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Word-A-Day Challenge 2016

32 posts
Leon Adato

Day 28: Give

Posted by Leon Adato Employee Jan 1, 2017

(the illustrious erikeff's post has become lost in the aether. Until we can locate it, I'm re-posting his essay here:

 

Give.

 

That word is particularly relevant this time of year, as many of us engage in the annual ritual of exchanging gifts. If you are like me, you struggle a bit with the disconnect between the beauty of the tradition and the rabid commercialism which tries to subsume it.  Every generation tends to think that this tension between the act and the object is its own fault—that we are the ones who finally let go of the true meaning of giving. I admit, when I see folks lining up to do their Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving, or when I stop to ponder the depth and breadth of modern merchandizing, I’m tempted to believe our generation is guilty as charged.

 

However, this tension is nothing new. I watched the original  “Miracle on 34th Street” a few nights ago with my family (speaking of traditions), and that film is a pretty clear indicator that our parents and grandparents wrestled with the same concern.

 

Of course, we can go further back. Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was first published in 1843.  The character of Ebenezer Scrooge perfectly personifies humanity’s worst instincts when it comes to charity. And Dickens himself drew from much older tales and traditions to craft his novella.

 

So if our current predicament is nothing new, if humans have always stumbled along the line between giving and getting, then what hope do we have for finding balance? For me, the answer is really quite simple.  As soon as I stop thinking of the problem as universal and begin to define it as personal, I realize the solution is entirely under my own control.  Instead of blaming the culture or the commerce that drives it, I can evaluate my own motives for giving and define that act for myself.  In a system based on supply and demand, commercialism is the response to the call of materialism.  My own obsession with stuff is one small log on the fire of consumption.

 

I need to give. We all do.  But how I give and why I give are the true measures of my generosity.  Instead of emphasizing the object, I choose to emphasize the act.  Money may be the currency of exchange, and things are its most obvious manifestation, but the act itself is the true measure of my worth.  The way each of us gives defines who we really are.  When it comes to exchanging things with each other, intention is everything.

 

But the most profound forms of giving have nothing to do with buying or spending; giving is not about things. The most we can ever give is of ourselves—our time, our talent, our concern, our love.

 

When I consider my own tenure at SolarWinds, I feel blessed to be able to contribute to a team that I admire so much. Each on of us brings something unique, something special, to the enterprise. I readily admit I know very little about IT. Fortunately, we have many content experts on hand to fill that need. However, I do know a bit about video production and in that way I can contribute to the larger effort.

 

Showing up to work for a team reminds me daily that giving is a reciprocal arrangement. When all of us give, all of us receive.  SolarWinds is filled with talented people who inspire me to do more.

 

And for that, I give thanks!

Leon Adato

Day 30: Celebrate

Posted by Leon Adato Employee Dec 30, 2016

As a word-of-the-day writing prompt, "Celebrate" was both the obvious choice and the contrarian angle.

 

Contrarian because it's been a hard year for many of us. Your essays for previous days were sprinkled with hints of unwelcome challenges, unexpected hardships, and ongoing struggles. Many of us feel the loss of heroes, whether they were public figures or family friends. For some, the economy - national, personal, or both - continues to be a source of frustration. And regardless of your political leanings, everyone found something to be dissatisfied with in the past 12 months.

 

Taken in that light, it is deceptively easy to fall into the scrooge-like trap of believing there is little to celebrate here at the waning threshold of 2016.

 

But...

 

It's Friday. It's the Friday before New Year's Eve. And for many of us the Friday before a long weekend. In fact, many of you who are reading this may have already started your weekend. Or are even using up the last day or two of vacation for the year.

 

Some are observing the 6th day (and beginning at sundown, 7th) of Chanukah. And some are also welcoming 25 hours of rest and renewal in the form of the Shabbat hiatus. Some count today as the 5th day of Kwanzaa. Some even refuse to permit the spirit of Christmas get away so easy, keeping the tinsel and decorations up and the holiday music playing.

 

Some of us are lucky enough to be welcoming new friends or family into our lives - whether significant others we hadn't yet met, fiances who have foolishly committed to joining the insanity of our familial circle, or new arrivals either born, adopted, or simply integrated into our daily lives.

 

Anyone who knows me understands that I am an optimist (albeit sometimes a sarcastic one) and so it's no secret which side my celebratory coin will fall on.

 

So as I fully embrace the spirit of celebration that comes with the possibility of all good things around us, I want to acknowledge a few things I am personally celebrating today:

 

I'm celebrating, lauding, and thanking the incredible team that I get to be a part of. From the other Geeks to the THWACK ninjas, to the insanely talented engineers and product managers, to the folks working behind the scenes, I feel like I'm the luckiest guy on earth working in my dream job.

 

I'm also celebrating the fact that I was given permission in the form of time and resources to create and participate in this month-long challenge. I was given a chance to push myself as a writer as well as an organizer, and I learned a lot in the process.

 

But most of all, I'm celebrating YOU - the incredible THWACK community. Through these essays, I got to know everyone who was generous (and brave) enough to share of themselves. While I will run the numbers later on, there were hundreds of responses and each one gave us insight into how the THWACK community feels, thinks, and acts. You don't find this kind of conversation in most forums, and I am honored to be a part of this one.

 

Thank you all - not just for being part of this challenge, but also for all of the support, friendship, ideas, and participation here on THWACK in 2016. I am looking forward to celebrating many more milestones in the future.

Dez

DAY 29: Return

Posted by Dez Employee Dec 29, 2016

Return

 

          I couldn’t think of anything to write about the word return.  Then, I started thinking about the meaning of return, and how that would mean you once had to have something to use the word return.  Even on a keyboard, you use the return key to move to the next row to start a beginning or a continuation of a words or thoughts.  So I do, in fact, have some words for this word return.

 

         Personally, I have been looking for a pool table that my dad had in his house since I could ever remember.  Not just any pool table you’d find anywhere.  This was, in fact, a 1901 Brunswick Newport pool table my dad played on in a pool hall in Yale, OK when he was a child.  A focal point in our living room and a pride symbol for my father.

 

         My dad purchased this in 1975 when the building it was in became condemned.  Yes, he was able to buy his childhood memories and told stories of this all my life.  As a young girl, they were boring stories and repetitive.  He became sick with a blood cancer and before he passed away he had it recovered and played three games on this table, and they were the happiest we saw in almost a year.  To say the least, that memory is not replaceable.

 

         February 22nd, 2013 my father passed away.  In the mess of things being auctioned and my mother having to pay bills, she lost the pool table.  That bothered me for years.  I started calling every place I could think of to find this pool table.  I finally found this table a few days ago.  (They are literally setting it up right now)  So in a weird way, I, myself, bought back my memories just like my father.

 

         Return is what I accomplished today.  A way to continue my father’s, my children’s, and my memories with this table.  This pool tables return is completing a circle and a sense of respect to my dad that I now understand. 

 

         It’s funny when we are little how much we take in from our parents but never understand the magnitude until we are older.  I’ve fought and never gave up on that table, just like my dad.  Now it’s here with me again, and the memories of dancing on top of it as a child with him including my girls are flooding back in.  The memories of all the parties and of him being an entertainer extraordinaire will carry out as long as I live.  Then I hope it will return to my children to begin even more.

 

         I’m a little teary-eyed indeed with this word, return.  To me, this is the best darn word I could have been given, for today.

 

 

~Dez ~

KMSigma

Day 27: Bless

Posted by KMSigma Administrator Dec 27, 2016

CAPRA_1946_It-s_a_Wonderful_Life.jpga_christmas_story_13.png

 

Families are a key feature during this time of year, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Yule.  Each of these celebrations mark the coming together of families – both in religious and relational ways.  Your family is who you make it, those who celebrate together, those who commiserate together, those who build you up and make you a better person.

 

In more “Gregorian” terms, it’s also the end of the calendar year.  It’s a time when companies sum up their fiscal gains (or losses) for the year, a time when we all make New Year’s resolutions (which we frequently break), and when we celebrate (or commiserate) about another year completed.  It’s a time for reflection and for marking the closure of one season and the opening of a new one.

 

For me, this time of year is about family and marking the passage of time.

 

In my life, family means my wife, my father and mother, and the plethora of aunts, uncles, and cousins who inhabit my family tree.  However, as I got older, my family has grown to include close friends, my in-laws and their respective families, several coworkers, and the inevitable inclusion of new children.  But, my family has also shrunken over the years.

 

Several years ago, we lost my grandparents in what feels like rapid succession.  They were the cornerstone on which I built the idea of “family.”  This was very painful, but you console yourself with the knowledge that they left you with such a family that you can survive the pain.  Some part of you always knew that you’d outlive them and whether you were ready or not, that part of you was preparing to let go.

 

However, it was years before – in November of 2001 - when we suddenly lost my younger brother, Kenny.  Ken passed away two weeks before Thanksgiving.  This remains the single most painful thing in my life and it still influences me to this day.  When we finally got to Thanksgiving, we gathered, ate, and celebrated, because that’s what we were expected to do, but it was hollow.  All that I kept recalling was a line from A Christmas Carol: “I see an empty chair where Tiny Tim once sat.”

 

It was also this time of year where I remember first hearing (and hating) the phrase, “count your blessings.”  Needless to say, I wasn’t listening to anyone who said these things.  I would hold it together during the times with others, and privately rage when alone.  This went on and on for about a month.

Then the holidays came along and being the first year after we lost my brother, it was important to continue the farce that was celebrating the holidays.  We did what we always did as a family – watched our Christmas movies.  For us, this is A Christmas Story (1983) and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946).  The former is my father’s favorite and we watch for the humor of the holidays.  The latter is my mom’s favorite and we watch to restore our faith in humanity.  As a family, we’ve seen both of these movies dozens of times and we know many (if not most) of the lines.

 

We ran through A Christmas Story and the laughs were half-hearted.  Not because the Bumpus hounds tearing apart the turkey wasn’t funny, or because “Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra” wasn’t politically incorrect comedy gold, but because there was a voice and a laugh missing.  And that silence echoed throughout the house and within me.

 

Then it was time for the next movie.  The title alone set my teeth on edge that year.  “It’s a Wonderful Life” – Really?  Are you sure?  How can it be with this “empty chair” that’s going to be here for the rest of our life?  (The movie is from 1946, but I’ll do my nerd diligence: Spoiler Alert.)

 

The movie opens with the fanfare for all movies of those years, celebrated in all its black & white glory.  George’s life is falling apart.  His house is in shambles, his kids are needy, his uncle may have just destroyed the family business his father built, and everyone is relying on him for something.  Everything that was going wrong in the world had one common denominator – George.  Needless to say, I felt like George Bailey that year – up to and including the part where I didn’t want to be born.  If I wasn’t born, then I’d never have to experience this loss, this pain, this emptiness.

 

Then George gets his intervention.  God sends down a (probationary) angel to help him out in the form of Clarence.  And George gets his wish.  He can see what the world would be like without him.

 

The ripples are astounding.  If he wasn’t there, the family business would have failed years before, his uncle would end up destitute, his mother would run a flop house, the town would be under the thumb of crotchety old Mr. Potter, and his family would never have existed.

 

But the one thing that hit me the most was that his brother, Harry, would have died in a river since George wasn’t there to save him.  I distinctly remember getting hit with so many emotions during this announcement that I was utterly silent.  His brother was gone, all the things that his brother did with his life (specifically in the war) never happened.  I reflected on my own situation, everything that my brother could have done in his life would never happen.

 

Finally, George gets clarity, he wants to live.  Regardless of what’s falling down around him, he wants to live.  The world was a better place with him, than without.  Suddenly, I was no longer George Bailey, Ken was George Bailey.  The loss of him was terrible and would have lasting ramifications, but the time that we did have was precious.  The closing of the movie always brings me to tears, but that year it was the worst that it’s ever been.  The entire town, every single person that tangentially had a relationship with George, came to help.  Every person who had been blessed by his touch was returning the blessing.

 

This is also when “count your blessings” stopped becoming a pain point for me and became a lifeline.  I looked around and saw my family.  Although Ken was no longer with us, the love and laughter that he brought to our lives would always be.  I looked into the eyes of my family and I saw him looking back.

 

Regardless of what’s happened in your life, at this time of year, take the time and count your blessings.  Even when the deck seems stacked against you, even when the rug has been pulled out from under you, even when everything seems spinning out of control, take a moment and truly look around.  There are great things in your life.  We are all blessed, even if we don’t always feel it.

Leon Adato

Day 26: Create

Posted by Leon Adato Employee Dec 26, 2016

(Leon here: I have created this space, into which jennebarbour's post will appear later today. Feel free to create your own responses in the comments below.)

Leon Adato

Day 25: Intend

Posted by Leon Adato Employee Dec 25, 2016

groucho.jpg

I've written essays on for this word on less than 4 times. In each case, I started by noting that there's a popular phrase about intentions and its relationship to a particular road.

 

More than just an easy quip, whenever I hear this word, I immediately begin to ponder the significance of intention vs action. Can one (intention) trump the other (action)? Always? Sometimes? How?

 

It would be facile to say that when intention leads to action, then intention mattered, but when it doesn't, it didn't. But I think that's intentionally letting the idea go without real introspection.

 

Let's say I intend to visit my friend in the hospital. Most people believe that if I drive there, park the car, walk the requisite 14 miles from lot to the front desk, figure out that their room changed, walk the requisite 14 miles from the front desk to the room, and... find out that my friend is out getting tests and won't be back for an hour - that my intentions "count" because my actions prove it.

 

But what if I never left my desk? I intended to do everything above, but got caught up in meetings. Could I have skipped those meetings? Maybe. But I didn't, and never made it to the hospital.

 

The end result is the same in both cases. Does my intention still "count" for something in the second example? Many of us would tend to say that yes, intention counts in both cases.

 

But let's take another example: I intend to kill my coworker.

 

To be clear: he's got it coming. He plays bagpipe music from his computer speakers all day, cooks broccoli and fish in the microwave, consistently mixes up Star Wars and Star Trek in conversation, and insists on using my desk as a staging area for epic battles between his "My Little Pony" figurines (he's a Brony) and his limited edition "Welcome Back Kotter" collectibles.

 

Despite my very sincere intentions to shove him off this mortal coil, I've never followed through. Should I be arraigned for justifiable homicide? Most people would say that no, my intention doesn't count.

 

So can we have it both ways?

 

I look forward to your thoughts, as well as your ideas about intentions - both good and bad - in the comments below.

Dez

DAY 24: Hope

Posted by Dez Employee Dec 24, 2016

Hope

 

             Hope, how can you summarize the emotions that are packed into this one little word?  I'm going to try and see if I can do this word justice, as it constantly comes back to myself as a spiritual feeling no matter how many times I've written and rewritten this blog.  However, that's just where I keep coming to in conclusion.  I'll keep this blog as best as I can away from spiritual enlightenment as possible.

 

 

          Lets look back through history and we can see where hope was all people needed to cross great oceans and terrain to find their place in this world.  It has led soldiers to battles they didn't even understand the full reasons for being in and allowing them to come home after the fight.  This word has helped fuel families praying for healing, food, shelter, clothing, and many essentials to get them through their days.  Some say without hope what do you have in this world that is crumbling at times around us.

 

 

          The origin of the word hope as a noun as confidence in the future and the verb represents hope for salvation and mercy.  So I realized why I relate this to spirituality, I obviously was raised by a "doing" type of family!    Then I noticed that I had confidence in my future because I had hope of salvation and mercy on my sins within this world.  Putting this knowledge altogether, no matter who you are or what religion you believe in, hope allows us to connect with everyone.  We all want to believe things are to be better in bad situations, and we do this on faith that pushes us to believe that hope will come through.

 

         

          Many of us, especially around the holidays, cling to the hope that a miracle can happen.  That during the holidays there is something in the air that helps us push through.  We hunker down and hope that we don't go too far into debt and make it out alive after the in-laws leave the house.  Hoping that the spirits we have these holidays are drank with moderation. 

    

         

              Well I hope that I have left you with something to think about at this point.  I tried to keep it low key as I was told previously my word got a little deep on the heaviness for a Saturday morning.  Have a great weekend to everyone and Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to all!

 

 

~Dez~

 

              

 

         

 

 

         

Leon Adato

Day 23: Begin

Posted by Leon Adato Employee Dec 23, 2016

In my essay “I Wish Someone Had Told Me” I talk about getting started in IT, and how at the beginning, you are just all over the place. You are pulled into different projects, working with different teams.

And that’s the problem. Because if you keep letting yourself get pulled around, you will never settle into one area, and you will never get REALLY good at something.

What I didn’t say in the essay is that beginning – meaning starting to focus on the area that excites you most – means NOT focusing on other things. And that can be hard. It can be a challenge when you realize you no longer know every variation of every component in 3 vendor’s line of servers; or that you no longer think in code; or that all the old keyboard tricks you knew were for operating systems that are now defunct.

But that’s the price, and it’s one worth paying.

Patrick Hubbard

Day 22: End

Posted by Patrick Hubbard Employee Dec 22, 2016

\n   EOL   [0A.0D]   }   end;   </>

 

Everything comes to an end.  Sev 1 panics, workdays, power supplies, beer, the client-server epoch, continents, species and even our Sun surceases eventually.  Ultimately in heat death, terminus is the fundamental commonality this universe inescapably bestows on everything within it.  But rather than the penultimate bummer, the ascendancy of the cosmopolitan screaming void, I find the certainty of End reassuring.

 

Magnetic fields rot on disk, photons leak from fiber, fan bearings wear.  We forget sometimes working issues that this is just IT, not an emergency room.  We Will Fix It because we always do.  We will have closure of This Thing, then there will be That Thing, which will likewise ultimately be resolved.  And as I get older become increasingly experienced, I’ve watched entire systems reach their ends.

 

end-key-iStock-476473704.jpgEvery IT system, every indispensable application and every custom process appeasing that one influential VP will sooner or later be brought to conclusion and excised.  Sunsets are a matter of when not if and I look for every opportunity to hasten the demise of declining technologies.  Throughout my career I’ve been a systems assassin, terminating downslope applications, servers and even datacenters with extreme prejudice and on rare occasion, glee.

 

Tech for the sake of more tech, or headcount, or org span is stupid. When curves trend strongly down-right, whether declines in usage, benefit, effectiveness or maintainability my ears tingle.  If analysis reveals opportunity for consolidation or transition, I gather a team and begin circling above the wounded app, ready to pick its carcass clean of budget.  I can feed something else which better benefits the business.

 

And in shutdown there are so many delicious Ends: Engineers’ final terminal logins, the last green flicker of drive lights, a final ignored alert, server extraction or even rack removal.  Occasional sentimentality or even grief at the demise of once-beloved constructs is human, especially for craftsmen who tailor services to delight users.  It’s hard to let go.  But once born, all systems are thermodynamically coupled to time- admin time- and ineluctably degrade energy to perform work.  Only opportunistic razing, exorcizing IT detritus to recover resources, lets us do less, better.

 

Life is short, tech careers even shorter.  The animation of digital signals is artifice contriving to make IT appear real.  If you could suspend entropy to freeze time there would be nothing to see.  We cast spells on nothing but micro-fractions of anticipation- syncopated signal gaps devoid of particles, fields or rays.  Letting go of infrastructure that’s outlived its usefulness is about fast-forwarding to the End to look back in time, back in energy to now.  System ends in IT always precede the best beginnings.

 

\0  

jennebarbour

Day 21: Love

Posted by jennebarbour Employee Dec 21, 2016

My in-laws arrived today, which also kicked off many days of cooking. I express love through food preparation, and will be expressing my love for my family through an abundance of cooking and baking in the coming days.

 

Whether it’s the day-of turkey festivities, complete with recipes shared by family and friends – onion pie from my in-laws, my sister-in-law’s cranberries, my Dad’s whipped Irish mashed potatoes, and gravy that recalls memories of being in entirely another room when my father called my name in panicked response to a lid-less blender making quick work of the giblets – every recipe calls forth warm memories of holidays spent with loved ones.

Many believe cooking to be a form of spell-casting – a way of making manifest in delicious, physical form love for family, friends, and anyone else who happens by one’s home. I firmly ascribe to this theory, and can’t allow anyone into our home without a ridiculous amount of food to accompany their arrival. There are many family jokes about my family’s late hour of dining due to the volume and number of dishes which must be prepared, and we [I] typically prepare enough for an army, as is our way.

 

I wish you and your loved ones days of delicious eating. I hope you, too, cook or bake something – however simple – that delivers your love in edible form. And I send wishes of future bounties for all who may find this year one of trial and tribulation, whether due to rough years, or conflict, or any circumstance.

 

And if you should find yourself in my neighborhood someday, I’ll welcome you with open arms, a warm hearth and kitchen, and whatever happens to be in our pot or oven. May the holiday season greet you and yours warmly, and may all the love you desire be freely offered and received.

Leon Adato

Day 20 - Fulfill

Posted by Leon Adato Employee Dec 20, 2016

(NOTE: Today's post comes to us from Anne Guidry, the editorial genius behind much of the content you see. She carefully edits and crafts pieces not just for grammar and spelling, but also for coherence (at least in my case) and consistency. Many of us would honestly sound like babbling idiots without her, and would thus fail to fulfill our mission at SolarWinds. - Leon)

 

Artist Agnes Martin said,

“Fulfill your potential. That’s the way to happiness.”

 

I was drawn to consider the word fulfill because it reminds me of another word that holds great meaning for me: effort. I believe in making an effort, showing up, doing the hard work that has to be done, because work that is hard is fulfilling. There is fulfillment in effort, even on the smallest scale. The word “fulfill” is usually tied to the word “dreams,” but I prefer less lofty aspirations, at least for now. Instead, my path to happiness – while my children are young – is guided by the hard work I do as a mother. There is magic in the mundane, I have learned, if you pay attention. And if you do the work. So step up, make an effort, and fulfill your potential, however you define that for yourself. Until you do, happiness will likely elude you.

Leon Adato

Day 19: Judge

Posted by Leon Adato Employee Dec 19, 2016

For all that we know that being judgemental is not a positive trait, the truth is that as IT Pros we spend much of our day (if not our career) judging much of our environment.

 

We automatically assess and judge issues that we face. We judge the solutions we come up with - whether they are temporary fixes or full blown designs. We judge our skills relative to our environment, to the workplace, and to our colleagues to ensure we're keeping up.

 

So I deeply appreciated it when Rabbi Davidovich recently wrote

"There's way too much "Judge not..." going on.  That's the brain's version of the lungs' "Don't breathe"."

 

He was speaking to the population at large, but I think this has special relevance to us in IT.

 

Moreso, once we accept that judging is something that we naturally do, a condition heightened by our career choice, which is in many contexts something we SHOULD do - why then we can stop trying to avoid it or deny we do it and put some structure around it.

 

Because many of us sense intuitively that becoming judgemental is NOT a good thing. So how do we avoid crossing the line?

 

Like all good concepts in IT, we implement a framework.

  • Judge designs, but not until we you have collected all the data possible.
  • Judge based on AVAILABLE data, knowing that Hick's law will bite you if let it
  • Judge situations around you, but always with Occam's Razor in mind.
  • Judge execution based on the Pareto Principal

 

But that's dancing around the subject. When we think of "judging", the idea that most often comes to mind (IT Pro or not) is judging others.

 

In those cases, there are also guidelines, which were outlined in Rabbi Davidovich's original post: 

  • "Suspend Judgment until you get more facts."
  • "Judge slowly"
  • "When uncertain, judge favorably."
  • "Unless it's relevant to others, keep your judgments to yourself."

 

As with any habit, technology, or issue that has both positive applications and challenging aspects, the application of a useful framework allows us to judge our options and act correctly.

thegreateebzies

Day 18: Ask

Posted by thegreateebzies Dec 18, 2016

Have you ever wondered how many questions are asked of Google each day? Let’s take a quick moment on ‘ask’ day to honor our heroes of search, superlative-style.

 

Where are they now? Try not to get too nostalgic.

 

askjeeves.jpg

Name: Ask Jeeves

Founded: 1996

Superlative: Most likely to be used by your mother.

Where are they now? Jeeves has retired to go live with his like-dressed penguins in Antarctica. Ask has moved on without him and has struggled after the divorce. There’s a new superlative. “I was wondering what happened to Ask Jeeves, so I Googled it.” In 2005 they were bought by media conglomerate IAC – making Jeeves half-cousins with the USA and Sifi channels, Expedia, Trip Advisor, CollegeHumor, and the Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Reference com spaces.

 

du.jpg.png

Name: Baidu

Founded: 2000

Superlative: 我不知道什么我有一只狗爪子

Where are they now? Still in Beijing. Duh.

 

bing.jpg

Name: Bing

Founded: 2009

Superlative: Most likely to be used when you don’t update your browser’s default search.

Where are they now? Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha.

 

dogpile.png

Name: Dogpile

Founded: 1995

Superlative: Most likely to be confused with any other engine with a dog as the mascot.

Where are they now? People still use it. No, I swear. I saw it on the internet.

 

duckduckgo.png

Name: DuckDuckGo

Founded: 2008

Superlative: Most likely to not be Google.

Where are they now? DuckDuckGo is now the default search of the Chromium browser in Raspbian. We love anything related to Raspberry Pi.

 

excite.png

Name: Excite

Founded: 1994

Superlative: The early bird gets…to go to bed before the other birds.

Where are they now? Excite was actually bought out by Ask Jeeves in 2004. To this day, they’re an example that the concept of “First to Market” doesn’t necessarily apply to the internet.

 

google.png

Name: Google

Founded: 1998

Superlative: Most likely to keep it simple.

Where are they now? Let’s just say Google wasn’t the first to the market, but their elegant “nothing but a bar” design and constantly updated algorythms won out in the end. Obviously it’s name is now synonimous with the idea of an internet search. Google is also going through a tiny midlife crisis. They’ll still answer all of your questions, but may try to mix in something ‘cool’ or ‘edgy’ like a video (YouTube), phone (Pixel), personal assistant (Google Home), or VR device (Daydream). Get your Beyonce fixes here.

 

 

 

hotbot.png

Name: HotBot

Founded: 1996

Superlative: Most likely to be used only by Wired Magazine subscribers.

Where are they now? No, it’s true. HotBot was founded by Wired Magazine. Aquired by Lycos in 1998, the website went through a couple of identity crises, begoming an aggregator of search engines in 2002, an entirely different list of search engines in 2001, then became a front for a Lycos search in 2012.

 

lycos.png

Name: Lycos

Founded: 1994

Superlative: Most likely to fetch, but never bring the ball back.

Where are they now? Lycos actually set a record in 1996 as the fastest company to go from inception to IPO before they went on a buying spree of websites like Matchmaker. They have been playing ownership pingpong ever since. Don’t worry, they’re out of the dating game.

 

northernlight.png

Name: NorthernLight

Founded: 1996

Superlative: The fastest search engine on dialup.

Where are they now? NorthernLight was named after the famous clipper which held the voyage record from San Francisco to boston for almost 150 years. They functioned primarily as a search engine until 2002, when their search division was discontinued in favor of an enterprise intranet search product called SinglePoint.

 

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Name: Webcrawler

Founded: 1994

Superlative: First company to make ‘indexing’ sexy.

Where are they now? Let’s be very clear. The founder is University of Washington alumni. Go dawgs! In a super fun search engine love triangle, WebCrawler was bought by Excite in 1997, which was owned by Ask Jeeves and all now partner with Dictionary, Thesauraus, and Reference com sites.

 

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Name: Yahoo!

Founded: 1995

Superlative: Last alphabetically, but third in our hearts.

Where are they now? There was a period of time where Yahoo! was considered a part of the Big 3 of search engines. Now they’re an aggregate site of content and borrows searches from Bing. It turns out the company is also a perpetual leaky faucet of private user data and CEOs. In the words of Adele, “Yahoo? Can you hear me?”

Dez

DAY 17: Awaken

Posted by Dez Employee Dec 17, 2016

Awaken

          I’ve been waiting to share this word.  You know for 17 days…  Ok, seriously this poem helps to make me realize that we need to grasp the moment. Seize the day and conquer our fears or we will merely be useless creatures on this earth with nothing to offer the world.  Maybe not that dramatic but literally while reading this poem I was empowered and felt like I needed to JUMP quickly.

 

I hope that by sharing this it sparks someone’s mind that is on the edge of doing greatness but needs that little push, like I did.

 

Here is the poem by Naima

 

AWAKEN

we are in the wake
of a great shifting

awaken

you better free your mind
before they illegalize thought

there’s a war going on

the first casualty was truth
and it’s inside you

the universe is counting on our belief
that faith is more powerful than fear
and in that the shifting moment
we’ll all remember why we’re here

in a world where you’re assassinated for having a dream
and the rich spend 9 billion a year to control our ideas
and visions are televised so things aren’t what they seem

we gotta believe
in a world where
there’s room enough for everyone
to breathe

cause reality is made up of
7 billion thoughts
who made up their minds
of what’s real and what’s not

so I stopped believing
in false idols of war
greed and hate
is not worth my faith

my mind’s dedicated
to justice
my soul is devoted
to love

and love is God
and God is truth
and truth is you
and you are me
and I am everything
and everything is nothing
and nothing is the birthplace of creation
and transformation is possible
and you are proof

we were born right now
for a reason
we can be whatever
we give ourselves the power to be

and right now we need
day dreamers
gate keepers
bridge builders
soul speakers
web weavers
light bearers
food growers
wound healers
trail blazers
truth sayers
life lovers
peace makers

give what you most deeply desire
to give
every moment you are choosing to live
or you are waiting

why would a flower hesitate to open?
now is the only moment
rain drop let go
become the ocean

possibility is as wide
as the space
we create
to hold it

 

by Naima

 

~Dez

Leon Adato

Day 16: Pray

Posted by Leon Adato Employee Dec 16, 2016

Full disclosure, I wrote this essay last year. But it still resonated with me, so I'm re-posting it here. File it under "ICYMI"

 

 

They say there are no atheists in foxholes.

 

I’d argue there aren’t any atheists in the datacenter during a weekend 24-hour upgrade either.

 

Prayer is a powerful force – both for individuals and for communities (and believe me, an IT department is a community). But among the less religiously inclined Technorati, the place of and for prayer is often misunderstood.

 

Popular culture likes to portray “pray-ers” as people who throw up their hands and “give it to God”. “Sheeple” who are unable or unwilling to take ownership or responsibility for their choices and lives. And I’m sure there are some people who move through life with that mindset.

 

A story from Torah brings into sharp focus when, where, and how prayer can help:

 

Jacob was about to meet his estranged brother Esau for the first time in decades. This is the same brother from whom he had stolen the birthright – the inheritance due a firstborn son – as well as the blessing from his father, also meant for the firstborn. There was a lot of history going on here, and word came that Esau was on his way with 400 armed fighting men to meet Jacob and his 4 wives and 13 children.

 

Jacob first divided his family into 3 groups.

 

Then he assigned gifts to each of the groups and told them to approach Esau with a little time between groups and give the gifts along with the message that Jacob was coming shortly.

 

Then he prayed to God for help.

 

The plan worked – Esau met different members of Jacob’s family and received lavish gifts from each one. And then when Jacob approached, Esau met him with and embrace.

 

To summarize, Jacob planned, then he prepared, and finally – when all the rest was done, he prayed.

 

This resonates for me as both an IT professional and a “pray-er”. We make our best plans based on the information at our disposal. We prepare – both for the expected outcome and with mitigation strategies for predicted negative events.

 

But whether we understand the phrase “Der mensch tracht und Gott lacht” or not, we understand it’s gist.

 

And in the face of that stark reality, the only thing we can do is pray for the best.

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