Monday, October 15, 2018

My ballot picks for Nov 6 2018

I have done a post on my ballot picks for the last couple of elections. Here are my picks for November 2018.

Since some of my choices are the same as the primary, I'll refer to that post for brevity.

Governor: Gavin Newsom. Not a tough call. See primary post for more details.

Lt. Governor: Eleni Kounalakis. See primary post.

Secretary of State: Alex Padilla. Primary post.

Controller: Betty Yee. Primary Post.

Treasurer: Fiona Ma. Still impressed. See primary post.

Attorney General: Xavier Becerra.See primary post.

Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara. Primary post.

Member, Board of Eq., District 2: Malia Cohen. Primary post.

US Senator: OK, this is tough one, but I stand by my primary support for KDL, in spite of Senator Feinstein's performance during the Kavanaugh hearings. (Sorry Anna).

House: Zoe Lofgren, for as long as she runs.....

State Assembly: Evan Low, primary post.

Judicial offices: I have not heard of any of them, so Yes to all.

State School Superintendent:Tony Thurmond. While my hijada is doing well at her Charter school, I think we need to support people of the current system. (I might have goofed in the primary.

County Supe: Don Rocha. Has the experience we need. And a nice guy too.

Sheriff: John Hirokawa. See primary post....too many scandals under Smith.

The State Propositions

1: Housing Bond: Yes. We have a serious housing crisis.

2: Bond for homeless/mental illness housing: Yes.

3: Infrastructure Bond: Yes.

4: Hospital Construction for Children's healthcare: Yes

5: Changing requirements for tax treatment when people over 55 sell homes. OK, this is totally selfish, but I gotta retire some day, and I'll be up for this in 2 year. Shameful, yes...but I'll take my tax break for myself and my family.

6: Eliminating Road repair and transportation funding: No. Public safety issue.

7: Approval for State Legislature to change Daylight Savings Time. I hate this one, and I don't care. So No.

8: Regulating Dialysis Treatment Payments. Why are we deciding this? Vote no.

10: Rent Control (Costa-Hawkins): We need to have affordable housing. Yes.

11: Making private ambulance drivers on-call during breaks. Again, why? I suppose Yes.

12: Setting farm animal enclosure standards. Seriously?! Voting no out of a fit of pique.

Local Propositions

A: Continue 1/8 cent sales tax. Yes.

S: Streamlines procurement, adjusts some thresholds. Yes.

T: Disaster Preparedness Bond: Yes.

U: Charter Amendments: Sure. Why not.

V: Local housing bond. Yes. See previous comments on housing.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Speech at Confront Corruption:Demand Democracy SJ Vigil 7/18/18

My Name Is Bill Roth, and I am a board member at Sacred Heart Community Service.

The core message you have heard tonight is that it's important, now more than ever, that we all unite as a community, to protect each others' rights.

And for those of us with privilege it's important we stand up for vulnerable communities.

That’s why I want you to join with Sacred Heart Community Service and other organizations to support our Rapid Response Network.

The RapidResponse Network is a community defense project developed to protect immigrant families from ICE deportation threats and to provide accompaniment support during and after enforcement activities in our community.

Did you know that 99.1% of the time ICE does not have a valid judicial warrant when it raids an immigrant’s home?

Did you know that very often, ICE will mislead people into thinking it is the local police? This destroys the trust built by our local police force, and violates constitutional protections.

You can do something about this.

Join the Rapid Response Network, and get trained as an operator or legal observer. Or join to help comfort a family that has just lost a mother or father to deportation.

To learn more, go to or send me a message at 408 256 3271.

Interview during Vigil. Photo Credit (c) Andy Morris

Saturday, May 12, 2018

My Ballot Picks for June 5th Primary

5/15: Update with link to Merc endorsements and more thoughts on Governor.

A couple people have asked me for my opinion on things on the June 5th ballot, so here are my picks and the reasons why I am voting the way am.

But before I go through the ballot, let me note that this is an important elections, at the local, state and national level. As many of you know, I have been working on registering Spanish speaking citizens at Catholic Churches in the Modesto area, where there is some amount of chronic under-voting, and we have a real chance to flip a district to a Democratic seat. There are also good people running in San Jose, as well as some pretty nefarious propositions. So please, vote. Now, on with the picks:

FYI: Here are local party endorsements: SCCDP  and the State Party. And the Merc.

It is important to understand my algorithm. I will pick candidates that share my values, but you also get points for running a good campaign, and points subtracted for running a bad campaign. This is because if you can't run a campaign effectively, you will likely be unable to govern effectively. 

My Picks 



Governor: I am torn. I have concerns about Gavin Newsom, especially after Stephen Colbert embarrassed him on the old show. And selling gay marriage in San Francisco was not really a tough sell. Had he been mayor of Louisville or Milwaukee, that would have been something. That said, I think he as fairly represented California as Lt. Governor. On one hand, he's a 1-percenter, scion of the Gettys, that started a winery with family money. On the other hand, he has supported important causes, we line up on most important issues, and he throws great parties for Democrats at the state convention. And he's from Northern California. We need someone to represent the north, to make sure our resources (especially water) do not get inappropriately siphoned off by southern California. The Merc seems to like him, for good policy reasons. They does not reflect the pause some are given by his messy first divorce, nor his current wife's penchant for unfortunate mis-statement.

Antonio Villraigosa on the other hand, to me, represents what California is becoming. California is already a minority-majority state, and we should be represented this way. He has experience running LA, no mean feat. However, I am not sure he'd factor in Norcal in his decisions due to lack of experience.

I also like Amanda Renteria, but it feels like she is ballot-riding for her next job, whatever that is.

Pick: Today I am leaning Gavin, last week it was Villraigosa.You Pick. (I'll update this when I make a choice)

Lt. Governor:  Eleni Kounalakis gave a pretty good speech at the local Dem Pary Dinner, as did Jeff Bleich. Bleich has a serious resume, as a law clerk, lawyer and ambassador. Kounalakis was also an ambassador, and was born in Sacramento. She also seems to have decent money behind her, and is running a decent campaign.

Pick: Kounalakis

Secretary of State: Alex Padilla. Incumbent. Doing a good job.

Controller: Betty Yee. Incumbent. Doing a good job.

Treasurer: Fiona Ma. Gave a great speech at the local Dem Dinner. Very impressive and a solid accounting background.

Attorney General: Xavier Becerra. He's been doing a great job standing up to Trump. Keep him in this seat.

Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara. The *last* thing we need is a crypto-conservative shill for the insurance industry in the job. I'm looking at you Steve Poizner.

Board of Equalization, District 2: Malia Cohen. Great local candidate.

Senator: KDL (AKA Kevin DeLeon). After enough years, a change is needed. DiFi has been maddeningly centrist on national security and privacy issues. Its time for a change.

Congress: Zoe Lofgren. Because she's one of my heroes.

State Assembly: Evan Low. Incumbent. Doing a good job.

Superior Court, District 4: Chiarello. He's the only one running.

Recall Persky: Yes. The Standford case is all you need to know.

Persky Replacements: Unknown. You pick.

School Superintendent: Marshall Tuck. He has good endorsements from people I trust.

County Supervisor: Don Rocha. He understands central San Jose, and he stopped by the house. He's working hard for it. (and he offer to help me load my Kayak.).

Assessor: Larry Stone. Cuz why not.

DA: Jeff Rosen. Incumbent. Doing a good job.

Sheriff: Too scandals/deaths at the County Jail for Smith to keep her job. Hirokawa.

Mayor: No real choice. Sam Liccardo. A good man who is trying to represent ALL of San Jose, and doing a good job at it.



Prop 68: Bond measure for natural resources. YES.

Prop 69: Making sure the Legislature does not divert transportation money to something else. Duh. YES.

Prop 70: Requiring 2/3 super-majority on divesting cap-and-trade monies. I hate super-majorities. Seems anti-democratic. NO.

Prop 71: Sets effective date for ballot measures. Unclear what this is for but seems reasonable: YES.

Prop 72: from the why-are-we-deciding-this Dept.: Excludes newly constructed rain-capture equipment from reassessment. Umm....I guess so? YES. (Is the rain-capture lobby really this strong?)

RM3: Raise bridge toll. Not a big affect on me, and we need more monies for traffic alleviation. YES.

Measure B: Sham proposition. NO.

Measure C: Tucked in here is language that allows the creation of affordable housing which San Jose desperately needs. YES.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

How to get a job at VMware

How to get a job at VMware

Want to know 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

Getting hired 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....