Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Writer's Challenge Response

Mama Kat 's been at it again with a new Writer's Challenge . This one was a bit tough for me to respond to because some of it is ground I already covered here and some of it ... So here it all is in the form of a Q and A session.

4.) Tell us about your pet! If you have a weird infatuation with your dog or cat we want to hear about it (or if they just plain drive you crazy)...but please don't compare them to children. It's just not the same.

If you want to hear about the dogs of our married life, go here . It was a topic a bit ago.

3.) Who was your first bloggy friend? How did you find each other? Do you still correspond?

Given that I am prehistoric in computer years, my first online friends predate blogs and even the existence of the internet as we know it. I don't know that there was a first that I can single out, but there is a group of people from that time were dedicated sounding boards and late night talkers.

We met via various BBS's from technical and management discussion issues. Many of the acquaintances made then survived the development of the internet and changes in our various life directions. It was interesting to see discussions move from BBSes to email to the predecessors of chat rooms to ... The dynamics changed at each stage and the people involved changed as well since we were all growing up and having families and ... Not all that different than what happens today as people shift from chat to blog to twitter to skype to vlog to ...

I still occasionally talk to some of them (now more than 20 years later), but the conversations have tapered off as we all headed of in different directions - personally, professionally, and geographically. One is a professor at Harvey Mudd College, another is a teacher at an Indian reservation college, one died, another went insane, ...

You didn't ask about the real nut cases met via the internet. One of the more outstanding oddballs used to wear a loaded sidearm into the server room, run a porno empire's servers as his second job, had a duly certified art school that he owned and ran (specializing is certain types of art if you get my drift), and registered really odd domains just so he could make puns on the names. Other than that he was a pretty normal nerd. I still get a note from him every couple of years now. [As an example, he once registered the domain just so he could claim to be the root of all evil ( *AND* he put it as the logo on his business cards.]

2.) Ask a loved one to use 6 descriptive words to describe you and report your findings. How well do they know you?

Given that L is under the weather, the words would probably have been "go away and let me be", which doesn't say a lot about how well she knows me. After 30+ years of marriage and close to 40 years of knowing each other, we probably know each other as well as two individuals can know each other. As my mother put it a few years ago when we had been married for longer than I lived with her and dad - "You've had him longer than I did; any thing you don't like is your problem now."

1.) Describe your latest obsession.

I've been looking at memory models and their interaction with digital TV. This is brought on by the PVR craze typified by Tivo and others. Some of my earlier work work before Tivo existed was in the development of context sensitive search relevance and how it applied to digital TV guides. Now you can build your own digital TV with your own program guides with  about $20 of hardware from EBay and some programming elbow grease on top of Open Source software.

Why is this my obsession of the week? Because you can do a great amount with very little and the problems all are amenable to solution by divide and conquer - i.e. you don't have to have a blinding flash of insight to see a solution, just break the problem into pieces and solve each piece in a workman like way. It means one can get enjoyment without delaying gratification for long periods. But there are also places where a flash of insight could change the whole view of how to approach the problem. So you get the quickies and the long term rewards as well.


  1. Bits of everything!! Your very own patchwork blog.

  2. Visiting from MamaKat's...

    Wow! What a post! Love the description of the psycho nerd! Totally hilarious! And how neat to hear about the evolution of the internet and someone who was involved from the beginning of all that ... plus you seem to know where the next step is. I'm sure I'll still be here on Blogger when everyone else is sending posts via telepathy or something. I'm a bit of a late adopter.

    And though I wasn't 100% sure what you were talking about at the end, are you building your own digital TV that incorporates elements of Tivo like interaction? Good lord. You are an interesting and smart person. If I still had a VCR, it would be flashing 12:00 still.

  3. I think it's really interesting that you've been able to follow the advent of the internet and all of the changes. You must have oodles of stories to tell.

  4. Verrrry Innnnterrrresting blog! An old techno-geek who sounds very au courant. Loved L's "go away and let me be" (snort) six words she didn't say. Too funny.

    Here from Mama Kat's and will return again. (The farmer portrait's the reason. Is that a pickle or a windsock?)

  5. Wow! I love the six words your wife didn't say, haha. The guy sounds hilarious! And your current obsession is way over my head! Love it!

  6. I bet your wife would have said very nice things about you, even being sick. Congratulations on 30 years.

  7. I see you participated in the writer's challenge. What a fun thing! I enjoyed your mom's comment about your marriage. Classic! Congratulations on being married for so long to someone who still loves you!

  8. i loooooooove what your mom said about how long you lived with you wife hahaha. I'm sorry your wife is under the weather! I hope she feels better soon!!!

  9. I want a Tivo!! I hate it when I miss my favorite shows and have to waste my time doing other things...

    And I love your mom's wise words! Too funny.

  10. That outstanding oddball? Wow! There was a lot of odd in that particular ball!

    Thanks for the comment on my blog.!And, you're right, I'm not obsessive ;) Just really intensely interested in things.


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