A ray of sunshine.

It takes a small person to drag everyone else down when you’re feeling blue. Fortunately for my coworkers, I’m not a big person. Ah, but I shouldn’ worry too much, there’s always room for a little more bitter sarcasm. And speaking of bitter, yesterday I unveiled my treatise on software development in DOR. I sent it right to the top, cc ‘ing some of the folks in between. Here’s some of my favorite excerpts:

“Treat the symptoms don’t euthanize the patient.”

“Because it (the new policy) seemingly does not distinguish between those that have succeeded or failed in their efforts, it smacks of an indiscriminant ‘policy of no.’ ”

“I only wish to say that I have been led to believe that I have something I can contribute, and I would like to continue to do so. On behalf of everyone with something to give, let us keep giving of ourselves when we can.”

It’s a little hard to tell without the proper context, but them is some pretty good stuff. (You’ve got to say the last phrase in a southern accent for the proper effect.) Just take my word for it.

Alas, I can’t recall a time that I was more frustrated at work.

Back in the saddle; or, when a good computer goes bad.

We are back on the air after some technical difficulties this evening. They say that when you run your own web server, you can’t blame anyone else for your site problems. Well, one of our poor old iMacs bit the dust right in front of me this evening. It happened just as I was walking in the door, coming home from work. The monitor flashed, an electrical “hissing” noise rose from the depths of the case, and it went dead. We made every attempt known to us to revive it, but we were unsuccessful. Six hours worth of harvesting spare parts, installing software, and loading back-ups to our family room iMac brings us to the present. It’s past my bed time, and I’m sitting here typing this message. Two people will likely read this entry, and I’ve already told one of them more than they wanted to know about it. Ye Gods!

Yea, I walk down a path filled with wonder.

In short order, Cheryl’s anger will be ripe for an outburst. You see, I’ve found a new toy and it has taken up much of my time this evening. I am famous in the annals of the Florida Department of Revenue for my one tracked mindedness. I am infamous in the annals of the Kauffman household (version 2.0) for this same trait. “And there was a great gnashing of teeth as mother Kauffman waited for father Kauffman to grant the computer leave of his attention.”

What could possibly warrant such devotion from this mild mannered author? The answer is nigh…
a software giveaway by Apple… an application named “iBlog”. The genius of this application is it’s seemingly easy to master interface, lying on top of a damn near impossible to configure program. It pulls you in with beauty and wonder, then the witch steps from around the corner and lops off a digit. If you are a regular reader (yes, I’m speaking to both of you), then you’ve noticed the change in scenery by now. Yes, it is due to iBlog.

I have been fiddling with this thing for the better part of a really long time. I have imported all of my entries from 2003. Sometime I’ll get around to importing the rest of them, not that anyone will miss them.

New Software

This is the beginning of a grand experiment. Apple is giving away software for publishing web logs. Lets all give a warm welcome to iBlog, the latest addition to my hard drive. Will John get more value out of his .Mac membership?

To Mac or not to Mac?

Pinellas County Schools, at the urgings of it’s fearless leader Howard Hinsley, has decided to phase out all of the Apple computers and replace them with PCs running Windows. For what reason, you may ask? Well, it wasn’t cost. Many arguments have been made as to wether the upfront savings of a Windows box make up for the down the road savings of a Mac – so I won’t waste your time here. No, the reason was “we want to prepare our students for what they will see in the real world – and let’s face it, it is a Windows world.”

That’s not such a bad argument, is it? Ah, if you know me you know better, and I’m just getting started.

Try this little bit of irony on for size…
When I was starting high school my family had a Mac. Most of my friends had Commodore 64s or some other computer that ran a flavor of DOS. Microsoft Windows was just getting started with versions one and two, but I think everyone would agree that they just plain sucked. Just after I finished my schooling (high school and four years at the best damn University in Florida), I entered the “real world”. Shortly after I entered the real world, all of the computers in my office were running Windows 95. I’m about to get to the good part… I could have used what most other people were using when I was starting high school, namely a flavor of DOS (including the most popular flavor – Microsoft DOS), but instead I used a Mac. Is anyone ready to argue the point that a Mac was better preparation for Windows 95 than DOS? No?

Isn’t that rich.

The point here is that the operating system that most kids in school will use in the “real world” HASN’T BEEN MADE YET. Technology changes at an amazing rate. There’s no way you’re going to tell me what will be in use five or ten years from now, and don’t even get me started with kids who’ve got longer than that (re: elementary school students).

Now it gets better…
My wife is the antithesis of “tech-savvy”. When we started dating, you could show Cheryl a computer and she’d show you something that might as well have been a used Saturn V moon rocket – for all the use she could have gotten out of it. Of course, when we dated in college her only exposure to computers was my little Mac. When we married, her only exposure to computers was our little Mac. When she went to work in the “real world” and Windows PCs were put on everyone’s desks, her only exposure to computers had been on a Mac. Many of her coworkers had Windows PCs at home, yet for some reason still couldn’t tell a mouse from a furry rodent. In short order, she became an honorary member of tech support at her office. This young lass who didn’t have a tech-savvy bone in her body, who became the PC expert in her “Windows world”, was reared in this computerized world on a Mac.

Now consider the fact that over 65% of the PCs currently in the school system are Macs already, that by many accounts the staff prefer the Macs, and that cost may not be a factor. If preparation for the “real world”, what ever that may turn out to be, isn’t a good reason then… why are we replacing all of the Macs with PCs?

Alas, the world is an imperfect place run by imperfect people. It doesn’t me feel any better though.

The time is now.

I have made a big leap forward; one that holds very little significance for anyone but me. I have welcomed the world into my living room. The little Bondi-blue iMac in my living room is now a web server. A copy of this site is being served up right in my living room and can be found at www.johnkauffman.gotdns.com. Am I hot stuff or what? No, don’t answer that.

What do I want to say?

I have been toying with the idea of registering my own domain name. It’s a vanity thing. There is very little practical use for it, considering my needs (none). I always just thought it would be cool. Yes, I’ve talked about this already in this space. Yes, I’ve talked about it with my wife even more. Every time it comes down to the same thing, it’s more money for a hobby, with not a lot of value added. Cheryl asks me, “what is so bad with http://homepage.mac.com/johnkauffman?”

Nothing, I guess, but you can’t ignore the cool factor of a name of your own choosing… “www.johnkauffman.net”, “www.underpaid.com”, “www.warmblooded.net”, or “www.beingmyself.org”. Can I resist this latest temptation? Stay tuned.

When the little things are enough.

Today was not a great day.

My temperature has had more significant digits than I would like all day, and I’ve felt miserable. When my discomfort has allowed, I’ve slept. When it hasn’t, I’ve sat around in a daze. Poor Cheryl.

While dazing, I’ve watched two movies on my computer (while Beth was watching Free Willy for the 129th and 130th time since Christmas), and two more on the boob tube. About a half hour ago I finished watching my second movie on TV (the HBO premere of Cast Away), and I was T.Veed out. I thought to myself, what the heck, I’ll plug my laptop into my USB hub and see if anything works. Sadly, this kind of thing serves as entertainment around here even if I’m not sick. Anyway,I unplugged my iMac from the hub and connected the hub to my iBook. I grasped my spiffy mouse (the one that has a light instead of a ball underneath), and I moved it around my desk (the mouse, not the hub or my iBook). Sure enough, the cursor on my iBook moved with the mouse. Furthermore, all of the buttons (including the scroll wheel) actually worked as well. This mouse needed a special driver from Microsoft for all of the buttons to work with my iMac, but not so with the iBook running OSX! Whew, O.K. catch your breath. I know that was a lot of excitement, but there’s more. I turned on my new printer and I gave it a whirl. Wiz bang, it printed! I must admit that this wasn’t entirely a surprise, my computer automatically looks for software updates from Apple once a week, and one of the things it downloaded recently was a driver for my printer – but I didn’t have to do anything but let it do its thing.

O.K., I’ll admit that this is not the stuff of epic poems. No one will be casting Mel Gibson to star in the three hour movie. But this is kind of the point. It was kind of a rotten day, and all it took was a silly mouse and printer to work like they should to make my day.

Funny how things work, isn’t it?