About

Obligatory Bio Post

Ok, so here goes the obligatory “WTF is this guy?” post.

Even more obligatory, “Under Consrtuction” warning

Fortunately, Gruber didn’t put in support for the blink or marquee tags in Markdown – and I’ll spare you the most common animated GIF in the mid 90’s: the “Under Construction” sign.

Like any self-respecting geek, a lot of this will likely be left undone for a while.

Even more, more obligatory “Husband, Father, etc…” Section

So, yeah. That’s me, too.

Career

Like most geeks, I am defined – especially on the Internet – by my job. Here is a smattering of what I have done to help fund the coffers of Social Security and Medicare.

Currently: Technical Leader – WebEx Social Escalation Team Lead (and self-proclaimed “Product Quality Advocate”)

I head up the Escaltion Team for WebEx Social. WTF is “WebEx Social?,” you ask. The one sentence summary for normal humans: It’s Facebook, except for getting work done.

For the technically inclined, WebEx Social is Enterprise Social Software that combines Posts, Wikis, Blogs, Document Mangaement, Communities, Discussion Forums, etc – all with built-in integrations to Cisco’s Unified Communications stack (Communications Manager, Unity Connection, Cisco Unified Presence Server, WebEx Meetings WebEx Connect) and Show and Share (think: private, corporate YouTube), as well as Exchange and Domino Calendaring, OCS IM/Presence, SharePoint, and CMIS-compliant document repository.

To get even more technical, think of WebEx Social as a private cloud. We run on a hardened verison of CentOS, we have only ever deployed as a Virtual Machine, we use Puppet for configuration management and deployment, Monit/collectd/Nagios for monitoring, RabbitMQ for queuing, both MongoDB and Oracle for data stores, memcached to speed access to Oracle, and Solr for search. In short, its a relatively common DevOps technology stack.

Some of those pieces will evolve to more “modern” replacements, but that info I have to keep under wraps.

My team helps ensure that our customers are happy and their WebEx Social systems are running like a top.

Another key part of my job is to act as the product’s “Quality Advocate.” This is not just ensuring improving the customer experierience and we ship with a low number of bugs. It means I proving the installation and upgrade process, making the product easier to support, enabling Partners to deploy and customize the platform, etc.

As an example of improving serviceability, I am currently working to design and test a logging search framework that uses the following to help find point issues – and perform trending and proactive logging analysis:

Hobbies

With the 5 minutes of free time I have each week, here are the things I like to do:

Electronic Music Production

While still early days, at least I terms of my time spent doing it, I dabble in creating some EDM.

On the Mac, I use Propellerheads’ Reason. While they take it a bit too far – see: swaying patch cables – I like the approach they take. While I am generally not a fan of the whole skeumorphism thing, I think Props use it to great effect in Reason. They are “realistic” where it makes sense ( e.g.: knobs, buttons, displays), they also take advantage of the fact that this is all digital, as well. A perfect example of the latter is their Combinator. It allows you to bundle up synths, effects, and anything else into a single rack “item,” which is great for reuse and sharing piece parts of your creations.

On iOS, which I’ve recently started taking seriously, I am a big fan of:

  • Audiobus: Allows audio from one app to be streamed to another. It addresses the issue of having a great synth, groovebox, drum machine, etc with no ability to make an honest song with it. With Audiobus, you can route each of these to a multi-track DAW. This is a total game changer to help make iDevices viable music production/performance platforms.
  • DM–1: Like Reason, it’s a great implementation of using what works in the real world (knobs, drum pads, faders) and sprinkling in what you can take advantage of when it comes to simplifying the workflow of creating a song/groove.
  • LoopyHD: From the same guy that created Audiobus. LoopyHD is a great app in its ability to have anyone jump in and play without having to know music, programming a sequencer, etc. My 8 year old love to beatbox into Loopy to make ad-hoc songs.
  • NodeBeat HD: This is another app that allows you to make interesting music without any musical experience (noticing a trend here?) One of the latest updates allows you to shoot its output via MIDI to whatever synth you want.
  • Figure: Another or from the Popellerheads team. Where Reason went for “realistic” racks and gear, Figure allows you to play around to make cool grooves. They keep adding more and more features over time. Hard to go wrong for a buck.
  • NanoStudio: Just got this one, so I haven’t had a chance to run it through its paces but it’s a full-fledged Reason-/Abelton Live-like app that offers fully customizable synths, a serviceable drum machine, and is a multitrack DAW too! If/when this picks up Audiobus support it will be the killer app for iOS music production.

Gaming

“What, a geek that games? Get out!” Clichė, I know, but what do you expect from someone who had an Atari 2600 a month after it released? I can’t think of a time in my life where I did not have a console of some sort in my house.

Due to my frugal (read: cheap ass) nature, I never got too much into PC gaming. I spent more time downloading drivers, tweaking configs, over locking, etc than I did actually playing. A notible exception: Portal. Played both of them through multiple times and “Halls of Science” has been my ringtone for years now.

RC Racing

Just now getting back into Remote Control on-road racing. Dusted off my ~10 year old NTC3… only to find out that the nitro on-road scene is dead. So, I’m just bashing around in a local parking lot for now. But, I am looking into getting into 1/10 scale F1 RC cars, as there’s a nice track “nearby.”

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