Archive for November, 2013

May this time of the year remind you of the peace that we should all share year round.

Just a note, the previous post was the 3,000th blog post from me since starting to blog in 2001. So here’s to the next 12 years and beyond.

recovery_exitAs I ramp back from my tri-annual (Meaning every three years) bout of Pneumonia, things are beginning to settle back in. A local company has expressed potential interest in me. They are pre-screening me with a programming project. The idea is to replicate base functionality and UI of an app. This is not as throw-away simple as it sounds. You have to at least implement the real functionality which does require a knowledge of the technology stack.

Sadly, when I talked to them Friday I targeted Monday as a goal. This was before I knew it was pneumonia. A very professional letter to the recruiter about my health resulted in a letter back telling me that the recruiter was down with Flu and that the group was happy to let me regroup my strength before worrying about the code.

In the mean time, the main project was on hold. There was not a lot of strength or focus to get research done. I think it was the general stress of the week that took me down to begin with. I do however have a strong desire looking forwards. There’s a lot of research. There is one small component that did move forwards, however. So I guess not completely on hold.

Then there is the story of my genetic offspring. This actually takes place today and in a humorous bit of temporal irony about 33 years ago as well.

Micromodem_II_in_Apple_IIWhen I was 12 years old my father bought me my first computer. It was an Apple ][. There was no “Plus” or “e” or any other symbol. This was the original II computer. This was a $2,000 piece of hardware and at the age of 12 I had NO idea what that meant. Especially in the late 1970s. (Yes, you can do the math) I loved this thing. The hardware, the software, the manuals. It was amazing.

One day I decided I REALLY wanted to learn as much about my computer as I could. And my implement of learning was going to be my father’s ratchet screwdriver with changeable tips. The process seemed simple enough in my mind. And in execution it was even easier. It took me about 15-20 minutes to remove every screw and easily removable component to see how everything was assembled.

Parents have an innate sense of knowing how long it has been since they’ve interacted with their child. Apparently, I had crossed the threshold for the amount of time that had passed before my mother began wondering what I was up to. She came to my room and saw me at my desk with a disassembled computer. I think every child learns what a conniption fit is at some point in their life.  I was excessively chastised for my stupidity and lack of respect. Translation: My mother explained that she was going downstairs to call my father to come home and kill me in cold blood. Translation: My mother called my father to excessively chaste him for stupidity and lack of respect. (Damned genetics)

About half an hour later my father arrived home. This required at least 5 minutes downstairs when he arrived for a recap round of getting yelled at. They came upstairs and there I was, sitting at my desk, operating the computer and writing a program. The system was up and operational as if nothing had occurred. Even the potentially damning evidence of tools had been carefully put away.

My mother stammered for a moment. Said “Fuck you.” I think the first time I ever heard her swear, and she tromped out. My father just smiled at me. “You put every part back exactly where you found them?” I pulled some screws from my desk drawer, “All but these couple of screws. Not sure where they went and it doesn’t seem to be a problem.” He smiled again proudly and went downstairs to talk my mother down.

For my son’s 7th birthday this year I purchased him “Blaster.” Blaster is a first generation toy from the Transformer’s line. The toy is about 30 years old. It cost about $40 and was valued more closely to $65. This morning he came to my bedroom and pronounced that he intended to take on a project that “…involved Blaster, 3 screwdrivers and…”

I stopped him. I notified him he was not to take apart a 30 year collectible toy. He told me he had already taken off the head and put it back. Heather (my wonderful spouse) had already purchased old electronics at Goodwill to let him take them apart. I spent an afternoon with him disassembling an old VHS camera. She told me she would supervise. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to deal with it.

There it was; I’d turned into both my parents at once. Happily, Heather reminded me of the story above. Currently they are in the middle of rebuilding. I’m told the picture of all the pieces lain out was glorious. I’m likely to repost it once it is done. (time passes)

Well, after a days outing to see old friends, my son has completed his work. I have to admit… The reassembly was completely successful. The toy even moves better than it did when we got it. It was a bit tight when we first bought it. It moves more easily now without feeling loose. Between my wife (who did AI software for Robots) and myself (who does Apple 3rd party software) comes a very talented child with a stunning sense of spacial relations and being able to take things apart and get them back together.

Heaven help us if he learns to code.

bringoutyerdeadWell, as it would turn out; the X-Rays came back positive for mild Pneumonia. That’s the sad thing about this ailment. Once you get it you become a lot more susceptible for it. From what the PA and the Lab tech told me; it’s very minor and very early. So, I’m going to likely be a mess for about another day or two and then the horse-pill antibiotics they called up for me should start to kick in.

These things are monsters. The pills are about 1/2″ by 3/4″ , uncoated, and require a full stomach or they may cause any number of horrendous side-effects. Since taking my noon pill my temperature has been playing “Wheel of Fortune”

So, not a lot of fun. At least tomorrow is Doctor Who day!

imageLooks like that flu from earlier in the month has come back around. So I’m off to the doctor’s this afternoon to assure it’s not a return of Pneumonia. So, while today was a day I was meaning to catch up on work and get my routine more scheduled… Such must wait one day.

The wait for the doctor was close to an hour. My BP (which usually runs a cool 126/70) came in at 100/72. Considering my age and weight those are impressive numbers. I swabbed negative for flu. My lungs didn’t sound like there was a pneumonia. However, with my history and propensity for pneumonia, the PA did call up a chest X-Ray which I will be doing later this morning. He gave me Guaifenesin with Codeine which allowed me to sleep a little better to also relax my cough.

This morning, I’m feeling at about 75%. Still some tightness in my chest. Still a little raw in the throat.

So ramping back up. More soon.

longRoadSo far I’ve had 2 of 3 meetings that I need to have.  I have two colleagues that I initially wanted to discuss the idea. These conversations went well. One of my colleagues is technical and has been asking me when I’d go on my own for quite some time. The other is a business expert to help me understand the needs from a business point of view. It’s very easy to have an idea. It’s very difficult to codify it into something that people other than a few of us believe in.

Meeting two was with what I could define as ‘an angel.’ This is someone I utterly trust with our finances and wanted to outline our plan. It is obvious that we will need financial support if only to get this process started. We don’t need a lot, but more than the average person can handle. So this part is always stressful. I have one other person I need to discuss our finances with. Again. More stress.

This week I am collecting tangible research. This includes

  • Clarification of our vision statement.
  • Initial product timeline
  • Interview research data
  • A serious look into competition
    • (To test our mettle when we see how rocky that is)
    • To see how we can differentiate
  • Further refinement of our initial target audience

All-in-all it’s a daunting process.

My spouse asked me if there was a risk of Depression. I said I wasn’t so much slipping into depression as walking outside after a rainy day trying to carefully avoid puddles of potential depression and then dealing with getting the damp out of my shoe for a few hours when I accidentally trip into a puddle. I know that the road ahead is difficult and going to take some navigating and is going to have some hard pain along the way. Fortunately, her love and support has been the driving thing to keep me out of the puddles. Further she’s been the first one to notice when I’ve gotten a little wet and has been ready with a towel.

Obviously, once I have the first bit of planning done, then we pull the blanket off the drawings and turn to crowd funding to help us get rolling on this. We’re going to need help and faith. I don’t know what kind of a return we can offer. But we will assuredly be tracking every drop of support that we get.

People seem interested, we seem to have an original niche and approach. Now it’s just a question of time and making it happen. Before funds and support runs out.