Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Freedom


Few weeks ago I posted an article saying that it was Time for a Change, well that time has come and I can now shout Freeeeeedom…..

Well, not that I was a prisoner but somehow over the past couple of years I was hostage of myself trying to stick with a project that consumed all of my time and energy, perhaps more than I was supposed to dedicate to a regular job. It also limited my creativity and didn’t let me explore and develop what was my original goal and idea, get things connected to the Internet, what marketing people have been calling for a while IoT aka Internet of Things.

I have no regrets, I really enjoyed working with a great group of people, I made new friends and expanded my network of contacts, increased my knowledge and expertise. 

I’ve been on both sides of layoffs, in this particular case it was sort of pre-announced since I knew it was coming. Not extremely happy about some actions and how communication worked but it is what it is, a business decision that happens in all sizes and sort of companies every day.



I’ve received extensive training about how to perform and deal with layoffs, not a pleasant thing to do when you are in an executive or management position, and it requires a lot of professionalism, respect and compassion since you are impacting big time the well-being of other people.

A piece of advice if you ever have to be on either side of a layoff, never take it personal, unfortunately when the bottom line numbers don’t show what investors or the Board of Directors are expecting, one of the first lines that show up on the list of adjustments is payroll costs. In my personal opinion a very inhumane way to manage a company, but again it is what it is.


So what happens now ?

I decided to take some time to reconnect with people, projects, explore some ideas and look for new opportunities.

Several years ago, when my good friend Nick Longo let me participate at Geekdom where I got involved in providing advice and mentoring to some young people and startup companies, I had fun helping setting up activities for the Geekbus and I was developing some ideas to have more R&D in Electronics going on in San Antonio, particularly in Internet of Things (IoT) I plan to reconnect and be back doing it.

I started doing R&D in IoT very long time ago, even before it was called IoT. I remember when  talking with Vint Cerf about it, he always joked that he would love the day when he will be able to tell his right sock to find the left sock 😊

Well, I still believe that there are many opportunities and challenges, and San Antonio is very well suited to become a focal point and an incubator of new developments and technologies in this sector.

So I’ll be visiting some friends, learn more about what is currently going on at Port San Antonio now under the helm of the capable and enthusiast Jim Perschbach, and very interesting people around like Drue Placette.

I’ve some workshops that I will be attending in Austin soon, reconnecting with some communities and people like I sort abandoned due to my lack of time, and as always be a volunteer for good initiatives like FIRST Robotics, etc. I’ll also dedicate more time to my technical Blogs.

But, I still have to pay my bills, hence I’m open to hear about potential jobs and opportunities. I can provide my full resume upon request.

To those that provided support during the past couple of years while I was Principal Engineer at Serious Integrated, Inc., my most sincere gratitude and for sure we’ll stay in touch.

And for my former coworkers, it has been a pleasure to work with you, I wish you the best and if I can be of any help or provide references do not hesitate to contact me.

Warmest Regards and Live Long & Prosper
Jorge


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Time for a change

Hi There


I’ve received several inquiries from people over different social media/email about this event and I’ve no problem at this time to make it public.

Yes, it is now a fact, by the end of July I’ll be leaving my position as Principal Engineer at Serious Integrated, Inc.

It has been a great experience and a pleasure to work with Serious over the past several years, but like any other startups and even well established and mature companies, there are always challenges that require change.

Also, at a personal professional level I needed a change.

I’m currently taking some time off, helping my son get settled in his new apartment for a new school year at UT Austin, and I continue volunteering as a Texas Parents Ambassador to welcome new Longhorn Families to the University of Texas.

In the coming weeks I plan to start visiting some people and companies that for lack of time being absorbed by my job didn’t visit before as I wanted. I’ll be catching up with projects I put on hold, continue doing R&D and designs on my own on Embedded Systems and IoT (now not tied to a single CPU vendor,) and get up to speed with my technical Blog and have fun!

For those that provided support over the past few years my sincere gratitude for your help, getting me the tools and resources to learn about new technologies and keep creating, I will stay in touch and no doubt will keep asking for free kits and samples 😊

While I’m not yet actively looking I’m open to hear about interesting projects my skills and experience may be of help.

Warmest Regards
Jorge

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sad news from Argentina today. A friend of mine just gave me the news that Dr. Dante Caputo passed away last night. I had the honor and privilege to work with him while I was a Technical Consultant with United Nations and he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina. Also had a great time and many anecdotes from 1988 when I was assigned to be his technical support while he was President of the 43rd UN General Assembly in NYC.

I remember going very early in the morning to his apartment on 1st Street, he always had coffee ready and while he was shaving and fixing his characteristic mustache I was getting his computer and other gadgets ready for the day. Then we rode the limo together to the UN building entering on the underground parking where I stepped out of the limo and he continued to the street level entrance in the front of the building.

He loved and was a big supporter of technology and modernization for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One time when Dr. Ricardo Alfonsín then President of Argentina had to put together his speech for the UN General Assembly, we were in Buenos Aires trying to send him a draft of the speech via a very bad and low speed telephone modem connection, but on the NYC side they had another challenge, there was no telephone jack in the Presidential Suite of the Waldorf Astoria and Dante was trying to hack something to be able to connect the Compaq portable computer to the phone line, so many miles away we had one of the assistants to the President calling the front desk of the Waldorf Astoria asking to deliver a set of screwdrivers to the Presidential Suite, Dante was already under the table taking apart the phone line !! LOL.
After many tries we were able to transfer the full document over the modem connection, Dante insisted it had to be that way.

In Buenos Aires, many times he had his security detail pick me up to go to his home right next to the Presidential Residence in Olivos to help him with the latest electronic gadgets acquired during his international trips or fix something on his daughter's computer.

He was one of the key actors to promote and support the development of Internet in Argentina.

An outstanding Diplomat, wonderful and caring Boss, and a funny and warm human being. While with the pass of time we became distant I'm really saddened by his departure.

Dear Dante it was a pleasure and an honor to work with you. My most sincere condolences to his family and friends.

RIP Dr. Dante Caputo 6/19/2018 😥

Monday, February 3, 2014

My Top 5 Themes and Strengths

Cleaning and organizing old files in my desktop found this. Several years ago I went through one of those personality and strength finder tests, among the reports their provide there is one that shows my five most dominant themes or talents.

At that time I didn't look at it in detail. I have to admit the report it is pretty accurate and I don't mind to share if you like to get to know me better.



The report says ...

Many years of research conducted by The Gallup Organization suggest that the most effective people are those who understand their strengths and behaviors. These people are best able to develop strategies to meet and exceed the demands of their daily lives, their careers, and their families.

A review of the knowledge and skills you have acquired can provide a basic sense of your abilities, but an awareness and understanding of your natural talents will provide true insight into the core reasons behind your consistent successes.

Your Signature Themes report presents your five most dominant themes of talent, in the rank order revealed by your responses to StrengthsFinder. Of the 34 themes measured, these are your "top five."

Your Signature Themes are very important in maximizing the talents that lead to your successes. By focusing on your Signature Themes, separately and in combination, you can identify your talents, build them into strengths, and enjoy personal and career success through consistent, near-perfect performance.

Learner

You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is specially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered—this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences—yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”

Developer

You see the potential in others. Very often, in fact, potential is all you see. In your view no individual is fully formed. On the contrary, each individual is a work in progress, alive with possibilities. And you are drawn toward people for this very reason. When you interact with others, your goal is to help them experience success. You look for ways to challenge them. You devise interesting experiences that can stretch them and help them grow. And all the while you are on the lookout for the signs of growth—a new behavior learned or modified, a slight improvement in a skill, a glimpse of excellence or of “flow” where previously there were only halting steps. For you these small increments—invisible to some—are clear signs of potential being realized. These signs of growth in others are your fuel. They bring you strength and satisfaction. Over time many will seek you out for help and encouragement because on some level they know that your helpfulness is both genuine and fulfilling to you.

Relator

Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships. In simple terms, the Relator theme pulls you toward people you already know. You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people—in fact, you may have other themes that cause you to enjoy the thrill of turning strangers into friends—but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around your close friends. You are comfortable with intimacy. Once the initial connection has been made, you deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship. You want to understand their feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours. You know that this kind of closeness implies a certain amount of risk—you might be taken advantage of—but you are willing to accept that risk. For you a relationship has value only if it is genuine. And the only way to know that is to entrust yourself to the other person. The more you share with each other, the more you risk together. The more you risk together, the more each of you proves your caring is genuine. These are your steps toward real friendship, and you take them willingly.

Harmony

You look for areas of agreement. In your view there is little to be gained from conflict and friction, so you seek to hold them to a minimum. When you know that the people around you hold differing views, you try to find the common ground. You try to steer them away from confrontation and toward harmony. In fact, harmony is one of your guiding values. You can’t quite believe how much time is wasted by people trying to impose their views on others. Wouldn’t we all be more productive if we kept our opinions in check and instead looked for consensus and support? You believe we would, and you live by that belief. When others are sounding off about their goals, their claims, and their fervently held opinions, you hold your peace. When others strike out in a direction, you will willingly, in the service of harmony, modify your own objectives to merge with theirs (as long as their basic values do not clash with yours). When others start to argue about their pet theory or concept, you steer clear of the debate, preferring to talk about practical, down-to-earth matters on which you can all agree. In your view we are all in the same boat, and we need this boat to get where we are going. It is a good boat. There is no need to rock it just to show that you can.

Belief

If you possess a strong Belief theme, you have certain core values that are enduring. These values vary from one person to another, but ordinarily your Belief theme causes you to be family-oriented, altruistic, even spiritual, and to value responsibility and high ethics—both in yourself and others. These core values affect your behavior in many ways. They give your life meaning and satisfaction; in your view, success is more than money and prestige. They provide you with direction, guiding you through the temptations and distractions of life toward a consistent set of priorities. This consistency is the foundation for all your relationships. Your friends call you dependable. “I know where you stand,” they say. Your Belief makes you easy to trust. It also demands that you find work that meshes with your values. Your work must be meaningful; it must matter to you. And guided by your Belief theme it will matter only if it gives you a chance to live out your values.

Copyright © 2008, Gallup, Inc.

Cheers
Jorge

Sunday, February 10, 2013

First visit to Geekdom, SA NewTech and San Antonio Make Meetup


Finally after over a year since its creation, last Tuesday I had the opportunity to visit Geekdom for the very first time. If I have to chose just a word to resume how the experience was, I think it would be elated.


I really had a great time, felt a little bit lost at the begging being now a 45,000 square feet facility full of geeks and cool stuff, and with an atmosphere of genius and creativity you can almost breath as soon as you step out of the elevators. I was really, really, impressed, I had somehow a good idea of what Geekdom was and what is going on there, but telling the truth it exceeded all my expectations and changed the wrong preconception I had that it was just another collaborative co-working space.



Geekdom goes way beyond of being just a co-working space, it is as I said before the atmosphere that their principal founders Graham Weston (@gweston) and Nick Longo (@NickLongo) where able to create that sparks innovation in the vibrant and future looking city of San Antonio, which has been recently ranked number three by Forbes on the America's New Tech Hot Spots List.

Geekdom is about community, entrepreneurship, innovation, making great things, exploring new ideas, developing new technologies, empowering creativity, opening young minds and inspire future generations.




Geekdom is like a gym for your brain !

SA New Tech Meetup

Talking about New Tech, that was one of the motives of my visit to Geekdom.

During the last TEDx San Antonio I met Cole Wollak (@cwollak) who is a Geekdom member and the organizer of SA NewTech, a monthly Meetup of people in San Antonio and around, interested and working in new technologies, startups, entrepreneurship, social networking, etc.

Calendar conflicts and other compromises didn't let me make the meeting before, but I was really committed to make it happen last Tuesday.

The meeting is very dynamic, every month three startup companies give a short presentation that gets followed by an open Q&A with the audience, that lets the companies receive feedback about what they are doing and how are they doing it, brainstorm on new ideas and discuss opportunities to help them succeed.




It is also a great opportunity to meet very cool and smart people working on exciting technologies right here in our great City of San Antonio. Thanks for the invite Cole !

San Antonio First Make Meetup

Last but not least, a very important reason while a I went to Geekdom to meet with Cole and briefly with Nick, was to get things moving to have our first Make Meetup in San Antonio.

I have to confess that I don't remember now how I got into this, but I'm very active in several on-line forums discussing electronics research and design, and following up a series of links related to the Raspberry Pi board, I ended getting myself in a page where I took the challenge of organizing the very first Make Meetup in San Antonio.

When I tweeted if Geekdom would be willing to host the event, Nick replied right away !! with the best response somebody like me trying to get things done can ever get, he said "Sure can... Let's do it"

What is the Make Movement ?

Well it took Wired Magazine Editor Chris Anderson an entire book to talk about it, for now let's say that it is driving the New Industrial Revolution, and if you are the type that enjoys inventing and making stuff like electronics, 3D-printing, etc, then you are a Maker and part of the revolution. I'll write more in another article.

In the twitter dialogue with the Geekdom folks, I learned that Mark Barnett (@Maker_Mark) is a Maker and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education specialist in San Antonio, he is also a Geekdom member doing very cool things and is the founder of STEMivate Academy . Unfortunately Mark was out of town when I visited Geekdom but I'm looking forward to meet him very soon and get this Meetup thing rolling.


I'm not stranger about making things happen, my inner geek manifested when I was 10 years old and started tinkering with electronics and taking apart my Mom's appliances. From there my career took me from digital electronics to computer science and large scale networking. I was the culprit of establishing the first international connection for my home country to the Internet, I worked for small and large companies, public and private, well established and startups, government agencies and international organizations such as UNDP and OAS.

In 1991 I was in Denmark for the first Inet meeting where with Vint Cerf and many others we launched the Internet Society, later I was one of the founders and President of its Chapter in Argentina.

I led the Technical Team for the Fifth International Olympiad in Informatics in Mendoza, Argentina, where almost 300 students from over the world competed in Computer Science. I was also involved in the coordination of the first Latin-American Research and Academic Networks forum held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and many other events.

I'm pretty sure this Meetup WILL happen, now thanks to Geekdom we know where, we'll work hard to get to the when, what and who.

I'll leave the "why" for another post.

If you are a Maker, or you are interested in the subject and willing to participate and contribute, please feel free to get in touch with me and join the recently created Make Community in San Antonio, I'll keep you informed on how the planning goes and when the first Meetup will happen.

As always, ideas, suggestions and recommendations are gratefully welcomed.

BTW, my kudos to Graham, Nick, and the rest of the Geekdom staff and members for the great work they do and their constant contribution to our community. If they let me, I'll probably start to hang out very often around there ...

Cheers
Jorge
(@jamodio)
http://about.me/jamodio

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Megaupload, Piratería y Cambalache Netero


Casi imposible en estos días abrir una página de web de noticias, redes sociales o chequear mi correo electrónico y no encontrar ninguna referencia, artículo o comentario sobre el tole tole con MegaUpload.

Pese a que no es uno de los temas de mi mayor interés, pero tiene que ver en parte con mi participación en distintos foros para promover el libre intercambio de información en Internet, y que no me gusta hablar por boca de ganso, me dediqué a explorar y leer un poco más sobre los detalles de esta acción por parte del Departamento de Justicia de los Estados Unidos, incluyendo la lectura detallada de las 72 páginas de la Acusación (Indictment) emitida por dicho Departamento.

Algunas aclaraciones de rigor. Me interesa poco o nada defender a las compañías disqueras, a las megacorporaciones, a los estudios cinematográficos, al DOJ, FBI o cualquier otra agencia o institución de tres letras. Sí, me interesa seguir promoviendo la libertad de expresión, el libre intercambio de información en Internet y la menor intromisión de los "manda más" de acá, allá y del más allá también. Así que comentarios o sanatas sobre el imperialismo yanqui, los malvados de la disquera X o distribuidora Y, están de más y al dope.

Para un dinosaurio de la red como yo, quizás situaciones y eventos como estos hacen reflotar viejas anoralgias (añoranzas llenas de nostalgia) sobre lo tranquilo que era la red y como podíamos dejar información sin preocuparnos de robo de identidad, o si algo no funcaba llamábamos a nuestro "amigo" al otro lado de la línea para resolverlo sin necesidad de pedirle permiso al Tío Sam o garparle a un abogado.

Claro, pese a que de alguna forma nos rebuscabamos para tener un dialogo interactivo vía IRC, Talk, o hasta video con CU-SeeMe, nada como las videoconferencias que puedo tener hoy en día con familiares, amigos y colegas alrededor del mundo o el inmenso caudal de información disponible en línea para mi trabajo o regocijo.

Internet ha crecido de tal forma que hasta muchos consideran el acceso a la misma un derecho humano, erróneamente en mi opinión pero sin restarle importancia a como Internet ha cambiado muchos de los aspectos de nuestra vida cotidiana, no solo la posibilidad de comunicación o comercio, sino también la forma en que socializamos.

Es ilógico el argumentar o insistentemente apuntarle el dedo a Internet como el medio o causa principal de muchos males. Si bien es cierto que en cierta medida facilita el crimen, no significa que sea la causa, y la confusión y zona gris que genera este tema, complicado con el hecho que en Internet no existen fronteras, motivan acciones desmedidas (como incautar cientos de servidores a lo bestia) o propuestas de ley - como SOPA - que intentan poner control por medio de interferir con la arquitectura y funcionamiento de la red. (SOPA proponía algo así como borrar los nombres de las calles en los carteles de cada esquina para que los chorros no supieran como llegar al banco para afanar.)

Algunos parecen ver la piratería en Internet como una causa noble, leyendo los comentarios en un sitio de noticias me cruzo con un tarado (con nombre y apellido) que afirma tener más de 7 Terabytes de películas y música pirateados, y ahora se la pasa distribuyendo por varios lados incluyendo Facebook y Twitter, enlaces para generar ataques a varios sitios en Internet. Verdaderamente, a tipos como éste aparte de pedirle el documento, deberían hacerle un análisis de sangre y orina antes de darle su cuenta para poder acceder Internet.

Julian Sanchez publicó un artículo muy interesante en ars technica sobre SOPA, Regulación en Internet y la economía de la piratería, donde afirma que a la industria de contenidos seguramente algo le cuesta la piratería -sino no meterían tanta guita en el Congreso para promover legislación como SOPA. Pero realmente la reducción en piratería que esto puede generar seria mínima y con un alto costo para todos.

Ahora la operación de MegaUpload era legal o no ? A primera vista el negocio sonaba como bastante legal, simplemente un megarepositorio público de archivos en la red. Pero eso es lo que se veía de frente, ahora empiezan a saltar en detalle como operaban estos quías, realmente al borde o más allá de la ley.

Varios argumentan que el accionar de la justicia fue una movida para promover legislación como SOPA. En realidad el argumento va para el otro lado, este accionar es clara demostración que la justicia bien o mal no necesita de SOPA para tomar acción. Por otro lado los de MegaUpload estaban bajo la mira y el microscopio bastante antes de que se escribiera la propuesta de ley.

Es Pepe DOTCOM culpable ? Realmente no soy juez para determinarlo, lo que sí creo después de ver unas cuantas fotos, el hacerse llamar DOTCOM, en las chapas de su vasta colección de autos poner cosas como GOOD, EVIL, GOD, STONED, GUILTY, MAFIA y otros detalles más, resulta muy sospechoso. Muy boludo no es, porque en el 2010 encanutó algo así como 42 palos verdes. El que sí parece ser medio boludo es el pobre programador que estaba en Turquía que en el mismo año se conformó con solo 100 lucas.

Lo que sí es perjudicial para Internet en casos como MegaUpload, es que en primer lugar ponen en movimiento a las autoridades para tomar medidas extremas que con el afán de hacer justicia y aplicar la ley entran como elefante en un bazar arrasando con todo.

También afecta que empresas que actúan de esta manera le dan más motivos y combustible a quienes quieren forzar y promover más regulación en la operación y uso de la red.

Lamentablemente también pone en duda el desarrollo y adopción de ciertas tecnologías como el almacenamiento remoto de información en "la nube."

Mi esposa es artista, y yo hago desarrollo de sistemas electrónicos, la piratería nos afecta cotidianamente.

Después de leer unos cuantos comentarios defendiendo la piratería como algo noble me pregunto si al final Discépolo tenía razón y seguimos en el Cambalache, y "El que no llora, no mama, y el que no afana es un gil!".

Atentos Saludos
Jorge (el gil que sigue garpando por música y películas)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And One More Thing ...

I just finished reading Steve Job's Biography by Walter Isaacson.


I'd describe it with just one word "fascinating."


Sorry Steve, I've got my copy of your Biography on my Amazon Kindle, but as I went from chapter to chapter, and through different stories, I had my iPod Touch on the other hand reviewing old documents, keynote speeches and product launches on YouTube.


I feel that Isaacson did a superb job to portray Steve Jobs as many of us imagined he was, it was really interesting to read the histories behind some of the products, the birth and rebirth of Apple as a company, the creativity and inspiration from Pixar, but the most interesting part was to get to know Steve in a more human plane, as a partner, a friend, a husband, a father, a dreamer, a human being.


I've always been a geek, a technology lover, and I may had some instances when I probably got in trouble to voice my opinion when I thought something was really a piece of shit.
I really took the time to read the biography enjoying every paragraph and reflecting after each story or event.


But one of the things that kept floating on my mind while I was reading and now that I just finished it, is: Why we don't have more people like Steve Jobs ?


And this question intersects with some reflections after reading another of my favorite authors, Sir Ken Robinson on "Out of Our Minds: Learning to be creative."


I strongly believe the answer is very simple: we don't let them be.


It is not something personal, as "we" I mean "the system", particularly the educational system and how we react when we notice that some kids are "different". Hellooooo, we are all different !!, but the system has been designed and ran as we were all equal and it is focused on moving the kids through it following a standard and fixed process. Yes there is such thing as "gifted and talented", but people like Steve Jobs probably would have never passed the test.


One of the typical reactions when "we" find that a kid is different, instead of having a system that can adapt to her/him, we try to force the kid to fit into it.


I think you should listen at what Sir Ken Robinson said at one of the best ever TED Talks.


I went through situations like this personally, we didn't know what it was and that ADHD even existed, and since it is on the genes, now being a parent I'm going through it with my kids.


It struck me when I read about Job's fourth grade teacher who challenged him to solve math problems with a giant lollipop as a reward, but later the challenge was most interesting and motivating than the reward. He was one of the lucky ones to have that teacher. I was lucky too when I was in secondary technical school and the priest that was the school's director saw me so enthusiastic and motivated on the electronics labs and other activities that he let me be on the labs all day. By the last year of school I was teaching my own classmates about digital electronics and microprocessors.


I feel that my kids are also lucky, because so far we've got teachers that can see beyond and recognize their natural talents, personality and creativity.


But it can't be that way, it can't be that by "luck" our kids have a chance to be what they naturally were born to be.


One of the things that I really regret about Steve Job's early departure, is that he recognized that we need a revolution in education, and that technology can play a big role on it. He was poised to do great things about it.


I just hope somebody follow on his legacy and we keep trying to create a better future for our kids and their kids.


Cheers
Jorge