Sep 18

Keep Your Altars Clean

Keep your altars clear.

This is a saying from esoterica, and also from traditional religions. It means that wherever you worship, you need to keep the environment clean and neat.

But as a pragmatic software engineer, I would extrapolate this to your entire environment. Lots of people (especially those of my ilk who develop software) say that their piles of clutter are OK, and that they are organized in their software development. And to them I say BS. I cannot imagine working on software and being organized in my approach to development when my life is out of control organizationally. One affects the other. If your office is a mess with papers piled everywhere, then your software will be a mess with methods and procedures that make no sense going everywhere.

This wasn’t always my approach. At one time I was in the camp that my office and surroundings could be a mess, but my software was apart from that. But as I came to grips with the personal clutter, my software became more clear. I was able to organize and execute a software development plan in ways that had previously escaped me. The correlation become obviously clear, a neat environment fosters neat software engineering and development.

Keeping your altars (environment) clear gives your software development the edge that it needs.

Aug 30

Incorrigible

In college I had a girlfriend who seemed to have a chip of some sort on her shoulder. She always wanted to prove to others how smart she was. And if you corrected her, she would fight you.

One time someone told her that she was incorrigible. At the time neither of us knew what that meant, and we looked the word up in the dictionary. There were essentially two meanings for the word. The first was the most common: when a person is not able to be corrected because of your defensive attitude. The second is not a common meaning for the word: when you are not able to be corrected because you are always right.

After we had read those definitions, she turned to me and said, well at least one person realizes that I am always right. This is just an example of someone who has no concept that they can possibly be wrong. Needless to say, this relationship had challenges over time.

As it turns out, it was not arrogance but insecurity that caused this behavior. She studied flute and eventually got a job as a professional flute player. She had to quit because of her nervousness in front of others, not a good trait for a musician.

Aug 22

Lots Of Things On The Horizon

This is that time of year for a professor when hopeful anticipation abounds. It’s the start of a new year and a new semester. In my computer science 2 class alone I will meet 225 new people. This is one of the best parts of this job: meeting lots of new and interesting people.

Besides e new year/semester, I have a lot of personal things on the horizon. The first is that I sent five choral pieces to the Ithaca College choral composition contest. If I am one of the finalists, the piece in the finals will be performed on November 14. This would be an honor and a thrill.

I also am writing a fiction novel aimed at junior high/middle school kids. So far, four chapters are complete. I have sent them to my high school buddies so that they can give me a reality check on the material and the facts. This is the first time that I have seriously written fiction, most of my writing is technical. But it has been really fun.

I am also wrapping up a data compression algorithm that gives an advantage over deflate/LZW/etc without a noticeable performance degradation. I should have the final demo and empirical result data ready for presentation sometime soon. As a computer scientist, it is exciting to think that I can make a contribution such as this.

There are lots of exciting things on the horizon. Now we are off to the races.

 

Aug 07

A Year At University of Central Florida

One year has passed since I began teaching computer science at University of Central Florida. It has been an amazing year. UCF is amazing. Instead of teaching in classrooms, I teach in auditoriums. The students I get, for the most part, are very bright. The facilities here are top notch. The support resources for faculty are incredible.

It has been a tough year, though. Learning the ropes took my the first semester. And I have said many times, it takes a couple of years to really get good at teaching a class–I am halfway there. I am away from North Carolina where I have been living for a number of years. And even though I grew up in Miami, it still took time to get used to being back in Florida.

Now for an even better year. I am determined to deliver better instruction, and give students the best I can give them. I have some apps that I will release this year. I have a data compression algorithm that I plan to wrap up this fall and push across the finish line. And I plan to complete a novel. I am living in the anticipation for how these successful projects will lead to even more success. Stay tuned.

Jun 26

First Year at UCF

I am finishing my first year at University of Central Florida. It has been an amazing year. I love knowing that I am affecting tomorrow’s software engineers. I also love the opportunity that UCF gives me to continue learning. I am a life-long learner and plan to take advantage of all of my colleagues who are esteemed.

I am also writing a novel. It is named “The Lion’s Paw 2″, and is a continuation of the Robb White classic “The Lion’s Paw” which was published in 1946. This is an exciting project for me since I loved White’s original book. Now I can move the adventure into a new generation, and provide readers with another experience.

I am also developing an app for Android and iOS. It is based on the old “Horse” game that we used to play on the basketball court. You take a shot, then your opponent takes a shot. If your opponent misses they get a letter such as “H”, “O”, “R”, “S”, or “E”.

I am looking forward to seeing what this next year has to offer!!!

 

Jul 19

Downsizing and what is important

As the next chapter of my life unfolds, I am preparing to move to Orlando, Florida. This is my home state, and i will be about 2 1/2 hours away from family. I will also have a fantastic job teaching at University of Central Florida.

As I sort through what to take, I am faced with the question of what is important. The kitchen stuff is on the chopping block as I don’t cook much any more. But there are more difficult questions. As I go through my belongings, I get to examine my life past, present, and future and assign priorities. It is a healthy exercise. Too bad most people rarely undertake it.

In the future, I need to think about my priorities more. I need to decided what supports my higher criteria and what doesn’t. Things and pursuits that support my higher criteria get done, and those that do not go to the bottom of the list.

Jul 06

The Heat of the Summer

It is two days after July 4th. This is the heat of the summer. This is the season I love the most.

I am moving to Orlando in 26 days (actually Oviedo). That means I have had my last winter, at least I hope. I am looking forward to more warm weather throughout the year. It fits my better than cold weather. And I can be outside doing things such as diving and surfing.

I have been in North Carolina for about 25 years. I love the mountains. I have had many good times here. I have many good friends that I am leaving. I will definitely miss a lot about North Carolina, but not the winter.

I lived in Ohio for two years where winter is a lot worse than winter in North Carolina. But I was in graduate school and newly married, so I didn’t really mind. I think it was dealing with snow and ice storms with treacherous driving and out electricity that wore on me.

I am also really excited to be on the faculty at University of Central Florida. This is a dream come true.

Jun 04

The right nutrition can change your life.

I recently started on a strict nutritional plan. It includes eating right, and is accompanied by a consistent exercise program of cardio and resistance exercises. Besides eating right, I have added some supplements that seem to be providing an incredible boost to me.

Three times a day abouy 15 minutes before eating, I drink 2 tablespoons of apple cider inegar diluted in water. In my morning protein shake I add powdered Reishi, Chaga, and Maca. In the evening I drink Spirulina and green super food in coconut water.

So far I feel great. My cardio function is dramatically up. My resistance training is better. I am peaceful and calm. I feel great My Ph level when measured with the strips is usually around 7.0. I plan to keep this up for the foreseeable future.

Jun 01

Take Time To Be

I have adopted the habit of starting each morning with a walk to the park. I carry a backpack with things such as my diary, daily logic puzzles, and MP3 player. There are several park benches I like best, and I sit on them with my backpack and meditate and take time to be.

So far this has shown tremendous benefits. My software development is much faster and better, my exercise regimen is easier and produces better results, and I spend more time in bliss. My plan is to keep this plan going for the next nine weeks until I move to Orlando. Once in Orlando, I hope to establish a similar morning routine.

I highly recommend spending time in nature meditating, thinking grateful thoughts, and just being. If you have experiences similar to mine, it might change your life.

May 13

Creative Expression and Writing Fiction

One of my higher criteria is creative expression. I have an innate need to express myself creatively. In recent years I have written music to fill the need. I will continue to write music, but I am now ready to write fiction. I have years of writing experience with 23 published books and hundreds of print articles. And in the last 2.25 years I developed my skills of academic writing.

But it is a new day. I am watching YouTube videos, reading blogs, and reading books that seem helpful. I am going to have two co-authors to help for my first book, but I need to get things started. Right now the idea is within the science fiction realm, although it breaks those boundaries at times.

I am looking forward to this creative adventure. I hope that it allows me to grow, and that it leads to other even better creative adventures.

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