Marc J. Greenberg

Codemarc's Blog

Category Archives: Life, the Universe and Everything

awesome marc-i-tech

I am an awesome architect, who will likely fail your technical interview. Is it because I don’t really care (yikes) or maybe I can’t handle the pressure or maybe I am real renaissance man and it takes concentration to pull specifics from my minds long-term?, secure?, durable? object storage (glacier).

I often wonder why this is. I am a guy who has designed many really interesting and sometimes complex systems. I have ideated, prototyped, implemented and patented all sorts of technology (well ok, mostly integration focused stuff). Early in my career I worked on system architecture and language implementation. Later I spent time designing application independent protocol interfaces and lots of network connectivity stuff. Then I spent time as a integration architect, creating mountains of software to enable client/server, ESB/Integration Adapter/SOA/REST and finally arriving at the cloud/ data integration/bigdata/complex event processing/analytic world  I defined, designed and coded lots of interfaces. I worked the UX and coded the UI. I spent years with c/c++/, java, javascript, declarative scripting and so much more. I’ve designed eclipse based tooling (plugins) out of sheer willpower. I created tons of script, and built out what we call dev/ops today as tools to make my work more efficient. I have been a technical manager, scrum master, mentor and chief digital officer helping companies to “think” differently for years.

My bae’s were guys like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs (and the dancing Woz), Philippe Kahn, Ray Noorda and later Craig Newmark, Jeff Bezos and Jack Dorsey (who was so cool 10 years ago), John Resig!

I straddle the line between technology, sales and marketing.  I am a looking for a place where I can engage my best self fully. Where I can bring my unique value to make a difference in the creation, marketing and selling of cloud based, containerized, IoT,  aware, micro-service based software components.

I am not only the person who conducts the symphony, but the one that typically scores it as well. I have been a developer since I was a teenager and I still jam to that vibe. I have been known to ideate, create, and advocate all in once. I Identify the trends, locate the influencers, build the tools and engage the community and customers. It turns out that I am really a technical sales architect that is been successfully working indirectly in channel (sales) between the light and dark sides of the force for years. This is not my first rodeo, as I am 2/3 of the way home. I work the fog and clear the way.

In a company of over a thousand people, you will only find a handful of true innovators. These people spend their time thinking about how do things better. They stumble up new techniques, tools, technologies and methodologies, each replete with absurd complexity and thru careful researching and sometimes hacking they absorb the concepts and often build interesting things of substance.   

I have been doing this for years. Who are you and what do you do? Perhaps we can build something together?

You have the floor.

Know Thyself

photo-4Who are you? What do you Do?
Do you really know?

I love to build things. I like to play with hardware, IoT and other digitally driven real world magic . As a young software artisan, I rose thru the ranks of development organizations like doing laps in a pool. I slid gracefully into management, at first for of a small group, and then a larger one, and then a multi-team, multi-site, multi-tiered, matrix-managed, scrum of scrum-butt style of organization. I have been and have worked with chickens and pigs and the whole rest of the zoo.

I have always worked in and around math but was never really “good at it”. I am NOT a good speller! I am music, I am rhythm, I am creative, I am a script-er, I speak geek.

I have noticed that I am aging and I my vision is not so great anymore. Years of ear bud injected music has hurt my hearing. And the attention sucking internet has cause me to have trouble focusing. So I say dump it all. Do something better. Get out and live.

 

Spend time with the children and with your parents before they have gone. I can hear the ticking of the wall clock now and I am reminded of the Hal 9000 in Space odyssey. Will I dream? Of course you will. All intelligent beings dream. Nobody knows why.

Stevedore in the Fog

I have always been connected to the water. Staring out of my office window, gazing over downtown New York, I sometimes think about the what the city looked like during mid 19th century “Gangs of New York” times. I imaging myself as a dockworker loading and unloading ships only to realize I am a stevedore even now.

For the past year, many of the projects that I have engaged in have been about developing cloud delivered containers for large scale applications. The work allows me to maintain a sharp focus on a “Big Things” agends while continously delivering useful and reusable components.  To me the cloud is a reborn technology that encourages better architecture. The cloud of the now is simply understood as “Compute, Storage and Networking”; pure constructs in the cyberspace of Gibsons, Neuromancer.

Docker… Docker… Docker…   is the enabling technology that brings the devops estibador, super-scripting-power. The question is: how do we unravel the bigger messes and produce cloud native components that are robust but simple. Hopefully the answer will materialize soon enough

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The script king

I have always been a scripter. To me scripting is the glue that binds the universe together. I have claimed that I am like a classic composer, creating beautiful symphonies out of concepts and code. Each movement, designed to evoke strong emotional reaction.

As a conductor it is script that drives the story home. It brings together a prelude, body and epilog in a way that allows us to look at something of interest in a holistic manner.

Scripting is often explained as the nirvana of high-level programming that is both abstract and concise, devoid of difficut low-level details (memory, performance, etc…)

Scripting appeals to the “hacker” element in our collective conscience by providing us with the
ability to drive a project’s design and development. There is a famous column by a well known
language designed Paul Graham entitled hackers and painters, where he says:

“What hackers and painters have in common is that they’re both makers. Along with
composers, architects, and writers, what hackers and painters are trying to do is
make good things. They’re not doing research per se, though if in the course of trying
to make good things they discover some new technique, so much the better.”

So this in a nutshell describes a core premise of my own working life.

“Sometimes what the hackers do is called “software engineering,” but this term is just as misleading.
Good software designers are no more engineers than architects are. The border between
architecture and engineering is not sharply defined, but it’s there. It falls between what and how:
architects decide what to do, and engineers figure out how to do it.”

So a final thought, script; as it relates to life the universe and everything.  For many years I have been a fan of one of the more interesting authors of our times, the late great Douglas Adams who somehow had a finger on the british humorist version of computing where the earth is itself is hadoop

aside(
relational humor (:
scott adams (dilbert),  douglas adams (hhgh),  douglas cutting (hadoop)
) yahoo!

And thinking along those lines are do we live our lives by acting out our life-script.

Is our life-script instantiated at birth as:

var script = new life();

for(var yearofyourlife=0; yearofyourlife < 100; yearofyourlife++)
script.run(yearofyourlife);

script.die();
script.evolve();

A Fresh Start?

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” – Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)

myoldell
As a software developer with a background in hardware it is always interesting and often painful to setup a new work environment. As it happens to be a sunny spring day (good friday almost easter) it seem that the theme of renewal is here. Coincidentally my old Dell precision workstation (circa 2004, perhaps the first 64-bit machine i ever used) has finally died.

Over the past few years I have bee running Ubuntu as my primary desktop working environment. This is probably the reason I to so much milage out of the old system. Each time someone else’s Dell precision workstation died, I would cannibalize the good parts and add them to my system. Net result is that for a grand total of $65 (for a galaxy force 6500 video card, an old but awesome card appropriate for the old system)  I had a great 2 dual core cpu’s (4 total), 24G memory and about 1 terabyte of disk space dual monitor developer workstation. So what happened? One of the three old fans died probably about a month ago but ubuntu didn’t care, it kept on ticking. eventually I needed to use the dvd drive for something and noticed it was dead, so eventually I powered down the system to check it out. And that was all she wrote. Funny thing is that although it was obvious that some of the insides had issues, the hard drives (2 beautiful SATA drives) were just fine. Oh well.

optiplex7010So I removed the good parts and scrapped the old system and ordered a new one. You know what, sometimes new is really better. I ordered up a Dell Optiplex 7010. with 3rd Gen Intel Core I7 (quad core, bug cache, real fast) so basically a 8 cpu machine with 16G of memory, 2TB disk, no monitors no fluff  for about $800 bucks.  It came in today so I ware ready to go to work on it.

On boot I got a brand new super clean version of window 7 running. I quickly configured the dual monitors and that I thought about how to configure the machine for real. After think about it for a while I decided there was no real reason torero what was done and as long as I am vigilant in the way I use the host (in this case windows 7) it should service as a great platform for development. So I painfully located all my windows application license codes for the basic stuff. For me this means Google Chrome, Dropbox.  Office 2010 (64-bit), Adobe Acrobat and virtualization software (I typically use virtual box). A few hours I finish installing the latest UBUNTU as a guest and start using it. AND it sucks. What—–

It just doesn’t feel right to me. Several discussions later and I realize it. Linux or OS X on the bottom is always the way to go. So now what. I guess I can use something to suck up my windows drive and virtualize it. Or may be I should go right ahead and boot Linux from a different physical drive. Then I can use the actual physical drive (with windows as the guest) and maybe that won’t suck at all. By the way I’ve also had a great deal of success using the latest wine stuff, so maybe I can look at that as a another option.

Funny thing about the story is that while I sit here waiting for all the file transfer/shuffling to finish (I needed to rearrange some of the stuff in disk) I am typing on my mac using its notes app. I really just use my mac and don’t ever really think about it.  So thats it for now I wait:

“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

What do you do?

I am often asked, what do you do? I typically respond, I am in computers. I have no idea why this is an appropriate response but in the beginning it was quite literally true

dc_la120

I learned beginners programming (BASIC) in 1977, where the Dec-Writer was king and the ribbon was always broken. You literally got your hands dirty if you wanted to get anything done. I then took an after school job at Oliver Office Equipment Company, an original typewriter repair company that sold and delivered office supplies.
The ugly part of fixing typewriters was crawling around the basement of the store to find a replacement part from the hundreds of broken buybacks. I was just beginning to learn how to repair the IBM Selectric (with its million or so unique parts) when the first shipment of Kaypro II computers arrived. As an employee, I got the 50% discount and my first real box for about $850.00. I still have this computer on my window sill and it still works (although half of the 360K, 5 1/4″, single sided, single density are de-maged). Taking that bad boy apart and putting it back together was alway fun.

Then there was my work study job at Syracuse University with the campus computer services department. Day 1, I was given a cool briefcase full of tools and handed a bunch of trouble tickets and sent out to fix terminals. About half of the tickets were to replace ribbons on old Dec-Writers around campus and the other half was reseating video cards in volker-craig terminals. Then there was the day where a friend of mine tried to replace a card on terminal where he had inappropriately grounded the static discharge. And calling the ambulance after he flew across the room convinced me it was probably time to get out of being in computers.

So what do I do? I read, I write, I hack, I invent, I think and I teach. Creativity is a part of who I am. As an mathematical artist, I find beauty in music. I love its patterns and symmetry. I am interested in the layers and complexity that I hear and feel effortlessly. The math of technology is harder for me. I love simple logic, truths, repeatable certainty. I am fearful of complexity in that it can be a huge distraction. I am a fan of good field position, keeping your eye on the goal, and getting it done and while I dispise the notion of “good enough”, as an adult I understand it. The essence of Zen is on not identifying with one thought or its opposite, it is about getting to the awareness that is behind the thought.

I leave you with this thought: A distraught man approached his master. “Please, Master, I feel lost, desperate. I don’t know who I am. Please, show me my true self!” But the teacher just looked away without responding. The man began to plead and beg, but still the master gave no reply. Finally giving up in frustration, the man turned to leave. At that moment the master called out to him by name. “Yes!” the man said as he spun back around. “There it is!” exclaimed the master.

Thanksgiving 2010

So it’s thanksgiving day 2010 and we are all still here, plugged into the matrix, living out our lives, growing more dependent on technology then ever before. As I sit on the long island railroad headed east, I peck out this post on my IPad, listening to Coldplay (the escapist) on my iPod, surrounded by other iPeople and their devices. Communicating constantly, tapping or talking, looking for instant amusement. I carry no less then 5 separate devices with global connectivity capability and yet I feel more alone and isolated then ever. And I am sure it will only get worse. I remember reading the Arthur C. Clarke novel 2010, as a boy and thinking how far away that was. This year my father turned 80 and he told me when he looked in the mirror he was happy to see his father smiling back. Anyway, I remember thinking about the line, all these worlds are yours and how I never considered the concept as applied to inner space. Now I simply think well maybe something is going to happen, something wonderful. Its good to be a dad.

So I am thankful, for my family, for health and happiness and hockey and grapes. Gobble-Gobble!

M 😉

Ps I stumbled across the greatest secret in the world, so I thought I’d share…

Magic not!

So this summer I finally broke down and purchased some new backyard furniture. My wife and I went to the Macy*s Outdoor Furniture shop and bought a very nice, “fairly priced” set. Hayley opened a new account for this purchase that included special financing. Of course Macy*s promised speedy delivery. Of course they failed on that. So to placate us Macy*s offered and then sent a $200 Gift Card as an I’m sorry.

I never shop, even though I work in Manhattan (across from Macy*s). Hayley, my wife insisted that I take the gift card and buy myself some clothes. So, I plopped the card into my wallet and forgot about it till this morning when my she made a little remark on how the bottoms of my pants were ripped.

So today at lunchtime I made my way into Macy*s. I picked out 4 pairs of pants. I tried them all on. I had plans to buy more but it had already been 45 mins and I had enough of the “shopping” experience. I go to a register to check out. And like magic 2 pairs of the pants were on sale, how random, how lucky. I go to pay with the gift card and guess what, the clerk says: Sir, this card has $2.46 cents on on it. After a fair amount of discussion (loud angry discussion), I decide to just pay. The clerk then informs me to get the sale price I must use my Macy*s credit card which I do not have in my pocket. He tries to use the automatic lookup system but it fails. So they call someone and tell me the card is in my wife’s name and I am not authorized. At this point I get angry, I have had enough I am done. But after a small rant I apologize to the clerk and ask for a manager. The clerk politely explains I need customer service to help me straighten this out and I should see the girl upstairs at the desk. I find the girl by the front door and explain it all to her. She tell me I should go up to the 9th Floor executive offices and find someone up there to straighten it out.

I decided that I am too hungry to continue with those retail nonsense. So now Hayley is on the phone with Macy*s credit. I cant wait to see how this turns out. Well see who wears the pants 😉

Turns out the gift card was used before it was sent to us in topanga, California. A place I’ve never been. More fraud, more fun. Still even though they will send me another card, I have no pants. Oh well!

Keeping Clean, Still Searching…

I am always amazed at how much effort is required to setup and maintain a clean computing environment. I think back on my earliest days of computing on my Kaypro II, with its dual 5 1.4 inch floppy drives and its CP/M operating system. The majority of the Console Command Processor (CCP) was dedicated to managing the disk to maintain a “clean” environment with available space. During those days the ultimate way to create a clean environment was to get a new floppy disk and run the sysgen command to install a clean copy of CP/M on it. Then boot the computer with that disk and viola!

Forward to MS-DOS, where the situation doesn’t really change much except you now have a 10MB hard disk to store all your junk.  Of course sooner or later the drive fails and you lose anything that wasn’t on the floppies in the first place but after the first or second time it happens you get in the habit of backing up your real stuff. And with a new drive comes a new OS and a clean environment.

Then there was NetWare. Finally some real storage to play with. I remember buying a physically massive 1G drive, loading it up with tons of stuff downloaded from Compuserve, Prodigy, PCTOOLS and OS2TOOLS (of course you had to be inside IBM for the last two).  Now, I could install lots of great/marginal/bad software and really screw up my environment. I got into the habit of wiping out my environment, once a year, simply to clean it up.

Enter the Matrix, the Internet and the ability to download as many viruses as you please. Forget about a clean computing environment and worry about how to avoid real theft. Open access points, unsecured networks, unencrypted passwords, etc. Wireless, faceless and costly.

So now its 2010, and my wife just gave me an iPad for my birthday. A new "computer" and another chance to maintain a clean computing environment. I have watched my son and daughter play with their iTouch versions of is device for a while now and I could never really understand why they liked it so much. I simply assumed that it was because they are young / hip and I am a PC (kudos apple marketing).

Well maybe that’s not really so true anymore as I have evo-loved into a daily ubuntu user, fluent in Linux and the way of the web. It turns out that this device is really a debian variant and as my honor student son, enthusiastically tried to explain to me the concept of jail breaking, I finally fell in real like. It’s funny, he thinks of it as free as in beer, and I think of it as free as in liberty.

So now I have a dilemma. Do I hack away like many others and treat this device as another real computer to master and mess up. Get a shell and login as root and go to work. Or do I us this device as a true consumer. A terminal would be real nice. And maybe, just maybe, I could stop lugging around my laptop, maybe.

Another day, Another Doodie

So first things first, I want to really thank everybody for the sincere birthday wishes. Its so nice to see how many people are willing to spend a moment or two to send a happy birthday. I am sad that I am not as consistent as all of you. I sit in front of a computer all day, I have multiple cell phone numbers, office phone doodie
numbers, email accounts and other social contact points and yet I can not keep it together as I drown in my technology (some of which I created myself). Oh well, another year has passed for me and I worry that I am already on the back nine. I am not a particularly spiritual person and someone had once told me that God had promised man 120 years of life (Genesis 6) and even though there are many explanations on how this was about noah and the flood, I am going to take this as a promise to me, personally so maybe I am still a yute. Anyway, thank you one and all and if I missed any of your bd’s, please accept my belated birthday wish to you.Peace and Love To All!