Author Archives: Robert Reddick

Wading in the Velvet Sea

We view the world through the lens we allow. What’s your lens. Have you tainted it with hate or love. With forgiveness or pain.

Only you can decide, or act, to change your world, and thus the world we all share.

Have and make wonderful memories.

Create and hold dear every spec of time and your life. You may just have one. You may want to live without regrets.



The Heroes Journey View of Men – an attributed post

Over a recent dinner conversation my very lovely female companion suggested to me that I was a King.

Flattery aside, I asked her to explain and she proceed to reveal to me the stages of a mans life per Alison Armstrong’s Keys to the Kingdom (full text download, and paperback here).

While I found Ms. Armsrong’s teachings widely available, and well described, I thought I would share a brief summary of her work with the interwebs in the hope of helping others catch Alison’s meme.

But first some Attribution
– Yes, I have copied liberally from others, including Ms. Armstrong, and from Alternatives Magazine The Male Road Map by Al Polito, but please play along and take note that this is a heartfelt post, and not some trafficy, linky link, paid content thing.


The Heroes Journey view of Men

The Page > The Knight > The Prince > Tunnel > The King
And if you are lucky > The Elder


The Paige

Men begin their development as “Paiges.” Paiges are young boys who attended to Knights. They look up to the Knights, polish the swords, feed the horses, fantasize about the Knights’ adventures and get into all kinds of trouble. They drive their mothers crazy.


The Knight

As a Paige enters late teen years, he becomes a Knight. The Knight charges off in search of adventure, rescues damsels, pursues treasure, and slays dragons whenever possible. Men in their late teens, through their late 20s or early 30s, are today’s “Knights.” They live for the challenge, which in modern life looks like sports, adventure, women, travel, and jobs that promise new challenges and problems that need to be solved. If it’s an adventure, a Knight will show up.


The Prince

After a Knight has had his share of adventure or quest, often in his late 20s or early 30s, he typically feels the need to “build his kingdom.” He may live in a disorganized apartment with a few roommates, a refrigerator with beer, leftover pizza, jar of mustard and some dodgy Thai food takeout. He may be in love, feeling the urge to start a household, or he may just want to “grow up” and make something more of himself. He gets serious about his career or education, and enters a long phase of focusing intently on creating his “castle.”

It is at this point the Knight typically assumes the mantle of the Prince, a time of his life where his life is about something other than his own pleasure. Princes developing careers are often found working long hours, much to the chagrin of their girlfriends or spouses. They don’t have as much time for beer with their buddies, although the time they do get with friends can be precious. During this time, the prince’s significant other may begrudge him his singular focus on his career or education, but he has no choice. His identity quite often rides on what he is creating.

After a Prince has been at it for awhile (typically late 30s to 40s), he finds that his kingdom is “just about there.” He may have a family if not a home, and an established business or career. He looks back on what he created, all he has worked for, and something doesn’t feel quite right. Like Lester Burnham, Kevin Spacey’s character in “American Beauty,” he finds himself questioning all the things he took for granted—what makes him happy, who or what he’s attracted to, what he stands for, what he believes. He finds himself at a most uncomfortable crossroads, at the threshold of a tunnel that only he can enter.



Sometimes this phase is regrettably disregarded as “a midlife crisis.” However, this “tunnel” or existential reckoning must be viewed as the time a man begins to live life for himself in a way that he hasn’t done since he was a Knight. If his youth was sheltered, he might have an uncontainable urge to begin experimenting with his fascinations. Sometimes, the Prince will find that the kingdom he built was not the kingdom he wanted at all. In the process, various aspects of a man’s life may be shed: his career, his practical car, his significant other, his pretense, his inhibitions, whatever worked in the past that no longer serves—ultimately his inauthenticity. It may be a rough time. The magnitude of the changes called for may cause some men to shut down and settle back into their lives without making any changes. Such a man’s mind, heart, soul and body will rebel against him. His kingdom will be poisoned.

So, standing at the entrance and facing his tunnel, a man has the great opportunity to examine which archetypes have been running the show. Maybe a boy has been running the show, medicating with drugs or alcohol to avoid grief, or running a parade of women through his life in search of power or validation. Or conversely, a man who spent his life being a “caretaker” personality may find that the boy within him never got to play, and demands a good time.


The King

Whatever the challenge of his tunnel, after he has been through his, a man will have emerged with a stronger sense of self. He will know what interests him and what does not. His tolerance for things he has left behind will evaporate. He has determined who he is and what he serves. He now bears the crown of the king.

Having figured out the hard way what he’s all about, the King lives to serve. Having been tested and proven by the trials of life, the King has authority, power, and strength. He walks taller, and cares less about what other people think. This doesn’t mean that his feelings can’t be hurt; on the contrary, if a king’s contributions are not valued, he feels not valued. Witness the father who wishes to help his daughter fix up her new house. He is eager to help with his hammer and level, and if she tells him she can take care of herself now, he will feel sad and slighted. A King wishes to serve and to have his contributions appreciated.

Certainly, it is the King Archetype (present in every man, young or old) that has him want to make a difference. But as a man grows into the fullness of his king energy, he will not suffer people who don’t appreciate what he provides for his kingdom. He doesn’t have time for that anymore.


And if a man is lucky, he may become an Elder

The last stage of King, usually lasts until the end of a man’s life. But some Kings go through a quiet but dramatic transformation to become an Elder. For Elders, they have nothing else to prove; they have no agenda and are beyond ambition. Elders spend time focused on contributing to others and on enjoying and appreciating all the gifts in their lives.

Apple II service part history quiz

Five suggestions for Open Science evangelists

A historical IT perspective on how to put science raw-data acquisition on auto-pilot.

This week I attended the @boraz lecture at UNC-Charlotte, and the debate-topic of Open Science was in the air. After some thought, and an email composition to Bora, I decided I would add to the public debate. First off, while I’m hardly even a citizen-scientist – my goal here is to offer, as best I can, a software-industry perspective on the important mission of Open Science.


At #scio11 I met a number of wonderful and passionate sci-geeks under the Science Online event umbrella nurtured by Bora and Anton Zuiker – @mistersugar. There I learned a bit about Open Science, and the concept of scientists publishing, and live-pushing their raw data to the web (a topic I recall also hearing about at an earlier Science Online event in Chapel Hill).

In Bora’s talk this week he drew historical comparisons between 2012 and the 1800’s when science data was much less lock-and-key. To anyone paying attention to tech and civic trends and the progress of mankind, there really is no debate here. Science data is headed out of the closet; just like open source software (code), just like citizen journalism (blogs), and just like civil discourse (Arab Spring). The only real political questions are how to get there faster, and maybe a bit about orderly transitions.

So How About A Strategy:

Below I’ve outlined a group of interrelated ideas to help drive Open Science, that are drawn from my experience working on various Internet and IT projects.

Place = KNOWN

Open Science needs one place, or one standard for, raw-data.

The grant-funding process often drives science developments. Groups such as and now require some researchers to publish portions of their data. A quick G-search shows lots of activity surrounding Open Science, including some messy debates I won’t go into, but here’s the nut – there does not appear to be any single or organized “Place” to put open science data, in particular raw data that in some cases could even be captured, and disseminated live.

By Place I mean, I set up my instrument, or a smartphone even to capture a data set, and I’m immediately faced with the challenge of where to put, and organize my data. Of course local-store, and later upload is fine, but this issue of where to put the live data / raw data is, in my opinion, holding things back.

Brewser Kahle is fond of, and famous for driving the meme ” Universal access to all human knowledge”. It would seem the #openscience version is something like Universal storage of raw science data. Sorta like the seed people, there just needs to be a place.

Container = SIMPLE

The standard container for Open Science data should be as simple as a single blog post.

At the Scio11 event I found lots of open science brainiacs mired in categorization and containers. From a data standards, repository, and evolution-of-a-system perspective that just seemed backwards to me. When I think about packing raw science data into XML containers, and the sheer diversity of structures and forms of data, I immediately think of the evolution of RSS, and RSS 0.91.

Yes kids, Uncle Dave Winer ( and his passion in the late 90’s for structuring unstructured data into what later became blog syndication (though not alone in that mission according to the pedia article).

So what is it about raw data, like observation-notes, or data-threads produced by instrumentation that is so hard to pack-n-store? For 90-something percent of the data sets, even RSS would likely work just fine. Thus, my suggestion here is to just vote-and-go with some raw container format, while keeping in mind my next point about instrumentation.

Default = ON

Most people don’t turn off, what is already turned on.

Remember the (PC) days before plug-n-play? Or when you setup your first Internet access and had to answer the question “Obtain an IP address automatically”? That’s the world of science instrumentation today (OK, I’m way out on a limb here, I have zero 21st century instrument experience, but please play along). I figure most modern science devices are IP based, can connect to the web, and likely have the ability to “push” data “somewhere”.

To drive Open Science, how about this device configuration model:

  • The publish point should be: Place=KNOWN (agreement on the repository)
  • Pack the data into a core universal format: Container=SIMPLE (stop sweating the small stuff first)
  • Then setup instruments to Default=ON (make it a step harder to NOT publish)

The Internet would have like, no users if everyone had to manually configure their IP address. would have like, zero percentage of websites if everyone had to setup their own domain name before they built a site. Well? Open Science has like, zero public data since there is no equivalent to default=Auto-Publish methodology within reach.


Every smartphone has a calculator, and could just as easily be an instrument for raw-data.

What if, in a science-logging world every smartphone was an instrument (it is)? And every device came with a “calculator-grade” app to turn on and publish raw data to a known repository?

I’m sure there are some fine people out there working on various science-logging methods in the app space. I know when I wanted a compass for my Samsung I had a boatload of options, though I can’t say they were instrument-grade. Regardless, quality generally matures with market-reach, and the core point is that IF the app kids wanted to create a robust instrument-suite for smartphones, they are, in a word, relegated to the marketplaces, and years of slogging it out until a few standard-bearers take root.

Someone at the OS level needs to take note and fold instrument-to-raw-data capabilities into the various devices available to consumers. Clearly instrumentation is not a marketplace differentiator on Carrier and OS-team roadmaps, but in a slightly-more-perfect world, I would hope the Sci-Geeks and the Phone-Mates could actually collaborate on instruments and repository features.

Announcement = RAW-LOG-bub:

What are you raw-publishing now?

So lets pull all this together. The iPhones and the instruments collect data; the format is RSS/XML-Raw ish; the repository is / Apache / ish, and default=ON (hopefully) turns the Open Data stream into 10x the Twitter fire hose (Moores Law for instrument data anybody?).

How about we make all this data discoverable via an announcement system – a “just the facts kid” approach to announcing these data sets? How about a custom Tweet-style platform for Open Science Data? Yes, Twitter can serve that purpose, but as the pro-catalogers get engaged; as the meta about raw-science-data grows, the data model of Twitter easily under-serves the Open Science mission.

Now, if you’re playing along at home it’s easy to see a lot of people lining up to debate features, the necessities of, and so on, around micro-content systems and raw-sci announcements. Undoubtedly, there are already a batch of these systems somewhere (that I’ve never seen), but commonality-wise, what to do?

Technically, this starts to look a lot like what Google tried to do / did with real time and blog-comm in their attempt to normalize Twitter with WordPress (and I suppose other micro-content systems). PubSubHubbub, RSSCloud, that stuff (and I have no idea who ran what, or who should be attributed across that spectrum).

Point being, Twitter got big-fast, and the idea at the time was that others who do “similar” things should be encouraged. Ie. Let’s leave some room for a real-time multi-source solution and not make Twitter-proper, the global standard for real-time science data announcements. That seems to be what G did when faced with Twitters success, and Openly, that’s probably what should happen with real-time sci-logs. (plus/or maybe  a way to collapse the “repository” with the “announcement system” together, or via some common standard)

Wrap up (please).

Data is money. Science is important. Science data is often public-funded. The move to Open Science is inevitable. Maybe even something of a data-right in the years to come.

Bora reports from the trenches that less-competitive (less-patentable) science verticals, like dinosaur digs and astro-firsts are leading the open-data movement. But the larger Open Science debate is likely moving from science-esoteric, to political hot potato, since the Patent crowd is charged with, and will want to govern every-single-“bit”.

Meanwhile, the core Open Science developments are mired in categorization and storage debates – that to this IT professional – somewhat mirrors the early days of blog-standards, where a Just-Get-Over-It mentality governed initial advancements quite well.

Thus, I believe #openscience solution-thinkers have a nice history-model to reference that could help drive the important mission of publishing raw-science data – in the clear – and for the long-long term.

My hope here is that these notes help the Open Science evangelists, and that the debates begin to take deeper roots with the we-can-do-something-about-that Internet folks like Wales, Kahle, and the OS-Houses (hint, hint, hint, hint) where some small, but strategic decisions can help push the majority of today’s Open Science data challenges into history.

Attribution Links:

Blog updates

I’m in the process of moving to  The pending effort to downsize my personal-host management was prompted, by of all things, the web-hosting brain-surgeons that bought highly-successful – and then proceeded to tell their acquired customers that (team) Pickled Onion was doing it all wrong.

Goodbye Slice.  It was fantastic while it lasted.