Category Archives: Opinion

Musical Milestones

First there was 22,000 Days

and now (just the music – no relation to the folks in the video)

because …

Side bar … although I own* many versions of “Birthday” – vinyl, cassette, CD, and iTunes – I can’t play it for you due to “copyright issues”, so I am forced to find the best cover on YouTube.

Welcome to the Future.

(Sigh)

* no longer sure I actually own them, but I sure paid for them

Relevant RANTS: HERE and HERE

Wolves

I first met him in 2000. He was the Oracle DBA at the company which would later be bought by the one that employed my for 15 years. He is the reason I got my Oracle DBA certification.

He has been out of work for several years now and was finally forced to sell his house. He will be moving back to Oklahoma to live with relatives. He’s my age or a little younger. 

I went over to see him tonight. He is giving away his stuff as his subdivision doesn’t allow garage sales.

Lay offs, reductions in force, terminations continue unabated in the “oil patch”. 

Ever since he called me over the weekend to tell me he was moving, the Garth Brooks song “Wolves” has been playing in my mind. 

Oh Lord, keep me from bein’ the one the wolves pull down

Wolves

Garth Brooks

January’s always bitter

But Lord, this one beats all

The wind ain’t quit for weeks now

And the drifts are ten feet tall

I been all night drivin’ heifers

Closer in to lower ground

Then I spent the mornin’ thinkin’ 

‘Bout the ones the wolves pulled down

Charlie Barton and his family

Stopped today to say goodbye

He said the bank was takin’ over

The last few years were just too dry

And I promised that I’d visit

When they found a place in town 

Then I spent a long time thinkin’

‘Bout the ones the wolves pull down

Lord, please shine a light of hope

On those of us who fall behind

And when we stumble in the snow

Could you help us up while there’s still time

I don’t mean to be complainin’ Lord 

You’ve always seen me through

And I know you got your reasons

For each and every thing you do

But tonight outside my window

There’s a lonesome, mournful sound

And I just can’t keep from thinkin’

‘Bout the ones the wolves pull down

Oh Lord, keep me from bein’

The one the wolves pull down

 
Songwriters: STEPHANIE DAVIS

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Academy

Like a scene from the sci-fi movies Arrival or Close Encounters of the Third Kind, National Guard Black Hawk and heavy twin-blade Chinook helicopters fly over my house inbound to and outbound from the Academy corporate headquarters that is adjacent to my subdivision. The top floor of the parking garage serves as a makeshift heliport. Other floors of the parking garage serve a sleeping areas for a variety of first responders, including Texas State Troopers, who have come in from all over the state. Elsewhere in the parking lots, the National Guard has established bivouac with tents, trucks, and communications equipment. Several fuel tankers are also deployed.

Academy Sports and Outdoors (http://www.academy.com/shop/en/store/company-info) is a sporting goods and outdoor equipment company headquartered in Katy Texas next to my subdivision. The first Academy store opened as a tire shop in San Antonio in 1938. It turned into a military surplus store, then began offering sports and outdoors equipment as it evolved into the present day Academy Sports + Outdoors. They have more than 230 stores in 16 states, supported by more than 23,000 team members throughout the South, Southeast, and Midwest. My next door neighbor is the director (manager) of one of the nearby stores. Several of their IT folks also live in my subdivision.

I recently spoke to one of their corporate accountants who estimated that Academy had already donated over a million dollars worth of supplies, equipment, and services to the ongoing Hurricane Harvey relief effort. The photos below attest to part of this contribution. In addition to providing lodging and logistics for first responders, the Academy corporate headquarters and distribution center has also opened their cafeteria to their guests providing both room and board. 

I am very proud to have Academy as my neighbor. If you live near an Academy store, stop by and thank them for the support they are giving the greater Houston area in this time of need.

View of the Academy headquarters from the south

 

View from the west (street view)




 
 One of the back parking lots

BulgariaSat-1

SpaceX does it again … relaunch and landing of another Falcon 9

Falcon 9’s first stage for the BulgariaSat-1 mission previously supported the Iridium-1 mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in January of this year. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will attempt a landing on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Link to the Press Kit

 

Personal observation … I cannot believe the bozos who comment that this is all faked based on video dropouts. When I “watched” the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions live video was rare to non-existent after the initial live launch video.

You go SpaceX!

PS


Extant

Smart, sexy, intriguing sci-fi. Starring Halle Berry. Deep and multi-threaded. Well written and well acted.

I’m watching it via AmazonPrime. You should watch it any way you can.

http://m.imdb.com/title/tt3155320/

On second thought don’t start watching it. You won’t be able to stop … and sleep will be a thing of the past.*

 

 

* if you have the ability to binge-watch it as I am doing via AmazonPrime.

Apple Support

Apple Support Rocks

Saturday March 27 approximately 1:00 PM … sanity is restored

It may be a while before this posts, that is, between now and when I finish it.

In my previous post I commented: Arthur C. Clark once said that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” except when it f*ck$ up, then it is like a curse from Marie Laveau. (I added the Marie Laveau bit)

Note: My friend also updated his iPhone 6s Plus and thought it went without a hitch. HOWEVER he just discovered that his App Store app is gone. He just called Apple Support and was told that he needed wipe his iPhone and and restore from scratch. Based on my experience there may be another approach but after three days of this I told him I would help him another day. That will be another blog post. UPDATE – my friend had set up Settings > General > Restrictions to turn off access to the App Store and that is why the App Store app disappeared. Sadly he only discovered this after resetting his phone to factory default … TWICE.

Based on personal evidence I conclude that the iOS 10.3.2 upgrade is flawed. I now extremely reticent to upgrade my other devices. 

Additionally I still don’t have all of my ringtones back. I now have most of them but not all. It may be less frustrating to just buy them again if I really want them. You see ringtones are entirely different from music or apps (or iBooks?) purchased from iTunes. Perhaps they are a throwback to the early days of cellphones. Ringtones cannot re-downloaded after purchase. It is a onetime thing. Backing them up requires syncing your iPhone to iTunes on a PC or Mac. I only got back the ones I did through the effort of upper level Apple iTunes Support.

My problem with this entire debacle is that I am so spoiled when it comes to Apple. I expect these kinds of issues with Windows and Linux. With Apple I expect it to “just work”. It always has for me. This time – for me – it failed to “just work.”

Anyway … back to Apple Support … throughout this entire ordeal every Apple Support person I have dealt with from Tier One to Upper Levels has been gracious, calm, and absolutely committed to resolving my issues. I don’t expect technology to function flawlessly at all times (Apple excluded – as I said I’m spoiled), but what do appreciate are companies dedicated to having happy customers. Apple certainly qualifies in this regard. Attention Tim Cook – you should be very proud of your support team.