Saturday, September 11, 2004


Milestones Reached

We've reached our deadline, and spent our entire budget. So I'd like to congratulate everyone on the successful completion of the project.

Unfortunately, we aren't finished. I estimate that we have another 4-6 weeks of work to do, which means we really probably have 8-12 weeks of work to do.

Let the recriminations begin!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


I Bought an iMac

I was an early Macintosh user. I bought my first Mac in college (actually, my parents bought it), around 1987. It was a Mac SE, with 1MB of RAM and a 20 MB hard drive. A few years later, I got a IIsi, and a few years after that, I bought one of the initial PowerMacs.

Like the average Mac user, I couldn't understand why anyone would settle for an MS-DOS-based PC. The Mac was clearly superior, in every way.

For me, that attitude started changing soon after Windows 95 appeared. Flawed as it was, Windows 95 was an operating system with pre-emptive multi-threading and protected memory spaces. Mac OS 7, while sporting a better user interface, had an obsolete kernel, and Apple wasn't doing anything about it. I stuck with the Mac for a while, but was no longer sure of its superiority. When I started using NT 4 heavily at work, my disenchantment with Mac OS grew. I finally gave up on the Mac in the late 90's, buying a PC and putting Windows 98 on it.

So, for the past few years, I've been a Windows guy. I've watched Apple's ups and downs. I was glad when they ditched their old OS in favor of the NeXT-derived stuff, but by that time I had amassed enough Windows software and experience that there was no strong reason to switch back. I had lost all the emotional attachment that the original Mac had engendered.

But last week, I saw the new iMac, and was immediately interested. It is so simple and elegant. So I ordered one of the 20" models. It should be here in early October.

This is the first time a computer has been an "impulse buy". I bought it because it was cool, not because I have any real need for it. I'm still not sure what I'll do with it. I don't plan to write software for it. I probably won't play any games on it. I plan to just stick it on a small desk in my living room, and use it to read e-mail or browse the web, and maybe do some digital photo or music editing.

My iMac will just be a little computing sanctuary where Microsoft can't touch me.

Sunday, September 05, 2004



For most of my adult life, I didn't really have any "hobbies". I spent most of my free time watching TV, reading books, hanging out with friends, or improving my programming skills. I didn't consider any of these activities to be hobbies, and always wondered if I was missing out on the fun others had with their hobbies.

A couple of years ago, when I quit my job to take time off work, I made an effort to develop some hobbies. I took sailing lessons, and joined the local sailing club. I got into digital photography, taking pictures of my young nieces and messing around with the pictures in Photoshop. I tried creating music using Cakewalk's SONAR digital audio production product.

I didn't really stick with any of those hobbies, but they were fun and led me to try some other things:

I came pretty close to getting into aquariums a couple of weeks ago. I was going to create a mini-reef marine aquarium, one of the most difficult to maintain. After reading a couple of books, I finally decided against it. The helicopter hobby is pretty expensive, and this marine aquarium thing looked like it could be even worse. So I've decided to put it off until I buy a house or until I give up the helicopters.

One concern about my choice of hobbies is that none of them involve other people. Sure, I "chat" with other hobbyists online who share these hobbies, but I never actually interact with anyone. I need to find something that interests me that will get me into groups of people.

All these hobbies are really cutting into my TV-watching time. And one of these days, I may need to re-classify house-cleaning as a hobby so that I can find time to do that.

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