Monthly Archives: December 2004

Last post of the year

As 2004 closes, I spend this evening alone, pondering how the year went from my perspective. And as I think about it, I’d have to say that overall I’m pleased with it. There are a number of things that I might change if I had the power to do so, but overall, I choose not to be depressed about the year. My part in it wasn’t all that bad.

Looking back at my archives, I note that I took all of January off. I didn’t post anything to this blog until February 8th.

Also I had announced at the end of October in 2003 that I would be sending out a regular email to a wide circle of friends via email. I soon realized that that idea was not the best one I had ever had. To impose an email on folks who didn’t request to be on my list wasn’t cool, so after I announced Ron Klieman’s pancreatic cancer and his subsequent death on May 25th, 2004, I decided to quit that ill-advised project.

I then resolved that if folks wanted to hear what I had to say, they could visit my blog to see what I was thinking and saying. If they didn’t care, then I should respect their decision and not “impose” my email upon them. So I abandoned my “regular correspondents” email mailing list around the end of May.

Once I made that choice, I devoted more time to communicating via my blog. Since that decision, I’m pleased with the results. Those who want to hear from me regularly visit my blog; those who don’t, just don’t. No hassle from me; no problem for them. That’s okay from my point of view. One has to accept that others make choices too about how much communication you’ll have with them.

The job I had at the beginning of the year has evolved into something different at the end of the year, but I judge that to be “good.” I like being back in tech support. I think I do it well, and I am happy in this role. Unfortunately because of the limitations the company has on hours that they’ll allow us to accumulate in any pay period, I’m not making as much money as I once did, but I am doing the thing that I signed up to do when I joined the company, so I am happy with my contribution to our customers’ online lives and to our company.

Finally, I’m pleased that I have a photo web site to which I can easily add digital pictures and from which I can easily incorporate pictures into this blog. This combination of essentially FREE services gives me a very nice setup for communicating with friends and family (and yes, even strangers) via the Internet.

So as 2004 closes, I’d have to say I am satisfied with my progress in using the Internet in ways that match my goals. I’m also looking forward to bigger and better things in 2005, but that’s a post for tomorrow.

See you in 2005. I hope you all have a safe and happy celebration of the New Year. Thanks for your loyalty and support in 2004.


My 1980 Volvo

My 1980 Volvo

Originally uploaded by CaptQuirk.

The picture at the right is my 1980 Volvo GT that I bought new in December of 1980 for about $10,500.00. It has been disabled since May of 2003, so I finally decided that I would donate it to the East Tennessee Kidney Foundation so they could get some value out of it and I could get a tax deduction for doing so.

I must confess that giving this car away is difficult for me because it has been a part of my life for so long. But it isn’t getting any younger (and coincidentally, neither am I), and it is time for me to get rid of it for a worthy cause. It’s no longer “Hi Ho Silver” for me, but rather it’s now “Goodbye, Old Paint.”

Correspondence with the author of SAM

Yesterday my friends Patrick Ahern and Paul Moor both tested out my installation of SAM, the Skype Answering Machine. What I learned from that experiment is that at the moment SAM does not permit me to specify the length of time a caller can talk when he or she is leaving a message. Right now, a caller is cut off at the about the one minute mark. So I wrote the author, Alex Rosenbaum, and asked if he were planning to add that functionality in the future.

Last night I got a response from him indicating that the next version of his little program will have that feature. He said it might be a few weeks before the next version is out however.

I think it is really cool that the Internet permits you to correspond with the authors of software and suggest improvements and that they are, in general, receptive to such feedback. It makes for a better product for them and a more satisfying experience for the user.

Comments (for example about Skype)

Yesterday I received a comment on my post about Skype. This comment was from Janet Tokerud, someone I do not know, and in it she asked an interesting question about using Skype. However, that comment raised a point that I need to make about comments in general. (By the way, it is always a kick to get a comment from a “stranger” because it means that people other than my immediate family and friends are reading my blog, and that usually surprises me. Thanks, Janet.)

If you leave an anonymous comment, or even if you register with Blogger and leave a comment that identifies who you are, I don’t usually have an email address for you so that I can reply by email to your comment. For that reason, the only way I have of answering your question is to post a comment in reply to yours. Therefore, you should check the comments section once you’ve left one there to see whether you have gotten a reply to your question (if you ask one). I don’t mean to imply by this that I’ll post a reply to every comment, but I often do, so please check the comments to the post on which you commented to see if there is a response from me.

Dropping in for Christmas

The Ocoee River
Originally uploaded by CaptQuirk.

The drive from Knoxville to Lula, GA., where my older son, Jeff, and his family and my ex-wife, Carole, live, carries me along highway 64 between Cleveland, TN, and Murphy, NC, along a stretch of the Ocoee river that served as the venue for the Kayaking competition in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The picture at the right is one of the calmer stretches of that river.

The road that winds around sharp curves in the mountains beside that river is quite scenic, though it is a very tiring drive because of the constant twisting back and forth. The entire trip usually takes about three and a half hours from Knoxville to Lula or vice versa, and I usually make it once or twice a year for special events, such as Christmas, which as I said the other day, is Jeff’s birthday.

On Christmas day, I made this trip to celebrate Christmas with the family there, and though I only had about 24 hours for the trip, it was good to spend the time with the family. Unfortunately, because Lula is about 50 or so miles north of Atlanta, I didn’t have time to travel the extra distance to visit other family members and friends who life in the Atlanta area.

One notable “highlight” of my trip to Jeff’s house was that Jeff decided to show me a storage closet that he had cleaned up in Dustin’s room on the second floor of his house. It is one of those closets that is constructed from the “extra” space that is created by the slope of the roof so the ceiling for that area is slanted such that one can only stand erect as you first enter the space. Jeff stepped into the room ahead of me. When I stepped in, I didn’t realize that the flooring in that area did not cover the entire space. There was one section immediately inside the door that didn’t have flooring. Naturally, being the graceful person that I am, I stepped into the gap and immediately my left foot and leg plunged through the ceiling to the kitchen below. Here’s a picture of the damage I did to the ceiling. Had the joists been further apart I might have fallen through to the Kitchen below, but instead I hit the left side of my hip on the joist on the left and my right knee on the joist on the right. I was stuck, with my left leg dangling in the Kitchen below, such that I couldn’t extract myself. Jeff and Dustin had to lift me up back into the closet/storage area onto the flooring that was in place there. I am quite fortunate that I didn’t apparently break any bones in the fall and the primary damage, aside from a bit of soreness, was to the ceiling in the kitchen.

In that period of relief that comes over you once you realize that nothing tragic had occurred in what could have been a catastrophic situation, everything was funny. Maegan, my granddaughter, thought I had died. Carole, who had just walked out of the kitchen, said she thought the turkey had fallen off the counter. We joked that “no, the turkey had fallen through the ceiling.” Of such things, I guess, are Christmas memories made, so Christmas of 2004 will be remembered, I suppose, as the year Daddy Perry “dropped in for Christmas.”

Lawrence Lessig’s innovative use of the Web

Lawrence Lessig says that it’s time for an update to his book “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace,” which was written and first published five years ago. His publisher has agreed to the following plan:

“Beginning in February, we’ll be posting Version 1 of Code to a Wiki. ‘Chapter Captains’ will then supervise updates and corrections. Depending upon the progress, sometime near June, I will take the product and edit and rewrite it to produce Code, v2. The Wiki will stay live forever (under a Creative Commons license). The edited book will be published in the fall. I have donated my advance for Code, v2 to Creative Commons. All royalties beyond the advance will be donated as well. “

In case you aren’t familiar with who Lawrence Lessig is, you probably should become so. He is a very influential thinker in his interpretation of the law and it’s relation to our connected world. He first came to my attention when he was appointed a “Special Master” in the government’s case against Microsoft a few years ago. Since that time I’ve read many things that he has written and have found him to be both thoughtful and clear.