My Story: I started out as the original computer coding nerd, when it wasn't so cool

Is this a changed world? Well of course it is. I was born before the smart phone, before the internet, before the microwave, before the touch tone phone, before the answering machine (who has those anymore?), OK voice mail. Before the VCR. My God! I just realized I'm old! I'm okay with that.

My story is unique, as all stories about individuals are. I started out as the original computer coding nerd, when it wasn't so cool (even worked for DMV at one point, and wrote video games). I have remade myself more times than Madonna; into a blogger and now entrepreneur. Along the way I have worn so many hats, I've called myself a hacker, business analyst, solutions architect, webmaster, designed custom virtual worlds, worked on so many websites I loose track. Coded in languages now forgotten, photoshopped everything. Written science fiction stories and now have my own indie comic online for free.

I have remade myself more times than Madonna; into a blogger and now entrepreneur.

Recently I have written Mobile Apps which help the speech impaired to speak, like the software that Stephen Hawking uses, but different still. This is the one thing I am most proud of because it helps so many people who really need, and use it daily. It hasn't made as much money as I would like, but that's okay . . . I've watched others around me make lots of money, doing not what they love, and be no happier.

As this is obviously a brag piece, I will continue. You are not obligated to read any further. Of course I say that just to get you to read more.

GEORGE ORWELL 2015: I'm In A Den Of Hackers Two Degrees From Snowden. Look for Rm. 101 to save me!

I'm sitting in the Alan Turing room at Noisebridge hackerspace here in San Francisco, CA writing this post. That explains the den of hackers” reference in the title. But before I explain the Edward Snowden reference we need to get a few definitions straight, and a few stories need to be told.

Now first, the definition of “Hacker”. The definition is much more nuanced than common knowledge. For example, you probably think from recent stories in the news, its about someone, an individual, possibly some malcontent, or some countries elite group of security coders stealing your credit card information as you shop at Target or WallMart. That may be true for some hackers, but definitely not all, and not the majority in my experience.

For some the badge of hacker” can be worn proudly, it can mean someone who is a genius at computer technology, who comes up with out-of-the-box ways of thinking, of ways to do something so differently, so disruptive (but in a good way), it makes others stop and think . . . Why Didn't I Think Of That? Or WOW, That Really Works! What A Cool Idea! In fact, in the old days I would have classified Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, both as hackers, among other things.

A hacker can be a maker, an entrepreneur, a writer, teacher, many things. Just understand that the definition itself is not always negative, and we are not always out to steal your credit cards! Some of us are even figuring out more secure ways of transacting electronic commerce, bitcoin exchanges, etc.

So suffice it to say I have opened your mind to a larger definition of hacker for a moment and lets move on . . . Hackerspaces, What Are Those? I thought that was only Chinese Internet Cafes, you say.

The $26K+ Miracle Speaking App!

It started out with bad news in an email.

Dan C. is one of my best friends.  He had to go into the hospital to remove a large growth from his leg.  We went to lunch before hand, and I reassured him everything would be fine.  I expected him to contact me, time went by, no contact from Dan . . . then I got an email from his girlfriend saying, "Dan is not doing well".

I found out from her that he had been moved from Oakland to a hospital facility in Vallejo, CA.  I drove to visit him, and when I entered the hospital room, Dan recognized me, but was unable to speak.  He had suffered a pulmonary embolism, while walking across the lawn to leave the hospital.  A blood clot broke loose, traveled to his lungs, and his heart stopped, he collapsed on the grass.  They worked on him continuously, and were able to revive him.

Considering what happened, Dan was lucky to be alive.  His frustration and mine were both obvious, we couldn't communicate and had never had much trouble talking before, in fact the opposite, being not able to shut-up was our problem!  I found a laminated conversation board in the hospital room with the alphabet on it, and the words yes, and no.

He tediously began to spell out his answers in our conversation pointing his finger to each letter.  Dan was having trouble with his manual dexterity, he was still very weak.  I realized quickly, that this way of communicating wasn't going to do!  I started thinking, Dan and I had always shared a big interest in computers, networking, IT, etc.  In fact we both worked as programmers at DMV together in Sacramento, where I met him and he later got me my first job interview in San Francisco.  I helped him name his first small business, LANTEC, and we designed his website together.

The Apple iPad had just been released a few months earlier, and I was trying hard to think of an app to write for it.  Then, I thought about Stephen Hawking, and how he had a computer voice which could talk for him, it was part of his wheelchair.  I thought the iPad might be powerful enough and just be able to do it.  So I got really busy; I would write an app that talked for my friend Dan!

The Second Most Famous Garage In Silicon Valley

The Second Most Famous Garage In Silicon Valley

I'm sitting in Cafe Venetia, an Italian cafe in one of the most powerful and influential technological cities in silicon valley, on one of the most upscale streets of Palo Alto California, University Avenue, waiting to meet Ann Bradley, the blogger and writer of “The Silicon Valley Story” for coffee.

Ann, and I are following up to our first encounter over a year ago at a bitcoin meetup, which I randomly walked into. She arrives with a bike helmet and bag, having parked her bike on the sidewalk outside. We exchange pleasantries and she gets settled in at our table, with what looks like a lovely cappuccino. I glance at my phone to notice that I have only 1.5 hours left on a blue zone parking spot for my car. See says parking is free in downtown Palo Alto, but I don't want to get a ticket.

In a very eclectic and thrilling roller coaster ride of topics, our lively conversation waxes back and forth across subjects such as: degrees of Snowden, the CIA and PRISM, Pebble vs.the Apple Watch, What to do?, the Metaverse, Ray Kurzweil chief engineer at Google, exporting Silicon Valley DNA around the world, my indie comic book, and universal consciousness and the plot of the recent science fiction movie Ex Machina.

I'm surprised when many entrepreneurs don't understand Gartner's Hype Cycle!

I would hope that the VCs do!

See example article for 2015: What’s New in Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2015, then my comments, if you care to.

Listen, I ride the technology waves as much as any other futurist, sci-fi reader/blogger, dreamer and prediction geek, but you have to get real, and "realize" that new technology doesn't live in a bubble, it's constantly being hyped and poked by the media. That's their job. Sometimes they are to blame, sometimes not.

Things are sensationalized, hence "The Peak Of Inflated Expectations", then the depression that follows, "Valley of Disillusionment" when it doesn't seem that technology delivered on its promises, example Google Glass. It wasn't technologies fault, it was our expectations! Something like Glass will be a success, it just hasn't arrived yet. I pick on Google, why? Because simply that one is just too perfect an example.

The Edison Amberola

I Finally Created My Own App Store OR: How To Disrupt the App Markets!!!

My App Has Come Full Circle . . . What does this mean? Well for me it means my app is under review for submission to the Apple App store once again. Tediously slow.

Not the same app, but a greatly improved version of it. You see the journey started nearly 5 years and 8 months ago when the Apple iPad was first released . . . One of my best friends was in the hospital about a month later with a medical condition which caused a serious speech impairment. He couldn't speak, or more accurately his voice was so weak it was nearly impossible for anyone to understand!


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