Monday, August 17, 2009

Interesting Lunch with long time friend Roger Fujii

I don't use the term "old friends" since it is neither as accurate as "long time friends" nor can it be misinterpreted in a derogatory fashion :-)

Roger is one of the most brilliant programmers I have ever met - ever. I still like to tell the story of watching Roger, write an assembly language program in his head, assemble the code to the machine code, convert that back to decimal, place that code in a BASIC DATA statement, execute a gosub to that DATA statement and watch it execute. This was a classic, "kids don't try this at home unless you chose your parents VERY WISELY." TRUE STORY......

The other purpose of this post is to act as a semaphore on whose turn it is to buy. We both
fight for the check, so hopefully this will end those fist fights :-)

LOG OF WHO PAID FOR LUNCH

  • August 17th, 2010 I paid.
  • March 8th, 2010 Roger paid
  • October 29th, 2010 I paid
  • April 7th, 2011 I paid 
  • November 2011 Roger paid
  • February 22nd, 2012 I paid 
  • June 22nd, 2012 Roger paid
  • August 31st, 2012 Roger paid (note, Roger insisted on paying since it appears I paid twice at one point) 
  • December 19th 2012 I paid
  • August 20th 2013 Roger paid
  • December 16th 2013 I paid 
  • August 7th 2014 Roger  paid   (I should pay next two times for the Z-Wave Door and Window Sensor Roger gave me)
  • December 12th, 2014 I paid at Clydes in Reston Town Center
  • April 17th, 2015 I paid at Spartans in Burke, VA 
  • August 11th, 2015 Roger paid at Buffalo Wing Factory in Ashburn 
  • June 28th, 2016 I paid at Passion Fish in Reston 
  • November 22nd, 2016 Roger paid at Ted's Bulletin in Reston Town Center 
  • March 20th, 2017, I paid at Blue Ridge Grill for lunch and Ford's Fish Shack for dinner since Roger helped me move to UI5 for Vera Z-Wave and this was a HUGE improvement
  • August 11th, 2017 I paid at Spartans in Burke, VA where we talked with Kumar's nephew about manufacturing jobs in Ontario, MTConnect and Z-Wave.  Roger gave me a few cameras to try out as well.

10,000 Hours: Bill Joy, Bill Gates and The Beatles

Thanks to Neil Groundwater, long time friend, mentor and Unix legend, who sent me this fascinating article called A gift or hard graft? written by Malcom Gladwell.

The premise of the article is:

"This idea - that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice - surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours."

Gladwell discusses the great amount of time that Bill Joy invested to hone his programming skills:

"According to Joy, he spent a phenomenal amount of time at the computer centre. "It was open 24 hours. I would stay there all night, and just walk home in the morning. In an average week in those years I was spending more time in the computer centre than on my classes. All of us down there had this recurring nightmare of forgetting to show up for class at all, of not even realising we were enrolled.""

Gladwell tells a great story of Bill Joy at Berkeley:

"In 1975, Joy enrolled in graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. There, he buried himself even deeper in the world of computer software. During the oral exams for his PhD, he made up a particularly complicated algorithm on the fly that - as one of his many admirers has written - "so stunned his examiners [that] one of them later compared the experience to 'Jesus confounding his elders' "."

The legend of Bill Gates and the amount of time is well documented. What is not well documented is just how hard and long The Beatles worked. I was always under the impression that John Lennon and Paul McCartney were just pure musical geniuses and it just easy. Gladwell corrects this perception:

The Beatles ended up travelling to Hamburg five times between 1960 and the end of 1962. On the first trip, they played 106 nights, of five or more hours a night. Their second trip they played 92 times. Their third trip they played 48 times, for a total of 172 hours on stage. The last two Hamburg stints, in November and December 1962, involved another 90 hours of performing. All told, they performed for 270 nights in just over a year and a half. By the time they had their first burst of success in 1964, they had performed live an estimated 1,200 times, which is extraordinary. Most bands today don't perform 1,200 times in their entire careers. The Hamburg crucible is what set the Beatles apart.

The article ends with a very interesting point about the importance of being born in the years 1954 or 1955 with great summary of Sun's founders:

"By the way, let's not forget Bill Joy. Had he been just a little bit older and had to face the drudgery of programming with computer cards, he says he would have studied science. Bill Joy the computer legend would have been Bill Joy the biologist. In fact, he was born on November 8 1954. And his three fellow founders of Sun Microsystems - one of the oldest and most important of Silicon Valley's software companies? Scott McNealy: born November 13 1954. Vinod Khosla: born January 28 1955. Andy Bechtolsheim: born June 1955. "

Now I know where I went wrong in life, my parents waited four years too long to have me :-)