Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Memories From A Tech Startup (back in the stone age)

My story, below, was prompted by reading that an Atari video game cartridges from a 1980's landfill sold for $37,000.  The past rushed back at me as I re-lived an earlier very dramatic time of my life. Brace yourself.

If your first video game console was a Nintendo, this story might as well be about dinosaurs or the Roman Empire or The Middle Ages.  If you are older than that you might find some memories and may notice that little has changed since those times except the absolute speed of change (the relative speed of change has not and more of that later). In hindsight, the risks of high-tech startups do not seem to have changed much and the planning to deal with it requires the same considerations today as it did then. The roman-candle story of RomLabs Inc. may give us a glimpse into it.

The business environment

It's 1983, the first "video games bubble" has been running since 1980-81 and it was a classic "bubble" unbeknownst to all industry participants.  The key players of the second generation of video games devices included video game console (VGC) makers Atari, Intellivision, Coleco (also Commodore, Radioshack, Texas Instruments) and third party developers (game software only) Imagic, Activision and Electronic Arts and a host of other minor participants.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ryan Scobby - Musician

We had waited a long time for our son Ryan to find time and means to come and visit us in Park City.
 Finally, hurrah! he came. It was to be a visit of learning and discovery.

Let's start with the learning part: shortly after his arrival I jokingly asked Ry if he had already found a hook up in town using Tinder.
[Side bar: That was my opening to tell him what I had read about Tinder in a post on Vanity Fair,
which presumably would make me look current and well informed. I had read the story describing the users of Tinder and the fast hook up culture in NYC, which, shared with my late middle-age women friends at a recent party, had generated great surprise, curiosity, laughs and, for some, horror]

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Can we learn to die purposefully?

Read this article.  "Slipping Away" It is a terrifying life log of a young man with an incurable disease. See yourself in one of the two main roles of the story. Take a very long breath. Hope that your life will not make you live either role, then read my thoughts born out of imagining that nightmare.

Naturally, genetically we are programmed to live, almost at any cost. We spend all our life even before day one practicing staying alive. In most culture the "will to live against all odds" is glorified. If one said "life is overrated" one would probably be judged either suicidal or mentally unbalanced. But, perhaps, could we learn to be less attached to our own life to be better people, better siblings, parents, children to our counterparts in those relationships? If we could learn to value our lives less for ourselves and more for them?

It is lost in the darkness of history and of the history of phylosophy, forgotten in our modern cultural make up, but this is not a new idea. The Stoics beginning in the 3rd century CE elaborated a concept of a "virtuous life" where self sacrifice is ethically appropriate under specific, objectively definable circumstances.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I feel like a total idiot

I am here at my laptop reading the usual daily dose of posts on science, technology, medicine genetics, food science, etc. that make me the eternal optimist that I am. Earlier I finished my daily reading of geopolitics, global economics, Grexit, Iran, ISIS, Middle East, oil shortages, famines, US Presidential Elections, etc. that sorely test my belief in optimistic outcomes.

Along the way, with whatever I read, I code posts for subject, interest, and whatever keywords may help me find the post at some later date. I've done it for years. Unable to remember correctly all details I encounter, I resort to coding all I read for retrieval to recall and quote correctly. Some friends think I have a great memory - I wish. I just have a retrieval system designed to support my curiosity of virtually anything that the internet provides. That's a lot. But, I just found a simple system that helps my mediocre memory look smart to those that do not look behind the curtain.

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Simple View of Greece and Grexit

This was originally written for my grandchildren to explain the messy world we live in, It's a terribly simplified view, but why not see what the world thinks.

Who pays for Greece's past follies? To greater or lesser degrees we all will. The farther we are from Greece the smaller the impact. Just as waves that hit us coming from a pebble dropped in a pond. In the US, we are far from the pebble, in Europe the waves will be bigger. To the citizens of Greece they will be monstrous, crushing and their personal pain will be long lasting. But INFLATION is the ultimate solver of tragic imbalances between countries and the world and it will handle this one too. How?

We live in a global financial world that could be finite, but is not. It could be finite if all governments stopped printing currencies. Inflation would be 0 but we'd have difficulties to adjust to trade imbalances and making economic adjustments because "the pie" is getting bigger. We need tiny inflation for slack and room to grow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Janus and Vision

Janus was the Roman god with two faces: one faced forward to see the future and one faced backwards to see the past. Seeing was clearly a big focus of Janus'. I always found the image of Janus intriguing, perhaps because vision has been a big part of my life. Vision, the kind that describes imagination has been a big motivation for much that I have tried to do, but here I am looking at Vision, the kind that lets us physically see things.
The former moves us to imagine and pursue whatever we imagine - one former US President called it "the vision thing" and everyone knew instantly what he was talking about. The latter, the ability to see our surroundings is considered the most complex and most important development in the history of animal evolution.

Most people do not give vision much thought unless they lose it to some degree or completely. Throughout my life however I have repeatedly dealt with serious vision issues and have stayed ahead of disaster only thanks to a few wizards and the just-in-time evolution of technology. So here is my chronology of dodging the bullet and my reason for wanting to spread rose petals in front of my eye surgeons.

 Troubles started in my teens needing eye glasses like many other kids. By the time I was 19 and finished three years in the Italian Navy, my condition, keratoconus (in both eyes) had deteriorated enough that I could no longer be in the military since vision correction could be done only with special contact lenses. In 1970 I moved to the US and was rejected for the then compulsory draft for the same condition, A young optometrist at Indiana University, Barry Gridley, took my case as a mission and became a wiz at hand grinding my hard contacts to custom fit. Without him I probably would have never finished my MBA and started my career. That was the time when I started being a "special case" that students would come and look at to see the "real thing" described in their textbooks.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Great Ski Season (despite the snow)

For all the years I can remember skiing in Park City the 2014-15 season has to be the worst. We seemed to live through an eternal Spring that sent little natural snow and temperatures high enough that our snow-making-wizards at Canyons were seriously limited in performing their magic. Despite all this, we are closing as planned on April 12. So a few closing thoughts

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Skiing comes in many forms

My mother was fast in the GS on the Italian Olympic Team in 1938

I am slow but l can dance

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Skiing - A continuing Quest

My passion for skiing has been documented in prior posts. It is stoked by the fact that after 60 years, I am still learning in the quest of better technique.
Over the years PSIA has helped me improve with its requirements for Instructor Certification (now Level 2), and the theory it publishes in its Technical Manuals . The Canyons Ski School (Park City UT), where I teach, provided me great training opportunities. So, to share the gifts I received, here is my Summary of Technical Skiing and the graphic below that shows what happens when the activities in the Summary are performed correctly.
Do you have questions or need to know how to read it? Book a lesson at Canyons (877-472-6306) and let's go play together.