Remembering Haku

On Monday we had to let Haku go.

I couldn’t bring myself to talk about it at the time, and with the holidays and family visiting it got busy enough to distract myself, but he was my buddy and he deserves a proper eulogy.

Haku had a rough start as a kitten. He had some kind of infection that was giving him a rash on his ears and appeared to be eating a portion of his nose. We treated it but honestly the vet was never quite sure what it was and we think it just cleared up eventually on its own.

He is named after the water spirit from Spirited Away. When we first got him, he and Saru were locked in the bathroom while we acclimated them. I had turned the sink on and he CLIMBED my leg to get up there and immediately jumped into the water.

He loved to drink from the sink, but he was comically bad at it. He’d stick his head right under the stream, or let it just run over his face while he tilts his head.

His favorite toy was a round scratcher that has a . . . → Read More: Remembering Haku

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About San Juan…

So now we’re back on land and I want to talk about an epic thing that happened on JoCoCruise. Of course, epic things happen routinely on the nerd boat but this one, especially, got me.

For the last few years we now have an entire boat for our group/themed cruise. There was a lot of concern when we got big enough that we would no longer fit in a single cruise ship auditorium for the main stage shows, and a fear that the inside jokes and “feel” would be lost. One concession to this is that on one of our stops, we had a giant festival concert where everyone could attend together. While things would never be the same, this was an awesome experience that once again showed how hard The Home Office works to make things great every year.

This year, that concert was to be in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with headliner They Might Be Giants. In true JoCo Cruise fashion, the cruise raised $80,000 for relief efforts in PR on top of all the OTHER logistical stuff that goes into running a full week themed cruise AND a concert festival. It is mind-boggling.

There was no . . . → Read More: About San Juan…

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When Idealism Meets The Real World: Google Reader Was The Last Straw

There was a time when Google was the shining beacon of geekdom; when tales of their crazy interview process, fancy chefs, and 20% time were spoken of in reverent whispers.

I’m realizing now that I held onto that fantasy for a lot longer than was realistic.

While I love my freakishly good job at OpenNMS (work from home lots, open-source software, good people), Google is the one place I’d always thought I’d at least entertain if the right thing came along.

Last week, I got an email from a Google recruiter (I get one every year or so, just checking in). I told him the usual, that I wasn’t looking to move, but am always interested to hear about opportunities from Google. He responded back a few days ago, asking when we could talk.

Then they announced Google Reader was going away.

When I realized I was losing something that I spend at least 60% of my web browsing time in, I finally consciously reevaluated my feelings on Google. And then, I responded to the recruiter:

Hey, sorry it’s taken a bit long to . . . → Read More: When Idealism Meets The Real World: Google Reader Was The Last Straw

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New Blog

As if I don’t have enough blogs….  😉

But I wanted to write about non-techie things, and I kept putting it off, because it felt kind of weird posting them to a blog that is obviously mostly about my tech adventures.  So, I’ve set up a new blog…

me.raccoonfink.com

If you feel like following it, go for it, if not, don’t. 🙂

Also, I’ve gone ahead and completely reworked my blog, and *cough* replaced it with WordPress, something I thought I’d never do. While WP has a somewhat sordid history and does require the upgrade train more often, it is easier to keep up-to-date, and appears to have a better track record more recently. I’d let the old blog software stagnate and found myself resisting messing with it more and more.

Let me know if you run into any issues. I think some old links will be busted, but google sitemap should pick up the new stuff pretty quickly, I hope.

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For A Good Cause, Shave Here

For the first time, I am participating in a St. Baldrick’s event for cancer research. It’s a great cause; I have family members and friends who are either battling with cancer, or are themselves survivors.

My goal is to reach $1000 in donations towards cancer research through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. If there’s anything you can do to help, I would very much appreciate it, and there are many others out there who can benefit from your help.

Donate Here!

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Shorn in the U.S.A.

Alright, folks, the bearding has commenced.

Now’s your chance to make a pledge for the Carolina Hurricanes Kids ‘n’ Community Foundation. Just hit the “Pledge a Friend” button, and put in “Benjamin Reed“.

If you know me, you know my dedication to never exposing my unfortunate double-chin to the horrors of sunlight. Don’t let this sacrifice be in vain! Pledge now!

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It’s Playoff Beard Time

In the ’05-’06 Stanley Cup run, I grew a pretty substantial playoff beard, just for the heck of it. (see fig. 1, pictured right)

This time, the Hurricanes are doing a great charity event for the Kids ‘N Community Foundation: the Beard-A-Thon!

When the regular season games are over, I’m going to shave, and then grow a playoff beard as hard as I can.

Now, as I mentioned, it’s a charity event, and I need you folks to help me out, by pledging at the Beard-A-Thon page. Don’t forget to enter “Benjamin Reed” where it says, “ There’s a specific beard grower I’d like to support.”

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The Age of Scrutiny

I swear, this is the only political post I will do before the elections. No, really!

As the elections get closer and closer, the more I realize Neal Stephenson is not an author, but a prophet. He (co-)wrote a book called Interface which was a book about a politician who has a stroke, and has a chip implanted in his brain by the shadow government. It restores his motor control, but has the side-effect of having the ability to trigger memories with the direction of an external wireless device (designed to be a kind of “pacemaker” for the chip).

I know it sounds pretty crazy, but in the context of the book, it actually flows pretty believably.

Anyways, he goes on to run for President, and his campaign works out a way to use this memory-trigger to their advantage. They pick a small sample of people that represent a cross-section of the country, and then hook them up to a little Dick Tracy TV with an EKG in it that transmits their immediate emotional response to whatever they show them back to the campaign (sound familiar?). . . . → Read More: The Age of Scrutiny

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Lord, I Was Born a Ramblin’ Man

It’s been a crazy month, and it’s gonna keep getting crazier. June 11th I went to WWDC. Then, last weekend, I was in New York for the Origami USA convention. Now I’m headed out to Glasgow to speak at aKademy.

Then, in July it’s off to the OpenNMS Dev-Jam, and immediately after that, LinuxWorld Expo, where we’ll be in the .org pavilion.

Phew!

So anyways, if you’ll be at any of those events (heh), drop me a line!

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KDE on Mac OS X – Talk at aKademy

So I’ve been sitting on this for some time while I made the plans, but it is now officially official, I’m going to be speaking at aKademy 2007 in Glasgow! I’m really looking forward to meeting all the folks I’ve only talked to in IRC before and really get a chance to hang out with the amazing KDE developer community.

If you’d like to get together, just drop me a line and we’ll figure something out.

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