Latest Posts

Summary of ENIAC by Scott McCartney

This past weekend, I finally made it through ENIAC: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer by Scott McCartney . After originally purchasing this book from Audible in 2012, I quickly abandoned it after I found the writing dry and the British narrator off-putting. Fast forward six years, and I was finally able to grit my teeth and power through at 2x speed to get to the content…

How I got here: Chapter 1

As I've gotten older and gained perspective on my life, I've concluded that many aspects of my personality and career have been broadly shaped by the era, location, and community of my childhood. In this blog series, I'd like to retrospect on a few different periods of my life and some of their lasting influences on my professional pursuits and hobbies. Chapter 1: A child walks into Silicon Valley…

Biggest Blessings of 2017

After a decade of career compromises, I'm finally following my passions Ideally, when someone graduates from college, they should understand their interests and aspirations and map that to a career that the economy can support. For the lucky ones, this happens early and painlessly, and the road to adulthood is a smooth and pothole free onramp onto the fast lane of life. This is how I thought of…

Beginner Guide to WebVR on Daydream

Earlier today, I was pleased to discover that FedEx had shipped me an important package. No, this wasn't Christmas a week early (...or was it???). It was the brand-new Pixel phone and Daydream VR set that Fullstack Academy is loaning during the two months of my senior phase. After ripping open the box, getting all the cords untied, and getting the updates installed on both the phone and the…

Silencing the Siren Song

Come this way, honored Odysseus... and stay your ship, so that you can listen here to our singing; for no one else has ever sailed past this place in his black ship until he has listened to the honey-sweet voice that issues from our lips; then goes on, well-pleased, knowing more than ever he did; for we know everything... Over all the generous earth we know everything that happens. You, dear…

Regular Expressions Reference

Why this reference? After the first week of my junior phase at Fullstack Academy , it's clear to me that Regular Expressions is a concept that I need to master quickly. In the past, I've usually performed string manipulation through verbose and brute-force if/else logic. This approach does not work cleaning in succint functional styles of writing JavaScript. This content is derived from notes I…

Rules to be Outsource-Proof

Yesterday, some of my colleagues in Operation Code 's Slack channel were expressing some concerns about outsourcing and the impact that this might have on their careers. Given all of the election season rhetoric about American jobs, this is pretty understandable. Realistically, this is also an irreversable trend brought about by high-speed Internet interconnecting the globe. So rather than hoping…

Battle of the Somme Centennial

One hundred years ago today, General Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force, a man known for strong Christian beliefs and eccentric spiritualism (supposedly he had spoken with Napoleon through a spiritual medium) looked up to the sky and saw dark omens. Over the past five days, British artillerymen fired continuous explosion of more than 1.5 million shells on the German defensive…

TPP - Presidential by Nature

T.P.P., how can I explain it I'll take it frame by frame it To have y'all all jumping, shouting, saying it T is for Trans, P is for Pacific, scratch your temple The last P, well that's not that simple It's sort of like, well, another way to break down trade restrictions It's eleven little letters that are missing here You get on occasion if party brothers aren’t defamin’ It seems I gotta start the…

Princess House Mysteries: Chapter 4

First things first, there have been some setbacks with my Princess House Research. Nothing tragic, but a bit frustrating for me personally. Let me set the stage for you so that you can empathize. About three weeks ago, I finally worked up the courage to go to the Land Records Department of the Alexandria City Courthouse and find the original deed from Benjamin Williams' 1880 purchase of 120…

Princess House Mysteries: Chapter 3

In my last post, I discussed some of my initial thoughts about where my house was actually located between when it was built circa 1850 and when it was moved to the "Uptown" neighborhood of Alexandria in 1880. In this post, I'd like to focus on what stood on the land around the 1200 block before the development of the residential neighborhood. Similar to other East Coast cities, the growth of…

Princess House Mysteries: Chapter 2

In Chapter 1 of the Princess House Mysteries , I discovered that my new home at 1204 Princess Street wasn't built in 1920 like I had originally thought, but that it was built around 1850 and moved to its current location in Parker Gray around 1880, perhaps by an individual named Benjamin Williams. This discovery led me to wonder about two questions: Where was the house previously located? Why was…

Princess House Mysteries: Chapter 1

Shortly before Christmas of 2014, my wife and I purchased a lovely townhouse in Alexandria City's Parker Gray Historic District. More specifically, we purchased a house on Princess Street, which my wife loves to no end. Finally she can be a Virginia Princess! The home has been great so far. We're three blocks from King Street, an eight minute walk to Braddock Road, and close to all sorts of…

What I learned from Wes Anderson‘s Rushmore

It's hard to believe that I've gone sixteen years without seeing it, but thanks to HBO Go and this wonderful blog post , I just wrapped up watching Wes Anderson's first commercial success: Rushmore. Falling somewhere between Benjamin Braddock and Ferris Bueller, the protagonist Max Fischer was a fascinating character. Eccentric and precocious, Max exudes a very strange sort of magnetism that…

IBM Surburban Commandos versus Tech MeetUps: FIGHT!

One of the largest impacts of the demographic shift from Baby Boomers to Gen Xers to Millennials has been the shift in preferences from the single-family homes, privacy, and quality of life offered by the suburbs to the walkable amenities, night life, and easy public transit options offered by urban neighborhoods or close-in suburbs. This trend has led to rapid gentrification of city neighborhoods…

What would Jesus code?

Thanks to organizations such as Code for America , the techie community is increasingly starting to think about ways to leverage their engineering skills in volunteer public service projects. I seriously applaud these efforts! However, I think that it's a mistake to completely concentrate our efforts on municipalities and promoting open governance. There are countless other non-for-profits and…

Sólyom Fekete Family History Project

Many of you know that I've had already had a handful of careers during my 27.5 years of life. Besides working in technology and serving in the Army, there was a brief period when I was a History PhD at Georgetown University. At that point in my life, I hoped to become a professional historian and university professor. My research interests were largely focused around 20th century European History…

Transition from Blogger to WordPress

My personal blog has been relatively stale over the past few years. Partially that has had to do with being so busy working at IBM and completing my graduate studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology. However, now that I've finished my graduate studies, I'm hoping to reconnect to personal blogging in order to be able to have a place to write about big picture things about life, career…

Saints Francis, Jude, and Watson

Praise to God for his many blessings! I have so much to be thankful for. Firstly, I was able to survive my 15 credit hour semester at IIT with a pretty respectable GPA and a published paper. My research on the cyber security loopholes in UAVs actually turned out to be a good product. Carnegie Mellon decided to publish the paper. It’s called “Ultimate Killer Apps,” and you can read it here: Second…

Status Report–25% to degree completion

It’s difficult to believe, but I am now working through Midterms week of my first of two semesters for my Masters of IT Management program. Glancing back at my blog, I see that my last post on December 12th essentially lamented the fact that I needed to return to school. To bring you all up to speed, after having a wonderful Christmas back in California with my wife, I started my coursework at the…

Back to School? Again?

As many of you know, I have been pretty hesitant to go back to school. It’s been nearly two years since I’ve had a traditional paycheck. This is not to imply that Georgetown University was not a lot of work (indeed it was) or that I do not appreciate fellowship / GI Bill stipends (indeed I do). It is just that I have recently been getting uneasy about my resume. Since leaving the Army, my resume…

Government IT and Cloud Computing

The Chief Information Officer of the Federal Government recently released a new plant to shift the majority of government IT into the “cloud” in the near future. This means a decrease in local IT personnel and servers by concentrating government data in larger centers that can be accessed remotely. Considering the fact that I’m thinking about future IT employment with the federal government, I…

Java and Robert Santos

In order to give myself a constructive project to work on, I’ve recently been teaching myself Java. According to the TIOBE index , this programming language is currently the most popular language. After spending a little bit of time training in the language, I can see why this is the case. Although I am by no means a coder, this language is elegant and seems infinitely useful for creating…

Rite of Acceptance and Career Search Continued

This morning was my Rite of Acceptance into the Roman Catholic church. For those unfamiliar with the process, Wikipedia provides a reasonable explanation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults . Essentially, I have now completed the first phase of being formally welcomed into the St. Edmund's parish community. At mass, the catechumens and candidates stood in the back of the sanctuary. I…

Career Guide Madness

I am currently working through three career books. So You Majored in What? is more-or-less a guide for humanities majors trying to figure out how to make their interests and coursework (seem) relevant to real-work jobs. What Color Is Your Parachute? is the perennial classic. The Pathfinder is the book that seems to have the best Amazon.com ratings for people considering a career-change. To…

Career Search Ongoing

I thought that it would be a useful exercise to publish my thoughts as I work towards getting to know myself a bit better. I am a recently-married West Point graduate that was medically retired from the US Army in December 2008 after a brief 18 month stint as an Army Lieutenant. I had been in a PhD program for History at Georgetown University, but I ultimately decided to resign my fellowship to…