My Best Teaching Is One-on-One


Of course, I team teach and do special lessons, etc.


But my best work in the classroom is after the lesson is over --
going one-on-one,
helping individual students with their assignments.


It's kind of like with computer programs, walking the client through hands-on.
The job isn't really done until the customer is using the program.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Thoughts on Personal History and Social Networking


You know, I'm not sure I believe anything I've written here.

And I'm not sure I want the person who inspired this post to read it. I think it's almost true, but not quite. But, having written it, I'm not sure I want to simply erase it.

Which is why I wanted to complain about social networking for exposing me to memories that I still -- apparently -- haven't completely dealt with. But even that is not necessarily a bad thing, because I do have to eventually deal with what really happened and what didn't and what I haven't yet set completely aside.


Sometimes I wonder whether all the social networking stuff is a good thing. It consumes a lot of my time and doesn't seem to make me any more money. But that's not reason for disagreement with SNS.


Well, I guess I don't wonder, really. What I posted today over on my political blog -- most of the SNS generates mostly noise, people shouting and tweeting and twittering, making mountains out of molehills, and not very many people really listening. And it becomes yet more excuse for people behaving unreasonably, and even criminally so.

I want to take a stab at doing it the way I think is right, but, for now, LinkedIn is the closest I've seen, and getting a little better at a time. Which, relative to the present post, is a little ironic.

Google+ also gets close, in a different way.

I should post about it again, but it's a really detailed subject.


The other day I came across a former girlfriend's profile on LinkedIn. No big deal, really, it happens all the time.


That is to say, it happens all the time to other people. Not so much to me. In fact, this is the first and only time it's happened to me to this point. And I may have gone searching more than just come across it. I'm not sure.

I have gone searching for people I know, or used to know, in the past -- mostly when I'm tired at work and need to be doing work and don't want to be doing work, and need something, anything, to keep me awake and keep the adrenalin flowing.


However, when we broke up, she told me I shouldn't contact her anymore.

I thought at the time we should remain in contact and just be friends. She thought otherwise.


This much is supposed to be true, and I can't say much more than that without treading on her stewardship.


We had moved too fast, really.

Yeah, we had some sort of chemistry, and we shared an interest in electronics and computers and religion. But we hardly knew each other before we shared our first kiss. I don't think I ever knew what her favorite movies were, nor her favorite books. I do know she liked to share her breath freshener with me, and I did not exactly care for all that minty sweet stuff.


I have no idea how true the above is. It seems true, but it also seems too convenient, and seems not to describe what I was feeling for several years after.


I had entertained hopes that we could be the Pierre and Marie of software. Was (am) I an incurable romantic?


I think this was true. At least I remember thinking things like this.


We got engaged even though we had no real basis for friendship. It turned out to be kind of painful to try to establish one.


How can anyone ever have a real basis for beginning a courtship, friends or not?

Still, it would have been nice to have been friends first, to have explored our common interests (we did have a few) before we got our egos and fears about courting tangled up in what we believed about each other.


We were going different directions, she with her 8085 and me with my 6809, she with her MS-DOS and I with my OS-9 and Unix.


I think I remember thinking things like this also, although I might, had I been more experienced, have been able to negotiate a little more interest from her in the 6809 if I had been able to show a little more interest in the 8085 and Z-80.

I was definitely too attached to Motorola processors, but I had good reasons.

How a company like Motorola managed to come up with the two best microprocessors of the '80s is a puzzle. Even the ARM CPUs are only about halfway there, and headed the wrong direction. How Motorola wasted the business opportunities with their CPUs is not so much of a puzzle. The markets of this world never know what to do with really good things.

If I could have distanced myself from my personal entanglement in the war between really good and good enough for yesterday, I might have been able to discuss electronics with her in a way that she wouldn't have found, well, scary.

On the other hand, having broken up with her, I should have quit trying to justify her opinions. I should have dug into my the projects I ended up leaving hanging out to dry. At least, if I had done so, I would be a lot closer to financially solvent now.


The battlefield in the house probably would have reflected the parallel war in the market had we married. Some people enjoy that. I don't.


This may be the most ridiculous thing I have ever said.

Husband/wife relationships are always battlefields. It's not good, and it doesn't justify either of them thinking power is a replacement for love, but marrying two people who would not have problems negotiating their differences would be, well, to borrow a phrase from Japanese, 勿体無い (mottainai).

Sure, you need commonality, but without the differences there is no dynamic, no energy, none of the creativity that is the whole reason for relationships in general and marriage in particular.

The real question was whether there was enough interest in each other there to keep us engaged with each other. And she convinced herself there was not, and I could not convince myself it was within my stewardship to disagree with her on that subject to her face. Or I was not able to put my ego at enough of a risk to do so, which was another problem.


Well, there were no hard feelings. The first cut, as the song goes, was the deepest for a while. It took me a few years and a lot of dating to leave the memory of my fantasy of how I wanted it to have been behind.

And to realize I wasn't so much in love with her as with that dream of being able to be a creative team with my wife in the professional world as well as at home. And to admit that she was never into that dream at all.

Seeing her picture on her profile still awakens some distant echo of those old dreams.


Hard feelings? What are hard feelings. There were a lot of hard feelings for several years, which I kept trying to hide myself from.

After she got married, after I talked with her mother one last time to be sure she that she really had, I was able to begin to really accept that much of what drove my interest were dreams from before my childhood that I had to let go of.

(How many times has God told me in so many words that the hardware and software I wanted to create are just too good for this world -- would give bad people way too much power?)

I can't blame her for sensing that.

I expect, when we cross to the other side of the veil, we'll remember that we were friends before we came to this world, and that she was trying to get me to give in to the restrictions God put on me about that back then, too. If that is the case, I suppose it would have been a bit unreasonable to ask her to put herself at the kind of risk she would have been in, nursing me away from that.

In comic book worlds, yeah, girlfriends of superheroes do that kind of thing for them.

In the real world, we are all superheroes, and we are none of us superheroes, except for Jesus Christ Himself, who was so much more than a superhero.

And yet, my wife, for all that she is wrong about so much, is doing exactly that for me now. And it is putting more stress on her than she deserves. And I keep forgetting that and demanding she be superhuman when I think I need her to be.

(It's only fair that she be wrong about so much, since I am, too.)


I have since decided that a broken heart is actually a good experience. It helps you to realize that the things you set your heart on are all ephemeral. It's important to feel deeply about things, but it's also important to be able to let go when you learn that there are more important things.

And it's important to be able to separate what you wish were real from what really is real.


Okay, I think I got those two paragraphs right.


Should I have LinkedIn ask her if she wants to establish a social networking connection?

I think not. I can't think of much we could talk about. [JMR201610310109: And I don't think she'd appreciate it. ]

Some parts of the past are best left in the past, even if modern technology would allow us to do otherwise.


But I'm going to have to think about this carefully because there are more than two people involved in this game. Spouses and children are not uninvolved, and I have to get settled on the issues that she forced me to start facing some thirty years ago, or I'll never be able to provide for my own children's spiritual needs. And my wife's.

And I may have trouble continuing to make enough money for food and rent for myself and them, as well, because part of why I never made myself permanently employable is precisely my lack of desire to deal with a world that doesn't meet my ideals. And I seem to have reached an end to the workarounds I have used until now.

I suppose LinkedIn is not inherently evil, anyway.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Selling Twitter

I noticed last night that rumors are going around about who is and is not likely to buy Twitter.

Google? What on earth would Google want with Twitter? Google has goggle+, hangouts, etc. They are doing Twitter the (more-or-less) right way already, and they have no particular need of Twitter's customer base.

The brand name, and that's about it, but would it be worth anything close to the asking price to Google?


I could see that. Maybe. But they would have to take a very cautious organizational approach about integrating it with what they already have, while taking a very aggressive approach about re-developing the technology.

Re-developing the technology, not just bringing it in. The user interface seems to be somewhat valuable. The technology substrate, not so much.

Would I buy Twitter if I had the money?

I would need the asking price, enough money to maintain it somewhat better than life support for about three years, and several hundred million more for skunkworks projects to develop a useful infrastructure too hang the brand on.


To make Twitter a first-class ISP: connection, website and blog hosting, mail, for starters. And, because I think basically every ISP in existence is falling down on the job, I would add private subdomains, static IPv6 address blocks, and other no-brainers that are missing in the current market.

And offer a branded open source mail client or two, to help the customers get free of the Microsoft Outlook that is such a restrictive point of view.

Oh. And, of course, offer a branded custom Linux OS and a branded BSD derivative, along with direct support for general open source OSses.

Not just offer it to the customers, but actively encourage them to switch from the current market-leader-which-needs-not-be-named. Gotta attack the underlying problems in our information infrastructure.

Basically, the only value Twitter would have for me is the brand and the customer base.

Of course, I don't have access to that kind of money.

(Billions of dollars?

That's not real money of the same sort that I pay rent with.

It's a proxy for value in a different dimension, and I don't exist in that dimension. Don't think I want to, for all the wars that go on in that dimension.

Sure, re-doing our information infrastructure and doing it right this time would be fun, but I'd first have to find a way to protect myself from the warfare.

War is stupid, and not for making people happy, even if the weaponry is money instead of bombs.)

(Not for making people happy == hell, okay?)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Epiphanies about Violence and Lies while Stack-diving at a Junkudo Bookstore

Did a little reading in the stacks at ジュンク堂 (Junkudo). I had gone to buy a book for my mother-in-law -- 道場洋三 (Dojo Yozo)'s latest book 『おはようパーソナリティ道上洋三の山あり谷ありダイアリー』(Ohayo Personality Dojo Yozo's Diary with Mountains and Valleys or something like that).

Finding that, I decided it'd been enough years since I'd gone stack diving at Junkudo, and I made my way into the deeper environs.

Books from members of the entertainment industry.

"Soft" porn next to that. (Collections of pictures of famous people, mostly female, generally including some nude and/or partial nude shots. I suppose they think they are baring their souls to their fans.)

Business. IoT is all about business. You can tell that by the fact that so many of the books on IoT are in the business section. That means that it's all basically smoke and mirrors. But we knew that.

Great opportunity to sell ARM processors.

Wish I had a million dollars to develop the low-power CPU I want to develop. I could quit my current job and at least get a series of simulators (in C) put together with assemblers and Forth interpreter bootstrap/monitors, and then implement real processors in some form of programmable logic. (Wire-wrapped LSI would be great fun, too. ;)

And maybe have them built in time to ride the tail of the IoT wave into actual use.

(I'd start with a re-worked 6809, and then build 16 bit and 32 bit versions of the thing. All would have DMA and MMUs. Multiplication, division, and floating point would be synthesized, but the CPU would have special writable microcode so that the synthesized instructions could run at higher speed than main memory. The central feature would be specific support for dual stack architectures, separating the return addresses from local variables for safety and speed -- with special use specific caches between level one cache and the processor, ... daydreams.)

Novels. Maybe someday some of the novels I am writing or plan to write will be among those. Maybe I'll even be able to do some writing in Japanese, or translate my own works. Someday.

Self-help books.

Books on math and other academic subjects.

Hobby books. Lots of hobby books. Japan is a great country for hobbies, although, with all the overtime they work on average, it's hard to see how they have the time. (It isn't just the フリータ (friita) who are doing hobbies. (Freetimers, a term derived from free lancing, but indicating people who work odd jobs and part time, just enough to get by. I could almost be called a friita.)

The usual travel and cooking.

Up to the third floor. (This is in the store in 堂島 (Dojima)).

Whoa! Linux books and other books on free/open software technologies outnumber Microsoft technology books!

Bittersweet. The Free/open software world has been at least partially re-purposed by Google and Red Hat and Oracle and, soon, Microsoft. (We could say that Apple co-opted free/open software, but they have been a bit more circumspect in their admixtures, at least some of them, than Google.)

Foreign novels.

I got lost in re-reading The Girl on the Train.

Very poignant picture of relationship/domestic violence, and how it is so often just one step short of serious crime. And so often that one step is not enough separation.

I think one of the characters in the book said something about the relationship between violence and lies.

I found the ending of the book a little unsatisfying. The surviving primary protagonist is fighting her own feelings of guilt. I would have preferred the author had given her and her rival both a chance to come clean. It would help them end the chain of violence, and the self-defense defense would not have been injured by a more complete telling of the events.

Well, anyway. It's not my book.

I dug a little in the foreign novels, across from Harry Potter and such, and found that Johnathan Livingston Seagull is back in print. New edition. Part four restored.

The new part four definitely does complete the book. I had always felt it was incomplete.

But I'll admit that it would possibly not have been as popular had part four been in the first printing.

I bought a copy. My brother's copy that I read when I was in my teens is, well, in my brother's possession. And I want it available in the house, should my children decide to read it.

Like all things humans write, the allegory has limits, but it does speak to our innate desire to find and create meaning. And, even if filtered through the allegory, it speaks to the reality of our eternal nature.

It's easy to get a little high reading it. Maybe that was why, when I got off the train at my station, I was having an epiphany about violence and lies.

They go together.

Liars tend to be violent. Violent people tend to lie.

Truth is said to be hard. Beating your head against truth is one of those recurring memes.

But the real violence is done by lies. And there is a reason for it.

Truth doesn't need external support.

Lies do. And the usual external support for lies is -- bravadaccio, bragging.
Violent activity.

You knew that.

I knew it, too.

Maybe it was the being high on Seagull. Things seem to have so much meaning when your high, even if the high is natural.

(Natural highs are not all that hard to get to, if you keep yourself open to your own emotions. No need for drugs, including alcohol or even the lesser drugs.)

But the epiphany is worth pointing out.

If you find yourself recognizing that you are too violent, try to figure out where you are lying to yourself. Then quit lying to yourself.

If the truth seems hard, that is actually an illusion. Maintaining the fiction is just that much harder, incurs just that much more violence.

Truth seems hard sometimes, but untruth is more violent in the end.