westwind_mv: (me)
As of today I've lived longer in Northern California than I have in Southern California! Over 31 years in each. I'm getting old...
westwind_mv: (me)
Just got back home after arthroscopic surgery on my left knee to repair a torn meniscus. I'm resting and am looking forward to being mobile again! ;-)
westwind_mv: (me)
Today was a good day!

My garbage disposal had stopped, so I watched a brief video on YouTube, and used a 6mm hex wrench to fix it myself. And it worked! I don't know why that gives me such a frisson of accomplishment, but it does.

And I got a difficult piece of code working well for work.

And I found some ice cube trays for the freezer; I'd been looking for this particular kind for a while now.

All little things, but they add up to a satisfying day.

Ahhhhhh.......
westwind_mv: (me)
I just saw a note on the passing of Kenny Baker, who was the actor inside R2-D2 in the Star Wars movies.

You brought a lot of joy to a lot of people, Mr. Baker. Rest well.
westwind_mv: (me)
I was really cracking up thinking about this one...

Imagine a future in which companion bots can be made-to-order as anybody at all, human or alien or fur or whatever. Now, given popular characters in books, movies, etc., it's inevitable that many people availing themselves of this service will end up choosing the same person. You know, countless requests for a Nick Wilde, or a Ratchet, or whoever.

Now imagine showing up at a party with your companion in tow, only to find eight other people there who have the same companion. Puts "she wore the same dress as me" to shame as an embarrassing potential series of faux pas, no?

Honestly, the future cracks me up sometimes. ;-)
westwind_mv: (me)
No, it's not an official holiday. It's a personal one.

Many years ago, on May 13th, 1970, I decided that I'd memorize various calendric counts, just once, so that I could easily derive those counts for dates in the future. So I memorized May 13th, 1970, as Julian Day Number 2440720, and as Maya calendar date 12.17.16.13.17 2 Caban 10 Uo.

Now it turns out that quite a few years after I memorized that, scholars ascertained that the previous correlation factor they were using between Julian Day Number and Maya date was off by 2 days. So now, the above Maya date now correlates with May 15th, 1970, JDN 2440722. Irksome but not hard to deal with.

So how does this work? Well, let's say you wanted to find today's JDN. Since today is May 13th, 46 years exactly have elapsed, so you'd add (46 times 365) plus (12 leap days) to 2440720 to get JDN 2457522.

Similarly, adding a distance number of (46 times 365) plus (12 leap days) minus (2 days of correction to the correlation) to the original Maya calendar date yields a new date of 13.0.3.7.17 6 Caban 0 Zip.

Fun with calendars!
westwind_mv: (me)
Hi there! It seems I've let things slide a little too long here, again. Sigh. Don't know why it's so hard to motivate myself to write.

Anyway, Zootopia: loved it! Not only for the amazing animation and marvelous character design, but because it had quite a serious message underneath. I'm quite amazed that it took an animated Disney movie to provide some of the most trenchant commentary on the recent turmoil over race relations in America I've yet encountered. If you've not seen it because you think it's "just a kid's movie" then in my opinion you might want to reconsider.

I've been thinking more and more about retirement lately. I'll be turning 62 in a week or so, and have definitely been noticing that I'm a lot more tired and low-energy than I used to be. There are some mitigating factors, but my current thinking is that I'll probably aim for retirement in maybe five years or so.

If I may paraphrase Yoda: "Earned it, I have."

And speaking of work, one of the most amazing things that's happened lately has been the rebirth of significant portions of Quickdraw GX typography. GX was going to be Apple's successor to Quickdraw, and I was the architect of the typographic line layout engine. It was a fabulous achievement for the late 1980s, and really paved the way for much of what the world uses today. But politics being what they were, with Microsoft and Adobe acting in concert against Apple, GX languished. Parts of it still live on; if you have a Mac or an iOS device, you're using a text layout engine that is the direct descendant of the one I wrote all those years ago.

Recently, though, several companies have expressed an interest in some of the facets of GX typography that haven't seen the light of day in years (like TrueType variations), so there's been a flurry of discussions about this technology being revived. Honestly, I never thought I'd live to see this, so it's been quite astonishing!

Peace to you all, Gentle Readers.

Home again

Jan. 16th, 2016 10:10 am
westwind_mv: (me)
I spent the past week in the Boston area at company headquarters, and I'm certainly grateful to be back home! It wasn't a bad trip, per se; some knee problems made it a bit painful, but overall the trip was a good one, with lots of meetings and good work accomplished. Here are a few highlights:

On Sunday, when I arrived at Logan Airport in Boston, my friends Sam and Rich came to pick me up, along with their son Justin, and we all went out to dinner. A good time was had by all!

The company had arranged for the venue for our all-day meeting on Tuesday to be at Fenway Park. It was fun having meetings at a baseball stadium! After the meetings were over we went across the street to the House of Blues, where unfortunately there were no blues in attendance. Instead, no doubt with the best of intentions, the company shills had arranged a "fun, exciting game show" that was anything but. Ah well, the food was good, anyway...

The weather was very cold (finally; Boston had an unseasonably warm December), and I had to tread carefully lest I walk on frozen patches of water. Definitely didn't want to slip and fall!

On the flight back home I looked out the window and saw a tall spire in the Nevada desert, surrounded by concentric rings of mirrors. A solar power plant! It was amazing to see it from 36,000 feet up.

All things considered, though, I'm looking forward to getting back into my normal routines now that I'm back home.

Happy Saturday to you all, Gentle Readers!
westwind_mv: (me)
Just got back from seeing this with the Animation Gang. I'd heard mixed reviews, but I really liked it. And if it doesn't win some Oscar or another for the backgrounds then there is no justice. They were phenomenal. This is the first movie I can see an argument for getting a 4K TV to watch; the backgrounds are just that detailed.
westwind_mv: (me)
I've not posted in quite a while, so herewith an update.

My health has deteriorated a bit, so the doctor has me on some new medications. So far I'm tolerating them OK (sometimes an issue for me); hopefully they'll help bring the sugars down and the potassium up.

Work continues to go well. I'm attending a two-day meeting the end of this week at Google, and am greatly looking forward to it, since they're going to be talking about adopting some technologies I invented at Apple over 25 years ago. At the time, they (Microsoft and Adobe, who will be at this meeting) decided to invent their own stuff, rather than adopting mine/Apple's. I'm too polite to wear a t-shirt to these meetings that says "I told you so" but I will be thinking it loudly. ;-)

Very much looking forward to the new Star Wars movie! I remember going to see the original in Westwood back in 1977 (just finishing up my Master's degree at the time), and the trailers I've seen so far for this new one seem to capture that old magic in a way that the second trilogy didn't.

And [livejournal.com profile] blktalon has a new kitty, which I'm hoping he'll post pictures of here (hint, hint).
westwind_mv: (me)
I finally got around to seeing Paddington, and I loved it. Stories where humans and intelligent non-humans get along (more or less) peacefully are a very powerful thing to my psyche, for whatever reason. This movie had that element in abundance. The villain was a bit of a cliche, but the main story of the Bear and the Browns was handled very well.

Was quite surprised to see Peter Capaldi (yes, the Twelfth Doctor) playing a semi-baddie. Lots of fun.

And the graphics were extraordinary. Not only was no suspension of disbelief required on my part, but there were several scenes I'm still scratching my head over, trying to figure out how the heck they did them.

In short: highly worthwhile. (Reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes have it at 99% so it seems I'm not the only fan...)
westwind_mv: (me)
I am greatly saddened to hear news of the passing of Hermann Zapf, one of the titans of modern typography. If you know anything at all about type, you'll perhaps have heard of -- or used -- one of the countless fonts that he created or improved; not just the ones bearing his name, like Zapf Chancery or Zapfino, but many other everyday fonts like Palatino.

Many years ago, at ATypI in Antwerp, I had the distinct pleasure and honor of showing Prof. Zapf the new technology I had been working on, which later became Quickdraw GX (later still Apple Advanced Typography). He was very supportive of the ideas embodied in my software; I treasure to this day that approval from so great a man.

Requiescat in Pace.
westwind_mv: (me)
You know, I worked at Apple for 13 years. I'm a smart guy. But I've just spent the better part of an hour trying to get Messages in Yosemite to sync with the messages on my iPhone, and I've now given up. I keep getting incomprehensible messages about having to generate app-specific passwords, which I do, and they're entered and ignored; now neither my base AppleID password nor the generated app-specific password work. Clicking on "tell me more" takes me to unrelated web pages on the Apple site.

Shoddy.

Shoddy.

Shoddy.

Apple used to be about the user experience. Not any more. I can feel my blood pressure soaring.

Grrr...

(added note 30 minutes later)

...and apparently, although I only wanted to change the iCloud password and not the iTunes Store password, that latter has also been changed. Double grrr....
westwind_mv: (me)
I opted to take two vacation days today and tomorrow, which with Monday's company holiday gives me a five-day weekend. Woo hoo! Looking forward to doing lots and lots of nothing in particular. ;-)
westwind_mv: (me)
Saw this on a walk today and had to take a picture. It's a plant drag queen: all spiky and butch below, but with a fabulous do! ;-)

Smaller.jpg
westwind_mv: (me)
Saw a link to this on one of my friend-of-friends pages and was captivated by its charm.
westwind_mv: (me)
It was a quiet weekend. Saturday I went with Arleigh on a north run, visiting our favorite used and new bookstores, comic store, and Costco. Costco wasn't too crowded, but I've definitely discovered the secret: if I stop by there at 3:00 on a Thursday, the place is almost deserted. No lines at the registers, and no navigational difficulties with the cart. And I'm sharing this little tip with you, Gentle Reader; it's just the heckuva guy I am, really. ;-)

Sunday was not one but two bear-infused meals. First was a dim sum in honor of the visit of [livejournal.com profile] ogam to the Bay Area. We went to Joy Luck in Cupertino, and were joined by [livejournal.com profile] bjarvis in a surprise move. It was lovely, although I suspect the restaurant may have used a bit too much MSG, because I had a pretty bad headache afterwards.

Then the usual Sunday Night Dinner gathering, this time with the surprise and delightful addition of [livejournal.com profile] labeartorycub. We went to Marie Callender's, where I had the roast turkey dinner. A good time was had by all.

This week is going to be a short one for me; I've opted to take a couple of vacation days Thursday and Friday, and since Monday is a holiday that makes it a five-day weekend. Definitely looking forward to just taking some time to relax!
westwind_mv: (me)
It's probably blindingly obvious to most of you, Gentle Readers, but a mild epiphany struck me at breakfast just now. I've always assumed that my utter lack of interest in having or raising kids was closely tied to my being gay. But it occurred to me that I know lots of gay couples who are raising families or working hard to that end; and I know quite a few straight couples who have no interest whatsoever in raising kids. So my epiphany was that being gay and being uninterested in raising a family are not connected; they're disjoint things.

Like I said, probably self-evident to y'all.

It does make me wonder, though, what the evolutionary advantage of disinterest in raising a family might be. Added resources for the upbringing of siblings' kids, maybe? Or is it just one of those things?
westwind_mv: (me)
Just got back from the Urgent Care facility, where I went to see if they could do something about my breathing difficulties. They did an x-ray and think it's not pneumonia, but it is some other kind of lung inflammation. So I'll be on two different kinds of inhalers and an oral medication for the next couple weeks.

Honestly, I'm not feeling that badly; it's just that I'm short of breath, and prone to coughing fits. Hopefully these meds will knock this down quickly.
westwind_mv: (me)
I've managed to come down with a full-blown cold, and so have been working at home the past few days, instead of heading into the office. I do wish that the "we've-found-a-cure-for-the-common-cold" future beloved of science-fiction authors would finally make an appearance!
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