www.geoffmitchell.com

An Escape From Typos

You’d think that, after working at here and breathing everything Apple for decades, I’d pretty much know all there is to know about Mac OS and all the little tips and tricks of the trade. “Novice” users typically watch me in amazement when I work, asking “How’d you do that?” every minute or two. So you can imagine my surprise to stumble across something that’s likely documented somewhere, but I’ve never caught it until today. So I’m posting it to share.

It turns out that, along with the oft used feature of control-clicking a selected word to spellcheck or look up the definition of it, you can hit ‘esc’ when you’ve partially type a word, select the word from a list of words that being with the typed letters, and continue on with your writing.

Written by gsm

08/27/2007 at 11:11 am

Posted in  Miscellaneous 

Are You Lurking At Me?

I can’t help but wonder who’s reading these posts. I’d noticed a spike in my website hits last fall, and the stats continue to surprise me. The number of unique daily visits I’m getting here are well and above the handful or two of friends and family I’d expect to have some moderate degree of interest. Well above. I’m not even close to the ‘real world’ of active websites, where the traffic I get in a month is akin to the hits they see before 7am every day, but I’m definitely getting more eyes then I can comprehend personally knowing, let alone pairs that’d care what i have to write about on any given day.

It’s very complimentary. And a little freaky, too.

Of the 10-20 or so people i might imagine visiting this site, most have, at one time or another, left a comment or written me an email or talked to me about something I’ve written. So that leaves about 80% of the entry views being of unaccounted origin.

Some are probably casual readers, stopping by due to some misplaced search result, but I suspect there’s more. I suspect there’s people out there, friends, ex-friends, old flames, or casual acquaintances that enjoy reading my occasional rant, or more likely, enjoy watching me squirm with my own inner demons. I think they visit frequently enough, read what I have to say while standing perfectly still, breathing as quietly as possible so as not to make a sound or alert me to their presence.

Fortunately, the voices in my head tell me it’s just my imagination. And I trust them. Well, all but one of them, anyway.

;-)

PS: Bonus points to the first person to comment on and identify the actor and movie the image for this post is taken from.

Written by gsm

08/23/2007 at 8:08 am

Posted in  Journal 

Passing Thought : Flashing Lights In Shoes

You know you’re a parent when you do a double-take at the office because you thought you caught a co-workers shoes flashing red lights with each step, as do many shoes for toddlers these days.

You know you work at Apple when you’re right.

Written by gsm

08/21/2007 at 3:42 pm

TEDTalks

I caught wind of this website and their collection of speaker video’s through some contacts at work. I’ve watched or listened to several of these speakers so far and I have to say that they’re fantastic. The first I watched was the John Doerr presentation and it left a lump in my throat. Julia Sweeney made me laugh out loud with her reflections on encountering Mormon Missionaries, and Gabriel makes a passionate statement about human rights. Bono bowled me over with a powerful and eloquent plea for recognizing the plight of Africa as a global emergency, and Dawkins presses the scientific community on the boundaries of faith with some humorous analogies.

What is TED? Per the TED website:

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

This collection is in no means narrow in their focus. There’s a broad palette to choose from, everything from Technology, Entertainment, Design, Business, Science, Culture, Arts, Global issues and so much more.

You could spend hours here. And you should.

The speeches are available on the TED website to watch online or to save to your desktop, as are the audio files as well. In addition, a large number of the videos are available as free podcast downloads on iTunes. You can even subscribe to receive future postings as well.

Having seen only a handful so far, I wanted to recommend the following. Mouse over for a brief description.

Written by gsm

08/21/2007 at 8:38 am

A Nostalgic Gesture

Recently, while driving home one evening, I was witness to a specific “hand gesture” made by a driver. A gesture that I’ve not seen used in a car for some time, and it triggered a poignant sense of longing for the days of my childhood. No, the hand gesture was not the use of a single digit as you’d typically experience these days. The gesture was a right hand turn indication, done by the driver by extending his left arm out and upwards. We all know it, at least I expect we do, as it remains a part of the DMV Driver’s Handbook and testing to this day and is still used by motorcycles and cyclists. But I don’t know that anybody really uses it in cars anymore, except for those that who forced to do so due to issues with their vehicles turn signals, or simply due to their age and habitual attachment to it.

I remember it, though. I remember it vividly.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by gsm

08/20/2007 at 7:07 am

Posted in  Journal 

Crossing A Comedic Line

True story: My wife takes an online I.Q. test. She shares her results and tells me I should take it too. I do, and to her surprise, finish with a 10 point lead on her score. “How’d you get 10 points more than me?” She asks. And without missing a beat, I reply “At the beginning of the test, I checked the box marked “Male”.

If you’re a man, you’re laughing. If you’re a married man you’re likely filing this away in your head for your own use when the opportunity presents itself. If you’re neither, you’re glaring at my website right now with the same “Drop dead, asshole” look I got when I first said this.

It was a joke! How can I have turned away such a perfectly timed setup?

Opportunities like these, you don’t pass up.

And yes, I’m still apologizing.

Written by gsm

08/18/2007 at 8:08 am

Posted in  Humor 

And Everything Under The Sun is in Maroon

Thank you, Brian, for making me aware of the upcoming Lunar Eclipse. This stuff fascinates me. I’ll be working to coordinate a gathering of early risers to join me in getting up to see this through a telescope, and capture it on film as well. This promises to be really something unique.

Early Tuesday morning, August 28th, there’s going to be a colorful lunar eclipse visible from five continents including most of North America. The event begins 54 minutes past midnight PDT on August 28th when the Moon enters Earth’s shadow. At first, there’s little change. The outskirts of Earth’s shadow are as pale as the Moon itself; an onlooker might not even realize anything is happening. But as the Moon penetrates deeper, a startling metamorphosis occurs. Around 2:52 am PDT the color of the Moon changes from moondust-gray to sunset-red. This is totality, and it lasts for 90 minutes.

Written by gsm

08/17/2007 at 2:39 pm

Posted in  Miscellaneous 

A Relatively Routine News Story Hits Home

I still try to maintain some degree of “connection” to the events of the world around me. That’s not an easy task. I have more than my share of demands on my time, as do we all, so taking time to contemplate the daily news and all the things that happen to all the other people in all the other places around the world is not my natural inclination. I usually have to make an effort to do so.

For example, take an event from this week week in Salem, Oregon. If you’re not a part of that community, or if you don’t know anybody living there, the discovery of a woman’s body on an early morning by a dog walker in a neighborhood park, would not ring a bell. I’m certain that, every month in every city in every state of our country, things like this happen, they’re news for a day or two, they impact the locals momentarily, and things move forward with little or no consequences. This stuff seems common place enough that it doesn’t make the ‘mainstream’ media. Why would it? It happens all the time. Right?

But sometimes, one can make a connection if they stop long enough, regardless of whether or not they’re personally involved, and consider the incident with less detachment. The broader and more dramatic the events, such as school shootings, famine related deaths and systematic genocide clearly strike harder and louder than say, in comparison, the discovery a a lone body as in this story. But ultimately, there’s something to be learned about our own lives, our humanity, and our how we’re all somehow connected, through such a circumstance.

I’ve had a personal recollection about a trip I made to this very area of Salem outlined in my ‘drafts to polish and publish‘ collection of website entries for some time. I’m now completing it, prompted by this particular story and the whole theme of connections. I’m actually staying up all night if that’s what it takes. This is that important to me. I have to act on this now. It’s a long one, one that took place over 15 years ago. And it’s all true.

It’s brought to it’s completion now by the simple observation, if not the hope, that the otherwise “routine events” such as the one mentioned above can give us all a reason to reflect a bit more on them when they happen, and how directly or indirectly, they might impact our lives.

I hope you’ll read on.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by gsm

08/16/2007 at 2:07 pm

Posted in  Journal 

Two Poorly Executed Decisions

Sometimes I just feel like there’s a bit of “George Costanza” in my daily life. I have these obscure and ironic little experiences that you’d naturally expect that Seinfeld character to get into and have to weasel out of. Case in point, the events of this afternoon in the Men’s room at work. While heading out at the end of the day, computer bag in hand, I decided to stop at the mens room before driving home. As I’ve mentioned before I’m a “stall” focused restroom user, preferring the handicapped stall over others, as it’s always easier to have the space to set down a brief case or other belongings out of “Harms Way”.

Having completed my brief visit, I started to buckle my belt, but I found it difficult to do so with my shirt, the type that hangs out un-tucked, in my way. So I placed the tip of the bottom of the shirt lightly between my teeth and quickly buckled and zipped.

Only to find that the shirt was terribly absorbent and/or I have a serious saliva issue. In either event, there i stood, ready to exit, with a big dark wet stain positioned at a point that would clearly indicate some rather roughshod and haphazard use of the facilities on my part. It looked like I pissed on my shirt.

I rolled my eyes at the situation, figured I’d just have to conceal it on the way out, and envisioned writing this post about the whole thing and making light of it. In fact, I figured what better way to illustrated the situation then snapping a photo with my iPhone of my freshly stained shirt.

And i did just that. I took the iPhone, turned on the camera, made my best guess alignment and pushed the shutter button.

“CLICK” went the audible shutter sound of the iPhone.

Did I mention I was not the only person in the restroom?

There was a guy seated in the stall next to me. A guy oblivious to any of the humor behind the events transpiring in the stall to his left. A guy who’s only point of reference was the sound and vision of shuffling feet, a modest snorting of irony, and then the sound of a camera shutter being triggered.

I left as quickly as possible.

Written by gsm

08/16/2007 at 7:00 am

Posted in  Humor 

A Point of No Removal

When I saw the diamond wedding ring on the finger of my female boss, My jaw dropped. It was spectacular. And that’s saying something, coming from me, because I’m about as far from a “jewelry person” as you’ll find. But for one of the very few times in my life, I was actually impressed, if not floored, by the beauty of a diamond wedding ring.

The ring was a simple one, likely a big part of the attraction. It had a smooth platinum band, held a small rectangular diamond on each side, and in the center was set an elegant and sparkling 1.72 carat diamond. Clear. Crisp. Near flawless. And the whole piece of work was only the second I’d seen to date that made me imagine that, if I ever gave a woman a wedding ring, it’d be that one.

What was also odd, too, was that my boss was unmarried at the time, and the ring was, if I recall correctly, on her right hand, not her left.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by gsm

08/16/2007 at 12:52 am

Posted in  Journal 

Hitting My Pace Again

As prior posts indicate, it’s been a busy time at work. Well, there’s still a full day’s work to tackle daily, but it’s refreshingly reasonable again. It feels like the unexpected hills, uneven terrain, twists, turns, and occasional drive-by shooting are all behind me now. The road ahead looks manageable for the time being, and I feel like I’m getting ‘into the zone’ and tackling things in a more thoughtful and organized way again.

Whew!

Written by gsm

08/15/2007 at 7:00 pm

Posted in  Journal 

WWW : When Websites Work

I have my own desires and agenda for this website, as detailed in my ‘About’ page. And I have friends, both close and distant, that have their own sites as well. I’ve had a number of things happen in the past week that help illustrate why I think having personal websites like this are very useful, and actually help some people stay connected/involved when they might otherwise not be.

  • I regularly read a distant friend’s website but have little/no routine contact with them. They wrote about contemplating a personal decision about a situation I went through myself, and I was able to write, share my thoughts, and contribute my experience for their consideration in making their choice.
  • That same friend was writing about the advice he was getting from myself and others, one of which, it turns out, is a good friend of mine, and we had no idea we were both giving him input.
  • The author of a site I read regularly asked me a question related to Apple hardware and I was able to help dig into the issues and provide some recommendations.
  • While helping port my friend Jess’s website to wordpress, I stumbled across a very funny “LOST” reference that still leaves me chuckling.
  • Revisting a former colleague’s website gave me insight into an easier way to fix a ‘sticky mouse’ issue then the one I’d suggested to him some time back.
  • After writing about my anger management issues, A good friend related their own similar feelings, which gave me a sense of support.

In the end having the references, rants, and exchanges documented and accessible means that we’re able to use these sites to stay connected and in touch. I know there’s a good deal about the internet that can lead to people being removed and isolated, but the things that come out of reading and browsing personal websites of friends and family are far more enabling in retaining and building those relations then they are able becoming isolated and detached. In addition, the friends I have locally are ones I continue to have ‘real time’ interactions with over lunch or on weekends. And now I’ll be having lunch soon with the friend wrestling with a personal decision. Something I’d not be doing had he not posted his thoughts.

If you don’t already have a website, go set one up for free at WordPress.com. That’s where this one lives, and it’s a breeze to setup and maintain. Start writing your own thoughts and experiences, and let me know when you do so I can add you to my list of sites to watch for updates. If you want some help or pointers drop me a line.

Written by gsm

08/15/2007 at 8:08 am

Posted in  Journal 

Greendimes

I’m sick of junk mail. Not the ’email’ kind, but the crap that gets crammed into my home mail box every day by the post office. This is not stuff I asked for, nor do I have any interest in, but for obvious financial reasons its not in the Post Office’s best interest to curtail junk mail. Unlike email, there’s no simple ‘filtering’ options to be found, and getting the ‘Occupant” and “Bulk Mail Rate” flyers and coupons to stop coming requires far more time and diligence then I have to devote to doing so. I’ve tried and I’ve tired….

But now, for $15, there’s a company that’s finally come around with a simple solution. And that’s not $15 a month, or even a year; it’s a one-time charge. That’s right, for the price of a good lunch or an average dinner, you’re on your way to reducing the junk mail at your home by up to 90%. GreenDimes reduces the credit card offers, insurance offers, sweepstakes offers, coupon mailers, solicitations and catalogs that your household receives. In their first ten months alone they have stopped over 1 million pounds of junk mail and planted over 250,000 trees.

Your membership puts your name on “Do-Not-Mail” listings, with complete control on your end as to what you do or don’t want to be sent. And not only do they manage it all online, you are also routinely confirmed to be off lists by their service. In addition, they’ll plant 10 trees when you join! AND they’re lobbying for a national “Do-not-mail list” just like the existing “Do-not-call list”. Let’s cross our fingers for that one!

Did you know….

  • 100 million trees are cut down each year to create the approximately 4.5 million tons of junk mail in the United States
  • 28 billion gallons of water go into the production of American junk mail annually
  • 5 percent of the waste sent to landfills is junk mail.

You can take part in putting and end to that and make opening the mailbox something you look forward to again.

Written by gsm

08/15/2007 at 8:08 am

Posted in  Miscellaneous 

Stranger than Fiction (4 stars)

Stranger than Fiction image“As a novelist (Emma Thompson) struggles with how to kill off her main character, IRS auditor Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) begins hearing her narration in his head and realizes he must prevent his own death. Crick’s world turns upside down, and it’s a life-or-death situation as he tries to persuade best-selling author Kay Eiffel to change the ending of her novel. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman and Queen Latifah lead the fine supporting cast.”

Geoff’s Comments: I greatly enjoyed this movie. The acting was wonderful; Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman and Will Ferrell gave standout performances. And the story, well, it’s in a vein I always appreciate; putting the value of our daily life into perspective, and recognizing that breaking from routines and awaking from a ‘sleepwalking’ existence can breathe the most amazing color and breath into one’s life, no matter what the outcome.

[ rent Stranger than Fiction via netflix.com]

Written by gsm

08/14/2007 at 10:22 pm

Posted in  Video 

Stranger than Fiction (4 stars)

Stranger than Fiction image“As a novelist (Emma Thompson) struggles with how to kill off her main character, IRS auditor Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) begins hearing her narration in his head and realizes he must prevent his own death. Crick’s world turns upside down, and it’s a life-or-death situation as he tries to persuade best-selling author Kay Eiffel to change the ending of her novel. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman and Queen Latifah lead the fine supporting cast.”

Geoff’s Comments: I greatly enjoyed this movie. The acting was wonderful; Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman and Will Ferrell gave standout performances. And the story, well, it’s in a vein I always appreciate; putting the value of our daily life into perspective, and recognizing that breaking from routines and awaking from a ‘sleepwalking’ existence can breathe the most amazing color and breath into one’s life, no matter what the outcome.

[ rent Stranger than Fiction via netflix.com]

Written by gsm

08/14/2007 at 10:22 pm

Posted in  Video 

Now Playing : Starsailor

I recently thinned out my collection of MP3s, whittling down the size by archiving and deleting music I never played. In many cases I had stuff I’d downloaded on a whim but never really got around to seriously listening to. Starsailor was one of those. Until tonight. This band is fantastic. I think the best comparison would be “Coldplay” meets “Oasis”. This is great stuff and I’ve been listening to all three releases this evening, intently, and I don’t think my foots stopped tapping or my head’s stopped nodding once.

Starsailor on iTunes

Written by gsm

08/13/2007 at 11:30 pm

Posted in  Music 

Defenso-Reacto Man

There’s a few personal websites I visit on a daily basis. They’re linked on the sidebar under “recommended clicking“. I do so because the writing is consistently worth reading. These are personal websites, or “blogs” if you wish, although I think the term “blog” should be reserved for the vapid and banal diary-style entries you’ll typically find on mySpace. The sites I frequent are far more creative and thought provoking than a series of twitter generated sputtering about “hating my science teacher because they gave me a C“, or “Carrie’s friend is so totally lame to think that Sarah’s brother is cute, OMG!” and “it was, like, so hard to find a pair of red pumps to match my black low rise jeans and my pink “90% Bitch” tank top.” No, the sites I am talking about are not some vacuous teen’s online social presence. These are websites authored by very creative and talented writers with humorous, personal and insightful thoughts to share. Clumping them into the category of a “web log” is an unjust association.

So, one of these websites recently posted an entry in which the author boldly laid out the personal details of their own struggles with what they conveyed as a “borderline personality disorder”. Interestingly, it sounded a bit too close to my own frequent feelings than I might typically feel comfortable revealing. Yet I was both impressed with the honesty and grateful to hear somebody else sharing their experience. It was good enough to merit taking a moment to send them an email of praise for the writing, as well as offering that they were not alone in their struggles. That there were others out here that have their own struggles as well. That we were in the same camp. Perhaps not the exact same dysfunctional cabin, but definitely in the same dysfunctional camp.

It also gave me the inspiration to write about an issue of my own.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by gsm

08/10/2007 at 8:08 am

Posted in  Journal 

DIBS! Hey, I Said It First!

Right in line with my site’s tagline about “Great Minds’, the new iPhoto’s fancy improvements on photo publishing on the web are called “Web Gallery”, while my own photos that I’ve had online for some time now are in my “Web Gallery” photo album. So the transition is almost a natural one. And now that the feature is announced, I can finally publish the update to my photo section with the new user experience. Check it out!

PS: I’ve also started messing around with the new ‘iPhone to .Mac’ feature as well, where I can take a photo on my iPhone and directly post it to a Web Gallery. It’s just for grins and giggles. I call it iSnapped.

Written by gsm

08/07/2007 at 8:59 pm

Posted in  Miscellaneous 

They’re Not Wound Up Rubber Bands from Balsa Wood Airplanes

I couldn’t resist posting this image and asking the simple question: What do you think it is? The answer is, at least to me, amazing. Simply incredible, mind boggling and amazing. And it’s the reason I visit this site on a daily basis.

Click the image to get the answer.

Written by gsm

08/04/2007 at 11:36 pm

Posted in  Miscellaneous 

They’re Not Wound Up Rubber Bands from Balsa Wood Airplanes

I couldn’t resist posting this image and asking the simple question: What do you think it is? The answer is, at least to me, amazing. Simply incredible, mind boggling and amazing. And it’s the reason I visit this site on a daily basis.

Click the image to get the answer.

Written by gsm

08/04/2007 at 11:36 pm

Posted in  Miscellaneous 

and Lenny Bruce Is Not Afraid

When I was about 14 or 15 years old, I found myself riffling through the discount bin at local record store called “the Satisfied Ear”. In amongst the rows of cutout inventory, I found a recording that has remained a personal favorite to this day. The album was a double album. The cover bore a simple illustration of the performer, from a slightly narrow and elongated perspective, with the addition of a rainbow to one side. The venue of the live performance was listed beside the boldly printed name of the comic. Lenny Bruce. Carnegie Hall.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by gsm

08/03/2007 at 10:47 pm

Posted in  Journal 

Broke Hawk Down

I was on my way to work when the call came through. It was my wife. There was a large bird that was in the back yard, and she’d observed it shaking a bit then falling forward and dying on the patio. In the mean time the smaller birds that live in the trees along the fence were diving at it and she was concerned about what might become of the carcass and the limitations it’s being there would place on her day with the kids. She was upset, did not want to attempt to remove it, and wanted me to come home at lunch and attend to it.

I hate stuff like this. And not out of some dramatic empathy for the bird, but because it’s removal is really not something I wanted to have to return home to deal with. It seemed ridiculous that she’d not do so herself. I literally asked her “You mean to say that you want me to come all the way back home to scoop up a dead bird?!“. “Yes” was her reply. Said in a way that, seasoned veterans such as my self will attest, clearly indicates a futility of furher discussion.

Having not made it all the way to work yet, expecting that the delay of it’s removal could become a messy situation if the smaller birds or a neighbor’s cat got to it before I did, I circled back, heading home, and instructed her to leave a paper grocery bag on the patio for me to put it into.

I’m so glad I did. Because what happened next was incredible, and not an opportunity one frequently finds outside of the confines of an aviary or zoo.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by gsm

08/03/2007 at 2:45 pm

Posted in  Journal 

Half Dome Header Image

Time for a new website header image, and this is a personal favorite for many reasons. This was taken from a single engine Cessna back around 1988 or so. I was working at a company call “21st Century Products”; a distributor of haircare and salon products like shampoo, conditioner and such. My boss was Jack Marks, a man I consider a dear friend to this day. He’d invited me to join his older son and he on a plane flight with his son’s friend who had his flying license, or was racking air miles, or something along that nature. So we met early in the morning at some airport around Fremont, and flew out to some remote airport where we walked through an old Ghost Town to some place for lunch and flew back.

All those details are foggy. But what I do remember are three very distinct events. One of which was the decision to fly into Yosemite Valley and “buzz” Half Dome. It’s apparently not kosher to do so, or perhaps even illegal, but we did it anyway, and it was incredible. We flew right over the top…. close enough that when I looked down all i saw was the granite surface below and a sudden drop as we crossed over the face and looked down into the valley. It remains one of my “deathbed moments” to this day. This photo was shot as we were circling around above it.

The other two distinct memories? Doing a momentary “free fall” that caused my camera to fly out of my hands but be caught by the experienced and aware son of Jack. And buzzing a nearby dam, where we skimmed above the water and pulled up at the last minute to avoid colliding with the cement dam at the last minute.

And yes, I literally did fall to my knees and kiss the ground when we landed :-)

Written by gsm

07/28/2007 at 9:35 am

Balls to the Wall

I’ve become fond of referring to my present workload and the related stress level by using the analogy of playing three concurrent games of tennis on parallel courts. Well today I feel like I just froze in place, overwhelmed and beaten down by the sense of futility of it all, while the sounds of the unreturned volleys echoed across the court surfaces and bounced against the long wall behind me. I just stopped running. It became too much. And although the weekend ahead may provide a moment to breathe between sets, the fact that I’ll have the responsibility of walking about to gather all the shots I let fly by me in a moment of frustrated exhaustion weighs heavy on my mind.

Written by gsm

07/27/2007 at 11:28 pm

Posted in  Journal 

I See iPhones. All the Time. They’re Everywhere.

Everywhere I look today, around every corner I turn, in the hands of numeous people I see walking about or in meetings or sitting in a cafe, I see iPhones. And it’s not just my imagination or my eyes playing tricks on me. They are everywhere. Some in hands, some in desk cradles, some still in boxes. For today is the first day of the iPhone distribution at work, and by the looks of things, there’s not many waiting until day two. It’s quite an exciting day. So far. Earning have not been announced yet so we’ll see how that goes in a short while.

Written by gsm

07/25/2007 at 1:40 pm

Posted in  Technology