J.P.

Caturday.

Truman is happy I have an iPad again. I have a “Cat Fishing” game that he enjoys very much and was excited to be able to play his game again last night. It was a good bonding moment.

Tick Tock.

As a full fledged geek I have full fledged geek dreams. It’s not unheard of me for me to remember dreams about school clocks once or twice a month. I’ve fixed clocks for my hometown schools in the past and once in a while I’ll dream about being back in the school and getting the old clocks running again. These dreams are obviously prevalent because of my keen interest in all things connected, including these early and mid 20th century clock systems.

The Historical Society in my hometown set up residence in one of the school buildings closed in the early 1970s. A former classmate has led the effort in restoring the building to its former glory, and the cafe-gyma-auditorium is now a popular spot for banquets, wedding receptions, and other community events. The building has clocks from other schools in the district, including the last wooden cases clock left intact from my elementary school. I’m hoping to get their clock system working again the next time we go back East.

The clock pictured above is a gift from another clock system enthusiast in Central Ohio. Beautifully restored, I am planning on installing it in my office here at home. I’m debating whether to cut a hole in the wall to mount it properly or ask Chris and Mike to build a frame for it. Either way I hope to have it up soon. It’s a touch of class my office needs.

The clock can’t really keep time, it advances once a minute by a 24VDC impulse from a master clock originally located in the principal’s office or something. Originally pendulum based clocks, motorized clocks replaced the function in the mid 20th century and then electronic clocks took over the duty in the late 1980s. My clocks run off a Raspberry Pi switching a simple relay to replicate the impulses needed to keep the clocks on time. Surprisingly, this clocks is not particularly loud.

I look forward to getting this on the wall. I’ll probably dream about these clocks in the next couple of days.

Such a happy geek.

Absolutes.

Back in the mid 1990s I was working for a small company. The younger son of the owner of the company had just joined the workforce and during a lunch break mentioned that he was happy our Kmart was open, since it was the only Kmart left in the nation.

Never mind there was a Kmart having a grand re-opening about 15 miles away because it had been dubbed a “Big K” during that phase of idiocy the Kmart Corporation engaged in during that era.

Since the son didn’t really travel outside of the small city, he was operating on limited information, but because of his overwhelming confidence, we spoke with such authority that he’d probably try to sell a surf board to an Eskimo.

It comes as little surprise that I recently ran across one of his comments to a post from a mutual acquaintance on Facebook back in the early days of the pandemic and he was using that confidence to push the whole “this is a plot from China” dialog. I made sure to sever ties with anyone that was part of that conversation.

I got to thinking about this today because there’s so. many. experts. now on the internet that are experts about everything. Twitter is especially notorious for this; tech guru Xeni Jardin often tweets things like, “hello to our newly minted experts on FBI masters” or “hello to our newly minted experts on solar panels in the dark” and she’s absolutely right. Everyone gets a little Google going and they think they know it all.

By the way, there’s a handful of Kmart stores still open across the country, and it’s been well over 20 years since this conversation about our local store back in the mid 1990s.

There seems to be a trend of taboo vulnerability if you begin an Internet conversation with “I think…” or “Maybe,…”. Everyone speaks with such authority when they don’t really know what they think they know. Look, when I was young, I might have done this on hundreds of situations, but by my early 20s I had figured out I was not an authority on everything and quite frankly I was humbled by the experience. It’s helped me keep my perspective on the chaos that we call the 21st century.

I have a few Twitter accounts over there in the land of chaotic dialog. I’ve pretty much abandoned the account I consider my “generic account” where I’ll talk about anything and everything, because I don’t really have much to contribute and all the screaming and shouting and use of the caps lock key and the exclamation points and the pearl clutching quite frankly gives me gas and a migraine. I am venturing into my “professional account” again, which focuses on my aviation and day job topics. If I want to shout into the ether about the idiocy of politics or whatever, BevMo! is just down the street and I can drink a beer or something to calm down.

No one is an expert in everything. Not everyone is an expert in something. As I mention in my active Twitter profile, “tweet gently”.

Speak gently. Be humble. Listen. You might live to be an old guy like me.

Character.

One of my favorite scenes in the later seasons of “Bewitched” takes place at the beginning of season seven.

During the hiatus between seasons six and seven, much of the “Bewitched” had burned down in a fire. Most everything had to be rebuilt, and to keep production moving, six or so shows were filmed on location in Salem, Mass. When the sets were rebuilt, a couple of teaser episodes were filmed on the new set, and these episodes centered around whether Darrin should accompany Samantha to Salem for the Witches’ Convention. Samantha’s decision enrages High Priestess Hepzibah, who pops in to create chaos for the Stephens.

Hepzibah was played by Jane Connell, a Broadway actress who had played a few other parts on the series over the years and also appeared here and there in television shows of the time. She also played Gooch in the 1974 film version of “Mame” starring Lucille Ball. I’ve always enjoyed the intensity Mrs. Connell uses to portray Hepzibah, and I was surprised to learn that she was only in her mid 40s when she played the role.

I found an interview with Jane Connell from 1985 on YouTube, and she’s definitely a character actress, looking and sounding like none of the roles she played on “Bewitched”. I enjoy these old interviews, and I enjoyed her look into Broadway and her role at the time in the mid 1980s.

Coding!

I stumbled across the YouTube channel when looking around for retro computing things to watch. I don’t know who this programmer is but he has a super positive attitude and he’s writing a BASIC program on an Apple ][. That’s all I need to know.

He is verbalizing the way I think through my workday. What he’s doing in this video is how I learned to write my first program with a VIC-20 back in 1982. I wasn’t allowed in the high school computer lab until I was a freshman, and then I got to try my chops on the Apple ][+ and new Apple //e machines we had in the computer lab, which was managed by the math department.

Once You Go Mac…

… or rather, once you go Apple, you never go back.

In July I traded in my primary mobile setup, a 2018 iPad Pro. I received an Apple gift card and it’s been sitting in my account. I figured I had a Linux laptop that I could lug around; the ThinkPad T460s is quite nice and running Linux is not an issue on the setup. Except there’s quirks in Linux. And you have to do things to keep it working. And when you go to a public hotspot you spend 15 minutes going through a song and dance trying to get the Linux laptop connected to the public hotspot. And none of the applications really fit into an ecosystem, they’re all doing their own thing.

It’s all manageable and I still have the Thinkpad T460s for tinkering, but in reality, I found myself using my Mac Mini in the office more than anything, and I missed having a mobile solution when we’re traveling.

Luckily, I hadn’t traded in my Apple Pencil or Magic Keyboard I had purchased for my previous iPad Pro, so after some discussions with the accounting department, I picked up my 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro at the local Apple store.

When did Apple start showcasing two large security guards at the front entrance of their stores?

The display is gorgeous; this model has the Liquid Retina XDR and it is easily the best display I’ve seen in an Apple device. The performance is markedly faster than what I was experiencing with my 2018 iPad Pro. And in less than 20 minutes from unboxing, I was up and running, courtesy of my iCloud backup taken before I traded the old iPad Pro in for a gift card.

I am happy to be using this again. I’m looking forward to the improvements coming with iPadOS16, and now that I have an iPad with an M1 processor, I can take advantage of all the goodies in the next update, like Stage Manager, which brings Mac like multitasking to the iPad.

Caturday.

Casual cat watching me work. Truman prefers sleeping on tile at this time of year, it’s cooler for him.

Rain.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a little bit of a storm chaser. When we moved to Tucson from the Midwest I was concerned that I would miss out on excellent storms, but the monsoon has not disappointed.

I snapped this photo while out for a walk yesterday afternoon. I was talking to my mom on the phone at the time; I love the way the rain showers are isolated and easy to spot. A couple of hours after this photo was taken we had a spectacular lightning show that kind of hovered over the neighborhood for an hour before it got bored and dissipated.