The long and winding road…

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What will be was but will be again.

History repeating itself like a summer rerun. Yes the show was funny he first time, but the second time, not as much. Time is a funny thing. If you do something long enough and enough times, eventually it will work. The law of change over time I will call it. You can’t keep pushing the elevator button to make the elevator come faster, until the one time you can in fact do that.

Scott’s new rule – if you do something enough times I will catch on that you are doing it. I am a bit slow, but I am not completely clueless.

I saw the most beautiful scene today, the sun rising and the light streaming through a pine tree at the end of a street. It was quite breathtaking in its beauty. It seems strange that I can perceive beauty like that but I can’t capture it with a camera. That line from Amadeus haunts me some 30 years after the first time I heard it (why my god have you cursed me with the ears to hear your voice but not the voice to sing it?)

Time to get rolling – its amazing that no matter how early you start your day you are always behind. Or maybe that is just me.


random Tuesday rumblings…

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A path through the forest. The end to a long walk. I’ve been walking 3-4 times per week for nearly 6 years now. It is frankly something that relaxes me and gives me time to think. My best thoughts come on those walks. I didn’t get to walk yesterday and probably won’t today either. The issue now is that its dark outside when I leave in the morning and dark when I come home.

I got a really sad email from an old friend yesterday. It made me sad to read the email. He was, as Hamlet said a man of infinite mirth. And actually at sportsmind he nearly did bear me upon his back. He is and always will be someone I respect and admire. The email made me step back from my little blog of the other day a little and gain some perspective. When those around you aren’t treated in a way that is fair you have to speak out. You have to (as my favorite poet and poem reads) “rage against the passing of the light.”  I heard you pal.  those who do not read history books are doomed to repeat history over and over. (Those who replace their history with new histories, are doomed to repeat history as well.)

Last night Luke and I ran to the mall to pick something up. I remembered as we walked into the door that I hate being in malls this time of year. It happens to me once a year, I forget and barge into a mall scenario. Then it doesn’t happen again for a year or so. Ergo, another year mall free for me!


Follow ups and follow ons…

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I wrote a blog last week about why I left Microsoft. The number of emails generated by that (but only one comment – people don’t want to be seen as agreeing or disagreeing around MS in public). It was a flurry of emails – the sad thing 21 emails in total – more than 70% (16) agreed with me that it was a sad situation. 5 didn’t agree with my rationale – telling me I should have stayed and fought it out.

Interesting the way people thing…

Tax season is upon us. I installed the initial software and got ready for next years taxes. It is always a long and frustrating process when you sit down to do taxes. I have always started the day after thanksgiving, well at least since the days of TaxCut on the Macintosh. I realized that I’ve been doing taxes on the computer for more than 20 years. I don’t recall the last time I did them by hand.

I’ve been audited three times, once was my fault, the other two were simple calculation errors. Always check your math when doing your taxes. The problem is you stare at something long enough eventually it begins to look like it makes sense.

The great phone shoot out begins tomorrow. So far the blackberry has dropped off the list (its just not powerful enough to handle anything beyond email.




Sunday musings…

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We went to see Hugo yesterday. It was a movie that amazed me. It was so well done. The scenery (Paris in the 1920’s and 30’s) was amazing. The acting was superb and it made you wonder why it was a children’s movie. PG. Even the baritone liked it, and of course he complained the whole way to the movie about having to go to a movie with his parents.

Hugo hopefully wins the best director academy award for M.S.

Today is my long walk day. I’ve been nosing around the trail that leads out of the next subdivision over. There is a trail that heads South away form the house and another that leads North. Today I am heading on the South trail, with the North trail being the goal next week.

I’ve had a little time with the kindle fire and frankly it is an amazing multi-media device. if your tablet goal is entertainment, you don’t need the processing power (and added cost) of the Ipad. The nook however does allow you more local storage, so there is something to consider there. Overall the smaller media tablets are quite effective. I love being able to watch movies and utilize the smaller footprint for reading as well. The Amazon tablet is also quite effective as a reading device – rivaling the Nook as a full experience media device.

I also find the Amazon android store (which you use on the fire) makes me feel safer about the applications I am downloading. When I had an Archos device a lot of the applications I downloaded had a virus. (more than 30% of the downloads).


Someone asked me the other day why I left Microsoft

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15 years is a long place to be anywhere (other than the 15 well now 20 plus years I’ve been with my wife). Someone asked me the other day why I left Microsoft and I paused. There are the reasons I’ve given to various people over the past months. The first being the change in the bonus system and the fact that I ended up with no bonus – “what I earned” according to my old manager. I feel bad for him. He is simply a cog in a machine that strives ever to remake itself – and is failing.

Sure it hurt that MS choose not to give me a bonus. But based on the writing I had seen on the wall – I knew as a long time senior person there my time was done. They were looking for younger blood. An organization that is trying to remake itself eventually has to forgot what it knew. You can’t carry people that were there for a long time when you are remaking yourself.

But the thing that bothers me the most wasn’t the bonus. That was simply stupid on MS’s part. The thing that hurt me the most was the fact that I won an award last summer. The only person in the company to win that award three times in one calendar year. It really meant something to me (although nothing to Microsoft).  You see the last time I won that award I never even got the trophy or the letter. In the end they lost it three times. They finally sent me a memory stick and called it a day. 3 times to win a big team award and get nothing? In the end I have to say my time at Microsoft was good (for the most part) but the decay and fall has begun.

We who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

And it isn’t that I didn’t get the stupid little trophy. It’s the fact that no one (including my former boss) did the math and realized I had won the award three times. It must have meant that I was good and helping teams succeed at high levels.  It makes me feel sorry for the people I left behind at Microsoft. Sad enough to write this blog now nearly 5 months after leaving.

I heard the other day a really dear friend of mine was leaving MS as well (he has since left). I realized that MS was a place for sharks now. I don’t want to be a shark. I want to be someone that people say “he was a good person.”

It brings me to my last and final thought about Microsoft. You can forget who you knew. You can forget what you were. But if you forgot those who helped drive success – then all is lost.

The Big Team award (3rd time) meant something to me. I guess in the end it didn’t mean anything to my boss or my former company.


Black Friday and the key that wouldn’t turn…

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As though…

At 2:30 in the morning the bean woke me up “my key is stick.” she said. I got up threw on a shirt and headed outside. The bug was out of the garage and the wheel was turned to the left. A simple move of the wheel and the key was unstuck. Then she was off to work, retail as she says “on black Friday.” It’s the second year in a row that she has worked on Black Friday. Its interesting to me that she chooses jobs in retail. Both her mother and I had jobs in the food service industry for a long time (I did work at two different retail locations and two different black Fridays but that was long after my initial work pattern had been established.

I went back to sleep slowly thinking about that. You have children and then you seek to have them leave. Not that you want them to leave but you need to teach them to fly on their own. Someday you won’t be there to pick up the pieces. Its kind of a sad thought but the holidays do that to you at times. Eventually we all pass. What we leave behind are the memories of who we were.

Thanksgiving was a blast – food was awesome. Luke and Barb outdid themselves. The turkey was moist and everything else was perfect. We do have enough stuffing for the entire US Naval Fleet, but I suspect that will go away, eventually.


Happy Thanksgiving

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Holiday shuffle. I’ve been trying Carbonite on-line backup now for awhile. I was doing Mozy until they decided that consumers weren’t important to their business and virtually doubled their prices.

The risk of on-line backups:

  • Takes a long time
  • no data portability (kind of kills the whole cloud concept)
  • Their software on your computer.

The first thing of course to consider is what are you backing up. Today I backup all the family media files to an off-line store (as well as three separate on-line stores) because well those are the memories that I don’t want to lose. Do you backup all the documents you have created over the years? I make two or three copies of most documents I create, as well as two or three copies of the one’s the wife and kids do. But I don’t push those up to the on-line backup system. I may have to eventually but so far I haven’t really found a need to do that.

I usually upgrade and replace old hard drives about every three years and to date it has worked. I suspect I could, if I found the time put the entire system onto a series of blu-ray disks and further insurance – but that sucks a lot of time and effort. Plus what do you do with those disks, ship them to someone you trust? Then hope they sent them back quickly enough?

I also use windows home server (2011) for local backups. That really helps for computer restores. Today I am connecting the first Macintosh to that system, been a long time since I was a Macintosh user.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all – and to my mother if she gets a chance to read this – we are thinking about everyone else as we sit down to lunch today. (PS MOM – we won’t be late this year!)



soon the big day arrives…

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An interesting problem –

For some reason this morning Java decided that it didn’t like my printer. I can live with that. They really haven’t been on speaking terms for a long time. But suddenly they aren’t talking at all. Which I guess in the long run may be somewhat of a problem. There are a number of Internet applications that leverage variations of Java for printing services. The inability to communicate between the two is an issue that I have to fix, when I have time of course.

I ended up fixing it by upgrading my Java stack which bothers me.

Tomorrow is the first thanksgiving in more than 20 years that I won’t be cooking anything. My beloved wife, whose favorite line has to be “I wonder what my husband is making for dinner” will be making the turkey. Lukas will be making the side dishes. I can’t say how happy I am not to have to worry about preparing the food.


phone swapping, a great hobby

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I am swapping between phones for the next couple of weeks. Windows phone 7 was a disappointment, but 7.5 (mango) is much better and actually usable. The Android phone is usable but sucks batteries like there is no tomorrow – you have to charge it two or three times a day. So for the next couple of weeks I am swapping back and forth. It only takes me a minute to remember which goes where and what applications to be used but once I make the swap things roll.

Both phones have value adds – the Samsung screen is simply amazing and the android application store is well beyond description. I am always a little afraid of the free application metaphor (as there really isn’t anyone responsible for the application) but overall my experience has been pretty good.

What I would really like to see is a simple and easy way to use the different phones for their different strengths but I don’t see that happening in the near term. Oh well.

Strengths of each (so far)


  • Apps
  • Screen

Windows Phone 7

  • email client (which is really amazing)
  • battery life (much improved)

will post more about this personal shoot out when I get ahold of an iphone.


Family time, it is a gift…

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Within 1000 feet of our house I have seen deer. We heard Coyote’s last night as we were watching TV. I have seen woodchucks and raccoons all living in harmony with the world around them. There are a lot of small wooded areas and places that the animals can hide from the ever expanding rush of humanity it really is kind of nice.

We had wildlife in Indiana although no deer. They are such majestic creatures. I suspect that is the value of Bambi. For those of us who watched the movie and saw “spirit of the wilderness” deer are creatures of beauty.

Barb and I realized this am that our family tradition of Thanksgiving movies may be in jeopardy. With Netflix/blockbuster we find ourselves very picky about what we see in the theaters. There is a certain freedom in watching some of these movies at home. I just don’t see any great movies out right now, perhaps a couple are planning a Wednesday release that will save the day.

This is our first thanksgiving in many years with no travel. It’s a long drive back to see the family (10 hours) so we are camping out at home to make turkey and enjoy family time.