13. January 2012 · Comments Off on I was Laid Off By Mitt Romney · Categories: Opinion, Politics

Well, actually it was Bain Capital which fired me, but Mitt was largely responsible for many of the actions of Bain.

I started working for Interpath Communications, Inc., a local ISP/ASP here in RTP, North Carolina, in October, 1999. Interpath was a subsidiary of Carolina Power and Light, which is now Progress Energy.

In about May of 2000, Bain Capital purchased an equity share of Interpath from Progress Energy. I knew we were in trouble when we heard that a capital company out of Boston purchased such a large equity share. It was a common subject of discussion around Interpath in those days to speculate on when the first layoffs would be.

On the morning of August 11 of 2000, we came in to work and each found a sealed envelope on our desk. We were locked out of our computers and there were armed guards at the entrances to the computer room.

Interpath Layoff Letter

Interpath Layoff Letter. Click to view enlarged.

After opening and reading the contents of our envelopes, about 80 of us went into one meeting room and the rest went into another. I was in the group of 80 that were being “laid off,” “restructured,” “downsized,” “rightsized,” “released,” “let go,” “terminated,” or any of the other words used to say you were fired.

No one even had the common decency—or guts—to sign the letter.

Yes, Mitt does like to fire people. He fired me and eighty others in one day at one company!

It took only two years to dismantle a perfectly good company. Here is a link to a 2002 story about the divestiture of most of Interpath’s then remaining assets, As Interpath Fades, Employees Offered Severance or Move to Maryland.

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Disclosure: I still own shares of Progress Energy, most of which were purchased through the Employee Stock Ownership Plan while I worked at Interpath.

08. January 2012 · Comments Off on Linux Class Schedules set for Q1, 2012 · Categories: Linux, Millennium Technology Consulting LLC

My Company, Millennium Technology Consulting LLC, has set its Linux training schedule for the First Quarter of 2012. We will be presenting one session of our highly acclaimed “Theory and Practice of Linux System Administration” class each month.

Classes are set for the following dates:

  • January 23-27, 2012
  • February 13-17, 2012
  • March 12-16, 2012

Please refer to the Millennium Technology Consulting LLC Training Page for complete schedules and prices.

Yes, my personal blog has a new look. I have had the San Francisco Bay Bridge for a few years now. That was a really bright and white theme and I thought it was time for a change to something more interesting visually.

I really like WordPress, which is the software I use for all of my web sites, because I can change the look and feel—the theme—with a couple clicks of a mouse.

No, this look is not because I feel depressed or “blue.” In fact I feel great and am doing quite well. I just like these gray colors, the subtle lines and the feel of this theme.

We had a great Christmas this year. We hope you did too.

I was fortunate enough to drive a train for my birthday. Alice purchased this gift for me in August, but it was not until October 1 that I was scheduled to actually do it.

We headed out to the New Hope Valley Railway that morning. I helped prepare the 0-4-0 tank engine for the short trip; this included greasing and oiling the running gear. The engineer and fireman were very helpful and informative. They showed me how to care for the engine with oil and grease in the appropriate places. On the trip out I “fired” it by keeping the boiler filled to the correct level and ensuring that the “smoke” was clear and not dark and the steam pressure was correct.

Getting ready to drive the steam engine

Here I am getting ready to drive the steam engine.

On the way back I was at the throttle and enjoyed blowing the steam whistle at each crossing. I have always wanted to do that.

All in all it was a very enjoyable time, I learned a lot and met some really swell people.

Once again we have gone to the beach for a week and returned to Raleigh on a single tank of gas. And then some. This is in our 10 year old, Gen 1 Prius with 143,000 miles on it.

I filled up Thursday, September 1 in Raleigh. We drove to Pine Knoll Shores on Friday. We spent the week being lazy and doing touristy things and drove home again on Friday the 9th.

To the beach and back for a week we got 50.1 MPG.

We got 50.1 MPG going to the beach and back for a week.

 

I ran some errands on Friday and the picture above shows the Consumption display at the end of the day on Friday. Overall we got 50.1 MPG for this trip of 483 miles.

Then I added about 10 more miles on Saturday running some additional errands before filling up with 10.1 gallons of gas. And I had to try hard to get that much in it.

I sure do love my Prius.

The GOP — That’s Greedy Old Poops to you — is now fighting against the very thing they campaigned for:  tax cuts.

But these aren’t tax cuts for the grossly rich, which they still defend vigorously and will gladly destroy the economy to protect. These are tax cuts for the people that need them the most. They want to let expire an existing tax cut for regular working folks.

To quote from the article in today’s News & Observer:

Many of the Republicans who fought hammer-and-tong to keep the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts from expiring on schedule are now saying a different “temporary” tax cut should end on Jan. 1 as planned.

The tax break extension they oppose is sought by President Barack Obama. Unlike proposed changes in the income tax, this policy helps the 46 percent of Americans who owe no federal income taxes but who pay a “payroll tax” on practically every dime they earn.

There are other differences as well, and Republicans say their stand is consistent with their goal of long-term tax policies that will spur employment and lend greater certainty to the economy.

“It’s always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn,” says Rep. Jeb Hensarling, “but not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again.” The Texas lawmaker is on the House GOP leadership team.

This bozo is using typical Republican convoluted illogic to contradict himself in a single sentence. Please, Jeb, explain to us how tax cuts for the poor and middle class is so different from tax cuts for the grotesquely rich.

Apparently voodoo economics is like  voodoo science. Can you say “There is no global warming?” When repeated frequently enough by idiotic, wacko talk show hosts and moronic, power hungry politicians, makes it true in the minds of the . . . idiots and morons who say it.

And like second-hand smoke, which has been banned in many places, it poisons many who have to listen to it too frequently as well.

So the Greedy Old Poops think that tax cuts for the obscenely rich are the only ones that can help “get the economy moving again.”  How can you people live with yourselves?

I just love it! The Greedy Old Poops think it is OK for the super-rich to get or keep tax cuts, but not for the rest of us. Did you vote for these <place disparaging name of your choice here, such as shitheads> because you thought that they would cut your taxes? I sure didn’t.

Read the complete N&O article below, but do so at your own risk. It will increase your blood pressure and put you at risk of a stroke — which you can’t afford to get treated thanks to the damn Republicans. I sure could use some Obamacare right now.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/08/22/1427548/gop-fights-tax-cut-that-obama.html#ixzz1Vl6Lq1oh

I have had my Toyota Prius for 10 years this past April. I am very happy with it. This news makes me even happier because future Toyotas of all models will use embedded Linux for the onboard control and entertainment systems.

See http://www.linuxinsider.com/rsstory/72867.html for the details and an interesting Top Ten List.

I am in the process of forming a class roster to test a new Linux Administration course I am creating. This 5-day class will be held in Raleigh, NC, July 25 through 29. The normal cost for this course would be $1995 per student, but because this is a test class, there will be an $800 discount for a cost of $1195 per student. This is a one time offer. All future classes will be at the full rate. To obtain this discounted rate you must be enrolled and course fees paid no later than 5:00 PM on July 15, 2011.

I have a couple students committed to this class and would like to have a few more.

This class is based upon material I have put together over several years for a number of different specialized reasons. I am in the process of filling out the areas needed to cover all aspects of an Introduction to Linux  System Administration.

Course Synopsis

This course is intended for  junior Linux Systems Administrators who wish to advance their knowledge, and administrators of other Unix versions or Windows who wish to become Linux System Administrators. This class is heavily oriented towards hands-on activities. At least half of the class time is allotted to lab projects. The class is based on Fedora because it is the upstream distribution for Red Hat Linux.

The student will learn about the history of Linux and the philosophy of Linux and how it applies to the everyday tasks that she will be expected to perform. The student will install a current Fedora Linux system on common Intel hardware, using various installation options to customize the final result. The students will learn to use the command line interface (CLI) and many basic Linux commands along with the vi editor. More advanced commands such as sed and awk will be covered and combining all of these commands into short command line programs will be discussed and the student will have opportunity to use them in lab projects.

This course covers the Linux boot sequence and the traditional SystemV init scripts as well as the new systemd daemon for startup and daemon management. The student will learn to manage users and software packages. Networking, security, processes, filesystems and Logical Volume Management will be covered in detail.

The course outline (subject to change) is shown below:

  • Introduction To Linux
  • The Linux Way
  • Installation
  • Getting logged in
  • Using the Console
  • The Command Line Interface (CLI)
  • Basic Linux Commands
  • Boot Sequence
  • Startup
    • Upstart
    • SystemV init
    • systemd
  • The vi Editor
  • Managing Users
  • Advanced CLI Commands
  • Processes
  • Task Scheduling
  • Filesystems
  • Logical Volume Management (LVM)
  • Disk management
  • CLI Programming
  • Package Management with RPM and YUM
  • Network
  • Security
  • Problem Solving

Please contact dboth {at} millennium-technology {dot} com to register for this class or call 919-389-8678.

The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4 1776 by a small group of people who possessed great courage and foresight. The Constitution was framed and signed after the Revolutionary War, on September 17th of 1787 by another group of visionaries.

The United States of America was founded and has been nurtured by small groups of people working together to solve common problems and to promote the greater good. They understood and practiced the precepts of participatory government. However the idea of participatory government was not new even then. Plato said, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

I was privileged this past weekend to be involved in a 21st Century version of participatory government.

CityCamp Raleigh (http://citycampral.org/) brought together government, business, neighborhood, non-profit, and academic communities to re-imagine the ways in which open source collaboration and technology will shape the future of our city.

CityCamp is a series of events, first started in Chicago, focused on innovation for government and community organizations in our cities. Each CityCamp has four main goals:

  1. Bring together government officials, municipal employees, experts, programmers, designers, citizens and journalists to share perspectives and insights about the cities in which they live
  2. Create or maintain government transparency and effective local governance using the web as a platform
  3. Foster communities of practice and advocacy on the role of information and open data in cities
  4. Create outcomes that participants will act on during and after the event

CityCamp Raleigh was an “unconference” with little planned structure other than the first day in which we learned about unconferences, CityCamps in other cities, and problems facing citizens and the state and local governments. The organization required to identify and solve problems was created on the fly as we listened to panels and speakers. The simple low-tech expedient of a grid of masking tape on one of the walls of our venue allowed participants to post ideas and for others to self-select into groups based upon those ideas.

Each group focused on one problem in which they shared a common interest and generated a presentation to define the problem and their possible solution. Some groups even provided a simple level of implementation or a non-functional prototype to demonstrate their solutions. Sunday afternoon, June 5, each group presented its ideas to a panel of judges and the other groups.

The winning team, named “Open it Up,” proposed making public data from NC Education Report Card open and easily accessible. Although the data is currently available, it is cumbersome to obtain and difficult and expensive to manipulate.

School data can currently be obtained from a web site that does not allow any direct comparison of various measurement and tracking criteria. All of the data from the web site can be obtained directly from the Department of Public Instruction on a CD for a $10 shipping and handling fee. Once the CD is in one’s hands, however, it is still not accessible. You must spend several hundred dollars on proprietary software merely to access the database. You must learn to use the software and then figure out how to manipulate the data to meet your needs. This is not open data because it is not easily accessible.

The Open it Up team demonstrated a method to convert this data into an open data format that can be used by anyone, Comma Separated Variable (CSV). Any spreadsheet program can import and export data in this format and a large number of Open Source programs can use it as well. They made the data available on the open data web site http://ncschooldata.wordpress.com/ where it was easily transformed into graphs allowing parents to easily compare school performance. You can download the data yourself from the website and use it in any way you choose.

Ideally the data should be in an open format to begin with so that proprietary tools would not be required. The raw data should be made publicly available from the internet in this open format. This allows citizens and entrepreneurs to create inexpensive apps to access the data in any variety of ways so that parents could compare schools without having to invest a great deal money and time in proprietary software.

The $5000 prize was awarded on creativity, execution, and feasibility. Jason Hibbits a CityCamp Raleigh committee co-chair and judge said, “The Open It Up team epitomized the CityCamp Raleigh event. The issue was mentioned in the panel on Friday by Jimmy Goodmon as a parental concern, stated by a government employee in a breakout session on Saturday morning, and a team of strangers came together to propose and prototype a technology solution by the end of the following day.”

Another group suggested ways to implement Open Source Software in the City of Raleigh. They recommended supporting the resolution before the City Council this Tuesday to include Open Source Software as an option in the city purchasing process.

Open Source Software can be of higher quality and less expensive than proprietary software. In some cases it is even free of charge such as many versions of Linux, and the Firefox web browser. I use Free Open Source Software exclusively to run my business and on all of my home computers. Yes I have many computers.

One of the more interesting problems was increasing bus ridership and making it easier for those who already use public transportation. The solution was to use QR codes on stickers and the realtime GPS data that will soon be made publicly available from the CAT buses. The QR stickers would be pasted on each bus stop sign and each sign has a unique code embedded in the sticker.

A simple app would let cellphone users snap a photo of the QR sticker and that data would be used to determine which routes serve the stop and the arrival time of the next bus for each route. A similar app in use in San Francisco allows users to get to the bus stops just as buses arrive. For many people this means less wasted time waiting at bus stops.

Other groups worked on ways to support local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) groups, provide easier citizen input to their city council members, and even use telepresence in public places to connect with people in our sister cities.

Many of the participants worked far longer than just the official CityCamp hours to hone their projects. Emails and tweets flew at all hours of night and day.

Much of the success of CityCamp was the diversity of people who attended. Citizens and government employees brought the problems that the technical people had know knowledge of. Then together with the more technical attendees they synthesized workable solutions in way that the techies alone would not have imagined. CityCamp is a perfect example of how Open Source works.

I was amazed at the creativity exhibited by these groups and the amount of energy surrounding these projects. I was exhausted by the end of the three days and yet exhilarated by the results that all of the teams achieved. I met and worked with some old friends and made many new ones.

Thanks to all who participated in planning and staffing CityCamp Raleigh. I would like to thank the sponsors and the state and local government officials who supported the first CityCamp Raleigh. Without them this event would not have been possible. I enjoyed myself so much that I have volunteered to help plan future CityCamp Raleigh events. I really hope to see you at the next CityCamp Raleigh in 2012 or at one of the meetups between now and then.

All of the groups are excited by the results of CityCamp Raleigh and will continue working to implement their projects to make Raleigh a better place to live than it already is. Look for the results of their efforts during the coming year.