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Saturday, May 27, 2017

KnowledgeBase Launches Floppy Diskette Collection Project


KnowledgeBase Launches 3.5" Floppy Diskette Collection Project

Friends & Family,

We are collecting 3.5" floppy disks / diskettes in large (and small) quantities for a Summer project.


Because they are useful!

Contact us if you have some – or know someone who does.

We will follow up to coordinate pickup / shipping logistics.

Feel free, too, to forward / share this.

Thank you - and read below for the rest of the story!

Contact: Derrick Brown (Principal Consultant, KnowledgeBase)
Email: derrick.s.brown at
Phone: 678-467-1256
Linked In:


The Rest Of The Story ...

For years, I have repaired, recycled, and redistributed broken / obsolete laptop & desktop computers.

I used to do this as a summer camp and after-school program.

I financed the program through corporate sponsorships and resale of the repaired computers - or the working parts harvested from the dead ones.

I am now using this approach to engage and organize Marietta City School families.

I have limited time and space now, so sourcing and storing laptops is more of a challenge.

So, I started thinking about how to adjust.

Since the beginning of the year, I have had my memory jogged several times about how floppy disks were like Swiss army knives in the "old days" of computers (before CDs, DVDs, USBs and flash drives).

You installed software with them.

You backed up your computer with them.

You could use them to start and clean your computer if it had a virus (or some other issue).

If you had a Sony Mavica digital camera, you stored your pictures on them.

If you had a MIDI keyboard, or an Akai music production center (MPC), you stored music patterns on them.

If you are a court reporter (stenographer), your recording machine uses them.

If you embroider, your machine uses them.

They also pack and stack well, taking up very little space.

When diskette drives were removed from computers, I threw all of my floppies away - except for one that I called "MacGyver."

A buddy called yesterday with a dilemma.

He designs and builds custom car stereo speaker cabinets using an old computer program written for him in the 1980s.

It was installed on his computer for him by the program's author in 1986, and he was given no installation diskettes.

His computer only has a diskette drive, and he now needs to move the design program to another computer.

"MacGyver" is the only tool I have that can help him - but it is the only tool I need.

This experience was my epiphany.

We can make "MacGyver" disks and several other obscure, specialized tools using those old floppy diskettes ... if we can source them!

Hence the request ...

About Derrick Brown (Principal Consultant)

I am Keisha's husband, and Hannah's father.

My *other* passion is empowering people via methods that balance skill & will, analysis & synthesis, ideas & execution, and activity & achievement.

I solve problems.

Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Dear Hannah: Quiet (But Not Silent)

Dear Hannah,

education begins when you *finish* school

'cause life gives you the test first
- then you get the lesson ...

Support Our Work - Buy This Song (SEE BELOW)!


"Quiet (But Not Silent)"
By Derrick Brown

education begins when you *finish* school

'cause life gives you the test first
- then you get the lesson


try to see what's missin


focus your concern


act like you don't know


switch that status quo


make sure you don't blink


write it down in ink


most of all stay


make sure you do you

(who else are you gonna be?)

(stay in your lane)

[Chorus] can you hear me now? (twice)

won't let you pick me up
'cause you just might drop me

won't let you start me up
so you cannot stop me

the art of every deal
is bout who's at the table
don't have to be no big wheel
don't need no jumper cable

be willing to enable
no fairy tale nor fable
make sure you read the label
make sure them cats are stable

if not then walk away
if necessary run
do that deal another day
and keep your money, son

there'll be another one
as surely as the sun
sets when the day is done
rises when its begun

(all money ain't good money)

(i know that's right)

[Chorus] can you hear me now? (twice)

got a lot of work to complete
so i sometimes vote with my feet

when i hear that dang parakeet
or that dang groundhog day suite

horsepower's sometimes just heat
move forward - never retreat

winners must conquer conceit
before they conquer defeat

can't win? well you bet not cheat
can't drive? then take the backseat
can't jump? then you're no athlete
can't work? then you may not eat

got skills? then you can compete
ideas? then write nice and neat
solution's the greatest feat
when you get one - rinse and repeat

good questions - just like concrete
solid - never obsolete
useful even when petite
produce a nice balance sheet

(do not mistake activity for achievement)

[Chorus] can you hear me now? (twice)

they say you think too much
lemme help you stand corrected

i think you crossed a line
i think you disrespected

i think this is a sign
i think we not connected

i think the music's fine
i think you misdirected

i think you bout that c# (C-sharp)
i think i'm bout that d-flat

i think you bout that chit-chat
i think you bout that tit-tat
i think you bout that pitti-pat
i think you bout that format

i think you think your role
is all bout that control
not simply of my soul
but my entire whole

but you don't know the half
sentence or paragraph
wrote my own epitaph
"soldier - no man of chaff"

(that means "i ain't one to play with")

[Chorus] can you hear me now?


listen more than you talk
- and you gon' LEarn today



Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Dear Hannah: LEarning (Quiet - But Not Silent)

Dear Hannah,

I know that I do not know.

So, I need to LEarn and teach.

I cannot LEarn while talking.

I LEarn by listening.

I teach by LEarning.

I teach by listening and talking.

I create change through power and influence.

I create power through efficient work.

I do efficient work by LEarning.

I influence by reaching - then teaching.

See, I am quiet - but not silent.

Here's what I am LEarning ...

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"LEarning (Quiet - But Not Silent)"
By Derrick Brown

I know that I do not know.

So, I need to LEarn and teach.

I cannot LEarn while talking.

I LEarn by listening.

I teach by LEarning.

I teach by listening and talking.

I create change through power and influence.

I create power through efficient work.

I do efficient work by LEarning.

I influence by reaching - then teaching.

See, I am quiet - but not silent.

Here's what I am LEarning ...

1. Slavery *began* in 1865.

That was not a typo ...

Follow me ...

Slavery has morphed into a stealth, sophisticated system of oppression and control (as opposed to an overt, brutal system of outright ownership).

This system is fueled by false ideas of equality (rather than outright inequality).

It is also fueled by unspoken bias ...

... and a desire to control.

This desire to control reinforces oppression in a subtle, ironic way.

See, hurt people can hurt people.

Used people sometimes use people.

Controlled people want to control other people.

So we sometimes accept being oppressed as long as we get to be in charge of something (or someone).

Or, we accept being oppressed because it is written into institutional "rules" and culture.

Institutions like family, education, religion, government, medicine, arts & entertainment, and media.

These institutions are smooth with it, but control through education, focus, and finance.

They do not deny my right to education - instead, they offer me one that they designed to facilitate their interests.

If their design is all I want, then that is all I get.

I can be innovative and original - as long as I cite other authoritative sources that validate my ideas.

They do not deny my right to consume media - instead, they hope I consume it in an obsessive, distracting way.

They hope I spend my days talking, stalking, and squawking.

They hope I chase every chicken, and jump down every rabbit hole.

They hope I am so full of opinions that I never learn to empathize, analyze, or synthesize.

They do not deny my right to earn a living - they control the living that I earn.

I earn that living either by working for wages, or by being self-employed and working for my customers.

I sow into the future promises of pensions and 401ks - but know little about how they invest my deferred earnings.

I overlook that ignorance as "unnecessary details".

I can get financing for a car easily.

Getting investors to support my business plan is a little tougher.

Boy, I have painted a dark reality, huh?

Well, this is my truth - my hard truth - about the bad news.

There is good news, though - for those who keep making moves and LEarning.

Here's the good news ...

2. Judo's self-control principles enlighten freedom fighters.

I am not a Judo master - or a Judo student.

I am a LEarner who adapts and applies all lessons.

Judo teaches simple lessons (pardon my paraphrasing) ...

1. Resisting a more powerful opponent will get your behind whooped - or create other collateral damage.
2. Adjusting to and evading your opponent's attack will cause them to lose their spiritual / mental / physical balance.
3. This balance loss reduces your opponent's power - and makes them susceptible to defeat.
4. Maintaining spiritual / mental / physical balance allows a weaker opponent to beat a stronger one.

This sounds real good, Derrick - how do you apply this to real life?

As I recover from many battles (some victories, some defeats, some retreats) ...

I have LEarned that we wrestle not against flesh and blood ...

So I don't argue, scheme and debate - I spit, state and relate.

I am the owner of my education.

I do not allow media to feed, consume, and distract me.

I am self-employed - and have LEarned how to maintain leverage with customers.

See, the customer is always right ... so choose customers carefully.

All money ain't good money.

Sometimes less is more.

Make a living through your giving.

Learn to turn two into four.

I am converting my ideas into intellectual properties - then financing, publishing and marketing them myself.

See, this road is not to the swift ...

... but to the one who maintains ...

... so stay aligned ...

... and on your grind ...

... and stay in your own lane.

Keep it slow and steady ...

... that's it - nice and smoove ...

... always do your homework ...

... believe that God will approve.

What I want lies on the other side of what I will risk and sacrifice.

I will risk being called "crazy" by those who subscribe to conventional wisdom.

I will sacrifice short-term possessions and security for long-term freedom and opportunity.

I will risk my "position" to claim my authority.




Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Dear Hannah: LEarning - Honor Role (The Power Of Mentors)

Dear Hannah,

Multiply your influence through mentoring.



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"LEarning (Honor Role - The Power Of Mentors)"
By Derrick Brown

American history has not been kind to Paul Robeson.

Robeson was a complex individual.

Even complex individuals can be erased - one dimension at a time.

As an actor and singer, he was erased - even as one of the most powerful and popular performers in the world.

As a football player, he was erased - even as a Rutgers University All-American.

As a civil rights activist, he was erased ("blacklisted") for his "un-American" support of communism and The Soviet Union.

Despite these concerted efforts, we still have choices regarding how we remember Robeson.

We can either acknowledge his considerable achievements and prowess - or dismiss them.

We either agree on, disagree on, or misunderstand his politics.

There are two noteworthy nuggets that have earned my respect, though.

First, Robeson could find a way out of "no way".

When the United States seized his passport (to stem his worldwide popularity and activism), he still gave concerts via radio, telephone, and at the geographic border between Washington state and Canadian British Columbia.

Second, Robeson left a legacy through his mentoring.

Follow this anthropology with me.

Actor / Activist Harry Belafonte (who was almost 30 years younger) looked up to Robeson.

Belafonte served as a pallbearer at Robeson's funeral.

Belafonte was also blacklisted during his career because of his views (which were influenced by Robeson).

His career survived, though - as did his activism.

Belafonte supported Martin Luther King, Jr. financially - because fighting for freedom ain't free.

He financed the 1961 Freedom Rides.

He helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington.

He financed the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer (with $60,000 carried in a suitcase), and entertained crowds with Sidney Poitier.

Poitier was also at the 1963 March on Washington.

Years earlier, Belafonte and Poitier (who are the same age - born 10 days apart) used to purchase a single ticket to attend local plays.

One would watch the first act, then they would trade places - and the other watched the second act.

They would compare notes about the play during the seat exchange.

Actor / Activist Ossie Davis (who was ten years older than Belafonte and Poitier - and 20 years younger than Robeson) wrote a play called "Paul Robeson: All-American".

Davis also attended the 1963 March On Washington.

He made his film debut in Sidney Poitier's 1950 film "No Way Out".

Davis gave the eulogy at Malcolm X's funeral.

He also paid tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. at a Central Park memorial the day after MLK was killed in Memphis, TN.

See, even as an "Invisible Man", Paul Robeson contributed to the growth and work of our visible, well-known leaders.

To anyone who has ever been marginalized, oppressed, or subverted - and lost the spotlight as a result ...

Do not mistake that activity for achievement.

A transferred legacy is timeless, indelible, and far more powerful.

Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Dear Hannah: LEarning - The "Real" Matrix

Dear Hannah,

There is sometimes folly in faith ... and there is sometimes faith in folly.



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"LEarning (The "Real" Matrix - in 5 minutes)"
By Derrick Brown

A long time ago, a movie called "The Matrix" captured our attention.

The movie conveyed that reality was not "real" - but simulated and imagined.

It made lots of "real" money, though.

A few years after, author Sophia Stewart sued the key players behind "The Matrix" for copyright infringement.

She also sued the key players behind "The Terminator".

She alleged that both movies were based on works she created in the early 1980s.

Court documents show that Stewart did not win her lawsuit.

They also suggest that she did not win because her case was legally difficult to prove - not necessarily because it was false.

Stewart had to show that the defendants viewed her works, and had to show how they were incorporated into both films.

I have studied many technical papers, musical compositions, song lyrics, and movie screenplays.

I know that is not hard to make a "new" idea by combining a couple of "old" ideas.

It happens more than you know.

Stewart admitted to being inspired by "Star Wars" to create her works.

"Star Wars" contains elements inspired by the Bible ("May The Force Be With You") and a popular Japanese film.

"Alien", "Raiders of the Lost Ark", "The Lion King", "Toy Story" - all "appropriated" other movie plots to craft their stories.

Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" ... Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" ... Ray Parker, Jr.'s "Ghostbusters" - all "appropriated" other works.

There is a far more fascinating story here, though - one that makes it hard to draw conclusions.

See, many people want to believe Sophia Stewart's claim, and have for years circulated Internet stories claiming that she won her lawsuit - and was awarded billions in damages.

Just as many people do not want to believe her claims, and have portrayed her as "flaky".

They cite the court's decision without acknowledging that it was based on narrow technicalities set forth in copyright infringement laws.

Laws that are sometimes designed to protect the guilty more than the innocent.

We see and portray things as we would like for them to be - and do so often when we do not know one way or the other.

Sometimes this is an exercise of faith.

Sometimes this is an exercise of folly.

The real folly, though, is when you and I debate - with me in support of my faith and against your folly ...

... and claim that there can only be one winner.

There may be two losers ...

It might be closer to the truth to recognize that there is sometimes folly in faith ... and there is sometimes faith in folly.

I said that once, but please hear me twice.

Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Dear Hannah: LEarning - Crossing Paths (The Story of Tim Reid, New Millennium Studios, and The Spook Who Sat By The Door)

Dear Hannah,

Sometimes detours help you see what you might have otherwise missed.



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"LEarning (Crossing Paths (The Story of Tim Reid, New Millennium Studios, and The Spook Who Sat By The Door) - in 11 minutes)"
By Derrick Brown

A long time ago (1997) in Petersburg, VA (where my wife Keisha was born and raised), Tim and Daphne Maxwell Reid launched New Millennium Studios - a 15,000-square-foot full-service movie production studio on 60 acres of land ... land with a rich Civil War history.

It was the only full-service movie production studio in the state of Virginia.

Tim Reid (a native of Norfolk, VA) may be best known as "Ray" - Tia and Tamera's dad on the 1990's sitcom "Sister, Sister".

He was also the star of the underrated, award-winning 1980's CBS sitcom "Frank's Place".

Daphne Maxwell Reid was "Aunt Viv" (the second one) on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air".

She was also on "Frank's Place".

After me and Keisha married in March 2011, that Christmas holiday I took her to New Millennium Studios for their guided tour.

We arrived and thought we were the only guests who signed up for our time slot.

It turned out that we were the only 2 people in the studio besides Tim and Daphne.

Daphne was our tour guide.

This lady epitomizes style and elegant grace.

She explained that the Steven Spielberg movie "Lincoln" had just wrapped up filming at New Millennium.

That was part of the reason why it was so quiet during our visit.

She took the time to tell us the history of the studio, the land it sat on, and the reality of the tough times they were enduring.

Their vision was for New Millennium to become the centerpiece of a Virginia film community.

The growth of their business in Virginia was hindered, though, by a lack of state-supported film production financial incentives.

As she led us through their offices, I spotted Tim Reid at his desk and we made eye contact.

Before I could go into starstruck mode, though, the eye contact said "I ain't got time to do the tourist thing right now".

So we kept it moving towards a hallway showcase contained cases of all of the film DVDs the studio produced and distributed.

Included among them was a DVD copy of the bootleg video "The Spook Who Sat By The Door".

I started tripping ... you mean to tell me that Tim Reid starred in "The Spook Who Sat By The Door"?

I need to use my Blackberry Curve to post this on Facebook!

No, no, no ... slow down, youngblood.

This kind of "snap judgement" is how we empower misinformation.

Let's take a pause and a slight detour ...

"The Spook Who Sat by the Door" is a 1973 film (directed by Ivan Dixon) based on a novel of the same name by author Sam Greenlee.

It is both a satire of the 1960's civil rights struggle in the United States - and a serious attempt to highlight Black militancy.

Main character Dan Freeman (played by Lawrence Cook) is recruited into the CIA's spy program as its token Black.

After mastering his training, he leaves the CIA to train Chicago youth as "Freedom Fighters".

If you attended college in the late 1980's (like I did), you know that the CIA and NSA made great efforts to recruit Black Southern college students with scholarships, cars, jobs, and living allowances.

Life does imitate art.

The reaction to the film in 1973 was one of "shock and awe" ... like "awe heck no - you will not release that film in these United States and provide a blueprint for Black revolt".

So, the FBI (the REAL FBI) made the film "disappear".

Now this satirized truth is "hidden", and everything is under control.

The revolution will not be televised - nor will it be shown on the big screen.

As you were, folks.

This is how the movie became the underground classic and bootleg video that I was told about by some of my activist classmates at Clemson University.

But I never made seeing the film a priority.

I was focusing and preparing myself to contribute my mighty intellect and ideas to the corporate work force - that now provided me the same opportunities afforded to others in 1991.


I now recognize that this "error of commission" may have been the idea behind suppressing the film's message.

In 2004, though, the film's negative - which was stored under another title - was discovered ... by none other than Tim Reid.

Reid then released the film on DVD.

After we got home from our Christmas trip, I bought the DVD and watched it.

Life does imitate art ... and vice-versa.

See, the title "Spook Who Sat By The Door" is a history lesson by itself.

"Spook" is a somewhat outdated and lesser-known racial slur.

It is also a slang term for "spy".

The rest of the title is social commentary on affirmative action.

Affirmative Action is a programmatic attempt to provide job opportunities to traditionally disadvantaged, disenfranchised minority candidates - to counter the programmatic effort that disadvantaged them in the first place.

When companies hired their first Black candidate, they would seat the candidate "by the door" - so that all who entered were aware that the company was playing "by the rules".

This type of thing still happens, but in more subtle, sophisticated ways.

Nowadays your office is placed next to the copier or water cooler - and your photo and story are featured on web sites, brochures, and newsletters.

You may even star in your company video.

But I digress ... there is no need for affirmative action anymore ... is there?

Alright, let's get back on track.

As I close, this story has a couple of footnotes ...

FOOTNOTE 1: Petersburg, VA is also the home of NBA legend Moses Malone, singer Trey Songz, and actor Blair Underwood. It is a city rich with African-American history.

FOOTNOTE 2: Tim and Daphne Reid sold New Millennium Studios (and the 60 acres is sits on) in 2015 for $1.5 million. The buyers planned to use it as storage space. Tim and Daphne have relocated to a smaller studio in a Richmond, VA suburb.

I believe that everything happens for a reason.

If Tim Reid and I had sat down in his office during that tour 5 years ago, there is a chance that I would not have learned about "The Spook Who Sat By The Door".

There is a chance that I would not have understood how he crossed paths with the "hidden" film that inspired him - in a way that now allows it to inspire others.

There is an even greater chance that I would not have told you this story - complete with its purposeful detour and history lesson.

Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Dear Hannah: LEarning - Bring Your Own Bible (The Story of The Printing Press)

Dear Hannah,

Read the Bible while you are in church (and when you are not).



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"LEarning (Bring Your Own Bible (The Story of The Printing Press) - in 3 minutes)"
By Derrick Brown

The printing press was invented a long, long time ago by Johannes Gutenburg.

He initially used his invention to print Bible copies.

Gutenberg was nearly bankrupted by his venture - but he persevered (to his own detriment).

Perhaps he was driven to - and through - his good work by an unusual motivation.

See, in the "old" days many societies required that Bibles be owned solely by priests.

Part of a priest's training was handwriting their own copy of the Bible.

When you possess exclusive access to "the law", you have a great moral responsibility to use it to set the captive free.

You also have the abject authority, though, to further ensnare them in bondage.

Whomever controls the diameter of your learning, controls the circumference of your knowledge.

Whomever controls the diameter of your steps, controls the circumference of your path.

Or - in other words - balance is provided in this equation when we all have equal access to understanding "the law" ...

... 'cause if you don't know the law - you will owe the law.

All scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching, training, correcting, and rebuking - so that the man of God is thoroughly equipped for every good work.

If you are paying close attention, you know that I did not quote this scripture word for word (2 Tim 3:16-17).

If you are really paying attention, you know that I explained the scripture from my study and understanding.

I hope that is alright - because it is.

When we all possess, digest, and wrestle with God's word - we win every time we lose ...

... lose our arrogance, pride, envy, greed, lust, bias, and myopia (near-sightedness).

Next time you head to church, make sure someone catches you in the act reading the Bible while the pastor preaches.

Your pastor will appreciate the accountability.

Be thankful, too, that Johannes Gutenberg's purpose far exceeded his ambition.

His work gives us an eternal chance to be better.

Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2017 Derrick Brown and KnowledgeBase, Inc. All Rights Reserved.