Thursday, September 26, 2002

Growth update

The Dude turned 4 months old on Tuesday. Yesterday he had his 4-month pediatrician's appointment, and the numbers are:

25" long (70th percentile)
15 pounds, 7 ounces (90th percentile)

So he's entirely caught up from being a preemie and he'll continue to pass the other kids. He got my genes, it seems, when it comes to size.

In an interesting but trivial coincidence, David is exactly 1/3 of a Josh in height now. He's 2'1", I'm 6'3". He also got stuck with more needles yesterday, which left him very unhappy and quite a handful during the evening. He actually had a tough night - we put him to bed at 9, and he was up for a diaper change at 4 and for a meal at 5. Most nights he goes to sleep between 9 and 10, and then he sleeps until between 7 and 9 AM.

I think the shots threw him off a little.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Why I blew off Interop this year

For the last four years ('98-'01), I went to NetWorld+Interop in Atlanta every fall. It's been a valuable show each year, though last year my stay was interrupted because of the September 11th attacks (as mentioned in my previous essay). This year, though, I blew it off. Why did I blow it off this year? Here's why.

N+I has always been useful to me. I go to Atlanta instead of the springtime Vegas show because I enjoy visiting Atlanta, and it's a shorter trip. I also get to hang out with my friend Rich (and his wife Lynn) and play golf for a couple of days before and after the conference. It's also usually a little quieter time at work, so the timing's a little bit better.

This year, though, after much debate, I decided to skip it. I'm sure, when they look at the statistics of who went and who stayed home at K3Media, they'll assume that I stayed home because of September 11th. I'll admit that was a bit of a factor - not so much because I was worried about a repeat performance (I'm not that worried, but I also know I can't do anything about it either), but because of the massive inconvenience that flying entails nowadays, especially that week. I really didn't feel like having my tooth fillings inspected for explosives. I assumed that would be the security scenario this past week. I actually haven't flown since heading down to Atlanta last September 8th, and I really don't mind that being the case - I'm kinda glad I haven't had to make a business trip outside of New England during that time (and with Jane's pregancy, we weren't taking any long leisure trips either).

Nah, that really wasn't the reason. The reason I blew off N+I this year was because of David. In the end, I didn't want to leave Jane to take care of him solo for a week yet. And I really couldn't bear to not see him for that long myself. I try to go home for lunch every day just so I can watch him - how could I not do that for a week?

And it paid off, too. had I gone away this past week, I'd be arriving home today. And that means I would have missed his first giggle yesterday afternoon.

He was laughing for about a half hour when one of his toys really captivated him. of course, he has yet to repeat the performance, but I saw it happen.

I'll almost certainly be back at Interop next year. But this year, there's a little guy in the crib nearby who's telling me I definitely made the right choice.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Last year at this time...

One year ago at this time I was heading downstairs in my hotel to meet my friend Jimmy. We were having breakfast before proceeding to our classes for the day - we were at Networld+Interop in Atlanta. I was looking forward to the days' material after the first day of classes Monday. I was planning to go hit the show floor for a little while on Tuesday, see a couple of things I was interested in, and pick up tickets for the show party Wednesday night.

Class started at 8 AM. About an hour into the class, a few peoples' phones rang, and a few pagers went off. I remember thinking "boy, that's rude. My pager's set to vibrate, so should theirs' be". After about 10 minutes, someone went up and spoke to the lecturers quietly, and they made an announcement:

"I've just been told that two planes have hit the World Trade Center in New York - we're going to break early now so people can go find out what's going on if they want to".

I walked out of the classroom in the Omni Hotel and into a different world. People were milling around the Congress Center plaza on their cell phones, and all the TV sets inside that normally show closed loop TV of show blather were tuned to CNN - the CNN headquarters are right across the street. It was obvious what was going on the first time I looked at the TV.

After a few tries, I was able to contact Jane, my parents, and my office, all of whom I notified that things were fine. After the Pentagon attack became known, I decided that it would be a good idea to get out of town - I called my friend Rich (who Jimmy and I stayed with the weekend before - we played a lot of golf), and told him my thinking, and then ran into Jimmy on the plaza a few minutes later. The possibility of staying at the show didn't occur to me at all.

We did walk the show floor for about half an hour to pass time - most of the booths were closed, and I remember looking up at the ceiling a lot. We walked back to the hotel, packed our bags, and grabbed lunch while waiting for Rich to come in and pick us up. He arrived around 3, and we headed back to Alpharetta.

That evening, I cancelled Jane's flight (the national air system was closed anyway, but she had been scheduled to come down Friday for a long weekend with our friends and I), and was able to arrange a minivan rental for the following evening so we could get home. Getting home was the single most important thing I could think of. Thankfully, Jane's parents had driven up to keep her company while I was away - otherwise it would have been even more difficult for her then.

We picked up the minivan Wednesday night. Traffic was virtually nonexistent. We had to go to the airport to get it, and it was deathly quiet. The next morning, we took off for Boston.

We stuck to the back highways - travelling over the Blue Ridge Mountains to avoid DC, and after staying Thursday night with Jimmy's sister and her husband outside of Philly, we went the next day up through Allentown and far around the metro New York area.

Neither of us wanted to see the smoke plume.

We arrived back in Boston around 5 PM Friday - Jane met us, and Jimmy's car was still in the garage. I got home around 6.

Was I directly affected by what happened? No, I wasn't. Jimmy has a relative who works for TJX - she was originally supposed to be on one of the doomed flights, but they changed her plans and sent her to Toronto that day instead. That's as close as events came directly to me. I could have stayed in Atlanta, and even gone back to the show, but I thought the best thing to do was to just get home.

On the one hand, I can't help but feel like it's incredibly shallow of me to focus on my individual 9/11 experience - especially since I didn't lose a neighbor, friend, or relative. But I can't even comprehend the deliberate murder of approximately 3,000 individuals. It's beyond imagining - even a year later. The best I can do is relate how the act intersected my small, relatively insignificant life.

In the larger sense, though, I was affected profoundly. Though I don't understand the crime, I understand the reason, whatever the criminals themselves would say. Cowards attacked us and our way of life because in the end they're jealous. We're free - they aren't. We're tolerant - they're not. We're powerful - they're weak. We're large, and they, for all their bluster, are small.

And in the end, it's their bodies that will lie rotting in the hot Mideast sun, their families destroyed, and their riches dispersed. Their dream will always be the one extinguished. Because their fatal mistake is that they imagine America to be as small, narrow, and petty as they are. And that's just not the case. We have small, narrow people in this country who are similar in mindset to them. But our country itself is a far larger and greater place than they can even understand. Their small minds don't have the room to comprehend that which is America. And thus, in the end, they are doomed by their own lack of vision and thought.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Over the weekend

We finally replaced Jane's 3-year-old iMac DV this past weekend - with a shiny new 17" widescreen iMac. My original inclination was to buy the less pricey eMac, but when she saw the iMac screen it was all over.

After a couple of days, I can safely say it's sweet. I haven't yet made any DVD's (the biggest reason we got it), but I've used it a little, and I'd say it's a hair snappier than my TiBook 667 (my TiBook has a faster system bus, but a slower processor, video card, and hard drive). The widescreen is spectacular to look at, and Jaguar takes good advantage of the GeForce 4MX video subsystem.

My only complaints are that the keyboard cable is just too darned short, and the AirPort reception isn't quite as good as on the old Kihei-series iMac it replaced - so I had to move the base station out of the cellar.

That's it for computers for a while, until David needs one someday. My next project is to try and get my e-smith server box moved over to run on my iOpener. I'll have to either wait until the next version or build my own kernel - the iOpener uses a USB Ethernet card that my friend Rob hacked onto the motherboard, and the 2.2 kernel doesn't really support USB network devices. But my ultimate goal is to run a low-power server that's silent, and the iOpener fits the bill even better than my Book PC.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Another milestone today

Last night, we put David to bed around 10:00, and I just finished feeding him a couple of minutes ago.

Ergo, he slept through the night for the first time - it's been 8.5 hours since we'd fed him last. his mom checked on him a couple of times when she happened to wake up, and the most he needed was to be put back in his positioner (David's quite the squirmer).

This is seriously cool.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Following up

As I'd mentioned, I said I would write about Jaguar once I had it - well, it works very well indeed. Way faster for most tasks, only two compatibility issues with software I use day-to-day (ASM and Zingg), and most of the annoying things in 10.0 and 10.1.x are gone - including the horrible Finder performance from the earlier versions.

When was the last time a Microsoft OS version upgrade actually made a PC faster?

As for other events, we took David to visit my family in Connecticut over the long weekend. He handled the ride far better than I expected he would - slept the whole way down and most of the way back. He now typically goes around 5 hours between feedings most of the time, which almost lets us have a life.