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Another day September 13, 2019

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Friday, 2019-09-13: Fifty-one.  Damn.  Dayum.  That is … not young.   But, I guess getting older is better than the alternative ;-)

This specific birthday is a rather interesting one:  It’s only the 7th anniversary of my birth which I’ve celebrated which has fallen on a Friday.  I was actually born on a Friday the 13th, a fact which garnered me the nickname “Lucky” when I was in 6th grade (thanks, Mr. Sainz!).  While some consider a “Friday the 13th” an unlucky day (silly triskaidekaphobics … or, more specifically, paraskevidekatriaphobics), it’s – obviously – always been a very lucky one for me.  And, I certainly feel I’ve earned that nickname, with the life I’ve had to this point.

AND, this birthday was also marked by a Full Moon – which is even more rare.  I believe my birthday in 2000 also had one – but that one didn’t fall on a Friday.  So, the combination of the two, seems to be exceedingly rare.

Anyway… it was a pretty good day.  I woke to a scavenger hunt established by my son – a fun callback to an event we pursued for him several years back, which it seems stuck with him.  Very proud of that boy.  He made me a great card (taking special care to ensure there were exactly 51 candles on the cake he drew for me), repeatedly wished me a Happy Birthday throughout the day, and even shared the reason for today’s celebration with his classmates: When I went to pick him up at school, I had several others wish me a great day, which was a pleasant surprise.

Very, very proud of that boy.

And, I was taken to lunch by my wife – which is a rare occurrence, as well.  It was nice to have some time to try and reconnect, and enjoy some unique food: A Korean “burger”, and waffle fries smothered in BBQ beef, kimchi, and mayo.  Weird – but good!

And of course, my parents called to wish me a great day.  I want to ensure I take the time to speak to them on a more-frequent basis, and be proactive about reaching across the miles to connect with them. I still don’t like being so far away, but if we can bridge the distance by electronic means on a recurrent basis – coupled with periodic visits, as there’s no substitute for being there in person – I’ll feel more connected, and feel better about making the decision to move so far away from “home” … which it turns out, was more than half-my-life ago.  Wow.

I was also wished well by many, many friends today.  It’s always nice to be remembered, and although I’m sure many of the messages were probably initiated by electronic reminders (recurring Calendar events are very useful ;-), it was still very meaningful to me that they each spent even a little bit of time to actually reach out to wish me well.  Thank you to all who took the initiative to do so – and to anyone and everyone who even quietly wished me well in their own way.

I know that I’m exceedingly lucky to be in the position I am, and hope I am always able to remind myself of this. And, I recognize that – despite the challenges which I have encountered, and continue to encounter – I should always count my blessings.

I actually got a chance to view the full moon with my son tonight before he went to bed, and we both reflected on all the insights we’ve gained over the last few months (July was all about the Apollo 11th 50th Anniversary; our summer was spent in many related pursuits). Since he was born during a winter solstice coupled with a lunar eclipse, I figure he would appreciate the lunar connection we share today, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Anyway, I’ve extended this blog post for far too long (again), and as such: Another great birthday is now behind me.  I am looking forward to continuing this next chapter of my life, and trying to be more comfortable with the decisions I’ve made – and to be proactive enough to make even better ones in the future.

Thanks again, all.

Passive resistance, like Gandhi January 4, 2008

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A very-applicable video:

    Passive resistance, like Gandhi

(more…)

Transitions September 11, 2006

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So… on this day of rememberance, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my life, and the lives of those around me. One aspect which I’ve greatly valued is the ability of keeping up-to-date with others via the web, especially via weblogs such as this.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything to my blog, however, and I have several excuses as to “why”. In all honesty, though, it boils down to: “The desire to maintain this website hasn’t been enough of a priority of mine”. Perhaps not a good reason, per se, but there it is.

However, I’m currently going through several transitions, which have made me re-evaluate many areas of my home life, as well as my work life. The upside is that I’ve made a commitment to myself (as well as several of my friends) to do a much better job in posting about my life going forward.

Watch this space for more … very soon.

Excellent collection of Visual Phenomena August 25, 2005

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…otherwise known as “Optical Illusions”. Check it out:

http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/index.html

I’ve seen many of these before, but really enjoyed finding so many in one place. The Lilac Chaser and Stepping Feet illusions are particularly interesting, IMHO.

Historical gallery of Graphical User Interfaces August 19, 2005

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I can’t believe I’ve never run across this site before…

Be sure to check out GUIdebook: Graphical User Interface gallery. As its name indicates, it contains TONS of information on GUIs throughout history – screenshots, videos, usage details, etc. The subjects run from the Amiga OS, to GNOME, to Magic Cap and the Newton OS. Heck, I’m just happy they feature the GUIs of my beloved Apple II – long live GS/OS!!!

(Oh, and the “Interface Element Obituary Poster” area is rather interesting… ;-)

They also just posted a great interview with John Gruber posted. John is the author of a rather interesting site, Daring Fireball. I may not always agree with his opinion on everything, but do believe he takes a unique position in critiquing user interface elements and design considerations which you and I probably never consider (has anyone ever read Tog’s take on Fitt’s Law?)

Here I come to save the day… August 2, 2005

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FINALLY, I can talk about the coolest input device I’ve seen in quite a while – Apple’s Mighty Mouse.

This is a multi-button mouse done right, folks – from the no-button buttons (it senses pressure on the smooth shell, eliminating the need for separate buttons), to the scroll ball (how obvious an enhancement is that?), to the programmable functions which are possible for each button press (including a simple mode, where each button simple provides a single click).

Oh, and just to show the attention to detail: It does NOT make physical sounds when you click or scroll – it actually has a speaker embedded in the mouse, to provide audible feedback for these actions. Wow.

Check it out. IMHO, this is the mouse by which all others will soon be judged. It doesn’t matter that Apple held off on embracing more than one mouse button – because when they finally did, they did it right.

New input/UI device: TactaPad July 22, 2005

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The TactaPad is billed as “a tactile, immersive, two-handed input device”. But that doesn’t come close to indicating just how creative – and yet incredible obvious and logical – this thing is. It contains a camera for tracking the motion of both of your hands over essentially a force-feedback touchpad.

I can’t really describe just how intriguing this approach is – you need to watch the movie for yourself.

An uncensored history of the Justice League July 14, 2005

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Since we’ve encountered several movies lately featuring The Incredibles, Spider-Man, Batman, the Fantastic Four, and even an upcoming new take on Superman, I thought this tongue-in-cheek “Where are they now?” interview was rather funny.

Note especially all those who were interviewed – including the leader of The World’s Most Dangerous Band The CBS Orchestra ;-)

Earbug of the day/month/year: “Mahna-Mahna” June 10, 2005

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You know that Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper ad with the incredibly-catchy, goofy music?

Well, as I was discussing with friends recently, it’s based on what some consider to be the best Muppet Show skit ever – that of “Mahna-Mahna and the two Snowths” (their name is a combination of “Snout” and “Mouth” – so they should really be “Snouths”). See that page for more details, and the full lyrics.

And, I’ve found links to a video of the original skit, as well as a slightly-different audio file – which is even funnier, IMHO, due to the extended Waldorf & Statler commentary. (And, as an aside, here’s the rough opposite of that commentary, as well ;-)

WARNING: Watch/listen to this song, and it will be stuck in your head for quite some time…

And note: Each attempt I’ve made to verify my belief that “If you merely say ‘mahna-mahna’ to anyone who grew up in the ’70s, they will immediately respond with ‘do-doo-de-do-do'” has worked out perfectly. Thanks for validating this, folks!

(As far as my term “earbug” – see this story)

Well, we’ve done it now June 6, 2005

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Yep, the rumors are true: Steve Jobs announced at today’s WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote that Apple will be transitioning the entire family of Macintosh computers to the Intel platform within the next 2 years. See the press release: Apple to Use Intel Microprocessors Beginning in 2006.

I can’t speak to any facet of this transition except that it certainly takes guts to announce it – and that it is certainly logical to do so at a Developer gathering. After all, it will be those Mac OS X developers who will either make or break this transition. Mac developers are the most creative, loyal, and demanding software engineers out there – and I hope that they see this move as one which will allow even more exposure to their products, and an even larger potential customer base.

We’ve known that Darwin has been running on the x86 platform all along – but although I “knew” some inside information, it was certainly surprising to see a full-fledged implementation of Mac OS X – including calculation-intensive programs, the full GUI, etc. – operating on a Pentium 4-based system. A nicely-done demo – and it was certainly a coup to get Intel’s new CEO up on stage to discuss details, as well.

Note a reference from 3 years ago, which appears to be quite appropos, right about now: Apple Keeps x86 Torch Lit with ‘Marklar’

Also: Note that Microsoft will be rolling out LongwaitLonghorn around the same time as these IntelliMacs begin to hit the scene. This could prove to be a great bit of serendipity – or a horrible roaring beast, which may drown out any other announcements or attention which Apple might be hoping for.

Mark my words: We’ve seen the start of a HUGE change in our beloved platform today. I’m hoping for the best, but preparing for some rocky roads ahead. Will users continue to buy Mac hardware (Apple’s bread-and-butter, high-margin products) now, or hold off to see how the move plays out. We’ll see…

(Aside: The worst part, as a ex-Apple,now-Intel friend just reminded me, we may have to hear that damn “Intel Inside” chime in Apple hardware ads soon. I hate that sound byte… )

UPDATE: I found at least one very optimistic take on the matter. Sounds good to me, if it comes to pass…