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Saturday, May 19 2012

James & Sharon Gerber

Our good friends James & Sharon got married Saturday in Rhinecliff, NY. It was a beautiful day with lovely people. The official photos by Alex Fedorov aren't up yet, but my photos are up (thank you Rich, Julia, & Amy for assistance).

Ask me or the Gerbers for the password. You can also upload photos to this gallery (with a different URL & password).

http://smug.reppep.com/Weddings/James-Sharon-Gerber/

My toast:

I have known James almost 30 years, since he gave me a tour of his high school and convinced me to go there. In retrospect I see that tourguide role as early days for an outgoing and friendly actor. In high school James and I became closer as members of a fairly tight-knit group (cough gamers), which stayed together through college and as we returned to NYC afterwards. But James is the only one I'm still in regular contact with -- partially because he is still in town, but really because he's a great friend.

A few weeks ago I told Julia (hi Julia!) that I was having lunch with James. She told me that everybody could use more time with James, and she wasn't even mad at me for seeing James when she had to be in school. Thanks, kiddo!

I still remember the day James told me that he had made some comment about "A good day to die" or perhaps it was "A good day to move!" to a girl, and she had texted back "k'plah!" James and I agreed: this girl was a keeper. That was several years ago, but Sharon has proven to be much more than just a pretty face with a passing knowledge of Klingon.

Whenever a mutual friend asks how James is doing, I say he seems to have found his ideal match, and it's great to see how good they are for each other. We wish you guys all happiness!

As parents, Amy and I take turns going to grown-up parties like birthdays. Whenever I go to a James & Sharon thing, Amy asks me how everything went. I tell her it was nice to see today's stars, of course [nod], and that their friends are consistently interesting and pleasant to hang around with. I'm sure there's a quote about knowing the quality of someone's character by their friends, but I can't recall it. But thank you guys for all being a good bunch, too!

James, Sharon, we love you guys. We are so happy to see you together.

Wednesday, July 7 2010

TV is much different for kids in the post-DVR age

We limit Julia to one or two "half-hour" shows per day. They're nominally 30 minutes, but really about 22 each after ads. When I grew up ads were annoying interruptions in the show we wanted to watch, although inasmuch as they were effective they did make us want to BUY.

Julia's never watched TV without a DVR, though. Ads are still louder and as attractive as the advertisers can make them, and the interruption annoyance is minimized by the DVR's fast forward. Julia tends to choose to watch them, as well as the bumpers at beginning and end, because she doesn't want to give up any of her limited TV-watching time.

Today Julia realized that if she skipped the ads, and watched for 30 minutes, she could see extra TV (more than one 22-minute episode). I'm somewhat unhappy because this means she'll be watching more TV, but more pleased because she figured out how to maximize her time, and as a bonus she'll watch less ads (she was watching about 30 minutes per episode already, and I'd mutch rather Julia see a third of another show than watch 8 minutes of ads). Now we just need to ensure she is able to stop at 30 minutes.

Tuesday, June 8 2010

Brooklyn Blogfest 2010

I went to the 5th Annual Brooklyn Blogfest. Aside from the annoying cheerleading about how Brooklyn is the 'bloggiest', it was pretty good.

  • Best: Smartmom telling Spike Lee (declared non-blogger) what to do, and Spike shutting her down (repeatedly).
  • Second best: Marty Markowitz ambushing Spike, who was clearly underwhelmed.
  • Saddest: Spike explaining (twice) that he cannot live in Brooklyn, because people won't leave his family alone.
  • Oddest: The whole thing think was sponsored by Absolut, pushing their new Absolut Brooklyn, co-designed by Spike Lee.
  • Oddest coincidence: Sitting in front of Andrea Bernstein (who sat in front of us last night) before she went up to run the panel -- on how and why Brooklyn is the best place to live & blog.

Met in line: @foodculturist

They showed a lovely photo montage assembled by Adrian Kinloch, which unfortunately hasn't been posted yet. Some of the photos were from Visual Stenographers, one of whom was a panelist.

I joined the "Eclectic" BoF, because there was no computer/nerd group. Fortunately the group was pretty interesting. Next year's slogan for the group: "Meta is Bettah!"

The program claimed Dave Winer would run a BoF(?) called "NYC blog directory" in the same tiny room as my group, but I didn't see him.

Thursday, November 5 2009

Human Psychology: Laziness & Efficiency

When I started my current job I got a desk in a large multi-person office. I've been printing to a high-speed printer/copier (which actually does decent scanning with functional OCR). There were a couple LaserJets and a fax machine elsewhere in my room, and a couple more LaserJets in the other multi-room office in our group.

A few weeks ago they moved the LaserJets and fax machine in my office, so they're now in between me and the high-speed printer/copier. Since then, I find myself walking past the LaserJets en route to the printer/copier, and wondering if I should print to them instead, to save myself the longer walk. But I don't because the high-speed jobbie is more efficient (green).

Of course, the walk I'm now mildly annoyed by hasn't changed, and I previously appreciated it because the shortest walk was to the best printer. So the movement of the LaserJets has significantly changed my perception of the (walk to the) printer/copier, and the significance of relative positioning is demonstrated.

Midly amusing, at least to me.

Sunday, December 28 2008

Interview Oddity

I have wondered if an interviewer would see this blog or my homepage, or my Twitter feed, and today it happened. Bobby Brill, at NYU, not only had a copy of my resume, but he also had a copy of my System Admin Interview Questions from Rockefeller. Goldman and a few other financial companies I interviewed with a year ago used a very different interview format, but they used the same format, which makes me think they all copy from each other.

I later met with a couple people who would be teammates at NYU (whom I knew socially already), and they mentioned my interview questions as well. Alas, I didn't get to sail through purely on knowing those answers, but I'm glad they're doing someone some good, at least for entertainment.


Note: I wrote this post in November, but didn't post it immediately -- I wanted to wait until the interview process was over.

Thursday, November 6 2008

On the Job Market

I got caught up in Goldman's layoffs Wednesday. I hope to have a new job before the severance runs out, but if you are (or know someone who is) looking for a Linux/Solaris admin in the NYC area, please let me know.

My interests include writing & documentation, networking, Mac OS X, and open source.

My resume is online.

I actually wish this had happened a day earlier. It was a big comedown from the Obama victory the night before; in the reverse order, winning back the country would have been a nice counter to the layoff news.

Saturday, June 14 2008

Earring Emergency

Today I tried to take out an earring, but when I grabbed the front and back, the front fell off. This posed a serious problem, as I couldn't get a enough of a grip on the remaining post to pull the back off.

I went downstairs, but couldn't see the post. I tried pulling it back through my ear, but it wouldn't budge -- the front of the post has a wider flat surface, which the earring figure was welded too. This was too big to fit through the hole. Bad news!

Fortunately, I was eventually able to push on the back enough to get the flat surface back out of the hole and out of my ear, where I grabbed it with the pliers from my swiss army knife. Then it was straightforward to pull the back off.

Wednesday, June 4 2008

The Serious Shit

At Wheaton, I helped found the Progressive Alliance, a student political club. I don't remember most of the members (in fact I no longer recall the names of most of my classmates), but Kirsten Cappy was one of the heads -- one of two co-presidents, if I recall correctly -- and Steve Amster (a good friend to both of us) got me involved.

As the nerdiest Progressive, I ended up laying out The Serious Shit in PageMaker. Articles were of course always late, so I remember having to shorten articles I'd just stretched out to fill space, in order to fit post-deadline content onto the page (issues were one to two pages, letter or legal sized).

The Shit was posted on the bathroom stall doors, where we had a guaranteed audience with time to read. I don't recall much more about it, although if Jason Snell revives my old 210mb hard drive, I might get some old issues back -- unless they're on my 6 even older 44mb SyQuest cartridges.

The other thing I recall about TPA & TSS is that my mother convinced me that if I listed "Progressive Alliance" as an activity on my resume, people would decide I was a Communist and not hire me. I don't remember if I took her suggestion and called it "The Humanist Alliance", or simply left it out entirely. There was never any question of listing The Serious Shit on the resume -- I never interviewed for a job where that would have been a plus.

Fortunately, after my first job at Rockefeller University, I had more relevant things to put on my resume, so the Progressive Alliance dilemma quickly became a non-issue.

Monday, May 26 2008

Razor and CYA Idiocy

We got a Razor for Amy and me, so we can scoot with Julia. It's fun, but apparently for robust kids, as the handlebars are too low for a grownup, but it's rated up to 180 pounds. The handlebars bug me, though. They have a label which reads:

Caution: this moves when used. Exercise caution & common sense when riding.

Monday, March 24 2008

Happy Easter, Miss Heather & Sam

A: It's not a poop. It's a peep.

Friday, November 16 2007

Crackhead of the week: Phil Manchester @ The Register

With thanks to Daring Fireball's JotW.

I like The Register because they cover the stuff I'm interested in, and their leanings correlate reasonably well with my own. But they don't edit their stuff, and have no shame about being wrong or just lost in left field. Today's example:

Android: developer dream or Google cash machine?

By Phil Manchester

Published Friday 16th November 2007 18:49 GMT

However, it will take more than a $10 million "incentive" (http://www.sci-tech-today.com/story.xhtml?story_id=030002Y7BBKU) to truly galvanize people and generate a powerful and self-sustaining grassroots developer movement and ISV community. Some of the open source technologies changing today's market, after all, built up critical mass because they were good, useful or employed a community friendly license - not because early developers got huge cash dongles.

Um, no. People write free and cheap Palm, Symbian, Windows Mobile, Google Maps, and (now) iPhone apps all the time. You don't need to pay them $10,000,000 to do so.

Google's Android agenda is far from clear, but it seems money is a driving factor, rather than a genuine desire to liberate developers and phone users from the nasty old telcos with an open platform. After all, Android's backers include some of those very carriers that liked to lock you in (http://www.openhandsetalliance.com/oha_members.html) and have proved nothing more than an anchor on software and service innovation, but who just happen to be lagging the US market leaders.

See, the logical fallacy here is more subtle, but still big enough to throw a phone through. Google has never claimed that money wasn't a driving factor. There are lots of people who are interested in Android for primarily non-commercial reasons. Nobody who's awake ever thought Google (or the other Open Handset Alliance members) were among them. It's "Don't be evil.", not "Liberate developers." Whether or not you think Google is evil (I think they're scary and cool, but not evil), they never pretended Android wasn't supposed to make much money. Is there anyone, aside from Phil Manchester, who didn't know that Google likes to make money and is quite good at it?

Enlightened capitalism maybe - but capitalism just the same.

Duh.

Sunday, September 16 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Just finished Harry Potter (thanks, James!). We're looking forward to reading them to Julia in a few years.

Wednesday, June 20 2007

Daring Fireball Visits NYC

John Gruber (Daring Fireball) gave a presentation at the SoHo Apple Store tonight. I might've been annoyed it was a repeat of his C4[0] presentation, except I wasn't at C4 so I hadn't heard it. The rest of the audience seemed suitably impressed -- Apple brought extra chairs, and there were still a bunch of people sitting on the floor.

Afterwards, I tagged along to a yummy Vietnamese restaurant. We left when all the unoccupied chairs had been placed on the tables around us, only to discover a giant (empty) drum of MSG outside the front door. This sparked a brief but lively discussion of whether MSG is in fact as bad for you (us) as people once claimed, with no real resolution.

I liked Gruber's description of Jonas fuzzing, "I need a hole."

Thursday, January 18 2007

Securosis Will No Longer Cover Technology

Rich has been told to stop blogging about techonology. This is a shame, as he had worthwhile things to say.

Having very little information on what happened, I have to assume it's a blanket policy intended to protect Gartner's intellectual property, by reducing competition from non-Gartner IP (such as public blogs). I wonder how bad the backlash will be. This is aside from the fact that Rich was a) careful not to post Gartner content and b) not shy about mentioning what you could get if you were a Gartner client.

It's a pity.

http://securosis.com/2007/01/16/securosis-will-no-longer-cover-technology/