A Day Filled With Inspiration and Gratitude

Today has been a day to cherish at the All Things Open 2023 conference. Lunch at the speakers’ lounge with Jen, Lauren P., Lauren M., David, Bryan, and Jason B. was an invigorating reunion. One of the day’s highlights was the delightful conversation with Rikki Endsley. Our discussion on the first day at the conference was a perfect kick-off; I got to meet the members of the Open Source Initiative, with whom we will be working closely as we transition to writing at Opensource.net.

I met Aaron Prisk in person, though our love of all things open source began nearly eight years ago. Today, I saw my friend Jason Hibbets, who invited me to my first All Things Open in 2014. There have been lots of changes in the past nine years.

The warmth of this community filled my heart with joy, reminding me of the beauty of enduring connections. Moments like these are the essence of life’s blessings, leaving me immensely grateful.

This experience at All Things Open has been a transformative part of my journey, and being part of this remarkable conference in the heart of Raleigh is a testament to the positive direction my life has taken. The ambiance of the beautiful hotel where I’m staying amplifies the experience, adding to the overall sense of gratitude and contentment.

The mentorship of the Opensource.com team has been instrumental in my growth as a writer and individual, and their presence continues to inspire me.

While exploring the conference, the Apereo booth caught my attention. Gathering information about their open-source program for higher education ignited a spark within me. The prospect of sharing this knowledge with professionals in higher education inspires me to continue to work towards an open source future in education.

The day’s sessions were equally enriching. Emily Freeman’s opening keynote on the human touch in a GenAI world resonated deeply, reminding us of the significance of humanity in a rapidly evolving technological landscape. Gwyneth Peña-Siguenza’s insights on leveraging AI and GitHub Copilot opened new avenues for exploration, reflecting technology’s limitless possibilities.

James Quick’s talk on navigating career challenges was a guiding light for those who were stagnant professionally. His practical wisdom provided a reassuring perspective on overcoming obstacles and pursuing growth. Similarly, Barton George’s presentation on Project Sputnik and the valuable lessons learned emphasized the power of community-driven innovation within large corporations. Bryan Behrenhausen’s presentation on the Open Organization was impressive and reminded me of conversations we’ve had along those lines in the past. The last session of the day where we met to discuss what licensing should govern the use of open-source artificial intelligence, was very engaging and left me in awe.

As the day ends, I find myself brimming with inspiration and gratitude. All Things Open 2023 has been an event and a catalyst for personal and professional growth, reminding me of the significance of genuine connections, learning, and the continuous pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement.

Being Woke: A Path to Justice, Love and Equality


I asked ChatGPT to write a poem about being “Woke.” It came out better than I expected. It’s another reason to like this new AI technology and the perfect response to those who would discourage others from caring deeply about social issues.

“Being woke is a state of mind, Where truth and justice we hope to find. It’s a path to consciousness and light, Where prejudices and biases take flight.

With eyes wide open, we see the truth, The struggles and hardships of those who were deemed uncouth. We stand for the marginalized, for their rights to be heard, And strive for a world where love and equality are revered.

Being woke is more than just a trend, It’s a call to action and a commitment we tend. To make the world a better place, with love and respect, Where every person, no matter their race, is truly accepted.

So let us rise, and never rest, In this quest for justice, love and success. For being woke is not a destination, It’s a journey towards a world of peace and liberation.”

Our Common Welfare

Recently I’ve seen folks who are telling others that they have a healthy distrust for authority. It’s the new Facebook frame. The frame goes on to say that they’re vaccinated but they have this distrust of authority. Really? Do these folks really believe that? Many of them are the same folks who have “Blue Lives Matter” banners on their homes. Do they not know that police are authority figures?

I have a healthy respect for authority. We have a stop sign at the end of our street. It’s there for a reason. Our street intersects another and it’s a good idea to stop and look both ways before turning in either direction. We have only one stop light in the village but it’s at an important intersection. I can’t imagine not having a traffic control device there. We’re much safer because of it. The speed limit in the village 30 miles per hour. Many times I drive slower than that because the streets are lined with homes where children live and the kids are darting into the street. Caring for each other is central to society. Do these folks with the healthy distrust of authority not care about the rest of us. Are they so self absorbed that they think only of themselves?

I’ve been reading how many of these folks don’t like mandates and they mistrust the government. I’m grateful we have civil authorities and that we have city, state and federal governments which help protect us from ourselves and care for the common good. I can’t imagine life without running water that comes flowing into our home. We don’t have to dig a well. We have a flush toilet too. I’m glad we don’t have an outhouse and that we have municipal sewer system. Glad that I live on a street that maintained by property taxes that we pay.

I’m glad we have a government who provided us with a vaccine that negates the effects of this pandemic. I’m glad I don’t have to die on a ventilator. I’m glad I got flu vaccine and one for shingles too. I had to pay for the flu vaccine and the shingles shot. The Moderna vaccine was paid for by our federal taxes. The common welfare is important to me so I’ll be obeying the stop signs and traffic devices in my travels and I hope you do too.

Warming House provides more than warmth

Since September I have been volunteering at least one day a week at St. Bonaventure University’s Warming House. My friend Br. Kevin Kriso, OFM recommended it as an activity I might like as I transitioned into retirement. Unsure of myself at first in the new surroundings and lacking confidence in my culinary skills I decided that I could best help by washing dishes. Dinner for twenty to thirty people provides along with the cooking pots and utensils to feed them provides enough to keep one busy in the dishwater. The young ladies who serve as Meal Coordinators invited me to make desserts. At first I was hesitant even though I used to bake with my Grandmother when I was a child. No-bake cheesecake, muffins, apple sauce bread, apple crisp and more have made me more confident in the kitchen. Yesterday, Arielle suggested that I could make pumpkin cake and provided me with a list of the ingredients. Two cups of margarine melted, four cups of flour, three and half cups of sugar, four eggs and more along with plenty of stirring resulted in a delicious dessert. Arielle’s delicious turkey soup and fresh chocolate pudding made for an appetizing meal.

The Warming House is the oldest student run soup kitchen in the United States. Meals served there surpass anything I have seen or tasted in other such kitchens. The patrons who come each day bring forth the best in all of us. I am impressed with the cooking skills of the coordinators too. Each day they put together a tasty meal from what they find on the shelves of the storeroom and cooler. But, the Warming House is more than food. It is an community of people, young and old who come together for the common good. It is at its heart very Franciscan and emblematic of the Incarnation itself. It is tangible evidence of the goodness that resides in the hearts of all creation. Those who serve are served by those who come to eat. I am grateful to be a participant in this wonderful experience of love.

It’s not just about technology

I use technology every day. Who doesn’t? We all flip on electric lights, Many of us drive cars. Others ride buses. Some of us have cell phones. Some of those phones are “smart” phones and others are “feature phones. Some people have PCs and some have Macs. There’s an emphasis on 21st century tools and 21st century schools. Will students be prepared to use this tool or that tool? How can they truly be prepared for college or the work force unless they know Microsoft Word or use an iPad or an iPod? What are the skills that they really need to be successful in this day and age? There are the same 26 letters and the same 10 digits now as there were forty or fifty years ago and there are a nearly infinite number of combinations and permutations of those figures. 

We emphasize Common Core and the NETS standards. We’ve got students who get benchmarks and schools that achieve AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) and teachers who are evaluated by APPR and test scores but we’re falling apart. We’re coming apart at the seams. Never in the last 40 plus years have I seen our country so stressed, so divided. Never have I seen schools, teachers, administrators, students and parents so stressed as they are now. 

So what do we need that’s way more important than high tech and high standards? We need heart. We need compassion. We need community. We desperately need community more than at anytime in our past. Without community the rest is just waste and consumerism. Jargon and bandwagons can’t prepare us or our children for the 21st century any better than community. Without community we cease to exist. We break down into warring fragments. 

Instead of iPhones and iPods we need I love you’s. Instead of text messages we need touch messages. We need people who can connect at the heart. We need people who can be present to each other. Wherever you are whatever you are doing make sure that you tell the people you’re working with or teaching with that you love them. Tell your children and anyone’s children that you love them. Love builds community and that is what we need more than anything else. 


Today I attended Mass at Mt. Irenaeus as I do most Sundays. And just like most Sundays I was a bit late getting there. Nonetheless introductions were just being made as I entered the chapel. Fr. Lou McCormick, OFM was the celebrant. Fr. Lou’s homily focused on today’s readings and on the difference between uniformity and unity. There is great pressure for uniformity all around us but we are really called to unity. Lou shared about a recent study that examined why people left the church in general. The short answer is that people are really seeking community. There is a tremendous call to community everywhere. It’s not just in churches, but in schools too. Unity and community are really about love and the need of the human heart for precisely that. I drive 30 miles from my home each Sunday because Mt. Irenaeus provides the sense of community I crave. When I’m at the mountain I have a distinct sense that I’m home.


The picture above is one I took earlier today in the chapel at Mt. Irenaeus. After brunch today I took a long walk all the way up to La Posada and spent sometime sitting on a bench listening for that still small voice of the Holy Spirit that I crave. I ended my time at the mountain today sitting in meditation in front of the tabernacle. It was my own very personal adoration of the Eucharist. Adoramus te Dominum, omnes gentes alleluia!

Sign of the times

It’s been incredibly hot and essentially no rain here where I live and it’s gotten me to pondering what it means. I’m not inclined to think that God or the Gods are punishing us for a misdeed. The earth may be reacting to fossil fuel emissions and the climate this summer has certainly changed, but not sure what that means for the long term. None of us can be sure what the future brings or even if there is a future. Nonetheless times like this do make me wonder what the future holds. Last week I attended a seminar for principals and supervisors and it was basically how to insure that teachers are teaching and that students are learning. Looking back over my own life I see what a crap shoot that really is. Sometimes it has taken years to learn simple lessons and then other learning is accomplished relatively quickly. Addition, multiplication, and division facts that I learned in primary school are still with me as are parts of the Krebs cycle that I learned in high school and later re-learned in college. I can still remember Polonius’ advice to Laertes which we were forced to memorize in high school English. I have a talent for remembering strings of numbers and I never realized I had that talent until I took a battery test prior to entering the US Navy. That skill serves me well in a field where I need to remember TCP/IP addresses and strings. I even learned how to make change in my head when I was a bartender over thirty years ago and I am still good at that skill. I find myself using it when I’m checking out at the grocery/convenience store and watching the clerk make change. What then are the skills that schools ought to emphasize that will serve students well?

Is it really necessary to learn how to use an iPad or more useful to learn how to express oneself regardless of technique? Is painting with a brush or doodling with a pencil just a beneficial with an inexpensive device as it is with an iPad? How do we encourage creativity and entrepreneurial skills? In a day of standardized testing how do we really prepare students for the future. Is socialization one of the most important skills of schooling and do how can we foster a more thoughtful school that encourages community?

Can charter schools provide public education/educators/students with a more authentic choice or do they degrade from the overall process? I’ve been pondering these ideas. I’m interested in how we can create community and sustainability in schools. How can that best be accomplished? My own background of mixed private and public education has caused me to question if it’s possible to create a school where learning in celebrated, people are educated and transformed and a culture is consecrated as it were. If you’ve got thoughts along those lines I’d love to hear from you. Peace-Shalom-Salaam!


Ubuntu is an African word that means community or the sense of community and community responsibility. It’s a contrast in an age of self absorption. I like Desmond Tutu’s description here:

One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity.We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.

Recently I’ve installed Ubuntu for a couple of people and I’ve even been using Ubuntu more myself. Ubuntu is a free Linux operating system that can power a computer very nicely. I’ve recently helped a couple of clients whose Windows computers had been trashed by spyware.  Ubuntu the operating system is appropriately named because it provides a low cost yet reasonable way for many folks to have access to a computer and the internet.

Today I’m installing Xubuntu for a person who has an older Dell with a Pentium III processor. Last night I downloaded and installed Ubuntu Netbook Remix for my own Dell Mini-12 which needed an upgrade. Earlier this week I downloaded Ubuntu 9.10 Server edition and set up a virtual cloud in a virtual machine on my Ubuntu equipped Dell Inspiron 6400.  Wonderful concept and wonderful operating system.