June, 2005

Jun 05


As part of my new job (more on that in a bit), I’ve decided to use a Mac for a while instead of a PC. I’m finding it a really big adjustment. Some context: I’ve been around Apple & Macs for a really long time. Mom bought a Mac Plus when I was in high school; Dad & I each bought Powerbooks in the early 90s; I worked at Apple in 94-95 and again in 1997, and my dad, mom, Kathy & my brother have all been using Macs with OS X for several years now. I’ve been mostly using a PC for my own stuff, though, since we started Reactivity back in 1998.

And this is almost a cliche type of thing to post, but holy cow. This is not the Mac I’m used to. There are some major, major differences in the way it wants you to work, to organize things, and to communicate. Undeniably shiny & lickable. The UI and the hardware are both just amazing. And most everything works, honestly. I’m finding the key combinations pretty unfamiliar, so that’s going to take some working out, and I really find the way that OS X layers open windows to be dreadfully confusing — I get lost a lot.

They did a really great job on Spotlight though. Makes a ton of stuff easier. Since I’m going through so many other changes at the same time, I’m going to try to use Spotlight for most all of my shell navigation. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’ve got lots of specific thoughts that I should post on (like what a pain it was to get my contacts & calendar moved from Outlook to the native applications), but that’s a start. Not sure yet whether I’ll be more productive or not; but the UI is a whole lot shinier (in a good way, I think).

Jun 05

New Backyard Pictures

I’ve put up some new pictures of the backyard work we’ve had done here. Pretty neat to compare them to the "before & during pictures" here.

Jun 05

Watching Baseball in Waco

While I’m writing this (taking a break from some job-related networking), I’ve got a window up behind Firefox that’s got streaming video of a Stanford baseball game that’s happening in Waco, TX right now (playoff game). I have to say that while the quality of the video isn’t quite what you’d get on television, it’s pretty darn good — and definitely definitely definitely better than not seeing it at all.

It’s just another example of how the economics & reach of "Long Tail" offerings are changing. Demand for watching a college baseball game, especially one that’s not in the College World Series and is between two relatively small private schools (Stanford & Baylor), and during a workday to boot, is never going to be high enough to justify a real TV broadcast with professional broadcasters — but it’s definitely high enough to have the university’s video students and radio broadcasters cover — and broadcasting like this, reaching a bigger audience than they could otherwise — should generate more donations for them, plus give them a way to put in more advertisements to generate even more revenue.

But mostly, I just like being able to see Stanford baseball, even when it’s happening such a long way away.

And, incidentally, we’re now in the 11th inning, with a Stanford sophomore (Reynolds) having pitched the whole game so far. Win or lose, pretty gutsy effort by Reynolds, who’s only started 5 games this season.

Jun 05

Don’t Get Too Comfortable, by David Rakoff

Another of the commentators that I like to listen to on NPR — David Rakoff is one of the main contributors to "This American Life" — a great show that I highly recommend, and one that has really encouraged the careers of Sarah Vowell and David Sedaris as well.

Anyway, I liked Rakoff’s previous book, Fraud!, reasonably well, so gave this one a try (the copy I have is a galley — it’ll actually be released in September). This book I didn’t enjoy that much. I just found it sort of snarky. Rakoff is a funny writer, and looks into funny topics (being a cabana boy in South Beach, cryonics facilities, and plastic surgery in Beverly Hills, among others), but there’s just a lot of picking on other people in this. Which, of course, normally I like. 🙂 But not this book, for some reason.

Jun 05

You: The Owner’s Manual, by Roizen & Oz

I’ve been interested in how the human body works lately — I think basically because of our impending kiddo (birth physiology is completely amazing) and my efforts to lose some weight & get fit. I got this book because it goes through each of our systems (muscles, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, etc.) in a bit of detail — both some of the science as well as some practical tidbits about how things work better with various types of food & vitamins. Turned out to be an okay but not fantastic book — not sure I’d buy it again.