Update on moving in

As we continue unpacking and getting set up, I’ve found one system that didn’t handle the move too well.
About four years ago, my storage system (for music, photos, videos, backup, VM images, and so forth) consisted of two Firewire 800 boxes: a WD Macbook Studio (2TB) and an 8TB RAID enclosure. Since my latest iMac didn’t support Firewire, I used a Thunderbolt-to-Firewire adapter. This mostly worked, although the RAID enclosure usually needed power cycling after I rebooted the iMac. Performance was decent.
When I got around to unpacking everything and setting things up on Saturday afternoon, I was met with a lot of noise from the RAID enclosure. Some of it was a failing fan, but there were other worrying undertones. And about 10 minutes after booting, the RAID system simply went away. Ouch.
Fortunately, all of the really important stuff was on the Studio. The RAID was mostly used for local backups and staging to Backblaze (my cloud backup), and I knew I could retrieve or recreate everything on it. (And I was willing to retire a few hundred gigabytes of VM images from OpenStack and CloudFoundry testing.) But I knew I would need more space than the 2TB on the Studio. After lunch, I headed over to the nearest Best Buy and picked up a new Seagate Backup Plus Hub. 8TB for around $200. Who would have thought it, eh?
So today everything has been consolidated on the Seagate, and both of the older units have been retired. I’ve reconfigured my Backblaze setup, and all of the laptops and other devices are happily backing up to the iMac again. And Firewire is history…

New year, new direction

I’ve just left Yahoo, mostly because it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to do what I was originally hired to do. Frustrating, but never mind. So now I’m checking out the alternatives (of which there are quite a few), and in the meantime I’ve joined US Venture Partners as an entrepreneur-in-residence.

I am now a Yahoo!

Orientation was yesterday. Today I plunge in. I’m heading in early, to try to find my desk, though I suspect that my workspace will turn out to be wherever I (and my MacBook) happen to be…


In Seattle we were stuck with Broadstripe for Internet/TV, and bandwidth was so-so. Here in Palo Alto we’re using Comcast, and I like the speed:

Download Speed: 14366 kbps (1795.8 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload Speed: 4406 kbps (550.8 KB/sec transfer rate)

All the places I've lived

I’m sitting here at the Red Carpet Club in Seattle Airport, waiting for our flight to San Francisco. Tonight we’ll be in a hotel in Palo Alto, and in a few days the movers will be delivering our stuff. Another move completed.
The last few nights have been characterized by broken sleep: a combination of the jet lag of the return from China and the busy and distracting events of the move. At one point I found myself, half-awake, composing blog entries in my head. One was a challenge to self-declared supporters of Intelligent Design, which I may actually type up some tome; the other was a list of all the places I’ve lived. Since that’s actually relevant to today’s move, I thought I’d see if I could recreate the material that I dreamed. A disclaimer: this is slightly simplified, and there are overlaps during the period between 1968 and 1972 when I was working and attending university.

  • 1950: Chelsea, London, England
  • 1952: Kilburn, London, England
  • 1955: Dollis Hill, London, England
  • 1962: Beaconsfield, Bucks, England
  • 1969: Abingdon, Berks, England (“Barracks” accomodation while working at AERE Harwell.)
  • 1969: Amersham, Bucks, England (My mother moved here, but I hardly ever stayed here.)
  • 1969: Chelmsford, Essex, England (Essex University.)
  • 1972: Hayes, Middx, England (We rented a house from a friend for the year.)
  • 1973: Newcastle-on-Tyne, England (Graduate student housing.)
  • 1976: Chesham, Bucks, England (The first house we bought.)
  • 1981: Foxboro, MA, USA (Rented a house for a year, then bought one.)
  • 1999: Brookline, MA, USA
  • 2006: Seattle, WA, USA
  • 2009: Palo Alto, CA, USA

Encore une fois

Back on April 8, 2006, I wrote about how I was tackling life after Sun:

First, information gathering. I’m going to talk to many colleagues — ex-Sun, still at Sun, never at Sun — about the state of the computer business: who’s hiring, what’s hot, and how they see things shifting between on-shore and off-shore, US and international, full-time and contract, in-house and consulting, and so forth. At this point, I’m trying to keep an open mind about almost everything. As part of this, I’m flying out to California for a few days at the end of the month.

And three years later this is what I’m doing again. I’m in the middle of two weeks of extensive discussions with friends, colleagues, and contacts here in the Seattle area; then on March 30th I’m flying down to SFO for a week of networking in Silicon Valley. If you’d like to get together while I’m down there, drop me a line….


One of the cool features of my apartment in Seattle is that it has a good sized patio, running the full width of the apartment.
Patio without furniture
With all of the hassle of moving in and dealing with IKEA boxes, I put off my plans for the patio… and when winter arrived I decided to wait for spring. Well, spring is just about to give way to summer, so it’s past time for action. Last time I was back in Brookline, I saw the patio furniture which Merry had got for the condo, and I liked the style. I sat in the chairs, pronounced them comfortable, ((It’s hard to find chairs that provide adequate thigh support; most seem to have really short seats.)) and ordered a set (four chairs, one table) for myself. They finally arrived yesterday.
Patio furniture
Of course the apartment is just across the street from Amazon’s US1 and US2 buildings, so with a bit of luck I can schedule some of my late afternoon meetings on my patio. Accompanied by a nice pinot grigio, perhaps – or a pitcher of sangria…? But first I need a stiff broom and some hot water, to clean up after the seagulls!

Sorry for the hiatus

A whole week without blogging! Surely not…. Well, I’ve been spending the entire week getting Merry moved from the house in Chestnut Hill to a condo in Brookline Village. Moving house is always exhausting, fragmented, disconnected…. A further complication was that I was offline for several days, and I discovered that the web browser in my new Windows Mobile device won’t work with WP admin pages. I finally downloaded Opera and I’m now happily surfing on my phone. So why is Microsoft incapable of building a usable browser? And since they are, why not just admit it and license Opera?

"You wait around for a bus, and then a whole lot turn up at once…"

Regular readers will have been following my transition from the Greater Boston area to Seattle, and settling in to my apartment. We’ve sold the house, and it’s time for the next bit of downsizing. I’m going to ship most of my books to Seattle (especially my philosophy library), but one thing has to go: the model bus collection. It consists of about 150 replicas of British buses, all to 1/76 scale, mostly manufactured by EFE and OOC. You can see them here. The majority are models of London Transport and London Country buses, but there’s plenty of variety, and quite a few rareties. All are unboxed.
some of my buses
Now, what am I going to do? I don’t have time to eBay them (difficult when unboxed), nor to do any elaborate cataloguing, packaging and shipping. I doubt there are many collectors in the New England area. All the same, I’d hate to just dump them in the trash. What a waste – and they’re probably worth a few bob; they certainly cost me several $K.
Any suggestions?
P.S. I’ve also got this nice, clean Subaru Legacy GT that I need to sell. 2.5 litre turbo, 250 HP, five speed automatic, 13,500 miles, loads of fun. Answers to the name of DARWIN….

The end of transition

When I left Sun back in March, I started a new blog category Transition to document the transition to… well, back then I didn’t really know. I wasn’t worried about it, anyway.
Tonight I think I’ll post the last entry in that category. Tomorrow I have to return the rental car SUV that I’ve been using as part of my relocation package. I’m pretty much up to speed with my new job at Amazon.com, the furnishing of my apartment at Uwajimaya Village is essentially complete*, and I’ve joined Flexcar**.
OK, there are some important things that I haven’t got around to yet. I haven’t signed up with a physician or a dentist, for instance. Nor have I chosen whether to sell my Subaru or ship it from Massachusetts, but I don’t have to decide that for a few months.
And next week I’ll be making my first trip back to Brookline since I moved out here. I’m really looking forward to seeing Tommy and his parents. I’ll get a chance to see what Merry’s been doing to the house, and check out the condo that she’s hoping to buy in the New Year. And inevitably there are a few things that I want to bring here from Brookline; I’ll probably be shipping back a box or two.
So, overall, things are in great shape. The process of relocation has been virtually glitch free, and I’m way ahead of where I expected to be at this date. (Were I superstitious… but I’m not.) Here ends the transition – I’m already working on the next chapter.
* I’ve still got to get one more bookcase, a stand for the TV (something like this or this would do), a few more lights, and some curtains to hide the rather ugly blinds. IKEA owes me a slip-cover for the sofa. Nothing urgent.
** I’m still waiting for my membership materials. I’m looking forward to trying out this system; I’ll be sure to blog about my first trip.