Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Episode 4: A New Look

I updated my style template for Duffergeek to get rid of the weird things that didn't work on Safari. Ran into a variety of weird stylesheet issues between Safari and Internet Explorer again, but they are mostly resolved now. I am noticing how screwed up the color on my PC monitor is though. The header image looks slightly pink while it is clearly gray on my Mac.

Certainly a fresh new look.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Oops... I bought a Mac

Those of you who know me know that I go way back with Macs. I had Apple IIs in high school and early in college and back around 1986 (yeah... I was a latecomer) I bought my first Mac. It was a Mac SE with 2 floppy drives. Later I bought my first hard drive -- a 30 MB SuperMac drive for $699. $23.30 per megabyte and it seemed big at the time (compared with my most recent drive that cost $0.00093 per megabyte). I used my Mac for all sorts of things like writing music, writing papers, creating lots of databases, etc. When I decided to go into the geek business, I knew I wanted it to be related to the Mac in some way. I ended up doing tech support at Cayman Systems where we made and sold gateway routers between Macs and Unix machines. Later I started actually writing software on the Mac and loved it.

Much later, I went to work for Microsoft, but worked on the Macintosh version of Internet Explorer. I worked with a bunch of other folks who just loved writing cool software for the Mac. I went to the MacHack conference a bunch of times where some of the most die hard Mac developers spend several sleepless days trying to come up with the ultimate piece of cool - yet not useful - Mac software.

Then I stopped.

Well... Time passed and I worked on a bunch of very cool Windows applications -- including Windows® itself -- and I got out of the Mac habit. This weekend, I took a step back into the Mac world buying a Dual 2.3 PowerMac. You know what? I still love it. Sure, there a bunch of applications on the PC that I would miss on the Mac if I was there all the time (in particular, Digital Image Suite and Intelligolf) but I was surprised to see how many cool applications there actually are now on MacOS X.

The Mac has always been pretty strong in the creativity apps, so it was no surprise that there were lots of good applications for music production. GarageBand came with my Mac and I could have just as easily picked up Logic, Deck, Digital Performer and any number of other nice applications. Photoshop and the Adobe Creative Suite are there too of course. What surprised me was the number of nifty little utilities that did a fantastic job at their task. While MSN Messenger for the Mac was available, it is way behind the Windows version in terms of functionality, but Adium X is a great substitute offering some features not even in the MSN version and working with a variety of services.

I needed to sync my photos to the Mac and I found an absolutely fantastic file syncing app called ChronoSync. I've spent a lot of time writing synchronization software and honestly, it isn't rocket science but they have come up with a very simple and powerful interface that not only gets the job done very effectively, but adds the touches that make me feel safe doing something as potentially risky as keeping multiple folders of my digital photos in sync.

And this is all completely neglecting possibly my favorite thing about my new Mac. The hardware. It isn't a computer -- it is a work of art. Seriously. The way the case opens and closes. The way you install an additional hard drive. The beautiful styling on something as hidden as the heat sink on the CPUs. And even though it is a dual 64 bit processor computer, it is the quietest computer I have in my house (with the possible exception of my old PowerBook G4). I have never had a PC that evoked the same feeling that most of my Macs (certainly any one since 2000) has -- I just want to touch it.

I love it.

There is one major problem though. Duffergeek looks like crap on a Mac. Damn! Now I need to go work on updating my site template to make it look good in Safari.

A couple of rounds

I've stopped posting my golf rounds in the same detail that I used to do. Partly because I'm not really convinced that anyone cares and partly because I don't feel like trying to remember all of the details of my rounds myself. I did play twice this weekend though. Once at Sahalee and then at Washington National. Let me just say that Sahalee is an absolutely beautiful course and Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day. Put the two together and it was a winning combination. No matter that my driver decided to go in to uber slice mode. It was still a lot of fun. Most memorable moment? A squirrel decided to try to run off with my sandwich while I was putting on the 10th green. I get back and he is 1/2 way to a tree. I make sufficient noise to get him to drop it (yay Saran Wrap!) but since he had already opened part of it, and since he stopped shortly afterwards and turned around as if to say "Hey... can't I have just one more bite?" I tore off a piece and tossed it to him. I think I heard him say "Thanks!" I'll say this about Sahalee -- polite squirrels.

Today we played at Washington National. Driver was much better but the only really memorable moment was my tee shot on the par 3 11th. About 150 yards, into the wind, down hill. I hit a dandy of a shot that stopped just about 2 feet from the hole (and would have gone in if it had kept rolling). Probably as close to a hole in one as I'll get this year.

No stat zone though.

ok a little stat zone.

Sahalee: 95
Washington National: 88

Thursday, May 19, 2005

This is a day we'll long remember

I was there one evening in the middle of May in 1977. I was at the opening night of Star Wars. Before it was Episode 4 - A New Hope. It was just Star Wars. I wasn't sure I wanted to go, but my parents were out of town and my mom's co-worker was watching my brother and me and she took us to see this new movie. I was 10 and I loved it.

It was the first of a geekishly fanatical 22 times I saw that movie in the theater during it's first run. Since then, I've been to (at least one) opening day showing of every Star Wars movie, including the re-releases of episodes 4,5 and 6 before epsiode 1 came out.

So now I'm headed out to watch it with my team. Then this evening, I will go again with my family. Kate and Zach are both very excited. They watched episode 1 and 2 last night in preparation. Kate referred to yesterday as "Star Wars Eve". She has been running around quoting Star Wars lines for months now. We challenge each other to come up with the next lines in any of the original trilogy. Zach came in last night a little sad and said that today would be the end of Star Wars. I said "Nah, it's not the end. It is the beginning of being able to watch about 14 hours straight of Star Wars movies.

Regardless of whether Episode III will be good or not, 28 years of anticipation makes today a pretty special day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

New socks

I think if I could have one luxury, it might be a new pair of socks each day. :-)

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Longest Round

Why didn't I think of this? Andre Tolme golfed all the way across Mongolia. One round. 90 days. 1234 miles. 509 long balls and 12,170 shots. That roughly the same shot to lost ball ratio as I have at the Plateau Club.

BTW, I found this when Googling duffergeek and finding a link to this site from a French golf blog called le blog fe Niblick. I also discovered that a woman named Carol E in Washington DC has taken on my persona to register her Zire 31 with palmOne. Apparently, her belkin keyboard is not consistently working. Maybe it's because she capitalized the G.

The End of CDs?

I like to buy music. OK, I actually prefer to listen to music, buying it is just a necessary step towards listening to it. OK, perhaps not necessary in these days of easy file sharing across the internet but I always do it anyway. Why? Well, first there is that I am a musician so I have enjoyed getting paid for my music in the past so I'm totally fine with paying for what I listen to. Second, I work in an intellectual property business (software) and I like it when people pay me for my 1s and 0s so again, I am happy to pay for other people's 1s and 0s when I use them.

I prefer to buy CDs of albums I want. I have bought songs from Napster and from the iTunes Music store and if there is only one song I want then it works pretty nicely but if I want the album, I will buy the CD because then I have flexibility. I will always rip it to my computer but then I can listen to it on my computer, on my iPod and on my WMA music playback devices. I can also listen to MP3s on any number of other devices strewn across my house. The CD also serves as a nice backup in case I need to rip it again at some point.

So why the big whoop? Today, I went to buy the new Dave Matthews Band CD. When I got to the store to buy it, there was a little sticker on the front of the disk that said that the disc contained "anti-duplication protection" and it would play in normal players or on computers that were "properly configured". It turns out, you can only play it on their player on your PC but not rip it to MP3s. I assume the purpose of this is to make sure I pay for the music I listen to, but since always do, I was insulted. In fact, I didn't buy the CD. And I won't. I won't buy it because it is a significantly less useful format than a regular CD. I can't listen to the music on my iPod. Can't listen to it in my living room on my Audiotron. Since don't want to install their software on my PC (got plenty of music players already thank you) I can't listen to it there either.

I've been a big fan of the Dave Matthews Band since Under the Table and Dreaming and this is the first studio CD of theirs that I will not purchase. The funny thing is, I bet I could go out on one of the file sharing sites and find the MP3s right now and listen to it for free (I won't). So now the people who would steal the songs still will, and those who would pay for it won't.

Sounds like they've really thought this through.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005