chuck.goolsbee.org  goolsbee.org, serving useless content from an undisclosed location since 1997

December 31, 2016

Hacked By GeNErAL

Filed under: Apple,Technology,Thoughts,Writing — chuck goolsbee @ 4:10 am

~!Hacked By GeNErAL alias Mathis!~

Hacked By GeNErAL

 

Greetz : Kuroi’SH, RxR, ~

\!/Just for Fun ~Hacked By GeNErAL\!/

Hacked By GeNErAL! !

November 28, 2011

Economic Benefits and Flawed Logic

Filed under: Apple,Datacenter,Technology,Thoughts — chuck goolsbee @ 5:00 am
A steaming pile of tired old recycled bullshit.
A steaming pile of tired old recycled bullshit.

Don Montalvo (who knows me via Mac-Mgrs) shared a link with me on Twitter and asked my thoughts on the subject of economic impact of large scale datacenters in rural areas. I’ve written about the importance of, and the ideal sites for datacenters in rural America before, but I’ve never touched on this line of thinking that seems to be popping up more and more often, and is exemplified by this article:

“Datacenters are a boondoggle for rural America because they don’t produce more than a handful of jobs.”

In the article Don shared with me the target is Apple and its datacenter in Maiden, North Carolina. But I’ve seen the same sort of meme bandied about for Google, Amazon, Facebook, and every other player in the large-scale datacenter game. This whole line of thinking is fundamentally flawed in two major ways: It focuses on numbers without looking at value; and it is founded on an economic fallacy. It represents lazy journalism – slapping preconceived notions onto a situation without any real effort to find facts or report truth.

Rural America needs jobs. The mills and mines of yore are gone – and they are NEVER coming back. Small town America grew up around agriculture and resource industries. Farms have become industrialized and resources are gone. The timber is gone. The salmon is gone. The copper is gone. The gold is gone. The Mills and Mines are closed. The jobs associated with those industries are gone. Nothing is going to bring these jobs back. (The same can be said for manufacturing jobs in the rust belt.)

Datacenters do bring huge numbers of construction jobs. The cost of building a datacenter is often 10X more than a comparable-sized building. These are not simple warehouse-style buildings – they are specialty structures using high-value materials and extensive electrical and mechanical systems. They take far longer to build than comparable-sized structures. Datacenter projects often last for years, rather than the weeks or months required to build a an office building, store, or a warehouse. They employ hundreds of electricians, plumbers & pipe-fitters, sheet metal workers, ironworkers, concrete specialists, fiber-optic techs, and many other trades. Most of these are high-paying, Union jobs. When a Datacenter project lands in a small town the economic impacts are significant. All those construction workers have to live, eat, shop, drink, and recreate locally. They often bring families into town with them as the project has them there for at least a year, perhaps more. Very few, if any journalists ever even think about these facts, much less report them.

Once construction is complete, the number of people required to run the facility is much less, yes – BUT the assumption that all the jobs will go to “outsiders” is patently false. Most of the jobs in modern datacenters are not highly technical. The majority are usually related to facility maintenance; electricians, HVAC techs, etc. and physical security. There is rarely reason to ever have to hire these skills from outside. Yes, some percentage of the jobs require substantial high-tech experience, but the primary responsibility of datacenter technical staff in a large-scale facility is server repair, and any journalist who thinks these skills are only found in Silicon Valley or other major metros is a decade or two behind the times. In the project I’ve been involved with, only a handful of us were hired from elsewhere; the majority are local-hired. The bottom line still shows a net increase in jobs. These jobs are also far better than the old mill and mine jobs they replace. They are safe, high-wage jobs in a high-tech industry. Fifty jobs in Maiden, NC (and Quincy, WA, and Forest City, NC, and Prineville, OR, and Council Bluffs, IA, and…) are far better than zero new jobs.

Then there is just plain fallacy and flawed logic. “The jobs are gone, we have to get them back!” Every era of industrialization has seen transformations that have killed off entire categories of jobs and marketable skills. Every generation sees the death of careers: thread spinners, grain reapers, candle makers, telephone operators, punch card sorters. I’m certain that as technology moved forward a journalist wept ink over the loss of so many jobs as the need for that specialization dried up and then vanished. But as technology changes, so do the jobs. My grandfather, when he was a boy, dreamt of being an Oxcart Driver. Before he turned 20 that career was extinct. The actual fact of the matter is that jobs have been lost since the dawn of time. This is because human needs and technology are in a constant state of evolutionary change. Smart people don’t weep for lost jobs, they just move on to the next one. I work in datacenters, and I’ve often told people that “datacenters are the sawmill of the 21st century” in reference to them springing up in small-towns all over the USA. But I also know that datacenters could very well be gone in forty years – completely extinct. Maybe even twenty years, replaced by some other technology. Will the Henry Blodgetts of 2032 be crying over the lost Datacenter Sector jobs? Of course they will, because nobody recycles stale ideas better that so-called “Top-ranked Business Experts & Analysts” in the journalism trade.

November 28, 2010

Wonderment

Filed under: Thoughts — chuck goolsbee @ 10:29 pm

Stepping gingerly over the domesticated sastrugi that makes up our deck after two weeks of winter, I unlatch the cover and open it. A moist comforting blanket of fog rises and surrounds me in the chill, dry wind. I slip in. The heat is as bracing as the cold I just left. Leaning back, the vastness of the sky unfolds above me.

Darkness that is the outlines of juniper and pine trees.

West coast air traffic coursing through the sky, navigational lights blinking.

A meteor falling north to south.

Cygnus has almost completed its flight over the western horizon, his beak almost touching the Cascades.

Jupiter shining brightly above China Hat Butte.

My brain soaks in the fact that some of the lights I’m seeing are in real-time, and others have spent billions of years traveling before landing.

Landing in my eyes here in a tub of hot water just west of the middle of nowhere Oregon after a journey across billions of years of space and time.

Makes one wonder.

April 14, 2010

This is what the Internet was made for.

Filed under: Thoughts — chuck goolsbee @ 10:49 am

Eating off the People’s Princess.

Kudos to Ian Betteridge for bringing this important resource to my attention.

March 16, 2010

Bien sûr, Je ne parle pas Français, Je suis un Americain!

Filed under: life,Thoughts — chuck goolsbee @ 1:58 pm

Bien sûr, Je ne parle pas Français, Je suis un Americain!

I can say this phrase in near-perfect French. Like Magritte’s painting of a pipe, it has more than one layer of irony.

This is not a pipe.

I took four years of French when I was a kid. Two years in grade school – 4th & 5th grades, and two years in high school. Because I had to have two years of a foreign language, and I was a lazy slacker, I took the same two years of French over again. This was pulled off because between grade school and high school my family moved from Illinois to Texas. The Texas schools had no idea I had already been through the course and gave me credit for doing it again.

I haven’t spoken a lick of French since. The ability to read it hasn’t vanished, but there are always mystery words. If I listen hard I can understand spoken French now and then. For example if there is a hockey game on Canadian radio en Français I can mostly follow along. But if my life depended upon saying something in French right now I’d be a goner. It would be au revoir Chuck!

Something has come up lately that has me studying French again (too early to share, as details are sketchy, but be patient!) so I’m looking for suggestions for online or offline lessons. I’ve been playing with livemocha a bit, and may just spring for their course… but I’m open to suggestions.

Or even direct help from any of you Francophones out there!

March 15, 2010

My work in laser cut vinyl.

Filed under: digital.forest,Thoughts — chuck goolsbee @ 11:14 am
The digital.forest logotype
The digital.forest logotype

This is my work.

That’s a double entedre of sorts as it is also, for the moment, my employer, but what I’m talking about here is this logotype. Back when dinosaurs in neon-colored Member’s Only jackets roamed the earth, I was a Graphic Designer. I designed this at the request of my friend, Chris Kilbourn, who started d.f back in 1994. For posterity, here is the back-story of its creation; (Kilbo can fill in any details I’ve forgotten in the comments)…

When I was a professional designer I kept sketchbooks. Usually hard-bound books of blank heavy paper. I doodled and wrote in them constantly, usually with a black felt-tip pen. )I hate ball-points, and pencil doesn’t hold up well to wear.) I’ve kept all sorts of bad habits over the years but losing this good habit of doodling I regret deeply.

Several years prior to doing this logo for d.f I had done a whole corporate identity for a housing development called “Pine Lake Glen” on the Issaquah/Sammamish plateau. Back then it was a lot like the area I live now; high ground in the Cascade Foothills, with a few horse properties and widely scattered houses. It was just beginning to be developed. Now it is a bustling surburbia with a Starbucks on every corner, and expensive SUVs plying the driveways and parking lots. In my sketchbooks at the time I doodled a lot of trees coming up with the look for PLG. I settled on a set of three, which I had created with a paintbrush. I’ve often thought about driving up to the plateau and seeing if the signage I designed is still there, some 20+ years later.

When Chris asked me to design the d.f logo I remembered all those trees I had drawn years before and dug out my sketchbook. Sure enough, at some point I had made the perfect “tree”, with a fat loose-ended marker that had a wonderfully frenetic, organic shape. It would contrast well with the circuit-board motif I planned to mate with it to capture the incongruous combination of thoughts that is digital.forest. The typeface may look familiar to anyone who has ever driven the Autobahn: it is the condensed variant of the Deutsches Institut für Normung face created for highway signage. You know… all roads lead to:
All roads lead to Ausfarht!

I prepared other designs, but I knew this was “the one” as soon as I completed it. I presented a range of offerings to Chris but he saw the beauty in this one and went with it. I created some great letterhead, and some truly amazing translucent business cards (which d.f sadly no longer uses.) We’ve kept the overall design in the intervening sixteen years, and like a good logo should, it has stood the test of time. Recently we went through an office remodel. It took forever, and frankly drove many of us nuts, but one highlight was revealed at the end. Out in the lobby, highly visible as you step out of the elevators is my work embedded in the floor in laser-cut vinyl:

Though I’m leaving digital.forest the identity I created for it sixteen years ago will always remain. As an artist, it is always satisfying seeing your work… at work.

February 27, 2010

A Truck Load of Salt

Filed under: life,Review & Criticism,Thoughts — chuck goolsbee @ 11:12 am

I took my son Nicholas to see his favorite musician, Jonathan Coulton play at the Moore Theater in Seattle last night. We drove down from Arlington, with a stop at Seattle institution Dicks for a bite:

Mmmmmmm. Says Nick. on Twitpic
Mmmmmmm. Says Nick. on Twitpic

The opening band was Paul & Storm:

(and yes, panties were thrown at the performance last night… seven of them in fact.)

Nick acquired a “Skullcrusher Mountain” T-shirt and stocked up on so many nerd hit points that I’m certain he’ll dominate the next D&D match he plays.

There was really only one downer for the whole night. A few rows behind us was seated a guy who was not only really loud, but also cracked wise at every pause in the show. Paul & Storm strongly encourage audience participation and this guy took the bit and ran with it… non-stop.

All.

Night.

Long.

Literally not a minute of the show went by without this guy hollering a punch line, or wisecrack, or just something stupid. One or two of his remarks/heckles/outbursts were quite funny. Three or four of them were picked up by the performers and made for funny moments. But the other eighty six of them were just tiresome, annoying, and several times threw the performers off their game. We ALL paid good money to see this, and more importantly HEAR this event, but at literally every quiet moment this yahoo became a bellowing distraction.

Like spice in a well-prepared dish a bit of audience participation is a wonderful thing. Had the audience last night all sat like cadavers, it would have been pretty dull (though one song demanded that we become zombies!) However too much is just too much. In this case a pinch of salt would have been perfect, and this one guy in the audience (let’s call him “Richard”, or “Dick” for short) arrived with a dump truck loaded with sodium chloride, backed up (beep… beep… beep… beep… ) into the auditorium, then dumped two tons of salt all over the show.

Really? Don’t be that guy.

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