All on a Mac

Our whole family uses Macs. Datacenter, laptops, from grandparents to kids.

Why ?

My recent use of my usually dormant IBM Thinkpad with Microsoft XP, version whatever, confirmed it, again. How could anything be more convoluted ? It’s really too bad that the majority thinks that this is what computing is about. It isn’t.

How about that a Mac laptop is an industrial strength UNIX desktop, with all of the embedded goodness of UNIX, ever evolving since the 1960′s. (Hey, I created our wedding invitation using my first Sun 2/160 workstation with troff…) That machine, my first, was bigger than a dorm refrigerator, could heat a small apartment, and cost about $80,000, which was real money in those days. It changed my life. Read the archived UNIXWorld article, here.

Macs ? You turn it on, it works. What a concept ! It’s an aesthetic experience, always. Wow…!!!

Check out this recent re-post from John Battelle’s Searchblog. I just couldn’t resist, click on the video, it says it all…

OK, I got it off my chest…

Impedance—->Science—>Life—>Music !

One of the more interesting principles in physics, acoustics and electrical engineering is “impedance.”

It’s been repurposed as a term for other social situations also. For example, when you meet someone who happens to be very focused or relaxed, and you are amped up and oozing verbosity, you are known to not know how to “impedance match.” Impedance matching is critically important when you are in a different country- not only is the language an initial barrier, but the attitudes and unwritten rules of contact are also. So, impedance is a pretty important part of your life !

A Scientific Definition is, “The opposition to the flow of electric or acoustic energy measured in ohms.”

But more generally, I see it as, “the opposition to the flow of energy.” You can use it as a life principle.

When there is tension around a decision or situation, I tend to think in terms of Impedance. With that, this week I wrote a new composition, “High Impedance,” which is at Studiogracht.

A Day in the Life of…an Amsterdam Canal

The canals in Amsterdam are living organic waterways. They support many forms of life (fish, eels, ducks, etc.). They are also a dumping ground for humanity. Keeping them clean is an ongoing round-the-clock enterprise. The city does an admirable job, particularly considering the magnitude of the task.

Every year 6,000-10,000 bikes are reclaimed from the canals. The service that does this passes by our house about once per week. A photo set of today’s weekly pass-by is here. Check out the “catch” from one morning !

Some other facts- “Why the canal water is fresh… ”

  • The water in the canals in Amsterdam is cleaned several times a week: during four nights in summer (and when it is hot during seven nights) and two nights in winter. The water is not pumped up from the Amstel, nor from the IJ, but from the IJselmeer, which is relatively clean. At the end of the Zeeburgerdijk (in the east, near the Flevopark), you can find the pumping station. Four times a week (or seven or two times) all sluices around the center of Amsterdam are closed (most of them automatically, but the one at the Oudezijds Kolk still by hand), except for two at the western end of the city center. Then about a third of the total volume of all the water in the canals is pumped from the IJselmeer (through a large culvert under the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal which forms more or less the border between the IJ and the IJselmeer) into the canals, which change now into a kind of river, discharging into the IJ.
  • Amsterdam has approximately 160 canals with a total estimated length of 75.5 KM. How much water ? 5.2 million cubic meters !

FEBO !

When our friends Levi and Carlotta visited we sampled a well-known Dutch phenomenon, FEBO. It seems that Carlotta, who grew up in Amsterdam, had fond memories of FEBO. For those who’ve never seen it, FEBO is basically a place where you step in off the street, insert money into a stainless steel receptacle, and take food out of the wall from behind the glass windows. FEBO ! Food from a stainless steel wall ! How much more industrial can it get ?

To make it even more bizarre, Kit and I sometimes play with a small stick-on head of a character we’ve coined “Evil Dr. van FEBO.” (You can see him planted on my guitar in the picture below) Evil Dr. van FEBO has no body, just a twisted evil head. He plants himself on things and then sucks the life out them. Kit has placed him on my forehead numerous times, thereby sucking my brain into Dr. FEBO’s. He then planted himself on my guitar and wrote this song, “Evil van FEBO,” which he posted at the Studiogracht…… You’d understand if you’d eaten at FEBO…