July 4th, 2018

At my mom’s house in Jackson, Mississippi for the holiday.

I slept with the kids in Kevin’s old room last night. First part of the night was okay, but sometime in the middle of the night, Darcy realized I was there and snuggled up next to me, keeping me from fully falling asleep. Then she woke up having to go potty around 5am, then got up right around 6am.

Midmorning, Kevin and I continued our mission of going through my Mom’s attic. Major score this time, besides all the old books that I no longer really care about: Both my old Peavey guitar amp and Kevin’s Bass amp. Both are working, so I am taking them both home with me.

Found my old Peavey amp up in Mom's attic

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Also, found the old school mechanical typewriter that used to be my mom’s (she thinks it’s a 1968) and which I learned to type on:

I learned to type on this

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Best score of the day though was finding 1984 ICE Fellowship of The Ring Board Game fully in tact with all the pieces and figurines:

Also found some old movies from my childhood that I’m taking home with me to digitize.

After that we went to the park with the kids, then pool party at the neighborhood pool, then chilling at my Mom’s. I did a little work, played some Fortnite and relaxed.

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July 3 2018

Yesterday on my drive to Mississippi to visit my Mom and brother’s family, I listened to the latest Why We Bleep podcast featuring Scanner. Here’s the thing via YouTube:

Anyway, Scanner has been keeping a daily diary since he was 14 and can look up any entry as an assist to his memory. I used to use this blog similarly, and I thought I should revisit it, so here we are.

Today, I’m in Jackson, Mississippi visiting my family for the week.

Darcy woke up at 4:30. After dealing with her for an hour, Kristin handed her off to me at 5:20. I managed to prevent her from waking anyone else up until about 6:25 when we went downstairs and woke my mother. Despite waking me early, Darcy was sweet and kept telling me how much she loves me, which is the only sane reason to have kids: unconditional love.

Jackson woke up drowsy and was a little morose until midmorning. We had a large bacon, eggs, sausage, biscuit southern mom-cooked breakfast. Then we went to the neighborhood pool and swam for about an hour or so. Came back, had nachos / tacos salad for lunch.

I took a nap. Woke up everyone else went back to the pool, while Mom and I stayed and talked some. Then I did some work and played some Fortnite. Everyone came back, Darcy sunburnt and tired and wanting to sit with me.

We flew some small egg-shaped drones that my mother bought the kids. I flew Jackson’s too high and it went out of range of the controller while going up and literally disappeared into the air over the house. I searched around the neighborhood in the direction it was headed for a bit, but that sucker was gone.

Kevin semi-assembled the landspeeder that we got his kids for early Christmas during Toys R Us firesale. Here’s him driving it back to the garage right before dinner:

My brother, everyone

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Dinner was ham, corn, coleslaw and biscuits. Darcy fell asleep on my belly. Jackson assembled some legos and went to bed. We stayed up watching America’s Got Talent and playing What Do You Meme? Drinking Hendrick’s and Tonic.

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Dave Smith Instruments Mopho Keyboard “Rackmount” mod #MoBetterMoPho

On a whim this afternoon, I decided to hack this together:

I decided to rackmount my DSI MoPho Keyboard in my Platform desk.

So far, I’m loving it. All the controls are at a better angle for fiddling with them while I’m playing. It’s part of my desk now, so it’s both taking up less space and my 88 key MIDI controller is actually an upgrade to the small original keyboard. It’s on a hinge, so I can swing it out to change the cabling pretty easily. It’s also dead simple to reattach it all to the original keyboard and chasis (which is sitting in my closet now) with ~10 minutes of plugging things in and screwing. As soon as I get access to my father-in-law’s table saw that is currently in transit from New York, I’m going to actually redo this mod in an all wood angled enclosure similar to the way it’s just sitting there in this picture (although angled to match the angle of the Platform desk so it will slide right in):

So the Z-shape of the bent aluminum actually puts this at a really nice angle just sitting on the desk. Next phase, I'll build an actual wooden desktop box to slide into this slot vs this current barndoor hack

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The year old budget Android phone I bought a few weeks ago has the same features as iPhone X, but with a less breakable screen

I’ve been leaving Apple for a while now. I used to be the lead blogger on The Unofficial Apple Weblog, have contributed to multiple Apple-related O’Reilly books in the Hacks series, and was the first person to start a blog about the iPod back when it was first announced (it was called My iPod Blog and enjoyed that spotlight for all of about a week before other better Apple focused blogs dwarfed it).

Several years ago I bought first a Microsoft Surface, then a Surface Book, because I really wanted a touch screen laptop with a pressure sensitive pen with which I could draw in Photoshop and other professional grade software. Apple several years after that change released the iPad Pro, and I bought one, but although it’s a nice sketchpad, it still doesn’t fill that core purpose that drove me to switch to Windows and they still haven’t done it. Sure, that’s a niche need in a niche market, but it’s the type of area where the creativity and “Think Different” of Apple would have served in the past. Mainstream Apple isn’t doing that and their innovation is suffering for it. Yesterday’s event highlighted this for me. Apple’s innovation has shifted from technology to marketing.

Apple Watch? Congratulations on leading in an area that is dying. The battle isn’t against other watches. It’s against needing something that was originally designed to tell time on your wrist. People don’t need that anymore. Our time is highly measured everywhere else. There’s an attempt to make the Watch the form factor for personal biometric and health related wearables. This will work for a while. But eventually, someone will design something that your doctor injects into your body and communicates with your cellphone, and at that point, this whole category is largely dead. Now at least with the new model they are making it a full phone replacement. That’s something that will appeal to some people.

iPhone X? X? Really? X is so over X years ago when we switched from OS 9 to X.

Face unlock? Microsoft laptops and a large number of Android devices have had this feature for years.

A huge glass display that we’ll all have to ugly up with cases to keep it from shattering? Really? Have you learned nothing from the Apple TV remote? Clearly not, since the same shattertastic design is being released with the new 4K Apple TV (which is the only thing announced yesterday that I think I’ll be buying).

A little under 2 months ago, my iPhone 6 Plus finally gave up the ghost. Over time of being in my front pocket continuously, the phone had warped to the curvature of my left thigh and the touch control was starting to not work. I didn’t want to drop $1000 on a new phone and I’d started to get thumb-joint arthritis from typing on it’s big screen, so I wanted to go smaller anyway. I ordered a budget Alcatel phone from Amazon for $100 and it worked pretty well, but the camera was crap. I got rid of it and a few weeks ago grabbed a Sony Xperia X Compact for $350. It has face unlock. It has a great screen. It has battery for well over a day. It has built in fitness tracking without the need for any additional wearables (although you can sync it with that). It is actually water resistant (although it’s not marketed as such in the US). It already has augmented reality apps built into it by Sony (because everyone is already doing AR and has been doing it for years; Apple is playing catch up here). I can play my PS4 remotely via it. It’s pretty badass for only $350. Also ~21MP camera made by Sony, a leader in photographic equipment.

Apple changed the world with iPhone. I have invested a lot in their gear and software over the years. I’ll continue to maintain that investment via my iPads, which are still the best entertainment-focused tablets on the market. I’ll also continue with Apple TV, but that’s only because I’m already locked in to that ecosystem, and it’s the only place I can easily see—on my television—those shows and movies that I’ve already bought.

Everywhere else, Apple is falling behind in my opinion. Sure they have more money and more success than anyone right now. But they’ve hit their peak. Things are on the downturn and my dollars are better spent elsewhere.

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Bears vs Babies arrived! #bearsvsbabies

Friday, my order of Bears vs Babies finally arrived. Jackson misremembered the game’s name as “Robots vs Babies” but he’s been asking me steadily about it since I first told him that I backed the Kickstarter. This is what it looked like fresh out of the shipping box:

It even came with a bonus backer card and a thank you note. Here’s the bonus card:

And here’s the thank you note:

And here’s everything that came in the box:

Jackson and I played a round of it Friday after I was finished with work and had a good time. He won. It’s a fun, ridiculous game that was easy enough to pick up and had pretty fast gameplay.

Saturday, Jackson just got the cards out and started making crazy monsters for fun, like the cards were the dream answer to his thoughts about building monsters from scratch. (He and Darcy are both very fascinated with drawing, creating stories about, running from, and pretending that they are monsters.

I highly recommend it. I also got a customized form letter comic as part of my receipt, which I won’t share here, b/c I’m too lazy to photoshop out my address. But that was a very nice touch.

UPDATE: with corrected pictures.

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