Brush pile in farm field along Lake Ontario Parkway
Brush pile in farm field along Lake Ontario Parkway

Peggi and I have been doing some serious housecleaning. Working our way to the bottom of piles that have been building up for years, sorting though my parents business affairs, dividing our iCloud documents between our two separate IDs, preparing for a new bookshelf that is being made to order and looking for two old journals that we can’t seem to put our hands on. They contain notes from our trips to Spain and we had the bright idea to consolidate all ten journals into one document. Well, the tenth one hasn’t been written yet.

We came across an old business card, one for our business. The original was done on an Atari ST. Bit map was big. Our next computer was a MacII. We were setting postscript and there was no going back. We’ve been fans of Apple for a long time and we’re still trying to convince ourselves that their best days aren’t over. That’s why they call us stockholders.

I love my watch. This iCloud thing, though, is problematic. The infrastructure is not here yet. I’ve been trying to upload my photo library for two weeks now. All I wanted to do was share the library on another mac, the way I used to with iPhoto but Apple removed that feature when they rewrote the program they now call Photos. How and why were they able to use such a generic name? The only way to share now, even locally, is to put everything in the cloud. And the photos are getting crunched on the way up. I’m sticking with Flickr as a BU and probably could have just shared through Flick but I’m getting with the program. Meanwhile, no Netflix streaming, no YouTube. I can barely get a map to paint up. I wish my neighborhood had Greenlight. I plan to work on that. TW cripples our upload speed.

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Who Is Black America?

View from outside the smoking trailer at Nick's Seabreeze Restaurant in Rochester, New York
View from outside the smoking trailer at Nick’s Seabreeze Restaurant in Rochester, New York

My father told us he received an email from Apple about the one terabyte Seagate internal drive in his iMac. Apparently two many of these drives had failed and Apple was replacing them for free. We encouraged my father to do it before his drive fails so we made sure he had an up to date backup and as an extra measure he tidied up his desktop by dragging all the clutter to his documents folder.

Apple replaced the drive the next day and he restored from the most recent backup but something was amiss. His documents folder was empty. He called me and I had him go into his Time Machine preference panel, click on the options button and read me what he saw in the list of “Items to be excluded from backups”. Along with the names of external drives he read “applications” and “Documents.” My heart sank. My father has been a heavy user since the eighties. How could these items ever have been selected for exclusion?

We called the Apple Store back, they gave us a Genius appointment and told us to bring the computer and BU drive out there. The store was jammed with fans ogling the iPad minis and the genius bar was a hotbed of people troubleshooting problems with their mobile devices. As far as I could tell we were the only old-timers with a clunky desktop machine. We begged them to give us the old drive back so we could rescue the docs but we were told the drive had already been destroyed for security reasons.

One Apple genius told another, “These guys have an interesting problem here.” Interesting! This was is a disaster! I franticly rummaged through the backup folders and found a documents folder from a few months back and then a month before that I found a folder with his apps. The geniuses were at loss as to how this could have happened. And then in the backup from the day before the drive was replaced we found the hundreds of files that were on his backup before he cleaned house for the Apple guys.

For our efforts in bailing him out my father took us to Nick’s Seabreeze Inn for dinner. Nick smokes cigars and keeps a heated trailer parked out back for smokers to hang out in. There is a little tv in there and the place looks pretty cozy.

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Fan Boy

Giant pumpkins at our neighbor's house
Giant pumpkins at our neighbor’s house

I’m watching this morning’s Apple presentation in a separate window as I type a few notes here. Note: Buy a 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display or maybe a 27 inch iMac. Can’t decide. Probably won’t by either. I know the whole world has gone mobile but I haven’t. I’m still happy with the first gen iPod Touch. The last thing I want when I leave home is a phone call. Got to sign off now before they introduce that iPad Mini.

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Nod To Jobs

Rogovins © 2003 Paul Dodd 48"h x 60"w, oil and pencil on canvas
Rogovins © 2003 Paul Dodd 48″h x 60″w, oil and pencil on canvas

Can’t remember how I first came across Milton Rogovin’s Buffalo photos. They really hit home with me and I painted a picture of Rogovin and his wife, Anne, in 2003. The Pyramid Art Gallery hosted a traveling show of his work around that time and I met him there and gave him a print of my painting. His wife had just died at that point and now Milton is dead at 101. There’s a nice slideshow of his photos on the Times’ site.

We took Sam Jones out to the Apple Store on Saturday before Steve Jobs announced his decision to step down for a bit. Sam was wearing his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt and his Buffalo Bills jacket. His iPad kept trying to restart while he was using it. The store was mobbed and we waited in line to make an appointment with a genius. Sam gave the woman in a blue shirt his email address and about five minutes later a friendly guy in a blue shirt came over to help us. He scrolled through Sam’s ten pages of game app icons and said, “This looks like it’s been dropped.” Sam said, “Oh yeah. I’ve dropped it a bunch of times.” I cringed but the Apple guy smiled and said. “Breakage isn’t covered in your warranty but I’ll see what I can do.” Sam walked out with a new iPad.

I’m definitely a long time Apple fanboy. When my father bought his Mac II in the late eighties we used to go over there to set type and we eventually bought our own Mac II. We’ve probably had one of almost every model they’ve made since. Well I guess we never had a “toilet seat” and we don’t have an Airbook and we don’t have an iPhone but I wouldn’t leave home without my iTouch. Just by looking at Steve Jobs I would say he has a lot to do with their elegantly designed products. I don’t get that confident feeling by looking at the other execs. I hope he gets well soon.

Nod doesn’t play out that often and I was bummed that we missed them on Saturday at Abilene.

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Time Machine

Apple logo on start up - if you're lucky
Apple logo on start up – if you’re lucky

The spinning color wheel that has been haunting me for the last week was an indication of hard drive failure. At least I think it was the hard drive. It got so all I got was a snowy screen. I was concerned that the the system was corrupt and that maybe my Time Machine backups would also be compromised but Marco at the Apple Store assured me that I would be able to do a full restore when I get my iMac back. I should have just looked at the Time Machine folder on my back up drive and I wouldn’t have lost sleep last night because all the files are there. I hadn’t really poked around in there because I pictured it all compressed and unreadable.

When Marco lifted my iMac out the box he spotted the small black and white photo of Peggi, sitting behind her Farfisa and in front of a Vox amp, that I had stuck on top of the Apple logo at the bottom of my screen. He said he was a musician too. He played with friends while going to school in Ithaca but hadn’t hooked up with anyone to play with since moving here. The Apple store was mobbed and they were running about twenty five minutes late at the Genius Bar. The place was packed and I felt like I was in China with all the busy workers running around in blue t-shirts swiping credit cards in their PDAs for the well heeled shoppers. A kid was holding a seminar in the middle of the showroom. Six middle aged students sat on stools at table with their iPhones and laptops. They were learning how to sync the two.

We stopped at Talbot’s on the way home and Peggi returned the sweater she got from my mom for Christmas. Peggi always says my mom has great taste in clothes but this sweater didn’t fit her body type. She found a suitable replacement and picked up an extra top. I found a comfortable chair to sit down in and I noticed that I was wearing the shirt that my mom gave me this year. They had no WiFi in the store but they were playing great music, all black pop, two Michael Jackson tunes and a great cover of “Some Kind of Wonderful”, a song by the 1960’s Rochester band, Soul Brothers Six, later covered by Grand Funk Railroad.

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Cache In The Trash

Spring Valley view from the top of the ridge, winter 2010
Spring Valley view from the top of the ridge, winter 2010

Bitter cold and lots of snow – just the way we like it. The cold part keeps the snow in top notch condition. We skied up to the top of the ridge in Spring Valley and stood up there for a few minutes in silence.

I called Apple today because why not? One of my machines is still under warranty and it was acting up. Hanging up, actually, and they had me unplug the computer and all peripherals and then restart which resets my System Management Controller. I plugged everything back in and it worked – for a while. I had a hunch it was my USB hub because it would disconnect my external drives every once in a while. So I called Apple back asked if it was OK to plug a hub into my keyboard which then goes USB to the computer and they confirmed that that was my problem. The technician also told me to go into my User/Library and dump my “Caches” folder. “Drag the whole thing to the trash.” They suggested that I do that once a moth to speed up the performance of my machine.


Back In Black

Ann Taylor Display at Eastview Mall in Rochester, NY
Ann Taylor Display at Eastview Mall in Rochester, NY

I guess you have to go WalMart to pick up AC DC’s new disc. And I think Sears may have an exclusive on black jeans now. I have one old pair that I wear while painting. The knees are worn through and they’re pretty covered in paint. I wear my other pair when I’m not painting but they’re getting pretty ratty so I need to move a new pair into the rotation.

We went out to the Gap in Eastview Mall where I had bought my last pair. Why do they call them a “pair” anyway? I can see a pair of socks but pants? I had read that Gap hired a new designer. Guess the guy doesn’t like black jeans. The salesman recommended Lord & Taylor at the other end of the mall. On the way we stopped at Abercromie & Fitch. It was like a disco in the middle of the afternoon. The sixteen year old salesboy suggested Express. We studied the Mall map and planned our route. A saleswoman at Banana Republic said they had “light black”. I said, “like grey?” She showed us some dark denim. Eddie Bower had prefaded black. I can do that myself. Express had some “Low Rise” jeans. I have a hard enough time keeping my pants up as it is so I nixed those. We struck out at Lord & Taylor and gave up.

We stopped at Apple store to look at the new laptops and and then Ann Taylor where Peggi tried on a top. I wandered around the store and took this photo of a guy bringing wood to his lady. A saleswoman there asked me, “Are you finding everything alright?” I said, “I’m not looking for anything.”

I mentioned this to Bob Martin at our Margaret Explosion gig and he said, “Try Sears”.


Forbidden Fruit

I brought my MacBook to the Super Bowl party at my parents house and found a neighbor’s wifi connection to do my blog entry. I wasn’t really paying attention to the game but I gathered it was a good one. It seemed like a long string of commercials interrupted by short bursts of football. I prefer the English version, the beautiful game with no commercials for forty five minutes. I was looking forward to the Apple commercials but I didn’t see any. My niece said they aired one for the MacBook Air before the game started. I admit to being an Macophile but $1799 is too much for a laptop.

Our Apple stock has lost seventy dollars a share from its high but then our stockbroker (who talked us into selling a hundred shares when it was at 70) now says, “Hey, if I had told you seven months ago that Apple would be at 124 now, wouldn’t you want to buy some?” OK, so I am not upset about the stock slipping. I am upset that Apple has trashed its iMovie program. It has been completely rewritten. I never had to read the help forums while using the old iMovie HD. It was all drag and drop intuitive. The first time I used this upgrade I popped open a new project and was greeted with a black window with little boxes with round dashed borders and a prompt to “Drag Media Files Here”. Everything I tried to drag here bounced off. And not only that, they have removed features like the ability to mix multiple audio tracks. The only reason I can think of for why they would be trashing this program is that they are trying to get you to buy their more expensive editing software like Final Cut. But what do I know? My nephew has the scoop.

And now that I’m running Apple’s newest operating system I have “Time Machine” writing huge backup files to my external hard drive of all my botched movie experiments. Apple must have thought it had the Midas Touch.

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Send Us Your Problems

Lake Ontario in Winter
Lake Ontario in Winter

We took a walk down to the lake or up to the lake. It’s downhill but it’s due north so I don’t know which is more correct. This same shot would look completely different everyday if I took it that often. The color of the sky, the water and the land are always changing.

My father hired a plumber a few weeks ago and he used a flashlight that he cranked to get going. It’s a wind up LED flashlight that doesn’t require batteries. My father was so impressed with it, he ordered one for each of the kids for Christmas. It will be perfect for taking walks after dark.

Our nephew, Matt, emailed that he had done a tutorial and screencast on his site ( of one of the tasks that we gave him while he is staying here over Christmas. He says he is “having trouble finding Mac problems to solve and he would appreciate it if we could send him questions that we or our friends have in the future.” So send us Mac questions and we’ll pass them along to him.

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My Nephew, The Geek

Apple Store grand opening on 14th Street in Manhattan. Photo by Matthew Dodd
Apple Store grand opening on 14th Street in Manhattan. Photo by Matthew Dodd

Our nephew is a geek. When he was five or six he was picking up the empty computer boxes from the curb when neighbors upgraded their systems. He drew keyboards on cardboard and sat in front of the boxes like they were real computers. He had his first Mac at seven or eight and set up a server in his bedroom when he was sixteen. He is still in high school but recently won tickets to MacWorld in San Francisco this January. And today we heard that Information Week has used some of his photos and his reporting in a piece they did on the new Apple Store in Manhattan. He waited on line for four hours to get in the doors for their grand opening. He was paid $250 for the photos.

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