Thursday, December 18, 2014

Happy Holidays

I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season!

Carol and I have been traveling a lot this year and we are staying home this Christmas, hanging out with our friends in Sedona Arizona instead of traveling to see family in California and Rhode Island.

I was going to buy a new laptop for my work and writing (my MacBook Air is 3 years old) but in spite of my laptop being dinged up it is otherwise in good shape. I decided to do something radical with it yesterday:

When I bought my laptop 3 years ago I initialized it with a Time Machine backup from my older MacBook Pro. Needless to say, there was a lot of cruft on my system. I was also running a developer's preview of Yosemite (with all available updates). Yesterday I reformatted the disk drive and did a fresh install of OS X Yosemite - without restoring anything from Time Machine.

I did manually (command line) restore several directories from the latest folder in the Time Machine backups to save the time of not doing fresh git clones of all of my projects, work and writing. I also decided to just install a minimal set of writing tools that I currently use (mostly I now use so all I need for writing is a plain text editor). For programming languages I only installed Haskell, Java 8, node.js, and Ruby.

Restoring OS X systems with Time Machine works very well, but it was time for a fresh start. Everything seems to run much faster and my SSD drive is 75% empty.

I am "sort of" retired now. I try to limit myself to about 10 hours a week of consulting and about 20 hours a week working on a commercial software product. Currently I am helping one customer integrate IBM Watson into their product and I am doing some development work for another customer (online sports game: Ember.js front end with a Haskell back end). Fun stuff!

With two friends I volunteer maintaining a historic farm owned by the US Forest Service. Part of this is keeping land clear of weeds and planting and harvesting food, and another part is keeping a 1 mile irrigation ditch (supplies water for the farm and a local park) clear. Tim took these two pictures of Don and I working on the irrigation ditch last week:

I enjoy hiking and kayaking, but this year I have spent more time volunteering on the farm.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

I am back from vacation

Carol and I just got back from a cruise from San Diego to Hawaii to Ensenada Mexico and back to San Diego. We have done this cruise before but several people in our extended family wanted to go and we enjoyed the family time. The best part of this particular cruise is that you get about 10 "sea days" which I enjoy.

I took this picture from the Promenade Deck where I spent most of my time reading (and I hate to admit, hacking some Haskell NLP code):

Carol and I don't gamble but she received a birthday gift from the cruise line of some free slot machine time, as seen in this picture:

We had a lot of fun on shore also. Brother Ron, sister Anita, Carol, and I went snorkeling in Maui on a reef 2/3 mile offshore where we saw many green sea turtles. Here is a picture of me that my brother Ron took and a picture of a sea turtle that I took with Ron's camera:

We also had fun on the big island, Oahu, and Kauai. When the ship stopped in Ensenada a few of us went inland to two wineries - a different experience than in wineries back home: more wine and lots of tasty food to go with it. Here is one last picture of my Dad, me, and my brother Ron in the ship's library:

I have a new phone, a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, that was great for the trip. It takes 4K ultra high definition video with video stabilization and great pictures. I put together an 11 minute video for my family that is really pretty good. The advantage of using a phone is that you always have it with you. The huge size of the Note 4 also made is great for reading Kindle books and listening to music and audio books. Now that I have the Note 4 I don't use my iPad mini very often. Except for 3 or 4 one hour Haskell hacking sprints, I never had to use my laptop; everything (email, web, reading, etc.) was done with my phone.