Saturday, September 26, 2015

SoundFlower and Mac OS X El Capitan

If you're like me, looking for a version of SoundFlower that works will El Capitan, look no further:


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Confession: I've been having an affair with a 20 year old.

1996 Honda Magna VF750C V45

Well, if I'm being honest it's been going on since she was much younger, but so was I. 

You'd probably never guess looking at her, but according to it's manufacture's production sticker, this old girl is 20 and one quarter years old this month. 

Engine: 748.8 cc LC 90° V-4
Top speed: 120 mph (well, 124, but just once

I'm the second owner since she was new and I know that both of us had similar feelings about how to treat her. We spoke at length about proper maintenance, cleaning and tuning before I agreed to the purchase. I happily paid for his girlfriend to get "a boob job they both wanted" in trade for a pristine and uncommon, if not semi-rare motorcycle. Fifteen years and 59,000 miles on, this has been my most reliable and longest owned vehicle surpassing any car we've owned by more than a decade.  In it's first few years with me, it faithfully carried me to Park City and back home to Clearfield, 5 days a week throughout much of the summer. Then to South Salt Lake and around the valley for almost 13 years whenever called upon.  Too many times to count it's been the date-night vehicle of choice for Sarah and I, as well as a get away for hours of private thought and contemplation over life's complexities or trivialities. I know this machine like I know a limb. How it maneuvers, accelerates and it's limitations as well as strengths. It's rare to become this acquainted with something that doesn't grow out of you.

The solid yellow color was only an option for this year
model. Other year models only offered two-tone, most
commonly black and yellow (bubble-bee) style paint.
Though it's been said in many ways and more eloquently than I capable of, riding a motorcycle is a sensation that cannot be compared to anything else. It's not for everyone, but then again, so many choose to live life entirely risk averse. I'm a cautious person, nervous around heights and many nightmares built on irrational fears to prove it. However, it's the small risk that is part of the reward which makes riding something special. Of course that's true of all risks taken. I've been warned and scolded, had it implied time and again that I'm less of a father, husband and provider for taking a risk so meaningless as owning and operating a motorcycle. I'm proof that there are reasonable odds when it comes to riding using caution. When driving with a sense of respect for what it is, you will not only live to ride again, but do so uninjured and possibly a happier person for it. If I wreck tomorrow, I'll still stand by this opinion (or rest by it whatever the case).

I'm no gear head or daredevil.  I'm not interested in sport bikes or speeding (much). I wouldn't pop wheelies if I could and (save for one time on a nearly bald tire) I don't do burnouts to prove my testosterone levels are in tact.  However, with the notable absence of beer in my fridge and my vocal distain for sports, this bastion of macho-ness may be the only proof I have that I am, at least to some extent, manly.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Happy Birthday Dear

I thought about making the usual Facebook post that goes something like, "Happy Birthday to my super sexy wife."  I could have even gone with "Super Hot", "Smokin' Hot" or even used a word that makes me feel old like, "Gorgeous."  

I almost made that post. It would have adequately expressed the physical attraction I have to my wife, but I can't just leave it at that this year. The last few years have been ones of deep reflection which, I dare say has resulted in some wisdom and understanding about my marriage that makes me want to be a little more clear.  So here's your chance to stop reading if you don't care.  Stop now, if you're not interested in the details of what my wife means to me.

I tell people, including her, that when we got married, I didn't love my wife completely.  I thought I did, but you can't possibly understand the depth of love until you have a child. Argue all you want, but you can't. You won't know love like I know love until you have been a part of creation and looked at something that is imperfect, sometimes annoying and still want to be with them always, like my daughters. So until I did, what I thought was love was something less.  It was a sexual attraction, personal enjoyment in making her happy and just a flick of all the intangibles that attract you to someone.  I had to learn to love my wife and discover all of the nuances that make her something special and unique. I had to be around long enough to experience them for myself and it took time for her to be vulnerable around me and show them.  I had to fight with her, yell at her, make up with her and sometimes stay even when I was sure it was time to go. Now, after nearly 16 years, I think I've see all sides and this is who I am privileged to be married to.

She is...

  • Unafraid to speak her mind when the worst of life is thrown at us, but reticent to tell me what she want's at times, because what she really wants is whatever will make me happy.
  • Willing to call me on my bullshit when I'm not being honest with myself.
  • Interested in my weaknesses and what part she can play in being strength for me in them.
  • My safety net.  I cannot count the times she's stopped me from crossing a line or saved me from venturing further into danger once I have. "Andy, you've had too many's time to stop hitting on my friends."
  • Not my best friend, in the best way possible, because she values our best interests over any desire to make sure we're feeling happy in a fleeting moment.
  • My best friend, because there is nothing I can do or say that will lead her to judge me.
  • My confessional. There is no fear that what I think, do or say should be excluded from her knowledge.  I have overcome my greatest weaknesses by asking myself what it is that I wouldn't want Sarah to know, and then telling her and asking for help. She has never once let me down in this or turned it against me.
  • Comfort. There are days I need to be in her arms because I have nothing else to give me hope.  Days when I am lost in depression and fear without a rational explanation.  Her embrace keeps a glimmer of hope always on the horizon.
  • Not perfect, but really, really, uncomfortably close to it sometimes.
  • A completely stubborn person.  Actually we both are... which has kept us together through some complex and angry arguments about religion.
As the mother of my children, I couldn't have been more lucky. She's not afraid to be cold when my kids need guidance away from foolish behavior, but ready to be warm when they need comfort for the beating life delivers. She has set the course for my children to challenge them daily.  Sometimes in trying new foods, others in taking risks to reap rewards unseen.  Thanks in large part to her, my kids are more ready now for life as an adult than I was 10 years ago.

While I am still physically attracted to my wife, in fact more so than ever, those compliments aren't enough anymore to say it all.  That doesn't mean I'll stop saying them, it just means that from time to time, I'll need to say all of this too.

So, with all that said, now I'll say this:



P.S.  Girl look at that body, girl look at that body... you work out!  ;)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Review Time: The 2013 iPad Air

The day I got the iPad Air

iPad Mini 2012         vs         iPad Air 2013
The Why & How
Today a trip to the Apple Store to buy a customer a new router led me (of course) to the iPad Air display. Handling it briefly the magic of new and shiny Apple logo'd stuff flowed into my hands and immediately to my geek brain. The first thing you notice is how absurdly light it is. I asked an Apple employee to bring over a Smart Case and compared the weight of the Air in a case to my Mini in it's clear shell and Smart Cover.  The difference was negligible and with my company prepared to facilitate the upgrade, I caved and said, "I'll take one...and a (product) red Smart Case to go with it please."

iPad 2  vs  iPad Mini  vs  iPad Air
History & Reasoning
I've had an iPad, iPad 2, iPad Mini and now an iPad Air.  The retina display was never enough to tempt me away from my iPad 2, but when the Mini arrived, it's size and more importantly weight was an instant draw.  In fact, I had planned to hold off for the Mini Retina until I handled the Air and it's Apple-y magic won me over.  Honestly, there's still a chance I'll get the retina Mini if it arrives before my return window runs out on the Air, but it's a small chance. So if the retina display didn't grab me, what did?  Speed and lots of it. The first iPad Mini has virtually identical specifications to the iPad 2 with the exception of the improved camera. I've been ready for more power for awhile.

Upright in the Smart Case
Power & Performance
The Air and the upcoming Mini both bear the new A7 processor. Apple's SOC (System on a Chip) powerhouse that runs the iPhone 5S. You can look up the many speed increases that come with it, but the big number is an 80% bump from the iPad 4th Gen in overall performance.  That's nothing to shrug at.  Add to that the introduction of the first consumer mobile 64-bit architecture (bragging rights for geeks), vastly improved graphics engine and that retina display and you have a tablet that is a stunner. All in a package that's about 1 pound and thinner than the last iPad.

Typing position in the Smart Case
Like & Love
I like the retina display.  The mini had the same 1024x768 resolution as my iPad 2, but in a smaller package.  That made the PPI (pixels per inch) much more compressed, creating a sharper image.  So I wasn't sure how much I would notice the difference.  It's pretty damn sharp and while I could definitely live without it, if it were a girl, it'd be one that I'm not kicking out of bed (if you know what I mean). I like the thickness and the build quality. Apple never lets you down in this area and it's that quality that keeps so many people willing to pay a higher price.  The edges are clean and tidy and meet the glass perfectly. All of the buttons are responsive and have satisfying click when pressed. I Love the speed.  The Mini (& iPad 2) was no slouch, but this thing has massive amounts of zip. Core applications are near instant loading. That transition where Apple uses a previous screenshot to display the app before it's actually ready, is virtually non-existent, an annoyance that is very noticeable on the mini. I love the speakers. They have carried over the design of the mini (in fact the whole thing is like a stretched mini) and the fantastic set of speakers that came with it.

There's something to dislike about every product and while that's usually a software complaint when it comes to Apple, this time I really have nothing negative to say about iOS 7 that would tarnish the iPad Air.  No, my frustration is absolutely hardware and absolutely on Apple.  It's that lightning connector and they way Apple is trying to crush the 3rd party cable market.  On my other devices (iPhone 5 & Mini) I'll get a little warning that I'm not using an approved cable whenever I plug in a $2 eBay special. However, on the iPad Air it seems to be refusing to even charge the device.  Using a cable that I know works with the other devices.  It's bafflingly arrogant that Apple is pushing it's users to pay $29 for a piece of formed silicone and wires.  Those things can't possibly cost more than $0.20 to manufacture.  If I don't figure out a way around this soon, I'll have 5 spare cables in my house that won't work with this new iPad. Lame.  My next complaint has to do with the home button.  Where's that TouchID fingerprint scanner?  It's an A7 chip, so that should mean the hardware is present to work with the scanner, yet it's absent.  Surely this is Apple doing what they do and excluding some of it's technology to hold off for the next release. Others have said it's due to the thinness of the device.  Who knows and it's certainly not a necessity, but I would have liked to play with it as I've decided not to get an iPhone 5S and hold for the iPhone 6.

My final complaint is minor, not really a complaint as much as it is a curiosity.  Apple seems to have gotten sloppy with at least one part of the Smart Case for the iPad Air.  While the design is great in many aspects, the cover doesn't lay flat at the hinge and at the other side has a weak magnetic 'latch'. It's possible the hinge will relax over time, but that magnetic latch issue isn't going to get any better.

Unprotected, but in good hands.
Conclusions & Recommendations
The iPad Air is a solid next step in the evolution of the most popular tablet ever conceived. If you have an iPad 3 or 4, a strong argument can be made to hold off one more year before you upgrade.  You already have a great processor, excellent graphics and the retina display.  However if you are running an iPad or iPad 2 or looking to buy your first, I would go for the iPad Air if you're looking for a full size tablet anytime soon.  Decide before next May though, because by then rumors of the next iPad will start popping up on the internet and you may not feel like it's a good time to buy.  As always using iCloud backup and restore meant that my downtime between devices was less than an hour and I transitioned with out any data loss or loss of customizations.