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News

Nom-Nom 1.0

Nom-Nom is a series of dinner parties we hold at our house in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

Nom-Nom 1.0 was held on December 16, 2017 and featured Pastrami from Katz Delicatessen in New York City.    

Categories
Lists

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.

Categories
Sports

NBA 2015/16

  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.
Categories
NASA

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 

Categories
News

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.

Categories
NASA

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. 

Categories
NASA

Looking for Help on a Google Sites Project at NASA

Though it’s been a while since I posted anything on this blog, there have definitely been some interesting steps forward in advancing NASA’s enterprise Web environment. I’ll write more about that soon.  One thing those steps forward have resulted in is the green-lighting of some pilot projects to prototype new enterprise Web solutions for NASA.  One of those projects involves developing two prototypes using Google Sites software and other applications and features within the Google Apps Enterprise Suite.

I’m currently looking for 3 resources to help out with this pilot.  See below for details.

Project Description

The NASA Google Sites Projects will use Google Sites software (and other appropriate software applications such as software for construction project management, within the Google Apps Enterprise Suite) to develop 2 prototype enterprise web solutions. The first prototype will explore Google Sites as a social intranet solution. The second prototype will explore Google Sites as a collaborative extranet that allows NASA scientists, researchers, and mission operations personnel to effectively and securely collaborate with trusted, non-NASA partners. Each prototype will be developed using content in existing legacy web content management solutions.

Project Timeline

Length of project is 2-3 months and will start on March 1.

Web Front End Design Engineer

Candidate will lead the visual interface design, information design, and information architecture of 2 prototype enterprise web sites to be built using Google Sites. Candidate will be responsible for developing the required Google Sites compatible themes, page templates, and Google gadgets required for the presentation of existing content within a Google Sites based solution. Candidate will also provide necessary documentation for use by resources tasked with content migration.

Required Skills

  • 3 years experience designing and implementing web sites/ web applications using front-end web technologies, including XHTML and CSS
  • Previous experience with Web content management systems and CMS templating features
  • Previous experience designing and implementing designs and information architectures for web content published with Google Sites

Content Manager (2)

The Content Managers will be tasked with the migration of content from existing web sites into prototype web sites built with Google Sites. This task will include the implementation and formatting and content into predefined templates and layouts.

Required Skills

  • Previous experience with online content management systems
  • Previous experience publishing content using web based content editors and publishing tools used for display of photos and images
  • Understanding of web templates and layouts
  • Understanding of web display technologies such as html

To be clear, candidates would be working for Dell Federal Government Services on a contract Dell has to provide I.T. resources at NASA Ames Research Center in California.  But I am willing to discuss the project and work with the right person located anywhere in the U.S.

If you are interested, send me an email at jj.toothman@nasa.gov.  Please include your resume; any web links that might help me get to know  you and your previous work; and your hourly rate if possible.

Categories
Sports

Collapse 2011: Prelude

Before 2004, being a Red Sox meant expecting the worst possible outcome for your team. And even when you were expecting, the manner of the outcome still managed to exceed what’s in the darkest recesses of your mind and annihilate your spirit. The Bucky Dent home run. Game 6 of the 86 worlds series.  Grady Little in 2003.

1978 one game playoff - Bucky Dent

Then Dave Roberts stole a base in the ninth inning of game 4 of the 2004 ALCS.  And that was the moment when everything flipped.  Immediately, bounces stared going our way. Umpires reversed calls in our favor.  The 2004 Boston Red Sox never lost a game after Dave Roberts steals that base.  It was the beginning of an amazing era in Red Sox history and being a Red Sox fan.

Dave Roberts steals second

Suddenly, the team was an annual winner.  Organizationally, they did things you always hoped for.  Like develop young players.  They spent tons of money and outbid other teams for free agents you wanted.  Fenway Park was turned into this perfect cathedral of baseball.  Packed every night with overjoyed people.  They had lots of likable players.  They had a likable manager.  We had a general manager who hung out with Pearl Jam.  A second championship came in 2007.  It was a time of bliss for fans of the Boston Red Sox.

The 2011 team was absolutely stacked. There was no reason to think that competing for another world series championship was realistic. I started telling anyone who would listen that the team was so complete that it would not only win 100 games, but the Sox would also challenge the single season record for most wins.  They got off to a horrible 2-10 start.  But even then, I never worried.  I figured it was just a matter of time before they figured things out and started winning.  And I was right.  After that 2-10 start they were the best team in baseball.

Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez

Until September came.

I’m not exactly when the Red Sox ship reversed course.  It seems like it was Hurricane Irene.  When September came, they were no longer that stacked team that would win the whole thing.  They were something else.  What they were didn’t reveal itself right away.  Instead, it was reveal slowly over a month of disastrous baseball.  They were the worst team in baseball in September.  They became the worst team I’ve ever watch play the game.

And on the 28th day of September, they played game 162.

David Ortiz in the dugout after game 162

 

Categories
Sports

The Collapse of the 2011 Boston Red Sox

It’s going to take me a few days to write a post about the #redsox game 162 and the 2011 collapse. Lots of thoughts to pull together.Thu Sep 29 20:51:39 via TweetDeck

 

That’s what I tweeted on September 29, 2011.  The day after the Red Sox lost game 162 in Baltimore and eliminated themselves from this year’s playoffs.  It’s actually taken me longer than I thought because the collapse with my beloved Sox wasn’t just on the field, it was throughout the organization. And the fallout keeps coming.  First, the manager quits1Then the GM walks away.

It’s a lot to take in. And everyday, us Sox fans learn a little bit more. None of it good.

All of this has been filling my mind with thoughts.  I want to rant.  I want to analyze.  I want to cleanse.

And it’s going to take some time.  What I first thought was a lengthy post is now probably a 3 or 4 parter.  There’s THAT much ground to cover .


  1. Or gets fired, depending on who  you ask 

Categories
Tech

Gruber Gets Us

An by “us”, I’m referring to my family.  In writing about the recent iPhone 4S announcement by Apple, John Gruber writes:

As for the argument that Apple has failed because the iPhone 4S, however nice an improvement overall, is not enough to entice iPhone 4 users to upgrade — so what? Normal people don’t buy brand-new $700 smartphones each and every year. In the U.S. they buy them on two-year contracts, and they don’t shop for new ones until their old contracts are over. So the iPhone that the 4S needs to present a compelling upgrade for is the 3GS, not the 4. And the iPhone 4S absolutely smokes the 3GS. It’s crazy better than the 3GS. 2009 3GS buyers who skipped the iPhone 4 — which I’m guessing are most of them — ought to be delighted by the iPhone 4S.

We saw the same criticism with the iPad 2 — that it wasn’t a compelling upgrade for existing iPad owners. In a way, those critics are right — the iPad 2 is not a compelling upgrade. But it wasn’t supposed to be — Apple expected iPad 1 owners to keep using the iPads they already own. Normal people don’t replace $600 gadgets annually — and they rightfully expect their $600 gadgets to remain useful and relevant for more than 12 months.

I read that and pretty much saw how my mind (and wallet) think when considering new Apple products.  I really don’t want to be an annual iPhone upgrade cycle.  So the iPhone 4S really should be compared to the iPhone 3GS in my purchasing decision making.

Similarly, there’s no way I’m dropping $499 every year on the latest iPad.  That’s just insane.  I can only hope that the next iPad product line iteration smokes the first generation iPad.  I still haven’t decided what the cycle should be for upgrading the family iPad.  My current thinking is $499 every two years seems a bit steep for what is not a critical piece of computing hardware within the household.  I imagine as Mason and Jude get older, the importance of the iPad will rise within our family.  In fact I expect them to have their own iPads as their primary computing device for school well before they have laptops or desktops.  Even when they get to the point of having to write reports and research papers, I’m thinking they’ll be more inclined to use another computer they have access to, such as at a library, instead of having their own tradition laptop or desktop.

Lastly, another great thought from Gruber is his comparison of the iPhone 4 design to the Porsche 911 design.  I think it’s spot on.

Apple pursues timeless style, not fleeting trendiness. This iPhone design might be like that of the Porsche 911 — a distinctive, iconic, timeless, instantly-recognizable representation of the product’s brand itself.