[May 30, 2001]



Sunday afternoon we attended a going-away reception for some friends who are moving to St. Louis to attend seminary. It reminded me of the time I went to St. Louis for a Science teachers' convention. One evening several teachers from around the country met for dinner, and I rode with one of them to the restaurant. He introduced me to the phrase Whoopdee-car. Let me elaborate...

If you have to roll down the window to open the car door, you're probably in a Whoopdee-car.

If you have to hold up the cloth "ceiling" in the back seat so it doesn't mess up your hair, you're probably in a Whoopdee-car.

If the air conditioner is model number 455 (for all four windows down at 55 mph), you're probably in a Whoopdee-car.

If there is any duct tape or black electrician's tape holding anything together, you're probably in a Whoopdee-car. If the duct tape is holding the electrician's tape together (or vice-versa), you're definitely in a Whoopdee-car.

If the driver pulls a parking ticket from a stack in the glove compartment when parking in a "convenient" spot, you're probably in a Whoopdee-car [you might just be in a car owned by a cheap skate (or the more politically correct, "fiscally innovative"), but since cheap skates typically drive them, you're probably in a Whoopdee-car].

If the parking tickets are filed by location ("Downtown," "East side," "University," etc.) then you are definitely in a Whoopdee-car.

If you can see the road beneath your feet, you're probably in a Whoopdee-car.

Needless to say it was a fun ride...

[May 29, 2001]


Man who "bought the company" buys the farm

Yes, Victor Kiam, who liked Remington shavers so much he bought the company (remember those commercials?) is dead at 74...



I thank God for friends - especially friends with trucks. We moved all of our earthly belongings down the street with the help of five good friends (and some of their kids), and three trucks, in about three hours!

I wonder how long it will take to get everything unpacked...

[May 25, 2001]

iBook News:

Exceedingly Portable...

There it was. I guess I should say there they were. I had already seen the TiBook up close and personal. The iBook was what I was waiting for. They were sitting right next to each other. The family resemblance was striking.

The screen is beautiful, and readable. Even next to the 15.2" screen on the TiBook the high rez 12" screen on the iBook shines. The speakers are quite nice for a small portable - much improved over the single tinny speaker on my beloved Tangerine Rev A...

I could be very happy with a new iBook. As I was leaving the store, two guys walked in. They were headed for the back of the store, but, like a magnet, the iBook stopped first one and then the other, drawing them in for a closer look. One guy sized up the two laptops and went for the TiBook. The other immediately closed the lid on the iBook and admired it's smooth white surface.

"What about this one?" the first guy asked.

"No, I don't need a desktop replacement," the second guy replied, "I want something exceedingly portable."

I think Apple has (finally) figured out the market...

[May 24, 2001]



Every day I ride the bus past Maria's Psychic and Palm Reading place of business. And every day I notice that there is no one there. Until the ride home yesterday when I saw that there was a car in the parking lot. I guess in a business like that you don't really keep regular hours.

You just know when someone is going to show up...

[May 22, 2001]

Apple News:

Busy time for Apple Computers, Inc...

So I thought I'd wander over to Apple's web site and see what was new (since the WWDC opened yesterday). Wow - they've been busy over in Cupertino. The new stores opened this weekend bringing in $599,000. More than enough to cover this year's rent for the Virginia store. I guess next weekend they'll cover the rest of the rent for the Los Angeles venue.

What else is new? Oh look, the flat panel display rumors were true. Apple has stopped selling any external CRT monitors, instead going with an all LCD panel line up for external displays. Wonder what this means for iMacs..

Anything else? Whoa - all Macs are shipping with OSX pre-installed starting immediately. Two months ahead of schedule. And new versions of OSX Server and Web Objects are also shipping.

Busy, busy, busy...

[May 18, 2001]


More on The Empire that was Russia...

I keep going back to those early 20th century photos. They hold a deep fascination for me. I have spent a bit of time thinking about why they intrigue me so much. In some ways they make me sad. Much of the architecture that Prokudin-Gorskii photographed was destroyed in one of the World Wars. Their beauty leaves me in awe. I am amazed by the state of technology at that time. I am stunned by the detail in the images.

But what I think really does it is the color. Because, up until now, all I have seen of that time period are black and white photos. I have a picture in my mind of a gray, dingy world. The colors in these photos bring life to the images as well as the time period.

[May 17, 2001]


The Empire that was Russia

cropped thumbnail of a much larger image of pre-WW I Russian architecture...

The Library of Congress presents a stunning collection of color photographs of pre-World War I Russia. These are not colorized black and white photos, but actual color photos taken in Russia by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. He used an innovative camera that took three black and white photos in rapid succession through red, green and blue filters. The images were captured on glass plates. To view them in color they were projected simultaneously through the same red, green and blue filters, producing a color image.

cropped thumbnail of a much larger image of a bridge in pre-WW I Russia...

The Library of Congress has scanned the images and combined them digitally to create stunning color photographs of a time in Russian history that will never be repeated. The image to the right is my new Desktop Picture on the iBook...

Thanks to Jason Kottke for the link.

iBook News:

At the very least, it gives PC-notebook-makers something new to try to match...

So ends Henry Norr's iBook review for the San Francisco Chronicle. More encouraging news from down under as well.


Part four in a series...

Traffic stopped on a major street during the morning rush so that two motorcycle cops can herd a bright blue peacock across the street.

That's not something you see every day.

I think I should change the title of this series to "Reasons Mark needs a digital camera..."

[May 16, 2001]


The Joys of a Bus Commute...

Riding the bus to work has its joys. Sometimes the ride is quiet and uneventful, like yesterday morning. Other times the trip takes one unexpected turn after another, and you are just happy to know that eventually you will get off the bus and after a short walk you will be in the familiar and comfortable surroundings called home.

Like yesterday afternoon.

Things started out innocently enough. I made my way to the bus stop, finding some shade to escape at least a few rays of the sun as temperatures pushed 100°, even at 4:30 in the afternoon. It soon became apparent that I would be waiting a bit longer than normal at the stop that afternoon as the appointed time for the bus to show up came and went, with no bus in sight on the horizon.

Eventually, of course, the bus did arrive. As soon as I boarded it became apparent as to why the bus was 15 minutes late. It was a new bus driver, not just one unfamiliar with the route, but one who was very likely on her first day on the job. This inference was made based on the trainer who was talking her ear off. I was a little concerned as I couldn't help but overhearing what she was saying (even though I was sitting in the middle of the bus).

It wasn't tips and tricks for keeping on schedule (that much should be clear from how late the bus was), rather she was relating a story of how she had to stop quickly and swerve to avoid an accident, and how a young girl hurt her arm and head, and I thought to myself that this doesn't bode well for this trip...

It was at the very next stop that my premonition held true.

A family boarded the bus. Dad wore shorts that were a size or two too small. His belly was covered by a dirty t-shirt that fit only slightly better than the shorts over which his stomach bulged. He was carrying the crying 18 month old.

Two school aged girls boarded next followed by mom, who was still in her McDonalds uniform, carrying the crying 3 year old, telling her sharply, "Stop!" over and over.

Grandma was next, and happened to be the same woman with the Rottweiler I saw last week, but sadly she wasn't wearing her glasses...

Did I mention the two crying kids? I don't think they are what bothered me, as I would have been crying too, if I was their age, after spending 15 minutes in the 100° heat that I really shouldn't have. What bothered me, and several others on the bus, was the way the mom was trying to quiet her daughter. "Stop! Stop! Stop it!" isn't going to work no matter how loud or how many times you say it.

Finally she asked the grandmother, who was at the front of the bus, for a bottle, which eventually made its way to the oldest daughter who was now holding the 18 month old. He stopped crying as he sucked the formula down. All eyes were on him as he neared the end of his bottle. Just before finishing he took the bottle out of his mouth. Fortunately the object that had soothed him also amused him, at least for a little while.

His 3 year old sister also calmed down with a bottle of water, and everyone relaxed as the mother halted the incessant chant of "Stop!"

The family finally got off the bus a few stops before mine, and by the time I exited, the bus was 25 minutes late.

A few minutes later I was happy to be home...

[May 15, 2001]

iBook News:

Middle Seat Please...

Apple has posted some new iBook Commercials. My favorite is called Middle Seat. It does a good job of showcasing not only the iBook, but iTunes and iMovie as well. And it made me laugh...

Apple News:

Apple Retail

Shop Different...

[May 10, 2001]

iBook News:

I am really looking forward to seeing one of these in person...

A PowerBook Zone reader reports on his iBook, and another sends some pictures. More pics at Go2Mac. This may be the 'Book I can use for webcasting, given some reports on the durability (or lack thereof) of the TiBooks (not to mention the price difference)...

[May 9, 2001]

iBook News:

Laptops in Education

Spurred on by the announcement last week that Apple will be supplying Henrico County School district with enough iBooks for every high school and middle school teacher and student, two prominent newspapers have written articles that are more than just a regurgitation of Apple's press release.

The New York Times article (registration required) focuses on the excitement being generated in the district by the iBook purchase. The Christian Science Monitor article asks the question, "Does the technology really improve learning?" A good question, and one for which there won't be a good answer for a while yet. I have my own opinions about the appropriate use of technology in education, and I know that in order for any shift in educational technique that happens at a magnitude of this nature requires educating the teachers in the best practices before any positive change will be noted.

When all the dust settles, I still like this quote from the end of the CSM article: "Kids already have 24-hour access to learning. It's called books..."


Part three in a series...

An old gray haired lady with a Rottweiler for a seeing eye dog. Wearing silver New Year's Day 2001 party sunglasses. With the zero's as the lenses. And a blue Backstreet Boys T-shirt.

(Say it with me now) That's not something you see every day...

[May 8, 2001]


The ice broke on the Santa Cruz River...

We hit 100° this afternoon, "breaking the ice" on the Santa Cruz River (which hasn't seen continuous running water in many years).

And it will only get hotter...


Part two in a series...

I'm talking with a kid who is holding his small gopher snake, and the snake opens up its mouth, unhinging its jaw, which scares the kid a bit and he lets the snake dangle from his hand. A few seconds later the snake vomits up what can only be described as liquefied mouse ('cause that's what it was). It was actually rather interesting to see what the middle of the digestion process looks like (liver pate, if you must know). I didn't even know snakes could throw up.

That's not something you see every day...

[May 3, 2001]


A day for Good News!

While talking on the phone with my wife about our house, which we just sold, I received email from the WEB2001 conference confirming that I will be moderating a panel discussion called "Arbiters of Style" featuring Jeffrey Zeldman, Eric Meyer, Todd Fahrner, and Eric Costello (in reverse alpha order...)


Part one in a series...

A cowboy riding a unicycle. Spotted on the University of Arizona campus, this cowboy was evidently on his way to class, wearing his boots, Wranglers and Arizona Feeds cap. Riding a unicycle. And then he dismounted and locked it to a bike rack with a u-lock.

That's not something you see every day...

[May 2, 2001]

iBook News:

It's Magic!

Steve Jobs demonstrates just how light the new iBooks are by levitating one at the press event yesterday...

Apple News:

Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews could not be reached for comment...

Microsoft® unveils Windows® XP-alidocious™



It's amazing how getting the right perspective on things can change your whole outlook and attitude. And remind you that the world doesn't revolve around you...

[May 1, 2001]

Apple News:

Apple's Special event...

Apple just finished their special event, announcing a new iBook and an update to OS X that enables CD burning. I'm sure there was more, but I wasn't there...


What a weekend!

My absence here has been due to being off line for the entire weekend. On Friday my wife and I left for California to attend a wedding of a good friend at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. We had a great time and caught up with many old friends. Sunday, I turned 34. Yesterday the we had the inspection done on the house we are buying down the street. It was good to hear the inspector repeating what a nice house it was.

So, like it or not, I am back...

Mark Newhouse is the Web Designer for the public outreach arm of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories in Tucson, AZ. He has been using Macs for over a decade, and sometimes gets Distracted.

Some images courtesy iStockPhoto. Icons courtesy the Iconfactory.


Daemon Skins, at A List Apart
Web Design 2000 pix

Keeper of the iBook


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2 Things at Once
An Entirely Other Day
Captain Cursor
I really must insist...
Mr. Barrett


Independents Day: Celebrating the independent web...

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