Month: February 2005

Richard Plays Repique

Richard Plays RepiqueThis picture, taken by my wife Anne who had never used my camera before was at a rehearsal just before our drum group drove over to a local gig.

I’m playing a traditional Brazilian samba band drum called a repique which is similar to the even more traditional repinique, a Brazilian tom tom for marching. The smaller and lighter repique has no head on the bottom and has no rim so is easier to play with your hands as well as sticks.

This drum is killer for the traditional heel-toe tumbau rhythm we do and that’s what I’m beating out here.

The gig was a “coffeehouse” sponsored by the Roxbury, CT Congregational Church. This coffeehouse has been set up to give local teens a place to play music and hang out and there were plenty of them there, hanging and playing last night.

Our group, which only has a smattering of teens in it has a mean age well over 40 (I think) and even though there was one other “adult” on the performance list last night, we were the old farts.

I think we blew them away: they had no clue oldsters like us could make interesting music and even my wife, who was there but had no heard us in years said we were tight and fun. Yeah man… rock and roll!

The Decline of NetNewsWire and the Rise of RSS

Reasonable Man has some interesting thoughts on The Decline of NetNewsWire and the Rise of RSS.

Mac users tend to be early adopters of new technologies, like subscribing to RSS feeds. NetNewsWire is one if not the oldest and most widely used Mac newsreader. As web-based aggregation of RSS feeds coupled with non-Mac users (late adopters) up the number of people using RSS, NewNewsWire’s growth has slowed.

This is a fascinating article and well worth reading, not just for insight on this topic but on general industry trends. Of course, his stats on the number of Mac users in the world will change in the coming year with Mac mini saturation and switchers and more iPod pull into the Mac universe. Or so I hope.

New PowerBook Initial Thoughts

PowerBook Power ButtonI recently replaced my three year old 800 mhz TiBook with a new PowerBook. Here’s what I got: 15″, 1.67 mhz, 1 gig of RAM, 128 mb video RAM, 100 mb 5600 rpm HD, backlit keyboard, superdrive, extra battery, Apple wireless (bluetooth) mouse, AppleCare.

The packaging was first rate (as always) and the PowerBook box now comes in an outer thin cardboard shipping box. Nice to keep high quality inner box in good shape. PowerBooks are now assembled in mainland China, not Taiwan which is interesting in many ways.
PowerBook Side View DetailFit and finish of this new unit is excellent and everything has a nice, tight feel. One minor complaint: the cutout that contains the keypad has sharp(ish) edges top and bottom unlike the older Titanium shell which had a nice smooth cut out for the keypad. The cooling vents bottom left and right on the bottom case also feel a bit sharp. This may be a characteristic of aluminum vs. titanium on the shell material.
OS X Transfer ScreenSetup and transfer of files from old machine was the easiest and fastest I’ve ever experienced in my 20 years as a Mac user. Don’t be fooled by the time on the transfer screen, the entire operation took no more than 40 minutes. However, I wonder why these types of over estimates persist in Apple dialogs as they might scare some folks into stopping and calling tech support. I knew from experience that the time was going to change rapidly and it did.
PowerBook with MouseThe wireless mouse was the only new item I had to get working and it took all of 20 seconds to get it set up and working. Now I can’t imagine using any other kind. The machine is noticeably faster than my old one and the fan has not come on yet, even through long iSight, iChat AV use and about an hour of heavy GarageBand hacking. The old machine would melt under the load of GarageBand and this one runs like a champ. The new iPhoto is also snappier (and a nice upgrade IMHO).

I’ve now got both batteries conditioned (worth doing for max life) and the entire thing backed up. Oh, and so far I can’t find a single dead pixel on the screen. Yeah! I had one right in the middle of my old screen and it bugged the heck out of me.

My one complaint, and it is a significant one: the new PowerBook has 4 bars of AirPort reception in exactly the same place as the old one, which had 5. So, in my informal test, AirPort reception has gotten worse and it was not great to begin with on the TiBook. This is a bummer although I may be able to fix it with a slight move of my desk or a slight move of the base station. Still, not good.

Was it worth it to bite on this machine rather than wait for a G5 PowerBook somewhere off on the horizon: absolutely. I’d do it again, exactly the same way if I were repeating it. This is a nice machine and I’ve already scrubbed and found a nice home for the old one.

How Enabling Goes Bad: A Nation of Wimps

Psychology Today has a terrific article by Hara Estroff Marano: A Nation of Wimps that touches on numerous social themes that I’ve been thinking and presenting about for close to 20 years now although I have never collected and written about them as well as she does.

Article summary from Psychology Today:

Parents are going to ludicrous lengths to take the bumps out of life for their children. However, parental hyperconcern has the net effect of making kids more fragile; that may be why they’re breaking down in record numbers.

This is a must read for the entire LD community: parents, teachers, all LD support professionals, and LD adults.

Source: Bill Davis

Doing what you love for a living

Jason Kottke, one of the web’s most popular bloggers has decided to make publishing his weblog a full time job with “micropatronage” from his readers.

Well, I’m one of his readers and I contributed. Kottke is good at what he does: his weblog is well written, well designed, and consistently interesting, and he is attempting to build a model of doing what he loves for a living. I am totally for it.

So far I’ve contributed to one other weblog: Daring Fireball which is John Gruber’s tight focus on Macintosh, tech industry, and topics a few degrees of separation away. Gruber cut ties with land and posted that he was going to try a “subscription model” a little less than a year ago. I’m not sure how he’s doing but I sure hope even half his tens of thousands of readers (probably hundreds of thousands) are supporting him, even with a small donation. He’s doing what he loves and he’s good at it.

I feel good supporting “micro-journalism” with “micro-patronage” and I recommend that you do the same with any site or weblog or web magazine that you believe in and want to support. In the case of Kottke and Gruber, these are individuals who were early, clear, and credible voices in the weblog universe and they have continued to produce useful information. If only I was that young and had that much energy…