September 23, 2020


I have an Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular connectivity. It’s my second Apple Watch and quite frankly, I’m ready for an upgrade to the new Series 6.

However, during today’s trip to Michigan, I was a little disappointed by the latest version of Watch OS (Watch OS 7) on my Apple Watch Series 3.

When we crossed the imaginary line from Central to Eastern Time (otherwise known as the Indiana-Michigan border), my Apple Watch could no longer give me the local weather. The watch would just display “Retrieving Weather…” and nothing else would happen.

My watch also became unresponsive to touch. I would hit a side button to open an application, usually Activity so I could see how I was doing with my rings for the day, and it wouldn’t do anything. The watch would freeze for two or three minutes and then prompt me for my passcode. In fact, I must have entered my passcode into the watch a dozen times today, even though my watch never left my wrist.

I’m taking this as a sign that although my Series 3 watch supports Watch OS 7 just fine, I’m in that dead zone where it’s going to be a slightly janky experience and I should probably update my watch.

The issue here is Apple is still selling the Series 3 watch. I hope theirs behave better than mine.

I really like my Apple Watch but the platform is always slightly dicey when you get away from your home turf. But today the watch just went a little cuckoo when we got away from Chicago.

I’m hoping the upcoming .1 release to Watch OS fixes many of these bugs. I want to get back to “It Just Works”.

Off Grid.

I took the day off from work. Yesterday I gave Earl a rough idea of what I had in mind for the day off, but I didn’t really know any specifics. I didn’t want to plan the day down to the smallest of detail. And I know that while I love going for drives on the prairie, I didn’t want to go out on the prairie on this day off.

My goal was simple: get away from the city, get off the grid, and get away from the news.

Earl packed us two picnics, one for lunch and one for dinner. We set out for a drive to the east. I decided we should explore a couple of state parks along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Within two hours of departure, we were at Warren Dunes State Park near Bridgman, Michigan. I had my feet in the chilly waters of Lake Michigan. There was no cell service.

It was awesome.

My familiarity with sand dunes along the Great Lakes is confined to those near where I grew up, specifically at Southwick State Park near Henderson, New York. The sand dunes at Warren Dunes dwarf those where I grew up by quite a bit.

While Earl enjoyed some time on the beach, I went hiking and climbed the biggest dune. I circled around the back and sort of spiraled my way up.

The sand was not as hard packed as what we have along Lake Ontario back at Southwicks, but that made it slightly easier to climb. I spent some time in the shade of the trees on the dunes. Since my childhood home was about seven miles inland from Lake Ontario, we had plenty of sand and the same kind of trees around the house, though the sand was under the farmed top soil. These trees felt quite familiar.

There were others on top of the dunes. Many climbed straight up the front.

It was wonderful to be closer to nature. We had a nice lunch in the wooded picnic area and then spent some time on the beach enjoying the sound of the waves.

We then decided to continue our journey northward and drove along the Lake Michigan shore, finally ending up at Van Buren State Park. This park was more wooded but with plenty of dunes. The main path to the beach was closed. There was a posted detour through the woods, which took us up and over a dune. We decided not to climb down to the lake, as we’d have to climb back up to get back home.

There was plenty of sand and trees along the path.

We decided to eat an early picnic dinner before making the drive home. Earl went all out with the picnics. A table cloth, placemats, and even an after dinner mint.

It’s important for all of us to step away from technology and remember how beautiful Mother Nature can be. I feel like I’ve hit a ‘reset’ button. The rest of the work week will be a snap.


This is a glimpse of the corner of my desk in my home office. I relocated the stack of masks I had sitting in the corner of the desk because they were just adding to the clutter of the space and I found them distracting.

You’ll see a couple of cases and a pouch for eyeglasses. My regular glasses don’t work as well for writing code as they did three years ago so I have a couple pairs of “cheaters” to use when my eyes are tired. Staring at a computer screen for 10 hours a day can’t be good for the eyes.

Overall I like my workspace. One of the reasons we chose this condo is because it had a separate office, something not found in most of the condos in this building. I’ve been working from home for 10 years and I absolutely love the flexibility of doing so and the space I work in. I need to be vigilant about keeping things tidy or else I start to feel unfocused.

One of the biggest distractions I constantly deal with is the laptop provided by work. The company I work for is all in on Windows 10, even though it’s Linux in the background doing all the heavy lifting. While I used to get excited about Microsoft Windows, I find Windows 10 to be cumbersome and unpredictable. There are too many consumer features that are never used on this work laptop. We do have the option of bringing our own device to work, and I could use a Mac again if I wanted to, but my job is too busy to devote time to the care and feeding of using my personal laptop for work. So I make do.

Truman has a routine of sleeping at my feet for a couple of hours each afternoon. This is in direct contrast of yelling at the top of his lungs each morning during my morning sprint and team calls.

He likes to be helpful.