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status: quo

Sat Aug 4 14:54:02 EDT 2007

MICK JAGGER [1:30am]
 About an hour ago, I walked down Palmer St and heard "Who killed the 
 Kennedys? ". [1]
 This acoustic version was better than the original.  It was crisp, 
 harmonic, and everyone played precisely in tune. Nobody's been caught in 
 this Friday night cover band's moment and killed. [2]
 I dunno, maybe I'm bitter because they wouldn't play my 80s classic rock 
 favorites 'Holiday in Cambodia',[3] and "Winnebago Warrior" [4]
 It's been a few months since the last status report and a few
 weeks since I realized it.
 A few weeks ago, Fred politely asked me to change the subject lines of 
 the status reports in the side bar on the website. He wanted to attract 
 a good board member. "Goofy Pile" became something like "January 15 
 2007". I realized that I'd not done a status report since May.
 Last night, I tweaked our flaky off-site backup script at an Andy's [5] 
 with no music.
 At 10:30pm I joined my old neighbor at the bar. I've had 4 fingers of 
 wild turkey, a pint of Guinness and a plastic cup of  doubtful brown 
 liquid from the Blue Shamrock.
 Now I am in the Club Diner, waiting for the 2:00am drunk rush. I have3 
 hours and 8 minutes of battery, no wireless and a mission. (I can see 
 the LTC hotspot but it won't let me in)
 On the 4th of July, We went for a walk back and and forth along the 
 river and through lower Belvedere. We passed Melissa's old place, then 
 stopped by the community Garden.  Gregg was happy for beingn on a 
 fitness roll. He'd been to the gym the previous day.
 I got lots of good political advice. Some of which I've followed. 
 (Things could be worse)
 We (me mostly) have a bunch of action items. First on the list is
 Gregg's new passion for being absolutely sure that everyone on
 utec-news at really, really wants to be there and
 wasn't isn't going to click "This is SPAM"
    [2:03 two (young) women in summer clothing are
    looking coy outside the locked end of the diner.
    A helpful guy in his late 50s and a baseball hat
    pantomimes  "walk 25 feet to fron door"]
 I'm sincerely and un-sarcastically touched that Gregg lets us work for UTEC.
 We came across J @ the spring Job Fair. He knows that you need to
 mark the partition "active" to boot windows 98. I forget this painful 
 bit of trivia until it came up one Saturday night at the Saint Joseph's 
 Unlike most people, J seems inclined to understand all of the big 
 picture before plunging into the details of his project (SMTP AUTH)
 J is our newest VISTA.
 I think he is a closet tech.
 We had the tasks of figuring out how much payroll taxes for the 
 "employer share", how much to pay JM and how much to hold back for 
 JM's taxes. EB whipped out algebra from Jr High school. He set up 
 the equation, canceled the terms from both sides and came up with 
 "employee gross pay". With this number, the IRS documentation started to 
 be helpful.
     [ 2;14am young man in summer clothing outside
      the locked end door. He seems philosophical about
      his situation ]
 I'm told that it takes about a year for a person new to fund raising to
 get up to speed and bring in real money. At the 6 month mark, EB is 
 probably slightly ahead of schedule.
 Hopefully this won't jinx it, but it looks like we're on track for 
 $10,000 in money loosely restricted for MVhub marketing. If we get it, 
 it'll be partly because we've returned people's phone calls for the past 
 few years and partly because Eric did good followup.
 We were a bit surprised to find Kamala's VISTA term ended yesterday. We 
 thought it went until the end of August. Her downtime database is now 
 usable for us.  With more work it will be usable by other ISPs.
 I think the big change with her term ending is that she can go to the 
 gym in the morning w/o feeling guilty about missing the first hour of 
 work. With better fitness we get better work.
 He still has cancer. His first course of treatment didn't go well. He's 
 on medical leave until September of 2008. I don't know more than that.
 John's moved smoothly from fix-it guy to programmer.  We're 3
 months through the 5 month contract with MVwib. At the low point he was 
 5 days off schedule. Now he's right on the money.
    [2:27am, The woman sitting next to me at the counter
     accurately complimented the waitress on her high skill.]
 Odds are good that John will be moving on at the end of the current
 contract. Anyone that needs a writer or teacher should look him up.
 Since there **might** be more WIB money in the fall, I'm not too proud
 to hope that he changes his mind.
 These past few months, NK's been learning Perl and enduring my
 character by character, nit-picky code review. She's tidied the
 Boxes install and validate scripts very well indeed.
 Right now NKis working through the most specific and helpful book 
 I've read on unit testing. [7]
 I'm really excited that she will make us a big battery of unit tests for so we can get away with making reckless changes.
           [2:34am different woman at door, seems to
            want to communicate with somebody inside
            rather than have the key fetched, hard
            to tell]
 NK's  been accepted into the Master's CS program. Fortunately for
 us, given her Visa and the extra special international student tuition, 
 she'll be attending school part-time and volunteering the rest of the time.
    [02:51 A Woman with short blond hair, older
     than 35 looks in locked door, comes in front
     door, talks to waitress, asks for key to
     bathroom. Waitress agrees to meet her outside.
     Previous door people actions are now clearer]
 If everything works according to plan (dream?), We'll have a chunk of 
 money raised to pay Nilam a living wage about the time, she's a great 
 developer and she can legally get paid. (a year?)
 Madhu found us through the search engines. She's written device drivers
 for windoze. Madhu's focus is her small daughter but she's got a
 few cycles left over for us.
 Madhu saved us with testing and bug catching on MVHub. Both John & I
 credit her with HUGE chunks of the current on time and to specification 
 Her past work is in windoze device drivers but she seems happy with
 learning Perl. (which is good for learning Php or Ruby)
 During the second most recent drama, Josh shared the wisdom:
    "Actually Dan, it is possible to speak truth
     to power AND step on your own dick at the
     same time."
    [3:12am the paddy wagon swung by again,
    lights going but no siren. Yes, "paddy"
    is a racial slur, but I'm 1/4 one myself..]
 Josh is working on short term contracts now. At the moment, he's working
 for a company that handles out sourcing of network edge security for the
 fortune 500. (I think)
 If the Parker Foundation money comes through in January, we should be
 able to afford him @ 1/2 market rate for at least a year.  If we
 accomplish what we will claim to accomplish, we can charge organizations
 far less than market rate but much more than zero for on-site support
 and pay Josh for more than a year.
 If not, life is long enough for us to try again and again.
 Ali is running for city council. He's a good guy. If you live in Lowell
 you might consider voting for him. I'm told his website [8] is ok:
 Despite the name, Ali's got an excellent shot of winning a seat. He 
 knows (no kidding) a couple thousand voters in Lowell, needs 8 thousand 
 votes to win and is very well regarded.
 At the meeting with Phil Hall, who works for the company that runs the
 Parker Foundation, Melissa was the most impressive.
 She done a good job, nudging us toward creating a plausible 5
 year plan.
 What's more, her SO has prayed with Mehmed Ali.
 The biggest news is that I lost my CS Dept accounts. The precipitating
 incident was a message to the CS Dept, alumni/student/faculty/staff wide
 listserv CC'd to Marty Meheen, our former federal congressman and
 current chancellor.
 The executive summary, blurbing the Grassroots tech Conference and 
 Penguin day was probably OK. My crude efforts to link the conference, 
 technology, the bigger social picture and personal responsibility got me 
 nuked. Essentially the word was something like:
    "This is not the forum for this, We've
     been warning you for 10 years. You've
     crossed the line for the last time."
 Representative of the post was the link to to Henry Rollins talking
 about how he protests the war by visiting crippled soldiers:
 [3:35am, The grill cook is pacing around on the balls of his feet like a 
 boxer hopefull that his opponent will get off the canvas.  The drunk 
 rush is crushed. Time for me to go home, four cups of strong black 
 coffee or not, I'm crashing]
 I've thought about this for about a month. On the whole, I am more 
 unrepentant than repentant.
 Yes, If I could do it again, I'd probably leave things at the executive
 Yes, some opportunities for partnership are now gone.
 Yes, it is suspicious that I tend to say these rude things when I'm 
 short on sleep and feeling sorry for myself.
 Yes, it is bad to hurt people's feelings, even the feelings of
 influential people.
 Yes, we would not exist if people in the CS Dept hadn't given us lab
 space. This last impolite message was a yet another small betrayal of
 No, the most influential people in our little world, the ones with the 
 power of our success are not the men who run the CS Dept.
 The powerful people are our own clueless rebels working long hours 
 against the even odds on the vauge cause of free software.The immediate 
 reaction of two of our leading rebels was to pump their
 fists, "Yes!".
 No, support from the CS Dept is not required for our current success or
 survival. Some years ago we were transfered to the care of the
 University directly. The CS Dept surrendered both expense and control.
 No, We should not always be silent. By our inaction, we who have a
 surplus permit the world to be fucked up in many ways for many people.
 Yes, often, when I mention this sin of omission to people, they move 
 from unmotivated to unmotivated, angry and defensive.
 Yes, Most of the time, I should be doing my own work and
 not telling other people how to do theirs.
 No, sometimes, it is "appropriate" to get in people's faces and make 
 them just a little bit uncomfortable.