What's New? 2003-01

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What's New? 2003-01

 Tue 7 January 2003
the globe Motorola V.60 We're on vacation. I'm carrying my PowerBook and a tri-band cell phone, but I'm not committed to hooking up from the road. (Not that I'm generally averse to the idea, and in fact I've been very happy to provide daily updates from afar, but I'm just not guaranteeing that I'll be available.)

Please check the 2003 Gran Canaria & London pages for news and pictures while we're away from home (a convienient network hookup notwithstanding).

 Mon 6 January 2003
  baby food Still getting ready for the trip. Bought a few gifts, including unusual foodstuffs which just can't be had over there. Finished packing our duffel bags, including lots of diapers, organic baby food, and aforementioned gifts. (Of course, I could skip the diapers and probably all the edibles, but then I'd have to be shopping once over there....)
 Sun 5 January 2003
  duffel bag duffel bag duffel bag Had breakfast with Una & Cameron and family, then jumped over to Alameda to pick up two more military-surplus duffel bags, spend some time with Dad, and then finished with a great dinner at Red Grill with Sally & Jonah and family. I can't recall a day when I ate more. Ugh.
 Sat 4 January 2003
  Finances in preparation of a trip are always a headache, but they must be done. So that's what I spent the lion's share of the day finishing. I added Rose and Lila's clothes to Isaac and mine, and now all that's left to do is kids' food, toiletries, and last-minute things like the packing of the Geek Bag.


Lila has added a new word to her repetoire: airport. I'm guessing it's because she's been hearing us speak about the upcoming trip.


Rationale: why do I spend time on these web pages (as opposed to sleeping more than four hours each evening)?

Because I want to leave something with which to be remembered. We can trace our family back 400 years, but we know virtually nothing about the individuals themselves. I would have loved to have known something about their loves, dreams, and struggles. Thanks to the Internet, I have a chance to leave a smattering of impressions, pictures, and discussion for my descendants (and others) to see.

Significant? Perhaps not more than the ramblings of someone in your distant genetic past. Perhaps nothing more than someone from the beginnings of a digital global consciousness. With the greying of the Baby Boom generation, I wonder what infrastructure will be put in place to have a perputual graveyard for our websites.


Historical accuracy be damned, we've moved on from 640 by 480 pixel screens, and my 1995 Gran Canaria trip thumbnails were tiny, tiny, tiny when viewed with my current screen resolution of 1280 x 854. And the source images were small, taken as they were with a first generation digital camera, the Apple QuickTake 100 camera. So I chucked out the thumbnails and showed the whole image instead. It'll make for much easier viewing.

I also added NextPrevs to My Contributions to Sirius News, on the off chance anyone ever stumbles across those pages.


I've long known that a dromedary (Camelus dromedarius) is a one-humped camel. Only today did I find out that the two-humped camel is known as Bactrain (Camelus bactrianus). And there are skewbald camels in addition to the canonical one-color genotype. Why am I thinking about camels? Because we might be able to take a camel ride in Gran Canaria (as I did as a child).

 Fri 3 January 2003
  Yep, I screwed up. We usually vacation during the month of December, coming back sometime between New Year's Day and El Dia de los Tres Reyes (the Day of the Three Kings), in early January. Then I recover for a few days and go to the MacWorld Expo.

Foxtrot at MacWorld

This year, what with the saturated airlines, we were forced to move our travels into January. This will be the first time ever that I won't participate in my local MacWorld, a record which stretches back to the first MacWorld Expo ever in Boston in 1984. Granted, the Internet has made trade shows rather superfluous, but I always enjoyed just being there. Sigh. Next year.

Perhaps I'll enjoy the new Star Trek exhibition in Hyde Park, London, as a consolation prize.

 Thu 2 January 2003
  Spent the entire day inside, packing for the trip. Rose and I are minimalists in the packing department, but having children changes the equation: now we're taking basic medical, food, clothing, and entertainment for two creatures who are needier and more ego-centric than even we are :-) Still fun, but requires being a bit more mindful.

Had Dad and Zofia over for dinner: lobster ravioli, tomato-based five-cheese sauce, reggiano parmesano, and the saltiest swiss chard (with Aloha shoyu and ginger-garlic paste) that you could imagine. Mmmm, merlot.

Apple AirPort

Apple iCal Apple iSync It's been a digital day (and evening, writing this as I am just before midnight). Last week I wound up with an Apple AirPort, so now the homestead has wireless Ethernet. My PowerBook is enjoying it. Today Apple released updates to iCal and iSync, and now for the first time since running "Mac OS X" I'm able to happily use my Palm PDA. (Yes, there was a few weeks when everything work with the frightfully delayed Palm Desktop application, but that was such a poorly designed and supported product...)

Now I've got the ability to manipulate (via iCal) a calender, to-do list, (via Address Book) contacts, and synchronize them. Better yet, I get a well-designed and reasonably thought-out user interface for these, which is something the Palm folks couldn't do despite years of work. I'm pretty happy with having that functionality restored to me (not that I've ever really made exceptional use of my PDAs).

With the Nikon and Sony digital still and video cameras, respectively, this really is becoming a digital hub. Deeply satisfying. Not significant, but satisfying.

 Wed 1 January 2003 - New Year's Day
  Welcome to 2003!

THIS IS THE TENTH YEAR THIS WEB SITE HAS BEEN IN OPERATION! I thought it was worthy of being shouted. I just now noticed it, as I saw the copyright years show up as 1993-2003. Yeah me!

When I started all this - before the World Wide Web made its debut - nobody except a small group of people in academia and research knew anything about sending email, or researching topics via online tools (like archie), and URLs didn't exist. Documents were text-only, referenced other documents floating around the aether, and didn't have a shred of commercial desire; information wanted to be free and we were happy to share our expertise. (For an example, see Modifying the Kenwood TH-78a handheld transceiver.) USENET was where experts lurked, helping others. We never imagined: a time when URLs would appear in advertisments; grandparents would be using email; search engines and three billion web pages; the vast amount of information which has been migrated to the web. Amazing.

Bob Braden, on the IETF mailing list, today said:

The most logical date of origin of the Internet is January 1, 1983, when the ARPANET officially switched from the NCP protocol to TCP/IP. Six months later, the ARPANET was split into the two subnets ARPANET and MILNET, which were connected by Internet gateways* (routers).

The planning for the January 1983 switchover was fully documented in Jon Postel in RFC 801. The week-by-week progress of the transition was reported in a series of 15 RFCs, in the range RFC 842 - RFC 876, by UCLA student David Smallberg.

There may still be a few remaining T shirts that read, "I Survived the TCP/IP Transition". People sometimes question that any geeks would have been in machine rooms on January 1. Believe it!! Some geeks got very little sleep for a few days (and that was before the work "geek" was invented, I believe.)

It feels strange to think that the Internet proper predates this web site by only ten years. I was online long before that. Here you can see the earliest mention of myself that I could find, my name in a network topology map dating from 7 January 1988. (Of course, I was on the ARPANET and BITNET in 1981, and even wound up as a Wall Street Journal feature because of it.)


Golden Gate Bridge New Year's Day walk

It being New Year's Day, we did our annual walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Starting at the flagpole on the south side of the bridge - near the tourist shop - we joined a bunch of our friends in a stroll across the span.

Golden Gate Bridge New Year's Day walk

The weather was perfect; warm with a breeze. Halfway across we heard honking; it was Ranger Lefty on his way to take over as the innkeeper at a Marin delight. (We were hoping he was going to walk with us, but as he's getting ready to make a trip across America starting this month we understand he's busy.

Golden Gate Bridge New Year's Day walk

Dad and Zofia met us on the north side, where we shared our hot cider and Japanese crackers. Others brought tea, Turkish Delight, walnuts in a sweet glaze, and more. Ed, the originator of the tradition, and some of the group went back to the city for dim sum. Dad, Zofia, and our family went for lunch at an Italian café in Sausalito. Then we headed back to San Francisco, where we attended an annual party given by one of my in-laws' neighbors.


A slightly new look to the site. A new font face (georgia, new york, serif) replaces the old standby (geneva, verdana, arial) throughout. A slightly larger font size. Hopefully this'll make things a bit more legible.


Nikon CoolPix 950 Finally got my Nikon CoolPix 950 back from the factory. It mysteriously stopped working a long while ago - before Burning Man 2000 - and it percolated to the top of my Fight Entropy pile. Interestingly, Nikon charged me for moisture remediation; I have no idea how the insides could have gotten moistened. Granted, I took the camera out-of-doors into the mountains, desert, and around the city, but I've always been mindful of keeping the outdoors out and the camera's insides in. I even put a clear filter over the lens so I can clean it with a shirt, rather than carrying around lens paper worrying about scratching the lens surface.

SanDisk 256 MB CompactFlash But that's not important now :-) We start out 2003 with a new purchase: a SanDisk 256 MB CompactFlash card for the camera.

I just popped it in, loaded up the rechargable 2000 MaH NiMH 'AA' batteries, and was thrilled to see room for more than 500 high-quality JPEG pictures. That's a major leap from the 64 MB card I could easily afford two-and-a-half years ago.

This'll really free me up during our upcoming trip to Gran Canaria & London. 500 pictures per card means I can go absolutely crazy with picture-taking, knowing I can safely and happily leave my PowerBook in the hotel safe. I'm looking forward to much crisper travelogue photos.


I can't speak to the New Year's celebrations of others, but the first thing I do each year is render all the pages in this website (so the copyright at the bottom is correct). In preparation, I figured out how to have Frontier show me any rendering errors (a capability which used to work, but was then broken, fixed, and hidden). There were five errors in the 937 web pages which exist on this site today. Not too bad.

I also figured out what was broken in the NextPrev handling (the facility which places those nice 'previous' and 'next' labels and arrows at the bottom of web pages which are part of a series). So, in addition to (1) the navigation elements which appear at the left of those pages and (2) the hyperlinks at the beginning and end of the prose, the following travelogues now have NextPrevs:

I hope this helps.

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