Monday, December 28, 2009

Help Us Match

We're rolling forward toward our first test deployment of ComputeSpace in a rural school system. Not surprisingly, they don't have much funding for the test (in fact, the state is asking them to cut a few teachers and custodial staff). To the rescue comes a group of small businessmen in Del Norte County who've offered a matching grant of up to $5000.00 to help with the costs of setting up the back-end of the deployment (the servers and aggregators connecting to NASA, the Smithsonian, observatories, etc.).

So we've entered into a round of fundraising to match and receive that $5000.00 and have a successful test deployment in the Spring semester.

For more info, please click...

And thanks, in advance, for your generosity.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I've been talking a lot lately with a couple of executives who are interested in ComputeSpace (if you still don't know about it, go here).

I have a problem with them.

If you listen carefully, if you read between the lines, they seem to see ComputeSpace as a collection of soft and hard assets. And if they see it that way, they see fissures where they can separate one part from another, one feature from another, one team member from another and collect the parts they consider to have the most value and write off the rest.

I suspect that's a viable approach to doing things in MBA school. But I find it disturbing.

I can say some things really simply.

ComputeSpace is all about one thing: Delivering science education to students in remote areas. Whether it's somewhere in Wyoming or somewhere in Kenya, our identity comes from doing that and how well we do that.

We're providing it through a SaaS model. That's software as a service with the emphasis, not on software but, on service.

And this is a service whose time has come. When the Internet became available to everyday users, it was hailed as a great democratizer. Well, applications like ComputeSpace help it meet that vision. As science education becomes more polarized this is a way to spread a quality of knowledge to schools no matter where they are.

If you don't believe that's an issue I should point out that I come from Gardena in Southern California's South Bay. Within an hour drive of my family home were the following institutions: Long Beach State University, L.A. Harbor College, El Camino College, Cal State U. Dominguez Hills, USC, California Science Center, California Natural History Museum, Space Park, Hughes Satellite Systems, US Space Command, L.A. Public Library, Pepperdine University, etc.

Today I live in a semi-rural part of Del Norte County. How many science or higher educational institutions are within and hour drive? 0

My entire career was shaped by proximity to these valuable institutions. I was hired at the California Science Center because I was a regular visitor and the Director of Space Education knew who I was. I joined the staff at Griffith Observatory because people knew my work from the Science Center.

How do young students get that kind of exposure here in the countryside? How do they get the confidence to want to spend there lives in the service of science if they never see it?

I don't think we want everyone in science to come from big cities. Great astronomers of the 20th century like Gerard Kuiper and Clyde Tombaugh came from small rural towns with clear night skies where they could know the night sky easily.

Don't wanna get off on a rant. But I just think that ComputeSpace's value is in achieving its goal of spreading science education effectively and efficiently around the country and, eventually, the world. Not in looking at the technologies and skill sets that comprise it and figuring how to make a buck off them in the short term.

I don't see how that kind of thinking has been a long term success in our economy in general and I know it's a failure of imagination for ComputeSpace.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

As usual, there's always plenty to be thankful for and I'm grateful just to be able to be here. Still, this is a good time to reflect on the people I owe many thanks to this year...

  • Jeri, Bob, Kevin, and Werner for "hanging in there as ComputeSpace has turned into the world's longest pregnancy"...
  • Roberto for putting me up at his place and all the free meals...
  • Shirl for putting me up at her place and all the free meals...
  • Bob and Brigitte for putting me up at their place and all the free meals...
  • Wallace and Nan for "hanging in there" with me...
  • My kids for being nice to me even though its no longer mandatory...
  • Aaron and Robin for taking my OpenNMS pitch seriously
  • Barbara for tireless support during the "world's longest pregnancy"...
  • Dave, Jobie, John, Jon, Carol, Carole, and Michele for staying good friends even though we're many miles apart...
  • Dawn, Danny, and Robyn for a fun time with family this year...
  • Ostaajje (the Dude) for being a good companion...
  • Ross and Faisal for looking out for me...
  • Jamie for looking out for me...

  • Special thanks to Fred for keeping me inspired with the good karma stuff...
  • Special thanks to Tal for keeping me on track...
  • Special thanks to Angie because...(it's complicated)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Show Us The Love...

We've just opened up the new ComputeSpace Store where we're offering apparel and mugs illustrated with the ComputeSpace logo and our motto "Teaching Science to the 21st Century". Any money raised goes to funding our drive to teach rural educators about using the Internet to support science education in their regions.

Lots of our friends have told us that ComputeSpace is a great idea and that there's a place in heaven waiting for us because we took the time to build it instead of something to make us all rich. Well, show us some love and put ComputeSpace on your chest, on your mug, or your hat. Let folks know you support the cool kids on the block!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Doggy Discipline Days

Yesterday, the Dude finally got his cone off after two weeks. He's been wearing the cone to keep him from fussing with a would he got in the front yard (probably scrapping with a cat). He hasn't been able to play outside for a while to give himself a chance to heal properly.

He'd just gotten his cone off and Angie open the front door to go out when he exploded out the door and down the road to chase all the cats next door. He ignored our calls, the cats took off and he chased them off into the forest bounding the lake. I ran after him and into the forest yelling for him to come back. Apparently, the cat got away and I could seem him hiding in the underbrush. He knew he was in a spot of trouble with me.

The Dude took off in the opposite direction coming out of the trees and hiding under Angie by the time I got back.

Needless to say, someone was dealt with rather harshly.

Today I walked down to the general store for a few items and my morning chat with the owner. I noticed the people on the farm next door have a new pit bull. At least I've never seen it before. It ran up to the fence and made a big fuss as I walked by. Eventually, a guy came out of the house and called it back.

On the way back, I was on the opposite side of the street but the pit bull came out hollering and fussing at the fence. Then it ran across the yard and came out the front gates, ran across the highway and tried to attack me. I yelled and came at it and it backed up into the highway where it was almost struck by an oncoming car. The owner heard the commotion and called the dog back in.

I can tell a grievous accident is about to happen with that dog. I'm usually in my car, but Angela and the Dude are not. Not to mention 50mph traffic whizzing along Lake Earl Drive.

All to say that we all need to get more control over our pets. In these troubled times, few of us can afford the results of failing to properly discipline them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Here Comes the Pitch!!

I'm in a very rainy Crescent City today, pitching the ecstasy of a world with ComputeSpace in it to a very nice banker.

Cover your eyes, Mom! I asked for some money!

Why, you ask, would a seemingly smart and principled guy such as me want to get in bed with morally-compromised banking types?

  1. If I really want Johnny and Janey to get to learn astronomy in this very cool way we've devised, someones going to have to dig deep and give us some love. (BTW, since this is being marketed to rural regions I guess that should be little Clem and Bobby Sue).
  2. It's America, dudes. Time is money and money is time and we all want Johnny, Janey, Clem, or Bobby Sue to get their hands on this thing before I start getting Social Security.
  3. However lefty, geeky, academic, or hippy I am, I'm also the son of a (Republican) business man. I like money. It looks good, feels good, smells good, tastes good. I want the bank to gimme some more of it. I want to take a bath in it and rub it all over my body. Then I want to deploy ComputeSpace around the planet, pop open a cold one and take my dog fishing out on the lake.
...and here comes the pitch...she swings's...

Friday, October 09, 2009

Say (California) Cheese!

I was strolling down to the mailbox and a couple of the "neighbors" were kind enough to pose for a picture...

Thanks, ladies!

The Solo Presentation

Just got a call to give a presentation on ComputeSpace on Tuesday morning at our business advisor's office. Kevin's in Europe, Talia's in DC; Bob, Werner, and Jeri are all doing their respective things in the Bay Area, so that leaves me to give a solo presentation on why ComputeSpace is the greatest thing since cheese and why people should open their wallets and fling high denomination bills our way.

It's not my first presentation but the stakes seem high in getting this person on board with us.

I'd be happier if the entire brain trust was in the room. They are an impressive group of people.

As for me, I have one big surprise up my sleeve for Tuesday and I hope it'll show why ComputeSpace is really different from all the other educational tools out there.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Help a Brotha Out...

My photograph "Our Cabin by the Lake" is being considered for publication in the next JPG Magazine on the theme of Decay and Weathering. It takes votes to be included and I implore you to stuff the ballot box in my behalf.

Here is the link:

and here's the photograph:

Barn Swallowed

Here's a photo that was submitted to JPG on the theme subject of Decay.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Big Fat Sloppy Thanks!

I've been really isolated the past few months following my "codequest" and I was pleasantly surprised and humbled by all the kind wishes for my birthday this year. Always nice to have someone remember you, so a big wet sloppy "Thank You" to you all!

  • Mom(actual)
  • Angie & the Dude
  • Jasmyne, Jorjanna, and Joeigh
  • Mom(Michele)
  • Werner, Kevin, and Talia
  • Cel
  • Kelby, Kim, and Kelby, Jr.
  • John
  • Matt
  • Fred
  • Jon
  • Margarita
  • Michael(Lyndon)

Lunchwalking...Country Style

Took the time for a lunchwalk down Lake Earl Drive today since I'm heading back to San Francisco tomorrow morning. It was a beautiful Fall day up here and it was very nice getting my head out of the (code) clouds for a while.

By the way, April 29, 2010 will be National Walk@Lunch Day! If you'd like to join me, I'll be lunchwalking from Twin Peaks (the first place I lived when I came to San Francisco) to Glen Park (the last place) with a stop off for lunch at Lucky River Restaurant (Chinese).
Come get your walk on with me next April.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Special Lunchwallk with the Dude

Today was my birthday and I stayed in because I'm working on a deadline. But around lunchtime the Dude was pretty bored and wanted to get out.

He said something to the effect of " Hey Man, let's roll up to Gold Beach for lunch. It's your birthday!". I probably should have stayed glued to my computer but I decided "Why not?" and grabbed the Dude's leash. "You're drivin'." he panted.

It was a beautiful day on the coast and we took a stop at Whalehead Beach.

I thought we'd drop in to the Porthole Cafe and get a bite. Actually, the Porthole was pretty crowded when we got there. Turistas! And there was no place available to eat outside.

Only then the Dude confessed he didn't have any money. "No pockets!" he muttered. Though he attempted to get me to take him to Nor'Western for some steak.

Dudes with no money get kibble.

We drove up to Humbug State Park and walked along the river and he had some lunch. I didn't get anything until we got back to California.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Lots accomplished on the project and we're rolling downhill, picking up speed, as we approach the launch. Looks as if we'll be doing some live demos in a couple of months at the CA Science Ed conference.

However things work out, it's really been an amazing year getting to work on ComputeSpace and work with a team of really cool people. I couldn't have been luckier winding up with Werner, Jeri, Bob, Kevin, and Talia. It's been a great feeling knowing they're there even though I haven't exploited them yet as much as I will in the near future.

And our business counsel, Barbara, has been a tireless supporter, adviser, and cheerleader here in Del Norte County.

Doing this project really is like jumping off a cliff and trying to assemble the airplane on the way down. I can see why my dad found it exhilarating. Whether things work out well or poorly, there's no such thing as a boring day.

A couple of weeks of web testing ahead. Then, next stop, Ashland, OR.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom!

My mom turns 88 years old today. Still doing pretty well and a fixture in her kids', grandkids', and great-grandkids' lives!

I'm 800 miles away on this birthday but I'm glad Jasmyne is taking her and a few friends to lunch.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The New Logo

ComputeSpace has a new corporate logo!
Long may it wave!
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Friday, July 24, 2009

Allen Telescope Array

Allen Telscope Array

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Lassen National Forest

On my way to the Hat Creek Radio Observatory and Allen Telescope Array

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Getting Out and About

Having a lot of fun this week for a change. I spent Tuesday back on campus at Berkeley meeting with Don McLeod and the two Jeffs at Earl Warren Hall. Had a great time and it was a bit of deja vu. Jeff, Matt, and I had visited the building when it was brand new a few years ago to discuss co-locating SETI@Home there. Never happened.

Afterwards, Bob and I went to dinner at The Boiler House in Richmond...

Thanks, Uncle Bob! The next one's on me!

The next day, I headed out for Hat Creek Radio Observatory and the Allen Telescope Array

Entering the Lassen National Forest
Of Dudes and Dishes
More later...