It was an Asteroid after all ..

.. confirmed (or, at least firmly postulated) by a herd of American and European researchers.

This bunch have tested (and re-tested) debris from the Chicxulub impact crater off the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Their findings include a timeline that spans 11,000 years for the impact, almost simultaneous with the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction. From the article:

When dealing with geological timescales, a range of 11,000 years is about as accurate as you can get. As the research paper puts it, though, “the Chicxulub impact likely triggered a state shift of ecosystems already under near-critical stress.”

Not a bad timeline after all. Please see: Finally confirmed: An asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs | ExtremeTech

Now. If we can only solve the chicken or the egg question.

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A Funny Thing at LAX ..

.. certainly a leading statement: all you need to do is look about and you’ll see LOTS of funny things at LAX ..

.. at SEA as well .. remember Moonies?

.. but I digress.

There was this trip .. I had just finished a few days with my favorite customer in Santa Monica and had made my way back to the airport along Route 9. On time, had even negotiated security .. even received the TSA-mandated ‘massage’ (yes: even I get patted down now and again).

Sitting in the waiting area, 40 minutes before the flight, and the overhead says:

Welcome to Alaska Airlines flight 485. We are ready for pre-boarding. As we have no small children and no identified individuals who require additional time to board, would Michael Coates please approach the podium?

I almost didn’t get up. However, curiosity absolutely overwhelmed me. I got up.

In reality, the flight was severely under-booked .. only a few seats from cancellation (there are several LAX-SEA flights a day, the next departing a mere 40 minutes later) .. but close enough to fly (this is all per the agent).

I was the only Gold (the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan) on the entire flight .. the gate agents thought they should give me a special thrill .. which they did.

Just wait until I get to the Million Miler. Not long now. Open-mouthed smile

Hunter as Highlander of the Month

Some exciting news for Hunter this past week: he was chosen by the Shoreline Directed Studies Department as the “Highlander of the Month” for February.

The honor comes with a certificate, school recognition and a ceremony held last Friday.

We received a letter from his principal; the snaps below are from the ceremony.

 

Way to go Hunter!

Another day in Paradise ..

.. or I guess you could call it that. It was a day in Redmond with the sun shining (after two weeks of fog). Note that  it’s not sunny now, in fact, it’s raining.

Oh: and it’s night.

Two meetings on-campus between which, I prowled the familiar halls of Building 40 .. not that I ever worked in that building .. it’s just they’re all so the same. I drank the coffee (not the Kool-Aid) and caught up with various denizens and nemeses. I showed a lot of slides, bantered, beckoned, baited and bought (time). Then, I had sushi.

All in all, a good day.

A Life Essay

Some thoughts about growing up:

I’m very proud that you were offered a bigger role at work. I also understand that you have fears / concerns about taking it: this is part of growing into the world and becoming an adult. You may cite a fear of failure, but psychology experts will instead describe that as a ‘fear of success’ .. in either case, it is holding you back from becoming an adult and from being responsible for yourself.

Everyone grows up and into the world. Everyone gets their own place, creates their own lives; some bounce back home (called ‘boomerangs’) if they don’t get quite the start they need. I was a boomerang a few years back; my brokerage career came to an end and I ran nightclubs and bars for a few years. When I decided to get out of the nightlife, I started working in technology, first as a word processor, then in computer security and then into software development. During the word processor year(s), I found myself back at home with my folks; something that I never thought would happen.

You are just getting started in your life. Right now, you have a familiar and safe place to live. You contribute to the household and for that contribution have extended the illusion and the comfort of your childhood .. and this is just fine. You will always have a safe place here to rest your head, a refer / freezer to raid and speedy WiFi.

Time marches on, with our without us. You must align and extend yourself to what lies ahead. Whether you choose a career or a return to school, you have my support .. but you must do something beyond the status quo to continue your growth into the world. This something we’ll discuss in the next few days, so please think through the trail you want to blaze for yourself and we’ll talk about it.

Let’s see how it works out.

Hunter at Shorecrest

My Hunter is attending Shorecrest High School, in Seattle .. and we couldn’t be more proud of him. While transitioning to the mainstream can be a problem (for all .. the teachers are certainly working to do their part), he is really thriving.

I’m a bit late on this .. the snaps were taken in December. The short story is Boys versus Girls .. find a hidden picture .. get it to the gym floor.

Hunter found it first and made the delivery:

.. and then, he danced:

Four-Hundred Little Words ..

.. a day. Each and every day.

In four other occasions, I’ve committed to write something more often than taking a ten-month hiatus (ouch) from this blog. This is the fifth. I’m not trying to set any records, or say that “this will be the final time” or any such nonsense .. much the same reason I don’t set New Year’s resolutions. I just make a point to do what’s right: get to the gym, ride the bike, eat the right foods, smile at the right time, and so on.

So, as before, I’ll do my best to keep it up .. or you’ll see a sixth one of these. Let’s not do THAT again.

Motorola LapDock 100

A few purposes for this post:

Lapdock™ for  MOTOROLA ATRIX™ 4GWrite a post on the My Shiny New Toy (the Motorola Atrix 2 4G) using the the LapDock.

Talk about the WordPress for Android application on the LapDock.

Talk about some of the other applications on the LapDock.

Talk about the LapDock.

Pretty clever device, overall. A nice keyboard (even though small, it’s bigger than the one on the device) and a 10.1" screen. Very handy. The device feels a lot like my Acer and Dell 10.1" notebooks; a tiny bit lighter as no hard drive.

Things that rock:

  • Having a screen
  • Having a keyboard
  • The battery (the battery charges the phone to capacity while connected)
  • Some applications, most notably, Firefox and QuickOffice
  • Other applications: The Email client, the WordPress
  • Keyboard navigation between applications is decent .. once you figure out the Function-row keys (hint: hold F1 to get back to the phone Home screen .. that was a seminal moment for me in application navigation).
  • Speaking of function row keys: the other icons on this row let you dim the screen, navigate media, audio volume and so on. Very nice.
  • The sync feature between the LapDock, WordPress and Windows Live Writer on my PC. While not perfect, the content flows between the applications rather nicely.
  • The Print Screen button works nicely.
  • The USB port (there are two) recognized my wireless mouse. Very nice.

Not so much:

  • Alt-Tab doesn’t work as expected when working with phone applications. The LapDock sees the phone as a single application.
  • To the point above, there are some inconsistencies as how to switch between applications .. in some cases, the Escape button takes you to the home page, in others, it acts as a ‘back’ button in the current application.
  • To that point, the Escape key may exit the current application.
  • Holding the F1 (Home) screen is manna to switch between applications. It’s reliable, and brings you up a list of currently-running applications.
  • I’d like to have more control over the battery; I can carry a spare phone battery, or charge my phone on my laptop .. I’d rather have more time on the LapDock and a dead phone battery than less time on the LapDock with a full one.
  • Speaking of battery, why doesn’t the LapDock charge from a micro-USB like the phone? I’m carrying yet another power brick.
  • The Delete key functions just like the Backspace key, removing the character to the left (instead of the character at the cursor). Ick.
  • Control-keys on the keyboard don’t quite behave as expected; Control-right arrow doesn’t leap from word to word.
  • Function keys on the keyboard don’t quite behave as expected; Function-page down, doesn’t. Function-Home takes you to the phone home screen; a bit annoying whist typing until you get used to it.
  • The Firefox browser is ‘seen’ by many applications as a mobile browser, and while powerful enough to function fully (including Adobe Flash), there doesn’t seem to be a way to override this perception on certain sites (Microsoft: I’m talking to you).
  • The USB port didn’t recognize my USB headset; while I get this, some device recognition (so I could search for a driver) would be nice.
  • The battery meter on the LapDock is a press-and-hold of the power button .. seems like there should be an app with a UI for that.
  • NO clue as to firmware updates for the LapDock on the Motorola site.

The LapDock is a new application platform and as such, is lacking in applications at the moment. The home page points you to a YouTube application and several others, but not as many as I’d like. The LapDock can run applications installed on the phone, but it does so in a stretched-screen view; usable, but not optimal, as the text is LARGE, and only allows for about a dozen lines. Let’s hope that the platform catches on, or that it is easy enough to write for the platform by managing the form factor.

On to WordPress. It’s great to have a keyboard and a full screen. It’s also great that WordPress saves drafts to my account when online .. this makes it handy to stub a post from the LapDock, save it to draft and then tidy it up in Windows Live Writer when back on the PC. I need to play a bit with this; for an archival post, I’d probably run it through WLW before posting .. for something of a more whimsical nature, this client would work just fine. Note: this is an archival post .. so I will pass through WLW.

I’m not as impressed with the editing experience of the WordPress application served into the Lapdock on the phone. As above, it runs well enough, but it lacks a number of features that would make it world-class. While Bold, Italic, Underline, Strikethrough, Links and Quoted content is supported, bullets aren’t. What the heck?

A bit more annoying: there doesn’t seem to be a way to double-click on a word to select it; instead, it’s a right-click and ‘select word’, but then, no way to click one of the buttons to modify the formatting. The only way seems to hold the shift key while arrowing over the word to select it, then pressing the button. It’s a shame that Control-B (bold), Control-I (Italic), Control-U (underline) and Control-K (link) aren’t supported.

My gut tells me:

  • 60% of the Atrix-bearing population could use this device and be very, very happy with it. With a bit of workload adjustment and some laptop sync magic, it will far surpass trying to do any serious work on the mobile device by itself.
  • The other 40% will find they cannot do required things like write code, work on complex spreadsheets and play Facebook games with any performance. To this group (I’m one of them), the LapDock is a way to lighten my load while running errands, save some laptop battery on a long flight, and so on.

All in all, it’s an interesting device, and if you make the effort to work with it, you may find it meets your needs as a very portable option for light workloads.

The TED Comment Acquisition System is Cool

.. I’m sure there’s a better name. However, at the bottom of each video, you see:

image

IMHO .. that rocks.

So .. who misses me?

Hell, I find that I do. I hope that you do, now and again.

This is the mea culpa “I am sorry I have not been writing” post. That said, I am sincere .. I really, really, really miss posting. This is a sincere apology to my readers and to myself.

What have I observed in the world since my last post? Well:

  • Republican madness
  • Democratic sadness
  • Regime changes
  • Organization re-arranges

And in me?

  • Growth: personal, and for those with whom I work.
  • Growth: personal, and for those with whom I live.
  • Assessment and re-assessment.
  • Growth.

Watch this space for the nuts and the bolts. Thanks for keeping me in your readers.

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