RayHightower.com

Thoughts about Ruby, iOS, the Internet of Things, and business growth.

Trinity High School: Thank You!

Tinity High SchoolTinity High School

What is the toughest obstacle you have ever faced in business, and how did you deal with it?
~Student at Trinity High School
 River Forest, IL, USA

Trinity High School invited me to speak to two of their student groups this morning. The first, Information Technology in the Greater Society (ITGS), is a project-based class where students explore multiple facets of the information technology industry: Web development, digital editing, open source, and related areas. The second group, Students Working to Advance Trinity’s Technology (SWAT), lives up to its name by ensuring that students and faculty make full use of the technology used at the school.

Massively Parallel Parallella

Parallella with 18 cores: 2 ARM + 16 RISCParallella with 18 cores: 2 ARM + 16 RISC

Supercomputer.io is the first technical conference for Parallella, to be held May 30, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan.

You can participate even if you’re not in Tokyo. Parallella owners around the world will connect their boards via the Internet to create the most efficient supercomputer on the planet. Resin.io has built a special micro-SD-card image (using Docker) so adding your Parallella to the mix is relatively quick.

This article includes detailed steps plus a few gotchas.

Be Courageous About Your Ideas

Godfather: Pacino and CoppolaGodfather: Pacino and Coppola

Things that get you fired when you’re young are the same things you win awards for when you’re old. You have to be courageous about your ideas. When you come up with something good, that means it’s different from what they expect so they’re likely to fire you. Years later (if you survive) they’ll bring it out as one of the great things that you did.
~Francis Ford Coppola, Director
 The Godfather

Building a Great Company

What happens inside the black box?What happens inside the black box?

Good is the enemy of great. If a company faces dire circumstances, managers must change because the alternative is death. But if circumstances are good (or even okay) managers can coast along indefinitely. A good company can be lulled into a state of complacency instead of achieving greatness.

So how does a good company become great?

Muhammad Ali and the Hightower Brothers

Muhammad Ali and the Hightower Brothers, circa 1972.Muhammad Ali and the Hightower Brothers, circa 1972.

These photos were taken in 1972 or ‘73 with an old Polaroid camera. During a family road trip, my parents arranged a visit to Muhammad Ali’s training camp in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania. Dad was a big boxing fan. Mom… tolerated the three males in our household.

How fast was Ali in his prime? Very fast. One photo shows him evading a punch from my brother, Edward, who was about seven at the time. I distracted the Champ with a handshake. Hightowers always work together.

Solar and Tesla

We have this handy fusion reactor in the sky called the sun. We don’t have to do anything. It just works.
  ~Elon Musk

Elon Musk shared some interesting thoughts during the April 30th announcement for Tesla Energy. Two charts stood out in particular.

Berkshire Hathaway’s 50th

40,000 shareholders in Omaha.40,000 shareholders in Omaha.

Hi, I’m Warren. He’s Charlie. He can hear, I can see. We work well together.
 
~Warren Buffett,
at the start of the 2015
Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting

Berkshire Hathaway held its 50th annual shareholder meeting on May 2, 2015. The company is a lesson in successful capitalism. Chairman Warren Buffett and vice chairman Charlie Munger have built the most successful investment partnership in human history. The list of wholly-owned Berkshire subsidiaries includes GEICO, Fruit of the Loom, Brooks Shoes, and See’s Candies. The company also owns large percentages of Coca Cola (9.16%), American Express (14.9%), IBM (7.82%), and Wells Fargo (9.01%).

Over 40,000 shareholders attended Saturday’s annual meeting. What draws so many shareholders to Omaha every year? The opportunity to learn.

pgcli - Command Line Interface for PostgreSQL

Debugging is a fact of life when building apps with Rails or any other set of tools. All troubleshooting is easier when we can see what’s going on inside.

pgcli is a command line tool that lets devs examine PostgreSQL databases from the command line. pgcli offers more powerful features than psql (the default terminal front-end for PostgreSQL) such as:

  • Autocompletion. In fact, pgcli autocompletion is smart enough to only show table names after FROM in a SQL statement.
  • Syntax highlighting. Find gotchas quicker, just like you would in a text editor.

Debugging is easier when you can look inside the black box.

ChicagoRuby Expands to BLUE1647 and 1871

When smart people
challenge each other to grow,
great things happen.
 
~The ChicagoRuby Motto

If you’re a developer itchin’ to ramp up your Ruby skills, Chicago is a great place to be. The local Ruby user group, ChicagoRuby, continues to expand in time, space, expertise, and numbers. The group is over 3,200 strong, with six events each month plus the annual WindyCityRails conference.

The newest locations on ChicagoRuby’s monthly list are BLUE1647 and 1871.