Thank you, Mrs. Goldstein and the Industrial Home for the Blind

As some of you might know, my eyesight is limited. With visual acuity of 20/1600 in my left eye, which I don’t use at all, and 20/200 in my right eye. I also have nystagmus, making my eyes move rapidly from side to side uncontrollably. Luckily, my brain doesn’t show me things moving side-to-side most of the time, as it most likely adjusted to this when I was younger. It has returned on and off during the Fall of 2021 due to some trauma. I’m classified as being “legally blind.”

Being legally blind prohibits me from getting a driver’s license. I do wear some very powerful bifocals for reading. They are the most powerful magnifying lenses you can get in a set of eyeglasses. I believe they are a magnification of 10.

So, where am I going with all of this? I want to share a story about my elementary, junior high school, and high school years that helped shape the person I now am.

My parents recognized early on that I had problems with my vision. I remember my dad using the wooden letter “E” painted white to get me to mimic the position of the “E” he was holding up. Once it was determined that I had limited vision, the eye doctor at Columbia Presbyterian in NYC hooked my parents up with an organization known as the Industrial Home for the Blind (IHB), which is now known as the Helen Keller Institute.

The Industrial Home for the Blind helped shape me by doing two things. The first is providing an aide that came to my school 2-3 times a week. This person was Mrs. Henrietta Goldstein.

I remember bracing to hear Mrs. Goldstien’s voice come over the classroom PA system, as frankly, I was kind of embarrassed. “PLEASE SEND BRUCE DOWN TO THE OFFICE” is what I remember. I would then head down to meet Mrs. Goldstein, where we ate lunch and talked, and she helped me with my school work.

I was fortunate enough to have worked with Mrs. Goldstein from 1st grade until 11th grade. Several events throughout the year gathered other blind and low vision students from around Long Island for picnics, sporting events, and other outings. It was a chance for me to be with other kids like me.

Mrs. Goldstein passed away in 2004, and I want to express my gratitude for spending time with me each week, helping me navigate life, and being a “different” student.

The second thing that impacted me was another service offered by the IHB. Every Saturday, I would head to Patchogue, NY, and spend 3-4 hours at an IHB center with other blind and low-vision kids. A gentleman named Tom Jasikoff ran it. It helped me figure out how to socialize with other kids with low vision, navigate society, and be an inspirational individual.

I am also highly thankful to the IHB for providing me with handheld telescopes. I used to see blackboards, large-print books, eyeglasses, and many other things.

And of course, I need to also express gratitude to my family for the support they provided.

More on life as a low-vision person is coming soon. Thanks for reading.


Ten Years Ago Today

It was this day in 2003 when Danielle passed away at the age of seven. She was born with a low grade astrocytoma brain tumor. Dani was an amazing little girl. Dani never talked or walked but, was the most loving little girl you would have ever known. She was full of kisses, knew where all of the sweets were in the cupboards, was adored by her classmates in elementary school, was Alyssa’s buddy and so much more. Oh, and she absolutely loved those frozen mini-pancakes.

Dani Elgort

Dani would have turned seventeen this month. The last ten years have flown by and, not a day goes by when Gayle or I don’t think about Dani. Many of my memories were shared on my old blog. I want to thank all of you for your support over the years and especially those of you who were there ten years ago when Dani was ailing.

Today we remember Dani.

Our community mourns the loss of Jens-B. Augustiny

Today I received the following email from Jens-B. Augustiny’s son Herbert:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Last Saturday my father, Jens Augustiny died. You are entered in his
address database and because of this you are receiving this sad news. For
details please refer to the attachment.

Since we are not sure whether we can address all friends, business partners
and customers, we ask you to forward this message to other people which had
contact with Jens.

Best regards

Herbert Augustiny

I was deeply saddened by the news of Jen’s passing. My heart felt condolences to the Augustiny family.



Part 1: What has Bruce been up to?

The last year has been a total absolute blur. Between teaching at Clark Collge, working on projects at Elguji, volunteer work and more has consumed every available minute of my time. I have also been quiet on a few fronts on purpose. Let me first start with Elguji.

Elguji Software

Elguji has been very fortunate to have a loyal (and still growing) Notes and Domino customer base. While sales of our flagship IdeaJam for Domino have slowed down a bit, we are still serving dozens of customers around the globe. In fact, we are hard at work (and have been for some time) on IdeaJam 2.0. IdeaJam 2.0 is not simply an upgrade to IdeaJam 1.9.2 but, a complete re-write of the core application made to be “mobile first”. Yes, it will still be a great web application that will blow your mind and we are very excited at the progress we have made. For now just know that we have done our best to include the feedback we have received from our customers. Stay tuned for more on IdeaJam 2.0.

Where Elguji has really transformed and rolled with the times is with our “event-based” IdeaJam cloud platform. We are now providing customers around the globe with what we call “event-based” jams. These jams can be provisioned in 60 seconds or less. Jams run anywhere from 1 day to 3 months. It’s whatever the customer needs. Some of you may have seen that we are running jams for IBM Rational, IBM Websphere and IBM developerWorks. In fact, we just completed a project directed by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. Our customer work also includes colleges and universities, branches of the US Government and many other global institutions. We couldn’t have done with without the professionals at The London Developer Co-Op.

You might ask “who is driving all of this business to Elguji?”. Let me tell you that there are two primary product evangelists for Elguji 1) IBM and 2) Existing customers. IBM is constantly referring customers to us, primarily for our event-based jams. One of the worlds largest financial institutions who will go unnamed has also sent us plenty of new customers. We are very fortunate to have such great relationships with IBM and our customers.

Elguji is also cooking up a brand new product that frankly, I’m super psyched about. It’s 1,000 times bigger than IdeaJam and I am lucky to be working with some of the brightest people in the world on it.


In October I departed the world of OpenNTF and not longer after that the community which I was part of for over a dozen years gave me the most wonderful send-off I have ever seen. Dozens of blog posts, tweets and more – all with the #thanksbruce hash tag. I wanted to thank everybody sooner but as usual, life got in the way. Thank you to all my friends and colleagues for their heartfelt love on Wednesday, November  2, 2013. I owe much of my success in this world to many of you.

I am now wrapping up the development of a new website for OpenNTF with Niklas Heidloff, Per Henrik Lausten and Martin Rolph (Oval Systems). A new website was long overdue for OpenNTF and I felt compelled to see the project through it’s fruition. It will be a few more weeks before you see the new site. We are now in the user acceptance testing phase.

Once the website launches, I will remain an Honorary Board Member and continue to help support the efforts of the open source community. I do however wish that the IBM Connections team would embrace OpenNTF more than they have. It’s important for the overall IBM Collaboration Solutions app dev community more than ever. </getting off my soap box>

Part 2 coming on Monday.

Podcast: Building a career out of LEGO bricks with Warren Elsmore

Warren Elsmore wrote a book! It’s called Brick City and Warren describes it as “a celebration of the worlds’ architecture, recreated solely using the celebrated toy of the century, LEGO bricks.”
In our podcast with him, we discussed:

  • Is this an instruction book or an idea book?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What was the book writing process like?
  • How and when can people buy this book?
  • And many more LEGO-rich topics…

Brick City will be in bookstores in several different countries on May 6th, and it is already available for pre-order on Amazon – check Warren’s Brick City page for links. Warren’s website also has more information on his large scale models and his commission-based work.

Podcast trivia: Warren was briefly a Guinness World Record holder for “Largest LEGO Mosaic” from the 2012 LEGO Show, with a mosaic measuring at 143.9 square meters (1607 square feet).

Listen now >

Please pray for a truly special young lady and her family

From my friend and ICS community member Chris Byrne:

My 17 year old daughter Grace, a senior honors student in high school who is dual enrolled at the University of Georgia, was running with friends after school last Friday.  When crossing the street, she was struck by an SUV.  She is now in the intensive care unit of a local hospital being treated for severe brain trauma.  Grace is a multi-sport athlete at her school with varsity letters in Tennis and Cross Country, and was the MVP of the Junior Varsity Soccer Team.  She turned to tennis as a sport after breaking her foot too many times playing soccer.  She has also completed two half-marathons, the most recent in October (the picture of her is after that race).  The outpouring of love and concern for her from our community in Athens has been unbelievable because she has touched so many lives and made such a difference in her young life.


Our family firmly believes in the power of prayer and are asking people to pray for our beloved daughter and her sister.  Specifically we are asking that people carry a walnut, which represents her head and when people see or touch the walnut to say a little prayer that her head be basked in a healing light.  Her friends have started a Twitter hashtag of #Walnuts4Grace

A change of seasons

Starting on January 7th, 2013 and going through June, 2013 I will be an instructor in the Computer Technology program at Vancouver’s Clark College. The four classes are:

Winter 2013 Quarter

  • Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving (CTEC 121)
  • HTML Essentials (CTEC 122 – two classes)
  • Introduction to PHP (CTEC 127)

Spring 2013 Quarter

  • Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving (CTEC 121)
  • HTML Essentials (CTEC 122 – two classes)
  • Advanced PHP (CTEC 127)

Teaching is something that I have always been interested in doing career-wise and, this opportunity provides me with an opportunity to give it a try. Over the last couple of weeks I have been guest lecturing and so far so good. The students are amazing and it’s a huge departure from the “enterprise” world that I came from. They offer a totally different perspective that I am welcoming with open arms.

At Elguji we are hard at work on IdeaJam 2.0 which is going to be a groundbreaking release. We have learned a lot about running a micro-ISV both in the on-premises world and the world of cloud computing. There are some amazing things you will be seeing from Elguji in 2013. We recently launched V1.3 of our popular IQJam product.

I will be at Connect 2013 with Gayle and will be delivering three sessions:

  • Apps, Apps, and More Apps: Meet the Very Best Open Source Apps from OpenNTF (with Niklas Heidloff)
  • Meet the Java Application Server You Already Own – Domino (with Serdar Basegmez)
  • How We Built in a Matter of Weeks (with Per Henrik Lausten)

2013 is shaping up to be another amazing year and I would like to thank Gayle, my family and friends for their support.