What's New? 2005-04-20

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What's New? 2005-04-20

 Saturday 30 April 2005
  Felicia's flight Another Dashboard wiget I've already put to use is the flight tracker. Felicia is heading back east to visit with Mom, who is beset with cancer.

In Mom's words: "I've had a really good life, I've done what I wanted to do; a lot of travel, good friends, and until this happened not a sick day in my life." Still, it's difficult to hear the weakness in her voice, or how she can't read her beloved New York Times every day, or the now-necessary twice-daily naps. I can't do anything to abate her lack of appetite, or the weight loss, other than to give her our love and to hear our voices.


In the gardens around our house live several rock doves. When they take flight their wings make a whoo-whoo sound. Today I noticed one perching on the windowsill of the kitchen. (That's our ceramic Shabbos candlestick holders you see on the other sill.)

This evening, as we do on many Saturday evenings, we head over to the Kaleo Café. Even when there's no live music or hula we enjoy the company of Romel, seen here with the kids. He's such a sweet guy; it's a pleasure spending a bit of time with him.

 Friday 29 April 2005
  weather forecast The next morning things look so much nicer.

One of the deficiencies of Dashboard is the delay experienced when it's activated. I've heard that one of the design objectives was not to burden the computer when Dashboard wasn't being used. To that end, I believe no resources are given to it until the first time it's activated, and then not much thereafter until it's re-activated. I suspect that there will have to be some middle-ground visited on this: perhaps a few cycles every quarter-hour or five minutes or so. For example, when I re-activate Dashboard it just sits there for 3-5 seconds whilst it get the current weather information. Those few bytes and cycles I would gladly give a few times each hour, rather than when my focus is completely upon it.


We have some rock doves living in our garden. Today I caught them roosting on my sawhorses under the nook window. I think these are the parents; the slightly smaller offspring didn't land.

This evening we have (another) spaghetti dinner fundraiser at Isaac's school. And guess who is making ten pounds of pasta? Yep, yours truly. So we get there at 16:10 (for an 18:00 feeding frenzy).

Here's Lila with her new friend Tzi-Yong (whose command of English is only slightly better than my Mandarin (by which I mean "none at all")). Still, they communicate and have a great time all evening long. I love that mural; what a grand backdrop.

Inside the bungalow which serves as a cafeteria, Isaac holds court with his friends, mostly female and mostly older (just like his Papa's friends).

Lila and Tzi-Yong chowing down. Papa had three huge pasta pots going on the stove, while Matt added sauteéd onions and stuff to the sauce. Matt also brought the dry ice, which fascinated all the kids who helped in the kitchen.

Isaac (and tongue) take a push around the parking lot / play area.

 Thursday 28 April 2005
  weather forecast Rain is not all that unusual during the springitme months, but it's not often that one sees a forecast of thunderstorms here in San Francisco, but that's just what this Dashboard widget (part of "Mac OS X" Tiger) is showing.

As it turns out, no thunderstorms (that any of us heard, although we spoke about it at several meals).

 Wednesday 27 April 2005
  I suspect that I've not mentioned it before, but I've been asked to write another book. I'm at the tail end of finishing up the proposed table of contents, and I've been having some good chats with several other authors on having them contribute a chapter each. More details to follow, of course.


Sometimes it's not as much the content as the context. Today I saw these two news photos side-by-side, and for some reason that's what I thought was funny. Don't ask me why; I'm not sure.

Bahar Soomekh at the premiere of the movie 'Crash,' in which she stars, at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok) A Bonham's auction house employee wears Judy Garland's blue gingham pinafore dress from The Wizard of Oz (1939), which went for 140,000 pounds at an auction in London.(AFP/Carl de Souza)
 Tuesday 26 April 2005
  Isaac: I want to "boom up" to outer space.


Every once in a long while there comes a put-down that is so original, so clear, just so perfect, that it needs to be mentioned and remembered. Rob Burnett, producer of The Late Show with David Letterman, said about an allegation made by Rosie O'Donnell: "I don't know how to respond to something that never happened. And the last thing I want to do is get into a fight with a powerful celebrity who has a blog read by tens of people."


Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger 8a428 Apple "Mac OS X" 10.4 Tiger build 8a428, the Golden Master final release, finally makes its debut this week. Scheduled to be released on the 29th, it's been shipped early by several vendors.

It's a pleasure to behold. The core operating system is a bit faster, and the Spotlight metadata search tool is a nice addition. (I really liked it when I was playing around with the WWDC version of Tiger, we'll see if I use it as much now.) Not many third-party applications are broken by the new release: to date I've found only QuickSilver, Conversation and Colloquy, and BitTorrent. (New releases for each are already in the works.)

But it has to be said: Tiger is evolutionary, not revolutionary. The jumps between the Developer Preview, the Public Beta, 10.0 (Cheetah, build 4k78), 10.1 (Puma, 5g64), 10.2 (Jaguar, 6c115), and 10.3 (Panther, 7b85) have been filled with ever-increasing performance and features. All the low-hanging fruit has been picked, and 10.4 (Tiger, 8a428) boasts only a small increase in performance (at startup, due to a re-write of the boot script system) and features (Spotlight, Dashboard (an Apple implementation of the third-party Konfabulator), and Automator).

And that's the way it ought to be. Future releases will showcase novel applications and bug-fixes. And who can complain about that?

 Monday 25 April 2005

After school and playground time we take Isaac and Lila on MUNI and BART from 1930 to 2130. Back at home, they crash. It's been a late evening, after a series of late evenings.


I try to highlight Macintosh user interface foibles whenever I stumble across them. Today I had the pleasure of seeing this misstep in Allume Stuffit Expander. Check out the version number I currently have :-)

But this is really an way of segueing into a rant: Allume, which used to be the non-evil Aladdin Systems, has now become an evil harvester of email addresses, forcing you to be on a marketing mailing list, requiring that you opt-out after being spammed.

They used to rest upon the laurels of well-written software. Now it's buying other's software and repackaging it. And spamming. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

 Sunday 24 April 2005
  Sadly, my mother-in-law is down with the flu, and so the second seder has been cancelled. But not all is lost; friends of ours in Montclair (on the other side of the San Francisco - Bay Bridge) with kids roughly congruent to ours invited us to their seder. And it was great!

She's such a good cook, the rack of lamb and matzoh stuffing & mashed potatoes was sublime, the asparagus, divine, and of course there was chocolate to end the meal.

The service was just as short and sweet as it needed to be, communal, intimate, and without anything extraneous. A very nice experience. Thanks so much Tamara & Ken.


Today is the Dia de las Niños (Day of the Children) celebration in Delores Park. We head on over with Sally and David, and their kids Maddie and Jonah. It's a beautifully sunny day, almost hot. I'm sure these Irish dancers felt the heat and the sun:

Here are Isaac and Lila running around the playground with Jonah, who is very much into climbing the high structures and zipping down the slides.

 Saturday 23 April 2005
  The first Pesach (Passover) seder at our shul (synagogue) happened this evening. Always a great experience; we really like our sephardic shul. Dziadziu and Zofia attended. When we got home, at 00:30 or so, Rose looked at the time, at the kids, and exclaimed "look at the time! And we're not even in a new country...." Says it all.
 Friday 22 April 2005
  Sometimes the attention whores are especially vexing: a Norwegian Pentecostal preacher, Runar Søgaard, recently called the prophet Mohammed "a confused pedophile."

From what I've read, this comment was intended to be inflammatory and attention-seeking. Dissapointing, in the extreme. Perhaps his church can apprentice him to Imam Hassan Moussa, head of Sweden's imam council, who demanded that Christian communities repudiate Søgaard's remarks, and promised that Sweden would avoid the ugly scenes experienced in Holland (after filmmaker Theo van Gogh was killed by an Islamic extremist for a controversial film).


This evening we were invited over to Ted & Mary for dinner: Lila is rather fond of Lilly. I have no idea what sort of faces they were making as they finished thrashing through their spaghetti and pesto and parmesano.

And even though it was late, somehow the kids wheedled a promise of dessert out of me, so here they are celebrating the victory with a song at Krispy Kreme:

 Thursday 21 April 2005
  We're picking Isaac up at his kindergarten so we can all play in the afternoon; but now it's lunchtime in that neighborhood. So we stop at our favorite Chinese soup joint to see what's, ummm, cooking.

The staff have just finished hand-folding another thousand dumplings, and one of them carries the batch to the back room for steaming and frying. (I had a better picture in mind, but the camera took just a few moments longer to start up...)

Rose beams as she contemplates the choices of freshly-made treats.

We're heading over to Isaac's school to give the kids a little presentation about Passover. Here they are assembling into a semi-circle by the chalkboard.

We try to share the cultural significance and the rituals, songs, and stories. And food: each time we bring some sort of munchies. The kids absolutely loved the matzoh that we shared this time. They went hog-wild over the latkes that we did at Chanukah.

 Wednesday 20 April 2005
  I just uploaded family photos to this and the last two months, so if you've been reading along this month - hi Dziadziu, hi Pamela - please scroll down and to previous pages to see the new additions.

But let's dive right in with mealtime craziness: something about the organic strawberries as eyes.

Dziadziu and Isaac in the bathroom, probably watching Lila splash about.

Here's one of the figurines that Rose makes for the kids each morning. This is for Lila (she likes the peeled tomatoes). Isaac got a Burning Man guy.

From the basement Lila took one of the three rocking horses; she's really enjoying it. (A day later she was so rough on it that she flipped it backwards. She's gentler now.)

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