Foot Gloves

Really loving my Vibram Five Fingers. Been using these gloves for a couple of months now. Just walking for now (regular walking and race walking). It takes some time for the feet to build up muscle again after utterly deteriorating wearing casts for decades. It’s shocking how weak my feet became over the years. Also I had to wear arch supports since I was a kid. Gone. I threw them out. Turns out there was nothing wrong with my arches. I now use my own arches for arch support. My feet move now. They spread out. They grab the road. They are directly involved in supporting every movement. Getting stronger now. Every day.

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The Community Manager Title

Here’s a good interview on building communities with Jono Bacon and Randal Schwartz: FLOSS WEEKLY 462 EVOLUTION OF COMMUNITY

At one point during the conversation the two briefly discussed the discipline of community management itself. The job title, basically. This really brought back memories for me. I was the community manager for the OpenSolaris project way back in 2005. Back then the title was not really considered a positive thing at all. People in the Open Source community — and in the nascent OpenSolaris community — kept telling me that you can’t manage a community because communities are organic. And any attempt to manage a community simply demonstrated that the company (in this case Sun) wanted to control the community. Although I didn’t agree with the argument entirely I was sufficiently intimidated by it that I very much shied away from the title. I used it for a while, but I never liked it. Eventually, I moved over to calling myself a program manger and felt much more comfortable since I was also managing many internal infrastructure projects as well as building community externally.

Anyway, my point? Now, all these years later, there are “community managers” all over the place and it’s all the rage for corporate types to build communities. The conferences are filled with presentations like this. How times have changed.

Oracle Code 2018: CFP Open

The 2018 Oracle Code tour will start soon. The Call for Papers is now open. The first three cities are published with dates and there are eleven more to come. There will be four events in Asia, so I hope to attend those. The events host keynotes, technical sessions, and hands-on labs involving a variety of technologies — containers, microservices, cloud, DevOps, Java, JavaScript, and Open Source. Speakers range widely from Oracle executives and engineers to customers and partners and also developers from the Oracle Developer Community globally.

Here’s a summary of what it all looked like during the 2017 tour:

 

The Daily Review

An interesting meditation exercise is to review your activities from your day before going to bed. I do it in bed as a convenient technique to help me fall asleep. Works every time. You only need five minutes or so but you can extend it as long as you like. The technique is simple yet deceptively powerful and provides some interesting insights. You can do it lying down or sitting in a chair.

So, just close your eyes and picture your day from start to the finish in your mind’s eye. You can scroll through pretty quickly or plod along slowly. Play with it. Try to see the day as a video with sound but also bring in anything you touch, smell, or taste along the way. Try to get all your senses involved and try to spot any emotions you felt during each point of the day. But it’s important to not get too involved with the images or question your actions. Just observe. Your insight will come from repeatedly observing without judging. And don’t worry that the images may not be very clear initially. This takes practice and the movie will become sharper over time.

Now, here’s the catch. When people do this exercise many times they will report that they can’t think of very much. They know they did lots of things during the day but during their nightly reviews all the details are gone. Same deal with me. However, what I discovered was that if I could not remember much at night that meant I was not especially mindful during the day. So, to overcome this, during the day I tried to just focus on my activities without thinking very much. And by that I mean I tried to cut the garbage thinking not directed related to whatever activity I was doing. I tried to kill the random thoughts, basically. This helped me stay more in the present moment. And that made all the difference in the world. I was really very surprised at how much more detail I could effortlessly remember at night by just doing that one technique during the day.

This can get pretty amusing too. Many times during a review I would be remembering in great detail a walk home, for instance. Turning right here, passing this building, hearing a conversation between two girls in front of me, feeling a motorcycle vibrating to my left, seeing an interesting car drive by on the right, noticing the expressions of various people walking by, etc. And then a moment later the entire scene would just stop. Nothing. It’s wild. It’s like you can’t move forward because there’s no data. Now, intellectually, I knew I kept walking in reality because I got to the train station — but I could not remember a single detail! The movie pictures running in my mind just stopped cold. Initially, I thought that was because I was getting tired and perhaps I was falling asleep. But over time I came to understand that when the movie review stops abruptly in my head at night then that’s the point I lost my mindfulness during the day. At that point I let my mind wander to some crap thought about work or some meaningless experience in the past I’ve thought of a million times before. I lost my awareness of the present moment. My body was obviously still walking — but my head was roaming around somewhere else.

When you practice this technique every night you start seeing holes like these during your day — blocks of time where all the details are lost. They become blatantly clear. Not only does this phenomenon become clear at night when you review your day but over time it starts to become clear during the day as well. You literally see the change taking place in real time as you lose your mindfulness. That observation is extremely valuable because most people go along all day without having any awareness of being mindful of anything.

So, why do this? Well, over time this technique helps you remain present during activity and that’s always helpful for getting through your day without feeling so powerless. It also helps you gain insights into the non-productive things you do repeatedly every day — and especially the utterly inane thoughts you think day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Insane. You are just better able to see the patterns and deal with situations as they come up in every moment. But even more importantly, being mindful during the day is quite literally a prerequisite for attaining mindful awareness at night. And that’s my ultimate goal here — to be lucid during sleep. More on that later.

CLS/OSCON Austin 2017

Here are some images from Jono Bacon’s Community Leadership Summit and O’Reilly’s OSCON in Austin, Texas. It was a really great week re-connecting with my Open Source community friends. I haven’t been to these two events in years.

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Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden

Images from the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden, a really great place to visit if you are in the Kansai area.

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Waterfall

A little waterfall nearby. Takes about an hour of walking to get up there in the woods. I like getting away from all the useless noise and distractions of waking life to just listen to the water fall for an hour or two and to breathe the air directly from the trees.

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