Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fountain District Renewal

The Fountain District is really looking up thanks to the hard work of volunteers and city planning staff and two new restaurants. You can find COB urban planning documents for the Fountain District here.  A facebook page for Diamond Jims is here. (I can't find a web page for it...)  A web page for The Fountain Bistro and a facebook page reveal the depth of fans for the "The Fountain Bistro". I sent my parents, wife and daughter there this week and they loved it.  They brought me home the "Farfalle with Smoked Salmon". Fantastic. Diamond Jims has big following. While you are checking out the eats, you might want to check out Elizabeth Park, The ReStore, Broadway, and the Meridian Shopping District.  The Cornwall Park, Lettered Streets, and Columbia Neighborhoods are great urban neighborhoods to live in.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The triumph that was the 11th annual LinuxFest NorthWest...

If you weren't there at Bellingham Technical College this weekend, you missed what is fast becoming the seminal event for Whatcom County's technical community: LinuxFest NorthWest. Don't let those unassuming penguins fool you. At any given hour on Saturday or Sunday, there was more driven, ambitious, brain power in any room at BTC's Haskell than a month's worth pass-thru I-5 traffic in Bellingham.  Coming to Bellingham's annual geek get-together were attendees from Eugene, Portland, Seattle, Olympia, Vancouver, Tri-Cities, etc.  The presentations (or at least the seven hours (1,2) I attended) were brilliant, inspired, and practical. The networking between geeks was great. And the salmon served by BTC's Culinary School at Saturday's lunch was tasty as well.

If there is a hope of Whatcom county becoming a bright light in the technical community of the Pacific North West, it will start at LinuxFest NorthWest.  This weekend, hundreds of people passionate about technology met to exchange ideas, business cards, and flippant thoughts in Bellingham. We ought to do it every quarter - I guarantee there would be that much demand. Congrats to the sponsors, volunteers, and organizers of LinuxFest NorthWest. Maybe #11 was the best yet.  Personally, I would have liked to have seen a greater Whatcom County business and educational presence there. It is not as if we don't have any: CHM2Hill, Logos, DIS, Anvil, FiberCloud, BlackRockCable, WCC, WWU, SPIE, POB,  COB, WC. We have plenty of technical consumers in Whatcom Couty - but I didn't see them in the sponsor list or manning any booths. TAG manned a both as they did last year.  Personally, if I were the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce or any other group concerned about driving technical employment in Whatcom County,  LinuxFest NorthWest is one event I would trip over myself to help sponsor. At least, I would think, twice per year.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

the world is debating war now

We should make no mistake about the meaning of President Obama's recent nuclear policy, the Washington nuclear summit and today's Iranian nuclear summit. The world is debating the advent of war in Iran, quite possibly nuclear war.  There are a number of reasons for this, but chiefly:

(1) Iran is about to become a declared nuclear power
(2) The rest of the world powers need Iranian oil and further control of the Middle East and South Asia to fuel their economies.

Once you understand how thoroughly critical to world history both these mandates could be, it is easy to understand why either Israel or the United States may use nuclear weapons to destroy Iran.  "It takes a Democrat to actually use nukes," someone once told me.  This is not a completely empty statement. Obama may have enough chutzpah to actually do it.  There may well be 4.7 trillion barrels of oil left in our good Earth.  But the easiest to extract at the highest profit can be found in Iran and Iraq. And the lure of that cheap oil may be strong enough to risk collapsing the American economy for a few more years.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

LinuxFest Northwest

The eleventh annual LinuxFest Northwest will happen Saturday and Sunday April 24th and April 25th at Bellingham Technical College.  This is a wonderful, free, event that allows software engineers, network administrators, consultants and business people of all types to network, learn, and (most of all) to feel as if there really is a tech community in Whatcom County.

I went last year (even though I am mostly a Windows and OpenBSD freak) and had a fantastic time.  Linux really does drive development throughout most of the world now. The influence Linux has in the world of security and networking is undeniably powerful. This year, the organizers have added a touch of social networking to the LinuxFest Northwest website.  I am blown away by the Linux users that are traveling from places like Seattle, Portland, and South Okanagan B.C. to make it the the Festival.

BTW, Bellingham Technical College Culinary Arts will handle lunch on Saturday.  Last year it was fantastic. Your $9.00 cash will get you a choice of:

  • Grilled wild Alaskan salmon
  • Tri-tip steak sandwich
  • BBQ St. Louis pork ribs
  • Grilled jumbo vegan Mexican chipotle sausage on a hoagie bun
LinuxFest Northwest!! Don't miss it!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bloody Easter Sunday...

The "troubles" continue all around in the world - in Peshawar, Dir, Baghdad, Moscow.  All these cities hit by bombings that  killed and injured hundreds during "holy week".   And we ask why?

The major nuclear and economic world powers (China, Russia, United States) substituted sporadic nationalist/terrorist guerilla wars  for the old proxy wars at the start of this century.  More indirect and less traceable, such wars allow the leaders of their countries to blame internal violence on "terrorism" so as to crack down on domestic dissent; all the while scrubbing their hands of the violent networks they have historically developed and run.  These leaders want control of the strategic Middle East and South Asia.  If direct military intervention won't do, then politics, terrorism, bombings accomplish the same. Each side has their players, their objectives, their political dogma, their resources.  And they are strong enough to convince seventeen year-old bereaved Chechen widows to blow themselves up on Moscow subways and let Taliban soldiers waste their lives attacking well-guarded American consulates in Peshawar.

The world is an unsafe place for members of the third world who live on top of strategic oil and gas reserves. Where you find oil, wealth, and military bases you will find nationalist movements, violence, the small arms trade, fanaticism, and grinding poverty. And lots of spooks and assets. Tell me, are we not seeing now in these violent acts, the global build-up to the Iranian War?  And how, dear reader, do you think the next war will effect the economic health of your community?

BTW, Should you like to know what war would look like in Iran...