Retreat In the Mountains.

After things slowed down a bit at work over the summer, I finally took some advice given to me by a number of people in various capacities and took a vacation. When your boss orders you to take a couple of weeks off because he's afraid that you'll spontaneously combust, it's kind of hard to argue the point. So, I put in for almost a month off, rented a car (because my family wanted to retain the option to travel as necessary), and scouted out someplace suitably far away in the mountains for as long as I could afford (which …

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Wars are won battle by battle.

I've spent the last couple of days trying to figure out how to write this post. And I'm not sure, even now if I know how to write this. I've been struggling with it for a couple of days and, somewhere deep inside my software, avoidance has been keeping me from thinking about or writing about it.

I mentioned last year that my mom had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was undergoing treatment for it. I stayed with her for a couple of weeks to take care of her. Let's start there.

Content warnings: Cancer, medical science, stuff in …

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Summer vacation is rapidly coming to an end.

It seems as if another summer is rapidly coming to an end.  The neighbors' kids are now back in school, school buses are now picking their way down the streets, and due to Burning Man coming up it's now possible to eat in a real restaurant in the Bay Area for the next couple of days.  I've been pretty quiet lately, not because I've been spending any amount of time offline but because I've been spending more time doing stuff and just not writing it up.  I've been tinkering with Systembot lately, adding functionality that I really have a need …

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Neologism: Proper channels excise tax

Proper channels excise tax - noun phrase - The markup paid on commonplace things when you go through proper channels at work to do something rather than going rogue, buying it yourself and filing an expense report.  For example, a flight from Chicago to Boston might cost $176us if you paid for it yourself, but by using your employer's internal processes and vendors the cost of the same flight is closer to $630us.

The Circle of HOPE.

Last weekend the twelfth Hackers On Planet Earth conference, subtitled The Circle of HOPE was held at the Hotel Pennsylvania by 2600 Magazine.  As with most years, I made my cross-country pilgrimage to New York City to attend.  I flew out on Thursday morning with the eventual goal of making it to my hotel early enough that I could order in, relax a bit, and get to sleep early to shake the inevitable jet lag so I could be somewhat functional the next day.  Modulo the usual difficulty in catching a ride from JFK, I made good time and accomplished …

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It's 2018.

It's now 2018.  Don't ask me how we made it, but we did.

Regular readers have probably been wondering what's been going on that I haven't posted much.  The short form, and the honest answer, is that I haven't had it in me to really post, aside from some stuff that I copy-and-pasted out of my notes, polished up a bit, and saved.  The holiday season is always a busy time, and my life is no different from anyone else's in that regard.

Lyssa and I flew back to Pennsylvania at more or less the last minute about halfway through …

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Taking a break for a while.

As the title implies, I think I need to take a break from blogging for a while. Just a week ago I had plans to write up my notes from DefCon and then go into all of the neat stuff that happened, like pulling a Charlie Brown at the locksport contest (okay, that wasn't so neat but at least I can laugh about it after the fact), the InSoc concert, and all of that happy stuff.

Unfortunately, I've just returned from the east coast. Mid-last week I got a phone call from my mother while walking to work and was …

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Back from DefCon.

Back from DefCon. Don't know how I'm still on my feet right now. Went to lots of talks, went wandering more than is usual for me at DefCon, attended some incredible shows. Still smarting from how much even a lousy meal costs in Las Vegas. Had an incredibly lousy pair of plane flights to and from Vegas.

And now, back to figuring out how to reacclimate with workaday life.

HOPE XI - This one went to eleven!

It's mostly been radio silence for the past couple of days. If you're reading this you've no doubt noticed that Switchboard (one of my constructs) posted the slides from my talk earlier this week. As sophisticated and helpful as she is, Switchboard can't yet pick thoughts out of my wetware to write blog posts. And so, here I am, my primary organic terminal sitting at Windbringer's console keying in notes, saving them, and then going back to turn them into something approaching prose. I've just now had the time to sit down and start writing stuff about HOPE XI, largely …

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