October 25, 2006

Still alive

I'm still alive, despite not having written in here in forever.

Work has been crazy busy, although it's starting to slow down. The released product is definitely coming soon ... or something like that.

Nathan's back on a crazy sleep (where 'crazy' ~= 'little') pattern, waking lots of times in the night. He usually chooses to maul Meredith in the night, demonstrating that the most comfortable place in the world for him to sleep is with his torso across her neck. Well, perhaps it's not so much that that's the most comfortable place as it is that any other position is like being boiled in hot lava, since he doesn't actually seem all that comfortable there, but any attempt to move him provokes screams of protest.

I occasionally hear other parents talk about the long three-hour naps their young children take, and how well they sleep through the night. I wonder what that must be like.

Aside from the sleep thing, he's doing great. He's learning new words to speak every day, and is forming simple sentences. He's started to say please. He knows that on Thursdays, it's Pizza night, and on Pizza night, he gets to see Cassie, his favorite waitress in the world, at Coyote Creek Pizza. It helps that she brings him milk. AND pizza. Nathan is in love with Cassie, we think.

Meredith is loving school. She reads me sentences out of her books that make my head hurt trying to parse them, but she loves it. She's taking three classes - Hebrew Scriptures, Pastoral Care, and Christian Anthropology.

Microsoft's vacation policy in Washington state is different than in California, a difference mandated by the different state labor laws, I think. At any rate, the way it works in Washington is that, come January 1, you can only roll over so many hours of vacation. The number that depends on your years of employment, but is 120 (3 weeks) for me. Anything over that, you lose. I had a lot of vacation time in California when I moved up here, plus what I've earned since moving, so if I didn't take any vacation, I'd lose about 3 1/2 weeks. Thus, I'm taking December off. Meredith's quarter ends the first week or so in December, so we'll all be around and free. I have no idea what we're doing yet, but I'm really looking forward to taking the time off. If nothing else, I hope to play a lot of Gears of War, which will be a bit of a switch from the LEGO Star Wars II that I've been playing. (Who'd have thought that a game involving LEGO Star Wars characters could be so much fun?)

Posted by Mike at 11:10 AM

Mac OS 7 never crashed?

While there can be no doubt that Steve Wozniak is a genius who single-handedly helped create the home computer revolution, I was startled to see Woz's claims about Mac OS 7's stability in a recent interview:

Macworld caught up with Wozniak while he was in London promoting his biography iWoz. In this book Wozniak claims that the OS 7 crashes were linked to running Microsoft Internet Explorer, rather than the Apple operating system. He says that his own research made it clear that people with IE installed on their Macs were suffering from crashes, but those who used alternative browsers, such as Netscape, were experiencing no problems. Wozniak’s theory was not given credence at the time because IE did not have to be running for the crashes to happen.

Wozniak told Macworld: “There wasn’t an objective engineering type look at the operating system that we had. It was not at fault, although it was implicit a little, it was not the reason Macs were crashing. Apple thought it was and it gave a horrible opinion inside Apple as to what steps we should take to correct it, and these steps were wrong. There was nothing wrong with OS 7.”

First of all, there was no surer, more reliable way of crashing a Mac back in those days then to run Netscape. People frequently refer to Microsoft's bundling of IE on Windows as being the death knell for Netscape, but let us make no mistake: Netscape deserved to lose their market. I'm not saying this as a Microsoft employee - I said that at the time, as an Apple employee who had the job of working on the QuickTime plug-in for Netscape and IE. Netscape back then would crash if you looked at it funny.

Second, classic Mac OS was unstable. It was so unstable, that I eventually started developing new QuickTime features on Windows NT instead of Mac because at least that way I wouldn't have to reboot my computer every half hour. Of course this was made worse by the fact that I was developing software, but that was the thing -- any simple mistake in a program could bring down the entire computer. And there were lots of programs, including from Apple, with simple mistakes.

You could possibly debate whether or not Mac OS X was the best direction for Apple to take, but I don't see how you can debate whether or not Apple needed to move beyond Mac OS 7/8/9. And if nothing else, the NeXT acquisition meant that Apple got Steve Jobs back. Given Apple's performance since then, the benefit of that, at least, seems well beyond dispute.

Posted by Mike at 01:25 PM

October 26, 2006

Competing fact sheets

Sony recently created a rather interesting fact sheet (read: full of lies sheet) comparing the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Sony's PS3.

In response, Gamerscoreblog from Microsoft has posted a fact sheet of their own, where you can learn, among other things, that the PS3 weighs 243 pounds. No, really.

Posted by Mike at 08:14 AM

October 27, 2006

Limited government sounds good

Doesn't sound like Bush agrees with limited government.

From CNN.com's home page:

Posted by Mike at 11:15 AM

October 30, 2006

Santorum says US is where the Shadows lie

Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (a man who inspires me more than any other politician ... to donate to the HRC) had this to say recently about the war in Iraq:

"As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else. It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S. You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States."

OK, sure, the first reaction is: what the hell is he talking about? But I tried to work past that reaction.

In the Lord of the Rings, Frodo and Sam are walking across Mordor to take the ring up to Mount Doom, and the Eye of Sauron (Eye of Sauron, Eye of Mordor, whatever) is drawn away from Mordor to the gate, where the forces of Good mass outside the great gate ...

So, let's see ... the Eye is drawn away from the US, which means ... The United States is Mordor?

"One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne, in the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie."

And Iraq, I guess, is at our gate.

Remind me -- how did this man get elected to the Senate?

Posted by Mike at 11:05 PM