As part of my recent blog entries I have been peeling back the onion of some of the issues that are really hitting the hearts of Americans these days.  Part of having the right outlook on this is to get into the shoes of those who are expressing their feelings on the issue.  All sides, not just a favorite point of view.  Skip the professional rabble rousers and looters, but hear the heart fueled messages of those upset, enraged, hurt, confused, and concerned.  These voices are not popular and not always heard.

Last night LeBron James wore a “I can’t breathe” T shirt before the Cavs game.  In the press time he said it was not for a stance but to align himself up with the family that is grieving.

Behind all the victims and shooters are families and people who are now thrown into a world where they did not expect to go to or live in.  The sad fact is that they can’t leave.  This goes for all sides affected by the encounter.

Right now America is hurting.  Not just for these incidents, but for many other symptoms and causes to problems that are just not getting attention from those who can help.  Honestly the money is not there for their interests.  That is sad.  It is also an abomination.

America is on fire on both ends.  Those who cannot afford to be burnt are waiting in the middle for someone to put the fire out.  Washington is fiddling while the smoke rises.  America is hurting. Not everywhere, but in enough places that it is starting to become more than news.

Maybe we can’t breathe as well because the smoke is choking us.  Maybe.

There is a way forward and a way out. That is the American way. Our country has been there before, and its by the hands and hearts of good people like you and I that the real work gets done.

Lets go.  But be careful, because it’s on fire on both ends.

– Mike



Following back on my previous blog…

I work on equal sides of the technology fence, one side in an architectural role, and the other side in a senior development analyst role.  One of the things that I do (and feel I do well) is to play Dr. House for the systems that I develop and work on.  These are enterprise size ERP and information systems running across a worldwide footprint.  Sometimes problems are complex and very hard to figure out.  Part of my success is knowing what is a symptom and what is a cause.  Neither of these are the root cause which is the diagnosis, but learning to deduct these things and identify them correctly is part of the skill set.  Oh, and Dr. House, you know him from TV.  He solves the mystery diseases in under one hour and it is never Lupus.

So in this maelstrom of activity following the NYC and Ferguson rulings on the law enforcement officers killing unarmed men, it is important (in my humble opinion) that there is no one thing that is the problem.  The problem right now is off the map and no one sees it.  What we have is symptoms and causes.

Symptoms are easily found as results or reactions to something.  I have a cold, I sneeze.  Sneezing is a symptom.  A person is shot by a policeman, there is a symptom.

Causes are different.  The buildup of sinus fluids in my nose cause me to sneeze.  The fluids are a cause.  A person in a law enforcement encounter is a cause.

I explained that a bit to simply because I want to look at this more later and I like short blogs so writing one is my goal.

These are layers of the onion, which need peeled back to get to the core of something.  Professionally I look for symptoms and causes when doing analysis.  This happening which is caused by that.  The root cause is different. The root cause is the crux of the issue and in these recent newsworthy events, a gem found in the heart of the onion.

Let’s peel back the layers, and find the root cause together.

Keep the conversation alive.

– Mike

Should I get upset over this stuff?

This morning while driving on my long commute and listening to the news, I found myself getting very upset and a bit blue about the recent backlash and protesting from the public about the Ferguson and NYC cases when a policeman kills an unarmed person during a law enforcement encounter.

I use the term law enforcement encounter because at the time of the incident a law enforcement officer is having an encounter with a person who has broken the law.

Behind the reasoning of my getting upset at all of this and why it is getting to me is that deep down inside I feel that these are brutally honest symptoms of other root cause issues that are being missed.  It might be controversial but in my opinion, racial profiling is a symptom, not a root cause of these tragedies.

Part of what gets to me is as I think down through the levels of symptoms and issues, the problem keeps on splitting and latching onto other issues.  It is pretty deep folks, and the pundits, news professionals ( I use the term lightly and politely), and politicians are not even close.  Its about them, not the solutions that could really help stop this madness.

So should I get upset over this stuff?  Yes, but upset because I am not doing anything about it.


A rare color file of Iwo Jima

Recently my dad shared an email with the link above to watch a video of rare color footage of World War II of Iwo Jima and the landing on the island that eventually broke the Pacific Axis back and secured a path toward victory in the war.  Today we have military intelligence that can count the hairs on the head of any enemy in an area.  In the days of WWII, the best intelligence was assumption and a gut feeling.

I received an email as a reply to the email from my dad from Mr. Michael Kopito who is a friend of my dad.  Included in that email was some great commentary on what it is actually like on Iwo Jima.  After reading the email I had to do two things. One was thank Mr. Kopito for sharing his memories from the island, and thank God I am fortunate enough to live in a country that had such brave men and women who served in the worst conditions so that we could all be free.

From Michael Kopito:

Thurm, I spent a week on Iwo at the Coast Guard Loran Station back in 1984.  I swapped a week with the commanding officer and he went to “my” island, Marcus Island for the week.  I’ll tell you this, Iwo is a miserable place, without anyone trying to kill you!  The heat, the pervasive smell of rotten eggs from the sulfuric (volcanic outcroppings) vents all over the island, the scorpions and poisonous centipedes….hell!

I went to Mount Suribachi and saw the Japanese family members still excavating and bringing back bones of Japanese soldiers that tunneled into the mountain.  Looking down on the beach, I could not imagine what it must have been like trying to claw one’s way up that burning sand with the barrage of gunfire raining down on them.  What courage it must have taken those men to fight up those slopes.  If you saw the island, you’d have to wonder why so many thousands died for the stinking rotten bit of land.  I couldn’t wait to get back to my tiny ¾ of 1 square mile island!

Interestingly, Marcus Island was bombed routinely during the war and was used as a site where the US bombardiers would zero in their sites while on bombing runs.  Much like Iwo, there were tunnels all over Marcus but there was no landing force and no battle that really took place there.

You’d be amazed at the hundreds of Japanese aircraft and soldiers that were stationed on Iwo when I was there.  It always made me wonder as Japan wasn’t supposed to have a standing army.  Yet, there were enough planes there to start a small war!  Interesting.

Metro is the new Retro?

Image  —  Posted: April 12, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Ricky Gervais: Life’s Too Short to Go With the Flow.

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

To keep it short, love what you do, do more of it, give back, take when necessary, don’t take crap, don’t accept, challenge the obvious, and laugh out loud for real.  Smile, and keep them thinking.

looksoftware “i Believe” Event Coincides with COMMON Week – Industry Bits Blog.

“We believe in the IBM i—it’s the most cost effective, scalable, and reliable application server on the market. We meet many hundreds of people every year who share that belief, but who are unaware of the full extent of the platform’s power.”- Looksoftware CEO Brendan Kay

The key to any application system is the applications.  That is what sells the system.  It does not matter if it is a server, midrange, mainframe, desktop, laptop, pad, or device, the content sells the system it is on.  In the 1990’s the ERP boom brought forward the midrange system and most importantly the AS/400.  Between the ERP applications, specialized applications, and thousands of build it yourself applications, and the fact that the system is the most solid and reliable computer ever built, the system practically sold itself.

IBM is not pouring out marketing or even closely trying to sell the systems anymore even though it has improved it with millions(billions) of dollars of improvements, updates, and cutting edge technology.  They have even bumbled through several names for the system over the years (System i for now).  The AS/400-System i system has never been more ready for another application explosion.

Kudos to Look Software to promote such an event.

– Mike