Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

 

The Farm Next Door

Friday, February 19th, 2016

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Twenty five years ago my house couldn’t have been built. We’re under what was the final approach for El Toro Marine Air Station, an immense field with 2+ mile long runways. Fighter jets and large transports were coming through 24/7.

El Toro is part park now. Homes and a high school are being built on the rest.

What did exist here was all agricultural. My home sits in a former avocado orchard.

Our street ends at a dead end. That is very common in Irvine where only designated through streets can run between developments.

There’s a large grassy lawn and wrought iron fence. On the other side is an actual farm. I grew up in Apartment 5E! Culture shock.

The farm is owned by UC Irvine and used for research. Some day there will probably be houses there. Not today.

Dogs Can’t Do That, Usually

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

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Stef came to visit a few days ago. While she and Helaine went out I watched Roxie and Doppler. Pretty easy duty, actually.

After awhile Doppler came to my studio door. That’s her sign it’s time to go.

She and I walked across the kitchen to the front door. Roxie was already there, calmly standing, waiting.

All I could think was Roxie signaled Doppler to get me because she didn’t know how.

Of course dogs can’t do that, usually.

I’m With Apple

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

iphone6-select-2014_GEO_USWhat a tough position for Apple. Their latest iPhone operating system is locked down so well it’s considered impossible to crack. The FBI wants Apple to redesign the operating system to read what’s on the San Bernardino killers’ iPhone.

This is not a full-on assault of the Fourth Amendment. The FBI has made clear they only want into this one phone. And yet it’s very troubling.

The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable. Tim Cook, Apple

By finding a way to unlock this phone for the US government, Apple will be on-the-hook to do it again. They will have demonstrated their capability. The next government asking might not have such noble purposes.

Of course it would be great to have access to what these terrorists did. However, it goes deeper than this one case.

I believe we are all entitled to some level of privacy. As technology gets better who knows what future G-men will want to ‘read’.

I hope Apple prevails… and pays all the US taxes it nicely dodges.

Mitch — Be Careful What You Wish For

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died today. The political jousting has begun. The president says he’ll appoint a new justice. Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader, says not so fast.

The president should listen to McConnell.

Mitch, be careful what you wish for.

The Supreme Court has already decided a number of cases, but hasn’t published (or revealed) its decisions. Justice Scalia’s vote now gets removed. It is my understanding this is how the court has always operated when a justice passes away.

The court has lost its conservative majority. This will continue as long as this seat sits vacant.

All of a sudden the next appointee becomes a presidential election issue. This is a problem for conservatives. Though their base demands very stringent positions from the Republican candidates, the general populace feels otherwise.

Will an open seat be a problem for Trump, Cruz and Rubio? Imagine what they have to say today to get a nomination versus what they’ll need to say in a general election.

Very interesting stuff.

They Brought Up Kissinger?

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Sec_of_State_KissingerI watched parts of the debate tonight. Hillary versus Bernie. He is the only political candidate ever to sound like every friend’s father I knew growing up in Queens.

Debates are interesting, but in the end meaningless. Kennedy and Nixon fought over Quemoy and Matsu, two small islands which both China and Taiwan wanted. 55 years later nothing has changed. They’re still governed from Taipei, not Beijing.

What surprised me tonight was a real blast from the past: Henry Kissinger. There’s a guy whose only recent appearance on my radar was because he had the same surgical procedure as my dad, TAVR.

To my generation… by my friends… he was reviled. He represented everything bad about America as a superpower and interventionism.

A former boss of mine tells a story of getting into an elevator with Kissinger at CBS on West 57th. He turned and gave Kissinger a nice compliment. Out of respect he addressed him as Mr. Kissinger.

“Dr. Kissinger,” was Henry’s entire reply to the compliment.

I know he’s still around. It just surprises me anyone listens.

The New Drive

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

The old hard drive.  It now becomes 'draw-ware.'

Does my blog have that new computer smell? I put a new hard drive in this laptop tonight. That goes along with an earlier memory addition. You can make an older computer perform like new and extend its lifetime.

The new drive is an SSD. I bought the cheapest, fastest drive I could — around $40 for 120Gb. It is a KingDian. I’ve never heard of them either. Amazon was our go-between.

In 2016 120Gb seems small. Then I remembered ‘the cloud’. Anything of importance gets shipped off to Google or some other site.

In addition there’s my in-house network infrastructure. Every machine is capable of seeing a common point to transfer files easily. From my desk downstairs there’s nothing I can’t directly retrieve. Taken together there’s over 4Tb of storage available.

All of a sudden a larger drive seemed wasteful.

SSDs are orders of magnitude faster than conventional hard drives. They’re quiet, have no moving parts and use less power. Prices continue to fall.

It took a few minutes to install properly. My fault. In the end anyone can swap drives, even me. It’s really dead simple.

I’d already put Microsoft’s Windows 10 installer on a thumb drive. Even without a serial number it recognized this machine’s hardware. The install was absolutely, positively without incident. It never even asked my time zone. It remembered my customizations. Thank you Microsoft.

This also means Windows 10 is snoopy. You think my customizations were all that was noted? Yet another invasion of my privacy. Until laws are passed I grit my teeth, put my fingers in my ears and hum.

This machine is where I create forecast pages and do other minor Photoshop work. It is my general purpose computer in the studio. Making it faster makes me faster.

It’s good to be the boss. I only have to convince myself it’s worthwhile.

Geoff Fox: Dog Sitter

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

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Geoff Fox: Dog Sitter. I like it.

Helaine is gone. Stef is gone. Doppler and Roxie are my responsibility.

A few things have become clear. Roxie likes being here. Doppler no longer fears Roxie. They don’t play. They co-exist.

Doppler came to my door a few minutes ago wanting to go out. Roxie followed us to the door, then waited patiently for her turn. We are very consistent in rewarding good behavior. Dogs catch on.

Roxie and Doppler are totally different dogs. It’s impossible to pick a favorite.

It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone. Dogs are very useful.

The Doctor Said Go

Monday, February 8th, 2016

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For the past few months I’ve written about my dad and his potential progress in hopeful terms. I described a best case scenario. It was as much as we could hope for. We were prepared to accept less.

That’s why it’s so cool to say he’s way beyond that now!

He is ninety and getting stronger. He’s walking. He standing.

He found a wonderful woman who spends her days with him. She makes sure he’s getting out. They went to the mall. They went to Costco. She sent me video of my dad Wii bowling today.

Finding her was an incredible gift.

The Internet only goes so far. He needs human contact.

My sister took him to the doctor for a check-up today.

Which doctor? Don’t know. He sees so many. If he was playing specialist BINGO he’d have already won cash!

The question of traveling to SoCal came up. We were all scared the answer would be no. After all, being ninety itself is a health hazard.

His doctor said, “Go.” She said it would be good for him. And so he will. We are very excited.

It’s not like he has any pressing obligations, so sooner rather than later. A little California therapy is a good cure for winter.

Sometimes You Get Lucky: Avalanche

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

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I haven’t done any serious photography in a while. That changed this afternoon in Laguna Beach. Julie and Stan drove in from Redlands.

Julie and I met and car pooled while shooting in Yosemite. This was my first time meeting Stan. I approve.

We shot at the beach, but I think my best photo came while waiting for them at dinner.

Laguna has many open air restaurants. People bring dogs. It’s surely against some code or statute. No one cares–certainly not me. It’s part of Laguna’s charm.

My subject is Avalanche, a large and friendly Husky mix. He has both a brown and blue eye.

I asked permission then got on my hands and knees. It must look weird, a grown man laying on the sidewalk. This was not the first time.

Avalanche was an excellent model, curious enough to show interest toward the camera without getting too close to focus. Big dog confidence.

I was having trouble getting a shot, so a nearby customer turned on his cell phone light. I never asked. I’m glad he did. It’s the bright spot on his snout.

I didn’t notice the interesting pattern in the pavement nor the nicely placed legs and shoes in the background. Serendipity. The shot is just jam packed with interesting content.

For those curious, F/4, 1/10 sec, ISO 2000, 10 mm on a 10-20 mm Sigma lens. I actually like this shot a little noisy and grainy. It is, after all, taken from a dog’s perspective in a dog’s world–under a table.

I handed Avalanche’s owner my card. I hope he asks for the photo.

I Believe I’m A Hermit

Friday, February 5th, 2016

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I believe I’m a hermit.

her·mit
ˈhərmət/
noun
noun: hermit; plural noun: hermits
1. Any person living in solitude or seeking to do so.
synonyms: recluse, solitary, loner, ascetic, marabout, troglodyte

I don’t think I’ve left the few blocks that surround our home this week. Most of the time I’m alone in the studio working on projects… or work.

I don’t miss commuting. My car has been filled once since Halloween.

Most days I dress in a suit and tie yet never see anyone but Helaine and Doppler.

Working from home fits me well. I don’t miss office politics. I don’t miss suffering other people’s mistakes (though I now realize how ridiculous that was of me).

TV can be an insidious business. We would sit and take apart newscasts while they were on-the-air, picking at them like so many scabs. I don’t miss that either.

When I was forecasting for Palm Springs I’d enjoy occasional trips to the desert. Occasional is enough.

I love what I’m doing. Forecasting every day in Nebraska is my fun. Very rewarding. I don’t think I’d change a thing.

Maybe I just don’t want to be a people person anymore?