Rumor Mill 5…

It’s no secret that I read alot of tech blogs and keep my eye on half a dozen or so rumor sites. When it gets to be this time of year and they all start coalescing around the a few key pieces of information, it’s impossible to keep my mind from turning to the thought that perhaps these might be more than the run of the mill rumors. As it stands after the last day or so, the blogs have all lit up with September 12th being the day Apple officially announces “iPhone 5”. Most are going so far as to point to September 21st as the expected launch date. Apple, of course, does not comment on rumor or speculation. Apple barely comments on products that are already in their lineup, which is sort of an impressive quality in a world full of companies that spend alot of time telling you how great their products are.

So, with the coming of the massed rumors, this would now be the time of the year when I start thinking that I don’t really “need” to upgrade my phone this time around. Eventually that will slip to only upgrading if there’s a major update. As specs start leaking out, I’ll be caught in the maelstrom and come around to understanding that this is a product update that I just can’t live without. Maybe this year I’ll skip the foreplay and go ahead and say for the record that I’m really, really looking forward to having a new model iPhone to play with and that baring any unforeseen circumstances, I’ll be throwing a pile of cash in Apple’s direction in September, as is my annual tradition.

So yeah, if anyone is looking for a good quality previously owned iPhone 4S, let me know and come September I’m sure I’ll be able to make you a good deal on it.


I’m a simple man. All I need for a day’s work is an Internet connection and a bottomless supply of coffee. Take one of those things away and the day is suspect at best. Take away both and there’s really not much of a reason to get out of bed. Hey, I’m perfectly happy to sit in class all day, but scheduling the class in a room where the No Food or Drink Police monitor the place like a stalag, borders somewhere between foolish and evil. If you expect people to actually stay awake and at least attempt to focus, a coffee friendly zone is pretty much a necessity. As it is, I’ll probably just spend the rest of the week in an un-caffeinated haze. Please disregard my nodding head and puddle of drool on the floor.


The streets of Alexandria were crawling with Obama campaign volunteers trying to register voters this afternoon. I grudgingly have to admit that I’m impressed with their willingness to be the brunt of such open mocking by just about everyone they tried to talk to. I was surprised by that reaction especially here in northern Virginia. They’re a persistent bunch, I’ll give them credit for that. Though I don’t think badgering people trying to enjoy their extra hot venti vanilla latte on the patio is a great way to win friends and influence people. That might be something to file away for future reference.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

There’s a list of petty aggravations that I could try to puff up to make blog-worthy, but with this Thursday night being the kick off to a long weekend, coupled with a chance to visit with two of my favorite people in the world who I haven’t seen in over a year, I have to admit that the only thing that is really annoying Jeff this week is that fact that there’s still packing, a doctor’s appointment, and the need to drop off Maggie and Winston, and a two hour drive to Northern Virginia standing between me and really getting the weekend started properly. All things considered, it’s a pity there aren’t more weeks that are this kind of annoying.

2+2 = Ardvark…

I want to make one thing clear up front. What I’m about to say isn’t political. There are plainly idiots on both sides of the issue and I have no wish to associate with either flavor of crackpot. With that said, here’s the deal as simply and plainly as I can lay it out for you.

I am an armed American citizen. I’ve lived in a home where firearms were present since the 20th of June 1978 and I’ve personally owned, maintained, and used a variety handguns, rifles, and shotguns. In 34 years I’ve never used any of those firearms to kill anything more threatening than a paper target or the occasional marauding watermelon. You see, I was taught to respect firearms long before I was old enough to really understand the incredible power they have to destroy. I was taught how and when to use them, on the range, in the woods, and in my own defense. I was never taught to fear a firearm any more than I was taught to fear a hammer, saw, or other tool.

Sitting on its own in a dresser drawer or propped in a corner behind the door, I’ve never known a firearm to discharge itself. The only time I’ve ever seen a round leave the barrel is when a living, breathing person pulled the trigger. The weapon itself didn’t have any intent, evil or otherwise. The bullet simply went where the barrel was pointed when the gun was fired. That’s all a long way of saying that if you’re looking for someone to blame when it comes to violent acts that involve a firearm, start with the person who pointed it at another human being and pulled the trigger.

Blaming the gun is pretty much like saying it’s the bat rather than the player who hits the home run. Just how far out of the park would the ball go if there wasn’t a player swinging that bat? Take away the visceral, emotional reaction that so many have when it comes to having a reasoned, logical discussion about firearms and I find we’re really talking about bad people performing heinous acts. The fact that a gun, or a knife, or a rock, or a thermonuclear bomb was involved becomes secondary at best. To mix my metaphors even further, it’s the criminal who commits the crime, not the car that he drove to reach the crime scene. Sure, you could make that argument, but it makes about as much sense as 2+2 = Ardvark.

The best thing…

The best thing about running your own blog is that when you don’t want to write, no one is standing over your shoulder forcing you to do it. Sure, there’s that nagging voice in the back of your head telling you what you “should” do, but listening to him is pretty much an optional exercise.

Since I’m basically vamping this whole post and have no idea why or what it’s going to be about, how long it will last, or what I really want to say, here are some fun facts for you to consider. Since September 2011, I’ve written and published somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 words for books that I’m secretly selling on Amazon under an assumed name (and that are doing respectably well since they’ve had basically no marketing at all, thank you very much). In the same 8 months, I’d estimate I’ve written another 40,000 words here for your reading pleasure. That 40,000 number assumes I post 20 times a month and each post is 250 words, so it’s a lowball to be sure. Add in the few other odds and ends I’ve written for other blogs, and the endless stream of memos that come off my desk at work, and I’d I’m somewhere well north of 300,000 written words in the last eight months.

You’re just going to have to take my word for it that 300,000 is a metric shit ton of words, ok? But you know what? For the last month I feel lucky when I can string a sentence or two together without drooling all over the front of my shirt. I love writing and the sheer power of the written word, but I feel like I’ve poured alot out of my brain and need to take some time and let the well refill. I don’t know if it’s possible to run out of words, but it feels like it is right now. So yeah, I’m officially in recovery mode from a great spurt of fantastically productive creativity. I like to imagine that I’m going to take a month and not do any more writing than is required to keep a fresh face on the blog, but really that’ll probably last all of three days before I have some other slightly warped idea that I can throw at unsuspecting consumers thanks to the wonder of electronic publishing.

Good and bad…

Sorry about that get rich quick post that showed up around 12:30 this morning. It’s safe to say that my password was compromised and that wasn’t me trying hook you on some kind of scheme. I just changed my password and deleted the post from here and from Facebook, so hopefully that will be the end of it. Just from an abundance of caution, I’ll probably spend the next hour changing every other password I have. Losing control of you online life, even momentarily, is enough to give my inner paranoia room to stretch its legs a bit.

On a positive note, That most brought in an extra twelve hits before I sent it kicking and screaming to hell… so it wasn’t a complete waste. Happy Saturday, gang.


I’m not much of a philosopher, but I know this isn’t the time for politics or posturing. It’s the time to come together, however briefly, and recognize that our country has been made the victim of a violent and bloody act of domestic terrorism. It’s made all the more tragic because the mass violence was delivered up at the hands of a fellow citizen. A West Wing episode titled “20 Hours in America” aired almost a decade ago, but it’s one of those hours of television that kind of sticks with you once you’ve seen it. Responding to a domestic terror attack on the campus of fictitious Kennison State University, President Bartlet offered what, for my money, is one of the best monologs in ever put on film. Given the events of the day, I found it more appropriate than any and words I could come up with on my own.

So without further introduction, I give you President Bartlet:

More than any time in recent history, America’s destiny is not of our own choosing. We did not seek, nor did we provoke an assault on our freedom and our way of life. We did not expect nor did we invite a confrontation with evil. Yet the true measure of a people’s strength is how they rise to master that moment when it does arrive… Every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we’re reminded that that capacity may well be limitless. This is a time for American heroes. We will do what is hard. We will achieve what is great. This is a time for American heroes and we reach for the stars. God bless their memory. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

A clip of the entire scene is available on YouTube. If you’ve got two minutes, I highly suggest you give it a look. The image/sound quality isn’t great, but I think it serves the purpose.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

Note: I know I missed last week’s edition, so you’re getting a “best of” What Annoys Jeff this Week that covers that last two weeks. No extra charge. Enjoy.

1. Meetings that start at 6PM. Saying this out loud is probably detrimental to my career, but I can’t think of any good reason aside from executive ego that justifies starting a meeting at 6PM when most everyone in the room start their day between 7 and 7:30. You either have no respect for their time or really bad time management skills. Either one of which is generally considered bad form by fancy business schools everywhere.

2. People with no sense of urgency. When I’ve been telling you for more than a week that something needs to happen by X Day, don’t be surprised, offended, or otherwise defensive on X+2 when I tell you what you’re giving me is too late to include. I don’t care that you worked really hard on it. In conclusion, you’re a douchebag.

3. Large volumes of small children. Individually and in small numbers, I’m surprisingly ok with (other people’s) kids. Pack lots of them into a relatively small space and it has a tendency to make me twitchy. It’s just that they’re collectively so loud… and fast moving. When you’ve spent your entire adult life living in blissful solitude, I’m not going to lie, a gang of 15 six year olds reeking mayhem and chaos next door is something of a shock to the system. It’s a shame that the uberwealthy hiring a hermit to live on their property to give it a pastoral feel went out of fashion with the Victorian Age. I think that’s a career path where I could have really set the standard for excellence.

4. “Scooter” People. If you’re going to ride the electric scooter at Walmart, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that you pay at least partial attention to what you’re doing. And by that I mean try not to drive it directly into my back while continuing your conversation with whatever slack-jawed yokel you came with to do your grocery shopping as if it didn’t happen. I have to admit it took real stones to give me a dirty look when I called you on it. Most of the time, I have an instinctive tendency to defer to my elders, but in your case I’ll make an exception. You, you muumuu wearing, blue haired battle-ax, are an asshat.

Pin count…

Because underwater mortgages, impending fiscal cliffs, and a heat wave baking the East Coast (again) aren’t enough bad news, I’m sitting here reading an article about Apple’s possible redesign of its decade-old 30-pin dock connector. A smaller form factor sounds like good news at first, until I added up the sheer number of 30-pin connectors I currently have sitting around. If you’re really curious, that would be a total of eight. Four at home, two in the car, and two at the office. With tax, that’s probably a $200 replacement cost to convert everything over to the new and improved 19-pin variant of the connector. I’d gulp and roll my eyes a bit, but fine, it’s just another Apple tax.

Assuming that this fall’s iteration of the iPhone includes the 19-pin connector, it means I’ll have to tote around 3 separate ways of charging my gear (19-pin for iPhone, 30-pin for iPad, magsafe for MacBook Pro. Sure there will be some kind of adapter available for $19.95, but adapters aren’t the elegant kind of solution I like with my tech. Then again, needing three different connectors to leave the house isn’t the kind of elegance I expect from Apple either. In fairness, I don’t know that there would ever be a good time to switch over from the connector we’ve all been using for ten years to a new and better model. Since it seems highly implausible that Apple will ever refresh its entire iOS line at the same time, I guess getting the pain over now is as good a time as any.

Hopefully deep in the bowels of Apple Headquarters a bleary eyed engineer is hard at work on some kind solar cell coating or a bio-mechanical mechanism that draws power directly from the user (or self-winds like a wristwatch for all I care). Then we could get rid of the connectors and adapters altogether. And really, wouldn’t that make the world a better place for everyone?