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Top 5 things I read for the week ending October 30, 2015

Russell, the Creator

As the NBA season tips off, there was a lot of good writing related to basketball, but this deconstruction of Russell Westbrook’s current skills and capabilities was one of the best. I’ve read a lot of things about Oklahoma City being Russ’ team now, but I’m not sure I buy into that. Still, the Westbrook – Durant tag team has the potential to be more potent than ever.

Luke Skywalker, Sith Lord

The Force Awakens is in full hype mode. I’m not completely buying this theory of Luke turning to the Dark Side, but love the extreme dissection performed in that article to come to that conclusion.

The Lonely Death of George Bell

In the dim light, Mr. Bertone emptied his drink. “You know, I miss him,” he said. “I would have liked to see George one more time. He was my friend. One more time.”

Haunted by hackers: A suburban family’s digital ghost story

The systematic destruction of Paul and Amy Strater’s lives began with pizza.

Let’s Redesign Web Design

Sure, its essentially a promotional piece for Webflow, but it makes a compelling case for how the wireframing and information design part of the Web product development cycle needs to evolve.

NBA 2015/16

two hundred and fifty-two words spread across a list of 5 random thoughts about the upcoming season of my favorite professional league

  1. Keep an eye on Dallas for the first 6 weeks of the season or so. Their first round pick in the next draft goes to the Celtics unless it’s in the top 7. So, they need to be pretty bad to keep it. So bad that they need to be bad from the beginning. If they come out even lukewarm (ie, close to .500) as a team in the first month-and-a-half then that pick will be landing in Boston.
  2. Carmelo watch. The man can play, but I’ve never bought into Carmelo being the alpha dog on a team that can win the championship. But, Carmelo as the second or even third banana? That fascinates me and thus, I’m crazy intrigued by Carmelo entering the “chase the ring” years of his career. I see that starting around January of this season. Seeing Carmelo playing in Miami, Chicago, or Houston by the end of the season wouldn’t suprise me at all. Boston has the pieces to pull off a Carmelo acquisition, but there’s a big difference between chasing a ring and chasing the playoffs.
  3. Stephen Curry will make 300 three pointers this season. Book it.
  4. Playoffs predictions. OKC beats the Warriors out West. Cavs beat Chicago in the eastern conference finals. OKC takes the title this this year.
  5. Loving that I can root for the Celtics to succeed this year AND simultaneously be on the Ben Simmons lottery pick watch with the Mavs/Nets picks. Must see college games this season are the two LSU vs. Kentucky games.

Working NASA’s Enterprise Web

While reading Neil deGrasse Tyson’s book Space Chronicles, I came across a passage that helped remind me how great it is to get the chance to evolve NASA’s enterprise web environment.

From January 3 through January 5, 2004, the NASA website that tracked the doings of the Mars rovers sustained more than half a billion hits — 506,621,916 to be exact. That was a record for NASA, surpassing the world’s Web traffic in pornography over the same three days.

Working NASA’s enterprise web is exactly what I’ve been been deeply focused on for that past year. The entire stack, from infrastructure to software services, is being examined with the intent of providing a technological refresh. Details are beginning to emerge and I’ll share them here as I can.1

Without sharing the nitty gritty details, anyone working with Web technologies should be able to predict what NASA is hoping to adopt. Cloud infrastructures. Open source software.  A good overview of this effort can be found in NASA’s Open Government Plan.

  1. Meaning: as I’m allowed to 

Wow, it’s been a whole year

Every January for the past  4 or 5 years, I resolve to write a blog post. I like writing. I don’t think I’m particularly great at it, but I do like it. And I perceive writing to be something I can improve at if I simply actively write something every day. That’s why I want to write a blog post every day.

It looks like this upcoming January is going to be no different than the last. Another new year, another resolution to write a blog post every day. Because it’s been exactly one since I last posted something here. Sigh.

Interesting enough, that year has coincided with my first year as a resident of the state of Massachusetts and living out in the Boston suberb of Sudbury. There’s much to tell about that. Maybe I’ll get around to it one day.

So yeah, let’s see if I can reboot my postings here. Related to writing on a daily basis, my latest attempt to build good habits in that area is 750words.com. Check that out if you’re interested in evolving your writing via the practice of daily composition.

Why I do it

It’s been forever since I’ve posted here.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about blogging over the years, it’s that (for me) blogging is like exercising and eating well.  You’ve got to do it regularly.  If you stop for a while, starting back up takes much longer than you believe it will.  I’ve done many a public online proclamation expressing my commitment to regular blogging.  I’m not going to do that this time.  It hasn’t worked in the past, so I’ll spare you.

So what got me back to writing a post this morning?  It was how pleased I was at the public’s reaction, especially in D.C., to the Space Shuttle Discovery getting piggybacked into Dulles for permanent display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

Shuttle flyover DC

I’ve always liked the notion that the Space Shuttles were “our space machines”.  Seeing the people of DC come out and see Discovery arrive was a reminder of why I enjoy working at NASA in the first place. In the picture of what NASA does, my contribution is pretty small, but I do believe that I’m doing my part to help America’s space program and that I’m helping contribute to NASA’s mission, in particular the missions of inspiring the next generation of explorers and sharing knowledge with the world.

Last week’s event was a reminder that people still are fascinated by NASA and the American space program.1  The media is rich in reports of NASA’s demise and there are no lacks of calls for shutting down the U.S. space program. In my opinion, NASA isn’t dying.  It’s evolving.

Enterprise, Meet Discovery

  1. And let’s be fair, that whole event was engineered in a manner to remind people that matter – like Congress – of just that. 

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