Genealogy on the Macintosh Computer

May 4, 2012 by · Comments Off on Genealogy on the Macintosh Computer 

Try as I might, I just can’t be 100% business on my Mac—either at work, or in this column (not that my media center articles had a whole lot to do with business….). Like many of us, I have a number of hobbies. Some (especially members of my family) say I have too many, but today I’ll focus on just one of them: genealogy. Read more

I Learned About Radio From That

May 4, 2012 by · Comments Off on I Learned About Radio From That 

Disclaimer: Most of the names have been omitted for their (and my) protection. Please note, too, that this tale is based on my own observations and recollections of events as they unfolded. They might not always be completely accurate. If they aren’t, my apologies in advance.

And so it begins…

First, a little about my background. I got involved in South Florida radio in high school by joining a Junior Achievement company operating at 1000 watt WFTL AM 1400 in Fort Lauderdale. We produced a one-hour radio show on Saturday mornings, and sold advertising time for it. In the three years I was involved in Junior Achievement, I was the top salesman for Broward County (it helped to have a relatively expensive product–radio advertising) every year. Read more

I Learned About Desktop Publishing From That

May 4, 2012 by · Comments Off on I Learned About Desktop Publishing From That 

How I wound up as a professional technogeek is a long and semi-interesting tale. It involves multiple computing platforms, multiple job shifts, and a whole lotta dumb luck.

After getting out of the US Air Force in 1982 after a nine year stint as a radio technician, I immediately began working for a huge Midwest-based communications equipment manufacturer, at their paging and commercial two-way radio manufacturing and R&D facility in south Florida. I worked in the manufacturing engineering organization as a bench technician, but had many of the responsibilities of a full-fledged engineer but for a whole lot less money (it was, however, double what I was making in the Air Force). I began playing with HP desktop computers and calculators writing simple programs in HPL (high-performance language) and HP Basic, controlling arrays of test equipment over their GPIB (general purpose interface bus). Read more

Stealing Ali: A Book Review

May 4, 2012 by · Comments Off on Stealing Ali: A Book Review 

Imagine if you will that you are newly married — to a wonderful woman who had two daughters from previous marriages. Imagine that your new spouse’s ex-husband, of Lebanese descent, kidnapped the younger of the two daughters and took her back to his ancestral home in Lebanon, leaving her with his family while he went on to work elsewhere in the Middle East. Imagine that your new wife traveled to Lebanon to find and retrieve the kidnapped daughter. Imagine that a few months later, he did it again. this time, taking her to Bahrain, a small island in the Persian Gulf! Read more

Physician, Heal Thyself

May 4, 2012 by · Comments Off on Physician, Heal Thyself 

Web server. Head Crash. No Backup. Doh!

You’d think I’d learned my lesson about backing up critical data, but nope, not me. In an extreme case of overconfidence and hubris, I let a Mac mini that I had set up in my house as a web server for a genealogically oriented family association go without a full backup … for almost seven years! Yeah, yeah… I had planned on doing something when I had a little free time on my hands, but that time never came.

This server was running several specialized web applications, including the genealogy of the Grinnell family, configured in such a fashion that it is very difficult to start over from scratch. Oh, and did I mention the main membership database? Yup. Also gone. At least for that one, I think I’ve got a backup of that file somewhere, and because it’s membership renewal time, the membership chair had just made printouts of critical member information. Not that this should in anyway excuse what has happened. Read more

Andy Nelson, the Later Years

May 2, 2012 by · Comments Off on Andy Nelson, the Later Years 

Andy Nelson with his Epiphone Deluxe – ca. 1972

I was reminded of my uncle, the late Andy Nelson, after receiving an email from the son of the couple who bought Andy’s palatial log house in Lake George, NY, back in the early 1970s. I’m not sure of the whys and wherefores, but it was decided that the buyers of the house make a small down payment, and then proceed to make monthly payments directly to Andy. The papers were drawn up and it turned out to be a fortuitous event as you, dear reader, will see further on. Read more