Geek

LG.

The new refrigerator arrived today and it fits like a glove. It’s a bit bigger than the previous refrigerator, which has bene relegated to the laundry room. Having a backup refrigerator for a family of five men will prove to make the marketing easier.

The glass panel is NOT a touchscreen, they’re too prone to bugs and crashing. While the new refrigerator is connected to the WiFi, two knocks on the darkened area turns on the light and shows us what’s inside. If we want to grab something from the convenience shelf, the dark panel opens up like a door within a door.

Later in the week we discover what craft ice looks like.

Power Lines.

I’ve always been a power lines geek. It’s part of that whole “everything is connected” motif I’ve had been going for 53 years. Electricity to our neighborhood is delivered via concrete poles before the lines go underground in our development.

Before moving to the desert I’d never seen concrete poles. It turns out concrete poles are more resistant to issues found in the desert climate. Concrete poles are less resistant to fire and the lack of humidity.

Never stop learning.

Background.

I am very particular about my desktop wallpaper or background. It has to be a neutral color, be interesting yet not overpowering, and be just the right amount of brightness so it doesn’t startle in the dark of night. Oh, and it needs to be the appropriate resolution for the monitor so it doesn’t look fuzzy or pixelated.

The default wallpaper and it’s slate counterpart from Mac OS X Tiger, released way back in 2005, has always been a favorite. Today I found a 6K (let’s go with very high resolution) version in a bluish-slate color that I find absolutely delightful. It’s available for iPhone, iPad, and computers. This is especially important because I like all my devices to match.

I can see me using the version for a long time.

If you’re interested, it’s available here: https://basicappleguy.com/basicappleblog/macos-tiger

Hat tip to Basic Apple Guy.

Hobbies.

Zayre Electronics is the name of my home-based PC building and repair business from the late 1990s. I had a couple of contracts during that time and was able to make a little cash with the venture before deciding it was ultimately not profitable and winding it down. It was a little side hustle that offered me growth in my IT skills more than anything else. I’m happy to have that as part of my past.

I’ve enjoyed tinkering with computers since the mid 1980s. I was fascinated with the assortment of Apple ][+ and Apple //e computers in the “computer lab”, which was actually a converted class room in the math department. The math teachers taught computer education back then. Shortly after I graduated high school in 1986 the business department took over the responsibilities. I don’t know what year they finally ditched the IBM Selectrics, I was long gone.

I have a fully functional NCR RealPOS cash register setup here at the house. I don’t have a cash drawer hooked up to the system, as I don’t have that much cash to put in the drawer, but the rest of the system allows me to mess around with various point of sale software program suites and related software offerings. There’s a whole community of us point of sale geeks and we talk about they way things used to be and the way things will be in the point of sale systems space. Sorry to say, self checkouts are here to stay and that saddens us all.

I fire the register up from time to time and work on the software package I’m writing to keep these older machines running beyond their ill-timed shelf life. There are many things one can do with old technology, nothing is really obsolete unless it’s given up the ghost completely. I’ve turned old telephone system terminals into file servers with a few modifications to the operating system.

There’s always options.

Maintenance.

I’ve done a bit of maintenance on the blog. Things should be running much faster, which should result in pages opening quicker. Hopefully this will make for an enjoyable reading experience for anyone that still stops by this little slice of Internet.

The blog turns 21 years old later this year. It’s amazing I’ve held it together this long.

Space.

One of the cool things about living in Tucson is the star watching opportunities that abound over the Sonoran Desert. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Tucson has a light pollution ordinance; many of the side streets in residential areas don’t have street lights (our street included). There’s an ordinance as to how much light can be directed skyward. It makes for some beautiful skies.

I have used stargazing apps on my iPad since my very first iPad 1 back when they first came out. They’re a delight; point your iPad in the direction of the sky and the app will tell you what you’re looking at. It gets more interesting when accompanied with binoculars or a telescope, because you can see that much more in real life as depicted in the app.

I inherited my grandfather’s smaller telescope when he passed away in 2005. I look forward to getting it set up on the roof and really gazing at the beauty offered by our beautiful Universe.

HAWK.

As an almost Traffic Engineer and full blown road geek, I’m a fan of videos by Road Guy Rob. This week Rob talks about HAWK signals. These are yellow/red signals at pedestrian crosswalks that are activated almost immediately when a pedestrian pushes the button. It flashes yellow as a warning to motorists, then solid yellow, then solid red. After a few seconds it switches to flashing red, so if the pedestrian is no longer on your side of the road, a motorist can continue through the flashing red, which is treated like a stop sign.

I’ve been a fan of HAWK installations since I first read about them a number of years ago. They’re pretty neat and they really help keep pedestrians safe. What I didn’t know is they were invented right here in Tucson.

Road Guy Rob explains it quite well.

Vintage.

A business owner in Ohio stopped by my Vintage Point of Sale website and about gave me a heart attack with a photo he shared. He has kept every cash register he’s ever had at his store of many decades, and in the 1980s he ran his business on an electronic cash register made by Data Terminal Systems. The model in question was a Series 500 cash register.

This is no big deal to the vast majority of people walking amongst us these days but as a true blue geek I was excited to see some of this vintage technology enduring so many decades later. Alas, it is too far away to get my hands on it, but it helps me continue the belief that other businesses here in the desert southwest may have vintage technology in their storage areas.

I’ve placed an ad on craigslist in the business equipment “wanted” section to see if I jar any memories. Wish me luck.

Smarter.

15 years ago today Steve Jobs spoke at the Macworld 2007 keynote and introduced the world to the iPhone. It’s safe to say technology shifted that day and our world is much different because of that keynote presentation.

Steve Jobs was the master of presentation. I could watch him lead a presentation all day long and not complain about it.