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Another day September 13, 2019

Posted by brianlatimer in Uncategorized.
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Friday, 2019-09-13: Fifty-one.  Damn.  Dayum.  That is … not young.   But, I guess getting older is better than the alternative ;-)

This specific birthday is a rather interesting one:  It’s only the 7th anniversary of my birth which I’ve celebrated which has fallen on a Friday.  I was actually born on a Friday the 13th, a fact which garnered me the nickname “Lucky” when I was in 6th grade (thanks, Mr. Sainz!).  While some consider a “Friday the 13th” an unlucky day (silly triskaidekaphobics … or, more specifically, paraskevidekatriaphobics), it’s – obviously – always been a very lucky one for me.  And, I certainly feel I’ve earned that nickname, with the life I’ve had to this point.

AND, this birthday was also marked by a Full Moon – which is even more rare.  I believe my birthday in 2000 also had one – but that one didn’t fall on a Friday.  So, the combination of the two, seems to be exceedingly rare.

Anyway… it was a pretty good day.  I woke to a scavenger hunt established by my son – a fun callback to an event we pursued for him several years back, which it seems stuck with him.  Very proud of that boy.  He made me a great card (taking special care to ensure there were exactly 51 candles on the cake he drew for me), repeatedly wished me a Happy Birthday throughout the day, and even shared the reason for today’s celebration with his classmates: When I went to pick him up at school, I had several others wish me a great day, which was a pleasant surprise.

Very, very proud of that boy.

And, I was taken to lunch by my wife – which is a rare occurrence, as well.  It was nice to have some time to try and reconnect, and enjoy some unique food: A Korean “burger”, and waffle fries smothered in BBQ beef, kimchi, and mayo.  Weird – but good!

And of course, my parents called to wish me a great day.  I want to ensure I take the time to speak to them on a more-frequent basis, and be proactive about reaching across the miles to connect with them. I still don’t like being so far away, but if we can bridge the distance by electronic means on a recurrent basis – coupled with periodic visits, as there’s no substitute for being there in person – I’ll feel more connected, and feel better about making the decision to move so far away from “home” … which it turns out, was more than half-my-life ago.  Wow.

I was also wished well by many, many friends today.  It’s always nice to be remembered, and although I’m sure many of the messages were probably initiated by electronic reminders (recurring Calendar events are very useful ;-), it was still very meaningful to me that they each spent even a little bit of time to actually reach out to wish me well.  Thank you to all who took the initiative to do so – and to anyone and everyone who even quietly wished me well in their own way.

I know that I’m exceedingly lucky to be in the position I am, and hope I am always able to remind myself of this. And, I recognize that – despite the challenges which I have encountered, and continue to encounter – I should always count my blessings.

I actually got a chance to view the full moon with my son tonight before he went to bed, and we both reflected on all the insights we’ve gained over the last few months (July was all about the Apollo 11th 50th Anniversary; our summer was spent in many related pursuits). Since he was born during a winter solstice coupled with a lunar eclipse, I figure he would appreciate the lunar connection we share today, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Anyway, I’ve extended this blog post for far too long (again), and as such: Another great birthday is now behind me.  I am looking forward to continuing this next chapter of my life, and trying to be more comfortable with the decisions I’ve made – and to be proactive enough to make even better ones in the future.

Thanks again, all.

A new(er) beginning February 26, 2019

Posted by brianlatimer in Home.
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So… I haven’t exactly been keeping up-to-date on this blog, but figured today was as good a day as any to correct that.  It seems I have quite a bit more time on my hands, as of late.

The reason?  I have resigned from my job – my last day was yesterday, Feb 25, 2019.

This was actually a very tough decision, and I may get into specifics of “why” at some point in the future.

But for now: My focus needs to be on my family – taking a step back from my professional pursuits, in order to focus on personal ones.

As such, I’m thinking of starting up writing again, and trying to post a bit more consistently.  I certainly can’t promise daily, weekly, or even monthly updates – it is readily apparent that blogging is not a “driving force” for me.  But, I would like to try and document some interactions on a recurring basis, so I (and perhaps others) have something to refer back to, in the future.

So, to ease myself into this mode:

Tuesday, 2019-02-26  (using the ISO 9601 date format, which is the only one which makes any logical sense…)

Today was … weird.  It’s my first day after leaving work, but it didn’t actually feel that much different than other days when I was at home – either WFH days, or vacation days, or days when I or someone else in the house were under the weather.  But, in all those instances, I always had “work” which needed to be done, so such tasks and the associated stress were always clawing at the back of my mind, constantly vying for attention.

Today, that wasn’t the case, however.  There is no “work” to be done; no efforts contributing to an employer which I need to catch up on.

Don’t get me wrong: I have plenty of things to do – I’ve already been working on my list of household todo’s; prioritizing my lists of things which I haven’t had a chance to pursue until now; defining my next set of steps for being able to eat better, take care of myself better, etc.  But, it’s odd to have everything on my list be something which will (hopefully) directly benefit me, vs. primarily benefitting my employer.

As I said: Weird.

I started the day by taking my son into school (heh, when first typing that, the word “work” came out automatically; wow – I have a lot of un-training to do…).  We chatted quite a bit on the way there, and when walking him to his classroom, and I knew he was in the right mindset to have a good day.  Just perhaps not necessarily realizing why his Dad was able to spend this extra time with him.  Last night, I did promise him that I’d spend more time with him each and every day from here on out – and the smile on his face gave me a great deal of reassurance.

The middle part of the day went much faster than expected: I puttered around, taking care of a few household tasks, and performing several data updates (mainly moving around personal files to free up Dropbox space – since without a linked corporate account, my available Dropbox allocation was significantly reduced), as well as catching up on bills and planning for Tax season, etc.  We also worked on some travel details, determining a good time for a visit back to see my parents in the Midwest.  It will be good to spend time with them in person again – and not have to be worried about having to cut the trip short, due to work commitments, or the lack of available PTO.

By the time I realized what time it was, it was nearly time to go pick up my son from school (in my defense: It was a “short day” – and the end-of-day bell was scheduled over an hour earlier than most days).  I skipped lunch (again) – so need to ensure I prioritize my time better, for the days ahead.  It was drizzling rain as I headed out, which could be depressing – but when I got to his classroom, he was chatting amiably with his friends, and seemed genuinely happy to see me.  Always a good feeling.  We headed home, and did a bit of music practice – I am always fascinated by how quickly he has taken to playing, and really understanding the music concepts (chord progressions, transposing songs into different keys, etc.).  I’ve always loved music, but never took much time to really practice to get better at any of my instruments (hmm… maybe that can change now, as well…) – so I am thrilled that my son not only seems to have the interest, but a great deal of aptitude, in music, as well.  I love hearing him play, and trying out new things.

Anyway, his Mom took him to music class, which left me … alone in the house. I did a small bit (a very small bit) of exercise, then (finally) took a shower for the day – just in time for wife and son to return home.  They actually stopped by Blaze Pizza (one of his favorites) on the way, and they even called me ahead of time to check which toppings I would like.  I enjoyed scarfing down the pizza with him – it goes very quickly for this kid, let me tell you – as well as doing a bit more work with him on tracking the HUGE number of Safeway “Shop-Play-Win” tickets which he’s obtained (some via social engineering efforts against the customers in line ahead of him, some via expressing his interest to the parents of his classmates, etc.).  He’s certainly crazy about this yearly (?) game, and looking forward to whatever (small or large) “wins” he’s able to come away with.

I then headed out this evening for a parent education seminar at CHC – this one, about “Positive Behavior Strategies for Parents”.  I had attended a previous event here several months ago, and really enjoyed it – I just wish the location (Palo Alto) wasn’t so far away.  Still, a reverse-commute – seeing the end-of-workday traffic bogged down on the other side of the freeway, and recognizing that I wasn’t a part of it today – was nice, and something else I was thankful for today.  The session really was excellent, and I greatly enjoyed the tips & tricks the facilitators shared, as well as the general insights and methodologies they taught us.  I was especially impressed by a quick introduction into integrating Mindfulness into our parental toolkit, which seems it can really help us navigate matters, when challenges arise.

Anyway, the commute back was uneventful – it really just felt like I was returning back home, after staying at work late.  Again, this new situation is going to take some time to get used to.  I made it home in time to put my son into bed (and deal with his protestations, and desires to stay up to do “just one more thing…” – some things never change), then headed to the computer – so I could write this up, while things were fresh in my mind.

Eh – this is far too long a post, as usual.  Again, I can’t guarantee much in the way of consistent updates here in the future – but it will be nice to try and write a bit more, journaling some of my experiences.  Not necessarily for anyone else to read; just for me to get the details out, and into a non-ephemeral form.  We’ll see how this experiment goes.

 

On deck: Taking care of remaining water leak issues at the rental place, (home) office cleanup – including initial work toward de-cluttering, and trying to prep several items for auction/sale/giveaway (that’s a whole other topic, for another day…).  And, of course, acclimating myself to my new status/situation.

My 15 minutes January 28, 2017

Posted by brianlatimer in Pearl.
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I guess it’s not every day that you’re featured by the New York Times.

Back in May, I made a huge change, and left Apple – my employer for 20 years – to try something new, and joined a new startup named Pearl Automation.  The decision to make this change was a very difficult one – but was made a bit easier, since I was going to be working with a large group of incredibly-talented folks, many of which I had enjoyed working with in the past (on the iPod & iPhone teams, for example). This move has turned out to be a great change, and I’ve been having a blast.  It’s been a lot of fun to be in at the ground level of a new company, and our first product – RearVision – has been getting tons of great press, reviews, etc.

As a part of this interest, we were approached by the New York Times, wanting to do a feature story on us.  We were told the reporter would be around the office that day, but this wasn’t expected to impact most of us.  Then our CEO came by my desk, and asked if I would be interested in talking to the reporter, Vindu Goel. Although I went in completely unprepared, I did have a great discussion with him, and he seemed very interested in some of the stories I shared during our meeting. That discussion turned into a follow-up call about a month later, where he asked me for even more insights and details.  Still, I only expected to maybe be mentioned in the final article – or, if I was lucky, to perhaps be quoted.

Then, on January 2nd, 2017, our corporate PR guru (thanks, Katie!) contacted me and indicated I might just want to check out the lead story in the “Technology” section of the NYTimes that day.  Do you have any idea how surreal it is to visit the website of a globally-famous publication, and read:

At Apple, Brian Latimer was in charge of protecting some of the company’s deepest secrets.

Whoa.

I was very surprised to discover that the “hook” of the article focused on what I had discussed with the reporter: My background on helping define the New Product Security team at Apple, including methods for ensuring the secrecy of products while under development – and contrasting this with the more “open” process of development which we’re pursuing at Pearl. I was absolutely blown away that he would have chosen my discussion with him to be the focus of his story, and to feature these details so prominently.

I’m incredibly thankful to the New York Times, and Vindu Goel in particular, for the story – and indebted to everyone at Pearl for all of the work and contributions which I’m thrilled are being acknowledged by others.  It’s great to have our “little” startup now recognized worldwide, and I couldn’t be prouder of our team and everything we’re pursuing.

For reference, here are some links to the article – as well as follow-ups, other coverage regarding the story, etc.

There were also several re-posts of that article, at several other sites – all titled “Apple veterans reinvent its culture at auto-accessory startup“:

Even some mentions overseas:

And, there were other mentions on some popular tech blogs:

This latter one was probably my favorite:  I read Daring Fireball daily – it’s one of my favorite go-to sites for technology-focused stories, and is very popular with the tech crowd.  Enough so, that being featured there is what some consider a crowning achievement: Several friends reached out to me after seeing that post, indicating: “Yeah, yeah – being featured in the New York Times is OK, I guess.  But, dude – you were even Fireballed!” ;-)

One heckuva way to start 2017, huh?

What an AWESOME birthday! September 14, 2008

Posted by brianlatimer in Fun, Home.
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Saturday, September 13, 2008 was my 40th birthday (ack!), and I had a great time. Not only did we have a great party planned at the Tech Museum, but my Dad had surprised me by flying in from Missouri to help celebrate. Truly a wonderful day, and one which I’ll always remember.

I just wanted to log some random impressions of the day, while they were still fresh in my mind.

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An Early Birthday Surprise September 12, 2008

Posted by brianlatimer in Fun.
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We’ve been prepping for my 40th (!) birthday for quite some time, and Patricia has been very stressed about the final preparations for Saturday’s event at the Tech Museum of San Jose. I’m sure it’s going to turn out great – but, will admit that the thing called “work” has gotten in the way of us getting things done as soon as we’d like.

Of course, it turns out that sometimes, events at work can be very pleasant surprises – like, say, when you receive an early birthday gift, all the way from Missouri.

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A new beginning… September 8, 2008

Posted by brianlatimer in Home.
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After far too long on hiatus, here’s a new entry to appease those staring in disappointment at what has become my (cob-)website.

I simply don’t spend enough time on what I’d like to do – like share my life with friends, document significant events in my life, etc. Work takes up too much time – even when I’m home, I’m doing work. This is simply not a good set of priorities for me to maintain.

But, I’d like to change that. We’ll see if I can type a few sentences much more often, and keep those friends more in-touch with what’s going on in my life.

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Passive resistance, like Gandhi January 4, 2008

Posted by brianlatimer in Uncategorized.
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A very-applicable video:

    Passive resistance, like Gandhi

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A call from the G-List December 30, 2007

Posted by brianlatimer in Fun.
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So, I’m out in the boonies (a.k.a. “My parents’ house”), so my phone doesn’t work well. Only after I get “into town” (Springfield, MO – on my way to the airport to fly back) do I actually get a notice that I have a voicemail – which was left days ago! (Gee, I love AT&T)

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Definitely High – definitely… December 16, 2007

Posted by brianlatimer in Rants.
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I’m still looking into what the heck I will need for obtaining REAL HD content for this HD-capable TV of mine. Yes, I’m considering a TiVo series 3, but it’s still too expensive, IMHO.

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A (minor) Christmas miracle December 7, 2007

Posted by brianlatimer in Fun, Home.
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I enjoy putting up our outdoor Christmas decorations every year. I usually do it in late November, or early December – so I have enough time to enjoy them before the holiday itself. And every year, I convince myself I’m going to allocate enough time so that I can actually verify all the lights work before stringing them up on the house.

Of course, I never do: When I eventually do start putting up lights, there’s only a few hours before dark, so I just rush headlong into stringing them up. Then, when lighting them, I get frustrated at how many “gaps” there are in the coverage – sub-sections of strings which remain dark, due to bad bulbs.

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