Photo from March 14, 2015

Concord, California

Sony DSC-RX1
1/100sec @ f/5.6 iso 100, 35mm

I just was feeling the giant row of carts receding all the way into their garden center.

When Marie was shopping, another shopper was indignant, “I can’t get at [a free sample] because your cart is in the way.” I think if you can’t deal with giant-assed shopping carts, you might want to shop somewhere else.

Shopping at Costco in the ‘burbs is always a study in small contrasts:

  • There they are using new shopping carts that are cut lower in the front and are much quieter than the old metal ones in the City.
  • I also noticed that a shopper had left a half-eaten resealed bag of beef jerky in the book and DVD aisle. You’d think with all the free samples, they could have not been so cheap. Especially since I noticed that there are far more free samples here than in the city.
  • I found a term used by the Costco employees who gather the carts: “leave behind.” As in, “Dude, there’s a whole pizza leave behind back there.”

Terry’s Backstreet Photography

Photos from January 24, 2015.

A weekend away from it all was also an opportunity to try to shoot again with my Leica. I haven’t been doing any photography for a long time, especially with this camera — just having it with me was a minor success, even if I left it in the bag almost the entire time.

Finally, while we were eating a quiet lunch in St. Helena, I got the courage to take the M8 out and to start shooting. It’s frustrating to realize that you have to relearn how to focus and expose manually — even more embarrassing is forgetting to take off the lens cap before pressing the shutter button! But then you remember that photography is about learning how to see, and there is a small joy in experiencing that again as a beginner.

Marie, waiting for food
Marie, waiting for food
Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, St. Helena, Napa Valley, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON 35mm F1.2 Aspherical
1/125sec, iso 160, 35mm (47mm)

Continue reading about some photos I took with my Leica M8 and iPhone 6 after the jump

Holiday on the beach

Photos from February 15, 2015.

I turn the ever-boring “Stretch-X” workouts in P90X on the rest days into excuses to go running. On some days, the time and place fall in line with a holiday, in this case President’s Day weekend on a beautiful late-afternoon in San Francisco.

Holiday on the Beach
Holiday on the Beach
China Beach, San Francisco, California

iPhone 6
@ ƒ2.2, ISO32, 4.15mm (29mm)

How lucky I am to live in such a place that I see this on my weekly run!
Continue reading about this photo after the jump

The Innovator’s Dilemma and the impossibility of remaking an organization

One year ago today (2014-03-03):

During Tech budget and resourcing meeting for the 2014-2015 Annual Plan, one of the ideas proposed was possibly sourcing an incubator group to (re)“build Wikipedia or other major project in line with the Vision from the ground up, without prior constraints from existing technology, processes”, or communities. The idea was, even if it didn’t succeeded it would cause the organization “to think differently, to create energy around being BOLD,” and catalyze the movement.

This had some currency from many of the participants1, even the C-level2 involved, that was until a director argued that this was infeasible due to the Innovator’s Dilemma. Ignoring the obvious misreading of the book, he argued that because this might destroy the existing order inside the organization, it couldn’t be done by the organization itself, and thus the proposal died despite never going up for consensus consideration.3

Deciding that it is politically stupid to point out their Readers’ Digest understanding of a deeply-flawed business text, I instead argued that an organization built around vision, rather than profits, does not have the same constraints that allow disruptive technologies to spell their undoing.

That argument didn’t carry weight because people with more experience than me were sure that this initiative would be defunded in the next annual plan and that no one would ever get behind a project that is a direct threat to them. Incubation outside the WMF is only possibility.

It’s sad that people don’t bother to know the most basic lived history of their own industries (or have a terribly short memory).

I give you the history of Firefox:

The Mozilla Firefox project was created by Dave Hyatt and Blake Ross as an experimental branch of the Mozilla browser.

The Phoenix name was kept until April 14, 2003, when it was changed because of a trademark dispute with the BIOS manufacturer, Phoenix Technologies (which produces a BIOS-based browser called Phoenix FirstWare Connect). The new name, Firebird, met with mixed reactions, particularly as theFirebird database server already carried the name.

The project which became Firefox started as an experimental branch of the Mozilla Suite called m/b (or mozilla/browser). After it had been sufficiently developed, binaries for public testing appeared in September 2002 under the name Phoenix

Hyatt, Ross, Hewitt and Chanial developed their browser to combat the software bloat of the Mozilla Suite (codenamed, internally referred to, and continued by the community as SeaMonkey), which integrated features such as IRC, mail and news, and WYSIWYG HTML editing into one software suite.

Dave Hyatt would leave Netscape4 for Apple in 2002 and go on to architect the number one competitor to Firefox, Safari and WebKit (the core of Safari and Google Chrome). Blake Ross would work at Netscape/Mozilla until 2004 and be nominated the next year for Wired magazine’s top Rave Award, Renegade of the Year as all of Mozilla’s resources had were redirected to Firefox, a project started internally by two employees to combat the poor direction of original Mozilla project.

So yeah, Fuck you.

One Year later

It really is astounding when you think about the level of incompetence that was on display.

There are only two large-scale consumer-facing Internet non-profits: The Wikimedia Foundation and Mozilla Foundation (which owns Mozilla Corporation). Someone makes a statement that everyone accepts and affects the entire annual budget. Meanwhile, the only other company that shares organizational affinity with yours is a living counterfactual to the statement.

I didn’t say anything as I was sitting on my resignation letter and didn’t want to humiliate my colleagues, but the disappointment I had back then was immense. Now that I’m gone, that disappointment has turned into relief.

  1. In the months since this time whenever I mentioned this to a WMF staff member, often you’d pretty much have to hold him or her back from wanting to switch into this team if it were to exist. 
  2. Chief level, as in CEO, CTO, Vice President, etc. 
  3. Not that it would have won that given that this would have required a resource sacrifice among all the Directors… Still, it would have been worth it just to see who cared more about the mission and who more about their fiefdom (or their job). :-) 
  4. Mozilla Foundation before it was separated in from Netscape in July 2003. 

SSA Swag

A classmate from my high school must have found my Facebook and put me back on my high school alumni list because a month ago I got an e-mail that the president of my high school was doing a swing down the West Coast. Since one of the meetups was only two blocks from where my girlfriend works, I decided to drag my unemployed ass to see what’s what.

(I managed to sneak in with jeans and sneakers, both of which violated the dress code of the building the meetup was in as well as would have earned me enough disciplinary reports to get detention in my high school — but part of being voluntarily unemployed is not giving a shit.)Continue reading about a small kid in a small, but too big prep school after the jump

Don’t die without a few scars

I’ve used my break time to start repairing the decades of neglect I’ve heaped on my body by being the stereotypical 90 lb weakling. Being an introvert, that means runs and DVD workouts. And, after many false starts and almost-but-not-enough’s, I finally completed a full cycle of P90X3.

My reward for that was going to be buying and going through P90X2, but after my weight dropped to a level not seen since college — on a scrawny person like me, that’s not exactly a good thing1 — I decided I should probably stick to a simpler workout that might build a little muscle on my skin and bones. So instead, I decided to reward myself with new workout clothing and shoes:

Don't die without a few scars
Don’t die without a few scars
San Francisco, California

Sony DSC-RX1
1/80 sec @ f/4, iso 1600, 35mm

I took this photo right before Kenpo X, a workout notorious for being too easy.

Continue reading about my crummy fashion sense after the jump

Notes from: Transitions: Making sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges


William Bridges wrote the first edition in 1971 and is an ex-literature teacher.

The difference between change and Transition

  • change is situational (new job, move, birth, death); transition is psychological
  • first are events, but latter has inner reorientation and self-redefinition
  • modern society focuses on change, but if the change doesn’t “take” it won’t work

Other societies had rituals (“rites of passage”) to help individuals manage transitions at specific times.Continue reading Notes from: Transitions: Making sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges