A word (…concept actually…)  that you may or may not be familiar with.


In many colleges… we have a group of persons, self-deputized (or sometimes appointed) to the position of Ombudsman.

As a student you have the option to visit the Ombudsman if you have a grievance that you believe …  is …  systematically unlikely to be rightly dealt with by the “system” or “person or persons representing the system”.

The Ombudsman is your Advocate.
Your voice.
Your shield.
In some cases…  your weapon (tho do not think of it in these terms)

Its a powerful concept and it works.

I have personally witnessed corruption in business
and gross negligence in engineering
at companies which lack Ombudsman. 
(Examples available in private)

At a minimum…  a GOOD HR person.

This is different than the HR person that may slap your wrist for any number of infractions around failure to practice “Universally Preferable Behavior” in the workplace.

By GOOD HR person I mean…  like…  a counselor at a School who is a part of but separate…  equally powerful…  rational and well educated…  …   …    .

The Ombudsman can be an Engineer, Secretary, Manager, Forklift driver, or even the CTO.  There are no limits on who can take on this responsibility and it is free for anyone to strive for.

The Ombudsman can be advertised or under the radar.
Can keep office hours or allow walk-in’s
Can rotate in on a schedule

It is REQUIRED that the Ombudsman be un-corrupt!
Should a corrupt individual find their way into Ombudsmanship…  someone like me removes them from power.

It is REQUIRED of an Ombudsman that they provide service equally to any persons who seek assistance.

It is REQUIRED of an Ombudsman that any major issues brought up be seen thru…  even in harrowing circumstances.

It is REQUIRED that an Ombudsman know how to escalate a situation.

It is REQUIRED that an Ombudsman follow a code, that code can be their own…  and that code can be tested.  (They must welcome this test)


If your you are interested-                 (edit:  I type fast and allow auto-correct)
I deputize Ombudsman


P.S.  My current company is rich in Ombudsman.  Some of the best I have seen.  This is part of why I know the group will persist*


Post 4/20 report . . .


  1. The state of the fleet
  2. Karma
  3. Luck


Fleet State

My entire fleet of vehicles is currently in running or perfect condition!

It has been a decade or two since I needed to go to a mechanic and…  just today…  I saved $300 by changing out a fuel pump myself.
(2hrs labor + shop rate on parts)


2001        (5th Gen)        Honda Prelude

This is the vehicle that defined:  Reliability, Safety, Quality, Value   –  for ME.

It is coming up on 20 years old.
It has been raced HARD
It is as reliable as the day I bought it.
I have stripped it to the frame and had others strip it to the frame
It was assembled in Japan…  from Japanese stock(*)

The Fasteners…  of the highest quality!

The Design…  was brilliant…
it requires nearly no specialized tools and can be maintained or repaired by ANYONE, anywhere, any time, with any tools.  The parts are cheap and common and reliable and STANDARD.

The Motor…  A marvel of complexity and reliability, power and economy, a lesson in every system – where its history is obvious (some parts have not changed since the 80’s) and where Honda’s bold management of risk shines..  in that millions were spent pioneering VALUE…  POWER…  QUALITY…   PERFORMANCE…

For       >>>     WIN WIN     >>>>

Today I finally ROOT CAUSED the performance issues I was having…
AS….   The Walbro aftermarket racing fuel pump.

The vehicle now runs its factory 200hp (+/-10%) and I am ready for the track again.   After passing the car off to an intern to “learn on”…  and getting it back…  I have done this recent work:

  1. Replaced the shift linkage
  2. Diagnosed and repaired the secondary intake runner control system
  3. Diagnosed and repaired the Throttle Position Sensor
  4. Diagnosed and repaired the wiring to the Primary O2 sensor
  5. Replaced the fuel pump and primary regulator
  6. Replaced the plugs, wires, cap, rotor, PCV, air filter, oil filter, and oil
  7. Installed beat…  that runs ~400W of cone at about 1,400W
  8. Diagnosed and replaced the alternator (that the above destroyed)
  9. Waxed it (and that is where I went wrong!!!) & swapped the battery


1989 Toyota 4Runner

I bought the car sight unseen from Washington with a bad water pump and no pictures.  30 years later this is our daily driver and go-to vacation vehicle.  It has the notorious V6…  which…  IMHO…   got a bad wrap (SO FAR).

  1. Replaced water pump
  2. Replaced leaking valve cover gasket
  3. Replaced the clutch master cylinder
  4. Serviced the speedo cable
  5. Diagnosed a bad light and repaired
  6. Repaired ON THE ROAD …  FAR FROM HOME…  the passenger side window
  7. Duct-taped the driver mirror then assisted Kimberly in replacing it
  8. Gutted the interior and dealt with moisture issues
  9. Tire swap all around to BFG A/T’s in 31×10.5 (utilized a tire shop)


1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee Orvis – lifted and modified with the 5.8L V8

Fully operational and can climb near vertically (tho…  I DID steal the tires off of it..  for the Runner)

My EX WIFE has the Pink slip even tho I technically “won” the vehicle in the divorce after she ran it into the ground…  but anyway…

  1. Salvaged it from a field where some SUBHUMAN IDIOT had filled the drive compartment WITH A HOSE which I have PROVEN by leaving it out in the RAIN for WEEKS ON END and assessing the WATER COLLECTION which was nowhere NEAR what I found at the CRIME SCENE where my PROPERTY was damaged in a MALICIOUS way that put MY SAFETY and the safety of my CHILD at *actual risk* (as opposed to projected risk, perceived risk, anticipated risk…  the lines and boundaries of which I know well – due to my professional training)
  2. To get it running this time, after it sat and was infested by rats…  I had to dig through ~7 chewed up wiring harnesses and repair them, on the spot, with what I had, to drive it away.  It runs and PULLS HARD…  harder than a police interceptor.
  3. As you can see…  the front bumper that I put on it to HIT THINGS WITH has hit a few things.  Hmmmm…  lol.  The latest was when my CPA needed to get to work ASAP and a truck was blocking the driveway.  I …  eh hem…  “relocated” the truck (causing no damage to it) and in the process busted out my front headlight.
  4. Eh…  how did I get off “on one”?  Oh yea…  I sometimes forget that we have been under near constant attack by the C.U.N.T. (and its band of lawyers) for YEARS NOW.  Let me tell you about it over a beer.
  5. Meh – next subject…  because if I hear that “Grandma” hit my kid *again* then “Grandma” is going to end up in a cage, a long way from home with no shoes and water, or otherwise FUCKING SORRY in a way that only a person who has had to fight for life can understand.

THAT is me talking to YOU
Dont mix up when I am speaking to “the general audience”

BTW – when you left the house with $8k in cash the vehicle was left with unsafe brakes…  metal on metal… which you had the responsibility to change out since at the time I was working on a HOT PROJECT at TESLA (all day every day @ $60/hr “friend rate” – which I delivered and is in service) where you got me FUCKING SELF FIRED when you got a FRAUDULENT COURT ORDER to take $5,200.00 /mo directly from my paycheck which you were giving to DANGEROUS CRIMINALS to harass me LITERALLY….  so I work, you take my money, you give my money to Lawyers, I have to buy Lawyers with the rest of the money, I end up homeless, you kidnap our kid.

That story ring any bells?

Fucking fucking fuck you dont know what pissed is.


2006 Scion TC

  1. Replaced the rear brakes
  2. Changed the oil and filter
  3. Swapped the battery
  4. Daily drove this bastard while my other cars were broken or otherwise needing repair


I like to collect it.

That’s the woman who now reads our son bedtime stories.

She is a CPA now (YEA!) and she even sometimes reads to me while I toil in the labor of love….

Like I said…  on the 5th gen Prelude the fuel pump resides between the back seat an the trunk.  I know this because I put the pump in that fuel tank…  back when I used to race the car.

So yea Sir – I am a Mechanic..  just not the type that rips you off*


I teach men to fish

Even when I am PISSED
Under Fire
Under Water
Under Funded
Underwhelmed and
Under the umbrella of a company that’s going to last.

Brought the MOTHERSHIP back to life.

Three primary caps SHOT due to electrolysis at the legs (physically eaten thru) and it was NOT shock and vibe because it was SITTING IN STORAGE (un-accelerated aging) so…

That is the finest quality – Fosgate

I take every single thing like that I can find apart…  and suck its juices…  and digest those juices… then create lessons we can learn from*


And of course there is always time for art.


Sometimes its a trick…  and sometimes it is not.



Here is how those secondary runners operate that I described to you.

Did you visualize it correctly?

Here is the bike that was ridden from Canada by Captain Justin…  it now serves our family THREE UP and we ride it everywhere

And here is a placeholder

For the story I will soon tell you about:

  1. Two high entropy sources fighting
  2. Astro Teller sitting in my lab for an hour
  3. The state of the surveillance state
  4. NEST, Android, and Efficiency
  5. How and why we are doing STARTUP COMPANIES and what this means to YOU and your EXPECTATIONS and your CAREER

I majored in Entrepreneurial Engineering (almost…  many hours…)

I worked on operating systems that you are using

I am about the most over qualified munitions disposal tek on the planet

Just last night I shook hands and broke bread with a good man who is homelss

and…  I THINK…  my Lawyer is still in jail


Until next week


Paying the bills….

I hate tough decisions.

I have learned (through having a child) that <<indecision>> is not an optional decision…   especially when you are a Safety Officer or otherwise in charge of big dangerous things.

I have worked on (arguably) 2 Google Robotics programs.  They each ended for their own reasons.  I had to end the second because of the financial plan (it again had me riding a skateboard to work…  and not even an electric one!)

You can see them around and of course I have pictures and pictures and pictures and stories and awesome stories…

I have kids and expenses and lawyer bills and startup debts…

I can not longer volunteer my time to the Electric Revolution (at the cost of my family)


This time around I will accept (if offered) a full time role.

Yea…  yea…  before at both Google and Tesla …  I fought the employee thing.  I WANTED to be a contractor – but – I WANTED to make a point of it…  and charge a fair wage.

I charged a flat dollar a minute – $60/hr – on a LOT of jobs.  Now…  after self employment tax, healthcare, Social Security, Account…  you want to know how much I earn from a fee like that?

Like $30 motherfucking bux an hour.  (insert messed up pic here)

I am not greedy.  I do not wish to dominate the world with evil robots.  I would be happy with $144k to $160k starting.

For that I will get traction on my own time…  work 12s for days on end figuring out what the hell is going on…


We start saving money.

  1.  Greenhorn program to teach design for Manufacturing…  to show…
    1. What it costs to engineer 3 versions
    2. What it costs to manufacture 3 versions
    3. What it costs to rework 3 versions
    4. …  low volume…  high volume…  turn key and slave labor…  hand filed and lights out manufactured

Programs like that –

Save the company $5M in a microsecond.  Offset my costs.

Check my track record.  Nobody has ever been hurt on my job site.  Nothing shady has happened on my watch (and when I have detected shady…  I have INDICATED hard…)

…  and on like that…

I am converging on wanting to work for Google.

Even if it means 2 hours on the race track every day to get there (hence…  I will NEED a salvaged Tesla to keep me busy.  Paint it primer black and roll cage it lol…)


History – in Log base 10

First and foremost…. it is my belief that the majority of humans (including myself) are not mentally equipped to “actualize” data which is  log 10.

(So to jump to the end…  be careful presenting graphed data in Log 10 – IF you want your audience to actually grasp the magnitude of the data – at the level where they can feel it – and not just mouth the words)

Is the shell in that rock (or the rock in that shell) …. a day old?

Perhaps 10, 100, or 1,000 days?

How about a billion days? (I don’t believe we can make that jump… even if we think we can…  based on a few examples where we have been able to)


It is questionable as to whether we can conceptualize

$1,000,000,000.00     –     One Billion Dollars

Lets assume for a second that we can.  I agree that we can …  understand it in terms of what we can get for it or do with it (so referenced to something arbitrary, relative, and changing thru time)

It is then only on that assumption that we can fool ourselves into thinking we understand:

$1,000,000,000,000.00     –     One Trillion Dollars

That’s a lead in to something completely off topic that is right on topic.  It goes a bit like this:


Statement:  “War could very well be THE benchmark for inefficiency”

Assuming that it is…    (for a moment, because that is what academics do to solve BIG problems…)

Also assuming that (Enter 3 phd thesis here, ~1,000 pages)

Question:  “How much money do the United States tax payers pump into War, relative to our efforts to develop the Electric Revolution”?

This takes a lot of research

You have got to dig and dig and dig

You have got to get your feet dirty so to speak.

Dig into war…   DEEP…  like 10 years deep

Dig into EV…  DEEP…  like 10 years deep

When you are done rooting around (like DigDug) there will be a pile (or a few piles)

Tailings – lots of tailings

Fools gold – lots of fools gold

Pay Dirt – oh yea…   major Pay Dirt…

When you find that Pay Dirt…  what will you do?

Fill up a backpack and run for the woods?

Fill up a truckload and drag axle to town?

Announce what you have found… lay claim to what you have found…  maybe enslave others to the task of unearthing more of what you found for your own

Business – from the 1850’s gold rush thru the 1950’s technology rush thru the 2050 rush into space.

At every turn..  (SNIP – no opinions)

Tell you this:

The scarcity of resources is strictly an illusion.


We have allowed a few to collect a lot.


It is now time for them to invest it.


Whats a Billion dollars?





In the queue I have 3 requests to further define some vocabulary.

  • Work or working

The English language is confusing in that words can mean many things.  This is true in many languages (except programming languages…) and that is a topic for another time.

Work (as it will be defined here) is not to be confused with the act of working…  like…  when you are trying to please your lover in bed.

Thats a totally different sort of work.

What I wish to address here is the question of whether or not a Machine or System “works”, whether that is a binary function or a scale, and whether it is absolute or relative.

First and foremost:

  1. The concept of something “working” is ALWAYS relative.  There is no such thing as something “Absolutely working”.  Its a major fallacy…  held by many who are not builders…  to think that something “works or does not work”.

To state that something “works” is to (in this context) state that it meets a set of requirements or expectations.

Strangely – …   even if something meets a set of “standards”…  that does not (most certainly does not…) mean that it “works”, for the simple reason that the standards are a gross generalization and (99.99% of the time) the standards are not a super set of what is required for something to function properly for the period of time intended.

If I want to state that something works (binary or scaled) I have to have a test in place to determine this.

Without a test…  to determine that requirements are met…  then what we have is “Working” as opposed to “works”

Its a fine line…  but there is (most certainly) a measurable and demonstrable difference between “getting something working” (which is the threshold between unknown/high risk and known/low risk) and stating something works (which is the finish line)

So – we have defined Works as a relative measure.  It is not an absolute.

We have stated that any relative measure must be in reference to something fixed (measuring against moving targets is …  and advanced subject)

We have defined gates…  Not working, Working, Works

We have associated risk level:  High, Low, Legacy



2)  Binary vs Scale

When evaluating whether something works we can address it in two ways.  I prefer Binary…  for the simple reason that it avoids the slippery slope of scale…  where scale involves judgement.

It is not always clean…  but we try to make it clean.

To create a binary from a scale we select limits.  Above this…  works.  Below that…  does not work.  In the middle…  we MUST always have a gray area.

The purpose of the gray area is to stop folks from attempting to inch up on a limit.  There must be hysteresis between “Pas and Fail” (tho School does not teach you this sadly)

SO…..  in this middle area…  between WORKS and DOES NOT WORK…  or PASS and FAIL…  we have ->  Ambiguity.

It neither works not does not work.

We want to minimize landing in this spot…  as it is by definition a transition…  so think of it as a rest area or edge on a switching signal.  You may find yourself there for a moment or two…  but if you find yourself wallowing here…  what is most likely happening… is an unwillingness to admit or accept Failure.

Failure is ok.  There is nothing inherently wrong with failure.  It is simply a state in the machine that you must pass on the way to Winning.  To not see it as simply that…  is to wrap riddles in metaphor and muddle the facts.

So – we have stated that we would like to avoid 0-10 scales…  and do this by saying something to the tune of 0-3 = FAIL, 4-6 = UNKNOWN, 7-10 = PASS

Something along those lines….  where we always error DOWN and never UP…  as a point of integrity…  and as a proof of margin.

(Margin is a whole new subject which requires pages)


3)  So now we are ready to state whether or not a machine “works” – since we have clearly defined success…  and the metrics for determining success (or progress toward success)

We always think in terms of vectors or acceleration.  Never a fixed point.  Never a dead end.  Never a conclusion.

Nothing is concluded until the fire sale..  and even then…  the coals are blown hot again in a new cave*

So – in my business – we state whether or not something works by using a framework.

In the best case we have a device which is a transfer function.  This device has inputs, it has a process, and it has outputs.  We can exhaustively prove that a device works by running (as near to) a full spectrum of inputs and evaluating outputs.  Of course…  the pass fail criteria from above is in place…  and we also consider inefficiency (processing time, heat, lost bits..)

Transfer functions are defined through requirements (ultimately) but more immediately through INTERFACE DEFINITIONS.

When you create a transfer function you define:

Valid Input

Invalid Input

Behaviors Expected

Outputs for a given input

Interface details (like pins or message formats)

(this area can be expanded…  but not now)

So….  lets say I have a widget.  Lets say this widget (SNIP – Need to get paid to give examples…  and I would just prefer to use a real example than a made up one)

Thats all I feel like writing about.

Just went out puddle jumping with my son.  While he romped around in the creek, down the creek, and in the ocean where the creek lets out….

I was lost in thought about my life experiences.

  • Walking through “dead zones” with remote control machine guns that are allowed and encouraged to shoot you.
  • Agreeing to do work under threat of death or imprisonment…  and uncovering horrific inefficiency
  • Answering just about every “Call out” from every peanut in the game…  so that I can look you in the eye…  and really tell you…  that I either understand the experiences you had…  or I understand the experiences you have yet to have or may never have.

Life is not measured in years

A fool believes that because he has grown a grey beard…  that he has earned his right.

He has earned a right…  but not THE right…  as THE….  is something that is earned through EXPERIENCES and those experiences are only loosely bound to the time domain.

I challenge you to this test:

“Do one thing that scares the shit out of you EVERY DAY”.  Do it for a week.  Do it for a month.  Do it for a year.  Do it for a decade.

Do it for decades.

Now…  stand before me.  A man who has tried his damnedest to push his limits for decades…  and …  tell me of your path.






When I was a kid we did Scouting.

Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts….

It was fun and rewarding.  Community and confidence building.

(Thats a pic of the “50 mile hike” – which I completed @ ~10yo)


In Santa Cruz we have something structured that is very similar – and possibly even more practical (with less impact on the ol’ knees…).


Junior Life Guards

Check it out:

My son is JAZZED on saving peoples lives and navigating the ocean safely.  Every day he yammers about how we wants to go surfing…

So we do.



P.S.  Usually we just end up spending an hour or two fighting the rip-tide…  and 20 minutes actually surfing.  He enjoys the struggle – between digging for sand crabs and playing with other kids.



Word Clouds

Since I never got around to filling in the STATS section…  I have re-purposed it for another exercise:


Source:  Noted in the picture as a Royalty Free Stock Photo


Word Clouds are just one of many HCI tools that can be used to re-frame a circular argument.

When a person you are interacting with is executing Fallacy (but refuses to acknowledge it) there are several tools:

  1.  Intervention
  2. Documentation
  3. Interactive Word Clouding

Word Clouding brings to the forefront avoidance words which are being used.
Word Clouding encourages the use of words which are productive

Its pretty fun…

Tho not as fun as an ACTUAL Schindler Engineering adventure where we drop off of cliffs and explore caves…


Facing off with a Bully

Man…  just had to.  Its super stressful.

Woke up AGAIN at 3:20AM (all sick to my stomach).  I set aside an hour to respond instead of react….

I had to face “the Bully” for another beat-down…  (or at least agree to a meeting place and mediator for the beat down)

…  prep time …

Ok …  I will put in another 8 hours of preparing facts, options, alternative options…  and presenting a FAIR DEAL which I would gladly spin the table on.

Unbelievable Belligerence from my Co-Parent.

Major counter-productive disruption to our peaceful life


Proof Shots

Now… “Proof Shots” are always important in writing

Folks these days…  need Pics.

Its a magic formula mastered by online content providers.  Pictures break up text, validate text, and …  can…  take a RANT and turn it into an ARTICLE

(of which I have written many…  sigh…)

How you do your work is up to you.  There is nothing inherently “wrong” with scribbling all over the place…  IF…  you come up with the true and correct solution.

(Note – this is an earned privilege, like driving)

Quickly admit when you are wrong…  this is the KEY.

Like…  when I claimed that brown eggs would not result in vivid colors.  Hmmm…  clearly I was wrong…  simply because my preconceived notions of “vivid” involved popping bring colors

Vividity can bee deep and dark in hue.  I do not care if Vividity is a word.  I will make it one.

Kids – this is what our job is…

To bring them up in a way that is better than how we were brought up.

MEASURABLY BETTER – and not by some dumb-fuck-Bush test…  I am talking about an actual measure of a humans value to the world.


See my boy there?

With a pen mustache, stickers on his head, gobbling sugar…  lol…

Same boy who was climbing on jacks with me over the treacherous ocean – learning the real boundaries of SAFE and DANGEROUS.


He is only 5…  and just yesterday he froze up (this is what we look for…)

He was in the bath with the water running.

Now…  I taught him how to run those dials 3 years ago when he was TWO.  He got it.  He demonstrated.

Some idiot UNLEARNED him.

Fucking UNLEARNED him.


So…  we are headed back from the beach…  which we walked to directly from his school (82 feet he told me – ~162 steps)…

I was in a wetsuit, door got slammed, I got locked outside…  he is in the bath.


He was not allowed to turn the dials at his moms house….

He responded to me in the MOST ALARMING way by saying “I DONT UNDERSTAND” to my instructions (thru the bathroom window) to simply turn off the water if the tub was getting too full…

Or let papa in thru the front door so that I dont have to spider-man the god-damn chimeny


Yea…  kids should not open the front door?

Kids …  should not run the valves in a tub?



Kids should UNDERSTAND what the valves are, what the valves do, what the risks are.

Kids should UNDERSTAND who might knock on the door, how to verify it is someone you trust, how to make DECISIONS

Deciding to blindly obey is NOT an “optimal outcome solution”

Its a dumbfuck way of raising kids.

Just like hitting kids is dumb fuck

Just like totally dominating the little humans is dumb fuck

Come on…

Its like the guys who dont see that women are 3 generations away from being house slaves…  and still think they get handled with kid gloves.

I still have to fight women with both hands tied behind my back.  They are allowed to strike deadly blows…  I have to play kid gloves.  It sucks.  Do you know how many times have have had the shit beat out of me by an insane woman?

Not physical shit…  I am talking about mental and emotional…  politics and games…  what I call…  Violence.

(I named it “Woman Violence” the other day…  but that is another story and it is quite personal and real.)

Buncha shit…  but anyway…  (court, lawyers, common law…  )

Pics or it didn’t happen

14mm Crows foot on an 18″ extension FROM THE TOP…  not from the bottom.

Yep…  engine timing is right.  Did not skip a tooth.

Crank shaft pulls a belt, pulls a water pump, pulls a balancer, pulls a couple cams, pulls a balancer, and slack gets taken up by an Auto or Manual tensioner

Auto tensioners fail – and I have lost an engine to one…  race engine.

Belts can skip on those cams…  have to line everything up TDC and view the marks.

While you are in there crank it to different positions and spot check that valve lash.  Mine is ok…  I can hear it and do not need to measure it.

In the words of a surer at the lane…


What he was talking about was the steady stream of new kooks pouring out into the water…  each and every one of which needs to get hazed out…  or beaten in.

Yea…  I know all about hazing

I know all about “me too”

I know all about Working up without a degree

I know all about having a degree.


I understand.