The recent rebranding from Fuzic to Vibenomics!

Vibenomics.
Feeling the Vibe.
A little over two years ago my career took an unexpected turn .
I found myself in a perfect position to begin life as an independent software developer.
Since then I’ve been offering consulting and training services under the banner of Achiiv Solutions, LLC.
(Don’t bother looking at the site – it’s just a placeholder!) In those two years I have had the good fortune of working on interesting projects with some really great clients.
About five months ago I started a contract with a Fishers, Indiana based startup called Fuzic. Their goal of controlling the vibe of a physical location through the combination of music and custom audio messaging so its customers could reach their customers in new ways intrigued me to say the least.
At the time they were bringing development in-house and needed someone to maintain some aspects of the current production system and the timing was right for me to jump on board.
Originally I was going to be working only part time while I balanced this new work with some other projects I had underway but there was plenty of work to do and soon I was working a full-time schedule minus some conferences here and there.
In the months since we’ve made significant enhancements to numerous aspects of the system and I’ve come to truly believe in what the company is doing.
The company’s visionary leadership has already established a strong foundation with a top-notch, high- performance team which includes some of the best people I’ve worked with in my career.
What’s more is that the past few months have given me a front-row seat for several exciting milestones in the company’s history including: A jobs announcement .

Receiving an Indiana Innovation Award

Inclusion in the Indianapolis Rise of the Rest pitch competition (which it sadly did not win despite a fantastic pitch).
The recent rebranding from Fuzic to Vibenomics!.
With that, I’m pleased to announce that on October 16, .

2017 I made the transition from contractor to Lead Software Engineer at Vibenomics

I believe that this company is going to do some great things in the coming years and am excited to see where this next chapter leads.
#VibeOn.
Posted in and tagged Career, Fuzic, job, Vibenomics on October 17, 2017 by.
1 Comment.
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but the since I wanted to post the Speed Chess video above

Search Category Archives : Abstract Strategy.

A Strategy for Abstract Strategy Game Reviews

January 19, 2016 Today I posted over on Board Game Geek asking for help defining a review system for abstract strategy games .
For posterity, here’s the contents of that post: I’ve been thinking about criteria for reviewing abstract strategy games.
In particular, I’d like to end up with a list of ratings, (not just one) that give the reader a sense of how the game plays in comparison to other abstract strategy games .
As an aside, I’m not using the term combinatorial, although I do prefer those games, both because I don’t want to limit the scope of games reviewed to those criteria, and also because I feel the term is hard to understand and explain to someone not already familiar with the nuances of game rules (and abstract strategy game rules in particular).
I will certainly indicate the presence of any non-combinatorial elements in the review, and maybe even “at a glance” as part of the rating section.

Maybe something like this: – Number of players: 2 – Luck: Yes/No (If yes

maybe with some details.) – Randomization: Yes/No (With an indication how.) – Hidden Information: Yes/No (Again, indicating where.) – (More needed?) My goal, to be up-front about it, is eventually to start a new game review site, focused on abstract strategy games.
That site’s mission will be: To promote and evangelize the beauty of abstract strategy games .
Here are the criteria I’ve come up with so far: Strategic complexity – How strategically complex.
I.e., how far ahead can I think about my turns with any real expectation of implementing a specific strategy.

Tactical Complexity – How individually complex are each of my decisions in a given turn

How many factors are there influencing my decisions based solely on the game’s state in a single turn.
Rules complexity – How easy is the game to understand and begin playing.
How well are the rules written.

Game Readability – How easy is the game to understand at a glance

Can an experienced player take in the game’s state and gauge whether a player’s position is superior or inferior to that of their opponent.

Game Depth – How deep is the game

This could mean a lot of things, but for my reviews, it will mean how much can experienced players be said to be playing at a “different level” from beginner players.
Or in other words, how much do the game decisions made by an experienced player change versus the decisions of a beginner player.
Spacial Engagement (Geometric Engagement?) – How much does the game rely on the player visualizing the positions of game elements in relation to one another or in relation to imagined elements.
Mathematical Engagement – How much do mathematical equations or general math principles (counting, etc.) play into the tactical decisions and / or long term strategies in the game.

Originality – Have I seen games like this before

Do I feel like there are new ideas in particular that deserve calling out in this particular game.

Physical Beauty – If this is a game played with standard components

or PNP, it may get dinged here, but since I am attempting to promote abstract strategy games to the general populous, it’s actually a super important criteria.
Overall Elegance – This could be expressed dispassionately as a ratio of rules complexity to strategic depth, but I actually think of it more as an expression of my feeling of satisfaction with that ratio.
Did playing the game feel like more than the sum of its parts.
Did it inspire me to think about it.
Again, I’m definitely looking for feedback about these.
In particular: – Is there anything obviously missing.
Are there other criteria you use when judging a new game.
– How are the names.
Any you feel should change or that you feel could be articulated better.

– Is “Overall Elegance” even needed

It’s probably the most subjective, but the concept I’m attempting to capture is just how it feels to play, which is absolutely subjective.
Is there a better way to say that, maybe one that doesn’t seem as subjective.
– I’m thinking about doing a scale (probably 1-5) for each of these, and giving the game a score based on the sum total, or possibly an average.
Thoughts on that final score.
– Are there other game ranking schemes you particularly like.
I’d appreciate pointers to any that break the review down into a list of criteria like this.
(I know there are more of them out there, but I’ve only managed to “find” a few links so far.) This entire thing essentially came about because I was thinking about the term “combinatorial game”, and whether I wanted to use it along with (or instead of) “abstract strategy game”.

When thinking about a rating system for Abstract Strategy games

it’s a no brainer to indicate whether there are elements that fans of “pure” thinking games might not appreciate: randomization during gameplay, hidden information, player manipulation, and generally just anything that gets in the way of the player determining their win or loss through skill alone.
Generally, this is why the combinatorial term came about.
(Although some might argue that it came around the other way, from actual academic game theory, as it was definitely used there first.) But I feel like it was only co-opted by game designers because “abstract strategy” has been used too frequently in the board game industry at large to describe games that are only abstract in theme, and don’t meet the other criteria.
If you visit the wikipedia page for abstract strategy, you’ll see the description carefully adds qualifiers like “almost all…” and “most…” or “many…” when describing the no luck and no hidden information qualities.
It’s a controversial term.
I’m partial to the term “abstract strategy” though, partly because I just like its connotations.
Abstract thought is one of the things that sets us apart from other species of life on this planet, and has far-reaching implications for humanity and civilization.
Not to mention that games essentially wouldn’t be possible without it.
In addition to the reasoning I gave in my original post, I also feel that the term “combinatorial” hasn’t reached critical mass yet, and not enough folks know what it means for it to be super useful.
(Thus, I went with Abstract Meeple rather than Combinatorial Meeple, though both have a ring to them.) Back to my thought-process: Indicating the presence of any of those non-combinatorial elements in a review will be easy, but some games that contain one or more of those elements still feel like abstract strategy games to a greater or lesser extent to me.
I want to be free to review those games, and also want to communicate that feeling and quantify it somehow in my rating system.
But simply telling my readers that a game “feels abstract” seems too subjective, and also, it won’t give them enough information about whether they might also share that feeling.
So I realized I’d need to break it down.
Which led to the question: Why do games feel like abstract strategy.
This led to my list of rating criteria.
And somewhere in making the list, it occurred to me: All the issues of combinatorial (or not) being equal, I have the same problem when comparing two completely combinatorial games.
Other than my personal feelings about them, .

How would Chess rate any differently from Go

I thought about it some, and that also influenced the list.
(In particular, the addition of Spacial and Mathematical engagement.) As it says in the post, I’m definitely looking for feedback on all of this.
Feel free to post a comment, or head over to BGG and join the discussion.
Abstract Strategy, .

Board Games New Chess Variant Videos

September 22, 2015 Tonight, a chess variant is sitting at the top of r/gaming.
That itself is probably newsworthy, but watch the video below of Speed Chess (apparently unveiled at the Tokyo Game Show 2015) to see why I’m now dying to play this real-time chess played on a touchscreen.
??.
-SPEED CHESS- demonstration from trust tower on Vimeo.
Oh, and don’t worry, I’ve mined a ton of other good videos from the reddit thread so you don’t have to.
In this one, the new chess (no, not that one) is about to be released.
(This was a little slow at first, but gets pretty good, I felt.).

This Chess reviewer had me laughing out loud

I’ve definitely seen this BBC skit about how to play chess properly before, but it was worth a re-watch.
Finally, this scene is apparently from a UK sitcom called Bottom.
And while I’m at it, I’ve been eagerly anticipating Chesh for at least a couple of weeks now.
I’ve been waiting to say anything about it here until I played it, but the since I wanted to post the Speed Chess video above, I felt it deserved inclusion in this post.
Here’s the trailer: From what I’ve gleaned from the internet, it’s a random chess variant with hundreds of possible pieces.
I like the glitch-tank aesthetic.
Remains to be seen whether I’ll also like the randomized gameplay.
Abstract Strategy, Board Games, Variants (8).
(32).
(19).
(29) Abstract Strategy (2).
(4).
(4).
(19).
(6).
(61) (46) (31) Every Day (31).
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(44).
(88) (2).
(23) (6).
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Release Notes (24).
(34) Console Games (5).
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Increased geo availability of VMware Cloud on AWS (Ireland

Europe.
Continuation of Any Cloud, .

Any Device & Any App strategy – An update from VMworld 2018 Europe

November 9, 2018 1 Comment.
The beginning.
As an avid technologist, I’ve always had a thing for disruptive technologies , especially those that are not just cool tech but also provide genuine business benefits.
Some of these benefits are obvious at first, but some are often not even anticipated until after a technology innovation has been achieved.
VMware’s inception: Through the emulation of X86 computing components within software was one of these moments where the power of software driven computing started a whole new shift in the IT industry.

In an age of Hardware centric IT

this software defined computing technology paved way to achieve genuine cost savings through consolidation of multiple servers in to a handful of servers instead.
For me back then as a lowly server engineer, introduction to this technology was one of those “goose bump” moments, especially when I thought about the possibilities of where this technology innovation could take us going forward, especially when that’s extended beyond just computing.
Fast forward about 12 more years, the software defined capabilities extended beyond compute in to storage and networking too, paving the way for brand new possibilities such as cloud computing .
Recognising the commoditisation of this software defined approach by various other vendors, VMware strategically changed their direction to focus on building tools and solutions that provide customers the choice to run any application , on any cloud platform, accessible by any end user device (PC & Mobile).
This strategy was launched back in 2015 and I’ve blogged about it here.
Continuation of a solid strategy.
Following on from vSphere.

VSAN and NSX as pillars of core software defined data center (SDDC)

last couple of years showed how this vision from VMware was coming in to reality through the launch of various new solutions as well as modernisation of exiting solutions.
IBM cloud (based on SDDC) & VMware Cloud on AWS (based on SDDC) were launched to harness cloud computing capabilities for customers without having to re-platform their workloads saving transformation costs.
Along with over 2000 VMware Cloud Provider partner platforms (built on SDDC) all of whom that runs these very same technologies underneath their cloud platforms, this common architecture enabled customers to easily move their workload from on premises to any of these platforms relatively easily.
Introduction of technologies such as VMware HCX last year made it even easier through one click migration of these workloads as well as the ability to move a running workload on to a cloud platform with zero downtime (Cloud motion).
In addition to the core infrastructure components, the existing infrastructure management and monitoring toolset deployed on-premises (vRealize suite) was also revamped over the last few years such that they can manage and monitor these environment s across all these cloud platforms.
vRealize suite was now one of the best Cloud Management Platforms that could provision workloads on to on-prem & on native cloud platform s such as AWS and Azure providing a single pane of glass.
NSX capabilities were also extended to cloud platforms to effectively bring cloud platforms closer to on-premises data centers via network adjacency providing customers easy migration and fall back choices while maintaining networking integrity across both platforms.
With these updates.

The vision of “Any Cloud” became more of a reality

though most of the use cases were limited to IaaS capabilities across the cloud platforms.
During last year.

VMware also launched a number of fully managed

born in the cloud SaaS applications under the category of VMware Cloud Services (v1.0) aimed at extending this “Any Cloud” capabilities to cover none IaaS platforms.

These SaaS offerings enabled ability to provision

manage and run cloud native workloads on none vSphere based cloud platforms such as Azure and native AWS platforms.
These extended the “Any cloud” capabilities right in to various PaaS platforms too enabling better value to customers.
A list of these new solutions and updates were listed on my previous post here.
Last few years also showed us how VMware intended on achieving the “Any Device” vision through the Workspace One platform & Air Watch.
Incremental feature upgrades ensured that support for a wide array of end user computing and mobile devices to consume various enterprise IT services in a consistent, secure manner, regardless of where the applications & the data are hosted (on-premises or cloud).
These updates include support for key none vSphere based cloud platforms and even competitive technologies such as Citrix providing customers plenty of choice to use any device of their choice to access applications hosted via all major avenues such as Mobile / PC / VDI / Citrix / Microsoft RDS.
“Any App” vision of enabling customers deploy and run any application was all about providing support for traditional (VM) based apps, .

Micro-services based apps (containers) and SaaS apps

The partnership with Google for the implementation formed and new products such as PKE were also launched to provision, manage and run container workloads via an enterprise grade Kubernetes platform, both on premises as well as on cloud platforms, making the Any App strategy also a reality.
Update in 2018!.
2018’s VMworld (Europe) messaging was very much an incremental continuation of this same multi-platform, multi app and multi device strategy, adding additional capabilities for core use cases.
Some of the new updates also showed how VMware are also adding new use cases such as Edge computing and IoT solutions in to the mix.

Some of the key updates to note from VMworld 2018 include

Heptio acquisition:    To strengthen the VMware’s Kubernetes platform offerings (Complements on-premises focused PKS as well as a SaaS offering for managed Kubernetes in VKE).
VMware Cloud PKS:    PKS as a Service (managed by VMware) on AWS with support coming for VMware Cloud on AWS, Azure, GCP and vSphere.
Project Dimension:    Fully managed VMware Cloud Foundation solution for on-premises with Hybrid Cloud control plane.
Beta announced!.
Launch of VCF 3.5:    Latest version of Cloud Foundation with incremental updates and cloud integration via HCX.
CloudHealth in VCS:    Integration of recently acquired CloudHealth in to the VMware cloud services (SaaS offering) portfolio which now extends the cloud platform cost monitoring and resource management as a SaaS offering with better cloud scalability than vROPs.
Pulse IoT center aaS:    IoT Infrastructure management solution previously available as an on-premises solution now available as a service.
Beta announced!.
New SaaS solutions:    Additional solutions are announced such as Cloud Assembly (vRA aaS), Service broker & Code stream to enhance DevOps app delivery & management.
VMware Blockchain:    Enterprise blockchain service inherently more secure than public blockchain that is integrated to underlying VMware tools and technologies for enterprises to consume.
Amongst these, there were also other minor incremental updates to existing tools and solutions such as vRealize suite 2018, Log Intelligence, Wavefront updates to provide application telemetry data (similar to App Dynamics) from container based deployments, vSphere & vSAN incremental updates, availability of vSphere platinum edition (with bundled in AppDefense) that learn (Good app behaviour), lock (the state in) and adapts security (based on changes to the application).

Adaptive micro-segmentation via integrating NSX & AppDefense

Increased geo availability of VMware Cloud on AWS (Ireland, Tokyo, N California, Ohio, Gov clud west), availability of AWS RDS on vSphere on premises to name few.

In addition to the above based on the previously established Any Cloud

Any Device & Any App strategy, VMware are also embracing different target markets such as Telco clouds by offering industry specific solutions through the use of their VeloCloud technologies, in preparation for the 5G revolution that is imminent in the industry and large telco Vodafone are helping VMWare co-engineer and test these solutions to ensure their business relevance.
So all in all.

There weren’t any attention grabbing headline announcements in this year’s VMworld event

but the focus was rather on providing evidence of the execution of that strategy set back in 2015/2016.
VMware’s increasing pivoting to Cloud based solutions is becoming more and more obvious as almost all the net new products and solutions announced within 2017 and 2018 VMworlds are all SaaS offerings managed by VMware.
This is a powerful message and customers seem to take note too, .

If the record breaking 12,000 attendees of VMworld 2018 Europe is anything to go by

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, as these technology updates and new innovation is continuing, no doubt there will be additional use cases being realised, and the associated business requirements previously not envisioned being established.
In an age of rapid advancements of technology that often driving new business requirements retrospectively, I like how VMware are pushing ahead with a coherent technology strategy focused on providing customer the choice to benefit from innovations across these technology platforms.
VMworld 2018 2018, BlockChain, Cloud Assembley, CloudHealth, Code Stream, Europe, Heptio, , New Announcements, Project Dimension, Pulse, SecureState, Service Broker, VKE,.
on.
on.
on.
on.
on.

Increased geo availability of VMware Cloud on AWS (Ireland

Continuation of Any Cloud, .

Any Device & Any App strategy – An update from VMworld 2018 Europe

Continuation of Any Cloud, Any Device & Any App strategy – An update from VMworld 2018 Europe.
Continuation of Any Cloud, Any Device & Any App strategy – An update from VMworld 2018 Europe.
November 9, 2018 1 Comment.
The beginning.
As an avid technologist, I’ve always had a thing for disruptive technologies , especially those that are not just cool tech but also provide genuine business benefits.
Some of these benefits are obvious at first, but some are often not even anticipated until after a technology innovation has been achieved.
VMware’s inception: Through the emulation of X86 computing components within software was one of these moments where the power of software driven computing started a whole new shift in the IT industry.
In an age of Hardware centric IT, this software defined computing technology paved way to achieve genuine cost savings through consolidation of multiple servers in to a handful of servers instead.
For me back then as a lowly server engineer, introduction to this technology was one of those “goose bump” moments, especially when I thought about the possibilities of where this technology innovation could take us going forward, especially when that’s extended beyond just computing.
Fast forward about 12 more years, the software defined capabilities extended beyond compute in to storage and networking too, paving the way for brand new possibilities such as cloud computing .
Recognising the commoditisation of this software defined approach by various other vendors, VMware strategically changed their direction to focus on building tools and solutions that provide customers the choice to run any application , on any cloud platform, accessible by any end user device (PC & Mobile).
This strategy was launched back in 2015 and I’ve blogged about it here.
Continuation of a solid strategy.
Following on from vSphere, vSAN and NSX as pillars of core software defined data center (SDDC), last couple of years showed how this vision from VMware was coming in to reality through the launch of various new solutions as well as modernisation of exiting solutions.
IBM cloud (based on SDDC) & VMware Cloud on AWS (based on SDDC) were launched to harness cloud computing capabilities for customers without having to re-platform their workloads saving transformation costs.
Along with over 2000 VMware Cloud Provider partner platforms (built on SDDC) all of whom that runs these very same technologies underneath their cloud platform s, this common architecture enabled customers to easily move their workload from on premises to any of these platforms relatively easily.
Introduction of technologies such as VMware HCX last year made it even easier through one click migration of these workloads as well as the ability to move a running workload on to a cloud platform with zero downtime (Cloud motion).
In addition to the core infrastructure components, the existing infrastructure management and monitoring toolset deployed on-premises (vRealize suite) was also revamped over the last few years such that they can manage and monitor these environments across all these cloud platforms.
vRealize suite was now one of the best Cloud Management Platforms that could provision workloads on to on-prem & on native cloud platforms such as AWS and Azure providing a single pane of glass.
NSX capabilities were also extended to cloud platforms to effectively bring cloud platforms closer to on-premises data centers via network adjacency providing customers easy migration and fall back choices while maintaining networking integrity across both platforms.
With these updates.

The vision of “Any Cloud” became more of a reality

though most of the use cases were limited to IaaS capabilities across the cloud platforms.
During last year.

VMware also launched a number of fully managed

born in the cloud SaaS applications under the category of VMware Cloud Services (v1.0) aimed at extending this “Any Cloud” capabilities to cover none IaaS platforms.

These SaaS offerings enabled ability to provision

manage and run cloud native workloads on none vSphere based cloud platforms such as Azure and native AWS platforms.
These extended the “Any cloud” capabilities right in to various PaaS platforms too enabling better value to customers.
A list of these new solutions and updates were listed on my previous post here.
Last few years also showed us how VMware intended on achieving the “Any Device” vision through the Workspace One platform & Air Watch.
Incremental feature upgrades ensured that support for a wide array of end user computing and mobile devices to consume various enterprise IT services in a consistent, secure manner, regardless of where the applications & the data are hosted (on-premises or cloud).
These updates include support for key none vSphere based cloud platforms and even competitive technologies such as Citrix providing customers plenty of choice to use any device of their choice to access applications hosted via all major avenues such as Mobile / PC / VDI / Citrix / Microsoft RDS.
“Any App” vision of enabling customers deploy and run any application was all about providing support for traditional (VM) based apps, .

Micro-services based apps (containers) and SaaS apps

The partnership with Google for the implementation formed and new products such as PKE were also launched to provision, manage and run container workloads via an enterprise grade Kubernetes platform, both on premises as well as on cloud platforms, making the Any App strategy also a reality.
Update in 2018!.
2018’s VMworld (Europe) messaging was very much an incremental continuation of this same multi-platform, multi app and multi device strategy, adding additional capabilities for core use cases.
Some of the new updates also showed how VMware are also adding new use cases such as Edge computing and IoT solutions in to the mix.

Some of the key updates to note from VMworld 2018 include

Heptio acquisition:    To strengthen the VMware’s Kubernetes platform offerings (Complements on-premises focused PKS as well as a SaaS offering for managed Kubernetes in VKE).
VMware Cloud PKS:    PKS as a Service (managed by VMware) on AWS with support coming for VMware Cloud on AWS, Azure, GCP and vSphere.
Project Dimension:    Fully managed VMware Cloud Foundation solution for on-premises with Hybrid Cloud control plane.
Beta announced!.
Launch of VCF 3.5:    Latest version of Cloud Foundation with incremental updates and cloud integration via HCX.
CloudHealth in VCS:    Integration of recently acquired CloudHealth in to the VMware cloud services (SaaS offering) portfolio which now extends the cloud platform cost monitoring and resource management as a SaaS offering with better cloud scalability than vROPs.
Pulse IoT center aaS:    IoT Infrastructure management solution previously available as an on-premises solution now available as a service.
Beta announced!.
New SaaS solutions:    Additional solutions are announced such as Cloud Assembly (vRA aaS), Service broker & Code stream to enhance DevOps app delivery & management.
VMware Blockchain:    Enterprise blockchain service inherently more secure than public blockchain that is integrated to underlying VMware tools and technologies for enterprises to consume.
Amongst these, there were also other minor incremental updates to existing tools and solutions such as vRealize suite 2018, Log Intelligence, Wavefront updates to provide application telemetry data (similar to App Dynamics) from container based deployments, vSphere & vSAN incremental updates, availability of vSphere platinum edition (with bundled in AppDefense) that learn (Good app behaviour), lock (the state in) and adapts security (based on changes to the application), Adaptive micro-segmentation via integrating NSX & AppDefense, Increased geo availability of VMware Cloud on AWS (Ireland, Tokyo, N California, Ohio, Gov clud west), availability of AWS RDS on vSphere on premises to name few.

In addition to the above based on the previously established Any Cloud

Any Device & Any App strategy, VMware are also embracing different target markets such as Telco clouds by offering industry specific solutions through the use of their VeloCloud technologies, in preparation for the 5G revolution that is imminent in the industry and large telco Vodafone are helping VMWare co-engineer and test these solutions to ensure their business relevance.
So all in all.

There weren’t any attention grabbing headline announcements in this year’s VMworld event

but the focus was rather on providing evidence of the execution of that strategy set back in 2015/2016.
VMware’s increasing pivoting to Cloud based solutions is becoming more and more obvious as almost all the net new products and solutions announced within 2017 and 2018 VMworlds are all SaaS offerings managed by VMware.
This is a powerful message and customers seem to take note too, .

If the record breaking 12,000 attendees of VMworld 2018 Europe is anything to go by

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, as these technology updates and new innovation is continuing, no doubt there will be additional use cases being realised, and the associated business requirements previously not envisioned being established.
In an age of rapid advancements of technology that often driving new business requirements retrospectively, I like how VMware are pushing ahead with a coherent technology strategy focused on providing customer the choice to benefit from innovations across these technology platforms.
VMworld 2018 2018, BlockChain, Cloud Assembley, CloudHealth, Code Stream, Europe, Heptio, , New Announcements, Project Dimension, Pulse, SecureState, Service Broker, VKE, Chan.
Technologist, lucky enough to be working for a very technical company.
Views are my own and not those of my employer..
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Continuation of Any Cloud, Any Device & Any App strategy – An update from VMworld 2018 Europe.
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Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners – This one is a tough read

My Reading List (2018) My Reading List (2018) Jan 07, 2019 No comments yet Tags: books, reading, recommendations, reviews After college, I resolved to read one book a month.
It can be fiction, non-fiction, technical, business-oriented, or whatever as the goal was to always be absorbing and digesting new ideas and information, even just for fun.
More recently, I’ve generally tried to read 3 per month which works great with a Kindle and a ton of travel.
This year I only read 25 because I had less travel days (yay!), picked up a couple iPad games (boo!), and used my flight time to actually work (meh).
Anyway, here are my top five in order: Monster Hunter Memoirs: Saints by John Ringo with Larry Correia.

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge by John Ringo with Larry Correia

The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Winged Hussars by Mark Wandrey.

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners by John Ringo with Larry Correia

And here are the 25 books I completed in 2018, sorted by author: Kai Wai Cheah I read the first of this series last year and was intrigued by the Shadowrun-ish concept of an alternate universe with various forms of magic and beyond current technology running amok.
In this one, the team we met last time is under heavy attack and has to push back.
Hammer of the Witches.
Robert Cialdini I’m ashamed to admit that while I started reading this a few years ago, I never finished it until this year.
Regardless, this was a great discussion of how people can be and are persuaded by everything around them.
This discusses everything from purposeful pushes by marketing and sales people to unconscious nudges by our peers.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
Larry Correia I read most of Monster Hunter series in 2015 and look forward to each one as it comes out.
This time, Correia recruited a great series of authors – including Jim Butcher of The Dresden Files – to write short stories in the same universe.
These stories ranged from amusing to great so I’d definitely recommend it if you like the series.
The Monster Hunter Files (Monster Hunters International Book 7).

Vox Day I’ve been reading Vox Day in some shape or form since 2003 or so

One of the things I learned early is that he calls his shots and is rarely wrong.
When a few friends passed along Jordan Peterson in early 2017, I noted it and moved on.
When a bunch of people did, I finally watched the Cathy Newman interview and was impressed but still didn’t dig in.
Then I started reading Vox’s criticism and started paying attention.
Once again, Vox is right.
Don’t get angry, get informed.
Jordanetics: A Journey into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker.

The Four Horsemen Universe After reading Ringo’s Troy Rising trilogy (below)

I started getting recommendations for various space adventure books and started reading the Four Horsemen series.
Unlike most of the books in this list, the series is written by a small flock of authors so while they started off okay, some authors have riffed in fun directions fleshing out the major players and the universe.
While I’ve enjoyed all of them so far, Winged Hussars is my favorite but the characters in Golden Horde are the most intriguing.
Cartwright’s Cavaliers by Mark Wandrey (The Revelations Cycle, Book 1).
Asbaran Solutions by Chris Kennedy (The Revelations Cycle, Book 2).

Winged Hussars by Mark Wandrey (The Revelations Cycle

Book 3).
The Golden Horde by Chris Kennedy (The Revelations Cycle, Book 1).
A Fistful of Credits by various authors (The Revelations Cycle, Book 5).
Peacemaker by Kevin Ikenberry (The Revelations Cycle, Book 6).
Marion G Harmon I read a bunch of the “Wearing the Cape” series back in 2015 and while I enjoyed the beginning, I felt like he pushed it a little far with crossing over to other worlds and other overused tropes.
I picked up this one and was pleasantly surprised and I feel like he had the story back.
It was tight and compelling but still lighthearted in the right places.
Recursion (Wearing the Cape Book 7).
Ben Horowitz Entrepreneurship is all about failure – both big and small – and this details many of Horowitz’s hardest, ugliest times and the people around him each step of the way.
Reading some of it was gut-wrenching but made a number of things make sense in startups in general and Okta specifically.
Overall, it was a good read.

The Hard Thing about Hard Things

Hugh Howey I loved Howey’s “Silo” series and looked forward to these short stories

While there were a couple great ones – one set in the Silo universe, one about virtual worlds – on average they were uninteresting and didn’t really fit into the overarching theme.
Skip this one.
Machine Learning (short stories).
Alan Janney This series has been my guilty pleasure the last few years.
It started with an super-virus infected teenager joining the football team, became mutant tigers who eat people whole, led to the worldwide collapse of civilization, and culminated in this book to bring most of the threads together.
This has been a great ride and lots of fun.
Further, I’ve traded notes with the author who’s given me some great book recommendations to date.
Lesson learned: Say “thanks!” to the people who create great things that you appreciate.
Wrath & Tears: The Conclusion (Carmine Book 3).
John O’Brien I really enjoyed O’Brien’s series about a zombie outbreak and the small group who comes together to survive.
In this one, the end isn’t just near.
it’s happening in real time throughout the series.
Lifting the Veil: Fallen – This is the first of a series telling the story of Revelation switching between Heaven’s and Earth’s point of view.

Lifting the Veil: Winter – In this one

we get a first person perspective into every nuance and detail of the disaster that has hit earth.
While it was okay, it was significantly weaker than the first.
made even worse by the opening note where O’Brien warns you that it’s weaker.
If you know it’s not good, make it better!.

John Ringo Being a fan of Monster Hunter series

I was intrigued by Larry Correia allowing another author to play in his universe.
Unlike the others, this one is written as a memoir from a monster hunter in the 1980s with a “boots on the ground” perspective that also fills in some mythology from the series.
Each of these have been fantastic and all three made my Top 5 above. Don’t read these until you get through Monster Hunter Alpha.
Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge.
Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners – This one is a tough read.
It’s not because it’s poorly written, it’s just the opposite.
By the time you get here, you know the characters and appreciate them so reading their pain stings.
I can’t say more without spoiling it.
Monster Hunter Memoirs: Saints – This one is my favorite Monster Hunter book of all across both the main series and this one.

After reading “Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge,” I picked up a couple of his other books

The first one was a zombie apocalypse that started off okay and quickly went off the rails.
I stopped reading when the “security” team attended a midnight concert in mid-collapse Central Park and the 13yo daughter went Mary Sue killing dozens of zombies.
Skip this one.

I gave Ringo one more shot and picked up Live Free or Die

I am so happy I did.
In the opening pages, humans experience first contact with a benign species who grows bored with them.
and then the second species shows up, wipes out a few cities, and demands tribute.
That’s roughly chapter one and it gets fascinating and amusing from there.
The first book is almost 100% centered around one character while the second and third broaden the point of view to a variety of characters on both sides of increasing interstellar tensions.
Live Free or Die (Troy Rising Book 1).
Citadel (Troy Rising Book 2).
The Hot Gate (Troy Rising Book 3).
John C.
Wright Last year I read a couple things from Wright and frankly fell in love with his writing style.
Usually when a story introduces bizarre terminology, it’s used to cover up poor storytelling so characters can explain “common” concepts to each other for the reader’s benefit.
That’s poor storytelling.
Wright uses it to drive things forward and foreshadow challenges coming for the characters.
Superluminary: The Lords of Creation – This one follows a junior member of a royal family that has learned science beyond our understanding.
Superluminary: The Space Vampires – After the last book, the royal family is at war with space vampires.
Yes, it sounds silly but it’s a great story told from the command perspective where the last of life is fighting back.
Notice I said “life” and not humanity.
Superluminary: The World Armada – This is the final book of the trilogy and while it was still filled with some bizarre concepts, the way he tied it all together throughout and by the end was fantastic.
I didn’t see the end coming until it was there.
If I included a #6 top book for the year, it would have to be one of these.
All links above are Amazon affiliate links.
If you think I missed something great, drop me a note and let me know.
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My Reading List (2018).

You have the APIs that let you interact with WordPress

Want to get more articles like this one.
Join my newsletter In Opinion On becoming a WordPress expert.

This all started with a thought experiment about WordPress recruiting

Something I’ve done a fair amount of in the past.

Let’s say I’m looking to hire a WordPress expert

What defines that person as a top tier WordPress developer

What knowledge or characteristics am I looking for.

WordPress powers a large part of the web

It’s also the livelihood for thousands of developers.
Those are amazing things, but it also creates problems.
One of them is that it’s hard to evaluate your or someone else’s skill level.
So we’re going to look into that.
It’s worth noting that there’s no definitive or objective answer to that question.
We’re all biased.
We have our own opinions on what it means to be an expert.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to answer the question.
The goal here is to help you think about where you stand on the topic.
It’s also an opportunity to think about where you are and where you’d like to be.
Let’s focus on things you can learn.
It’s not that soft skills like a “strong desire to learn” or “problem-solving attitude” aren’t important.
They’re mandatory for achieving any mastery (not just WordPress) and employers love them too.
They’re just not something you can teach (at least I haven’t seen it).

The truth is that there’s no class to get a “desire to master WordPress” (I know… bummer)

It’s about the actions you do every day.
You woke up today and you’re reading this.
It’s safe to assume that that desire is there (Yay!).
That’s why we’ll focus on topics you can learn.
What can be taught?.
It’s possible you won’t agree with everything here.
That’s ok.
You can use it as a starting point for your own journey.
If you feel I missed something, let me know in the comments.
These are some broad topics.
That’s an intentional choice.
They’re meant to help you get started and to guide you on your quest.
Performance.

You should know and understand what affects WordPress performance

The bad news is that performance issues can happen anywhere.
It can happen in your code, on your server or with your database (those are the big ones).
The good news is that each piece is self-contained.
You don’t need to learn them all at once.
Different performance changes will give you different levels of results.
You can use that to prioritize what to learn.
You should focus on what gives you the best return on your time investment.
Caching.
You could say that caching is about performance.
It’s true, but also a simple generalization.
Caching has more of a multiplicative relationship with performance.
This creates a sometimes complex interaction between performance and caching.

You’d expect an expert to work with large WordPress sites

These sites will use various caching solutions.
You have to understand the interactions between your code and those caching solutions.
For the same reason, you should be familiar with the different caching options.

There’s some at all levels of a WordPress installation

Each of them has its own set of benefits.
Some caching options are simple “install and forget” solutions.
You also have solutions that require additional servers or custom code.
Security.
Security is another large topic in itself.

You could specialize as a WordPress security expert

That’s not necessary for most of us.

A WordPress expert understands how to write code without known vulnerabilities

That means understanding concepts like: Input sanitization.
Output escaping.
SQL injection.
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF).

These are all attacks and vulnerabilities that WordPress has built-in solutions for

It’s a question of knowing about them and using them properly.

You should also know the security standards for installing and configuring WordPress

(e.g.
don’t use admin as a username).
The precautions you need to take to keep your site secure.
Tools.
This is more than just using an IDE (or Sublime/Vim/Emacs) or version control.
Most experts tend to use more tools than the average WordPress developer.
Experts use tools because they make you more efficient (once you’re comfortable with them).
Tools come in different flavours from task runners (like Grunt) to deployment tools (like Capistrano).
You might feel a bit overwhelmed if you didn’t use a lot of tools before.
That’s ok.
Even an expert doesn’t always use every tool available to him.
There’s a lot of them out there.
You prioritize which tools you need based on the needs of your project.
Servers.
This isn’t to say that you have to become a sysadmin.
Great system or database administrators are like magicians.
You don’t need to be a magician to be a WordPress expert (whew).
You just have to be comfortable getting your hands dirty.
This means that you’re not scared of making changes to your web server or database.
Even if it’s only on your local development environment.
That shouldn’t hold you back.
Knowing WordPress internals.
That’s THE obvious one.
You can’t be a WordPress expert without knowing WordPress (duh!).
This doesn’t mean that you need to get a shiny core contributor card (although they’re pretty sweet).
It’s about being familiar with dark seething underbelly of WordPress.
There’s plenty there to see.
You have the APIs that let you interact with WordPress.
You have the hooks that let you change its behaviour.
Knowing about an obscure hook can make all the difference.
It’s the difference between you writing several lines of code and you writing hundreds.
There’s also weird and obscure functions (like capital_P_dangit) that you might not know about.
It’s also about knowing how WordPress works.
There’s plenty of other things going on under the hood beside the loop.
You have to be familiar with all that.
What about your coding skill?.
That’s the question isn’t it.
You expect that your skill as a developer means something.
It does, but not as much as you’d like.
The developer in me hates admitting that.
Let’s look at why that might be.
A lot of the topics mentioned before need you to code well.
You can’t write performant code without some good knowledge of PHP and/or JavaScript.
Writing secure code also requires that you have some good coding skills.
That’s more or less where it stops.
Being a WordPress expert isn’t about you being a programming god (sad face).
That doesn’t mean you won’t come across complex problems.
Those problems might even push you to use some advanced programming knowledge.
The issue is that those situations aren’t common.
They’re more the exception than the rule.
An expert delivers extraordinary outcomes with WordPress.
That’s the conclusion I came to after going through the thought experiment.
You’re not trying to help someone build a site on a budget here.
You’re paid a lot because you deliver expert level outcomes.
That’s why coding isn’t as important in the end.
Coding is a tool used to help your client or the company you work for.
You want to help them get the most out of WordPress.
That can mean new features, but it can also mean handling more traffic.
It’s about your ability to create solutions that help them achieve their goals.
That’s quite a tall order, but that’s why you’re the expert after all.
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in.
Thoughts on No Man’s Sky.
Maybe you were living under a rock the past week and didn’t hear about.
Or maybe you don’t care.
Either way it’s okay.
But now that you’re reading this, let me tell you a bit about it and why I think it’s one of the most brilliant games I’ve ever played.
Besides the fact that the game is visually stunning, it’s receiving a lot of attention because of how  it is.
There are 18 quintillion planets.
I don’t even know how many 0’s that is.
The creators – the tiny game studio – has stated that to visit each and every planet for just 1 second, it would take you over 5 billion years.
PS.
If you’ve already fallen in love with the art of No Man’s Sky,.
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Hypergrid Safari Embassy in Second Life –

Search.
Tag Archives: metaverse.
Older posts.
I’m working with  on a new academic journal.
It’s called the International Journal on Innovations in Online Education (IJIOE) and will be published by.
The Aim and Scope of the Journal is provided below.
Take care,.
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,.
is an alliance of scientists, educators and entrepreneurs from various fields who gather twice a month in for.
They’re a very creative and engaging group, and I was honored to be recently invited to  Here’s a summary of my topic: Below is a full video of my presentation, and you can find Take care,.
, , , , , , , , , , , ,.
The  (OSCC) is an annual conference that focuses on the developer and user community creating the.
Organized as a joint production by and the , the virtual conference features two days of presentations, workshops, keynote sessions, and social events across diverse sectors of the OpenSimulator user base.
, and I’m thrilled to be both attending and presenting again this year.
All the inworld venue tickets are sold out, but if you can still  and watch all the presentations live on.
“You Only Own what you can Carry: How to backup and move your content between Second Life, Openim and Unity” In this hands-on workshop, I’ll be demonstrating exactly how to export your own user-created objects (both prim and mesh based) and move them between , and.
Attendees will watch my desktop via a live TeamViewer screenshare and follow along on their own using freely-available software.
Requirements: Inworld attendees should be using the  and have pre-installed both the  and the  No previous technical expertise required, just a willingness to learn.
I’ll also be a panelist later in the day on “” where I’ll be sharing my thoughts about DRM versus content licensing.
Take care,.
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,.
The first thing you’ll notice about is that…well, let’s be honest, they look kind of strange.
, , , , , , , , , , , , ,.
I looked over my shoulder during the last tour and saw this.
More pics from that tour.
, , , , , , , ,.

Between 2010 and 2012 I had a lot of fun organizing and running the  (HGAC) meetings

Those were the very early days of connectivity in , and things often went awry during our explorations.
We all helped each other out through crazy technical challenges and exciting adventures, but it was the community of wonderful people at these meetings that impressed and amazed me the most.

Time moved on and in 2012 I stopped organizing Hypergrid Adventurers Club meetings

Not because of any lack of interest in Opensim and the Hypergrid on my part

mind you.

I’m still very excited about the future of Opensim and the Hypergrid

and I.

It was just that I felt the HGAC had run its course

Opensim was becoming much more stable and easier to use, hypergrid jumps were becoming very reliable, and directories of great places to explore were expanding (see  and ).
Also, attendance was gradually declining, and other aspects of my life were getting busier, so I figured it was time to wind things down.

The Hypergrid Safari is a new group that runs weekly tours across Opensim

In their own words: I’ve been attending these trips and they’re fantastic.
The organizers are Thirza Ember, Fuschia Nightfire, Wizard Gynoid and Wizardoz Chrome.

I think all of them bring beautiful new perspectives to exploring the Hypergrid

in particular the perspectives of skilled content creators and innovative artists who have a long history of pioneering work in and other virtual worlds.
And everyone attending brings their own thoughtfulness and great sense of humor to the group.
Once again, it’s the community of people that impresses and amazes me the most.

Join one of the Hypergrid Safari tours happening every Wednesday at departing from the

– the FIRST place you should check out to see a record of ALL of the amazing Safaris.
Hypergrid Safari Embassy in Second Life –.
PRIMARY HQ: Hypergrid Safari on OSGrid – Hypergrid Address: hg.osgrid.org:80:Teravus Plaza More info.
Hypergrid Safari Clubhouse on FrancoGrid – Hypergrid Address: hg.francogrid.org:80:hgsafari.
And here’s a great video by Nina Camplin of some recent tours.
Take care, and hope to see you inworld.
, , , , , , , , , , ,.
It was good to hear , Linden Lab’s new CEO, at the  in today.
, , ,.
On Monday April 7 at 6pm PDT I’ll be giving a Virtual Worlds Lecture in Second Life.
My presentation is part of an ongoing series of talks hosted by the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University.
, and Part of what I’ll be doing in addition to showing slides and speaking will be a live demo of some of the content import/export tools in the.
You’ll get so see how you can easily backup content you’ve created in Second Life or Opensim to your hard drive and how to get that content into other 3D platforms like and.
, , , , , , , , , , , , ,.
Yesterday, .

The  (HGAC) visited the Center for Global Health’s

About 20 of us made the voyage, initially gathering at and then travelling together as a group.

This was the first HGAC trip in a long time

and it was wonderful to see so many familiar friends as well as some brand new faces.
, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,.
If you’re a fan of the , you should definitely check out the new  for and.
Fixed a problem with long teleports in OpenSim (“4096 bug” ) (Latif).
Latif Khalifa has fixed the bug that, , .

Prevented Hypergrid explorers from jumping to places more than 4096 regions away

No more mandatory intermediate hops.
No more “cannot reach destination – too far away” messages.

I encourage all explorers of the Hypergrid to please take a moment and

His hard work has resulted in a major improvement to the use of the Hypergrid and the evolution of OpenSim as a constellation of easily accessible interconnected grids.
Which brings me to the topic of the.
Since my , I’ve received a great deal of interest in possibly restarting our tours of the Hypergrid.
Many people reached out to me, and the outpouring of interest was very inspiring.
So I’m rebooting the tours.
Our next tour will be Saturday Sept 28 at 10pm EDT.
For all the details, please.
Take care,.
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Where gaming and education converge.
Brandon Sheffield, writer for Gamasutra, covered at the Game Developer’s Conference, which is going on this week.  In her talk, made some very poignant remarks about the nature of massively multiplayer online games (MMO’s), why they’re so successful, and how there’s true potential in the medium.  Of course, her remarks have some powerful implications for educational gaming: March 24.

2009 | Posted in:

| Tags: , , , , , , , | World of Warcraft… The New Golf.
It used to be that if you wanted to close a business deal, discuss an upcoming court case, or to do some planning outside of the office you’d grab your clubs and head down to the local country club to play a round of golf.  Well, as 1UP.com reports, instead of practicing the ‘ole swing, many professionals are now banding together to slay a dragon or to explore a dungeon together.  Many professionals are now gaming together in World of Warcraft.
I suppose this is something that, deep down, I’ve always known.  It is not uncommon for I and some fellow teachers in my district (as well as some students and former students) to gather, online, on a Saturday night and engage in some serious dungeon raiding.  And what do educators talk about when they’re gaming together?  Often, it’s teaching.
In fact, recently introduced me to a guild (an organization of gamers) called .  This World of Warcraft guild consists of educators and game researchers, who, when not discussing education and virtual worlds, enjoy teaming up to take down the forces of the Lich King, Arthas.  I even transferred one of my characters, Pantego, a now level 80 Shaman over to the server to play (and collaborate/network) with these folks.
Even in online gaming, the world gets a little smaller and a little flatter.
March 3, 2009 | Posted in: , , | Tags: , , golf, , | 1 Comment ».
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