Monday, May 25, 2009

Physics and Buddhism

I came across this video today though one of my Google searches. It was posted on The video maker encourages re-posting. I enjoyed it.

Where Science and Buddhism Meet from Gerald Penilla on Vimeo.



Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another month

I seem to be good for one blog a month these days I am sorry to say. I have gotten some nice comments on previous blogs. I thank you for those. I have a full schedule and it makes it hard to find time to sit and do it. The good news is  I keep collecting ideas for future blogs. I need to put blogging on my calendar.

We just got back from the NAB Convention (National Association of Broadcasters) in Las Vegas a couple of days ago. We drove there since I was not on the company dime and we stayed with Sandi's granddaughter and her new husband. It was pleasant to be with family away from casinos. I did not gamble at all. It was fun to just hang out at the show and not have to work the booth. I did not have a big list of toys I wanted to see. I just wanted to hang out and be social. I met some people I had talked to on the phone and caught up with friends I had not seen in a long while. I was telling a friend I prefer people over equipment these days.  

I think the social change took place long ago when I was freelance but I never realized it. In the past I would go around a fix equipment for people. A lot of times people would stay and chat while I worked. It was fun to meet new people. I learned how to chat with a total stranger and start a friendship. Life is such a wonderful opportunity to connect with people. I was terminally shy for many years, I heard from people later that some though I was stuck up. I was upset to hear that because it could not be farther from the truth. I worked harder to make changes to be more outgoing. I became a good listener.

These days look at everything I do with the same attitude of change and improve. I love to make improvements in how I live my life. My Buddhist practice has helped me to change and grow as a person. When I see things in my life I don't feel good about I work to make it better. Projects are good for that because every time I finish one I look to see what I could have done better. I am finding the more I change and grow the easier it is to change and grow.  Changes build on changes, growth on growth.

My task list management has helped to calm the noise in my head. I am able to capture, manage  and complete a lot of tasks. It is not to say I don't still have roadblocks. I am revising my home budgets and we filed extensions for taxes. It is interesting to note I deal with budgets at work everyday as part of my projects and I do well with them. Now I need to apply the same principles in to my personal life. I made up a budget in Excel since the one in Quicken was not to my liking. Blogging today is part of my tax avoidance plan. It's good to have a plan.

I am also finding the more planning I do in my work life, the better I am at planning my home life. Back in the day I just let life unfold. Now I look at life as a projects with an end goal, risk log and a path to make it to the finish.

My main point of this blog is don't give up. Don't accept your life the way it is. Change doesn't happen over night. Getting the life you want starts with a vision. As Sandi has told me over and over "It's like eating an elephant, a bite at a time". Don't accept limitations. Live the best one can in this life, in harmony with the earth and it's people.



Friday, March 13, 2009

Despite Best Intentions

I have had several Blogs in my head I want to do next but I think it is catch up time. I probably should have called this Life Re-Org.

I can't say I have been doing nothing. My life is rich with tasks to accomplish and poor with cash but I have new goals, and new found drive to make progress to completion.

I have been reading a book called "Getting Things Done" by David Allen.

This book is helping me focus on being proactive and more productive at achieving my goals. The wonderful thing about goals is it costs nothing to set them. Implementing goals can be a different story but it is wonderful getting them done.

The focus of the "Getting Things Done" is that we all have a laundry list of stuff to do constantly swirling around in our heads. This swirling list keeps us from focusing on execution. Our heads are distracted by just trying to remember stuff. The deal is to get the swirl out of your head and stored somewhere so tasks can be managed and completed. After you capture the tasks you can organize them it a way to know status. The big benefit is stress is reduced by freeing up brain time. I don’t find myself doing a task and thinking about the other 10,000 I have to do the more I off load. If I remember something working on another task I just add it to the list right then. The big key is to have the list near you and in a form so you can manage it to execution and completion.

I have spent money on software. I bought Omnifocus for the iPhone and Mac. The software is very powerfull for organizing. You can move tasks around, check them off. I have found it work really well to input in to my iPhone and edit and sort on my Mac.

It gives me an Inbox to put projects and tasks in so I can organize them. I tried putting a lot of stuff in there but I found my project binder works better for capturing work things. Later I set action items and put them in to Omnifocus. Omnifocus has deadlines and tracking ability so I can see where I am.

I can sync the Mac and the iPhone.

One of the things that I feel has grown out of my chanting is a new found ability to organize things in ways I was never able to do before. I have been sorting through papers and boxes I have had for years that were just piled up on other boxes of stuff I had for years. I used to joke that my condo was "The World's Most Expensive Storage space". It was true we were always on the road. We were home long enough to recover and head back out. I spent 16 months on site a few years back. Not to mention that both of us used to have 4 bedroom houses. We were crammed in to a 1 bedroom place was it was crazy. I realized a few days ago as a child I never had organized storage for my stuff. I had a big table and everything went on that. Once a month I would do a clean up on my table.

So I have been working sorting through boxes and organizing. One night I did my tool drawers. I removed all the tools from each drawer, cleaned out the drawers and re-organized. It is so easy to find tools now. I also removed all the bits of stuff floating around in my tools. I had screws, connectors, hooks, and washers everywhere. I organized all the hardware in to other boxes.

Yesterday we swapped how the sliding glass door opens. Sandi has a new home business as a seamstress. We have had a table set up in the living room in front of the TV.

We gave up having a dining table when I needed an area for chanting. Besides normally we eat either in front of our laptops or on the coffee table.

Sandi's sewing table in front of the TV reminded me of a Production Control Room. Yesterday we raised our Analog CRT TV up so it worked for the table and now it even works for the couch. Flopping the sliding glass door let us maximize the space. It was easy to do and cost really nothing. The cat is still adjusting to having her cat door moved and I have never seen so much carpet visible since we first saw the place empty.

We both feel so much better with the place clean and organized. It removes a huge level of stress. If you really want to make a difference in your life do a big purge and change your environment! Remove clutter. People that know me know I have long been a “Piler” I make piles of stuff and then ignore them. I am determined to change this bad habit. I have a plan and I am working it.

I wanted to share a few projects with you I want to take on mainly because they will be the subjects of future blogs.

Things for home:
Remodel Bathroom
Building a Medicine cabinet.
New Tub / Shower
Cottage cheese removal.
Deck Vegetable garden.

I find the more I have cleaned my mind of clutter, the more I can focus on real life clutter, the more I clear my mind. It's awesome.

Oh ya I am running for the Condo Board.



Friday, February 6, 2009

My friend Sol

Meet Sol. Sol was my first computer I built from a kit in 1977. I had seen the earlier computers such as the Altair that in it's introduction was a basic box with blinking lights and a lot of switches. I did not really understand how blinking lights made a computer but as Altair matured it set standards such as the s-100 buss. What I liked about the Sol was it had a keyboard and a video output already built in. I also had a connection to Sol through Bill Etra someone I had met through work.

Bill knew the father of the Sol Lee Felsenstein. Bill used the Sol as the cpu for the his VMS video system he was developing which was an offshoot of the 3D video system he was developing for the Australians.

The Sol came out in the same year as the Apple II. I had seen both of them at the first West Coast Computer Faire. I decided on the Sol since I had met Lee in real life and Bill said that was the one to get based on the fact that Sol had S-100 buss and an Intel 8080 CPU chip. Yes it was Intel inside even back in the day.

I took $1600.00 to the Byte Shop on Francisco Blvd. in San Rafael CA. I plunked down my money and loaded a big box in to my car. The kit was pretty easy to build. I had to solder all of the IC sockets on to the CPU board, insert the chips and build the power supply. I put the assembled CPU board and power supply in to the pretty blue case. It worked the first time I powered it up. I was very pleased and started to see what this thing did. About 5 minutes in to messing with the demo programs SOL went dead. I though I had done something wrong. I turned it off and checked the usual things I did when things broke. I pushed on the chips, wiggled connectors. I began to learn how computers work or in this case don't work. I finally loaded SOL back in to the car for the trip from Santa Rosa to San Rafael to see what the Byte Shop had to say.

The guy at the Byte Shop said he would look at it for me. He though it was a bad solder. I was not convinced my soldering was the problem. I told him I solder for a living. He said he would look at it and I headed back home. He called me a few days later to say it was a part in the power supply that was bad. The part was a cent Zener Diode part of the power supply crowbar circuit. Already I had learned something new. I learned crowbars keep the power supply from putting out to much voltage by shutting the power supply down. He replaced the bad part for me. When I picked the computer up he told me the solders looked perfect. I took Sol back home and started seeing what a computer actually did.

One of the programs I got did electronic music. I got the program as a gift from some friends. Back in the day you had to load the programs off of a cassette tape. From there you could load the music file also on a cassette tape. It was amazing to hear a computer making music. My roommate and I got some music books and hand loaded some other songs in to it. I remember we had it playing the Beatles song When I'm 64. It was amazing.

The original computer came with 16k of memory. A fraction what we use today. When I retired Sol he had 48k of memory. 64K was the limit in those days. I had to build the memory boards as well. With the financial help of my brother we later added the Daisy Wheel printer and a couple of 5.25 in floppy drives along with a CPM operating system. With the CPM and disk drives SOL could then run a database, Electric Pencil (word Processor) and a thing called What's It. What's It was a kick. It was sort of a funny database you could type phrases in to and you could could ask it questions as it learned. My roommate also made a program that would put out a silly story after you input a bunch of questions. I used the data base to do my taxes for my business. I would input all the checks and it would spit out reports I took to my CPA.

People that saw SOL just shook their head. "Why?" they would ask "do you need a computer?". Some of the people did not understand included my electronics teacher and my boss. I explained that the little CPU chip in my computer was going to someday be embedded in to everything. My profession has always been the video industry. As the video industry matured so did video machines with CPUs. Just about every new product had a CPU chip and software. The interesting bit was my confused boss later started a company called Diaquest than made software that interfaced the Apple Macintosh with VTRs and Video Disk Recorders. My sister worked for Diaquest doing testing of the product.

I later built an interface to a Ampex VTR I had with the intention of building up a video editing system. One of my clients saw SOL controlling the VTR and ran out an bought an Apple II.

The experience I gained from having a computer so early has paid off many times for me in my professional career. It is amazing to look at something like my iPhone and see how much computing power you can hold in your hand.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It all seems different

What a busy couple of weeks. So much has gone on to blog about. I have mainly been Tweeting it all so if you are a follower you got it all. I am loving taking pictures with the iPhone and posting them.

I downloaded a iPhone Twitter program called TwitterFON that is way better then Twitterrific which keeps prompting me to spend $9.99. I did not mind the ads. I am sorry maybe for $4.99 but TwitterFon is free and it is a lot better. Props to TwitterFon!

Follow me on Twitter

I went to MacWorld last week. I walked the show with my friend Gene. We had a good time. I made him put on the glasses and he added the text.

We saw lots of new Mac things. I ran in to people I had not seen in a while it is always fun to reconnect with lost friends. I met some people from Apple and talked about the challenges of system integration at a lunch put on by Advanced Systems Group. I will post some more MacWorld pics in another blog.

This last week I have been working on several projects. There are three proposals I am either project managing or helping out on. All good news after wondering what was going to happen after the holidays. I also have been doing some engineering for the ongoing VZ project. It was my initiation to the project that has been going on for quite a while. It got me outside my normal world which is always a good environment for learning new stuff.

I added two more iPhone apps for learning Japanese. I am set up to go to Japan for our Buddhist Temple's Tozon pilgrimage in October. I am so excited. I always wanted to go to Japan and while I hoped to do it while I was at Sony I never got the chance before Sony sold our division. I have a plate my grandparents brought back from Japan on their trip around the world in 1956. It had a picture of Mount Fuji. I have always had a strong attraction to Japan, Japanese culture and Mt. Fuji. The temple is at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

Check out the plate picture.

Ohhh Awesome I can't wait.

I have also been working hard to improve my practice by chanting with the recordings I have. I want to be able to pronounce it right since chanting is all in Japanese. I am making progress I can see now. I think I'm turning Japanese and loving it.

I am very excited about the inauguration of our new president. I just watched the latest video he sent out. I like the idea of a continuing grass roots effort.

It is interesting to have the first Internet President. Someone that gets it. I think Open Social, Twitter, and Facebook are going to make a huge impact. I have seen multiple ads for streaming of the inauguration. I am wondering how the Internet will hold up for all that. Ustream is going to have a client ready for the iPhone to watch it.

I watched a bit of the Bush farewell. Bye George! It was too stupid to watch the whole thing. If I were him I would just say. Sorry and leave. It would make a nice live shot moment when he gets on that big helicopter.

I am giving a talk for the PMI about the DTV Tranistion. I have been putting together the presentation using Keynote. I need to keep working at it. You know that plane that landed in the Hudson? Well now they want another reprieve to push back the date. Another crash landing. They are worried not enough people have a way to watch TV once it happens. They ran out of converter box coupons (blame George and the stooges) I swear for as much as they talk about Intelligence in Washington it is sorely lacking.

I am all ready for the transition. I am on the waiting list for a coupon. I am thinking of converting to DirecTV. Goodbye Comcast.

Ya I work in TV can't you tell? I am waiting for the prices to come down.

We have become addicted to Kitty-Cam. Sandi has been chatting with Josh and others on the site. Cat people!! Good times!

We both have Ustream accounts now. So cool! Stay tuned!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year

For New Years we stayed in stuffing ourselves and watching Food Network. Ya we had a food orgy. It was too painful to watch poor Dick Clark after eating.

Time for some fun!