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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Ten years? Really?

In 2001 my work life was all about Conversant, my personal life was all about Corinne, Shane, and a house full of cats and birds.

I don't remember much about 2002, except that I reconnected with Steve Davis, someone I've known practically since I was a baby. We've always had our faith in common, and found that now we also have our bikes.

Two years later Shane was gone. That's all that year (2004) was about. Nothing else mattered. Hanging on to Corinne, propping her up, making sure she understood how much I love her and need her still, and trying to help her cope with a pain that defies belief.

2005 was a pretty big year. It included the release of Firefox Hacks (my first time in print!), tutoring the Pride kids (Avonlee and Ethan) in math, the PMC and its software auctions, the main author of Firefox Hacks (Nigel McFarlane) committed suicide, Corinne and I met the crew of the Atlantia, Jed moved in with us, I made friends with Jimmy Lehn (morning DJ at a local radio station), and we celebrated Thanksgiving at the Westerly WARM shelter. Finally, 2005 was the year I first started playing with Prototype. (Wow, i can't believe it was that long ago.)

In 2006 I met Greg Pierce years after he had worked for me at Macrobyte, my friend Darren and his wife Angi brought home their adoptees from Nepal, I wrote the "custom events" code for JavaScript that is *still* being used on Apple's web pages, attended the first Rails Conf, and I finally got to meet and begin forming a friendship with Rich Siegel and started working on language modules for his company's main software product, BBEdit. Jed left us, and headed for British Columbia and the woman he would eventually marry. Finally, we met Mike and Shannon late in the year.

2007 was unreal. If not for the pictures, most of it would be forgotten. I helped man the booth for Bare Bones at MacWorld Expo. Mike and Shannon moved in with us. Lauren was born! Mike and Shannon went away for a while. We did our best with Lauren and truly, completely fell in love with her. Visited her parents a lot. Finally met Jim Roepcke and Sean McMains at the second RailsConf (while Corinne stayed home with lauren). Jed married Alycia (and I got to attend, way out there in B.C., while Corinne AGAIN stayed home with Lauren), my grandfather turned eighty, Jed and Alycia came out for a visit (and haven't been back since), Corinne and I celebrated our tenth anniversary, and my sister and brother-in-law had their third daughter.

Shannon came hom again in January of '08. Lauren started walking and talking, and turned one. We got news (on the day Shannon came hom) that the house was being sold so we'd have to move (after ten years). Corinne, Ellyn and Lauren went to FL (Lauren's first plane ride). Richie (Shannon's eldest) came to live with us. My parents came to live with us, for a few months. I went to FL in October with Ellyn and the grandparents to pack them up and move them to Ellyn's house. The year ended with a terrible sprained ankle and a move from Mystic to Westerly.

In January of '09, Mike came home and the family was all back together. Unfortunately, in June they all left again. The relationship slowly thawed, but then in September they disappeared to North Carolina without warning and we thought they (especially Lauren) were gone forever. We got a ten day visit with Lauren in October, but taking her home was the second most difficult and painful thing I've ever done.

2010 started out with a brief visit from the Deanes, but after that the contact (via Skype or telephone) dwindled to nothing within a few months. I entered a serious depression (my first), which I tried to fill or bury with World of Warcraft. In March a rainstorm tried to wipe RI off the map, and in May I was brutally attacked by some blood clots that came from nowhere and landed in my left lung (killing part of it). In June, the Deanes moved back to the area, and we got regular visits with Lauren again. It took her a few minutes to remember us, but once she did it was like we were never apart.

As I write this, Lauren and Corinne are sleeping in my bed, above my office, just a few feet right over my head. I don't know what changes are coming our way next, but right now we have joy and I'm taking nothing for granted.

Happy New Year, everybody.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Well and Weirdly Met

RailsConf 2007 was good. I'm glad I went, and I believe I pulled from it — mainly from the other attendees — exactly what I wanted.

It's no surprise, of course, that the best part of the weekend was finally meeting and hanging out with Jim and Sean. Exactly as it was with Greg last year (who I missed this year (but not as much as Corinne and Lauren!) ... lousy timing on the pregnancy, Greg and Kt!), we hung out and chatted as if we've been doing exactly that for many years. Which we have, of course, but only virtually. This was our first meeting, and it was a good one.

The second weirdest experience of the weekend was meeting John Gruber's twin. He hasn't said anything publicly, but he confirms that he has seen it, some of his friends are calling the other guy, "Fake John Gruber," and John referred to it as Very Weird. Rich (who has known JG far longer than I have) agreed the similarity was eerie. They really were identical, in the sense of identical twins. Just as identical twins have little differences that help you tell them apart, these two are not identical in every little detail... but it was still weird.

However, the number one weirdest part of the weekend was that Sevin Sayers was here! (Ok, his name isn't really Sevin Sayers, but he's being very weird about this and wanted his name removed from the site. So it's something *like* Sevin Sayers. (Let's just say there's a reason I haven't seen ‘Sevin’ in years.)) He was completely out of context, as though my life's threads were suddenly exchanging objects or pointers in some way that surely indicated heap corruption and would result in an OS shutdown (kernel panic!) any second.

I first saw ‘Sevin’ on Friday morning, but never really thought it was him, just looked and sounded a bit like him. Then again that evening, but it was just after I met John Gruber's dopplegänger so I decided my brain was having a little more fun with me. When I saw him for the third time on Saturday, I stared at him for a few seconds trying to find the subtle differences that would make him not look like ‘Sevin’ anymore.

He finally looked back at me, and immediately looked very confused. "Seth?!? What are you doing here?"

"Right. Funny you should ask that."

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year, One and All

2006 was a good year for me and mine, in many ways.

To all of my family near and far, to my ecclesia here and worldwide, to all of my friends new and old, close or distant:

New Year!

Hoping 2007 will be even better, for all of us...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Again I Say: Log Out Once Per Day

My instructions to log out once per day were well received by some, but not by others and it's clear that I need to clarify a little.

Mainly, there are three points I need to address.

Firstly, my friend Flip pointed out that since Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) was released, the OS makes sure that your "cron tasks" run later, if they're not able to run at night because your computer is shut down or asleep. So, it's totally ok to put the machine to sleep at night. (I wasn't aware of this change.) However, that doesn't affect my other point about logging out and back in again.

Secondly, some people have been quite vehement -- even quite rude -- in disagreeing with me about logging out and back in again. Jim's main point seemed to be "don't do it becuase you shouldn't have to" (with "shouldn't" meaning software should work better than it often does). Jim moderated his tone a bit in his second post (thank you!). The other guy can't seem to tell the difference between logging out and rebooting.

(Hey Charles: logging out won't affect your uptime!)

There were some people who clearly agreed with me, like Michael Tsai (maker of some apps I use every day).

Finally, if you know the difference between a memory leak and a cron task, then my instructions weren't for you. ;-) Power users, programmers, and sys admins: go on about your business. Most of you probably already tell your users to log off occasionally anyway! I was talking to the regular user, or even the app-crazy user I described here.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Log Out! (Once Per Day)

By some odd coincidence, three times this week I've come across Mac OS X users who don't know the benefits of logging out. That is, they either leave the machine running at night (still logged into their user account), or they put the machine to sleep. They rarely -- if ever -- log out, and only reboot when "something is wrong" or after installing a system update.

My advice: log out once per day. You might just log out at night when you're done using the computer, leave the machine running, then log in again in the morning.

(It's ok to let the monitor/display/screen/whatever-you-call-it go to sleep.)

This accomplishes a couple of things, at least:

  • If you generally run the same software applications most of the time, it will clear out a lot of memory and give those apps a chance to "start over." This is a very good thing for nearly every modern program: most will run faster, and it will put a stop to some "weird behavior" (that's the technical term). This helps on Windows, too.
  • Leaving your Mac running (but logged off) at night allows the system (via a utility called cron that you'll never see) to run some system maintenance utilities: another minor performance boon, and it will save a little space on your hard drive. (I actually don't know if Windows does anything like this also.)

There may be other benefits I haven't thought of.

Update January 28, 2006: Please see this post for some clarification and more information.

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