Dear Mr. Drabek,
I first met you during my sophomore year as a Computer Science student at the University of Arizona in 1988, where I had my first class with you. I’m writing you to let you know how much of a positive impact you had on me. I’ve taken what you’ve taught me and built a career on the lessons I learned from you.
You were very strict, very serious, and I respected your skill, your style, and your knowledge. I remember focusing on what you had to say more than any professor I had. I didn’t want to miss a word.
I remember anticipating your class more than any other, eagerly wanting to learn all the cool things you knew. I learned a lot from you and it’s stayed with me – always.
One way you influence me every day is simply – coding style. You were very careful about teaching the “right” way to code and pointing out the wrong way to code. Your style still influences every line of code I write. I now use a code analysis tool, ReSharper, to validate my work and every time I look up at the indicator in the editor and see what it needs to fix, I’m always happy when I see it’s only one or two improvements. I feel like you made my brain ReSharp code as I develop it.
I came to you my senior year with an Independent Study project to write a Golf Handicapping Program on Microsoft Windows 3.0. The first thing you said to me was – “Everyone here thinks Windows is a toy and will never go anywhere”. I replied back, “Well sir, it’s not, I think it’s going to grow really fast”. Too bad I didn’t have any money to buy Microsoft stock back then, but you agreed with me and you let me do it. I remember showing you an early version of my work and the code behind Windows events and you nodding how clever it was. I remember seeking your approval so much so I was so nervous delivering the final version of the software, and after taking you through it, I finally got a smile from you. Moments like that could have gone either way, and who knows where chaos theory would have taken me had you not believed in what I was doing.
My success in that project motivated me in such a way, that 2 years after I graduated, after I moved to Silicon Valley, I convinced my company to port all the software from Motif to Windows, and I led the way.
In 1998, I started my first company, ememories.com, a photo sharing web site co-founded with fellow UofA CS alum Carlos Blanco. Once I got the company funded, I bought us an awesome new 8U server from Dell, and when giving it a hostname, of course, I chose to name it after you: DRABEK. Throughout the company’s life, all server requests flowed through a machine with your moniker proudly labeled in our data center.
Thanks for the impression you made on me. Thank you for the teachings you gave me. I really appreciate it and will never forget it. You’re a great man, sir.
Brett Morrison, Class of 1991, University of Arizona
Back in September, I made the decision that I was done with iPhone - at least for a while. Last week, I was fortunate enough to start my new experience a little early, as Microsoft & Nokia gifted all developers attending Build 2012 a free Surface RT tablet and a free Nokia Lumia 920. My official #switchtolumia is complete.
When I opened the box back at the hotel Tuesday night, I was surprised to see how spartan the contents were. This was truly a “developer” addition. It came with a tool for opening the SIM door, a Micro USB cable, and that’s it. Fine with me though – I don’t need or want any of the other frills.
Because the phone I received is not linked to AT&T, I had to do some setup. The commercial versions of the phone purchased from the carrier will likely be locked and setup for that carrier. For me, it was slightly trickier. Once pulling the SIM out of my iPhone 4s and placing in the Lumia, I selected one of the AT&T profiles and I was making & receiving calls & texts. But, I wasn’t seeing 4G (LTE). The next day I visited the Nokia booth at Microsoft, where they suggested I try the AT&T Store at the Microsoft Commons. A quick walk over there, and a helpful rep provisioned my account for 4G, and after power cycling the phone, I was good to go with 4G. I ran some speed tests on it and saw after about 5 tests, 15-18mb downstream 7-10mb upstream – WOW!
I downloaded the Windows Phone for Mac software, configured my email accounts, and voila, I was in business.
But, all my contacts were in Apple iCloud, what to do? Well, Google now has CardDAV support in addition to CalDAV. So, I decided to move my Contacts and Calendars to Google. Now that they’re stored in my Google account, all my devices and software (OS X, Windows 8, iPad, Windows Phone 8) all point to one place and when I make a change on one, they all get synced – SMOOTH.
Podcasts, music, and photos all sync pretty effortlessly – actually MUCH faster than syncing an iOS device with iTunes.
My impression so far – Windows Phone 8 is GREAT. It’s fast, smooth, and feels very intuitive. Everyone I’ve talked to about it always asks me about apps. As of this writing, 46 of the top 50 mobile apps are available on Windows Phone 8, and there’s over 100K+ total apps. Of course iOS and Android have more apps, but I have yet to have a situation where I can’t do something I was previously able to do. You find a way. And most of the apps I use have mobile web sites that work fine in Internet Explorer 10.
The best feature of Windows Phone 8 is the Live Tiles. It’s something the other mobile platforms don’t have and it’s aesthetically designed so elegantly. The (formerly named Metro) design language is beautiful and inspiring – the true meaning of “less is more”.
The Lumia 920 is a large device. It definitely takes some time getting used to. It took me a few days to feel like I wasn’t going to drop it, holding it in one hand. It definitely feels heavy when holding to your ear. The voice quality is clear and crisp and the fidelity of the sound is loud and vibrant. I’m also pulling in a much better signal at my house than I was with the iPhone 4s and haven’t had any degradation in call quality. The glass and the display quality are better than iPhone and other Android devices I’ve tried. The speakers – loud. The camera – sharp.
My biggest complaint so far is the battery life. It seems unless I’m ABC (Always Be Charging), I run out of juice by late afternoon when using data on the phone. That’s a problem. It should last all day. I’ve turned the 4G off and set the phone to 3G and we’ll see if that helps. I can always enable 4G when I need it. There are other nuances not worth mentioning, not significantly annoying – maybe they’ll be fixed in future updates.
The switch is done and I’m happy about it.
11/16/2012 UPDATE: Battery life is actually GREAT. After a few charging cycles discharge / charge – repeat, I have a strong battery. Others have had similar success.
I have been using Apple iPhone since the first one launched in June, 2007. I’ve upgraded each time a new iPhone has been released. Five+ years later, I’m looking for a change. The iPhone is a fantastic, ground breaking, imaginative product, and has served me well, but it’s time to try something new. I liken the decision to a choice in automobiles. I’m on my 3rd consecutive BMW 7 series. A great car which I enjoy very much, but it’s time for a change there too for my next vehicle. Not because there’s anything I don’t like about the BMW – just because it’s good to change sometimes.
Loyalty should be reserved for family only - not corporations or brands. I’m not an Apple Fanboy. I’m not a Microsoft Fanboy. I’m just a Boy who likes toys.
I’m excited to write that I have chosen the Nokia Lumia 920 as my next phone. I really like what Microsoft is doing with Windows Phone 8. They’ve quietly innovated and are reaching a maturity level that puts it on par with Android and iOS. The Nokia hardware is as impressive if not more so than iPhone 5.
I’m also looking forward to prototyping / building using the Windows Phone 8 SDK. It’s great to be able to use my choice language, C#, and seeing where it goes.
I’m definitely going to hang on to my iPad – so I’ll always be able to use the iOS apps I need.
Maybe I’ll come back to iPhone in a year or two, or more. Maybe not.
I actually have a little history with Nokia. After watching the movie THE SAINT, in 1997, I was obsessed with getting my hands on one of the first ever smart phones, the Nokia 9000. So much so that I contacted Nokia and managed to forge a partnership with my company at the time, Scopus, so I could start integrating our CRM software with the device. They gave me one for free.
So when you see me break out a big yellow piece of polycarbonate and glass – now you’ll know why.
p.s. I also have plans on using Google Voice / Skype combination to free myself from carriers and contracts, but that’s an even more radical idea than this and requires further planning & testing…
As Chief Innovation Officer for my company, Onestop Internet, I’m part of a great team of bright people building really amazing and leading edge e-commerce software. And a large part of my role is still being very hands on with our production and development environments, both modifying infrastructure and yes (still, happily) writing code – mostly in C#. When we started the company over 9 years ago, I built our software from the first line of code. Our application stack started then, and still is today built on .NET and SQL Server (and recently, MVC). I’ve always had a Windows machine with 2 displays at my desk. Starting with a machine literally in my garage, then our first warehouse, and as we grew into our 2nd and 3rd warehouses and for the last 4 years, at our multi-building campus in Rancho Dominguez. We recently moved our Marketing and some of our R&D people to our beautiful new suite on the Santa Monica Promenade. After 9+ years of commuting 20+ miles each way on Los Angeles freeways, I’m now riding my bicycle to work along the beach.
I switched from an IBM Thinkpad to my first Apple PowerBook laptop in 2004 and haven’t looked back since. For email, web, photography, and music, I’ve always upgraded and used the latest and greatest Mac laptops as my preferred “always with me” computer. For development, always the best Windows machine with lots of speed and memory. My desk has been configured with plugs and connectors waiting for my Mac laptop to be “docked” next to my always-on Windows box and I switched between them throughout the day. When working remotely while home or traveling, I’ve always VPN’d in and connected to my Windows machine via RDP using Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection for Mac, and in the last few years, in a pinch, connected to the Windows machine from iPad, and once or twice, even from iPhone. This has been the way I’ve worked now every single day, for years.
That is, until last month, when I powered off my Windows machine for the last time.
I am now fully operational, doing everything I need to do in my job using my new MacBook Pro Retina and VMWare Fusion. I traded out my 30″ & 27″ Dell monitors for a single 27″ Thunderbolt display, with HDMI going out to my wall mounted LED display, which is great for meetings and collaborating. Instead of remoting into my PC at my office, I’m now running a local version of Windows using VMWare Fusion. With our new platform development, we’re using Mercurial and Tortoise HG, enabling completely de-centralized development.
After using this setup for a few weeks now, I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with the responsiveness of this setup. The performance I’m getting from this thin powerhouse is amazing. Check out the Windows Experience Index numbers. This is considerably better than what I was getting with my 2 year old, 2 physical processor PC with 32GB of RAM and an SSD boot drive. One word: PHENOMENAL.
My MBP Retina is configured with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. I allocated 4 CPU Cores and 8GB RAM to my VMWare Guest. That’s it. That’s all that’s needed to get this excellent performance. During normal use of file copying, compiling, running IIS locally, SQL queries locally – all the things you do during development, it’s very rare I see the MBP CPU spike and hear the fans kick in.
I usually run in windowed mode, but often if I’m doing some heavy PC work, I’ll toggle full screen mode. And if I need to display something on my wall mounted LED, I’ll enable the ‘Use All Displays in Full Screen’ mode. The ‘Unity’ mode is also extremely natural, allowing your Windows programs and Mac OS X programs to run along side each other, seamlessly. Although in my anecdotal experience, Unity seems to cause the CPU usage to increase. Copy/Paste is very natural, and I haven’t had any issues or weirdness copying & pasting between programs in either OS. I don’t need the Guest OS for video games, so I disabled the ‘Accelerate 3D Graphics’ option, and that seems to lower the CPU utilization a bit. USB devices such as the Plantronics Wireless Headset I use for Skyping / Lyncing with our off-site Engineers work well and I can connect and disconnect them to the Guest OS easily.
So that’s it. I’m down to one machine for all. It goes with me wherever I go, and I even used it to code a new distributed caching feature last weekend – poolside.
It’s extremely liberating to be able to truly work on a PC on Apple hardware without being tied to the speed of your Internet connection. Remote Desktop Connection served me well over the years, but those days are now officially over. I’m running locally only – and once again, never looking back.
Note: That PC I powered off found a home and has since been re-flashed and re-provisioned for a new Engineer at Onestop; May it serve him well!
I was one of those people that didn’t think much about what I was eating. For 40 years, I really didn’t think much about it at all. I would eat whatever was put in front of me, I would shop for food wherever it was convenient, and I would be happy just to not be hungry. All that changed when I met my fiancé Sima. She opened my eyes and my palette, and in the last 2+ years I’ve looked at food in a whole new way.
I’m now very aware of what I’m eating and where it comes from. Americans in particular really take a lot for granted. It’s amazing when we eat imported foods, we never think about the long journey it came from its origin to your plate.
We’re fortunate to live in a city that has access to real, healthy, raw foods, and we were so excited when the RAWESOME market opened right next to our new Whole Foods, on Rose Avenue in West Los Angeles. They have amazing food there, straight from local farms. They have delicious dairy and real, non-pasteurized milk. We’ve been enjoying our weekly visits and trying new foods: non-processed, the way nature intented.
Every time we would visit Rawesome, we’d feel a little tension in the staff. They were raided and shut-down briefly last summer. There was always that looming fear that it could all come crashing down again, which it did, permanently last week, as the LAPD raided and destroyed much of the inventory.
I’m all for safety and I don’t want to eat something that’s dangerous, but let’s learn from the other countries around the world, including our own country. Our nation has become a victim of itself. We were once a shining example for healthy food production. But we’ve pushed aside health for capitalism, and it has failed. Companies like Monsanto put profit first, quality second. If there’s a market, they sell to it. We’re now the most obese country in the world.
The problem is ignorance. It’s the ignorance that I grew up with. Organic should mean organic, but now because of abuse of the rules, we have “certified organic“. And labels and ingredients only work if you read and understand them.
Sima and I have built our own garden. No pesticides, no chemicals, no sprays. Just seeds, soil, plants, and water. It doesn’t get that much sun, and it’s not super hot in Santa Monica, so we’re making due with the few tomatoes and zucchini we see each week. But now I appreciate food so much more, and nothing tastes better than the tomatoes Sima makes in her delicious salad, with greens from our local farmer’s market.
I’ve learned a lot over the past few years, and have been inspired by my good friend Rich Roll and what he’s managed to do. Sima and I will often chat up the vendors at the farmers’ market, and just being around and thinking about food as much as we have has really helped me appreciate it.
The other way to go is “eat whatever, don’t care” – like most of my friends, like most of my family, like most Americans. And there are many people that live to be 90+, eating whatever they want.
I just know I feel better, stronger, and healthier now than I’ve ever felt. My skin looks great, I rarely get sick, my cholesterol is down, and I sleep better. I’ll stick with what I’m doin’.
Here’s an amazing and horrifying story of what happens when money, power, and ego rule. Bob Parsons, the CEO of GoDaddy decided to spend a small fraction of his considerable wealth to travel to Africa and kill an Elephant. He did it under the guise of “helping” the local farmers. While he may not be a liar, (after all, he is helping them), but really, this is what you want your legacy to be? With all the wealth, experience, and resources available to him, he could have and should have tried to relocate the Elephants, put up a fence (creating jobs), or deterred them from interfering with human colonized areas some other way.
Instead of CHOOSING to be creative, compassionate, and humane, he CHOSE to simply pull a trigger and end the life of an endangered animal – to satisfy what? Is it ego, pride, or something else? He now thinks of himself as a hero! What inside of Parsons compelled him to take this action?
This is a case of the worst of humanity, a single man going out of his way to destroy something beautiful just because he can. Imagine if Bill Gates or Steve Jobs did this. They wouldn’t. They know better. Gates heads the largest philanthropic fund on the planet, and works tirelessly to improve our world. Congratulations, Bob, you’ve earned your “Scummiest CEO of the Year Award“.
Shame on you, Dr. Parsons. I’m CHOOSING to move my domains from GoDaddy.
This is a major hurdle that AEG just cleared for bringing an NFL team to Los Angeles. Mark my words. It will happen, and it may happen faster than you think. Get ready for the Los Angeles Chargers.
There are pros/cons to having a team in L.A. If the team isn’t a perennial winner, they WON’T fill that stadium. I don’t care if L.A. has a population of 30 million someday. Sure the novelty of the stadium will bring the fans for the first few years, but there’s so much to do in L.A., that if the team doesn’t win consistently, the fans won’t show up.
Looks like a beautiful proposal though, a testament to modern architecture, and a fantastic location.
Here I am, a little more hair, a little more blonde, and a bit more girth, giving an on-air demo of one of the first Internet social sharing sites, my company ememories.com. Before Snapfish, Flickr, MySpace, and even Facebook, there was – ememories! Enjoy.
Hockey fan or not, if you’re a sports fan of ANY sport and want to learn about Hockey, this is a must watch. Awesome. Turn up your speakers.
This show is such riveting entertainment. Liev Schreiber’s voice is, of course, sublime as always.
It’s a rare glimpse inside the locker room of NHL teams. An unbelievably candid and raw way of learning about the great sport of Hockey.
Vick served a sentence for his crimes, and has done all that he can do to re-gain the respect and trust of his peers and fans.
Let’s give him our support and show that redemption can be found as he begins the second phase of his life.
Brett Morrison – Official Site
The official web site of Brett Morrison, Self-Made Technology Entrepreneur.
Look around, and be sure and check out Onestop Internet, the company I co-founded with Steve Tandberg & John Tomich.
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