February 2019

Fan Boy.

So I’ve been trying to decide on my next computing device. Would I jump ship and leave the Apple ecosystem? Would I buy another refurbished laptop? Would I become a Linux evangelist again, intending on sticking to the platform but invariably leaving after a month or so?

After my research and thought, I decided to settle on a new iPad Pro. This is the full sized version. I opted for WiFi only. We don’t need another monthly charge with AT&T.

My original generation iPad Pro 10 is a wonderful little machine and it will continue to serve me for my Electronic Flight Back. The smaller screen, coupled with an Apple Pencil, is perfect for me and using ForeFlight in the cockpit. It works well in that regard, however, I found the screen to be slightly small for everyday use.

On the other hand, my beautiful mid-2015 15-inch MacBook Pro works brilliantly but it feels a little bulky to haul around in a backpack. Other than editing music, putting together flight videos, or working on graphics for web sites, it’s a little overpowered for when I’m on the go.

The iPad Pro 12-inch fits exactly what I’m looking for.

It wasn’t an easy decision for me to make. I looked at the new Google Pixel. I thought about buying a smaller MacBook or MacBook Air to carry on the go. Ultimately I decided that what iOS 12 offers, especially when coupled with the new Apple Pencil and a Smart Keyboard Folio, fits my needs in this “channel” perfectly.

I’m looking forward to embracing this new facet of my the Apple Ecosystem in my daily computing endeavors.

Maybe it’ll provide even more inspiration for me to be creative.


Driving home from an excellent IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) Club meeting at the airport, I realized how incredibly lucky I feel to be driving at night to our home on the North Side of Chicago. My love for this city is true and I consider our relocation here 18 months ago to be a magnificent achievement and a fantastic adventure.

Life is good. Especially when you make it that way.


Today was Voting Day in Chicago. According to the results coming in this evening, today had one of the lowest voter turn outs in recent history. They’re thinking less than 35% of eligible voters in the city of Chicago voted today.

Earl and I made the trek to our voting location, which was just down the block in a vacant storefront. The lighting was sparse, the process was uneven, and the placement of the voting booths and machines was tight, but we did our civic duty.

The mayoral race is going to end up in a run-off in early April. I’m happy the candidate I voted for made it to the run-off. I haven’t seen what happened with the race for Alderman yet; I’ll be checking that out as soon as I finish this blog entry.

I think folks are soured on politics, even more so than usual. The constant bleating from cable news (which seems to be piped into every restaurant that has an early-bird special), the constant chaos from the White House, and the constant pearls clutching from the Democrats is exhausting. It feels like people want to escape from the cacophony of idiocy. Unfortunately that’s a dangerous thing because then our elected representatives don’t represent the will of the people. They represent the crazy, the determined, and the passionate.

Sometimes we need more even keeled individuals in public office.

I don’t know what we need to do to get more people involved with the voting process. Whatever we’re doing now is barely working. I hope it gets better in my lifetime. It’d be nice to exit stage left on a high note.


I’ve started playing around with Logic Pro X on the MacBook Pro again. I enjoy editing and remixing music. I don’t really feel the need to DJ in a club or on the radio anymore, but making remixes and exclusive edits of songs? Totally my jam.


So Friday night the family got together and we went to Allstate Arena to see Kelly Clarkson and her “Meaning of Life 2019” tour.

What a thoroughly fantastic evening.

I’ve been a fan of Kelly Clarkson since her American Idol days. She has always seemed so genuine in her public persona; I’ve always felt that we saw as much of her ‘real self’ as we could on television.

The show was wonderful; the music was well balanced, wasn’t too overpowering, and she had a nice mix of her own songs in with a couple of covers thrown in for an extra nice touch. Her banter between songs was quite enjoyable and didn’t feel contrived or scripted. The pleasant personality I associate with her was intact and I felt like she’d be fun to share a lunch with.

One of the things I immediately noticed about her was that she really appears to love what she does. She loves to sing and she clearly enjoys expressing herself through her art. I’ve been to so many concerts where it was clear the performer was working (Madonna instantly comes to mind); Kelly truly felt like she was sharing her art while hanging with new friends.

I like that vibe. We need more of that.

At the beginning of her set she talked about all the chaos and turmoil in the world today, and that the space was an all inclusive space and that everyone was welcome to join in the fun for the evening.

She made the two hour show appear effortless simply because of her demonstrated love of her art.

More people need to do more of what makes them happy. Sharing joy; perhaps this is how we bring the world to a more positive place.

Self Service.

So I’m out exploring in the Jeep and I’m allowing myself one fast food experience to go with the vegetables and fruit and bottles of water I have with me in the Jeep.

I’m in a McDonalds in western Indiana.

Like many McDonalds, they have installed self service kiosks. If you use the kiosk to process your order you grab your own cup, get a number tent for your table, and they bring the food to you.

That’s the easy part.

As a software developer it is very interesting to see how the general public interacts with the large order screens. The screens appear to be 36×18 in size. The order flow of the software works pretty well, but users are struggling. I observed customers stabbing, sighing, and struggling at or with the touch based interface, seemingly perplexed by questions such as “Cash or Card?” and “What size fries would you like to make a meal or would you just like a sandwich?”.

The software is generally good, with plenty of pictures, brief but complete instructions and a natural left-to-right progression of the workflow. But it seemed the customers that were struggling just didn’t want to take the time to read the prompts. You can’t put everything in a picture or icon, sometimes you just need to stop and read a prompt.

Here’s an interesting new twist in the experience: the counter person put all the trays of food on the same table, even if it was for a different customer. We just sorted it out amongst ourselves.

No one stole a fry from my tray. Believe me, I asked.


If Apple wants the iPad Pro to be taken seriously as a laptop replacement they should probably look at some of the smaller details in iOS. For example, displaying the Apple logo and update progress bar in the proper direction when one has a keyboard attached to the device.

To be fair, I don’t know if the latest iPad Pro corrects this issue, but this has always bothered me on iPads.


I’ve lusted after this dancer since I first spotted him in a music video in 1990. His name is Paul Surety and at the time he was a ballet dancer, though here he’s a pop music dance instructor. Today he’s remixing instrumental trance music in Europe.

Bonus points if you can name the (obscure in the US) dance track from 1990 in which appeared with the singer in the music video.

I always thought he looked like a fifth Baldwin brother.


Please are sometimes surprised when they find out I don’t like elevators. They say, but you fly small airplanes miles above the ground, yet you’re nervous in elevators? The truth of is, yes, I don’t like elevators. Actually, I don’t mind elevators as much as I don’t like confined spaces. If I can see outside, I’m fine.

We live on the fifth floor of our building. I walk the stairs a lot but I also take the elevator at least once a day. I’d enjoy the experience a little more if it had a window, but I know every nuance of how this elevator works so I don’t sweat it too much.

Now, on two occasions I’ve been riding along with a “belt slipped” or something and the elevator rapidly dropped a couple of feet. The emergency brake snaps on, the panel lights and indicators do a quick reset and the elevator slowly descends to the closest floor. Pressing the open door button will then open the door or you can press the floor you’re going to again and it’ll try to sort things out. I’ve read several maintenance manuals on this particular brand and make of elevator (Kone EcoDisc) and a month or so ago I watched numerous videos of elevator geeks going up and down in broken versions of these elevators. They didn’t panic, so why should I, right?

I just don’t do well in confined spaces if I don’t know my way out. If I can see beyond the space I’m good, even if it’s through a small crack in the door or something.

That’s what I like about airplanes, I can see out all over the place. The only time I’ve ever not enjoyed an airplane flight is when I ended up in a row without a window.

You’ll never find me on an airplane where they substitute the windows with large LED screens to simulate the outside.

By the way, tunnels don’t bother me; I can see my way through and I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I really want to drive through that 20+ mile tunnel in Europe.

In the meanwhile, I’ll keep riding up and down in our Kone Eco-Disc elevator to try to break this concern.