The family wagon

WagonStory Time.

In the mid-70’s my Dad was assigned to England (he was in the US Air Force) and at the time my parents drove a large station wagon – IIRC something like this.

They were told the large American station wagon would not be practical in England. So when choosing a car to take to England they stayed with a station wagon, but went small – really small. Ford Pinto small. We were a family of 5. I was 13 and probably 6’, or close to it. Getting in the family in the car  – well you know the clown cars they have a the circus – it was like that.

Before we went to England, we went to upstate New York to visit my Dad’s family at the farm he grew up on. My Dad’s youngest brother – Kenneth – owned the local hardware store in Hartford, NY and he also collected old cars. I am not sure how it happened, but we ended up in a ‘drag race’, going uphill, with Kenneth in one of his old cars and us in the Pinto.

Kenneth won the race . . . driving a Model A – from the 30’s. Like this one, but not as nice.

When we got to England the Pinto did not last long (a story for another day) and they bought our families first Volvo Station Wagon – one of many Volvos my parents owned through the years.

Total side note – besides the Model A, my uncle also had a early 70’s Chevelle Convertible – Red of course – that has been recently restored. That car is sweet.


IMG 1845Look what I got for Christmas. I think it has been decades since I built a Lego. I found it was very calming. 
Maybe I should suggest building Legos to my hyper/OCD friends

Did you get anything exciting?

Blue Bowl Club

Blue bowlWhen I was at Exodus working in Accounts Receivable some of the folks came to work very early. 

Fact 1 : The water in the toilets is blue from when the janitor’s cleaned it the night before.
Fact 2 : When you come in that early, you are usually the first one to use the toilet.

Result : The first one to use the toilet sees blue water in the toilet -> Blue Bowl Club.

The time I learned that there are two different systems for the clippers used to cut hair

79449200 sure cut hair clipper kit v 1655803736This happened when I was still in the Air Force, so late 80’s.

I had been getting my haircut by someone off base and liked what he did. He told me he used a #2 clipper.

Sometime later I needed to get a haircut quick so I went to the barber on base and told her I use a #2 clipper.
She started with the back and when she came around the side I gasped and said “That is SHORT !! “

Her response was “You said #2!! You said #2!!”. Yes I did. 

And that is the day I learned to use length – 1/2” – vs trusting the numbering of the clippers when specifying how short to cut my hair.

Remember always – Bluetooth sucks !

Bluetooth failIn my truck I have a wireless CarPlay head unit.

It is awesome. Just get in the car and whatever I as listening to starts playing. 
“Technology is great . . . when it works”© 

But I have been noticing that everyone once in awhile the audio would cut out – something was disrupting the connection between the iPhone and head unit. Not enough to bug me, but enough for me to be aware of.

The other day I started to pay attention to when the drops occurred. I quickly discovered a pattern. The drops on my daily commute always occurred around the intersection of Central Expressway and Bowers Ave.

Makes me wonder what is going on.
My guesses are a strong Bluetooth/WiFi signal that disrupts CarPlay. Or a mini EMP went off. 

I like to think it is the mini EMP – sounds more exciting.

Amazing Soup

UnknownSeveral years ago I was visiting my parents in Utah during the winter.

I came in from outside and saw my dad was making soup/chili and it smelled amazing.

Me – “That smells fucking amazing!!”

Dad – “what did you say?”

Me – “That smells fucking amazing!!”

Narrator – I was thinking he did not hear me the first time

Narrator – he did 

Dad – “we don’t use that kind of language in this house

Me – ….

Dutch Ovens

Qs1ckmikuyyfvreookveFirst some background – I was active in scouts when I was younger and then again when the boys were of age, so I have done a fair bit of camp cooking – i.e. using Dutch Ovens

For Christmas years ago Bev said she wanted a Dutch Oven. I thought awesome, Dutch ovens are great for cooking when camping. That year we went to my parents in Utah for Christmas and I had my dad pick up a Dutch Oven from Smith and Edwards (that place has everything).

Christmas day comes and we are opening gifts. Bev opens the Dutch Oven I got here and looked at me like WTF!? I said that is a Dutch Oven, just like you asked for.

That day I learned there are Dutch Ovens and then are there are Dutch Ovens – she meant the later that is used in the kitchen, not at a campfire.

I did eventually get her the Dutch Oven she meant.

You are how old !?

Sandwich Transparent ImageWas at lunch the other day with someone I worked with at a previous company.
We were talking about our kids and what they are doing. His kids are younger than mine by 10+ years.

I can’t remember what specifically led to the discussion regarding our ages. I said something about him being in his early 50’s, but he said he was 47. And I acted surprised – Surprised that he was younger than I thought.

I think it is socially acceptable when someone is older than you thought – you are saying they look younger then their age. A good thing.

But what about the opposite. You are surprised they are younger than you thought. Awkward !

The t-shirt quilt

What do you do when you have lots of t-shirts – make a quilt of course.

After 7 years at Apple I had way too many t-shirts and was trying to figure out what to do with them. One suggestion I saw was to make a quilt, which sounded like a good idea to me. I found someone on-line that made quilts and said she could do a t-shirt quilt. 

I marked up the t-shirts to identify if I wanted to use the front, the back, or both. Then shipped the t-shirts off to her.
I also selected the material to be used on the other side and between the shirts – well actually Beverly chose the material. I wanted it to be something that she would consider using on a bed.

A few weeks later a King sized quilt with all my t-shirts showed up. This was a great way to display my shirts going forward.

On a side note, if you are interested in Apple t-shirts history from the 80’s and 90’s, check out Apple T-Shirts: A Yearbook of History at Apple Computer by someone I worked with when I was at Apple, Gordon Thygeson. I contributed many t-shirts that he used in the book and told the story behind the t-shirt.

IMG 1775


IMG 1776


Supertramp Breakfast in AmericaI was listening to Supertramp’s Crime of the Century and when School started playing I thought I was listening to Take the Long Way Home from Breakfast in America and I had selected the wrong album to play.
About 40 seconds in to TakeTake the Long Way Home, it sounds very similar to the opening of School . Maybe it is just the instruments ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

And for the record – I like Breakfast in America better than Crime of the Century.

You know it is time to upgrade when . . .

Skis head comp gs 2When we lived in Germany – actually West Germany because the Berlin wall had not yet fallen – we made a family trip to Munich. While there we took the opportunity to visit the Deutsches Museum, which focuses on Science and Tech.

One of the exhibits had something to do with skiing – not sure why, but I do remember it was focused on skiing.

As we entered the exhibit there were a variety of skiing related gear on the wall. What caught our eyes was the skis – an old pair of black Head skis with Marker bindings.
That was not unusual, what was unusual was that my dad was still skiing on that same ski !

Guess it was time to get newer skis.

Old Photos

Gibson 8 2022   615The last time I was home visiting my mom we found two shoe boxes full of slides that my dad had shot between the mid-70s and the mid-80s. 

I shipped the boxes to ScantoDigital, a service recommended by a good friend, and a few weeks later the slides came back along with a flash drive with all the digital photos.

Total cost for just over 1400 photos was around $500.

I imported all the photos and started tagging them to sort them by location (England/Scotland, Germany), events (scouts), and other relevant groups (USAF, skiing, Family, etc). Then I created shared folders in Apple Photos so the photos could be shared with family.

It has been really cool to look back at pictures of my family from that time. I also realized that my mom and dad were younger in the pictures then I am now, by 10-15 years. Wild to see them, and us kids, at that age.

Next step –  get all the photos we took over the years when the boys were growing up digitized.

FYI – The photo with this post is from the Gibson family reunion in 1978.

Taylor Hawkins Benefit Concert

Taylor hawkins logoIf you know me, you know I am a pretty big fan of the Foo Fighters and the death of Taylor Hawkins last March had a major impact to me.

Earlier this month The Foo Fighters hosted a benefit concert in London for him with the proceeds going to Music Support and Music Cares

It was 6 hours of non-stop music. 

The highlights for me were (not in any order)

There is another Benefit concert in LA on 9/27 at the Kia Forum.

Growing Pains

Single marijuana leaf PKPMLGCWe recently received a notice from Silicon Valley Power (SVP) that on an upcoming day they would be shutting off the power between 8-4 to trim trees and make repairs.

The day rolled around and at about 8:15 the power went down. It was hot that day and I was feeling bad for Beverly and Connor because they would have no air conditioning (I was at work that day). Power came back on at 4 and it had not been to uncomfortable for them.

At some point the SVP folks accessed our backyard – the power pole is in our yard – so they could swap out some equipment.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Connor is growing a couple of marijuana plants in the backyard. FYI – It is legal in California.

As you would have expected, the SVP folks were very interested in the flora in our backyard – more specifically Connor’s plants. 
Bev and Connor watched them paying very close attention to the plants. looking at them. smelling them.
Pretty sure that their work was not affected by the plants – at least I sure hope so.

Getting caught up : Jobs – Clover

Clover network squarelogo 1481040034167I started at Clover August of 2022 and I am a Technical Project Manager (TPM) in the Hardware team leading the effort to launch new products.

If you have ever been to a coffee shop, or other small business, and they have the white tablet that they take orders on and then can swivel around for to sign – that is most likely a Clover device. The company is expanding into the small and medium sized business space (SMB) and has not only the Point of Sale (POS) devices, but also hardware and software to support the back office, do online ordering, and manage staff – a full end-to-end solution.

I have only been here a month, but so far it is going great. There are a number of folks that I worked with when I was at Nook – so I came in the door knowing people. But every new person I have met has been helpful and supportive.
The company’s main offices are in Sunnyvale, CA (about 7 miles from my home), but they also have offices in Colorado Springs, New York City, Atlanta, and Ireland.

One of the questions that always comes up when talking about working in the new pandemic affected world – what is my work schedule? Clover’s implementation of the hybrid workplace is 3 days in the office minimum – any three days. I got so used to working at home during the pandemic while at Roku I was not sure how I would feel going back into an office on a regular basis. But I have to say it has been ok. I still enjoy the flexibility of a couple of days at home, but I do enjoy being around the rest of the team I work with.

Getting caught up : Jobs – Roku

1280px Roku logo svgShortly after I left Essential, I landed at Roku in November 2018.

I was the Technical Project Manager (TPM) supporting the team that worked on the firmware used by the TV manufacturers (TCL, Hisense, Element, etc.) that integrated the Roku OS.
I was involved in the the launch of 3 platforms – the next gen 4k TV, the first TV to launch in Brazil, and Roku’s first 8k TV. Note – the 8k TV was completely done during the pandemic with everyone working remote – I think that is quite an accomplishment considering not only the size of the TV (75”), but technical challenges the team faced bringing up a brand new platform.

But after 3 1/2 years I decided it was time to move on – and that takes us to my current role.

Getting caught up : Jobs – Essential

Screen Shot 2022 09 04 at 17 51 44It has been quite awhile since I added to this blog, or whatever these are called now, and a lot has changed.

Lets start with jobs.

When the last entry was posted I was working at Essential Products and had been there for just short of a year, but that was not to last.

In the middle of October 2018 Beverly and I took a trip to the Pacific Northwest with friends. We visited Seattle, Vancouver, Whistler, Victoria, and the Olympic National Park.
We had an amazing time and it was the perfect time to be there – the leaves were changing colors and were beautiful.

We were in Whistler and I got up early to get coffee and check my email. I was unable to get my email, so I restarted that app and tried to logged in. I got a message to contact my administrator.
I have been around long enough to know that means – I have been given the opportunity to seek new challenges.

I call my buddy who is on vacation in Southern California to see if he knows anything – nope.
I call the VP – my boss – and ask her if I need to hurry back or can I take my time and extend my vacation. She says she will call me back after lunch to discuss. 

That day we were heading from Whistler to Victoria (on Vancouver Island) and needed to take a ferry. So shortly after noon I head outside to get some privacy and call and talk to the VP and HR – yep, Essential was laying off ~70% of the company.
On the plus side the separation package was a very generous.

On a side note, the layoff could have been handled better. The evening before, meeting invites went out to everyone. One meeting if you were getting laid off, another meeting if you were staying. So that morning everyone was comparing their calendars

Employee #1 : hey I have this meeting at 10, do you?
Employee #2 : No, but I have a meeting at 2, do you?
Employee #1 : No 🤔

Wine tasting trip to Paso Robles

Vineyard sunset 1024x384We took a trip to Paso Robles in late August to get away for a long weekend and try some new wineries and places to eat.

When we got to Paso Robles, and had settled into our hotel, we headed into town to find dinner and ended up at Blue Moon Grill – and yes I had a Blue Moon beer. Solid Mexican food.

We started Saturday at Eberle Winery. Their grounds were very nice and there was a good sized crowd tasting. There were a couple of the wines we liked and ended up buying. They do tours of their underground cellars, but we just missed one and did not feel like waiting for the next one.

Our second stop was Via Vega. It was off the beaten path. Just when you think you are lost, you find the sign for the winery. The road pretty much ended at their winery.
Their theme is very much adia de los Muertos vibe. When you walk into the tasting room it is dark – a big shock when coming in from the bright sunshine. But once your eyes adjust you can see that the ‘warehouse’ they are using for a tasting room has an eclectic interior.
There is a small Airstream trailer that has been converted to a mini-Tikibar, a music stage, and stacked barrels. Go here if you want to see if for yourself.
And while tasting, the 15-year old daughter of one of the ladies pouring got up on stage and sang several songs from different Broadway Shows. She has a great voice and is collecting tips to buy a guitar. It was relaxing to listen to her while sipping wine.

We took a break for lunch and based upon the recommendation of the folks at Via Vega we went to Fish Gaucho just off the downtown square. I had awesome fish tacos and Bev had a BIG burrito.

The first stop after lunch was at Chronic Cellars on the west side of town. They also have a dia de los Muertos vibe, but not nearly as dark. Lots of cool artwork on the walls and found a couple of wines we liked.

Our final stop was Vines on the Marycrest. We were the only ones there and had a great time talking to the guy doing the pouring. Interesting back story, which you can read about here.
We tasted 6 wines and liked six wines. Liked them so much we became members and came away with almost a full case of wine.

For dinner we were craving sushi and tried Goshi Japanese Restaurant. Hmmm, sushi. Tried some new combinations and enjoyed them all.

Overall it was a great trip to Paso Robles and we will definitely plan on going back – hopefully sooner than later.

What 3 Words

What3words logo files previewHere is an interesting way to identify a specific location.

If I wanted to give you directions to meet me at a specific location I could give you a street address or a GPS location.
The street address works if the location is in a city – it should get you close enough.

But what if we were going to meet someplace that does not have a street address. It could be a location in the wilderness, a spot in a park, connecting at a festival/concert, etc. The current solution would be to send you the GPS address – 37.4223918,-122.1376213,19.71. Something that is easy to remember and communicate – NOT.

Well now identifying a location is as simple as 3 words.
What3Words has broken the world down to 3 meter by 3 meter squares and assigned each of them a unique 3 word identifier. I would go to the app or website, find my location, and send you the 3 words.
If you go to their app or website and enter the 3 words you get a precise location of where to find me.

So telling you to meet me at is simpler than a long GPS coordinate pair.

Will this replace GPS – probably not. But it is an interesting way to identify a location.

WWDC 2018 Thoughts

Wwdc 2018This week is Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference and the keynote was on Monday.
The keynote is an opportunity for Apple to share what is coming from the Software teams this year. This year there were updates on iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS – no hardware was presented this year.

Here are the things that stood out to me and my thoughts after one viewing of the Keynote:

Siri Shortcuts – Now we know what the Workflow team that Apple bought awhile back has been working on. The current versions of Workflow or IFTTT give users the ability to string together a bunch of commands/actions do to automation – but is not simple and there is a steep learning curve. One that the average user probably does not try to tackle.
Shortcuts are Apple’s take on making automation simple for the masses. The challenge will be having simple samples that someone new to automation can use to see the power of the tool and then get started making their own.
Oh – and it needs to be reliable and predictable. I am excited to try it out.

News – Meh, starting to use the current version to become familiar with it and see how relevant it is to me, but it is not my primary method to get news – RSS feeds are.

Do Not Disturb – Liked the new features. Looking forward to having finer control over who can break through Do Not Disturb. The ability to deactivate Do Not Disturb after a set period of time or when leaving a location sounds great – but demos always sound great, I need to see how does it work in the real world.

Notifications – Liked the recommendation feature identifying notifications to deactivate – and then ability to modify the notification rules right from the notification. Also the grouping of Notifications and the ability dismiss multiple notifications at once is a time saver.

Memoji – Meh. Seems like something you do a couple of times because it is cool/fun, then never to use again. I have used animoji maybe 2-3 times. I don’t see myself using Meoji – not that vain 😀. Also feels like a copy of Samsung’s personal emoji that they introduced awhile back. Different style and maybe more granularity when creating your Memoji, but similar feature.
New animoji are meh.

Group FaceTime. I don’t ever see myself participating in a FaceTime call with 32 people 😉 , but could see using for calls with my parents, siblings, and/or kids. Not often but a possibility.

New activities – Like the new hiking activity

Workouts – Like the idea of automatic workout detection and the ability for it to ‘remember’ what you had already done and apply it to the workout. And also the ability to auto end the workout. But when ‘automations’ meet the real world they don’t always perform as expected. I am hopeful this works as presented, but need to see how accurate and consistent it is.
Alerts to start and end workout give you the choice to start/stop based upon what it thinks it wants to do. They seem not as challenging to implement so they may be more accurate.

Walkie Talkie – Great demo and a feature that sounds great at first but I have some questions. Can anyone ‘walkie talkie’ you at any time? Do I have the option to accept the audio before it plays? I can see the audio going off in less than optimal times. Need more details on this one.

Siri – The ability to raise your wrist and just talk is pretty cool talk. I know not having to say two words – ‘Hey Siri’ – does not seem like much, but every syllable counts. 😏

Podcasts This one I am really excited about. I listen to lots of podcast using Overcast. Overcast had an appleWatch app but it was pretty much useless – so much so the developer removed the feature.
But if the new apis give the developer the ability to significantly improve the experience – adjust volume, sync podcasts, stream podcasts – this is a huge win.
Currently if I go walking and I want to listen to podcasts I have to take my phone – no more if this feature delivers. 🤞

Zero sign on – Awesome if you provider is supported – which Comcast is not. So will not be able to take advantage of this feature.

Screen saver – They are now identifying the locations of where the screensaver was shot. It is a question I always have when I see a cool scene. There are websites that tell you where they were shot, but the ability to get the info while you are watching the scene is handy. And the new Space Aerial videos look really cool. Sometimes I just sit and watch the scenes unfold – now there are even more scenes to watch.

Dark Mode – Not sure why I like dark mode so much – maybe because it is easier on the eyes? But I really like the feature on a number of the iOS apps that I use. Having that functionality brought to macOS is great. But (you knew there was a but coming) how pervasive across the system and 3rd Party apps will it be. Having it work in some apps but not all of them can be jarring, especially if you are working in the dark and all of the sudden you get a bright white screen.

Screenshots – Taking screenshots is something I do almost daily. Any improvements to the flow are much appreciated. Like the ability to markup the screenshot without having to go to a separate app (Preview) to make the edits.

iOS apps on macOS – There were lots of rumors about this feature. We now have 4 apps ‘ported’ from iOS to the Mac – Stocks, Notes, Home, and News. I am not a bigger user of these apps so I might check them out. Interesting to see how the development tools handle the ‘merging’ of iOS and macOS.

Those are what caught my attention. What did you see that you liked?

Mike Rowe’s thoughts on the Boys Scouts of America

BSA LogoMike Rowe, an Eagle Scout and a Distinguished Eagle Scout, shares his thoughts on the current state of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

His experiences as a scout mirror my experiences – I very vividly remember playing British bulldog, learning First Aid, shooting rifles, tying knots (I can still a bowline one-handed with my eyes closed), and lots of hiking and camping. The fact that our experiences are similar should not be a surprise — he is only 2 months older then me.

Reading his thoughts got me thinking about todays role of the BSA.

Some background –
I am an Eagle Scout, my dad is an Eagle Scout, my dad’s brothers are Eagle Scouts, my brother is an Eagle Scout, and one of my sons is an Eagle Scout.
I spent 4 summers working at Scout camps.
My Grandfather served as Scoutmaster of Troop 40 in Hartford, NY for decades, my dad was Scoutmaster and spent years as a volunteer, and I was Cubmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster for my boys Pack/Troop.
So you could say I have some history with the BSA.

It is challenging to sum up Mike’s thoughts in a couple of snippets, but my take aways are that he believes that

our country’s current obsession with “safe spaces” is destroying character faster than the Boy Scouts of today can build it.


if Scouting could somehow recapture that combination of risk and wonder and pride and personal accountability – I believe their ranks would swell with the sons and daughters of millions of anxious parents, desperate to expose their kids to a program that prepares them for the real world.

All Baby Boomers remember riding our bikes around the neighborhood with no one watching us, walking to school or the store by ourselves, playing sports and not being given a ‘participation’ trophy, having free rein of the fields and farms around where we lived, getting punished for pointing an unloaded air gun at a passing car (if that seems pretty specific it is because it happened ‘to a friend’ of mine), or getting hurt playing, getting patched up, and back at it again.

The world has changed since I was a kid, but I think we have gone too far and are to protective of our children – scared by what we see and hear on the news of all the bad things that could happen.
I don’t deny bad s#!t can happen, but we should not be paralyzed by fear.
If kids are not pushed out of their safe spaces by their parents — how do they grow and be confident adults. And if the BSA is not willing to fill that role — who will be?

We need to teach boys (and girls) the life skills they will need as adults and challenge them to help them grow — aka push them out of their safe zones. I think the Boy Scouts of America is a great resource for that challenge.

Since I was a scout we have seen significant changes in the BSA. Two that come to mind are the policy changes regarding gay leaders and scouts, and the recent news regarding the expansion of programs for girls.
I think these were positive changes and show that the BSA is aware of the cultural changes in the 21st century and is trying to adapt. The challenge BSA leadership has is how do they adapt to societal changes but not lose the core of what they are – an organization

to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

You know you are getting old when …

Was taking out the trash and noticed the light by the back door was burned out.
Headed back inside to get a new bulb.
Stopped in the kitchen to get a drink.
Got to the back of the house (where lightbulbs are) but could not for the life of me remember why I was there. I knew it was something important but was drawing a blank.
I figured if I went back out to the area I was in previously I would remember.
And sure enough when I got outside and noticed the light was (still) out – THAT was what I was doing.

Getting old sucks some days.

Auckland to New York – the long way

1200px Boeing 314 Clipper croppedGreat article about an around the world trip in a Boeing 314 (a Seaplane) at the start of WW II.

the Boeing 314 was (and remains) one of the largest aircraft ever to take to the sky

The adventure started in San Francisco and was supposed to end in Auckland. But then the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and it was not safe for them to return to San Francisco via Hawaii.

the crew of Pan Am flight 18602 were forced to do something almost impossible: return to America the long way round.

Their adventure took them across Australia – a risky move considering you have no landing gear.

To the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia),

To Trincomalee, Sri Lanka,

To Karachi, Pakistan,

To Bahrain,

To Khartoum, Sudan (requiring a river landing),

To Leopoldville (requiring a river landing),

Across the Atlantic to Natal, Brazil,

And then up the Atlantic coast of South America and the US to New York City

Quite an adventure considering Pan Am did not have a presence in most of South Asia – so no maps, no radio info, no maintenance support, no refueling stations, etc. for a good chunk of the trip.

The article is 3 parts and a medium long read – but so worth it. IMHO.