What is Moving Average Convergence-Divergence (MACD)?

Moving Average Convergence-Divergence (MACD) is an efficient, compact way to compare averages of a metric over two different intervals, and determine if the metric is trending upwards or downwards. It is widely used in finance and several other fields.

MACD is a terrible name for a simple concept. It simply subtracts the long-term (distant) average from the short-term (recent) average. If the short-term average is larger, the result is positive and the metric is trending upwards.

MACD

» Continue Reading (about 500 words)

Sponsors Do More Than Pay The Bills

I participate in many technical conferences every year, and I’m always struck by the way conferences treat their sponsors. Those that simply acknowledge sponsors for making the event possible are seriously stunting their community. Don’t do that! Your community’s commercial supporters aren’t parasites: they’re an essential part of your ecosystem.

Compass

» Continue Reading (about 900 words)

My Four Favorite Meditation Books

Mindfulness meditation has changed me perhaps more than any other influence in my life. Here are four books whose wisdom I treasure.

Zen Rocks

» Continue Reading (about 600 words)

Male Fear of False Accusations Is Irrational

In the wake of revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s long history of abusing women, a lot of men have retreated to a position of fear. What if the only way to avoid having your life ruined by a woman’s false accusations of assault is to never be alone with a woman? Like Vice President Pence?

This fear is itself sexist and irrational. This is an opportunity to grow and mature. Let’s dig into why.

Scared Man

» Continue Reading (about 1300 words)

My Home Gym

After leaving CrossFit, I found a workout rhythm that works well for me, and gradually stocked my basement and patio with a few essentials so I can vary my workouts. Now I can do pretty much anything I used to do at a really nice CrossFit gym. CrossFit is great because the equipment needed is fairly minimal anyway. People often ask “where are the machines?” and the insider’s joke is “we don’t use machines, we build them.” Here’s what’s in my “garage gym.”

» Continue Reading (about 1700 words)

My Workout Regimen

I’ve found a workout routine that I’ve been able to maintain despite the challenges of parenting, travel, sickness, and founding and leading a startup company. Not only do I sustain the regimen, it sustains me. This is my workout practice.

Kettlebells

» Continue Reading (about 1000 words)

When White Supremacy Came To Charlottesville

On August 11 and 12, 2017, hundreds of white supremacists traveled to my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, ostensibly to protest the planned removal of Confederate memorials. They assaulted, injured, and killed people.

Many people don’t know even the outlines of what happened, and have asked me to describe it to them. I’ve had trouble finding a concise, comprehensive story online. Most news stories are either summarized or focus on only a single incident during the rally, giving no sense of what happened overall. This post is a compilation of some of the major events.

Before you continue, please be aware that this post links to and contains graphic, disturbing images and video.

Fascists

» Continue Reading (about 1800 words)

No Needs No Apologies

As I stopped on a New York City sidewalk to take a photo, a man approached me. “Hey, sir!” he said. “You from around this area?”

I scanned the area quickly and saw no danger, but I thought I knew where this was headed. “No,” I answered, trying to dismiss him. He waved a small cellphone at me, his wrist gyrating emphatically. “My phone is dead,” he said, his tone hinting that he didn’t believe himself. “Can you help me?”

Sidewalk

» Continue Reading (about 600 words)

Effective Sales Outreach

Sales people contact me a lot. This is common for anyone who’s a founder or executive in a growing company, and I’ve done it too. I don’t mind being contacted. I’ve made new friends and allies. I’ve even bought from some.

But there are different kinds of sales outreach, and some of it just isn’t effective.┬áThe key to effective sales outreach is to realize that there’s either a need, timing, and budget or there isn’t. The outreach itself cannot cause a sale to happen that the prospect wouldn’t otherwise engage in.

Turbine

» Continue Reading (about 700 words)

Meditation: Captive vs Directed Attention

I wrote previously about meditation, and in a subsequent post I wrote about the meditative qualities I found in writing cursive. As my meditation practice continues, I find myself seeing these experiences differently than I did before.

Mule Deer

» Continue Reading (about 700 words)

Hitler Reacts to Removal of MySQL's Query Cache

The removal of the query cache in MySQL 8.0 improves user experience and has been celebrated by many members of the MySQL community. With this good news, obviously, Hitler isn’t happy. (Parody Video).

» Continue Reading (about 100 words)

Heavier-Than-Air Flight Is Impossible

When I was a child, my parents put a page from a newspaper on our refrigerator door. I remember it as a yellowed, faded piece of paper that seemed like it had always been there. It was filled with little oval portraits of famous people proclaiming that heavier-than-air flight was impossible. My memory is that there were perhaps 40 of them, each with a quote and a date within a few years of the Wright Brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk.

This might be one of the childhood influences that resonates most strongly in me today. There are dozens of examples of people disdainfully saying “you can’t do that” during my career.

I tried to find an image of the page I remember, but didn’t (maybe it’s impossible?), so I looked for quotes and am producing my own version of it below.

» Continue Reading (about 800 words)

How To Write Exciting Conference Proposals

Most conference proposals are too boring, even when the speakers and topics are great. This is a pity. I think something about the process of submitting to a CfP sets a trap for most speakers. This post is my advice for avoiding that trap.

TL;DR: Your proposal should focus on your story about what you’ve done personally and what you’ve learned. Your story, not the topic. And, don’t tell us anything about the importance of the topic or how high the stakes are.

Crocodile

» Continue Reading (about 1600 words)

Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI and ML) are so over-hyped today that I usually don’t talk about them. But there are real and valid uses for these technologies in monitoring and performance management. Some companies have already been employing ML and AI with good results for a long time. VividCortex’s own adaptive fault detection uses ML, a fact we don’t generally publicize.

AI and ML aren’t magic, and I think we need a broader understanding of this. And understanding that there are a few types of ML use cases, especially for monitoring, could be useful to a lot of people.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

» Continue Reading (about 600 words)

Analyzing Changing Workloads with the USL

Production servers often have much more dynamic, complex workload and behaviors than you might be accustomed to seeing, because most monitoring products aggregate system behavior into high-level global metrics, losing all the detail. Multivariate analysis by another dimension often reveals something unexpected about server behavior. This can prompt you to explore the system, and sometimes leads to a deeper understanding of it. Here’s one such example.

row-36-ts

» Continue Reading (about 400 words)

Interviewing

A couple of years ago, during a time of crisis in my company, I realized I’d created a mess. But the scariest thing was I didn’t know what I’d done wrong. Of all the many things I did, what, exactly, was making things go so badly? It turned out that most of my problems were caused by bad interviewing technique. I was setting every interview up for failure, and I didn’t know it.

Hexnut

» Continue Reading (about 1400 words)

Defining Moments in Database History

The rise of the LAMP stack in the early- to mid-2000s created a shift in the technology landscape, as well as the impetus for contenders to emerge. I’ve been reflecting on key factors in that phenomenon and what’s happened since then—and what it can teach us about what’s happening now.

Crossroads

» Continue Reading (about 1900 words)

Writing Kindly

It makes me a bit uncomfortable when people say I’m a good person, because sometimes I’m actually a jerk! Thankfully, I’ve found that gentleness is a skill I can learn if I care enough to try, and I’ve gotten better at it over time. I’ve also found that when I’m nice and I focus on the positive, I get better results. Here are some things I’ve learned about how to be a kinder person in my writing.

Bird in Hand

» Continue Reading (about 800 words)

Charlottesville Coffee Roasters

One of the things I appreciate about living in beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia is the abundance of artisanal products that are high-quality and produced locally. There’s a vibrant network of people making food, drink, and physical goods: wineries, chocolate, art, blacksmithing, and much more. Many of our local producers are recognized worldwide. As a newly minted coffee lover, I also appreciate the variety and quality of coffee roasters in town and nearby. Of course, we have to import the beans, but there’s much to the coffee story after the beans are harvested. Here are some of my favorite local coffee resources.

Coffee

» Continue Reading (about 600 words)

Simple Guidelines For Maintainable Spreadsheets

The spreadsheet is one of the most powerful inventions in the history of computing. But with that power comes responsibility: just as with a programming language, the spreadsheet itself can become difficult to understand and maintain.

Ledger

» Continue Reading (about 1200 words)