Category Archives: GeekLog

This isn’t ‘Nam this is Podcasting, there are rules..

Or at least there should be.

I love my podcasts. They keep my brain from going 1000 other annoying places that my daily life might take me if I let it. I think they make me a smarter and happier person. And there are so many to listen to I can barely keep up with even the top 10 that I have on my list (note to self .. podcast completion-ism is as as bad as twitter completion-ism.. get over it,  see also @caseyliss).

I think there is plenty of room for any view that is out there. And I don’t object to any of them being out there, with maybe one exception. Be professional, don’t abuse your audience.

There are a number of famous cases where podcasters have got a little power hungry and figured this is ‘mine’ and I can do whatever I want. I gave up on Leo Laporte after a incident when he kicked a host off ‘his network’ for questioning Leo’s use of loaner and demo product. It was mostly the maniacal way he did it rather than the parting of ways that put me off listening to him. (PS apparently that behaviour has continued since ) I kind of view my listening to someone on a podcast as a ‘vote’ even more so when I add memberships, donations or patreon support to it.

Recently many of my podcasts have added various community features such as a Slack Room to discuss and participate with the hosts. In the case of one particular podacaster, I really wish he hadn’t. I got to see him haranguing his audience. Extolling how he wasn’t stiffing opinion, just correcting the factual errors of all those ‘mistaken’ listeners that were disagreeing with his stand on an issue. Arguing on the internet is probably nothing new but it was just the bully pulpit aspect of it that I found distasteful. In the end, like any other customer, I voted with my feet. Deleted the account and cancelled my patreon support.

I’m sure there is a place for shock jocks on podcasts the same as TV and Radio. And if that is someone shtick then so be it but that wasn’t the case here. There doesn’t have to be many rules but there should be a few… this isn’t ‘Nam. Otherwise your just in the house of pain.

Classic Mac Apps – the Survior Episode

Bill’s All Time Mac App Surviors

I’m doing this as a reverse top ten list .. because its almost New Years so everything has to be a Top XX list.

I noticed a sale on an old favorite piece of software the other day and it got me lamenting all the great tools of my Mac using past. Then I realized the few that have survived the transitions from various OSes and hardware changes.

So this is my list of the ones that have been around and still have some life in them. For the purposes on this list Apple Inc Applicatons need not apply. To make the list you had to run on Mac OS 9.x, PowerPC is fine, anything 680×0 is impressive. I’m trying to remember if there was an Apple // version of any of them but that part of my brain went to mush long ago.

The List

  1. [SpellCatcher][SpellCatcher] – SoundJam/iTunes doesn’t count so something from Casady & Greene had to make this list. If someone has a version of Glider PRO or Crystal Quest for Mavericks let me know..
  2. Quickeys – Before there was keyboard Maestro, there was Quickeys. What was a little suprising is you can still buy it.. For OS X and OS 9! The CE Software petegree is now with Startly Technologies but its still around.
  3. FileBuddy – Remember Resource Forks? before you could chmod anything on a Mac you needed a tool to sort and swtich some file attributes. Filebuddy was my tool of choice for a good chunk of the late 90s and early oughts. Don’t touch it much anymore but its still around.
  4. Stuffit Remember you first 5MB harddrive? Well that sounded like a lot, right?Stuffit kept files in check and allowed you to move stuff around at 2400 baud. Its usefullness is probably long past for most people but if you installed a OS7 through OS 9 program you probably needed Stuffit Expander. One of the few third party items that was distributed by Apple on new Macs
  5. Fetch That little dog ran alot of miles on my behalf. It still has a great use as a network testing tool. It was my speedtest tool before there was Speedtest.net. Still a great way to test point to point network transfer rates. And that’s before you talk about its ftp functionality.
  6. Default Folder One of the original Apple UI hacks. When you couldn’t control the settings Apple’s UI these little useful tools came along. Many got eaten by later OS updates. Default Folder has avoided getting “Sherlocked” and still provides some useful functionality. I was never a huge user but this stands as a long running app.
  7. Hourworld This is a little bit of a one trick pony but I like the trick a lot. This was developed by a one man operation that produced a nice little time app. There were (and still are) one person operations that made very useful stuff. Most never made a living at it but it was a somewhat profitable hobby for many, I hope.

    I still like to track the number of seconds of extra sunlight I’m getting .. 34 of them today.. as the days get longer. Never found a replacement.
  8. Interarchy if you want to go back further you can track this back to Anarchie from 1993. I’ve owned both. It’s probably not a coincidence that 2 ftp clients and no web browsers made this list. Credit Peter Lewis and Andrew Tomazos for stewarding this product along. and it has been back and forth between several hands.
  9. GraphicCoverter This has truly been a long running tool that still has a regular spot in my toolbelt. It can open everything from my //gs graphics to Camera RAW. The batch processing of images is still better than most other tools I’ve got. Don’t know how much I’ve contributed to Thorsten Lemke over the years but I don’t regret a bit of it.
  10. BBEdit BBedit gets my top spot because it has pretty much stayed at the top of the heap through too many OS versions to count. And they have the coolest tag line in the software business. “It doesn’t suck.®”

The Mentions

Honorable Mention has to go to Kagi .. before there was Paypal and the App store there was Kagi. They provided the market for a lot of “Shareware” apps and a path to software authors getting paid. I think you could say things like the Mac App Store owe a chunk of their existance to Kagi.

Another Honorable mention to OmniGroup. They predated OS X (kinda) too! There heritage is on the NextStep which became OS X. There current offerings are great and they did alot to push their Objective C advantage into the Mac world.

Another Manager’s answer to “A Manager’s 7 Tips for a Successful Project”

Noticed this Lifehacker article

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/managers-7-tips-for-successful-project.html

I could make 12 Dilberts out of this list..

  1. Ensure that you have full project detail up front … never happens. If they include everything it will never make the budget. Better to limit scope and get budget approval then ‘surprise’ everyone later .. its the gift that keeps on giving
  2. Set realistic expectations .. see thats’ just silly. If you tell people what you actually can do, they expect you are sandbagging them and will immediately ask for 50% more than you could possibly do. Start by setting expections to no more that 33%, expecting them to at least double and hope you can hold them to no more than 80% so when they ask you to cut the budget by 10% you have wiggle room
  3. Establish measurable and reportable criteria for success.. see above
  4. Select team members, and assign responsibilities carefully … you never get who you want, get one key guy that everyone else needs for their project assigned to your team then you can blackmail everyone else for the resources you need. Easy Peasy
  5. Embrace your role as leader…. never admit which projects are your responsible for, always have the ability to throw a couple overboard when the ‘synergy’ comes
  6. Manage project risks.. projects aren’t allowed to have risks. Ever
  7. Manage project risks .. addendum, if there are risks, label them as ‘opportunities’ and see if you can get more money for them.
  8. Manage project risks.. addendum 2, if you can’t get money for your risks, let them go, wait til the project is over and call them ‘Lessons Learned’ Every project needs lessons learned because nothing is perfect. So keep a couple of these beauties in your back pocket
  9. Evaluate the project when complete … see I told you

If you are about to say, Hey Bill you promised 12 and that is only 9.. see items 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8

The Tech Chat Turing Test

Now to start off with, I believe I would be considered a pretty easy going person in many circumstances. Dealing with boneheaded tech support might not be one of them.

Take for example my recent interaction with TELUS tech support. Despite having my name, address, account number, phone number, and a few other details, this particular tech support agent seemed to have a big problem finding my account. That should have been a clue.

After explaining I’m seeing my TELUS router reboot several times; loss of wireless and other connectivity, by the time it comes back the router reports like 3 minutes system uptime.

I get to the point he is going to remote to my system to check the settings. Goes like this

[7:05 PM] Lourdes Hi Bill.
[7:05 PM] Lourdes I am now connected.
[7:05 PM] Lourdes Can I use your computer to check your modem settings?
[7:05 PM] Bill there yo go
[7:06 PM] Lourdes Alright, are all those devices connected to the modem yours?

Now to be fair we have more than a few things here. 6 computers (at least), 2 ipads, 2 iphones, and android, a couple printers, a web cam, Apple TV and 3 TELUS boxes at a quick count.

[7:06 PM] Bill yes,
[7:07 PM] Lourdes Alright that seems a lot of devices sharing your internet bandwidth.
[7:07 PM] Lourdes That is where the issue.
[7:07 PM] Lourdes Are you aware of bandwidth sharing?

Now Johnny Sunshine here as jumped to the solution without much of a grasp of the facts.. the TELUS device is restarting.. I try and get it back to that.

[7:08 PM] Bill not a bandwidth issue
[7:08 PM] Bill loss of connectivity
[7:08 PM] Bill System Up Time: 0d, 0h, 35m
DSL Link Up Time: 0d, 0h, 33m

The uptime is clearly indicated in the web interface on the TELUS device I am logged into and he is looking at remotely via my screen. But now I’m going to get a little customer education

[7:09 PM] Lourdes If you have multiple devices and they are all using wired and/or wireless connection, they are sharing your internet bandwidth. Bandwidth sharing means all your devices (For example : computers, smartphones, tablets and game consoles) including the Optik TV boxes are sharing the internet bandwidth. Let’s say you signed up for High Speed with up to 25.0 Mbps. You will not enjoy the full speed if all your devices are using the internet bandwidth. It will split the bandwidth depending on the usage of each device. Now, regardless of signal strength, if you don’t have enough bandwidth for the other device to browse the internet, you still get an internet connection but unable to browse or slows down. The best solution in this case is to make sure that you turn off other devices not being used as it may have some programs running the internet bandwidth and remains connected to the network. Some internet activities can also slow down your connection, this includes but not limited to streaming online videos (Netflix, Youtube), playing onlines games, downloading huge files such as music, videos.
[7:09 PM] Bill unless the router is runnig out of resources like nat translations and crashing
[7:10 PM] Lourdes Changing the NAT settings on the router also affects your router’s performance.
[7:10 PM] Lourdes Remember that your Optik TV boxes are also using your internet bandwidth.

I mention the other impact, not just non-response but actually going offline

[7:10 PM] Bill The wireless connections are actually dropping not a low bandwidth issue
[7:10 PM] Bill My Ipad goes off wireless onto 3G for example

I mention wireless and get another ‘education’

[7:11 PM] Lourdes There are a number of variables that could be causing your wireless network’s signal quality to fluctuate so dramatically or disconnect from time to time. One of the biggest and simplest factors affecting range is the number of walls, ceilings or other objects that the wireless signals must pass through. Your wireless output signal ranges, depending on the types of materials and background RF (radio frequency) noise in your home or business. Most dwellings made of wood and sheet rock are not too restricting, but a building made of steel and concrete can cause considerable interference.

[7:11 PM] Lourdes Most wireless modems and routers transmit on a frequency range of 2.4 GHz which is the same as many cordless telephones. If your wireless modem is situated near a cordless phone base station, there is the potential for interference between the two devices. Ideally, it would be best to have them not in the same room together but at the very least, we would suggest having them no less than 6 feet away from each other.

The key to maximizing your wireless signal range is to follow these basic principles:
– Keep the number of walls and ceilings the signal must pass through to a minimum: Each wall or ceiling can rob your wireless products of range. By limiting the number of obstacles between your PCs and modem, you can greatly increase your signal strength.
– Building Materials make a difference: A solid metal door or aluminum studs may have a negative effect on range. Try to positioning your wireless devices so that the signal passes through drywall or open doorways and not other materials.
– Keep your wireless devices at least 3-6 feet away from electrical devices that generate RF noise, like microwave ovens, electric motors, UPS units, computer monitors, TV sets, other sources of high voltage electrical appliances.
– If you are using 2.4GHz cordless phones or other wireless devices, your wireless connection can degrade dramatically or drop completely. Any device operating on the 2.4Ghz frequency can interfere with your wireless network.

[7:12 PM] Lourdes Those are the factors that can affect your wireless other than your bandwith which can cause this issue.

So not only am I using too much bandwidth, my house is built wrong or perhaps I’ve got a high voltage transformer next to the TELUS device in question.

Starts to feel like a turing test and I’m losing, and, predictably start losing it.

[7:12 PM] Bill I don’t need you pasting in stuff from WIkipedia about RF preformance

Undaunted our little junior network engineer continues..

[7:12 PM] Lourdes I would recommend you change your wireless channel after the modem reset.
[7:12 PM] Lourdes If issue persists, please continue to monitor your connection with only 4 devices 1 wired and 1 wireless and the other 2 Optik TV boxes.
[7:13 PM] Lourdes This way we can eliminate the issue of bandwidth.

Can you eliminate the issue of the Router showing 30 min uptime???

[7:13 PM] Bill I dont’ need to eliminate the bandwidht issue
[7:13 PM] Bill this is of no help at all

Apparently not, and the interaction doesn’t get any better.

[7:14 PM] Lourdes Okay, if you are unable to troubleshoot the bandwidth, we can proceed with resetting the router and reconfigure the wireless and change the channel.
[7:14 PM] Bill don’t bother, your wasting my time

At this point I just need to treat it like hanging up on a telemarketer… I don’t appologize for that either, your a dude in a call center taking about something that is of no help to me.. hangup time.

I did find it interesting on how fast he could search Wikipedia tho…

Aviation Geekfest 2013 – The People

While I’ve told you about the many attractions you get to see at AGF13. What was the biggest attraction? Simple, The People.

I mentioned at the start of this set of posts that I have come to appreciate smaller locally planned events. Previous events like Northern Voice and WordCamp Victoria are good examples. The smaller size of an event with 100–200 people is probably a part of it but it isn’t the whole story.

Having a sense of common interest plus an exciting event helps alot too. You can feel connected to the event. This is my second year with this event and we are meeting up with people we’ve know for a sum total of a few hours – face to face time. Yet in the first 30 seconds that completely melts away.

This is where the ‘Geek’ part really kicks in. There is a passion and a desire to share that makes simply looking at airplanes so much more. Whehter it is trading stories about our favorite avation blog with my good firend @jetcitystar or getting musuem tips from @PlaneInsight or hearing about the world of helicopter training with @theninjapilot. And that was just over breakfast.

Then there’s Greg from New York, apparently they don’t have Dairy Queen back there. Trading airline stories with a couple of ex-Delta guys from Houston. We didn’t get to talk to the folks from Norway but I wished we had.

If you don’t believe me take a look at what @bigmalx says about the people.

Then there are the people that volunteer at the museums that we visited. These are also a group of people that brought enthusiasm and enjoyment to the weekend.

There was Owen the Docent from the Museum of Flight who had an impressive aviaton resume of this own. We talked Reno Air Races and other Air Shows. He had some great stories of his own from his post-PATCO career changes to working on getting planes for the Paul Allen Collections.

Then there was Bob working on restoring the DeHavilland Comet. Obvioyusly working hard on the meticulous work required of a restoration project. There is serious skill and determination in the work but there is also a desire to share

There was the nice lady from the Historic Flight Foundation that took us through the history of the DC–3 on the ramp. Right down to its restoration at Sealand Aviaiton in Campbell River.

So many connections courtesy of so many people. Your social media is okay, but it is the people in the end that make experiences truly great. Iwf it is a murder of crows, and a pride of Lions, then it should be called a Fest of Geeks.

With thanks to our hosts please visit:

Aviation Geekfest 2013 – The Other Bits

In addition to the main events of AGF13 David managed to get some other benefits for this years attendees. Saturday included admission to most of the aviation attractions. The Museum of Flight has a restoration centre] at Paine field that works on the aircraft that will eventually end up in the muesum at Boeing Field. This facility was only open on Saturday but showed some of the meticulous work that creates the displays you see elsewhere. In a nice twist one of the projects is the restoration of a dehavallind Comet 4C The first commercial jetliner that beat the jets from Puget Sound to market by all–most 5 years. So seeing that British jet in the heart of Boeing country was a bit of a surprise. We had a great conversation with Bob who was working on the restoration.

The two other private collections on Paine Field added more to the ultimate AvGeek weekend. These also came with our AGF tickets which added more to the value for the money. But I tossed some money in the basket at all the sites anyway.

The Flying Heritage Collection has some of the most unique flying examples of classic WWII aircraft. I one room you can see 3 aircraft that don’t exist anywhere else and 4 more that have no other airworthy examples. Several have a Canadian connections, the best story is probably the Hurricane which was manufactured by Canada Car in Port William (Now Thunder Bay), was recovered from a field in Ontario,and is now painted in the colors of 135 Sqdn RCAF based at Patricia Bay (now Victoria International). The Docent at FHC was kind enough to point out the RCAF markings and the local connection. Very much in keeping with the rest of the weekend it is the conversations that are as valuable as anything.

The other stop is a smaller but also noteable collection called Historic Flight Foundation. having a smaller group of aircraft it also has some spectacular examples of WWII vintage. This collection lets you get up close and personal to the aircraft. No climbing on the planes but sticking a camera inside a Spitfire or Mustang cockpit isn’t a problem. Again one of the museum staff was kind enough to take us on the ramp and into their restored DC–3. Another little Canadian Connection here with a little restoration help on the DC–3 for Sealand Avation in Campbell River.

What makes FHC and HF truely noteable to the AvGeek is the flying state of all the aircraft. At FHC there are oil pans under the aircraft and at HF the B–25 had the cowlings off and was getting engine work done. Appreciating a fine museum example of a rare aircraft is one thing but seeing that these fine flying machines are still able to do what they were designed for, namely fly, gives it a little more reality. To me a couple drops of oil under a Big radial engine or some hydronic fluid from a flag actuator means that these planes are still planes and not a movie prop.

With thanks to our hosts please visit:

Aviation Geekfest Day Two

Our second day at AGF13 started by a group breakfast organized by our friend Issac @jetcitystar I expect this will find a regular spot in our AGF weekend plans in the future. We had about 11 out for brunch to Bob’s Burger & Brew a short distane from Paine Field. While different people had different times for tours it really helped kick off the day.

We took a look at two other aviation museums at Paine Field before the main event at Future of flight. That added to our trip to the Museum of Flight restoration center on Saturday. So one trip to Everett will get you four prime aviation attractions.

I’ll leave the other museums to a seperate post as they deserve a discussion on their own. For us the main event kicked off about noon with the gathering of our group at the Future of Flight. The folks at the Future of Flight are great supporters of AGF and it would not do to not mention Sandy and all the good folks who help David @airlinereporter get this event happening each year.

The buses took us over to a non-descript Boeing building north of the field. The inside is anything but. This is the Dreamliner Gallery where airlines come from all over the world to deside on whats going inside that $200 Million airplane they just bought, or in many cases the many Billions they just spent on multiple planes. So this isn’t your car dealers showroom. It is designed with both Boeing’s customers experience in mind and attempting build the brand for the 787 that the airlines will carry to the public. Its clear Boeing believes this is a different type of plane. The windows, the pressurization features, the lighting and the ‘architecure’ of the interior are all intended to break the aluminum tube metaphor of flying.

There was extensive discussion of the curved lines, the soft colors, and all those little cresent shapes. It is suprising how much airliners are customized for each airline, right down to the color of the buttons on the coffee makers. Each item having a different part number and adding to the complexity of making it all work together. There was alot of discussion about the need to come to a much smaller parts list to make the dreamliner a cheaper operating airplane.

After an extensive tour of the Dreamliner Gallery we headed back to the Future of Flight for the Everett Factory Tour. Like the 737 factory this is a no pictures allowed tour so all I can tell you is I was there and its REALLY big.

The plant originally built for the 747 production now holds the 747, 767, 777, and 787. The 777 and 787 lines are the most active with the 747 and 767 production on modest build rates. It will get a bit of a boost with the KC–46A which will take over the balance of the 767 space shortly.

Again the Dreamliner is the biggest star of the factory to be sure. The alumium airframes are still being put together but the carbon fibre frame of the 787 is very clearly a different thing. While I can’t show you the pictures of the factory, it would amaze you to see how clean and well ordered everything is. A little more of that Kasan inspired efficiency.

So in a tour full of big numbers probably the biggest to me was 45,000. The number of people that work at the Everett plant both on the line and in supporting positions. That is a decent size town in itself, coffee shops (Tully’s), dry cleaners, movie rentals.. wait someone still has movie rental stores? Go figure!

The final event for AGF was the Pizza and Beer back at the Future of Flight gallery. This included the prize draws with the top prizes being a couple of tickets from Southwest Airlines. Again the support from Boeing, Future of Flight, and other sponsors was awesome. We walked away with a pretty cool Boeing calendar and a $20 gift card that we used the next day at the Boeing Store.

So how good it AGF? Well one of the folks at our table was a Boeing employee who brought his wife out for AGF because it was the best way for her to see the factory. He also shared a cool bit of trivia, the customers of the 787 do actually get keys. Not to start the airplane but they do get between 4 and 12 depending on the interior fit and the lockable feature.

The things you learn at Aviation Geek Fest! Can’t wait to learn more next year.

With thanks to our hosts please visit:

Aviation GeekFest 2013 Day One

Our second trip to the Aviation Geekfest AGF13 which expanded to a two day event this year. Organized by David Parker Brown @aviationreporter and the Future of Flight @futureofflight

Like recent local events I’ve attended such as WordCamp Victoria, this is a smaller scale event and the value of this over a big bang conference event is clear. The cost is modest, less than $100 for two people, and what you get for that cost is excellent. The other nice coincidence is that you attract a very social crowd. The real value of most conferences is the shared experience. That showed up clearly at AGF. I was meeting people for the second time and a year in between yet they are like old friends. Sure we might follow each other on twitter but there is a deeper connection. It really is a testament to the old phrase “these are my people” Don’t get me wrong the event itself is excellent but it just gets to another level because of these people.

The event started at Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. The event included entrance to the museum which was almost the paid for the ticket by itself. You take into account the long lineup for tickets at MoF on the long Modelers Show weekend the AGF13 deal was priceless.

The bus ride over to Renton was provided to tour the 737 lines. This is not a public tour facility so this was extra special for aviation geeks like us. The production rate at Renton is more than a plan a day with the goal of getting over 40 a month. The complications include the limited space at the Renton plant, the work on the P–8, the need to work in the 737 MAX production while pushing out the 737NGs, and apparently fuselage bodies arriving with bullet holes. The last problem, while sounding a bit like an urban myth, is a reality for the Boeing folks. The good news is that it isn’t so bad that it justifies armored rail cars to protect the airframes as they head across the wide open spaces of the Midwest.

I hadn’t seen Renton Municpal airport before. Considering they used to turn out B–29s, 707s, and 757s in addition to the complete history of 737s, it has a shockingly short 5300’ strip. The north end overrun area is kindly provided by south end of Lake Washington. Great for obstacle clearance no so good for high speed rejected takeoffs.

As with last year, it’s hard to go thought a Boeing presentation without the Toyota inspired Kansan principals of JIT supply lines and LEAN production. There is a lot of confidence that the 737 line can use these principals to both make higher production rates on the current models while moving towards the production of a new model. That might be considered pretty cocky in an airframer to manage such a transistor. But in the words of top gun… “That’s pretty arrogant, I like that in a pilot”.

If you want your own look at a 737 going togther see this Boeing Video

The trip to Renton ended and we headed back to the Museum of Flight for a look at the recently completed Space wing complete with the Space Shuttle trainer. The Museum of Flight also put on a private tour of the Personal Courage Wing which houses the WWI and WWII display. Owen our Peronsal Docent for the tour was a excellent guide and had enough aviation stories of his own to justify an hour long lecture. At all the meusems I learned the value of engaging in conversation with the Docents they add so much value to the experience. Even if you believe yourself to be a well read AvGeek they can teach you something.

That ended Day One but this was barely an opener for the big day ‘up north’ at Paine Field and the Future of Flight

With thanks to our hosts please visit:

On Gratitude and Flying

On the recent Airplane Geeks episodes there have been some excellent stories of getting started in flying. I appreciated Rob Mark’s comments on his finding a flight instrutor that helped engage his passion for flying in the Bits and Pieces IX. The episode with Stephen Tupper included discussion on the CAP program that educates thousands of young people about aviation.

David’s note on Congratualations, Thanks and Encouragement from Episode 230 inspired my own desire to spread a little gratitude. Like David’s daughter getting a scholarship from the Soaring Society of America I started my career as a glider pilot courtesy of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.

I couldn’t tell you when I started thinking about airplanes. As far back as I can think I had the desire to fly. In elementary school there would be a assignment to go out and draw something we saw and I’d look up and see a contrail and produce a detailed side on view of a DC–8 in the appropriate airline livery.

Canada along with other common wealth countries like Austrailia and the UK, have the legacy of the wartime cadet program. No longer with the same focus of preparing for military service, they remain one of the largest youth programs in the country. Every year hundreds of cadets get their wings and the dream of flying is realized. There’s even a facebook group called Cadets Made Me a Pilot

Well about 30 years ago they made me a pilot. While I never made a career out of it, it would take a major calamity in my life to ever give it up. I owe that and a large amount of gratetude to all those that helped me get that set of wings. When times would get hard, I would push myself to remember the fundementally cool things about being me and being a pilot is what I would always think of.

In the Right Stuff, they spoke of being ‘on top of the pyramid’ well if that still is a thing there is a ex-Air Cadet named Chris Hadfield orbiting the earth in command of the International Space Station. That is very, very cool. Cadets made him a pilot too, although you got to figure he probably would have got there anyway. For many of us Cadets or other avaiation scholarships were probably our only shot.

I’m grateful for the work that organizations like AOPA and COPA do to make flying accessable to people. And help break the sterotype that those of us that fly are some idle rich that can afford triffling pastimes. To many it is also a career but not always a glamorous a one as many make out.

As podcasts like the Airplane Geeks and Airspeed show, Whehter you have the piece of paper or not, Flying is a passion, an avocation, something to be embraced and enjoyed.

Thanks.

Steve Jobs.. A book

I finished the Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs. It was interesting to compare the reality with some of the early reviews. I think many of the complaints were around the representation of the technology elements of Steve’s story. When certain annoucements were made, who came and went from Apple at when, that sort of thing. The technical errata for this biography is porbably best covered in John Siacusa’s Hypercritical Podcast #42 on the book.

It was clear to me that this was a biography, it was about the person not the technology so that might disappoint some. For those people, I recomment a copy of Triumph of the Nerds DVD. If you want the, behind the scenes of the history of Silcon Valley and the struggle for supremacy in the world of the personal computer.

For the book, as a biogrpahy, some may say that it might have been a little kind to the memory of a person known for his tyrannical approach to those around him. It did certainly focus on some of the kinder elements of his personality; the details of his family life and relationships with key people in his business life. The book also makes a great virtue iof his desire to build not only great products but a great company that will endure. He certainly accomplished that. For all the worry of a post-Jobs Apple they shouldn’t have bothered. If you take the stock price as any indication AAPL dipped slightly below $370 following Steve’s dealth. Less than a year later it reached over $670 and holds the record for the most valuable public company in history. So mission accomplished there..

But a better lesson from the book might be how Steve dealt with little things not how he created big things. I remember getting Steve’s first sick note in 2004 at Apple. It was almost inconsequential. Now I wish I’d kept a copy. It is my own little example that you don’t know how significant things are when you are in the middle of them. And in a way, Steve had a good strategy for not missing the important things; you treat every detail as important. He wasn’t some brilliant predictor of the future. His products that failed like the Mac G4 Cube and MobileMe are in there with the iMac and the iPhone. The book is a constant stream of fanatical focus and attention to detail both in sucess and failure. The good news is they tend to remember your sucesses and discount the failures, especially when the sucesses ultimately are so much bigger.

The callus elements of his nature were part of the same strategy. The book cites muliple examples of; “that sucks”, “your doing it wrong”, “kill it and move on”. You focus on success and don’t spend 2 seconds wringing your hands over a failure. He probably had a good reason not to waste the time. As many have already noted, the years since his 2004 medical problems were probably his most productive. Successful products, financial results, and the progress of his family.

The bellwether is probably his Stanford commencement address Again, another important moment that only has context when viewed as history. It was almost his manefesto for the next 5 years.

The theme is very clear the two competing character traits. this rebel, hippie, minimalist buddist who doesn’t care about money, drives around with no license plates and parks wherever he wants and the maniacal driven capitalist, who demands perfection, and has a genius/shithead scale for all those around him.

So in the minimalist tradition.. Yeah it was a good book.

Rest in Peace Steve .. you made good stuff.