I just got back from a quick walk around at today’s TechNADA job fair at the brook street hotel. It reminded me of the early 80’s in that there was good representation from local tech companies and the tech community. A number of new players like Amazon, were there trying to build out their teams along side veterans like Nokia, March, and Ciena.

It was nice to see companies actually competing for potential employees. I have read a number of articles projecting a tech worker shortage in the coming years, but this is the first concrete evidence of the start of a new wave of growth.

Some companies like Youi-TV are creating work places that rival those in silicon valley. Better work environments are required in order to appeal to millennial’s who aren’t interested in spending more than their required number of hours at work. The importance of making the work place comfortable seems to have been lost by tech companies over the past 15 years.

As a veteran of the tech industry, who has felt the excitement of a new opportunity and adventure, I can say that I can feel that excitement starting to build again.

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It’s been a while

I don’t know if it’s like this for all bloggers or if I’m just strange. When I first started blogging, I had so much to say that I would queue up posts so there was a new one almost every day. I think that as time has passed, I have realized that opinions are really just that and everyone has their own view of the issues. It doesn’t mean that I don’t still have lots to say, but life has been getting in the way.

I’ve been perfecting a one man show (Guitar and vocals) that I have been performing at various clubs in the Ottawa area, I’ve been learn how to dance Salsa and Bachata, I’ve been fixing the cars that are getting older and require more attention and I’ve been getting used to working at a large company again. I have a new novel underway and have started working on a collection of original songs that will be part of a new album.

Stay tuned…

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What just happened?

I woke up this morning to find that my American neighbours (Spelled with a u) had elected “The Donald” as the next president of the United States. I can understand why political writers and cartoonists would want “The Donald” but that doesn’t explain the results. I realize that the voting public were presented with two less than ideal candidates but “The Donald”?

Other countries that already promoted the United States as a self important country filled with corrupt politicians were hoping for an outcome like this. The fact that the American voting public delivered it to them on a silver platter, doesn’t reflect well on the honest, hard working citizens of the most powerful country in the world.

Many countries in the rest of the world look to America to show them the way.

The only hope the world has now is that the President of the United States will have his hands tied (and hopefully be muzzled) by the rest of the elected government. I watched a greatest hits video on Saturday that summarized everything that “The Donald” had said during his campaign and I figured that would be enough to convince the voting public that he was not a worth candidate.

I would have to say that I and many other outsiders are in shock today.

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Never give up

A colleague of mine recently pointed me to an article that talked about how some companies believe that anyone can be replaced. The article suggested that when a company has a truly great employee, that person tends to have extensive product knowledge, client relationships, camaraderie and influence with co-workers that is difficult  if not impossible, to replace.

Having worked with great people for most of my career, I was sheltered from what goes on in the rest of the world. There are indeed individuals that just don’t understand the value of great employees and do believe that everyone can be replaced. If you had asked me if people like that existed or were successful several years ago, I would have had a different answer than I do today.

Anyone can be replaced, but there is a cost that can be substantial and is often not taken into account. That could be because truly great employees tend to just get the job done and not promote themselves.

My 35 years in the tech industry has taught me to recognize good and bad environments and how to vote with my feet, when there are no other options. Good guys don’t finish last but they can take a beating along the way.

I have a jeep poster at my desk that sums up my approach to work and private life. It says “Go over, Go under, Go around, Or go through, But never give up!”

Posted in General, Thinking out loud | Tagged , | 2 Comments

dl_cert20x30-tmpl-4676-zzzd0693-jdiiAnother running season done and this one was brutal. The heat this summer made running a challenge and limiting my runs to 10K did not prepare me properly for the 21K run in September.

I had a reasonable time, but I was on track for a much better time up until the 16K mark. I don’t know anything about sports medicine, but I have observed that in order for me to run well, I have to train on hills and with longer runs.

This was my fifth Army run and I thought it might be my last, but next year will be the tenth anniversary of the run and the 150th birthday of Canada, so I think I have to do at least one more.

Congrats to all the runners and see you on the course next year.

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A nice endorsement…

Posted in Engineering, General, Network Tools and Debugging | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Room for improvement…

I’ve been involved with the music industry on and off for over 50 years and I am amazed that it hasn’t really changed. Musicians find it hard to find places to play, Venue owners find it hard to find good musicians and people can’t figure out where to go to hear the live music they want to hear. There is no feedback process for musicians to tune their performances (no pun intended) and in many cases venue owners don’t make back what they pay for live music.

I started looking at this problem a couple of months ago and have confirmed that the problems exist and that all of the parities are more than ready for someone to address the issues.

I have a few ideas about how this could be done and will be documenting them at . I’m thinking that a good place to start would be a web page that is focused on organizing Open Mics. For those of you who don’t know what an Open Mic is, it’s an evening where a host (The person that is on the hook for the night’s entertainment) provides a venue for new(er) musicians to get up and play a few songs.

Some of the issues with Open Mics are that you can’t control the quality of the performances, the performers don’t get feedback, you can’t book a time slot so you often spend the entire night waiting to perform and only the hosts get paid.

The music industry needs a structured way for new musicians to perform and improve and I think that the technology to do that exists.

If you agree and or have suggestions of your own, like or comment on this post.

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Live from the Royal Oak in Kanata (Sept 6)

This mp3 file is a recording from the Open mic on Tuesday Sept 6 at the Royal Oak Tavern in Kanata, Ontario.

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Geoterra (3) Arrival reviewed

Book three in the Geoterra series was just reviewed. Check out the link…


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Big Thoughts

It’s 2:05AM and I find myself wide awake in a Hotel room in Wroclaw Poland with no air conditioning and a squeaky oscillating fan. I managed to sleep off the 12 hour transit during the later afternoon and with a little luck, I’ll re-sync my sleep habits in the next couple of hours. In the mean time, I find myself lying in bed seeking answers to bigger questions.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to take time to seek answers to bigger questions, then perhaps you need to pause and reflect.

Tonight, I was thinking about the the work that I have been asked to do here in Poland and that devolved into a general examination of what it means to be a creative thinker.

I came to the realization that Innovation is fueled by imagination. Imagination has no bounds, so successful innovation involves a realization of the difference between science and fiction.

So much of what we do in life is controlled by the triangle:

(Good – Fast – Cheap)<- Pick two.

By that I mean the pressures of business tend to force us to pick Fast & Cheap leaving us with a good but not the best product. There is little opportunity to let our imaginations lead us to true innovation. Sometimes for a few minutes we catch glimpses of innovation during our busy day, but we don’t have time to write them down and they end up lost like our dreams and nightmares from the night before.

So I ask myself, what does it mean to be a creative person in a field that is continuously evolving? Step one is to let your imagination go. You’ve heard people say that we need to “Think outside the box” well that is letting your imagination go. That said, anything that we have created that has stood the test of time, was built on a solid foundation. Solid foundations don’t just happen, they are constructed from the thoughts of many people who accept criticism and constantly improve their designs.

As creative people we need to own what we do and strive to make it better with every passing day. To do that we need help and that help will only be offered if we ask for it and accept it. We need to give credit where credit is due and we need to remind ourselves that the human condition is temporary. We have a responsibility to encourage the people who follow us to be better.

A lyric that sums that up would be “Look behind you there’s the man you’re chasing” “Nik Kershaw”

So where is all this going? Damned if i know and that’s the point.

I guess what I want to leave you with tonight is “take time to be innovative, own what you do, accept criticism to make it better, never stop making it better and take time to build on a solid foundation”.

If you read between the lines, it also says, expect change so make your design open to change.

Maybe now I can sleep?

Posted in Engineering, Technology Trends, Thinking out loud | 2 Comments