a reckoning for tech by the humans that work with it

Online tech event this Thurs: don’t be a stranger. TechReckoning Dispatch V5N4

Aug 6, 2019

Hi fellow human,

Join us for TechReckoning Fest 3, our next online event, this Thursday, Aug 8 at noon PDT / 3pm EDT / 8pm BST. This is a follow-up to last year’s TechReckoning vExpertFests, which were loads of fun.

Register here for an invite »

You’ll get 90 minutes of so of fast-paced tech talks and interviews, both from vendors and from the technical community. We will try to mathematically solve the simultaneous equations that determine how a presentation can be both super technical and yet end in just 20 minutes. This event is focused around the upcoming VMworld conference, so these short talks and interviews will give you a good heads up about what to pay attention to, whether you’re headed to San Francisco or not. We’ll also have a few giveaways.

Our main presenters will be:

  • Jon Hildebrand (@snoopj123) from Cohesity. Cohesity was a Finalist in the Data Protection Category in last year’s Best of VMworld Awards. They’re a current client, and I know they’ve got some interesting things on deck around security and automation on their secondary storage platform. Also they are making a big splash with activities at VMworld this year, so you’ll want to hear what’s up and not be throwing away your shot! Jon recently celebrated his first year at Cohesity, so we’ll check in with him on what life is like at one of Silicon Valley’s best-regarded and fastest-growing B2B startups.
  • Brad Parks (@MorpheusDude) from Morpheus Data. Morpheus was a Winner in the Agile Operations and Automation Category in last year’s Best of VMworld Award and is one of 4 companies hanging out in the Leaders section in the latest Gartner Quadrant for Cloud Management Platforms. Brad has called himself an “engineer turned storyteller and veep,” so we’ll see what kind of engineering stories he can tell as he explains to us what a CMP is, why their latest release doubled down on Kubernetes–and why they headlined it as an “automation alternative to VMware and Red Hat” and if if that’s going to make their upcoming time at VMworld in San Francisco even chillier.

From the community:

The event is open to anyone who is active in their online or offline tech community or is interested in getting involved. vExperts and other community group members are especially welcome, but we’re not going to turn anybody away. We want to encourage people to get started!

We can’t see much beyond the next ridge

I’ve lived in California for over 30 years, so I can lose track of what’s normal here vs elsewhere. For instance, in California, it’s usually ok to wear your fleece and sandals to the fanciest restaurants – people will just think you own a lot of Apple or Facebook stock. We also don’t wear a lot of ties unless you’re an accountant. I think those are both great California ideas, On the other hand, California has just been getting numbered exits on its freeways over the last couple of years, and I gather they are rather standard practice elsewhere in the country.

One of the things I forget is a Thing outside of California is the non-compete agreement. They’re pretty much unenforceable in this state. So here, in what was once known as The Valley of Heart’s Delight, you can drive across the street from the ugly office building of your current company and start your new job the next day at the ugly office building of your competitor. This is one often-cited reason for the success of Silicon Valley.

Corey Quinn, the nonstop chatterbox of snark and speaker of truth in the AWS world, came out earlier this week about Why I Turned Down An AWS Job Offer  a few years back because they wanted him to sign a non-compete, and in fact to agree not to compete with all of Amazon, not just AWS. At this point, I’m pretty sure everything, from my local gas station convenience store to our consulting company, all compete in some way with some part of Amazon. It’s worth a read, but here’s the funniest joke where he’s knocking down how companies claim they’ll never enforce the non-compete (which Amazon has just filed suit to do.)

“We’ve only ever enforced it when someone burns bridges on their way out of the company.”

Have you met me? I had to burn a bridge then pole-vault over it to get an interview at AWS! I’m supposed to trust in my ability to one day leave an employer where I haven’t severely pissed off at least one VP? As of this writing, I have to my knowledge severely pissed off exactly three AWS VPs and I don’t even work there! (Aside: If you’re a VP at AWS who hates me and isn’t sure if I know that, please get in touch and I’ll increment that counter if I wasn’t already aware!).

Technology history lesson:  The history of the floppy disk by Steven Vaughn-Nichols at HPE’s enterprise.nxt ste. Is it true that the 5.25″ floppy disk was literally modeled after a cocktail napkin?

According to another story, Jimmy Adkisson, a Shugart engineer, and Massaro “were discussing the proposed drive’s size with Wang. The trio just happened to be doing their discussing at a bar, and Wang motioned to a drink napkin and stated, ‘about that size,’ which happened to be 5.25-inches wide

I’ll note that this is all Wang and IBM on the East Coast, so don’t blame us Californians for that.

I may still have a few 3.5″ disks around, but I’m afraid to look for them because some of them have attempts at creative writing from my grad school days on them. Luckily, we’ve got no way to read them. If we find them, we’ll add them to my latest sophisticated organizational innovation – all our USB drives and SD cards are now kept in transparent zip-lock bags in the closet. I still can never find them when I need them, but at least we’ve stopped accidentally throwing them away or losing them behind the couch.

Worth A Follow

Juulia Evans (@b0rk) is a programmer and blogger who makes amazing cartoons and zines explaining technology. She’s amazing at boiling down dry and overly complex computer science topics into cartoon that are easy to understand and retain. She’s a wizard, Harry, and everybody should go over to her zine store, Wizard Zines, where you’re sure to find something for you or for somebody you love. All her zines can also be DIY printed. The 5 zines that have been published so far are:

  • Bite Size Linux!
  • Bite Size Command Line!
  • Bite Size Networking!
  • Help! I have a manager!
  • Oh shit, git!

Her current project is explaining how the web and HTTP works – here’s the latest cartoon explaining cookies.

Just Hit Reply

Do you have any floppy disks around the house? Do your kids even know what that icon represents? How on earth do you not lose your SD cards and USB sticks? And have you ever been hit with a non-compete – or noped out of a job offer because of one? If you can answer any of these questions, just hit reply and we’ll collate the answers for next time.

Last time I asked, “What are you doing to mitigate spending too much time on your devices?” Mike Marseglia responds:

Too much time on our devices?  I am so guilty; I’ve been known to walk into things while staring at my screen, zone out when my wife tries to talk to me, and get distracted during meetings.  I’ve started to make a conscious effort to leave the device somewhere where I can’t get at it.  Whether it’s time for dinner, a work meeting, or just taking a break, the phone comes out and is left on my desk or in another room.  I still get this nagging FOMO without it in my hand but I’ve got to unlearn that..

I’m practicing leaving my phone at the door so I don’t carry it around the house reading Twitter. I say practicing because I’m not very good at it yet.

And remember, register and then drop in on the TechReckoning Fest this Thursday at noon-1:30pm PDT!

See you then  —


This is Volume 5, Number 4 of The TechReckoning Dispatch, a foggy bridge between people in the grey days where people feel lost and alone. Be kind, look at your own shit before going out and judging others, and forward the newsletter as directed by your physician.