I’m not yet dead

There has been stuff. And also other stuff.

But I’m working on new content. TRUE STORY, homies, so keep checking back.

Really.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Pointless musings

This Is Water

Leave a comment

Filed under Reminders

WDBJ7 Murders

“It is not thought that the life of darkness is sunk in misery and lost as if in sorrowing. There is no sorrowing. For sorrow is a thing that is swallowed up in death, and death and dying are the very life of the darkness.” – Jacob Boehme

There are no comforting words.

Please remember to be kind today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Breaking News

A Victory Lap for Noke Codes

Noke Codes worked.

I wish I could gush about all the awesome projects, but…I don’t have access to any of them, so I really can’t speak about them. I received a recap newsletter/email from the organizers, but there weren’t any links to the projects themselves.

So, here is the recap:

Noke Codes was a Great Success!

We kicked off the main event around 5 O’clock Friday evening. We had roughly 25 volunteer technologists who showed up to devote their time to bettering their community. It was just incredible to see these talented individuals form teams and take on the varied projects of area nonprofits and civic organizations. These teams worked through the night creating solutions to the technical problems of these impactful organizations.

Our extraordinary volunteers wound up taking on 6 of the 7 possible projects! Here are how things stand at the moment:

City of Roanoke Library: The Library team worked closely with Nathan Flinchum to create an application that allows people to find historic photographs that are close their current location. This project was pretty much wrapped up during the event and should be available to the public soon!

Council of Community Services: The CCS team wound up creating 2 possibilities for job boards and calendars that the Council can choose from. Conversations are now ongoing about handing these projects over the Council and they should be functional in the near future.

Healthy Roanoke Valley: Unfortunately we did not have a team take on this project. However, we are now working on several avenues that would allow this project to be undertaken quite soon. We welcome any suggestions you might have.

LEAP for Local Food: The LEAP team created a fantastic platform for sharing real time information about the location of LEAP’s new mobile market and other food trucks in Roanoke. This project is close to completion and the developers and LEAP are meeting to discuss how to finalize the project.

Ride Solutions: The team on this project went through many different iterations of what might work, but the concept of real time changes to bus route maps turned out to be a little more difficult than originally thought. However, this team wound up making significant progress and has expressed some interest in continuing to work on the project. As far as we can tell, the kind of automatically updating maps this team was working on would have been a first of its kind project in the country.

Roanoke Outside: This team completed a tremendous amount of work and have a functional prototype of an app for local hiking trails. It would provide hikers with all kinds of information that would make their trip on our iconic trails safer. Expect to see this project available to the public soon!

Williamson Road Business Association: The team working on this created a fantastic directory of businesses on the Williamson Road corridor but were not satisfied with the design of it. They are continuing work on it and will have a fantastic new resource for that area available soon.

The Inaugural Noke Codes event was a huge success! The response we got from our talented volunteers was tremendous. The community response was also great. We believe that each of these projects will be impacting the community for years to come. Now we are looking into the future and see tremendous possibilities for how Noke Codes might continue to exert a positive influence on the Roanoke Community.

Ok, back to me. As you can see, they actually pulled it off. 7 initial projects; 6 teams; 5 products; 24 hours. That is actually really impressive. And to think, a month before the event they weren’t entirely sure anyone would show up.

I hope to get some feedback from the organizations for which these products were built on the efficacy of the final products. As yet, I don’t even know if the products were handed off to the participating organizations. But even if they end up in the garbage, I think the output was noteworthy and reflects well on the tech community here in the ol’ Roanoke Valley (and Blacksburg…some of the participants drove up from down south to join the fun).

Leave a comment

Filed under Grandin culture, Roanoke Start-ups

Kiiara, “Feels”

I’ll be working on a recap of Noke Codes this week. Sorry it is a bit later than anticipated. I know you are anxious to read about it, so let me relieve you of some of that stress.

Listen to Kiiara.

Leave a comment

Filed under Tunes

Noke Codes Approaches…

It has been a hard summer for me, blogging-wise. Apologies to my regular readers (e.g. Mom and Dad. Hi guys!).

But Noke Codes is coming up this Friday, and it seems like it might just be a success. This is news, as I predicted something short of success (e.g. failure, as a result of indifference). Just check out their sponsors…impressive.

So kudos, y’all.

And I promise I’ll report back after the hackathon with a post-event recap smackdown extravaganza. It will be on point and legit. You’ve been warned.

Leave a comment

Filed under Grandin culture, Roanoke Start-ups

Agora! gora! gora!

I had hoped that posting last week, if only briefly, about my summertime sadness would shock/shame me into getting off my duff and writing again. Can’t say that worked.

But like Gibreel Farishta, I’m trying to heed the call! (Am I using that reference correctly? Probably not. I just read The Satanic Verses, and while not all of the subtext was lost on me – all those issues of faith, family, and identity – it was frankly the overt, on-the-page story that sort of threw me. What do I know about the history of India, or Islamic folklore? Bubkis, that’s what. My man Salman Rushdie could have helped this young brother out with a bit more explanation, but the entire history of a religion would have been a stretch for any novelist to integrate…or it would have been Infinite Jest, which is easily the most brilliant novel ever written that features one hundred pages of footnotes [technically, endnotes. And how fucking annoying was that, having to flip to the back of the book constantly? Seriously, Wallace’s genius is truly undeniable, but if you can’t integrate that shit into the believable world of your novel, isn’t that a fatal flaw? Or was I supposed to skip that shit, DAVE? But then, I’ve always been drawn to the minimalism of Hemingway, or the lean black prose of Cormac McCarthy {who has himself been accused of being overwrought. Why? Because you have to consult a dictionary multiple times during the course of one of his chapters?}]).

Wow, it’s a book report, y’all!

So. Agora. Here’s the deal: I want to help spread the word, but I really haven’t formed an opinion yet. Ya dig? I don’t want to go off half-cocked, but if I don’t, I might never get fully-cocked. Heh.

Lemme just fill you in real quick, and let’s agree to circle back to this topic at some point in the near future.

Agora is a civic-engagement, democracy-hacking startup. They are trying to become THE online townhall. What is an online townhall? I believe the idea is that it will be like a city council meeting that you can attend remotely, from your home, while you are making dinner or sitting on the toilet. Because you need more options for toilet reading material, naturally.

*Stop right there: this is a necessary thing to have — thhe online townhall, that is, not the toilet reading material. But like the fire department, you probably hope you’ll never need to use it. Can you build a business on such an idea?*

If you’ve ever read the comments on a news site, or YouTube, you know people want to connect. Mostly, they seem to want to connect like assholes. There is, in other words, clearly a market for “engagement.” However, I wonder how much of that engagement is driven purely by the opportunity to unleash that inner asshole, which is why I truly question the central organizing principal of Agora: it is NOT, repeat NOT, anonymous. They have designed the site around a 10-point identity verification algorithm.

Totally makes sense, if you think of Agora as an actual, legitimate, useful tool for governing. But if you are trying to get buy-in to grow your user base, I just don’t know that there is enough of a market among the currently marginalized members of our society who would seek to do anything other than call city council members a bunch of twat waffles.

Why am I talking about this? Well, Agora was born out of Harvard’s Innovation Lab, but they are launching in Roanoke. Yeah. Harvard kids are launching their startup here. Far out, right? We can’t convince the Virginia Tech startup crowd to stay here in the Valley, and yet Harvard has targeted us as superterrific and dopetastic. So SUCK IT, you stuck up Blacksburg meanies.

And Agora has apparently put in real time connecting with local government here in order to make this dream a reality, because as much as you need community participation, it would all be for naught if local government didn’t agree to join the conversation.

And…I guess I’m done. That is the basic info. As I said, I don’t know how I feel about all of this yet, other than to say it is awesome to have these peeps trying something new, and trying it here.

Let’s put a pin in it and come back later to discuss.

Leave a comment

Filed under Grandin culture, Roanoke Start-ups