Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bonus round

I played my first round of golf this year in the local Chamber of Commerce tournament this past Monday. It turned out to be a nice day, and though our group was darned competitive at 9 under par, I had to leave the event before dinner was served to get home (since I was headed to the Vineyard in the morning, I wanted to have dinner with my family). I left thinking we were fourth, behind the first-pace team at -13, a group at -12, and another at -10.

Well, one of my teammates called me this afternoon with the news that we had been third after all - turns out I misread the scoreboard and the -12 was actually a +12. Sweet! He dropped off the gift certificate at my office this afternoon. It was a pretty fun group, too, which made winning a prize more fun. In a scramble, most of the teams are in it for laughs and the competitive groups are too serious about their golf. Scoring well and having a laugh - that's a win/win inn my book.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Distance blogging

Tonight is the first time since November of 1992 that I have spent a night staying away from my family (Jane's gone away a couple of times with and without David, but I haven't). I'm spending the night at my favorite place on earth (Martha's Vineyard), I'm doing work, having fun, and making money, but frankly I'd rather be home with my wife and kid.

However, it was cool to come back down here - I haven't been to the Vineyard since late September of '01, which was also the last time Jane and I took a week's vacation solo anywhere. I do love the ferry ride, and it was also nice to not have to deal with my car this time - I left it up at a SSA parking lot and was picked up on the island. The project I'm working on is pretty cool. My job out here was to set up all the technology. Wireless Internet service, a new iMac for use, and soem other goodies.

On a nicer note, apparently the new Novatel Wireless EVDO ExpressCards will be available in a week. Thank goodness. That was the only thing left for my MacBook Pro to be fully useful, and I'm glad I held off buying a regular cellphone for tethering.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Why I hate the NBA

I shouldn't hate the NBA, really. I played a lot of basketball in my youth, played pick-up ball for years afterward, and learned the game from a dad who was a center way back in the day when a 6'2" white guy could play that position. I watched it a lot when I was younger, but here's the top 5 reasons why I think pro basketball now simply sucks:

5: The players are kids. Having teenagers play in the league is something I don't like. When you can't get acquainted with the stars of tomorrow during their college career it makes you relate less.

4: The average NBA player now comes from a world that I don't connect with. I'm not a hip-hop kind of guy - I'm a 40-year old with a wife, a kid, a minivan, and a mortgage. It's not really a white/black thing, more of an old/young thing. I know the lingo but I don't have the moves. Players in my day didn't have tattoos everywhere, they mainly had modest haircuts (except for a few afros and mullets), and they weren't wearing more jewelry than my wife out on the court.

3: NBA referees suck. They have the worst officiating of any major national sport, even worse than football's part-time refs. The officiating in the NBA finals was the main reason why there isn't a game 7, and why the Heat are already champs.

2: The games are more about the "experience" nowadays than the game. I loved the game. I don't need laser shows, cheerleaders, and arena rock.

1: Back as late as the early '90s, basketball had flow. Scores were high, defense was aggressive but reasonable, and 120-115 scores were normal. Then came the Pistons, and after them the Riley Knicks, and the game slowed down to a crawl. Now you have more 1-on-1 play and less movement - it's all about the hard foul on the rare trip to the basket, and I think the 3-point shot is terrible for the game. Boo hiss.

I grew up a Knicks fan - and I remember the early '70s teams they had, the great Celtics/Lakers battles, the Sixers with Erving, and all the play from that era fondly. If I had time, I'd only watch ESPN Classic to see that stuff. That's the basketball I grew up trying to play, the basketball that means something to me. Not the crap that I see nowadays.

You kids, get outta my yard!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Big bad boom

I'm going to bed now, but a little while ago there was a major wreck in front of our house - as best as I can tell from the sound and debris the initial impact was just by the pizza place across the street and the impact was so fast that the two cars involved careened about 40-50 meters down from there. The first car was t-boned by a much faster-moving sedan, which was a total wreck with severe injuries. The driver was hurt and I suspect drunk as well. His passenger was not as lucky. I believe she is alive as I type this, but there was a big head-shaped hole in the windshield where she was catapulted into it. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to read in tomorrow's paper that she didn't make it. I hope I'm wrong.

When we heard the boom, I was upstairs getting ready for bed, and Jane was watching the news downstairs. I jumped into a pair of shorts as she called 911 - fast as she was she wasn't even the first caller. I ran out in case I could be useful, and much of the neighborhood had the same idea. I had to go about three houses down to get there and there was already a crowd, with the cops arriving at record speed. Also, one of the utility poles got taken partially out, complicating things. When I saw that I decided it was time to head back.

As a side note, ever since one crash I saw back in my Norwood commuting days, I've always carried an extinguisher in my car.

Anyhow, the sad thing here is that a person may well be dead, and if that's the case it was because of the lack of a seat belt. If people would be smart enough to drive sober, wear seat belts, and not drive too damn fast in the first place the roads would be a much safer place. And since both Jane and I are people who spend a lot of time in cars for a living, I really don't think that's too much to ask of society.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Also noteworthy

I added a few links on the nav side today, besides writing a real post. One blog, one software package, and one online column. I feel so productive now...

Physician, Google Thyself

As most of you who read my rambles regularly may have realized, I try and write a title for each blog post that gives a simple summary of the entry's main point, along with (hopefully) a nice pun of sorts.

I also am a firm believer that you should periodically Google yourself to see what/if people might be saying about you, or what writings of yours come up first. I, for one, have a Google trail that goes back to the early '90s (both on USENET and the web) - I've been online a long time and have said a lot. My practice here (believe it or not) is to avoid being too specific about some things (read the archives, you'll get an idea) and never say anything that I wouldn't say to someone I've known about 5 minutes. A lot of people are just waking up to the idea that most everything they've ever said in public is cached in all the major search engines - I've known it for years.

Anyhow, the most interesting thing I turned up this time was an entry about 4 pages in. Some guy who has a Wordpress blog on music took exception to the entry I wrote back in October when I picked up a cheap iPod Shuffle. Why? Because after using the title I used, I didn't write about Springsteen, or even about music.

Wah. By the way, I don't write much about potty training anymore because he's done with it.
(though once in a while there is an accident)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Screw with the planet long enough

And sooner or later, the planet will start screwing with you. A month of rain? Record-setting hurricane season? Blizzards? scorching hot summer days? Yep.

When you increase the amount of heat in the system, it's not just that the average temperature gets warmer. It's that there's more energy in the global feedback loop. Storms become more frequent and more violent. Cold days get colder, hot days get hotter. As we melt more ice from the poles and lower the salinity of the oceans, the current loops that steer weather around the globe will slow or cease entirely. Europe's going to freeze at some point.

Basically, we're screwed. I suspect we've passed the point of no return on climate - 5-10 years ago we might have been able to change things but not anymore. Humans will survive, of course, but the world we're giving our children is not going to be nearly as nice a place as the one we had. Way to go, humanity!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

MacBook - surprisingly suh-weet!

I set up my first MacBook (the $1299 middle configuration) for a client yesterday, and it was much nicer than I feared it would be. Heat is warmer than an iBook, but cooler than the MacBook Pro (or maybe that's because mine is a little faster, with a higher-speed drive). The reflective screen is pretty nice - I expected a worse mirror effect - the screen is very sharp, and the chipset-based acceleration is fine for routine business and recreational use. It doesn't ship with enough RAM, though. Rosetta (as I've mentioned before) introduces roughly a 30% memory hit over a native PPC Mac per application - a small price to pay for the compatibility and (typically) performance you get from it. But with only 512MB of RAM standard and provided as a pair of pre-connected SO-DIMMs, you have to scrap all the existing RAM to get up to a usable gigabyte. Which is a shame, not to mention priced poorly.

Were I designing the MacBook, I would have tried to incorporate 512MB right on the system board, leaving the DIMM sockets open for expansion. Other than that quibble, it's a well-engineered system, the size factor is really good, and I'd say overall it makes both iBook models and the 12" PowerBook G4 its beeyotch. The only thing you give up compared to a PowerBook 12" is the metal case, ATI video (and slightly smaller size), because the 12" was always just an iBook with a shiny aluminum skin. The backlit keyboard that the MacBook Pro (and bigger PowerBooks) had isn't on the 12" or either iBook anyhow, and you also get the built-in camera, 802.11a capability, and the multi-display support the iBooks lacked.

It's basically a worthy ride, and had I not bought my wife a 12" iBook back in December as a birthday gift I'd be looking at these. My only advice to the prospective buyer - skip the black color. True, you get an 80GB drive instead of a 60GB, but other than that it's the exact same machine for an extra $200. If you really want the 80GB drive, add it as a BTO option on Apple's website - that way it only costs $50.

Also, with virtualization all the rage I'm expecting to have a review of Parallels Desktop in a few days - I'll post it on the BNUG site as well as here.