Shooting myself in the foot

I am incredibly thankful that 1Password family accounts can be recovered. I am equally thankful that I had configure my wife’s account correctly so that it could be used to recover my account.

This all started last week, when I changed my password, mistakenly thinking that it was separate from my 1Password master password. I didn’t think too much about it, because I still had access to 1Password on my laptop (unlocking with Apple Watch and TouchID). I noticed that my phone and iPad weren’t syncing, but I chalked that up to the password change.

Earlier today, I tried to update the password on my iPhone, but I was unable to unlock 1Password on my laptop. My master password wouldn’t work. What had happened quickly dawned on me. Of course I had my new Emergency Recovery Kit, but I had not written down my new password (which was a random string, generated by 1Password – ugh). I started to panic, especially when I looked at my wife’s laptop, and found that she was logged into my 1Password account.

After about ten minutes of pure panic, I was able to login to with her account, and I was able to initiate the recovery process for my account.

I’m probably the only person dumb enough to make this mistake, but just in case – here’s a word of caution – Remember that your and 1Password master password are one and the same. Don’t use 1Password to generate a random password for your account, as this will eventually lock you out of 1password completely.

The cost of calling BBSes

I know I’m not the only one to have this happen, but I’d like to relate my experience of calling BBSes in the early ’90s.

I was late to the party as far as getting a modem. I had an Apple //c from mid 1984, but it wasn’t connected to a network in any way, unless you include “sneaker net.” At some point, I picked up a 2400 baud modem from one of the ads in the back of Incider, and things changed.

I already had my own phone line in my room, for which I paid 100% of the bill. I spent the first couple of days calling any local number that I could find. There was a list of Detroit area BBSes, and I had some phone numbers from the crack screens as well. Not all of them were BBSes. I recall one of the crack screens had a listing for the FBI with a 313 area code number. I assumed it was the number of a BBS called FBI. Imagine my surprise when the phone was answered by… you guessed it, the Detroit FBI field office.

Near the tail end of the BBS era, systems were harder and harder to come by, so I started to reach out a bit farther. I convinced myself that I could call the Byte Bastards BBS (in New York – 212 area code) on a limited basis. If I called in, just to check messages, and see if there were any interesting downloads, it would cost that much. Or so I thought.

Connecting to, and interacting with these systems was addictive. It didn’t help that sometimes, the sysop was around, and would break in, and you would be having a one on one chat with someone… over the computer.

In hindsight, I really was flying blindly. I don’t remember whether or not I even called Michigan Bell to find out what the long distance rate would be to call Byte Bastards.

I remember calling every evening, I’d read the boards, check for email, and then log off. I’m sure there were some downloads in there as well. The first bill after this started was larger, but manageable. I was still working a minimum wage job, and making a couple hundred dollars every two weeks.

The second bill was over the top. It was over FIVE HUNDRED dollars. That was more than I made in a month. I think I called, and tried to make some arrangements to split that bill over time, and I told myself I needed to cut back.

Even that didn’t help. I’m sure there was some lag between that second bill being sent, and me realizing the hole that I had dug. When the third bill arrived, it was also over $500. Here I was, just out of high school, with two phone bill in a row tat would take up 100% of my gross pay. I threw in the towel, let the phone get disconnected, and worked to pay it off as quickly as I could.

I don’t remember what warez I could have downloaded from that BBS, but I can guarantee that even that could not cover the cost of those telephone bills.

The real rub is that this was just months before I would get access to a local dialup from the university I attended, which would open up so many more possibilities for $0 / minute.

</TLDR> When I started to call an “elite” BBS that was long distance, I racked up over $1000 in telephone bills.

Humble Beginnings: The Apple IIe, //c.

My fascination with computers started in grade school. I’m not sure when, but at some point in 1983 St. Paul’s Lutheran School got at least one (but, I think it may have been two) Apple ][e computers.

My first memory of using the computer was our 5th-grade teacher showing us how he was using it to create Christmas wrapping paper. It was a rather simple program, it printed an ASCII Art Christmas Tree and the words Merry Christmas in a pattern. Being an all-or-nothing kind, when I bought a floppy disk so I could start saving programs, games, etc., I was given a copy of this program, and I remember changing it in later years to add color to the print out (alternating green and red.)

The computer was on a cart and available when a class needed it, and we would get to use it if we got our classwork done early. Those sessions were usually dominated by Lemonade Stand or Oregon Trail. In the afternoons, the computer was available for use in the latchkey program. Games were allowed, and I remember getting a copy of PuckMan any chance I got. I even remember one of the moms mentioning to the latchkey monitor that there was a new “hard” floppy disk coming on the new Apple Macintosh.

Apple ][ computers seemed to be ubiquitous to me. The high schools had them, local museums had them. To me, it seemed like they were everywhere. To me, Apple ][ computers were serious computers, and everything else was a toy.

I wanted a computer so badly, I’m sure it was all I talked about. When we would go to Northland Mall there was a computer area on the lower level. I still remember the cubicles they had set up in a cross pattern. By this point the Apple //c had been released (as had the original Macintosh.) The display computers were: 1) Apple ][e, 2) Apple //c, 3) Macintosh (128k), 4) IBM PCjr. I wanted the Apple ][e, because that’s what we had at school.

I dreamed of owning that computer for months, and then one day, after school, my mom said she had something to show me in my dad’s “office”. There it was, in all its glory, an Apple //c.

That Christmas (or maybe the next) saw a computer desk under the tree, and the computer was moved into my bedroom. This Apple //c was my main computer from that day (June 1984) through when I was given an Apple IIgs around 1993 or 1994. Every high school paper was written in AppleWorks. I had built databases of everything I “collected” – disks, music (CDs, and albums, etc).

This was the computer that I used to access local and long-distance BBSes, as well as GEnie and AOL. It’s hard to believe that I used to pay hourly for access to something like GEnie. I used to have a script that could be used to dial in during off-hours and download new messages. The next day, I would read any messages, type responses, and then let the script upload and download anything new.

All was well until I started calling BBSes that were in other area codes. I’ll save that story for another post, but I’m sure you can see where that is going.

Many hours were spent using (totally legit copies of) Copy ][ Plus and Locksmith to make “backups” of games, and other software. This was painful on a single floppy system, but it worked. I had a few people who would lend me a 2nd drive for a few days, and this seemed like heaven.

I clearly remember that this was the original firmware Apple //c because I wanted a Unidisk 3.5 drive, and did the tests to see if our //c needed a firmware update. It did, but unfortunately, we never got a Unidisk, and never got the firmware update.

These early experiences made me a lifetime fan of Apple. Even then the products seemed like they were whole systems and not disparate parts.

Missing Songs in iTunes!

I have to admit, when I first read about missing songs in iTunes, I was confused. I was 100% sure that this had to be user error. This was based on my experience with a 19,000+ music library. Some of which I ripped from CDs, some I downloaded from somewhere other than iTunes, and some which I purchased from iTunes. I’ve never had any problems with losing songs. I keep my master iTunes collection on a Mac mini at my house, and access music via iTunes Match on an iPhone, iPad, and work MacBook Pro. I occasionally add music on my work MacBook, and then use iTunes Match to download the songs on my Mac mini at home.
Something changed recently, which lead to me loosing some of music, and I think I know what caused this to happen. The first sign that problems were starting showed up in movies streaming from my iTunes library to my TV. Sometimes videos would “glitch” and the audio would get out of sync, making the movie / tv show unwatchable. I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out why this was happening, but never found a solution. Fast forward a few months, and I started to have major issues with a number of my attached drives on my Mac mini. It started with a non-repairable HFS directory on a Drobo. I moved all of the data off of the Drobo, and then the 4TB drive that held my iTunes library starting having IO errors, so I backed everything up to the newly emptied Drobo. After everything was copied, I tried one more time to repair the directory on the 4TB drive, and it seemed to work. After about a week, it seemed that even though the directory could be repaired, the drive was still having issues, so I re-coppied the iTunes library, and reformatted the drive. This is when I noticed the missing files. The dreaded exclamation marks started show up. Thankfully, I also had a BackBlaze backup, so I was able to recover some of the Apple Lossless files that were missing. The rest of the library was able to be recovered from iTunes match.
At this point, I’ve given up on the non iTMS purchased movies and TV shows that were on that drive. It will be easier to re-rip them than to figure out which are corrupt.
TL;DR: Songs went missing from my iTunes library, and it’s likely a result of my hard drive being corrupt.

 Watch hindsight!

Boy was my crazy prediction wrong! I thought that the prices would be:

  •  Watch – $349 / $369-$399
  •  Watch Sport – $349 / $369-$399
  •  Watch Edition – $3,000 – $10,000 or more

What they really are:

  •  Watch – $549 – $1099
  •  Watch Sport – $349 – $399
  •  Watch Edition -$10,000 – $15,000

First off, I have to admit that I just don’t get the pricing. In regards to the  Watch, unless the sapphire crystal is a $200 part, it’s hard to justify the price difference. I ‘m mostly disappointed in the price of the link bracelet. I had missed the fact that these bracelets took more than 9 hours to manufacture. A large part of the disappointment is based on the fact this is the band that I most wanted.
The  Watch Edition is the most confusing to me. Unless I’m missing something, you could buy the “low” end version for $10,000 and the classic buckle for $149, as opposed to the version which includes the classic buckle brand for $15,000. Could there really be $4,851 worth of gold in the parts of the band that connect to the watch? I know that’s not the point, but it’s hard for me to fathom not having to care about that much money.
For me, the final question is which version is right for me. The version that I want (42mm Space Black Case with Space Black Stainless Steel Link Bracelet) is way out of my budget. One model that could fit into my budget is the 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band. However, the bands that ship in the box aren’t big enough for my wrist. My wrist is at least 215mm.
I will more than likely stop into a retail store once they’re available to try on, and see if I’m wrong. Assuming that I’m not, and it doesn’t fit, I will be waiting until Apple or (more likely) a third party produce a band large enough for me to wear comfortably. I’ve been down the road before. The band that shipped with the Fossil Abacus was almost big enough for my wrist, but was too tight to wear comfortably. My all-time favorite watch is a Fossil that I purchased almost 20 years ago, and I still remember needing to have 2 – 3 links added to the band so that it would fit correctly.
For the time being, I’ll wait in the wings and see how this all shakes out.

My uninformed, biased take on the current mobile market

I’m sure that my take on this is heavily biased by the fact that I was a die hard (pre Macintosh) Apple fan during the company’s darkest times. You know, the time when Apple was barely of life support, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to actually admit that it was true. Thankfully Steve Jobs came back, righted the ship (after plugging the leaks,) and brought Apple back to the healthy juggernaut that they are today. That being said, I still get annoyed by the long int the tooth IT admins who can’t get over the fact that Apple survived. Even though we went through a period where Apple was the undisputed tech darling, they can’t bring themselves to admit that Apple is here to stay. While the industry was using iPads to lure attendees to their conferences and sales pitches, they silently waited for Apple to stumble so they could get on with their march towards a Windows hegemony. I have a colleague who personifies this in my mind. He outwardly goads Apple reps. These reps have commented to me that he talks to them like he’s annoyed that Apple didn’t go bankrupt in the late 1990s. He’s the only person I’ve seen with a Dell branded tablet. Bringing a MacBook into a meeting meets immediate derision. It’s really annoying.
Now that we are 7 years into the existence of the iPhone and iOS these are the people who gloat about Android being the market share leader. You can hear in their voices the glee that they see the Android / iOS market shaking out like Windows / Mac OS did. I find it funny that the same people who wouldn’t accept the defense that even though the Macintosh didn’t have as many apps as Windows, it had the ones that matters now use the same argument to defend Android. The reality is that each year, when Apple releases the new / speed bumped iPhone, the iPhone is the number one selling handset for the next 1-2 quarters. It then holds it’s own for the rest of the cycle, and then it starts all over again. There are many things that Apple could do wrong, and I hope they don’t, but until they do, there is no problem. We’ve seen how well it works when you try to make up your losses by selling in volume (I’m looking at you Dell. How’s that working out for ya?) In the long run, as long as Apple can make products that people want, and can sell them at a profit, they can keep going until the cow comes home.

My Steve Jobs Story

While I never got to meet Steve Jobs, I did hear a great story from someone who worked directly with him at NeXT. The individual told me the story over a sushi lunch during a WebObjects training that I took (over 10) years ago. While he was at NeXT he sat in on a sales call to AT&T, and Steve Jobs was at the meeting. Steve was going on and on about the strengths of NeXTSTEP and object oriented programming, and the AT&T representatives had completely lost interest. This individual interrupted Steve, and according to him, he saved the day by bringing the level of conversation back down to the level of the AT&T reps, and regaining their interest. AT&T eventually purchased some NeXTSTATIONs to run custom applications. After the sales meeting the NeXT employees decided to go out and grab some sushi, and Steve tagged along. At one point Steve picked up a piece of Amaebi and used it as a puppet. He was pretending that the Amaebi was crying out to not be eaten. Just thinking about this makes me smile. It shows a different side of the man we often remember as the showman on stage selling us Apple’s latest gadet.

Comparing Newton MPs and iPads

I’ve been checking out ebay auctions for Newton MessagePads, and I started thinking about the differences between the Newton and iPad from a system perspective. As a long time Newton user (I started with a MP120 and graduated to a MP2000,) the thing that was missing on the Newton was RAM. Newton users who had the pleasure of using a MP2100 will tell you that the extra heap that was present in the MP2100 made it more useable. Users of the MP130 would probably say the same in comparison to the MP120. From my perspective, if the heap (system RAM) had been doubled on just about every version of the Newton, it would have fixed most if not all of the problems that users had with it. I for one loved the MP2000’s handwriting recognition. In fact, I didn’t have much of an issue, even on the MP120.
This is where the iPad gets it right. Sure, it doesn’t have 16GB of system RAM, but it has more than enough RAM for what it does (for the record, the original iPad had 256MB of RAM, the iPad2 had 512MB of RAM and the iPad 3rd generation has 1GB of RAM.)