Life.

I know having a personal blog like is horribly outdated in today’s world of screaming on social media, but I can’t let go of this method of expression. I don’t write entries as often as I like and I have more feelings of writer’s block than I care to these days, but overall I still find enjoyment in this endeavor. I have a couple of friends I met through blogs back in the day that still maintain a personal blog, but for the most part, the personal blog has gone the way of the dodo.

I’m trying to decide if it’s the monetization of everything on the Internet or the infestation of Social Media, or a combination of both for that matter, that moved the needle on personal blogs. Back in the day there were plenty of ways to maintain a personal blog and there are still lots and lots of options available to us today. But in 2019 people don’t have time to sit down and write actual letters of the alphabet (versus emojis and the like), let alone words strung together in a cohesive manner, and so the expectation of the return of personal blog as a popular part of society is probably not going to happen.

“Read. Think. Be. Evolve.”

Kate Mulgrew said these four words as advice to a young person that was asking questions about her career, her writings, and her portrayals of the popular characters she has said over the years. “Hold a book. Put down the gadget”.

I was browsing through old blog posts earlier today and in 2007 I wretched about people using “their cell phones” all the time. It’s not a surprise that I was complaining, after all I do that way too often, but comparing what I was complaining about in ’07 versus how people use smartphones today, well, there’s no comparison. We have a whole generation of people that would absolutely lose their minds if there was a drastic shift in technology that pushed us back 10 or 15 years. I truly wonder if we would be able to survive.

I need to read more. My grandmother used to sit in her rocking chair, in front of the large windows at the end of her mid-century living room, and just spend time reading. She was one of the most even-keeled people I’ve ever known and I truly feel that reading was a contributor to that. My dad was the same way. He could spend hours reading and he was pretty even-keeled as well.

Read. Think. Be. Evolve.

Thanks, Kate. It’s great advice for a great life.

Twitter == Topix.

A number of years ago there was an Internet forum called “Topix” that was quite popular in the city we lived in at the time. The locals had found their way to this site to trash talk just about every aspect of living in the small Upstate New York city. The conversation slammed restaurants, hospitals, city officials, politicians, neighbors, friends, prostitutes, and priests. The shocking thing is a lot of this discussion named names; people’s dirty laundry was aired in an unbelievable manner. Back in the early 2010s I swore off the site as I felt that it was like walking through a sewer while wearing nothing but a fig leaf, and everyone was watching you do it.

Move ahead to 2019 and just a little bit ago I came to the realization that Twitter, at least as the way it’s represented through its algorithm to give you riveting content first, is pretty much an exercise in the same slog through the muck. Twitter became quite dank in the run up to the 2016 election, and as I think about it, probably even before then when it gave Trump a voice to carry on his Birther Conspiracy against President Obama. But revenue is revenue in the heads of many a social media CEO, and why worry about quality when you can fleece enough money from the masses and then try to cultivate a “edgy” image of a caring individual.

I’ve complained about Twitter for years but I still hold onto my original account, mainly because of the number of friends I’ve made through the haze over the years and somewhat because I wouldn’t be able to contact them any other way. In an obvious effort to rationalize my Sybil-like feels about Twitter, there is good news buried amongst the inaccurate tweets, banal memes, and reductive “analysis” that Twitter features way too often.

It’s funny that I’ve never made the comparison between that hell hole of “Topix” with Twitter, but that’s all Twitter has really become. A place where you can scream into a void and find someone that agrees with you, no matter how idiotic your screaming is (and yes, that includes my contributions to the site from time to time).

Seeing Twitter in this new light is making my gears turn again. My only concern is: where would I find access to late breaking news and how would I keep in contact with the people I have met over the years through Twitter?

I think it’s time for another Twitter-free weekend to find out.

Searching.

From time to time I’ll wander around the Internet, fully indulging my geek mode and affinity for “legacy technology”, and search for hints and scraps of technology I remember from my past. These things are the latest and greatest of the era and ultimately inspired me to be the geeky, dorky software developer I am today.

This evening I stumbled upon some photos of a Data Terminal Systems Series 400 cash register. One of these days I’ll actually get my hands on one of these things.

This particular register looks like it was in a department store of some sort and has an extra row of keys along the top of the keyboard, as well as an extra row of keys along the left hand side.

Dilemma.

This is my work Mac. It was assigned to me as my work computer in June 2015. I was a bit of an outlier in the company with this Mac; when I was convinced I should join the company I said I wouldn’t do it unless I could work on a Mac and they relented. I wasn’t the only one using a Mac but the number of us was small. It’s the last generation of MacBook Pro before the new keyboard was introduced to frustrate the masses. I have since been assigned a Dell Windows 10 computer that I don’t use as much as I’m suppose to. My workflow works best on a Mac.

My husband’s iMac is older than this Mac and it’s getting a little long in the tooth. I’ve also been looking for a desktop to use in the same space as my work Mac because I really want to get back into video editing again. I have hours and hours and hours of flight video that I’d like to put together in clever ways to share with the masses. I’m not looking to make money with my flight videos, rather I’m more interested in sharing my passion for aviation as widely as possible.

My husband should have a laptop of some sort. We have tried the iPad Pro route and he doesn’t like the limited experience the iPad currently offers. I know Apple insists that tablet computing is the way of the future, and there are many that use their iPad Pro full-time (in fact, I’m typing this blog entry on my iPad Pro), but in reality, iOS is not there for the average computer user to make the switch to a tablet as their full-time computer. The logical choice would be a 13-inch MacBook Pro with the option of plugging into an external monitor.

Apple’s offerings are so expensive!

So I took a gander through Best Buy last night and I was underwhelmed by every computer I looked at. I typed on premium computers made by Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus, Toshiba, Samsung, and Microsoft. The closest thing that came to the quality I would expect from a computer in 2019 was the Microsoft Surface line, but there was something I just didn’t enjoy. I don’t know if it was the power connector hanging off like it 2005 or the overwhelming interface of Windows 10, but I was not as impressed as I thought I would be.

Perhaps my expectations are too high.

I was encouraged to see that Apple bumped up the MacBook Pro line yesterday and also announced that they’ve modified the new keyboard design (again) to address the stuck key issue users have been dealing with for literally years. After Best Buy I went to the Apple store last night and played around with a MacBook Pro with TouchBar. It was interesting. I was surprised at how loud the keys were with each press and I wondered if the TouchBar was actually ever used by the average consumer. Looking at the specs of each device I went into geek mode and realized the computers at Best Buy, while not built as well as the Apple devices, had higher specs at a lower price. I really want to make sure this next computer for my husband lasts for a number of years, so I try to get as much RAM and hard drive space as fiscally possible.

I didn’t make any purchases last night.

I think I’m going to end up waiting until after WWDC in a couple of weeks to see what Apple announces in the way of iOS and Mac OS upgrades in 2019. But right now, I feel like the general computing experience for the average user in 2019 is at a weird, uninspiring, lack of innovation limbo of sorts. Prices go up with no real benefit.

We really need the next Steve Jobs, whomever he or she may be, to share their vision and get us moving forward again.

Ecofriendly.

My morning walk ended up being an abbreviated event this morning due to the rain that was coming down at the time. I thought I could brave it out but alas, with temperatures in the mid 40s and a decent amount of precipitation, I decided that I would try again to catch up on my step count later in the day.

I did notice that neighbors had their sprinklers running during the rain shower. I’m assuming this is an automated affair; folks just set and forget the sprinkler system to assure a beautiful lawn everyday. This is where I wish folks would embrace sensible technology. We have more than enough ways to determine if it’s raining outside, and an electronic gizmo in the neighborhood of $100 would allow the sprinklers to be smart as to when to deploy. If it’s raining, there’s no sense in deploying the sprinklers for that cycle. Perhaps a more expensive gizmo could determine if the lawn even needs water to begin with.

I’m all for beautiful lawns. I’m all for smart technology. Perhaps the two should be married for a more ecologically responsible union more often.

Céline.

I’ve been a Céline fan since hearing her since in French on a radio station out of Kingston, Ontario back in the mid-late 1980s. Here’s one of her latest interviews. She is a couple months older than me. I find her attitude to be very inspiring.

Unsilenced.

I’ve been trying really hard to not run my mouth about the state of the States these days. I’ve been purposely avoiding news feeds. I’ve created a new Twitter account to try to escape the gluttony of idiocy spewing all over creation on my timeline. I avoid eavesdropping on seemingly rich, white people conversations while we are out to dinner. I refuse to take photos for tourists standing in front of the Trump building here in Chicago.

It’s mostly because if I were to really say what I feel, well, let’s just leave it at that.

My dreams are nightmares filled with the cries of a planet being destroyed by humans. My mouth is agape when I read things like the Alabama Abortion Ban bill signed by their governor today. Fun fact, the woman impregnated by a rapist will go more time for getting an abortion than the man that raped her. Let that sink in for a moment: uncle rapes 17 year old, baby has complications due to genetics, uncle goes to jail for 10 years for rape but the 17 year old girl goes to jail for 99 years for getting an abortion.

If given the choice between “The Hunger Games” and “The Handmaid’s Tale”, I’ll take my chances with a flaming dress.

My biggest fear is the Democrats are doing everything they can to make this a close, if not lost, presidential election. Common sense would dictate that Trump would lose in a landslide in 2020. But common sense is no longer common here in the States (how can we really call ourselves ‘The United States of America’ these days?), it’ll be a close if not lost presidential election and then Flaming Cheeto will feel empowered to really get his agenda going. That’s if we’re not nuked to death from a war with a nuclear power or the planet holds it together, despite the abuse, to get us to 2020 to begin with.

Remember when people were enraged about a blow job in the Oval Office? Good times.

My pilot insurance policy renewed this week and it came with an addendum that exempts coverage if I’m injured in an airplane during a nuclear attack. I have no idea why this is even being discussed but I guess we have to plan for reality.

Here’s a winner: Elizabeth Warren is suggesting we beef up the military to combat climate change. I hate to be the Debbie Downer in the room, but isn’t the military one of the biggest contributors to Climate Change related pollution to begin with?

I really don’t know what that shriveled old ball of Ivey down in Alabama thinks she’s trying to accomplish with this abortion ban law that is going to be overturned anyway. Thank god I don’t have to go to that state.

So, I guess I’m not going to be silent anymore. There’s just too much crap going on to keep wearing it as it’s flung about.

It’s time to speak up.

Repeat.

I’m in the waiting room at Northwestern Medicine Memorial Hospital while my husband is having his second colonoscopy procedure in as many years. This procedure is a follow-up to last year’s procedure which discovered the presence of Prostate Cancer. We are hopeful that he will get a clean bill of health today.

I was telling him that Northwestern Medicine has made me the most comfortable as a patient or spouse of a patient that I’ve felt in these circumstances at any time in my life. Everyone we’ve ever been in contact with has been very professional, calm, and seemingly knowledgeable. As a geek I’m impressed with their use of technology. It appears to all be based on Microsoft technology. The presentation is simple to understand and there hasn’t been any perceived glitches. The typography of their information panels as UI is very impressive. The only thing I’m curious about is the lack of walkable computing; there are computers everywhere. I would think folks would be walking around with Microsoft Surface tablets are something. Perhaps we haven’t been in those areas of the experience yet.

A quick aside: When did we move from saying “Hello” to “This is (insert name here)” when we answer the phone? I’ve noticed that folks answering their cell phones here in the waiting room are introducing themselves with their name. Perhaps it’s because of the nature of the call. How did we ever survive without Caller ID? Remember when that was a novelty? Now it’s a given.

I have a couple of hours to wait for Earl to finish his procedure. I’m going to busy myself by doing a little work and just relaxing here in the waiting room. I love the people watching.

I look forward to the good news at the end of Earl’s procedure.