Wednesday, December 27, 2017

How to get a job at VMware

I am writing this down because I end up sending a version of this email to a lot of people, like folks in my community, or students at Marquette University.

First off, VMware is a great company, with a good culture. But, if you are looking for a startup, this is not it. That said, they/we have good products, good people, and a good culture. I plan on staying for a long time.

The numbers

To get a job at VMware requires persistence. I targeted VMware when I was looking. I sent in upwards of 75 resumes online, and I got 3 sets of interviews, which resulted in 1 job. This is where I come up with the metrics. Assume you'll have to submit 25 resumes to 25 different jobs in order to get one call back. The numbers stink, but that's life. Get used to it.

Its who you know....

Mostly. Look, it helps if you know someone, but I am living proof you don't need to. But, if we do know each other, please let me know you are submitting, and I'll submit internally for you as a referral. VMware has a robust referral program. But I'll only do this if I actually know you.

The process

The process is as follows:

  1. Go to
  2. Find the job you are looking for.
  3. Write down the Job ID. It will be R followed by some numbers, e.g. R12345
  4. Submit your job. Optionally include a cover letter. (more on this in a minute).
  5. If we know each other, send me the job ID, and I'll submit internally, and tell you what I know about the group.

A note about Internships

 Internships start appearing in December, so if you are in college or grad school make sure to start applying then. Most of them are decided by March, in my experience.

A note about LinkedIn

This is just me: I don't use PDF or DOCX resumes, I only use LinkedIn. Make sure your profile is up to date. Moreover, be aware of what your Google search results are, because I am going to check.

A note about Passion

The job interviews that worked best for me were the ones I had passion and a firm opinion on. At BEA, I sensed the rise of Eclipse as a platform, and made that known during the interviews, even though it was a competitor to BEA's then current offering. (Turns out, they were aware of the rise of Eclipse as well). And at VMware, I made it clear that their projections for this new product were wildly optimistic, and I gave then an idea of how I would market it, in spite of this. I got the job anyway.

So that's it. Good luck, and let me know how I can help.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Jelly Pro Device Profile

For those doing development on the Jelly or Jelly Pro, I have build a sample Device profile you can use in Android Studio.

The Jelly Pro Device Profile is here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Fr. Jon Pedigo has won the Sultan and Saint Peacemaker award

(Fr. Jon has won the Sultan and Saint Peacemaker award. Read below.)

Date 4-14-2017

Dear Father Jon,

On behalf of Unity Productions Foundation, the creators of the docudrama The Sultan and the Saint we humbly request your attendance and participation in the upcoming premiere of the film at Santa Teresa Parish on the day of  April 23d.  At this premiere of the film we would like to honor you with the Sultan and the Saint Peacemaker Award in recognition of your outstanding work in building bridges across faiths and cultures.

As an award recipient, you will be included in a national network of peacemakers working to promote peace and greater understanding across lines of religious difference, particularly Christian and Muslim relations.  We would like to include an overview of the work you do on our website ( where we will feature your headshot and a brief overview of your impact.

You will be joining a national network of The Sultan and the Saint Peacemaker awardees that is made up of interfaith activists who are working locally and globally to promote peace and better relations. We will periodically check-in with you to learn about your latest projects and we will provide you with some tips for programs and events you can host using UPF films and other resources.

Thank you for your consideration. Please email me confirming that you will be available for the premiere and that you are interested in joining this network.


Unity Productions Foundation

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Help Eliminate Diseases Caused by Bad Water: Can You Give?

Dear Friends/Family,
   As you know, I have been working with a great group in Nicaragua, Amigos for Christ. You can read my report from last year, with a video from the team, and their testing results. They focus on clean water, health and education programs for the folks in one of the poorest regions of the 2nd poorest country in the Americas.

One of the their core programs is the elimination of diseases caused by unclean water. In areas in where we have yet to put in a clean water system, up to 50% of the children have intestinal parasites. 

So, here's this year's ask

We need to raise money to keep the anti-parasite program going. Can you help us with our attempt to raise $4864? Here's a breakdown:

Transportation and Materials for Preventative Classes and Home Visits in Rural Communities$1,450
Collection and Processing Materials for Parasite Testing
Additional Materials for studies


I have donated $500, and got my employer, VMware to donate another $1000. But a donation of any size is welcome. Can you help?

The donation link is here:

Thank you for your consideration. Call me if you have questions.

Bill Roth

Friday, November 11, 2016

Music for the Post-Election Blues

Like many of my friends, the election results hit me hard. Really hard. As to why, more on this later. But I have learned that Music can be a powerful non-chemical mood altering device. For me, some kinds of Music, like early John Gorka, can send me into depression. Other music can bring me out of it. So, what follows is my recommendation for things to listen to in order to bring yourself up off the emotional floor that was this election:
So go, grieve. Listen to music, and come to terms to the election. And then, next monday, get back to work fighting for a better country.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Vote Picks for 2016 for Santa Clara County, Assembly District 28, Willow Glen (ish)

As many of you know, I obsess about politics the way other people do about sports. This has been the most interesting election cycle of my lifetime, both good and bad. I've been pouring over the my ballot, and I get excited when I get my State Voter Guide, which is online. and below are my picks for 2016 all the way down. Feel free to start a conversation on this.

My Picks:

  • President/VP: Clinton/Kaine
  • Senator: Kamala Harris. Look, I love Loretta Sanchez as a person, and I recognize and appreciate what she's done in Garden Grove. But Harris is a serious candidate, and a historic candidate
  • Congress: Zoe Lofgren, now and forever. Proud to have her as my representative in Congress.
  • State Senator: Jim Beall.
  • Assembly: Evan Low
  • San Jose Unified School District: Pam Foley.
  • East Side Union School District. Pattie Cortese
  • City Council: Helen Chapman. Dev Davis is a Republican.
  • Open Space District: Dorsey Moore. PLO is just ballot riding.
  • Prop 51: Yes. Its the only way we can legitimately fund schools in California
  • Prop 52: Yes. Why is this not in the legislature?
  • Prop 53: No. Would make raising revenue for worthy projects harder
  • Prop 54: Yes. Seems reasonable that legislation should be public 72 hours ahead of time.
  • Prop 55: Yes. Proud to extend this, and to pay it. We have to find education somehow.
  • Prop 56: Yes. Leads to a healthier population
  • Prop 57: Yes. Part of the on-going criminal justice reform
  • Prop 58: Yes. Preserves the status quo. Common language is a unifier. I'd also like to see mandatory Spanish as well. Maybe in the future.
  • Prop 59: Yes. Allowing for proposal and ratification of an amendment to overturn Citizens United
  • Prop 60: Blank. Ummm, really? I have to vote on this?
  • Prop 61: Yes. Lowers drug prices. 
  • Prop 62: Yes. End the Death Penalty. Seamless Garment.
  • Prop 63: Yes. Background check for ammo. Guns don't kill people, bullets do.
  • Prop 64: Yes. 420 dood. Then tax it. See Aquinas: "lex humana dicitur aliqua permittere, non quasi ea approbans, sed quasi ea dirigere non potens." (ST 1-
  • Prop 65: Yes. Grudgingly. The bag ban is an example of the nanny state. Do you know how many groceries I have left in the parking lot because of this ban? But this redirects money to environmental causes.
  • Prop 66: No. Seems to me like taking away due process rights
  • Prop 67: No. See Prop 65. How much pasta sauce do I need to leave in the Safeway parking lot?
  • Measure A: Yes. We have the largest per-capita homeless population. We need to fix it.
  • Measure B: Yes. Traffic is a mess, future generations need BART. Yes to the sales tax.
  • Measure E: Yes. Be fair on offering extra hours. I have seen this abused.
  • Measure F: Yes. Its a decent compromise. Lets rebuild SJPD.
  • Measure G: Yes. Yes to Business Tax.
  • Measure X: Yes. Supports Job Training
  • Measure Y: Yes. More Property Tax to improve San Jose Schools.

My Current Senate map:

As extra credit: At this writing, my Senate Map looks like this. My current prediction is  50/50 split with VP breaking tie.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Making a difference in Nicaragua

Earlier in the summer of 2016, I send out a call to my frends and family to help me raise money for medicine for the people of northwest Nicaragua. As many of you know, I have been working with a great organization, Amigos for Christ, to help the folks of this area.

Amigos has a systematic approach to helping folks. The have have five foundational areas they work on. Simply put: First, they start by working with communities to build water systems. This work is not charity, but a collaboration. The community must put up half the labor, and some of the money. Once the water system is in, they work on health issues. From there, it progresses to economic development. They have been working on this for 20 years, and the area is dotted with free-standing independent communities.

I have been working with the Health Team for a couple of years. I have been working on eliminating intestinal parasites in children and their parents, a disease which affects way to many people in this area. This year, the group had a special meal for me to celebrate the work we had done, and I was supremely moved.

So, to the donors, I say thank you. But more importantly, so do they. Here's a message from my friend Juanita, a nurse on the team:

My name is Juanita Patricia Gonz├ílez Picado, and I work with Amigos for Christ. I am in charge of the projects for eliminating parasites, and the elimination of Chronic Renal Insufficiency in the communities we work in.  This year, we worked with seven communities, 4 existing and 3 new communities. Thank you for your contributions and donations, which help us realize these projects and serve the people in these communities with stool and urine testing, which helps us in our mission to eliminate parasites and disease. We keep you in our thoughts always.
(Note: The translation is mine. I take responsibility for any mistakes)

The team also put together a slide presentation on the epidemiological data they have been collecting in the communities, which illustrates the level of service and professionalism that these folks provide:

(If you want a translation, post a comment)

I am proud to be able to help them, and I am proud that my family and friends who donated help to make the lives of these people better.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Notes on the 2016 Nicaragua Trip

The Saturday trip was about the same as past years. We had a red-eye flight from SFO to San Salvador, and I got to sit with my daughter, Anna, which was a plus. 

When we arrived at Managua, some old friends from Amigos For Christ where there to meet us. We then drove to Poneloya where all 40 of us had lunch at a friends house on the beach. From there, we drive another hour to the compound where the the dormitories are.


Saunday was the climb up the volcano, and I have covered this in years' past. LINK. This year, however, I had both my daughters climbing with me. Both Emma and Anna went up the face of Cerro Negro. PIC  Anna made it in good time, and while it was difficult, she handled it with her usual steely resolve. I am so prod of her. She got sick later in the evening, but was better by morning. I think it was the food, rather than heat exhaustion.


Today we had a chance to go back to a community we've been working on for some time, the beautiful La Chuscada. Last year, we started putting in the boundary wall of a school. This year the wall is complete, as is most of the preschool. Our group was putting in the floor of the preschool, as well has putting in more of the plumbing for future buildings. They day was not a warm as it usually is, it was probably only 90 degrees, which passes for "cool" in Nicaragua.

The most beatific moment of the day had to do with music. Music is playing from load speakers and a generator while we're working. Seemingly spontaneously, the kids with us started doing a line dance. Emma was with some of the small kids from the village, like 8-9 years old, and was trying to teach them the dance, which varying degrees of success, but it was a joy to see. I am so proud of her. Most everyone was tired and went to bed after "devo" (devotional) in the evening.

Anna, even though she was sick the previous night, was hard at work in the fields. She took it easy, but still was in the trenches digging.

Monday evening the adults walked down the street to El Torito, the local bar/restaurant. A taable of locals weked what we were doing, I told them about our work on clean wather projects and our love of the country. WHen they heard this, they bought the table a bottle of 12 year Nicaraguan Rum, which costs about $50 here at a bar. It was a very generous gift indeed. We found out later that our benefactor owned one of the grocery stores in Chinandega, and was , by Nicaraguan standards, someone of unimaginable wealth.


Today was a good day. We got to work build a pig pen in La Chuscada. We were at the house of Dona Rosa and she had a bunch of children there. 2 Babies, Christopher and Alejandro, a little girl Milady, and older girls Petrona, X, and Y. (See VIdeo)

I got a chance to work with the Veterinarian, Carlos and his wife Annie the head nurse. The Pay It Forward program (LINK) has found that if you build pens for the recipients, you are more likely to be successful with the animals, and keep them from getting sick or hurt. We were part of the initial projects building pens, and the project was definitely no as strenuous as digging trenches.

During the day I played with the Baby, Christopher, and it did not start out well, as he had a lot of stranger anxiety. But I got him to warm up to be by the end of the day.

We also helped with the pen at a house nearby, and afterwards were treated to Bunuelos, which is Fried Yucca which honey. Its excellent.

One of the sad things is that they do not have fresh water, since they could not afford the buy-in. So they still get their water from a well which is likely polluted. That nothwithstanding, the pigs from the pay it forward program will increase the protein and iron in their diet, which will ultimately make a big improvement in their lives.


Old folks home in the morning, Teresa, when asked how old, she said 50. 

Evening was a bit of drama, but we ended up having a party at Shannon's house, which was excellent. We talked US politics, and because of the the guys on the trip was in finance, we talked about technology.


Today was a work day. We spent the day making cement and pouring a foundation for the new pre-school. The work was fun, and we set up a system where we functioned like a team, and in fact finished a hour or so early, and got the foundation poured. I am deadly tired now, but happy.

Friday, Saturday

(No notes. Traveling)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

OnePlus Two Phone Review

OnePlus Two

I haven't written a review in a while, and since I just received my new phone it seemed like a good idea. At the very least I can see how difficult it is to write a review using mostly voice transcription.

First, I was surprised to get an invitation at all. The invitation system said I was 800,000th in line. Luckily, I eat breakfast about the time that the social media person at 1 + tweets their social media contest. I was able to submit one within the first 3 minutes. I purchased the new OnePlus Two phone, and received it within a week. This was a pleasant surprise, as I expected it to take a while, as the company has a just-in-time manufacturing philosophy.

The phone arrived via US postal mail. The package was tiny but well constructed. It contained only a phone and a cable and a plug. The setup was fairly standard. And I was able to connect it to my home Wi-Fi effortlessly. I had to go to AT&T to get a new nano SIM, as my old galaxy 3 note from Samsung used a micro-sim. Since I travel to Europe frequently, the ability to use a second sim will be very helpful.

The OnePlus Two phone is very well constructed. It feels solid in the hands. But having a galaxy note 3 with 3 extended life batteries in a Zerolemon case makes it seem kind of small. But it is extremely responsive. It is fast using the Microsoft apps, as well as Evernote, where I do must of my writing It also seems to play video reasonably fast as well. There is a little bit of trouble with my Wi-Fi at home, I have an odd set up, including a range extender which can sometimes confuse Samsung phones. This phone seems to be confused as well when travling between different parts of the house.

The screen is well lit, and bright as one would expect it to be. I will speak more battery life later, but my day one experience is that it is sufficient to handle fairly rigorous use for one day. It also is well constructed enough, because I dropped it once and it did not break.(See update below) This is a fairly important test for me since I tend to drop my phone on a concrete floor at least once a month. Let's hope I get another invitation in the event that this one breaks, though the initial feedback seems to be quite good.

There are three areas where I'm disappointed with phone and they are as a result of design considerations. The first is that there is no removable battery. I travel a lot, and often need several batteries to make it through the day, or the length of day that I'm experiencing due to time zones. The second major letdown is that there is no slot for external storage. As a marketer, I get why they did that, as it forced me to buy the 64 gigabyte version. However I'm going to have to let a file transfer happen overnight from my old phone to my new phone. 

The third major letdown with this phone is that there is no NFC chip, no I'm not entirely sure this is true. There are two metal posts on the phone and two metal contacts on the standard back of the phone. It would not surprise me if NFC was going to be enabled later. Nevertheless, Android pay does not work on this phone. I'm not sure that's a terrible problem because in San Jose most of the NFC terminals at checkout registers don't work anyway.

One of the major user interface oddities is that the back button is on the left side of the user interface, where on my old Samsung, the back button is on the right side. This is the only really strange user interface problem I have seen.

I'll come back in a couple of days.

OnePlus Two phone: 2 weeks later

I have a gripe or two about the power usage and the battery of the OnePlus Two phone. First, there is no removable battery. Let's be clear, I use my phone a lot. Why use it for email, my calendar, my media consumption, my newspaper reading, and so on. As a result it's easy for me to run out of battery fairly quickly. For the last two years, as I have said, I've had a Samsung Galaxy Note 3. I augmented it with a Zerolemon battery case, which had something on the order of 10000 milliamp hours of battery. Before that I had three of the standard batteries that I would use one after the other during a single day. It must be said, that the downside of the note 3 battery was that you had to have a Samsung battery with the NFC chip in it for NFC to work. My second major gripe about the power use is that the battery that they have on the phone is relatively small.

Related to power, but not quite, is the use of USB-C connectors. I understand the attraction to the connector, because it's reversible and also very fast. However, it is an extremely new connector. So much so that they had none of them in stock at Fry's. We all know that Fry's is the arbiter of what is cool in technology, at least for consumer technology.

Lack of an external memory card slot is annoying as well. I had to set up a small FTP server on the phone to do the bulk transfer for the files I needed from my old SD card.

I will say that it did pass the first round of durability tests. I have dropped it twice onto a tile floor and nothing appears remotely loose and the screen didn't crack. But this doesn't wholly make up for the shortcomings.

In conclusion, the OnePlus Two phone is not perfect, but you can't beat the price, and the freedom of not being tied to a carrier. The phone is really fast, and going down to a 5.5 inch screen, from the Note's 5.7, was not a problem. I would recommend this phone to someone who wanted a phone off the beaten path with stock(ish) Android. We'll see how long it lasts. And lets home

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Notes on the 2015 Nicaragua Trip

Notes on the 2015 Nicaragua Trip

Weekend, July 11-12, 2015

The flight from SFO on Avianca was smooth. We landed in San Salvador, which is a larger airport than I imagined. I was deeply moved by the mural on the wall to the Blessed Archbishop Oscar Romero. For my friends not steeped in the Roman Catholic church, he was Archbishop of El Salvador, and was an outspoken opponent of the extra-judicial killings, and was himself assassinated by a right-wing death squad, while saying Mass.

The flight to Managua was 38 minutes, and uneventful.  This is my 5th trip to Nicaragua with this group, and I remember being hit by a wall of heat when we left the airport. The heat and the humidity are powerful here. This time, however, i almost didn't notice it. 

We then traveled for 2 hours by bus to a beach-side community called Poneloya, where we had lunch by the beach. A family from our group, native Nicaraguans, hosted us at their house.

Sunday as usual, was a hike up the newest volcano in the Americas, Cerro Negro. The hike is more than just an athletic exercise.  It is a hike up a 700 Meter pile of black sand, and its very challenging. The important part of this trip is that we all help each other, no matter what our physical shape is.

Our Group at Cerro Negro

The first year of this trip was transformative. I was given a new way of looking at things, and a new perspective on life. It sounds trite, but it is true. However, I have been on this trip 5 times, and have often struggled with subsequent years, trying to determine what new I could learn from the trip. This year, it became clear that my purpose was, to paraphrase Saint Ignatius' motto for the Jesuits, be a man for others. I was able to help someone down the volcano who was terribly afraid of heights, and I know meant something to them.

Monday July 13, 2015

Today we worked in the community of La Chuscada, where we ave worked the past 2 years. the first year we put in the pipe, the second we installed Modern Bathrooms. (Link) This year, we're putting in a wall to build a defined space for the school. 2 years ago, the school was under a tree, this year its in a temporary building which holds grades K-6. We're building the wall for a more permanent structure for a school of 1000.

The work was hard, mostly diffing trenches, mixing cement and laying cinderblock. it was at least 95 degrees, and there was not very much shade. we got to the community, worked for a while, had lunch, and worked into the afternoon. The cement mixer broke down for a while, but would not be Nica if something didn't happen. At the end I was sunburnt, and tied, but we went out for a beer after dinner and reflection anyway.

Tuesday July 14, 2015

Tuesday we spent a a family's house, where they made us lunch, and we learned more about their lives. Here are the pictures: 

Wednesday July 15, 2015

Wednesday is my favorite day in Nicaragua. We went out to visit a nursing home in Corinto, which is a little down on the Pacific Coast. I sat and talked to Guillermina. You can see the picture of us here. We talked a bit about our lives and our families, and I introduced her to Emma, who was on our trip. In the afternoon, I hung out at the Cafe of the hotel.

Thursday July 16,2015

My notes on the medical team visits are here:

Friday July 17th, 2015

Friday was another work day, and we finished up with one full wall of the school's borders  done, with a little more of the next. In the afternoon we played games with the kids, and set up a baseball and soccer games. As usual, the kids from Nica won. Some of them are quote talented.

Saturday July 18th, 2015

On Saturday, I went with the rest of the team to Managua, to get them off on their plane. I went into town to prep for my meetings for VMware. On the way, we passed the shrine to Hugo Chavez, which you can see here.

The album of pictures is here.

The Video of our trip is here....

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Starting a Blog On

I am writing this down since I have committed to help multiple folks with their blogs in the last few days.

The process of starting a blog is *really* simple. Before you have it set up, you have to do the following:

  1. Set up an account on google.  It does not have to be a full gmail account, and it you have a non-gmail account you are fond of, register with that. The first time you go to, click the "Create Account" link.
  2. Figure out what you want your url to be. All urls are of the form: If you have a phrase or specific term you'll be blogging about, see if you can get that in your blog title. It will help you show up in searches for that term more often.

Once you have done that, go to, and after you are logged in, click the "New Blog" link. At this point, all you have to do, is give the Blog a title, preferable with some of your main keywords in it, type in the url from #2 above, and pick a template. (You can change your template later).

After that:

  1. Click the pencil
  2. Start writing
  3. Push publish to make your blog visible
  4. that's it!

There are a bunch of settings you can try to make your blog more findable, but populate your blog first, since the best way to get found is to have great content.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Notes from 2014 Nicaragua trip (Unfinished)

(Note: These are unfinished, but adding them for the record)

Diary Nica Trip 2014

Welcome to another diary from my mission trips down to Nicaragua.

Friday 7/4 to Saturday 7/5

We left on the 4th of July, which is kind of hard. Its a day to be with family and friends and watch fireworks. But when I planned the trip, i was not sure of my work schedule and this is they way it worked out. We  left at 950p from SFO and got to Miama at 530am. I hate red-eyes, and i essentially forced myself to "go dormant", not sleep really, but also a form of rest.

We wandered around MIA until our plane was ready. There was a thunderstorm and our flight was delayed about 30 minutes. While waiting, I read the latest in a series of books I am a fan of: The Dresden Files. Its essentially a book about a good man who ends up forced into bad things and how he deals with it.

Sunday 7/6:

We climbed Cerro Negro, and I took the back way, which is like a normal hike in Quicksilver(LINK), with more uneven terrain. It was similar other years. See the comments HERE.

Monday 7/7:

Today we got to go back to the community we worked in last year, La Churcada.(APPROX gps location). This is a wonderful community with a big generous heart and a  great leader. We heard from Sebastian before we started digging, and he expressed his gratitude and said we were family. My group got paired with a woman in the community, Matilda, and we start by working at her house by building the septic tank for her modern bathroom. (PIC of hole). We also made the rebar mesh for the foundation.  There were a goodly amount of children there, probably 7-10, and they are all related. They were beautiful children, and we spent a decent amount of time playing with them as well.

The important thing to know is that we're replacing old bad water wells with a plumbing system which provides 100 gallons of water per person per day.

STORY about the PIG.

Tuesday 7/8:

Today we went back to La Chuscada to finish building the septic tank. We were able to build the foundation for the shower/toilet building. We also built the cover for the tank, which reminds me of my daughter Emma. The first year we were in Nicaragua, Emma had a great time mixing cement and building tank covers in El Chonco. We were able to mix the cement and make a cover, complete with rebar reinforcement. We were also able to finish the first stage of reinforcement of the septic tank, which needs to be up to 25 feet feet as it is supposed to last 30 years.

We also held some fun games for the kids. Here is a video of the shovel races.

(VIDEO  of Shovel race)

It was also very hot today, at least 100 in the shade. I ended drinking around 5 litres of water today, and ended the day with nothing more than a slight headache. Matilda, the woman at whose house we were working, made several things for us today, including more Limonada with fresh picked limes right off her tree. She also made fried pippin, which is a type of cucumber with home made cheese, which, like all the things were delicious.

STORY about Calvin and the Pieta'.

Wednesday 7/9:

Today I got a chance to deliver animals. The Pay It Forward Program gives cows, pigs or chickens to families in Nicaragua. They then have to give back an equal number of the animals in around a year or 18 months.  Some families have turned 10 chickens into 30, and 1 cow into three via breeding programs. It helps them provide income and a protein source for their families. We left Chinandega at 9am, and then headed up to Minas de Agua,  which is a gold mining community nerar Rincon de Garcia, where we worked 2 years ago. We got a chance to see the finished well an cistern up on a local hill. It was great to see knowing that we worked to start the relationship with the community. We picked up 2 cows there, and then drove 1.5 hours to the next stop.

(PIC of Minas de A.)
We then went to  Callemito to drop off the first cow. It was given to Carlos Sanchez and his family, pictured below.  The milk from the cow will provide important protein for health and milk fats for brain development of the children. We then drove 1.5 hours to our next stop.

PIC of Callemito

We then drove deeper inland to Marieta, which was a community deep in the hills. The couple, Elvi and Amada, had a beautiful little girl.

PIC of Carolin

You could tell by the streaks in her hair that she was likely defficient in B6 and B12, and was likely anemic.  The family already had some chickens, and the nurse with us said that she could see improvement since the family had eggs to eat and sell, but the milk and cheese would likely help her with her remaining deficiencies.

PIC of Elvi and Amada.

We then drove the 2 hours back to the compound in the 104 degree heat.

Thursday 7/10

Today was a rough day. I wasn't feeling good, but I had to get out to the community so  I could see the family. I had thought long and hard about a question from the mother of the house, Matilda.

The bathroom being finished and well designed. (PIC)

Hunting for Mangoes (PIC)

Mass in the Field for the new school (PIC).

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Getting Started with C and Eclipse (for Emma)

(6/15)Emma, (and any other UCSD rising sophmores), Here's what I recommend in order to get started on C under Eclipse:

  1. Download the latest Eclipse(Kepler SR2). I got it from here. 
  2. Install the C Dev Tools package thusly:
    1. Copy this:
    2. Go to Help>Install New Software
    3. Click Add
    4. In "Name" type "CDT" or something.
    5. Paste the url above into the Location field. Click OK.
    6. In the "Work With" field, type CD. it will auto complete to the CDT.
    7. Click both CDT Main Features and CDT Optional Features.
    8. Click Finish, and click yes on the license radio buttons.
    9. You will have to restart Eclipse
    10. Download a C compiler. I assume its on a mac, so I have no idea how to do that. (Still a hardened windows/linux guy. But this post seems to know what to do.
    11. Once you do that go into eclipse
    12. Go to File>New>Project...
    13. Choose c/c++ project
      1. Ignore any warnings about g++ if you get them.
    14. Create a file called main.c
    15. Paste this into it:

/* Hello World program */


    printf("Hello World");

Then do "Project>Build All" and then a Debug.

Then its all pretty standard.

This is a decent handout from Stanford with some ideas on install and debugging.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Story of La Chuscada

This is the community I worked for in the Summer of 2013.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nicaragua Notes 2013

Nicaragua Trip 2013

I am back from my annual trip to Nicaragua, and while these notes are late, most of it was written while I was there.


We started with a 1215 red eye flight from San Francisco to Houston. We then had what seemed like an interminable layover. It took 5 hours and I was in a fog the whole time due to lack of sleep and liberal application of benadryl. We flew into Managua, and then took a bus to Leon. We then spent an hour in the Sandinista history museum, and got a fascinating read on the revolution and counter-revolution from a Nicaraguan perspective. The guide was a guerrilla from the 80s, and was very polite, but was very upfront on the US role in the revolution in the 80s,and the role of the US in the assassination of Augusto Sandino.  Most of his discussion with us was on the roof of the building which had a great view of the city of Leon. We then drove to Chinandega and had dinner.
The view from the Sandinista History Museum


Today we got up at 7 had breakfast and went to mass at the church adjacent to the property. The mass was in Spanish but luckily the priest spoke slowly. After a brief orientation we got on the buses and drove to Cerro Negro. I have written about this  before, and I am confronted by a question. What happens when the transcendent becomes ordinary? Yes it was a hike in an amazing location, but the novelty has warn off. Then we took a 90 minute ride back to the compound for dinner.

The view into the major crater of Cerro Negro Volcano


This morning we had a brief orientation, and then went out to the communities. This year's project was in La Chuscada.  It is a community about a 20 minute drive outside of Chinandega along the highway. It is a 20 min walk into the jungle from the highway. Most of our work was along what appeared to be a viaduct from an old watershed project. For whatever the reason, I worked harder than I ever have, manually. It was gratifying, but also tiring. No trouble with allergies. Mostly work with a shovel and a pickaxe, which is called a piocha in Nicaraguan Spanish. I worked with a 17 year old boy named Alfredo,who was one of the hardest workers I have ever seen. There was also a 13 year old girl named Patricia who worked hard as well. I also bought cheese bread,  called a palmita, from Lola, who is from Santa Catalina, one of the first communities that this NGO built. It was a great day.
The crew working on the trench monday

Digging in the trenches with Beth, the Gales and Alfredo


We went back to La Chuscada today do do some more digging. We laid 740 feet of pipe, versus 500 feet yesterday. Today I dug alongside a 13 year old girl named Isabel who worked extremely hard...because she was building a project for HER community. We started early, 9am, and dug until noon. Then after lunch we took a community tour to see their new water tank. There were other people who made a big impact on me today. The first was another 13 year old girl named Milago, whose name means miracle. She was working with her cousin, and was not very tall. The contrast with my daughter Anna was stark, yet the all held the same traits, namely they are strong independent young women. The final person who made an impression was one of the women on staff. ( I'll protect her identity in case she reads this)    During evening devotional, she shared a story of how she made a decision that ultimately caused all of us to be late by 45 minutes...which in Nicaragua is being on time)  She said she felt terrible, and shared how she had struggled with depression. But that for the first time she had been able to realize how her negative thoughts were wrong and that she didn't have to be held captive by them. I stopped by to talk to her afterwards, an told her how strong and brave I thought she was. I also told her that what happened was important because she could now heal. What she was able to do was to recognize a negative thought, and self-correct. And that is one of the first steps in healing from depression.

Also, a bunch of the youth did the Harlem Shake in the trench they we're building. 


Wednesday's are my favorite days in Nicaragua. We get to visit the orphanage, and I get to visit Chilo. I have written about her in the past. I could not see her last year, since she had to have surgery, but this year, she was there, sitting in her chair. She is severely disabled, and has little motor control, but she enjoy playing "futball" where I hold the ball for her left leg to kick. She is so grateful and laughs in in the most miraculous way. Afterwards, we toured the town.


Today we were back in the village of La Chuscada digging again, and I was working alongside Milagro again, who work has hard as any of us. I also had a chance to talk to the head of the village,  Sebastian, who kept using the word "historico" or historic, for what this work, the promise of clean water,  would mean to the community for the future of La Chuscada.


Today we had a "fun day" with the community. It was also the "triumph of the revolution"  day.  We went out to the community and had Mass. It was the first time many of the people in the village had seen in years. It was in both English and Spanish and was very moving. We prayed over Sebastian's wife who had cancer. We then had lunch, peanut butter and jelly as always, in the community. We then had a baseball game with the folks of la Chuscada. We lost badly. They have some great players down there, soccer too. And most of then play barefoot. We then had the talent show, and my team did a bad interpretive dance version of Genesis 1. We won the fan favorite version.
  And I got to say good by to the woman on staff, but not before telling her how brave and strong she was.

Alfredo, his pal, and the baseball game


Saturday was a travel day, and we got home after 1am on Sunday.


After a lot of reflection, it occurred to me that this is the most impactful thing I do in my life. Without the experience in Nicaragua, I would not have made it through the first half of this year. Doing this kind of work changes and deeply impact you in many ways.