Devin Reams profile photo

Hi! I’m Devin and I work at Mozilla. I’m sensibly impulsive, consistently non-committal, and passionately impartial.

Monktoberfest 2013

The Monktoberfest, my favorite conference at the confluence of technology and beer, is back for 2013 in lovely Portlane, Maine. Tickets just went on sale and there’s only a few dozen left. Prior speakers and companies in attendance include ZenDesk, GitHub, Untappd, Mozilla, Facebook, and more.

Here’s some photos from the inaugural Monktoberfest in 2011.

car2go in Denver

I was one of the earliest to register for B-Cycle (Denver’s bike sharing system) and now I’m excited to sign up for car2go in Denver.

Different from some existing car sharing services (which I’ve also tried), car2go has worked out a local ‘zone’ where if you park on the street (even in metered areas), you can leave the car there instead of being tied to specific parking lots of spots in the city. So, I can literally park in front of my house after taking a trip and use the app to find the nearest car (which may be in my neighborhood or on the same street where I work). It’s a great service and made me think of this quote:

A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation — Enrique Penalosa, Mayor of Bogota

For a limited time, the $35 registration fee is waived if you use offer code “ROCKIES”. Check out car2go in Denver.

How do I monetize Colorado Snow?

A local research firm reached out to ask some questions about how I monetize my “other blog”, Colorado Snow (cosnow.com). It turned into what I think is a good Q&A session around what has become, essentially, a part-time hobby.

Read on if you’re interested in why I started (and continue to run) Colorado Snow (hint: it’s not the money).

Allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states

A WhiteHouse.gov petition:

States should not be allowed to prevent Tesla Motors from selling cars directly to customers. The state legislators are trying to unfairly protect automobile dealers in their states from competition. Tesla is providing competition, which is good for consumers.

I’ve never appreciated the laws and relationships between car manufacturers, dealers, etc. I want to buy my cars directly. The established groups typically require legislation to maintain the status quo and I’d certainly like cars to be ‘disrupted’ by a company like Tesla.

I feel the same is starting to happen in the alcohol industry

The best fitness tracker – Wirecutter

I’m often asked what I’m wearing on my wrist (it’s a Nike FuelBand) and then folks chime in with “ah yes, my friend has a different one” which then leads to a discussion of the pros and cons of the various fitness trackers out there.

I’ve been happy with the FuelBand1 just because its an easy measure. And with any tracking (weight, calories, time spent watching TV) until you measure, you don’t know how to adjust your behavior.

So, to folks who want to learn more, I recommend: reading the article at The Wirecutter comparing the various fitness trackers, start tracking, and then adjust your behavior accordingly.

  1. It has broken once but was promptly replaced. For what it’s worth, my daily goal is 3,000 “fuel” and I’m on a 34 day streak. I walk to and from work every day which is about 3 miles round-trip. 

Digital PM Summit 2013

I’m excited to attend the upcoming Digital PM Summit, produced by the smart guys at Happy Cog (Greg Hoy and Greg Storey) for digital project managers. I’ve seen presentations by and met a number of Happy Cog folks at conferences like SXSW and it’s clear they do great work.

Having taken on a larger project management role at Crowd Favorite, I realize I should try to continue my ‘education’ — this is sometimes more challenging in an industry where there is no shortage of highly technical resources online but not a ton about the nuance of managing clients, setting expectations, and so on. The speaker line-up suggests I will walk away with plenty to think about and am excited to chat with other like-minded folks…

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center – WIRED – March 15, 2012

From over a year ago, an article by WIRED I had a started to draft a blog post about, is now extremely relevant:

For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail. William Binney was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network. A tall man with strands of black hair across the front of his scalp and dark, determined eyes behind thick-rimmed glasses, the 68-year-old spent nearly four decades breaking codes and finding new ways to channel billions of private phone calls and email messages from around the world into the NSA’s bulging databases. As chief and one of the two cofounders of the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, Binney and his team designed much of the infrastructure that’s still likely used to intercept international and foreign communications.

My guess: Google, Apple, etc. are not knowingly handing data over, just “named” as sources the NSA is obviously interested in harvesting. As the Wired article describes, the NSA is intercepting data (at the lowest levels possible) and currently or planning to decrypt, decypher, and extract as much as they can…

Tours of Duty: The New Employer-Employee Compact – Harvard Business Review

I really enjoyed this HBR article by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh on “the New Employer-Employee Compact”:

The key to the new employer-employee compact we envision is that although it’s not based on loyalty, it’s not purely transactional, either. It’s an alliance between an organization and an individual that’s aimed at helping both succeed.

These are smart guys and this is a great read for any person working for (or managing) any business in any industry at any level. I especially enjoy the action items…

Tim Cook’s answer to Horace Deidu's first question at asymco.com

Horace Deidu at asymco had a question he hoped Tim Cook would answer at D11:

Why is the iPhone not sold as a portfolio product? Meaning, why, after six years, is there no iPhone product range being updated on a regular basis. Having a portfolio strategy is not only followed by every phone vendor but also by Apple for all its other product lines, including the iPad, which came after the iPhone. In other words, please explain why the iPhone is anomalous from a product portfolio point of view.

Which is a good question, Tim spoke to this point:

Think about the evolution of the iPod over time. The shuffle didn’t have the same functionality as other products. It was a really good product, but it played a different role — it was great for some customers it was strikingly different than other iPods. The mini played a different role than the classic did. ..

…and I found Horace’s follow-up interesting:

The comparison to iPod is not entirely appropriate because as a music player, the iPod had a relatively small set of jobs to do. It was hired for exercise, escapism, isolation, etc. It was not hired for apps and services which extend the medium itself. In other words it was not a computer. As a computer, the iPhone has a near infinite set of jobs to be done and it’s the hundreds of thousands of apps which help it perform them.

Though, doesn’t the iPod Touch fill nearly all the same “infinite” jobs in that point? The biggest one missing being cellular communication (messaging, voice calls) in a device one always carries (not a separate phone vs. computer).

It seems through services (iMessage, FaceTime) Apple is starting to pull the mobile world away from the carrier ties allowing (potentially) easier and more market penetration… right? Then they’re just selling devices (like iPods) like they’ve always been doing. Worth noting, it appears the same appears to be happening with Google via Hangouts (messaging, calls).

The same is also happening with the ‘app’-ification of television producers and distributors, right?

The 10 Commandments for atheists

The Daily Telegraph weighs in on Alan de Botton’s philosophical “commandments” for atheists:

Politeness he equates with tolerance for the “otherness” of people whose views do not chime with our own. As for self-awareness: “To know oneself is to try not to blame others for one’s troubles and moods; to have a sense of what’s going on inside oneself, and what actually belongs in the world,” he says.

Arguably, these are all great virtues for everyone, not just atheists, to strive for.

  1. Resilience: Keeping going even when things are looking dark.
  2. Empathy: The capacity to connect imaginatively with the sufferings and unique experiences of another person.
  3. Patience: We should grow calmer and more forgiving by being more realistic about how things actually happen.
  4. Sacrifice: We won’t ever manage to raise a family, love someone else or save the planet if we don’t keep up with the art of sacrifice.
  5. Politeness: Politeness is closely linked to tolerance, -the capacity to live alongside people whom one will never agree with, but at the same time, cannot avoid.
  6. Humour: Like anger, humour springs from disappointment, but it is disappointment optimally channelled.
  7. Self-awareness: To know oneself is to try not to blame others for one’s troubles and moods; to have a sense of what’s going on inside oneself, and what actually belongs to the world.
  8. Forgiveness: It’s recognising that living with others is not possible without excusing errors.
  9. Hope: Pessimism is not necessarily deep, nor optimism shallow.
  10. Confidence: Confidence is not arrogance – rather, it is based on a constant awareness of how short life is and how little we will ultimately lose from risking everything.