Archive for August, 2007

Back to School

(I have a follow-up planned to last night’s post, but this isn’t it; maybe tomorrow.)

My daughter Ashley starts college in a little more than a week; today she finally got a look at her schedule for the fall semester. The good news is that she got all three of the dance classes she requested (her major), the bad news is that the rest of her schedule is a train wreck. She’s not signed up for marching band, which she really wants to do, and she is signed up for Biology… the one lab science that she really doesn’t want to take. To round it out, they filled in one of her many liberal ed requirements, and she’s not happy with the choice.

While no course changes are accepted before everyone reports to school, they already have time set aside for each freshman to meet with an adviser and make changes before classes start. So we spent a couple hours tonight, going over all of the General Ed/Liberal Ed requirements and options, reading up in the catalog, and identifying the courses she’s interested in. This includes many courses she’ll be taking in semesters to come. There’s a small chance one of the dance courses will conflict with band rehearsals, but we think it will work, and she’s going to check with the band staff before check in.

It took forever, and brought back memories of collegiate bureaucracy for both her mother and I, but it was also fun, and totally worth it. She was a bit upset when she first saw her schedule; I think she’s a lot more comfortable with it now that she knows she has some options.

Just Writing

So I’ve got this thing. Maybe it’s a habit (got several of those), maybe it’s a quirk (many of those), but it’s certainly a thing (too many to count). If I was trying to frame it in nice terms, I’d call it restless creativity, or perhaps serial enthusiasm. I tend to get focused on something, and then I get really focused on it, for a while. Buy some books, search the web, generally soak in it for a while. And then… poof …I’m not so interested, and then something else comes along. Lather, rinse, repeat.

One thing I’ve noticed is that all my restless pursuits tend to be creative in nature; I want to make things. When my focus is on music, I’m trying to compose. When the computer grabs my attention, it’s either a programming project or a web site, that’s where this site, and a couple of redesigns have come from. I’ve got a stack of books on the shelf about hobby robotics. I’ve tried to learn Spanish several times; I guess that’s not creative, so we’ll call it the exception that proves the rule.

And from time to time I decide to write. I’ve got a file full of story ideas somewhere, which haven’t gone anywhere. Part of the pattern is that I like to spend a lot of time on upfront tasks, and never get around to the task at hand. Another problem is that I have a thing (ok, another thing) about doing things well; I wouldn’t say I’m a perfectionist, but I like to do things well, which makes it hard sometimes to practice something I’m not good at. On more than one occasion, I’ve decided to use this blog as a place to write for the sake of writing. You know, what the kids call blogging. That usually leads to a round of yak shaving, and my attention span runs out before I get back to the task at hand. Like the time I spent several days setting up a separate writing blog, which I never used.

And this isn’t new, two years ago I wrote a post about just writing someting:

In my last post, I talked about the forces that prevent me from writing blog posts- factors I collectively call friction. One of the things that I cited was a desire to get things done first- for example, to make some headway on a new project before discussing it. Another version of the same problem is the desire to work out an idea completely before trying to explain it. In this entry I’m going to try and throw caution to the wind, and write about some ideas which aren’t fully formed, but which have been rattling around in my skull for a while.

All of which is both backstory and progress. I have a current project which I’m focused on, a web application which I’d like to write. Since this one has a purpose- I’d like to turn it into a salable product- I have a reason to remain focued. At the same time, I’ve gotten the urge to write again (catching up on my Wil Weaton backlog on Bloglines seems to do that). So I thought I’d take a stab at it, and you’re soaking in it. Maybe I should try this again, tomorrow.

Timing

There’s never a good time for your computer to die, but I suppose the timing could be worse. This morning, as I was leaving the house, I stopped at my iMac only to find it was off, and wouldn’t turn on. Tonight I ran through the diagnostic I found on apple’s website. It doesn’t look good. There’s a chance my problem is covered by an Apple extended warranty; I’ve got the right serial number. If my issue is covered, the repair will be free. If it’s not, it’s probably a bad logic board, which can be quite expensive.

Which brings us to the title of this post… Tomorrow Apple is holding a media event, and popular opinion is that Apple will introduce new iMacs. If the repair is going to be too expensive, I’ll probably consider buying a new iMac. Hopefully, with the release of new macs, the current generation of macs will be discounted at my local Apple store. And of course, if the new macs are really cool, I can always get the new model :). So, I’m waiting until tomorrow night to take my poor dead mac to see the genii at the Apple store.

In the meanwhile, blogging from my iPhone is possible, but a bit slow.

Update: Good news! After a two-day wait just to see a Genius, it turns out that my repair qualifies for the extended warranty. Guess that new iMac will have to wait ’till next year. Maybe by then, a non-glossy screen will be available.

The repair will take around a week; in the meanwhile my old Powerbook G4 is back in the rotation, sitting where the iMac should be, sharing my printers to the other Macs in the house, and allowing me to post updates here. With the addition of a USB bluetooth dongle I had laying around, I can even use the iMac’s full size keyboard; add in my trusty MS Intellimouse, and it’s almost like having the iMac back. Almost.