Cold.

I snapped this photo during my walk this morning. It is currently a third of the temperature it was when this photo was taken and it was 15ºF during my walk. Right now it’s 5ºF. On the bright side, it’s above zero.

Wednesday is suppose to have a high of -5ºF.

Snow doesn’t bother me. I don’t mind snow all that much, even when we have feets and yards of it. But cold? Yeah, I’m not a fan. I don’t like the feeling of cold out there. It’s better than oppressively hot, but I’d be happy with a nice 68ºF year round. I guess I’m finicky.

With all the stuff going on during the Government Shutdown for a wall that no one wants, I really worry about the folks that are working their full-time job but will still get a paycheck of zero tomorrow because President Coulter dictated she wouldn’t support the idiot in the seat unless he got his wall built. I worry about the unpaid government working staying warm, I worry about them feeding their families, I worry about them having a roof over their head. Despite the fact that Trump thinks you can buy groceries on a line of credit, I’m pretty sure even Ike Godsey stopped that practice some time during World War II.

The United States of America is a very cold place right now. It’s a shame I’m not talking about the weather.

Forgiveness.

Very early in my professional career I worked for Digital, otherwise known as Digital Equipment Corporation, commonly (but erroneously by corporate standards) called DEC. At the time I was with the company it was the second largest computer company in the world. I was one of about 120,000 employees. This was back in the late 1980s.

One of the mantras at Digital was to always do the right thing. You could always ask for forgiveness later. Even at age 19 I took this approach with my career and I made changes in software that turned out great in the long run, but I had to ask for forgiveness for going outside the development processes that had been in place long before I joined the company.

The company I currently work for is primarily a Microsoft shop, even though we use Linux all day and every day on our servers. A while back I was given a Windows 10 laptop to replace the Mac I had insisted be present for me to join the company; it seems they wanted to go all Windows on the desktop and Macs just weren’t fitting into that scheme. The company does offer a BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device program and many opt to do this. When the Windows 10 laptop arrived I registered my work MacBook Pro into the Bring Your Own Device program, which kept it alive on the corporate network. I’m lucky that I work remotely; the MBP can’t be plugged into the network at an office.

As a “ Crazy One”, I am able to get a lot of work done on my Mac. I even spent hours over the holidays comparing my workflow on the Windows 10 computer versus my workflow on the Mac and how much of a difference it made in my levels of productivity. I am 34% less productive on a Windows machine, mostly because of a lack of cohesiveness in the software experience on Windows, and because of the number of reboots required during the day (the company uses a mix of 32 and 64 bit software which I think makes Windows 10 cranky).

Plus, the fan is running all. the. time. on the Dell laptop they gave me.

I don’t know if the BYOD program is going to remain alive forever at work, but I’m going to continue using this MacBook Pro for as long as I can.

If someone doesn’t like it, I’ll ask for forgiveness later.

In the meanwhile, I’ll continue to dazzle to the best of my ability. I mean, getting things done is what it’s all about, right?

Quiet.

After a weekend of being relatively unplugged from the Internet, I shared this tweet this morning:

Please stop being outraged. Listen, consider, and breathe before you tweet. This is my new mantra.

Scanning through my Twitter timeline I realised that a good chunk of the content was people shouting. Now, some have good reason to shout, as I have several Twitter friends that work in some role with the U.S. Government and they’re going on nearly a month without a paycheck. That’s a really good reason to shout. They get a pass, and more.

Other than that, there were too many people shouting from their digital rooftops about how awful Trump is, how terrible the events in D.C. were this weekend, and how ridiculous Rudy Giuliani is.

I’ve been an avid tweeter since 2007, taking a few breaks here and there. At one time it was a good way to keep tabs on what was happening in the world.

These days it’s a bunch of noise.

Social Media may prove to be a failed experiment. There has to be a better way to connect with people.

I hope we find an answer soon. In the meanwhile, I may retreat to the quiet.

Driving.

I love roads. I went to school for Civil Engineering because I love roads. I find the way expressways and roads wind their way across the United States to be absolutely fascinating.

That being said, I am not a fan of urban driving. As an urban dweller in the third largest city in the United States, I am a proud public transit kind of guy. I believe if the ‘L’, METRA or bus takes me where I want to go, or if I can walk there in a reasonable amount of time, the car should stay in the garage.

Driving around the city makes me crazy. It feels so unnecessary. I get driving to a shopping center if you’re hauling home a Mac or something, or if you’re bring home a haul from the grocery store, but if I’m going out for brunch?

I want someone else to drive.

AA 2667.

I am currently on a flight from Raleigh-Durham to OHare after a wonderful weekend with friends. We are flying at FL240 because the winds aloft are so high and they’re trying to get as much ground speed as possible. This is making for some great views as we cross the Appalachians.

They’re not the Rocky Mountains but they’re bumpy.

I’m seated in an exit row again and it is enjoyable. The seat to my left is empty. Another score for roominess on my second flight in a row.

I am a little surprised the beverage service hasn’t started yet. Perhaps it will start soon. Earl and I have lunch plans when we get back home. It will hopefully be somewhere warm since it’s currently 9°F.

Everyone can calm down, the cart was just led down the aisle.

Being relatively off the grid this weekend, as well as being mostly unplugged from news has contributed to this centered feeling I am experiencing. I feel like the stress of the holidays has melted away, work feels like it will be under control (I even cleaned out my inbox this morning), and the days are getting longer.

One of my goals this week is to find reliable sources of news (political and technological), with as least spin as possible. I think part of that goal involves finding sources that are not dependent on ad clicks and solely ad revenue. PBS, NPR, and newspapers come to mind. I might even have to subscribe to something.

My goal is to be informed, not to be told what to think. Find the good. Be the light.

And avoid the high winds aloft.

20 Days.

We are 20 days into 2019. It seems like it’s been a lot longer. Perhaps I pay too much attention to the news and television, but mark that down into the column of “concerned citizen”.

I’m still trying to hold onto my “resolutions” for the New Year. I’m doing pretty well at the changes I wanted to introduce to my life, but I am resolving to double down on my efforts, here at the 20 day mark.

Exit Row.

On this American flight from Chicago O’Hare to Raleigh-Durham I am sitting in the exit row. I’m actually sitting in the exit row on the way home as well, but please do me a favor and don’t tell my husband because there might have been a slight up charge to get an exit row.

Sitting in an exit row on an American Boeing 737 gives you a lot of extra leg room. I am enjoying being able to cross my legs and maneuver around in my seat like a normal person. The perk of this particular flight is there is no one sitting in the middle seat. The man on the aisle and I rejoiced about this in a masculine way when we took our seats during boarding.

Please don’t judge me for rejoicing in a masculine way.

If you’ve never sat in the exit row before, there is a bit of responsibility associated with the honor. You have to be aware of how the exit door works, you need to review the safety card so you know the intricacies of your responsibilities in the event of an emergency, you need to be able to understand and speak English and you have to follow all flight crew instructions.

Most importantly, you have to verbally respond when the flight attendant asks if you are willing and able to perform the duties associated with being seated in an exit row.

Being seated in seat 15F, the nice flight attendant asked each passenger in row 14 before moving to my row. Each of the folks in the row in front of me responded with a simple “Yes”. Some seemed agitated by the practice.

It takes every ounce of my being to conceal my excitement when the flight attendant asked me if I was willing and able to carry out the duties associated with sitting in an exit row.

“I’m a pilot!”, this is the first thing I want to blurt out.

“I LOVE AIRPLANES!”, this plays like a bright LED light across my forehead.

“I’m going cuz it’s a Boeing! w00t w00t”! The hands to the roof gesture is pre-emptied by sitting on my hands.

“Does Captain Montgomery have an extra jump seat up front?”, another thought that flies through my mind.

“Yes”. This is my adult reply.

Any seat on an airplane is awesome.

AA 1534.

Chicago O’Hare Terminal 3 Gate K1.

I’m waiting to board flight AA 1534 to Raleigh-Durham. Boarding begins in 15 minutes. I am seated in an exit row. I enjoy the responsibility.

The line for TSA was quite long this evening, snaking the entire length of this terminal. Luckily, TSA was moving folks through rather quickly. It’s been a while since I’ve kept my shoes on at a checkpoint.

I’ve been keeping my eye on the weather for this departure; it looks like it’ll be a smooth ride once we get up above the weather. I really wish I could be up front in the jump seat learning more about the Boeing 737 and how it flies. I’ll have to settle for a simulator until I can find someone that can legally take me for a ride while in the cockpit.

Speaking of which, Earl and I have been watching that new series “Manifest” on NBC. The storyline continues to be slow, some of the character development is tedious but anything about aviation is intriguing in my eyes. I’ve been looking for problems with the aviation details and it hasn’t been awful in that regard. I don’t know if the show will last to a season two, but for now it’s a good escape.

For tonight’s flight I’m going to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight. I think I’ll skip the wifi and enjoy this old school, with a magazine and gazing out the window.

Because after all, any seat on any aircraft is an awesome seat.

One Day At Time.

The trailer for the third season of Netflix’s reboot of “One Day At A Time” is available. I really like where this reboot has gone. Watching the show it still feels familiar (in a subtle way) but it works with today’s world. I’m looking forward to the new season!

Tim Cook: It’s Time For Action on Data Privacy.

CUPERTINO, CA – JULY 28: Apple CEO Tim Cook poses for a portrait at Apple’s global headquarters in Cupertino, California on July 28, 2016. Cook has been CEO for five years; he took over for Steve Jobs shortly before Jobs’ death. (Photo by Andrew Burton/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

One of the biggest challenges in protecting privacy is that many of the violations are invisible. For example, you might have bought a product from an online retailer—something most of us have done. But what the retailer doesn’t tell you is that it then turned around and sold or transferred information about your purchase to a “data broker”—a company that exists purely to collect your information, package it and sell it to yet another buyer.

Tim Cook Calls for US Privacy Regulations in Time Op-Ed. Link to story originally found at Macstories.net.

Apple often gets lumped in with Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. when it comes to online presence. But Apple is not like the others. Tim Cook is looking for action on protecting users’ data privacy.