Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ComputeSpace Rising





Lots of activity on the ComputeSpace front. I've been writing a ton of code (Perl, Java, JavaFX) and doing some presentations. We've started to develop a lot of interest. Turns out there's a fair amount of economic development money here in my county of Del Norte for a high-technology company.

I think I'll be giving a big presentation for the movers and shakers in the next few weeks.

Some of my friends have come on board to help make ComputeSpace a reality. Besides Bob Bankay, my buddy Tal is helping with curriculum compliance, Kevin is handling the astronomy compliance since he's the Ph.D astronomer, Jeri will be the Project Coordinator keeping us on schedule, and my favorite IT gangsta, Werner, has just agreed to handle the customer support.

So now we have a team! And just like putting together a band, getting the talent together is only the beginning. It's only going to sound as good as the composition and the arrangement. So now that we have the talent, I need to get that right.

It also means a bit of a change of lifestyle for me. I get to spend about half the week isolated with the headphones and music on, a pleasant beverage on the desk, and drifting through ComputeSpace code! Which is pretty enjoyable. Building something that works is super rewarding for me. Though debugging takes years off my life :-( .

And, unfortunately, I have to spend at least one day a week doing biz stuff instead of astronomy and computer stuff.  But its the price we pay, I guess.

Bob is still in the process of benchmarking different object database systems but I'm hopeful we'll hit the next technical milestone and get a demo up and working on the test platform by the beginning of summer.

It's gonna be a fun(?) race to the finish line.

On the home front, when I'm here I'm working in my lab or out meeting people. The Dude has some qualms about me being around and not taking him out to play. He's right of course.  what could be more important than fetching the ball?  He's getting to be a pretty grown up guy. For those who remember the little pup, he's now 16 months old. I think he's considered finished growing at around 18 months. I must admit, my big, black Dude is a very cool guy, indeed.

Angie says some neighbors have asked her about breeding him with their dog (on account of his handsome Dudeliness).  We haven't even had the birds and the bees talk with him yet. Hmmm...

Back in the Bay Area Friday. One of my oldest friends is flying in from Hawaii on Saturday and we'll do some hanging out. Bunch of meetings scheduled, too.

Well, back to ComputeSpace-land for me.



The music: The Crusaders' Free Like the Wind. 
The beverage: Orange milk shake
The language: Business-speak.



Sunday, February 08, 2009

Farewell, Lukas Foss




Lukas Foss, the conductor and composer, passed away last week at the age of 86.

For me he will be forever associated with a great night in my life. I had the privilege of being conducted by Foss at a performance of Beethoven works in L.A.'s Dorothy Chandler Pavillion way back in 1971.

Back then I thought I would be spending my career as a professional tympanist in a philharmonic orchestra (who knew what was coming?)

He was a terrific conductor to work with and definitely set the standard for me of what conducting is really all about.

And that night was the only time my father saw me perform in a major hall with a world-class orchestra.



Thanks for that memory, Lukas Foss...