Event Video, Featured, In Memoriam, Tech Community, Technology, Uncategorized

Douglas Engelbart and The Future, Now

© Mike Gebhardt / drnormal, All Rights Reserved

© Mike Gebhardt / drnormal, All Rights Reserved

The Future (intentionally capitalized) is important. It’s as important to us as food, water and shelter and is made from our dreams and desires to create a prosperous life for ourselves. It exists in the earliest cave art, religion, science, literature, education- because we visualize and desire to bend the inevitable Time, to our own will. It’s the heart of creativity and who we are and we should pay reverence to it as amazing and somewhat mystical because it transcends needs of The Now, pointing a compass to a destination- a collective idea- traveled by like minded people. The Future is both large and complex, and small and personal.

Douglas Engelbart was a special man who actually lived in The Future. Not just in his dreams- Engelbart manufactured The Future for himself and for all of us. I can trivialize his biography simply as “inventor of the mouse” or you can read more about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Engelbart  I think his memory is best served if you watch and listen to a man who invented The Future right here, on this blog, in these embededd videos, on this Internet. All of this existed in 1968, just not in that collective Now.

I’m concerned about The Future. Mainly because a person who thinks about these things everyday has pointed out that The Now seems to taking over more thought time in our consciousnesses which is confusing to me, since we have every bit of information, technology, and tool at our disposal to create The Future on a grand scale. I never imagined Instagramming my lunch to post on Facebook when I was a kid watching Star Trek on rerun television. I imagined we’d cure disease, eliminate poverty, bigotry and war, double our lifespans, and travel the stars exploring strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations. I think we can still do these things and they’re easier than we think. What we need is a collective dream- a grand challenge much like “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth”. We haven’t even done that in over 40 years!

I think we should tackle the problem of Time. We’re slaves to this fundamental thing that we still don’t understand well. Matter on the other hand, is becoming very clear to us- how it exists, where it exists- but we need a detailed understanding of Time if we are to grow into The Future next. We have it inside us. We can do it individually by starting small, making every thought have a future component to it, but we must begin to dream again of The Future here in The Now.

 

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Beer and Blog, Conference, Featured, In Memoriam, Lunch 2.0, Open Source, Oregon, personal, Portland, social media, Tech Community, Uncategorized

Thank You, Igal Koshevoy

Thank you, Igal Koshevoy for the help and all you did for Portland. I will greatly miss your presence.

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A last minute, short message letting me know a meeting wouldn’t be happening Tuesday night alerted me to something wrong. Very wrong. A few vague tweets later I could feel that something bad had happened in the tech community and a quick follow-up message “by now you probably just saw the announcement…” was numbing. Damn!

The world continues to feel senseless to me. I’m asking why someone who made this a much better place had to leave us now? There’s no answer. All I have are memories of how he presented himself and how much he helped.

I can’t remember exactly when I first met Igal Koshevoy, but I’m sure it was at Cubespace. My first recollection of him was picking up some bags of production gear as I was packing up an event there. I shot him a glance, like saying: “umm, where’re you going with my bags??” Wearing one of the heavy backpacks, he also grabbed as much as he could carry in each arm unbalanced and asked if my car was parked out front. I recall he opted to take the stairs and I worried that he was going to throw out his back or worse, fall down the stairs. He didn’t. I think this was a bit of a guy thing, probably part of his past as an Eagle Scout. I could relate to that.

Most often he would swoop in unannounced to see what he could do to help pack in or out- kind of like a conference ninja- I didn’t ask, he just quietly appeared with a smile. He had other responsibilities, but he always found some time for the ‘grunt work’. More importantly that’s what he did in the tech community as a leader. Ignite. BarCamp. Open Source Bridge. Ruby Brigade. ePDX. OpenConferenceWare. Calagator and Photographer & Artist. That’s the short list, but the things he did held a great impact on the people of the open source, startup and tech communities in Portland, Oregon and beyond. He was the definition of mensch.

We shared some funny moments during Open Source Bridge 2011. He tried to take some pictures of me at the podium while I packed up after the keynote. It devolved into me posing like a Roman Emperor addressing the Senate. He didn’t post the photos, probably for a very good reason. In 2012 I really wanted to catch up with him because there was an idea for a community project that I wanted his opinion and guidance on. I privately told a few people that I knew the perfect person to discuss this with, but we didn’t run into each other as had been usual and I completely missed the opportunity. I’ll have that to regret the rest of my life, wondering what guidance, input and advice he would have had.

Some people who knew him better than me have written eloquently about how he touched their lives. Pouring over his Flickr photostream, I’m reminded of the events and find pictures I hadn’t seen before. He not only documented the rise of this new Portland tech community from it’s beginning, he also captured in photographs some pivotal personal moments of mine. As I commented to a friend and someone who also knew him well, his passing is kicking over a few rocks in my life to see what’s underneath. That’s a bit tough to acknowledge at the moment, but reading the last section of this thoughtful blog post by Addie Beseda struck a nerve- that it’s time be open and public about how we feel and what we need from each other. Our social apps give the power to share the most intimate yet mundane details of our day to day lives, yet that seems to me a smoke screen, a diversion from the very real feelings we hold tightly inside. Like Igal showed up for our community events and projects, we must find a way to show up for each other during the times when selflessness can paradoxically turn to a feeling of isolation. That’s hard work but I’m reminded that Igal made hard work look fun in the context of community.

Thank you, Igal Koshevoy for the help and all you did for Portland.

We are planning a Celebration of Life for our friend and colleague, Igal Koshevoy. We welcome all who wish to participate, volunteer, and contribute to these efforts. Igal’s memorial will be Sunday, April 21st from 4-7pm at First Unitarian Church, 1211 SW Main St, Portland, OR. Please RSVP at Eventbrite so we can plan accordingly. You can sign up as a volunteer when you RSVP, or by contacting carolynn@tenx.org. We have set up koshevoy.net to help our community celebrate Igal’s life. Please share memories, photos or words of remembrance, and read what others have shared. We have also created a Facebook page, and on Twitter we request that you use the hashtag #igalko or his twitter handle @igalko. Stumptown Syndicate is accepting contributions on behalf of Friends of Igal Koshevoy, if interested please read the Contribute page.

Memorial Site: http://koshevoy.net

Memorial RSVP: http://igal-koshevoy-celebration.eventbrite.com/#

Memorial Live Stream: http://new.livestream.com/bcHD/igal

 

 

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Beer and Blog, In Memoriam, Lunch 2.0, Tech Community

Paul Bingman @pdxflaneur (Update on Memorial Celebration)

photo by Cami Kaos

UPDATE

The Friends of Paul Bingman have announced the memorial to celebrate his life this Sunday, April 17th, 2011 6-9PM at the Whitsell Auditorium 1219 SW Park Ave (at Madison) in Portland, OR. All the info is posted here on Eventbrite.

There’s also a volunteer sign-up here if you’d like to pitch in and help with the memorial. I’m sure there are many who are willing. I’ll be volunteering to produce a video for friends and family.

Also, the organizers of the memorial have asked for donations here to cover any costs associated with the memorial service. Left over money will go to designated charities.

Thank You

I was saddened to receive the news this last Sunday (via Twitter) that a local tech giant (literally) had passed away. I had met Paul Bingman in the Beer and Blog tech community a few years back. I can’t quite remember if it was a Beer and Blog or a Lunch 2.0 event, but I know the first time we met that he came to me, raised up a hand and said in a booming yet calming voice: “So you’re Doctor Normal!? I watch your show!” It sort of became my calling card for the Portland tech, blogging and Open Source community that was the focus of our ever evolving Strange Love Live podcast. Meeting people like Paul was the unexpected benefit of the hard work we all put into producing a weekly podcast- and he too was a hard working member of the community- we all remember him greeting us at the door of Ignite Portland: “SLL is a sponsor tonight, Paul!” (his reaction was a smile and a wave through…).

His personal touch on the tech community is covered in some wonderful tributes to his life linked here:

Rabbi David Kominsky

Silicon Florist

Technooccult

But here’s my personal reflection on talking with Paul. He was a BIOS developer. He pointed that out when I told him who I worked for. We hit it off immediately because I admire and get along quite well with those folks who program your hardware- he was no exception. I remember him as an engaging conversationalist who’d tell you about scouting locations for films, or discuss many of his other varied pursuits.

We once had a deeply personal conversation on a street corner in the summer sun after a Lunch 2.0, when I asked him how it was going. He shared with me a very personal issue that was obviously weighing on him emotionally. I listened and offered support as a friend for this very sad situation. He also shared good news with me as well, coming to me once with a twinkle in his eye at Beer and Blog.

Looking back, I’m blessed that I got to know a bit about Paul personally by attending our local blogging and tech community events. I will miss seeing him there. I offer my heartfelt condolences to his close friends and family.

Mike a.k.a “doctor normal”

 

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