My first completed website

I picked up web design as a hobby in 1998 when I worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. Part of my project was working with the LLNL team to study of the effects of high temperature and intense compression (as a result of long term pressures or immediate pressures via earthquakes) on the tuff from the nuclear waste repository site located in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. With that project I needed to learn coding and the Solaris OS which was what most of the fracture modeling and computational data was run on.

Because a lot of our study was waiting… waiting for pressure systems to build over time and waiting for computer modeling to finalize, I spent a lot of time learning other systems in the LLNL lab including understanding what all this World Wide Web and AOL Chat room excitement was about. I picked up HTML and my first site was actually a very simple web page based on astronomy and began with “This is the intro site for Austin “Vegas” and his interests”.

I parlayed that knowledge into my education and built my first professional web page for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Doing a web search today, I found that it’s still up and being used by the engineers there (unfortunately it needs update, as my Professor is no longer with Cal Poly) :

Advanced Air Pollution Control Controlling Particulate Emissions with Electrostatic Precipitators

Although the Yucca Mountain project was canceled a few years ago, excellent research was developed on how rock materials fracture and of course I started on a path of web design as perpetual side projects…

New Lens – New Photo Potentials

Photographers say it’s not the hardware but the skill in the photographer that will bring out quality photos. To a certain extent that’s true. If you don’t know basics of working with light, balance, framing and subject matter your lot of photos will look like grandma’s scrap book.

However, I’ve been up inspired with the quality of pictures I’ve been taking given the basic lens kit I have when I purchased this camera last year. The clarity and consistency of the photos taken with the stock lens have been disappointing. So I shopped and settled on a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 as a new “walking around lens” primarily to improve my night photography, landscapes, and low light (indoor) shots – which I tend to take quite a bit these days. I also like the ability to f-stop down to 1.4 now (check the muffin/tea shot as an example).

Here’s the first two of many photos to be taken at Joe’s coffee shop on Waverly in NY:

Use Facebook, Don’t Obuse it.

If asked by an interviewer for a job position, would you show them your Facebook (or Myspace) profile? Based on unauthorized polling, counting comments on blogs on this etc., an over whelming number of people (less than 20% that actually have a profile, would actually offer up this site).

80 percent of companies use or are planning to use social networking to find and attract candidates this year.

More here from Guy Kawasaki on How to Go on the Offensive with Facebook

Remembering 9/11 in 2009

I was not here in New York during that now infamous day. Having lived, shopped, conversed, and shared public frustration with the lack of physical resolve at the WTC site with many of whom have, I feel a connection with the event that I wouldn’t have still being in California. It’s eight years after that tragic incident and this year I have the time off to come down and experience the memorial live.

The city is in mourning not only by it’s people, but the sky’s darken, weeping along with those that have lost family, friends and colleagues. I missed the public reading of all the lost names, however, a list is walled up at the Deutsche bank construction site near Ladder Co. 10 for all to read, comment and add condolences.

This is the interim site for the WTC memorial. Patriotic flower wreaths stand next to plaques of remembrance calling for everyone “Never Forget”, flags and posted firemen standing at attention to the throngs of mourners paying respect.

After snapping a few photos, I joined most of the firefighters at O’Hara’s Pub for a pint, some song, and a cheer for the families of loved ones lost. Here are a few of my pictures and the rest of the few can be seen in the Gallery.

The Laboring are Revolting Against the Learned – 9.12 DC Tea Party

“The mass of our citizens may be divided into two classes — the laboring and the learned. The laboring will need the first grade of education to qualify them for their pursuits and duties; the learned will need it as a foundation for further acquirements.” —Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1814. ME 19:213

“He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.” —Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim, 1900

Freedom. WMD. Terrorist. 9/11. Bring em on. Maverick. Hope. Change. Yes We Can. You Lie.

What ever happened to: Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness?

Facebook Punk’d Techcrunch

punkdI’m an avid reader of TechCrunch. Like most blogs they compete on the edge for eyeballs which puts most in the grey area of posting both actual news and rumor even without confirming from any discernible sources. TC does a good job on updating us all on Valley stories, news and tech but they still could benefit from getting off the iPhone jock and limiting useless rumors to focus their content. This is a great story of Facebook, setting up an actual feature and calling it to only those on the TC network; which in turn they put out there as a real feature without confirming it directly from Facebook (“Maybe I’m missing something here, but I’m not sure why Facebook would do this. “). Check the full Punk’d Story.