How do you keep on your path?

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in #vDM30in30 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I like to take my dog Fred on long walks on the weekend. One of the nice things about Austin is all of the nature trails that are in the city. The days we make it out there really early are the best. I tend to zone out, especially if Fred isn’t acting super crazy.

Last week one of the things I thought about was about how important it is to keep on the path you’ve chosen for yourself. Sometimes it’s good to go off the beaten path, and go exploring….but when you want to really zero in on a goal you have to ignore the distractions and keep on the path. And you have to be physically able to keep on the path. You also have to pay attention to rocks that may be stuck in the trail, because if trip over one and go down, it could keep you off the path. And you’ll have to start all over again.

So keeping on the path requires good health, and paying attention. What else? What keeps you on your path?



Tech news roundup, week ending Nov 19, 2016

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in community building | Leave a comment

Another week, another round-up. It’s getting hard to stay caught up! I have a request this week: if your official title is DevOps engineer, I’d like to talk to you, potentially for a future blog post. Email me!

Here’s what caught my eye this week:


What were you reading this week?

Talk to each other

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in #vDM30in30, community building | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

We have to talk about the election.

One of the first and probably the most interesting conversations I had about the election was with my children. I told them that things *are* better than they were when I was a teenager in the 80s, in the deepest part of the south. I told them several specific instances of racism I observed.  I told them that being afraid of a nuclear war was a real thing, especially living next door to the biggest air force base in the world as well the base that was home air force special ops (I grew up knowing we were in the top 5 for the targets Russia would aim at). Mix in the AIDS epidemic and the beginning of the war on drugs, there was plenty of bigotry and fear-mongering to go around.

I shared a couple of music videos with them that I think really captured that feeling.

Then we talked about how things have changed. Being overtly racist is not as accepted as it was when I was a teenager. My son said that’s what the problem is, things have changed and they’ve never seen so much hate on display.

This is what we must cling to.

Our country is more diverse than it was 30 years ago. And, contrary to what you hear about people who voted for Trump, most of them like it that way. How do I know? By talking with my friends and loved ones. Have you talked to your friends and loved ones who voted differently than you did? Have you really tried to hear them out and understand why they voted as they did? If not, you need to get on that.

Have these conversations at dinner, on your front porch, in your backyard, at the hair salon. But have the discussion. Do not let the media convince you that only certain people voted for one or the other candidate. Do not let the media harden you so that you buy into the hateful rhetoric and terms. And y’all, that hate ain’t just coming from the Republicans.

This is critical right now. Even though our country is more diverse and tolerant, there is a faction that wants to oppress everyone of color, every non-Christian, every non-CIS person, even people with disabilities. And Donald Trump is installing the leaders of that faction into the highest, most powerful offices of our nation. They have the ability to change the good that’s been done over the last 50 years, and we may not see the impact of these changes for many years. Things you should be worried about:

We cannot allow hate to be the guiding principle that governs our nation. I don’t believe the people who voted for him want to see that happen. I know that my friends voted for him because they were just as terrified of the harm Hillary could do as a representative of the elite. The elite have honestly done just as much harm as the alt-right wants to do in part by amassing wealth by eroding the rights of workers, and by continuing to invest in infrastructure for the fossil fuel industry instead of funding and promoting greener forms of energy.

It killed me to vote for her.

Talk to each other. We have to connect on the things we want to see changed. People need jobs. No one in this country should be hungry. No one should be painting swastikas on anything. The cops need to step back from being so militarized. We all need to understand that many of the people crossing our border with Mexico are running away from the war-like conditions that are direct related to the actions of the same oil companies terrorizing Indian country in North Dakota right now. We need our government to get us out of that cycle, and to subsidize tech and infrastructure for clean energy, not the fossil fuel industry.

I think all of us want to see better conditions for everyone, not just those who look and think like us.

This conversation needs to happen right now.

Talk to each other. That’s step one. Step two is to take care of yourself, try hard not to medicate with drugs, alcohol, sex, social media, or whatever your escape of choice is. It’s hard to have a productive conversation with someone with whom you violently disagree if you’re numbing your fear. Feel those feels, and talk to people. Step three is to protect yourself, especially electronically. I’ll write more about that in upcoming posts.

For my tech friends, if you can “out” the marketers that spew vendor FUD, I know you can see the political propaganda (on both sides) for what it is. Analyze it, and then debunk it like you would FUD.

Remember, Dr King was assassinated in Memphis as he fought for sanitation workers’ rights; not just black workers. Malcom X was assassinated as he began to move towards uniting people of all races as well. The powers that be, that many in this election claim to have voted against, do not want people of different races and classes and religions to come together. But here’s the thing: we’ve been on that road for most of my life. We’ve seen real changes in how we treat each other. And there is only a handful of us that want to go back to the dark days of oppression.

For the love of all that is good, take step one. Talk to each other.

devs vs devops engineers

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in #vDM30in30 | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Words are important. I think it’s time we examined what we mean when we say “devs”.

In my mind, there are two types of devs:

  1. A developer who creates the software for an application.
  2. A developer who creates the infrastructure that a cloud application runs on

These devs perform different functions, and need different tools to complete their dev-y tasks.

I’m really trying to stay away from saying things like “traditional dev” or “traditional ops”. I understand that these terms help us ladder our understanding from what we’ve known in the past to where we need to go as an industry, but they also subtly convey the connotation that one is better than the other, and that one is stagnant, old, and out of touch.

I’m sorry, devops engineers who come from the ops mentality are anything but stagnant, old or out of touch.

The tools a software developer needs will be different than the tools a devops engineer needs (full disclosure: we’re working on a survey to explore those needs).


Does any of this make sense?

Update on my #vdm30in30 effort

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in #vDM30in30 | Tagged | Leave a comment

So, writing is hard.

Ok to be more specific, writing publicly, on my own personal blog, is hard. As a product marketing manager, I write a lot. It’s one of the reasons I love my job… I love to write especially about technology. I have 4 blog posts written for work, but when it’s for work there’s a whole process my posts have to go through before they are published. And I write lots of stuff that will never be attributed to me.

So, that’s one reason I’m six posts behind. If all my work posts get published I’ll close the gap to 1….

Also behind because I’m chasing a crazy plumbing problem in my new house.

I’ll do my best to get back into the swing of things. I think just having the focus on producing a blog post every day is really good, I don’t just slip into not writing on my own blog because I’m so busy.

So, trying to jump back in here…half-way through.


Tech news roundup week ending Nov 12, 2016

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in #vDM30in30 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This was a crazy week news-wise here in the US. I was very happy to have labwork to dive into, and I’ll be even happier when I can share some of the posts I’m writing for work. 🙂

I’m also pretty impressed by everyone’s heartfelt responses to the US elections. However, lots of y’all stayed on top of the tech news, thank you! Here’s what caught my eye this week:

That’s all I have for this week – what did you read?

Let America Be America Again

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in #vDM30in30 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I’ve spent two days fretting about my adult children. My beautiful mixed-race children, who are angry and scared about the election results. We’re talking, I’m trying to coax them away from filling their minds with what is being passed as news. I knew yesterday my son was going to be ok when he posted this:

He posted a portion of the 1935 Langston Hughes poem Let America Be America Again. We’ve always been here as a nation. What’s different this time is the kids aren’t used to it, and they are refusing to accept it. I believe it’s our job to help them sift through the information deluge, so they can concentrate on what’s real, and true, and just.

Here is the entire text of the poem, I challenge you to read it out loud, and share it with your loved ones:

Let America be America again.

Let it be the dream it used to be.

Let it be the pioneer on the plain.

Seeking a home where he himself is free.


(America was never America to me.)


Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed–

Let it be that great strong land of love

Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme

That any man be crushed by one above.


(It was never America to me.)


O, let my land be a land where Liberty

Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,

But opportunity is real, and life is free,

Equality is in the air we breathe.


(There’s never been equality for me,

Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)


Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?

And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?


I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,

I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.

I am the red man driven from the land,

I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek —

And finding only the same old stupid plan

Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.


I am the young man, full of strength and hope.

Tangled in that ancient endless chain

Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!

Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!

Of work the men! Of take the pay!

Of owning everything for one’s own greed!


I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.

I am the worker sold to the machine.

I am the Negro, servant to you all.

I am the people, humble, hungry, mean —

Beaten yet today — O, Pioneers!

I am the man who never got ahead,

The poorest worker bartered through the years.


Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream

In that Old World while still a serf of kings,

Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,

That even yet its mighty daring sings

In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned

That’s made America the land it has become.

O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas

In search of what I meant to be my home —

For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,

And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,

And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came

To build a “homeland of the free.”


The free!


Who said the free? Not me?

Surely not me? The millions on relief today?

The millions shut down when we strike?

The millions who have nothing for our pay!

For all the dreams we’ve dreamed

And all the songs we’ve sung

And all the hopes we’ve held

And all the flags we’ve hung,

The millions who have nothing for our pay —

Except the dream that’s almost dead today.


O, let America be America again —

The land that never has been yet —

And yet must be — the land where every man is free.

The land that’s mine — the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME —

Who made America.

Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,

Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,

Must bring back our mighty dream again.


Sure, call me any ugly name you choose —

The seal of freedom does not stain.

For those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,

We must take back our land again.




O, yes,

I say it plain,

America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath —

America will be!


Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,

The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,

We, the people must redeem

The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.

The mountains and the endless plain —

All, all the stretch of those great green states —

And make America again!



The tale of the shitty-ass trailer

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in #vDM30in30 | Tagged , | 2 Comments

this post is dedicated to my children

Last night we all watched in disbelief, as a racist, misogynistic man who has lied about his education, failed in business, and is one of the things I made you promise not to become (a reality TV star), not to mention a man who has some pretty serious charges leveled against him, become the President of the United States.

The emotional fallout for everyone close to me has been swift and pretty intense. How do we deal with the fact that such a man was elected to lead our nation?

What’s the point of even trying anymore?

Personally, I had a hard time sleeping last night. I thought about the water protectors in Standing Rock. I thought about my Muslim friends. I thought about my family back in Florida. I thought about all of my black and brown friends, and those who are different in so many ways than me. I thought about all my friends in Canada who would probably take me in, and then I thought about how much I hate the snow. I thought about how I would be the voice of strength and reason for my children.

All day the gloom hung over me, it perfectly matched the weather in Austin. Praying couldn’t shake it, neither did smudging.

Then my landlady called to let me know I had left an antique folding table in the house I just moved out of. “You wouldn’t believe the things people have left, I could write a book” she told me. And then I told her, “Oh I can believe it, I used to clean trailers for my landlord when I lived in the shitty-ass trailer”.

Then I told her the story of the shitty-ass trailer.

I lived there when I was first going to college. My family had cut me off (for religious reasons, the first of many times…), and I was truly raising 2 kids on my own, juggling school and 2 part-time jobs. I didn’t make enough money to live in Section 8 housing, that’s how poor I was. So we lived in the shitty-ass trailer.

The shitty-ass trailer was awful. There were huge holes in it. Rats used to get in, and the landlord told me I couldn’t get a cat. I filled all the holes with steel wool (rats can’t eat through steel wool), but they’d find other ways in. But once I got Lovey, she kept them (and the possums that would get in trying to keep warm) away from us.

I couldn’t even afford to pay the rent on the shitty-ass trailer, so the landlord let me clean his other trailers when he kicked out the druggies who skipped out on him. He didn’t actually pay me, he kept track of how many hours I worked and took it off my rent. Sometimes in the winter (slow season in a beach town) I still couldn’t pay my rent, The landlord let me slide, he knew once I got more hours, or my Pell Grant came in, I’d pay him.

The shitty-ass trailer is still there. I drive past it every time I go home. To remember.

My former landlady told me I was the one who should write a book. And I thought about how far I’d come, in spite of the odds and obstacles I faced. We laughed about it all.  And I realized what a blessing laughing is, and how it helped me remember the important things.

I made it because I’m smart, stubborn, tenacious, and lucky. I was going to get out of poverty for my children come hell or high water. I made it happen. I wouldn’t take handouts, I’d clean even shittier trailers than the shitty-ass trailer instead. No one was going to stop me.

I know things look grim now, and I feel the same suffocating weight. Maybe you don’t see me ranting and railing because with age I’ve realized that we need to save our energy for what’s coming. I also realize that my first fight wasn’t just for me, it was for your children, and your grandchildren. The most important thing is to keep close, to remember to attack this with purpose and love.

You have my genes, you’re smart, stubborn, tenacious, and lucky. And I have your back.

We’ll figure this out.

I just can’t.

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in #vDM30in30 | Leave a comment

Phoning my post in today. I have been working on posts for work, but they’re not ready to post yet. Settling in to the house, and the real work is just beginning.

And this election.

So, this may be cheating….but I can’t even today.

the internet of chatty things

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in #vDM30in30 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Today during a Twitter discussion about RaaS (ransomware as a service), John Obeto mentioned that two of the the refrigerators in house had been trying to communicate with the world. He couldn’t quiet his chatty fridges down unless he upgraded the firmware on those devices, which would probably mean connecting those fridges to his home network.

It’s been demonstrated that IoT devices can be targeted by ransomware. They proved it at defcon this year, by hacking an IoT thermostat. Can you imagine having to pay someone to give you control back of the thermostat in your house? Can you imagine someone gaining control and turning the heat on high in the middle of a Texas summer?

And let’s not forget the internet meltdown a few weeks ago, caused by a botnet made of IoT devices.

How are we in this situation? Why aren’t manufacturers doing more to secure their devices? It’s expensive, and it will put friction in the user adoption process. Why aren’t we more careful about the devices we bring into our homes? Well, who expects a refrigerator to come equipped with a wi-fi hot spot?

Does this mean we need to monitor our home networks like we do our work networks? Where is our generation’s Ralph Nader, to hold these manufacturers responsible for the havoc their devices are wreaking?