Update on my #vdm30in30 effort

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So, writing is hard.

Ok to be more specific, writing publicly, on my own personal blog, is hard. As a product marketing manager, I write a lot. It’s one of the reasons I love my job… I love to write especially about technology. I have 4 blog posts written for work, but when it’s for work there’s a whole process my posts have to go through before they are published. And I write lots of stuff that will never be attributed to me.

So, that’s one reason I’m six posts behind. If all my work posts get published I’ll close the gap to 1….

Also behind because I’m chasing a crazy plumbing problem in my new house.

I’ll do my best to get back into the swing of things. I think just having the focus on producing a blog post every day is really good, I don’t just slip into not writing on my own blog because I’m so busy.

So, trying to jump back in here…half-way through.


Tech news roundup week ending Nov 12, 2016

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This was a crazy week news-wise here in the US. I was very happy to have labwork to dive into, and I’ll be even happier when I can share some of the posts I’m writing for work. 🙂

I’m also pretty impressed by everyone’s heartfelt responses to the US elections. However, lots of y’all stayed on top of the tech news, thank you! Here’s what caught my eye this week:

That’s all I have for this week – what did you read?

Let America Be America Again

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I’ve spent two days fretting about my adult children. My beautiful mixed-race children, who are angry and scared about the election results. We’re talking, I’m trying to coax them away from filling their minds with what is being passed as news. I knew yesterday my son was going to be ok when he posted this:

He posted a portion of the 1935 Langston Hughes poem Let America Be America Again. We’ve always been here as a nation. What’s different this time is the kids aren’t used to it, and they are refusing to accept it. I believe it’s our job to help them sift through the information deluge, so they can concentrate on what’s real, and true, and just.

Here is the entire text of the poem, I challenge you to read it out loud, and share it with your loved ones:

Let America be America again.

Let it be the dream it used to be.

Let it be the pioneer on the plain.

Seeking a home where he himself is free.


(America was never America to me.)


Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed–

Let it be that great strong land of love

Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme

That any man be crushed by one above.


(It was never America to me.)


O, let my land be a land where Liberty

Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,

But opportunity is real, and life is free,

Equality is in the air we breathe.


(There’s never been equality for me,

Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)


Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?

And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?


I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,

I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.

I am the red man driven from the land,

I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek —

And finding only the same old stupid plan

Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.


I am the young man, full of strength and hope.

Tangled in that ancient endless chain

Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!

Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!

Of work the men! Of take the pay!

Of owning everything for one’s own greed!


I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.

I am the worker sold to the machine.

I am the Negro, servant to you all.

I am the people, humble, hungry, mean —

Beaten yet today — O, Pioneers!

I am the man who never got ahead,

The poorest worker bartered through the years.


Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream

In that Old World while still a serf of kings,

Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,

That even yet its mighty daring sings

In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned

That’s made America the land it has become.

O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas

In search of what I meant to be my home —

For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,

And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,

And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came

To build a “homeland of the free.”


The free!


Who said the free? Not me?

Surely not me? The millions on relief today?

The millions shut down when we strike?

The millions who have nothing for our pay!

For all the dreams we’ve dreamed

And all the songs we’ve sung

And all the hopes we’ve held

And all the flags we’ve hung,

The millions who have nothing for our pay —

Except the dream that’s almost dead today.


O, let America be America again —

The land that never has been yet —

And yet must be — the land where every man is free.

The land that’s mine — the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME —

Who made America.

Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,

Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,

Must bring back our mighty dream again.


Sure, call me any ugly name you choose —

The seal of freedom does not stain.

For those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,

We must take back our land again.




O, yes,

I say it plain,

America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath —

America will be!


Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,

The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,

We, the people must redeem

The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.

The mountains and the endless plain —

All, all the stretch of those great green states —

And make America again!



The tale of the shitty-ass trailer

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this post is dedicated to my children

Last night we all watched in disbelief, as a racist, misogynistic man who has lied about his education, failed in business, and is one of the things I made you promise not to become (a reality TV star), not to mention a man who has some pretty serious charges leveled against him, become the President of the United States.

The emotional fallout for everyone close to me has been swift and pretty intense. How do we deal with the fact that such a man was elected to lead our nation?

What’s the point of even trying anymore?

Personally, I had a hard time sleeping last night. I thought about the water protectors in Standing Rock. I thought about my Muslim friends. I thought about my family back in Florida. I thought about all of my black and brown friends, and those who are different in so many ways than me. I thought about all my friends in Canada who would probably take me in, and then I thought about how much I hate the snow. I thought about how I would be the voice of strength and reason for my children.

All day the gloom hung over me, it perfectly matched the weather in Austin. Praying couldn’t shake it, neither did smudging.

Then my landlady called to let me know I had left an antique folding table in the house I just moved out of. “You wouldn’t believe the things people have left, I could write a book” she told me. And then I told her, “Oh I can believe it, I used to clean trailers for my landlord when I lived in the shitty-ass trailer”.

Then I told her the story of the shitty-ass trailer.

I lived there when I was first going to college. My family had cut me off (for religious reasons, the first of many times…), and I was truly raising 2 kids on my own, juggling school and 2 part-time jobs. I didn’t make enough money to live in Section 8 housing, that’s how poor I was. So we lived in the shitty-ass trailer.

The shitty-ass trailer was awful. There were huge holes in it. Rats used to get in, and the landlord told me I couldn’t get a cat. I filled all the holes with steel wool (rats can’t eat through steel wool), but they’d find other ways in. But once I got Lovey, she kept them (and the possums that would get in trying to keep warm) away from us.

I couldn’t even afford to pay the rent on the shitty-ass trailer, so the landlord let me clean his other trailers when he kicked out the druggies who skipped out on him. He didn’t actually pay me, he kept track of how many hours I worked and took it off my rent. Sometimes in the winter (slow season in a beach town) I still couldn’t pay my rent, The landlord let me slide, he knew once I got more hours, or my Pell Grant came in, I’d pay him.

The shitty-ass trailer is still there. I drive past it every time I go home. To remember.

My former landlady told me I was the one who should write a book. And I thought about how far I’d come, in spite of the odds and obstacles I faced. We laughed about it all.  And I realized what a blessing laughing is, and how it helped me remember the important things.

I made it because I’m smart, stubborn, tenacious, and lucky. I was going to get out of poverty for my children come hell or high water. I made it happen. I wouldn’t take handouts, I’d clean even shittier trailers than the shitty-ass trailer instead. No one was going to stop me.

I know things look grim now, and I feel the same suffocating weight. Maybe you don’t see me ranting and railing because with age I’ve realized that we need to save our energy for what’s coming. I also realize that my first fight wasn’t just for me, it was for your children, and your grandchildren. The most important thing is to keep close, to remember to attack this with purpose and love.

You have my genes, you’re smart, stubborn, tenacious, and lucky. And I have your back.

We’ll figure this out.

I just can’t.

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Phoning my post in today. I have been working on posts for work, but they’re not ready to post yet. Settling in to the house, and the real work is just beginning.

And this election.

So, this may be cheating….but I can’t even today.

the internet of chatty things

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Today during a Twitter discussion about RaaS (ransomware as a service), John Obeto mentioned that two of the the refrigerators in house had been trying to communicate with the world. He couldn’t quiet his chatty fridges down unless he upgraded the firmware on those devices, which would probably mean connecting those fridges to his home network.

It’s been demonstrated that IoT devices can be targeted by ransomware. They proved it at defcon this year, by hacking an IoT thermostat. Can you imagine having to pay someone to give you control back of the thermostat in your house? Can you imagine someone gaining control and turning the heat on high in the middle of a Texas summer?

And let’s not forget the internet meltdown a few weeks ago, caused by a botnet made of IoT devices.

How are we in this situation? Why aren’t manufacturers doing more to secure their devices? It’s expensive, and it will put friction in the user adoption process. Why aren’t we more careful about the devices we bring into our homes? Well, who expects a refrigerator to come equipped with a wi-fi hot spot?

Does this mean we need to monitor our home networks like we do our work networks? Where is our generation’s Ralph Nader, to hold these manufacturers responsible for the havoc their devices are wreaking?

Tech news roundup week ending Nov 5, 2016

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When I first started blogging for work, I was at EMC. I actually started blogging internally first with weekly roundups of all the interesting blog posts, podcasts, and videos that I saw. Here’s one from 2010. I thought maybe I’d start that back up again during #vDM30in30 this year. I still read blog posts, although I don’t have the routine I used to have: Sunday morning with coffee, reading the interesting posts in my reader.

So I’m out on the patio of my new house, coffee in hand, to bring you some interesting posts I am reading. A couple of caveats: these are blogs in my reader, unless noted. I haven’t read through my reader in a while, so the posts may be old. If you just started blogging, please add a comment or ping me on Twitter so I can add you to the things I read!

As my friend Polly likes to say: let’s see how this goes!

What did you read this week?

Life is hard, but good #vDM30in30 Day 5

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Wow, this week has been crazy.

My great-aunt Martha died yesterday. Yesterday, after a normal medical procedure, she was put on life support. She never pulled through it. It sucks, so much. I drove up to the mountains to visit her the Sunday before Ignite. She wasn’t feeling well, but we went to lunch and she wouldn’t let me pay. And we ate ridiculously bad dessert. And I drove her in her Prius all over the North Georgia mountains. She told me some great stories about my grandparents, about when they started dating. I wanted to hear more.

I’m so friggin pissed.  She had fallen, and had been in the hospital. They took her in for a routine operation. It went bad, and when she never woke up. I don’t trust the doctors for rural and poor communities. I have many reasons not to, and this is just so sad I almost can’t stand it.

I also moved into my house today. Here are some pics. I have a little more to work out, but we’re in!

I want to give a shout-out to my new team, and my boss. I’m still new, but everyone is so supportive. Y’all do your research when you’re job hunting, and remember interviews are for you to evaluate who you’ll be working with. My last several teams have been outstanding, and this is in part to me seeing that interview as a two-way street. Also thanks guys, it means so much to have y’all’s support.

After I settled in for the night, Fred and I sat outside, listening to the kids playing and cutting up down the way. I had a scotch.

Life is good y’all. Even if it’s super friggin sad at the moment.

Here are some of my highlights from today:


A cat ran up into the tree when we got here, and proceeded to watch over everything. I think this is her yard.












Soooo many boxes. This is under half.


Important things out first.












He is done!















Knocked off course #vDM30in30 day 4

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I had plans to write in depth about danger pipelines pose to our nation’s water supply, and the under-handed methods the pipeline companies are using to get the land on which the pipelines will be laid. This topic was top of mind yesterday I because I attended a rally at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (TPWC), where Energy Transfer Partners CEO was attending the TPWC’s board meeting.

Let that sink in. The man behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, 2 pipelines in West Texas, and a pipeline in S Ga/N Fla (where it traverses aquifers), is also a board member on the TWPC. Insane.

I also worked today, and I’m getting ready to move into my new house. But I got some really bad news from back home, and I really can’t concentrate long enough to string sentences together.

I think we forget we’re human sometimes. We forget that no matter how well we plan, no matter the contingency plans we put in place for unexpected events, things are still going to happen that will knock us off our paths. It’s important to remember that this is true for everyone; it is part of the human condition. Being kind and open means looking past someone’s grating behavior or just plain meanness and remembering that we can’t always know what’s driving that behavior. Love is love is love means showing kindness even in the face of bad behavior. Love each other y’all.

I’m a little bummed I’m not writing on my intended topic. Instead, I’ll leave you with a video. Hopefully I’ll be in be in better shape to write tomorrow.

This video is of the resistance to the Dakota Pipeline being built by Energy Transfer Partners in North Dakota. These people came to pray at this place, because it’s a burial site, and the law enforcement officers who are protecting ETP workers did this to them. I keep sharing the news because the mainstream media isn’t showing it.

And the crazy thing is that this same company has been taking land from farmers and claiming sacred places as theirs in Texas and in the Southeast.

My crazy life – #vdm30in30 Day 3

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This may look like a filler post, and hey, maybe it is. #vDM30in30 is a marathon though, and not a race. I swear I’ll get back to talking ITSM and monitoring soon, but right now there is so much going on. This is my post to let y’all know why it will be a few days before I go writing back to tech.

I started this new job at SolarWinds on Sept 19. So I’ve been in this role for about six weeks. On week 2, I went to Ignite. Since then, I’ve been learning the product and getting ramped back up on ITSM and monitoring in general. It’s been a while….back to when I was a customer!

Back in early August, I stkeepcalmarted the process of buying a house. The plan was to buy a house before my lease was up in December. Then my landlady told me she was going to sell the house I rent from her. I live in an “up and coming” neighborhood, and have no desire to pay up and coming prices for an 80-year old house. So while I was at VMworld, the finance folks told me as soon as I came home I needed to find a house if I wanted to be in it before my lease ran out.

Well, I found a house. Everything just worked out, and I’m moving in on Friday. I’m super busy with move stuff, so I’ll be so happy to be in the house this weekend! I should be packing right now……

……………..but I am exhausted from running things back and forth.

socialy-protect-the-earth-against-the-black-snake-nodaplAnd of course the action defending Standing Rock from the Dakota Access Pipeline has been going on during this time too. During my time off between jobs, I almost went up there, but decided there were better ways for me to help. The ongoing genocide of native peoples is just obvious now. That, coupled with the danger to our environment from for-profit oil companies just needs to be called out. But that’s for tomorrow’s post. 🙂

The next couple of posts this month are going to be about what I’m going through on a personal level. I promise I’ll get back to speeds and feeds after that. Ok, I’m not going to write about speeds and feeds, y’all know I don’t like that mess. 🙂