Monday July 18 2016

Late afternoon, spent the day editing video, with a brief interruption to sneak out for a yoga class.  Damaged rotator cuff is still making it unpleasant, but if I don’t keep working my body, the entire thing will disintegrate.

So my first thought this morning was to remember a dream of painting.  The painting itself was very specific and I’m certain it was original, although influenced by Kandinsky’s watercolors, which I had been studying the night before.  Even the colors were specific: the background is English Red Light, with a donut-shaped circle of cadmium yellow, with a trident poking through it.  Yes, I know what Freud would say, but the whole thing seems to convey a message of some kind, so I feel compelled to produce this painting.

Right now though, I’m off to go kayaking in the 100-degree heat, because it’s summer and the lake is only a ten-minute drive away, but mostly because Mondays suck, so I do something fun.

Later dudes.

Sunday July 17 2016

Sunday evening.  Usually not a good time for me but lately it’s been ok.  Have revived an old ritual of mine, spending a half hour or so reviewing what I have going on in the coming week, getting a schedule and a plan drawn together.  When to do what workouts, when I have meetings I might have to work around, etc.

Did a yoga class this afternoon with the great Sharon Cournoyer, the best teacher I’ve ever had, all-around best.  My body feels energized and strong.  That is the only real litmus test for a good yoga instructor: after class do I have LESS energy, or MORE?  Sharon’s classes always leave me feeling ready to take on the world.

Musings: any emotion that is about another person, is a fundamental waste of time.  Thinking that someone is mad at me, for instance.  In fact I have no idea what another person, anyone, is thinking, so making up some reason to be upset – complete waste of time.  One thing that took me decades to figure out: people are not sitting around thinking about me.  They are sitting around thinking about themselves. So there is nothing to be solved by worrying about what anyone else thinks,says, or does.  I can be responsible for my own behavior, but someone else’s thoughts or emotions belong to THEM.

Spent the morning of this hot summer day painting on the back porch.  Abstract black and white, with big brush strokes and a lot of texture.  Supposed to evoke a crucifixion, and the old plaster of a fresco.  Reality is, it’s a slab of paint with too much black even though there are now only two big strokes.  Abstract painting is so much more difficult than realistic ones – there is no guideline to tell you when you have it “right”.  Since work is front and center for next week, this canvas is going right into the closet.  If inspiration strikes, that’s fine.  If nothing strikes me, the closet is a fine place for it to stay.

 

July 15 2016

Frustrations.  The world is becoming increasingly violent and angry.  People’s response is to be afraid, which begets more aggression and violence in the world.  The only thing I can think of to do is to stop paying attention to the media to the greatest extent possible, particularly social media.  Social media provides no answers, it only fuels the fear and rage and aggression.  Mainstream media (CNN.com) is no better, in fact it’s pretty much the same thing as Facebook, without cute memes about drunk women in curlers justifying a vodka first thing in the morning.

So I’m staying away from media, including social media, and most of all the social media here in my neighborhood.  People hate the welcome sign, so someone has vandalized it.  Damn it, nobody must feel welcome here!  I shall paint over such a scurrilous message!

Enough with that.  And another thing.  The people who constantly ask for “prayers and thoughts”, are exactly the same people who won’t try and take control of their own lives.  Instead of moving out of a violent neighborhood, having people pray for you is a non-existent solution.  Self-delusion. If we must put our hopes in religion, then use the motto “God helps those who help themselves.”  Or better yet, meditate upon the words of Thomas Jefferson (I paraphrase): “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

Speaking of luck.  I didn’t count on it to get my Camtasia videos done.  Nor did I pray. Instead, I used the totally unprecedented and unorthodox method of — reading the documentation.  Anyone who knows me, knows I’d rather poke and prod at an application for hours before clicking on the little question mark that says “Learn more”.  And my job consists of little else except learning!  I digress.. TechSmith produces excellent videos on Camtasia, which I recommend, because they are short and focused on a particular task, and easy to navigate.  In short, everything that tutorials and doc should be.

It’s Friday here in North Carolina, as I suppose it is most places, so I’m winding down the active part of my work week.  This weekend I’d like to spend some time painting in that wild abstract expressionistic style that I so admire (think de Koonig, Kline, Mitchell).  And then there’s iPhone app development.  A yoga class on Sunday, lots of hot weather.  If I thought that there were any meaningful actions I could take to hurry along world peace, I’d do them.  But I spent a decade of my life as a professional activist, and it doesn’t look like that had a lasting impact.  In my more dire moments, I don’t think it impacted anybody except people who feel exactly the same as I do about the issues.  We all spend most of our energy preaching to the choir.  Even the choir doesn’t pay attention, they’re busy preaching at each other.  And don’t think of praying for peace.  If that worked, CNN would be out of business.

Thursday, July 14 2016

Titles will now be the date of the post.

One thing I will not do is whine.  “Nobody reads my blog.  People are mean.  Yoga is too hard.  The parking lot is too full.”  Whatever happens, even good things, people – SOMEONE – will whine about it.  Here I live in a beautiful neighborhood, and someone whined publicly online because there was a sign that said “Welcome”.  That part isn’t totally surprising, what got me was that 40 other people posted agreeing.  First of all, I drive by that sign every day and never noticed it, or it didn’t register.  It would take a lot of effort to (a) notice it, (b) be bothered by it, (c) get worked up enough to write something, and (d) keep the whole thing alive online.  I don’t even have the energy to READ that stuff, much less let it occupy the forefront of my brain.  There is so much else to think about, and if I were inclined to complain right now, it wouldn’t be about something silly in my neighborhood, it would be about software.

Yes, that’s right, I make the stuff and buy the stuff and use software all day, but I still find things to not like.  So today’s task is to make videos about various query mechanisms for big data, a subject near and dear to my heart.  And making videos is fun.  Right? My husband is a videographer and he seems to have fun all day, and anyway how hard can this be?  You click “record”, do the stuff you always do a hundred times a day executing various searches and programs and data setup etc., and then click “stop”, maybe clip out a few seconds here and there.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

This is NOT the way it goes, at all.  It goes like this:  download free software which is highly recommended.  Spend eons of time recording videos, and then try producing and publishing one only to find out there is a huge watermark in the exact center of the video, because I used the free version.  Huh? If the end result is completely unusable, isn’t it a little deceitful for this company to give away a free version?

So I downloaded the gold standard, Camtasia, which is really a good piece of software, and way way more than what I need, but you can get it free for 30 days, which had just better be enough for the 15 minutes of video I need to produce.  Of course, it doesn’t run on my server, which takes about a half hour of research and fiddling, and then it does run. But, then the search software which I am supposed to be videoing, stops working.  The urge to whine was strong.  What idiot is responsible for this piece-of-crap search code?  What fool wrote this!!  But this did me no good, because it’s software that I myself developed, so that put a damper on the whole complaining thing.  So I spent the next hour redeploying everything, and practicing my keystrokes, and writing what I needed to type down on a piece of paper, etc.  It all boiled to down to less than 10 minutes of video in all, which took hours, but now I have my raw footage.

The thing about a video demonstration like this is, it can’t just be professionally recorded and edited, all slick-like, you need content that is concise, persuasive, and insightful.  A good edit will only take it so far.  I’m actually confidant about the content.  But the inverse is also true: unless the thing is organized and presented well, people are going to be so distracted by uneven editing, timing, captioning etc that it won’t matter how innovative my demo is, nobody will sit through it.

So that’s my Thursday, and my Friday will most likely be taken up with putting together the narration and captions.  And when that is finished, I can get back to my true passion of the week, which is iPhone app development.  I have pushed Eclipse aside in favor of Xcode – I know, strange huh.

Commentary

2:21 pm.  Toying with the idea on keeping my online journal on my blog.  Not just “online”, but “uploaded”, publicly.  Just toying at this point, after browsing the famous literary diary of Dickon Edwards.  Of course he’s a good writer, and a busy and involved person in this world, which I am not.  My random musings would not be of much interest, … but of course nobody reads my blog anyway so what’s the difference.

At this point, since It’s been six months since I posted any content here, probably most of my traffic is bots and spammers looking for a place to drop links to porn. Since they are locked out, they only visit here via automation.

So why not give it a go?  And sometimes, just sometimes, I do come up with meaningful insights, I have actual content to offer to the world.

So what have I done today?  A really incredibly long period was spent trying to play a song – one song – on my iPhone.  I’m not certain of all the sagas and pathways of music on my phone, but there has been a wide range of disfunction.  I expect my iPhone music to work the same way my iPod did, 10 years ago.  I upload music to iTunes, sync with the device, and all my music is then on the device.  This seems obvious, but now of course with multiple devices, cloud music services, and the ability to upload music and playlists to a device directly, there are more possibilities for things to go wrong.  So I have entire albums, many of them, where every song now appears twice.  To clean this mess up manually would mean deleting about 2000 songs from my phone, I’m not kidding, and so I’d rather hear every song twice or fast-forward over every other song.  The bigger problem is that some music, which turns out to be the stuff I care most about, doesn’t show up AT ALL in my phone music library, because of Apple Music and the inability to manage music manually … so after disabling, deleting, re-enabling and copying music manually, it looked good so I turned Apple Music back on, and merged it into my library.  Now everything is great.  Yes, about half my library is duplicated, but maybe that’s not a bad thing.  I can delete stuff by accident and it would probably still be ok.

So that was my morning.  Now it’s time to get busy with my afternoon, since it’s already half over.  Today, I am beginning to explore the hidden seamy world of video recording on my desktop.  This is for work, and I know exactly what I want to record but nothing is that simple.  I use a Mac (of course), but the software I need to record is on a Windows machine, which I connect to via Remote Desktop.  So it’s really a guess at this point which will work better: Mac software, or Windows.  But since I’m on a product innovation team, my life is about making educated guesses and either justifying my decisions, or explaining away failure.