what i did on my first furlough day
yesterday was my first day of furlough in the 2013 government shutdown. during the day i did the following things;
watched as my wife go off to work before me for the first time in a long long time;
made breakfast for my sons and walked them to school;
played around w/ the json library for python;
tested the number of inserts per second postgres can handle in a single threaded situation (i am getting ~1500 or so inserts a second);
began training myself on noSQL document structures for collecting time, space, attribute values;
went to pick up one son who came home from school sick;
dug out part of my driveway that i am replacing;
read some news about the shutdown, and followed some web ste closures/opens in particular;
picked my other son up from school;
helped the boys with homework;
watched some of how ‘the universe works’ with my oldest;
went to bed
i think it is safe to say i am a fairly active member of the government open data movement. in this context, one thing in particular struct me as i was going through the list above, and in particular reading some of the web site closures; IT has changed radically during my career.
imagine, it used to be that systems, computer systems, were so big that only government investment could afford to implement them. it used to be that running a web site took so much back end that that it took 100s of staff to manage them. it used to be that big data was 28,000 rows. it used to be, in my field, that running a complicated analysis, took not just days, but $10s of thousands of dollars in software and $100s of thousands of dollars in hardware. it used to be that the ONLY place i could have run such an analysis would have been a BIG institution like the government or a major tier 1 university; a place with enough investment to make these kinds software and hardware of resources available.
there was a time when there was no way i could begin to train myself tools like a new library or testing the number of inserts into a data base (skills i need to keep current in my career) without a large infrastructure and huge investment. there was a time i had to be on a closed network (agency only network) to perform these kinds of tasks. this was the case, not just because that was the only place that could afford that kind of infrastructure, but also because software licenses were limited to the purchaser only, and could not be implemented in a distributed way; say during a government shutdown.
today, i can do these kinds of activities on a common laptop w/ downloadable open tools. investment to implement technology is pennies on the dollar today and require next to no capital investment compared to when i began my career. today, my older son comes home and says, i need to create a google doc for homework. tomorrow i imagine my twins (who are 2 years younger than my older son) to not even know what MS Word is.
while the government shutdown continues w/o end in site, i will not stand idly by and let skills or personal investment lapse. i can do this, because we no longer live in a closed world, we live in an open world. innovation will not be stifled during a shutdown, because of openness.
December 04, 2017
i hope that there is a slim chance my children can experience some mountains or canyons, without handrails.
May 11, 2016
these charts help illustrate the mortgage landscape
February 18, 2016
tonight i have remembered the night it shook my bones. i just wanted to write about it for its own sake.
April 15, 2015
it is the opportunity to reflect that everyday activities are the most important thing. it is a milestone that the kid got back to the court from the darkeset depths of therapy, of surgery and of unknown and fear.
February 26, 2015
be very careful of any IT bandwagon, because in reality, it might be a fake band
November 01, 2014
i am so amazed by my uncle. my uncle paul, a stalwart in boulder colorado, has recently had a rebirth of music.
July 29, 2014
it gave me chills because i could hear the dedication in the voice of antero garcia, the teacher, when he asks "how could i have reached out to you better?"
July 12, 2014
I owned and road my first fixed gear bike in the winter of 1985. I was a member of my high school cycling team back then in Fall River (pronounced fall reeva) Ma. Winter's in south eastern new england are a little harsh, there is a good mix of snow, freezing rain storms, north-easters coming in off the atlantic which make for extra salt corrosion see rusty jones.
July 08, 2014
This is an ignite talk i gave at a staff event about american cycling and innovation.
May 24, 2014
Writing out the names of the people who made the success at the fcc. what they did. the real rock stars
November 09, 2013
its been eating at me. the constant tech news. the constant headlines about failed government IT contracting.
October 07, 2013
good design integrates multiple technologies, and highlights the issue, rather than the implementing technology.
October 03, 2013
The antideficiency act is the law currently being invoked for having government employees not work.
October 02, 2013
yesterday was my 2nd furlough day in the 2013 government shutdown. three small things happened to me personally yesterday
June 15, 2013
Why the recent GitHub release making geojson files automatic web maps is disruptive.
April 12, 2013
Recently at the FCC, we held an unusual day. We call it D(f)evEx (pronounced as either devex or fedex) Days, and this was our first ever.
March 22, 2013
Working on a previous conclusion that perhaps PDFs are not a great way to release data.
March 05, 2013
On Sunday, February 25, 2013, the White House released documents detailing the projected costs to states of the upcoming sequester.