week and to do so you have to commit to really working. Sometimes it is a horse race.

HOW MY WEEK DEVELOPED

I always like to start out the week with a big score by doing the 20 point doubles. You can cruise the rest of the week and score enough to not get bumped down to a lower league. I then watch who is going to go for it during the week. Sometimes it’s early and sometimes people wait and put on the full court press at the end.

I noticed a trend a while back (read about me, I see patterns and trends in everything) that even though someone might want to compete, you can suck the will to win out of most if you put it out of their reach. They’ll fight for first loser (2nd place).

I did my usual big total on Monday and was in the top 3, but that isn’t unusual as I turn it to cruise mode once someone takes off. By Tuesday, I noticed the makeup of the group were people who weren’t aggressive and just did the same number of points a day.

THE PERFECT STORM

Once I put it together, I knew this was my week to give it a shot. I threw up 1000 points on Tuesday to see who the real players were going to be. Nothing happened. I tried it again on Wednesday. There was no response. I knew right then that if I killed it a couple of more days, it would be over. I didn’t see anyone willing to make it a race so I made it a run away.

THE ATTACK OF THE KLINGON’S

Early in the week, one of my relatives told me that Klingon was a language. I’m a huge Trekkie/trekker so I said why not. Points are free and easy at the beginning of every language to keep you going because it is a beta language. That means no penalty for missing. It’s like you paid for the pro version of the game. Free points just lit up in my eyes, plus I can say stuff in Klingon, only not yet.

By now, I was committed. As they say in Klingon, today is a good day to die (I haven’t learned it in Klingon yet and won’t put it through a translator, but watch any Klingon episode of Star Trek). I went for it and quickly stayed the week at double the score.

WHAT HAPPENED ALONG THE WAY.

For one thing, I didn’t blog much. I did learn a lot of Spanish, German, Italian and especially French. I learned a little Danish and some Klingon. I understood a lot of what happens in grammar, sentence structure and everyday conversation. I can ask for the bathroom in some languages and order a complete meal or talk about the house in others.

It was a good week. I’ll win because I never play for second. I told myself along the way it was for learning, but when the stars lined up, my inner self took over and I went hard at it. I killed any desire for the rest of the group to compete and I won’t get an opportunity to win but a few times in life. There are too many good people. I struck early and often and learned a ton along the way.

One day I’ll be fluent or can survive, at least in Europe.

Here’s a shout out to my German teacher in High School, Jane Phillips. She taught me well and was pretty hot so I liked her class.

If you look in my quote blogs, there is a lot about winning. I have a hard time sticking with anything very long before I drop it or figure out a way to the top or my desired destination.

It’s weird sometimes when you expect to win and you do, just like it is supposed to happen

Qapla’.

Another Great Saying About Winning, And Why We Try

Pain is only temporary, victory is forever -Jeremy H. Winning

 

No one wakes up and is the best at what they do by accident.  It takes training, study and perserverance.  The worst place in any competition isn’t last, it’s second because that is the first loser.  This goes with the Vince Lombardi quote a few days ago.

We as humans want to do our best, but some strive harder than others.  I’m not desparaging those who try their hardest, but someone was better, but no one remembers who lost the presidential elections, or got silver medals at the Olympics.

I know I strive to win anything I do.  I try to win practice for anything I compete in, not just the event.  I’ve even beaten the Kobayashi Maru, thanks to Captain Kirk.

24, The Movie

My favorite TV obsession show, 24 is now being slated for a movie.

This is either good or bad depending on how they do it of course.  The show is compelling because everything is compressed into an hour per episode, so we must assume/accept some things and read between the lines due to time.  Stretching it out allows for more travel between places, more detail (not always a good or interesting thing) and maybe we’ll finally get to see if Jack Bauer actually eats, sleeps or goes to the bathroom.

See the Jack Bauer kill counter by year here.

What I wonder is if it will go back into time where there were some really great characters and villains that would make for a gripping plot enhancement.  Remember the plot is good guys vs. terrorists trying to use weapons of mass destruction (so far we’ve had nukes, chemical weapons and deadly viruses).   President Palmer was great, Nina Myers was someone to really hate…..and so on.
Let’s not forget the pseudo 24 movie – The Sentinel staring Keifer Sutherland and Michael Douglas (I’m not linking to that loser) recently that made as big a splash as a small wave at Waimea Bay, Hawaii. (non surfers, it goes 20 feet high in the winter).

Most movies of TV shows are crappola, like more than half of the Star Trek movies, and I’m a major Trekkie.   Let’s hope for the best.

IBM Bloggers, Who are we – Grady Booch

grady.jpg

As always, I really like doing these bloggerviews, this one especially. A lot of it is because I get to talk to some of the smartest people at IBM and in this case, the industry. For as much as he’s done, Grady has the right to enjoy celebrity status being an IBM fellow and a leader in the IT world, yet he is very down to earth and we had a very enjoyable conversation. I know you’ll enjoy reading this as much as I did learning from him.

A bit of history, when we first thought of the concept of the developerWorks Blog, the discussion came up that we needed blogger of rock star status to gain notoriety. The first name that came up was Grady. I knew when I started my blog, that this was one of the discussions I wanted to have, now you can too.
Note: Grady is hosting a blogger meetup at the Rational Users Conference June 6th from 6-8 pm, see you there.

Were you a rebel as a kid?
In a different way. I built my first computer from scratch when I was 12. I had borrowed a book called Computer Design, and used it as a manual to create my first computer. I saved my allowance to buy discrete transistors and so I built from scratch. My parents didn’t really know how to deal with me. In addition to the computers, I built my own laser and I was into model rockets. You could say I was a classical geek. In fact, I was a geek before it was cool to be a geek.

I built my computer because I really wanted to program. The computer did four function math and had 256 bits of memory. I thought it would be cool to program so before high school I wanted a job in computers and I went knocking on doors of all the local computer companies, to no avail. I then went to the local IBM sales office and a sales guy sat with me at a lunch table and gave me a book on Fortran. He probably thought that I would go away after reading it, but a week later, I came back with some programs I’d written and I asked for computer time. He got time for me on weekends on an IBM 1130 used by the Amarillo Public Utilities. My first program was a simulation of particles colliding at subatomic speed and a calculation of the release of energy. I still have the original deck of cards. Perhaps the one event that started me on computers was an article in Life magazine about a robot named Shaky built by Marvin Minsky. A few years ago, I approached the trustees at the Computer History Museum in California, urging them to also become a museum of software. While I was getting a tour of the emerging facility, John Toole told me to turn around too look at the original Shakey, sitting in a display behind me. That was so cool and it gave me a pleasant sense of closure.

One thing that my friends and their children are surprised at is these days that I always knew that I wanted to be a computer scientist.

How did your military career help you with what you do now?
So I was self taught until I went to the Air Force Academy. I had many scholarship offers including West Point, but chose USAFA because they had an incredible computer science program. Also, I knew that when I graduated, I would be involved with some amazing technology in the real world from which I could learn. Some of the things I did in my first assignment was to help build systems in support of missile programs such as the Minuteman, Titan and Shuttle. One of the last things I did was work on a range safety system for both the West and East coast military ranges. Through this work, in my early 20’s, I learned what it means to build complex systems. We had hundred’s of thousands of lines of code, running on distributed computers, and so the issues of scale and complexity hit me early.

I’m proud to report that in 1979 I had my first email address on the Arpanet..

Around that time, I was also doing some Ada work and got involved as an instructor at USAFA. I was asked by Larry Druffle who was involved with the Ada Joint Program Office and later went on to found the Software Engineering Institute to consider how one would apply modern software techniques to Ada. It at through this work that I coined the phrase object oriented design.

It has been a long journey for me with in complex software, far before it was an issue in industry.

You say on your blog that you like to read. What interests you in your book selection?

My book listings on my site are mostly professional books. I have a spreadsheet includes all the books and journals I read there. Frankly, one of the reasons I built my current home is that wife and I ran out of space for our over 8,000 books.

I enjoy writers who are good story tellers like Michael Chabon and Terry Pratchet. Right now I’m reading Wuthering Heights, and I just finished reading a book on the history of Islam and another on prayer. I’m attracted to authors who have a command of the language, such as Umberto Eco, and I try to learn from them. As a result, I think I’m a curious combination of a geek albeit an articulate one.

I read more nonfiction than fiction. I like history, especially covering medieval and renaissance periods. In fact I play the Celtic harp.

Why did you become a blogger and How did/does that affect your job?
I started blogging before IBM asked me to. It happened in conjunction with the handbook on software architecture I decided to write. Being involve as a software architect in a multitude of systems in various industries across the world, I wanted to fill a serious gap in the body of knowledge of software engineering, by codifying the architectural patterns that are used in the world. I realized it then that it would be a journey instead of a discrete issue, so thus the blog as a forum for discussion during that journey.

So I began the blog but I couldn’t find any software out there that did what I wanted, so I wrote my own blogging software so I could work on the Handbook anywhere in world. I added an RSS feed to push XML to the IBM developerWorks site, so now it posts to both that site and mine..

What blogs do you read?
This will certainly reflect my political views, but I read crooksandliars.com. Slashdot is also a must have. My Handbook site lists the many that I read from time to time.

Do you like Sci-Fi, for example are you a trekkie?
Yes actually, in my office every copy of Star Trek, the Next Generation, episode so you could say I’m a trekker.

What are your favorite video games?
This is interesting as I just came back from a gamer convention. I just finished Halo 2, and am currently stuck inside the gates of hell in Quake 3. All things being equal, though, I’d rather read a good book.

Speaking of the game community, I’m attracted to it because this is an industry that’s really discovering the problems of building complex software.

Your job Title is IBM Fellow, but what does that mean to the man on the street

It means two things. My role as a Fellow is to invent the future and to destroy bureaucracy, I’m a designated free radical for IBM, and it’s my job to disturb the norm, to think outside of the box, to make people uncomfortable with the status quo, plus have I have a license to do so. It is to IBM’s organizational credit that it recognizes it needs such people.

If you weren’t an IBM fellow, what other job would you be doing, or what company would you be working for?
Now there is an interesting question. I’d probably be an poor itinerate musician or a priest. Baring those more radical career choices, I’d otherwise still be in the software world, doing the same things as I am doing now. My professional passion is how to improve and reduce the distance between vision and execution in delivering complex software-intensive systems.

What are you working on now?
I work on many things, some I can talk about, most I can’t. The Handbook is an important project for me, I spend a lot of time with customers, I help to manage Rational’s relationship with IBM research, and that involves me in efforts about radical simplification and what to do when Moore’s law dies.

What do you talk to Sam Palmisano about?

I don’t talk to Sam that much – he runs the business and I’m essentially a geek – but I do work with Nick Donofrio who works directly for Sam, We talk about various customer engagements, improving industry/academic relationships, and various issues of technical strategy.

What is your vision of the future, next year, 5 years 20 years?

Software has been, and will be always be fundamentally hard, In the future, we’ll be facing yet greater complexity . Open source, the commodization of operating systems and middleware, disposable software (that which is created by non developers), the presence of pervasive devices are elements of this growing complexity. Furthermore, the world is flat. No political or geographical boundaries limit creativity and complexity in software-intensive systems, and thus it’s also increasingly a problem of collaboration.

How long do you see yourself doing what you do now?

Until my heart stops beating.

What is your relationship with analysts? What would you say to them?

I have an A/R handler, I go where they tell me to go, What i talk about though is where I spend my time, namely worrying about the future, the primary horizon being 3-5 years out, with consideration of the forces that are morphing us.hat we need to get us there.

If you could write your legacy, what would it be?
There is a question I’ve never been asked before. How about “he’s not dead yet.”

Seriously through, I hope people will have viewed me as kind and gentle man who lived fully.

Everything else is just details.

What’s on your iPod?
Surprisingly, I don’t have and iPod, but I do have 9 Macs along with a Google Mini and two terabytes of storage, on which I’ve ripped all my music. I’m currently listening to Adiemus, , Dead Can Dance, Tori Amos, Loreena McKinnett, and Twila Paris.

What is the final frontier for users?
It’s curious what we do as software developers: at its best, be build things that are invisible. If we do it right, our work evaporates into the background and remains unnoticed, yet still providing socially and individually useful functionality.

Computing at the speed of light.

I make it pretty clear that IBM Research does and has some of the coolest stuff there is….

Today’s press coverage about IBM moving data on silicon via light is unbelievable. For you trekkies out there, that’s Warp 1. They even have a cool name for it – Photonic Silicon Waveguide. Data is moved via photons creating less heat and using less power, nice side effects huh?

IBM Slows Light, Readies it for Networking

Too cool.

Scoble has a big set of attachments/Customers do matter

Kudo’s to Robert Scoble today for calling out his own company in public, that took big….uh….attachements. Why, if you go to the end, he talks about Microsofter’s having to work for other companies because the customers will leave.

12 reasons why not to work with Microsoft .

I read Thomas Watson’s book about IBM. It was always about the customer, both Watson Sr. and Jr. Let us not forget that either just because it’s Microsoft that has become the BORG, that our end goal is the CUSTOMER! (listen to this, it’s scary when you think about the operating system war).

Ultimately, it is about the customers. It’s not about what you can do to climb the ladder of success, or how great a product you can produce – especially if no one wants to buy it…..or for Microsoft, if no one wants to work with you.

The Maturing of the Partner Program

Back in 1999 when IBM decided to take on the partner programs, it primarily focused on our Strategic Alliances, the big companies. This was a good move as it got the program off the ground and generated revenue. Most Strategic Alliances have a services practice around them. Many times, IBM has a bigger service practice than the company that is our partner.

Nowhere in that paragraph was anything but Enterprise scale companies for the most part. Yes, there are many companies that have SMB applications, but by in large, it was Enterprise focused. From nowhere to a very successful partner program in a very short time.

At the same time, the developer program started, but it quietly perked along as most of the press in this area came from Redmond.

A shift in strategy started driving this down to smaller companies and at least into the M of SMB to start. developerWorks expanded into the universities and leveraged IBM research through alphaWorks. Again, very quietly.  Part of moving quietly is to not let IBM headquarters know what you are doing or nothing will ever get done.  We’re successful and building a good program.  The best way to get results at IBM is to not let them know what you are doing until afterwards, then share the results and the glory.

The big shift in strategy came with the PartnerWorld for Industry Networks a couple of years ago. Prior to this, we were sailing along with generally accepted partnering practices, both internal and external. The purchase of Price Waterhouse Coopers consulting practice made this all possible now (BCS). With this, IBM realized that customers buying habits are industry focused and there are a lot of ISV’s that have a specialty, just waiting for an industry program to come along.

Not that our partner programs weren’t a leader, it was everyone playing by the same rules. It was like Captain Kirk who changed the rules in the Kobayashi Maru to win or later to cheat death, IBM now went to market with partners in a significantly different way than the competition.

If being copied is the sincerest form of flattery, we’re being flattered. I’ve noticed many of our competitors partner programs now have an industry flavor, albeit window(s) dressing in some cases.

Back to SMB, the M and the S are now in play for us. No one is going to claim that we dominate the S space, but we’re there and growing.

Our developer program is now kicking into high gear. The key is skills and skills development. We are cultivating the open standards/systems skill sets in the colleges and universities around the world. Companies are implementing LAMP standard applications/software and need folks that can make it happen. We’re helping to cultivate this. developerWorks now cross-pollinates with the Rational tools for developers, another arrow in the quiver. Count Glucode as another arrow.

Some say that a change in big companies is like turning an aircraft carrier, a big process. But after the turn, your face into the wind and ready to launch your aircraft for attack or defense.

Live long and prosper.