Flippant remarks about my birthday and Kwame Turé…

So it’s my birthday here on Earth as it is in the kinté space. The kinté space? Yes. This website is the very, very likely oldest, continually-running, Black/African cultural force on the Internet. I think there are about two ways to look into this: my kinté hits page and the Internet archive, its Wayback Machine.

InternetArchive.org: Wayback Machine for KinteSpace.com

The Blog in which these words appear, the rasx() context, dates back to 2005—so, again, one of the oldest Black/African voices on the Internet. —Why all of this “bragging” when my attendance at the last Blogging While Brown conference in Los Angeles went completely unnoticed?

When I turned 21 (in the 1990s), I was “bragging” about how the LAPD—or some other gang—had not murdered me. I knew the stats—the leading cause of death for Black men—and I was openly proud that all the wise ancestors that produced me survived all of the obstacles deliberately put in place.

My people perish for lack of knowledge. We all need to know the stats and we need to “brag” more and more about how we survive and sometimes thrive in what Chuck D called the “anti-nigger machine” or deeper still “intellectual Vietnam.”

The reason why a project like the kinté space would go unnoticed (especially here in the Americas) is because it is not a business. In Black Enterprise terms, the kinté space is like a very, very badly run 1980s bookstore with a dusty display in the shop window that looks abandoned but every now and then the neighborhood kids noticed a few display items moved around on the slatwall as they skateboard to the bus stop (okay, to be fair: lately, it’s been about 50,000 “neighborhood kids” a month).

Another way to look at the kinté space is like a really, really obscure house of couture. The house is run by seamstress that does work-for-hire sewing for other people—other more famous, financially wealthy people. Yes, I am that couture seamstress. I even have my own website with notes about threads. But I don’t own an overpriced fragrance that can make up for the money spent on runway shows.

Amazon.com product


“What is he talking about?”

Here’s my point: yes, it’s my birthday and I am older than most Black people who care to use the Internet properly. I understand that sometimes I am treated like “the old man at the club” in that Chris Rock joke. Instead of staying in my little world I research what is going on in other worlds. My research encourages me to continue badly-running kintespace.com until I am unable to do so. I have a few new ideas on the way and would like to try them out in near future.

When the kintespace.com is as popular as netnoir.com was or bossip.com has recently been then you know there has been foundational shift in Black world culture. The balance of power between the political/aesthetical poles of Haiti and the Dominican Republic has shifted back to Haiti, you dig?


Next stop: Kwame Turé. He died when he was 57. I look forward to my 57th year, “bragging” about not being murdered by kale stalks in a kinté space future…

A rare non-exchange un-between @liberatormag and @KinteSpace

Starting with Brian Kasoro and a few others that I am literally unable to name, Liberator Magazine has been one of the most consistent supporters of what I’ve been struggling with here in the kinté space. My relatively recent appearance on Twitter as @KinteSpace has been supported most enthusiastically by @liberatormag, making my Twitter experience pleasant.

But one day I went too far.

The @liberatormag Twitter account (I do not know exactly who is posting for @liberatormag at any given time) posted a link to an educational tool around a subject near and dear to my heart. So, you can see from my archive of the non-exchange, I began to send multiple messages about this educational subject to @liberatormag. These messages were not explicitly requested by @liberatormag. I just sent them—one after another.

When I first appeared on Twitter, I engaged in this behavior with at least two (supposedly female) Twitter accounts. These accounts blocked my account immediately, based in the context (evidently) that I “assaulted” them within some patriarchal/anti-patriarchal gender-political context. I learned very quickly to non-engage with such folk and since I have been alive for decades in the United States, without being put in handcuffs once, I can non-interact with people very, very well.

But I was too comfortable with @liberatormag.

A rare non-exchange un-between @liberatormag and @KinteSpace (Twinks without links)

What I am seeing from my curated ‘Twinks’ is me tweeting directly to a Twitter account while said Twitter account does not refer to my account directly, yet appears to directing messages to it because of the coincidence of Twitter-timeline context. I then use @KinteSpace to state that I perceive what is going on and then I stop. I’m done with that exchange.

What is important for me to remember is how folks these days not speak to each other. People (and by “people” I mean adults) appear to be so “smart” or so “busy” that they don’t have the time to respectfully tell another person that their presence is not welcome. It seems (perhaps) to be based on the assumption that the person asserting themselves is supposed to know that they should not speak unless they are spoken to—which is something I thought only mothers told their children.

Or (perhaps) it is more like the boss that is too timid to fire people and they just “hope” they go away… Enough with the guessing!

You see, kids, “my world” on the Web starts with the CompuServe forum (which existed before the Web)—not the fucking nightclub. I have this old man’s habit of thinking that I can just talk to anyone in the world about any subject (in a debatably “appropriate” context) just because I am on the Internet. I think the Internet is an extension of a college campus and not the military technology that it formed its genesis.

I habitually and too often erroneously see the Internet as a tool for the free exchange of ideas. I am reminded continually that it’s more like a tool for hierarchical, monetized socialization—based on New York night-life traditions, replicated throughout the urbanizing world. (This petty clique shit is also happening in the hard-core tech world as well.)

The Internet never had people in it—and now it’s probably out of ideas as well…

The bigger picture: Twinks are better than comments!

One of the things I learned very quickly in the hard-core tech wired world is that few folks are motivated to leave comments on your Blog unless they get the feeling people other than you will see their words. So, for the most part, you have people pretending to talk to you, talking around you for the sake of the larger “community.” Jeff Atwood’s StackOverflow.com addressed this situation head on and formalized this practice with positive effect.

What Twitter also provides, as a monetizing hierarchical socializing platform, is a centralized way to talk around people on a planetary scale. When the “Black Twitter” people are not talking to me, they often say the most interesting things (because when folks are talking to me these days it is mostly, “wha?” “huh?” and other North American hep-cat interjections). So, instead of complaining (more), I can sincerely demonstrate my respect for others (while they have no respect for me—okay, that was unfair of me) by ‘curating’ their Twitter tweets into Twitter-links or Twinks.

I built a crappy Twinks-building system (for myself) that utilizes Microsoft Azure in places. I use this system to turn tweets back into old-school Blog posts by dragging and dropping a stream-of-consciousness ‘collage’ of tweets into one big glob of HTML.

To me, Twinks take a snapshot in time—an image of my composition—of the history of the social-media world. It became quite clear to me how important this work is (for me) when the Ferguson, Missouri murder scandal broke out.

Twinks may also help to answer questions my adult children may have about why their father died sad and alone with his “dogmatic” ideas.

Dead Fox

Dead Fox

This entry into my literary timeline is meant to be a follow-up to “Drifting on a Life Raft 60 Days after Being Laid Off”—a post representing a huge turning point in my W2-labor-camping career. I was turning from government and going back to the private sector. I was officially wading into the world of .NET shops in Southern California (yes, there was a thing before .NET). This entry was meant to report how successful this effort has been. This effort has been successful: I am now ‘officially’ at the end of the Southern-Californian line in terms of career growth. I have worked at what I consider the biggest and best .NET shops in Southern California—this includes Amgen, 20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment and PIMCO (I am still here at the moment). I mention these companies by name because these companies (especially Amgen and PIMCO) represent the best Microsoft has enabled in Southern California for the enterprise. I do expect disagreement with this statement and I do exclude super-high-end-boutique shops like Tim Huckaby’s Interknowlogy in San Diego.

For me (personally) my work at 20th Century Fox (probably now entirely called 21st Century Fox) represents my first opportunity to build the .NET application of my very limited W2-at-will-employment dreams. This achievement is huge to me and no bizarre (and quite evil) revisions of history can take it away from me. At Fox I built a Silverlight application on top of RIA services. I built this application in a brown field. This means I built it inside of an older, crappier version of the same application. My new code ate the old code from the inside out (like a parasite). This brown-field experience makes me even more proud of my work because brown-field building is hard: you have to know how the old crap is built while discovering how to build the new crap at the same time. This made the work all-consuming. It was so demanding that I put up with a noisy neighbor for over a year to avoid complicating my life away from Silverlight. I am glad I was not a married man during this project because I would be in the throes of divorce court by now. When younger programmers talk about how “passionate” they are about building software, check with those kids when they get my age and see where the passion lies (most of them would have moved into management to have more time with the wife and kids).

So this entry is meant to be cheerful, celebratory and what they call “positive.” Yet simultaneously I show this photograph of mine. And I declare that this photograph represents my W2 life from the beginning of my career all the way to the present day. This one, “depressing” photograph says it all. One of the first things I am saying is that there is always room for improvement. There is nothing like an old, dilapidated building (with Fox on it) to symbolize this. Somehow, in spite of my vast amounts of experience, it has never (okay, rarely) been the “right” time for me to suggest what an organization can do to improve itself. Some of these folks actually give me the title of consultant and never consult me on anything. You have to get the Black history straight kids: it is not like they trusted me first and then I did something to lose that trust; it is not like I was able to “earn” trust and then did something to lose it. I just showed up and began to work—and the work is supposed to speak for itself without any political campaigning. So um… let us take another look at the whole burning bridges thing. Let us start with a rule that I am pretty much completely dedicated to:

You have to meet people where they are or simply refuse to meet with them.

So, yes, it is true I actively refuse to meet with a great deal of people—most of these people are middle managers of large corporations or owners of small businesses. I can still make myself laugh with the image of a guy walking in an office to meet someone sitting a desk. The guy walks in with a balsa-wood-and-string scale model of a suspension bridge. The guy sits down and starts talking. Eventually the guy sets the bridge on fire, gets up and leaves the room.

My point is that I am certain that the whole burning bridges thing is not always about irresponsibly destroying relationships that might be “useful” later. After being myself in the workplace for over 20 years, I can safely say that burning bridges responsibly and carefully only fails in a totalitarian society monopolized by one dominant organization of efficient oppression. So that means I’ll not be working in China anytime soon (but a lot of so-called democracies are starting to look a lot like China).

Imagine a world completely dominated by a cult of personality around the company that posted on the building of this photograph of mine. See that “executive realtors” sign posted on the building? Over 20 years ago I tried to be a freelance graphic designer in the City of Inglewood (just like this guy named Hannibal Tabu). I saw the horrible logo of this “executive realtors” outfit and offered to change it. I think we did business (I think the company paid me to trace the logo from a bitmap so it can blown up to any size). But my goal of changing the logo was never achieved. What is worse, is that years after I am gone the crappy logo is still there. At some point we can (sometimes) amicably agree to disagree but effectively burn any bridges between us that would allow us to reach agreement. I don’t even remember these people. I just remember the logo. From a time-management point of view, I do not see any loss in that (although ego bounds).

The “executive realtors” sign on the building represents my first forays into business (it also says that, like Hannibal Tabu, I first tried to establish myself as a professional within my Black community—so, in spite of monumental non-recognition of our devotion to ‘our people,’ dudes like me are Black first). The fact that the building in my photo is a Fox movie theater represents where I am now as a professional. Racism aside, these “two worlds” are not far apart—this is why it is so wonderful to see that “executive realtors” sign on that old Fox Theater.

My First XAML Data-Driven UI Recipe

Before XAML in particular and .NET in general, my typical data-driven UI “recipe” was to build on a Tab Control—usually just a bunch of forms in Tabs. The Tab aesthetic is directly connected to the “classic” desktop metaphor—directly coming from Xerox PARC. Next to the desktop there are filing cabinets—and in a drawer of the file cabinets are folders—folders with Tabs.

With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft reinforces what Apple has already started: a move away from the 1920s “modern” office space to the ancient world of the laminar tablet. In the same way the human eye jumps from one space on the surface of stone bas relief to another, our eye can see the flat panel display change in response to our touch. This flat panel aesthetic expressed in XAML leads me to these controls:

  • The DockPanel will allow the ‘root’ panel display to be subdivided into smaller panels and provide dynamic flow resizing (via LastChildFill="True").
  • The Frame will usually be the “last child” of the DockPanel and provide the means to let the eye “jump” from one interactive display to another.
  • The ItemsControl with a WrapPanel template loaded in the Frame takes advantage of the flow resizing literally making the layout of items flexible.


This four-control approach is not meant to be a Microsoft-only solution. This approach actually comes from Web design (with display: inline-block) and should be replicated in, say, Adobe Flex. The Web influence on this approach can also be seen through the use of the Frame element because it leads to the Page Navigation controls clearly mimicking the loading of HTML pages.

today’s @denisejacobs links

Great resource: A CSS Sticky Footer bit.ly/hKajhJ

Great resource: CSS Fixed Footer http://bit.ly/AWWBf

Great resource: In the Woods – Vertical Centering With CSS http://bit.ly/E8Z42

New posts on http://denisejacobs.com: “On Banishing Your Inner Critic” and “On-Demand Inspiration” #creativity #inspiration

Great resource: 960 Grid System http://960.gs/

Great resource: Responsive web design is boring! | Opinion | .net magazine http://bit.ly/oXpbMt

Check out this SlideShare presentation : Pragmatic responsive design http://slidesha.re/p5BF9C

I’ll be presenting “The Art of Disciplined Creativity” at webafternoon.com in Atlanta 10/22. @kurafire @bendotorg @jenseninman there too!