Thankful.

A chicken burrito supreme at 1:30 AM in Chicago, Illinois. My life is awesome.

Shower Thoughts.

So in the first half of the 20th century we thought it was a great idea to use asbestos in our buildings. In the last half of the 20th century we decided that wasn’t such a great idea and at great expense we’ve been doing our best to get rid of it.

At one time we thought the Milky Way galaxy was it. We now know there’s billions of galaxies out there.

What makes us so cock sure that we have physics right? We know what gravity does but we don’t know why gravity does what it does. We know it’s there and we know why it’s there but we don’t know how it’s there.

Legacy.

As a solid Gen-Xer and seeing the growth of technology first hand, I have always been fascinated by what we call “legacy” technology today. I can vividly remember standing in line with my mother at the local DMV, watching a clerk carefully enter information about my Dad’s motorcycle in a big terminal. Looking over her glasses, with the proper forms filled out and clipped on an arm attached to the terminal, she carefully entered each piece of information, following the flashing green cursor for guidance into the Mohawk Data Sciences terminal, eventually hitting “SEND” and writing a number on the form with a red pen. A few moments later the very loud printer clacked its way through printing the registration form. When presented with the paperwork, I saw the very “high-tech” lettering on the form and I was excited. This was the future!

Of course, I’m now sitting in a Starbucks, where I flashed my smartphone in front of a scanner attached to a scant slab of silicon posing as a cash register, typing a blog entry on a slightly bigger piece of silicon. This iPad I’m using has the capacity of literally thousands if not millions pieces of the equipment that was once used to power the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

And we take it for granted.

Legacy computing is wicked cool to me because we were discovering this new era of technology and trying all sorts of different things to try to make our lives better. The future would be high-tech and we’d be smarter because of it.

Now people are falling into fountains while trying to take a “selfie” with their phone while making duck faces.

Google I/O, the big developer conference for the company that has become a verb, is taking place this week and I watched part of the keynote today. The one thing that struck me is Google is still thinking of new ways to do things, kinda. I’m confused as to why we would want an AI voice to call a car rental reservation system when theoretically the AI should just be able to connect to the system without acting like a human. I mean, having a robot call a restaurant to place a reservation, when the restaurant most likely has an electronic means of way of accomplishing that same task, is like taking the time to type a note into Microsoft Word, printing it, and then sending it by fax. Yes, it can be accomplished but is it the most efficient or practical way?

Sometimes our legacy thinking gets in the way.

Even though I gripe about new technology doing things the “old way”, I still admire the effort. I just wish we could get past the entrenched paradigm and start thinking outside the box. Back in the “legacy computing” days I admired people thought outside of the box to get into the box we seem trapped in today. Google’s announcements today aside, too many computing companies are playing it too safe. I keep waiting for some company to apply legacy thinking to today’s technology and take us to the next level. We shouldn’t be complacent, we need to be explorers.

I want the forward thinking that brought us legacy computing to bring us the next big thing. What will we do to move forward?

Car2Go.

So a couple of weeks ago I signed up for the Car2Go Car Sharing Service. Like it’s earlier predecessor ZipCar, Car2Go has a fleet of vehicles that you share with others on the service. Unlike ZipCar, you can park a Car2Go vehicle anywhere in it’s “home area”, which in my case is an approved area in Chicago. The Car2Go fleet here in Chicago has three choices: a little Smart Car, or two different models of Mercedes-Benz. The rates are reasonable and charged by the minute.


I’ve noticed Car2Go vehicles in the neighborhood for months, so I knew there were plenty of cars nearby at any given time. I signed up for the service by providing a picture of my license, front and back, and providing credit card information. It took a few weeks to get my license approved.

Using the service is simple. You find a car nearby, reserve it up to 30 minutes in advance of using it, and then find the car when you’re ready to go. Once you’re at the car, make sure there’s no damage to report, and then enter your PIN in the app. Another PIN will display on an electronic doohickey on the dash, enter that and the car will unlock. Once in the car you can grab the keys from a special holder and off you go.

The first car I drove this evening reeked of pot smoke, so whoever drove it before me must have been well baked during their use of the car. Comforting, but not surprising these days. I rolled down the window and aired out the car as I drove to my destination.

Once I arrived I simply found a legal parking spot for the car, turned it off, stowed the keys in the designated area and got out. I then ended my trip on the app. The car locked itself, gave me a beep-beep confirmation and I was done.

The only thing that was weird to me was that I intentionally locked the keys in the car.

I did the same thing for the trip home, though I didn’t use the same car as someone had already taken that. The second car didn’t smell like pot smoke but one of the tires had low tire pressure, which I reported on the app.

I really like the idea of using technology in this fashion and using Car2Go was actually cheaper than hiring a Lyft or Uber for this particular trip.

I like the idea of using Car2Go and the idea of sharing cars in this fashion. It doesn’t make sense for us to have two vehicles just sitting in the garage when we don’t need them (hence the sale of the Jeep earlier this week). But it does make sense to have cars readily available to share with others who have embraced this type of technology.

Recently someone hacked the Car2Go app and stole a bunch of Mercedes here in Chicago. I haven’t followed the news close enough to find out if the vehicles were recovered, but despite that setback, I think Car2Go is an excellent service and I look forward to continue to use it.

It was simple to use, and that’s what’s important about today’s technology. Now, if we could just do something about the pot smoke.

Lake Michigan.

Even though I grew up on the shores of Lake Ontario, I have the most over water flight time along the shores of Lake Michigan.

WTF.

Not my photo, but taken on the L this morning. What the hell is wrong with people. Judging by the car, he’s either on the Blue or Orange. He’ll probably do the same thing on an airplane today.

Computers For Sale.

I have two computers for sale. If you are interested, please contact me via email.

Lenovo ThinkPad X201


  • Currently running Kali Linux
  • 4GB RAM
  • 320GB HDD
  • i5 Processor: CPU M 540 @ 2.53 GHz x4
  • Graphics: Intel Ironlake Mobile
  • includes battery and power supply
  • $100 or best offer plus shipping

Lenovo ThinkPad T410

  • currently running Ubuntu Linux 19.04
  • 8GB RAM
  • 240 GB SSD (solid state drive)
  • i5 Processor M540 @ 2.53 GHz x4
  • Graphics: NVS 3100M/PCIe/SSE2
  • comes with two batteries and one power supply
  • $150 or best offer plus shipping

Both laptops will be wiped out and have a fresh install of Linux on them. No Windows keys provided with these computers. Stickers will remain on the T410, you can decide if you want them or not.

Adulting.

Sold the Jeep today because it was starting to cost more than it was worth, especially living in the city. I’m kinda heartbroken about it. I feel like I’ve lost my favorite toy.

Avengers: Endgame.

My husband and I are back from seeing “Avengers: Endgame”. I won’t go into details about the plot, so I shall keep this short. The three hour running time felt less than an hour. It’s beautiful to look at, the story is solid, and the acting is well done. By far it was my favorite “Avengers” movie and I give it a solid A+.

And I must say, I really, really like Brie Larson as Captain Marvel. Her part was just one of an all around phenomenal cast, but wow, I really like her portrayal of the character.

We’ll probably see the movie again. Worth every penny and then some.