Wednesday, June 8, 2022

A Time To Cast Away …

I learned to ride a bike when I was nine years old, the spring before we moved from Cowlesville to Skaneateles.

My sister had gotten a new banana bike for her 11th birthday, and I got her old one as a hand-me-down: A green girl's Huffy with 20" Balloon Tires and training wheels that my father had painted blue and put a hand-cut top tube on to make it boys bike. I needed only a couple weeks to lose the training wheels.

In my teens, I took possession of another hand-me-down, a 3-three speed from my brother which was a little too tall for my diminutive height.

In 1982, I got my first new bike while living in Endicott NY, a Miyata ten speed racing bike. (Yes, it later shared garage space with our Mazda Miatas.) The highlight of that bike was in the summer of 1985 before I returned to Clarkson for my final tour of duty when I sold my car and put over 1500 miles on the bike. I also used it for commuting in Potsdam and Kingston.

After 20 years, we replaced the Miyata with a Trek hybrid. The Trek never got the heavier use of the Miyata, especially after it was supplemented by Schwinn Airdyne (upright) and Vision Fitness HRT 2200 (semi recumbent) stationary bikes. The Schwinn Airdyne didn't last; the HRT 2200 has, and is the bike which moved up to my office last summer.

The Trek has not been touched since The Before Time. Sadly, with my mobility/balance issues, which especially cause problems mounting and dismounting bicycles, this spring I decided the Trek has zero future with me. Yesterday, we sold it to Play It Again Sports for a pittance.

That makes me sad, but I am heartened because the HRT 2200 has gotten used this month; I've already beaten last year's total (and seven other years since 2004), and it's only early June.

Maybe there is an adult tricycle in my future. We'll see.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Everything Old is New Again

We're thinking of replacing our late-2015 27" iMacs with Mac Studios, which don't have monitors. While we could buy shiny new 4K-resolution monitors, it's overkill. 27" Retina iMacs by default run at only ~50% maximum resolution, and I wouldn't be able to see a thing at full resolution on an iMac or a new 4K monitor. And from my Mac Pro era (2008-2016) I have two 30" monitors with a full resolution which is about same as the default (50% resolution) of the iMacs. I'm writing this on of one them hooked to the iMac. I think this is an excellent intermediate and quite possibly permanent solution.

I just need to find my Webcam …

Dell Monitors fronting (and hiding) my 27" iMac
(The second monitor above is a 24" Dell monitor which has been the iMac's second monitor as well.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

I haven't heard that name in years …

I commonly write my name as "Drew Derbyshire", but for legal purposes my full name has always been "Andrew H. Derbyshire"; the former never has my middle initial, and the latter generally does. Unfortunately, people tend to shorten my birth name to "Andy", which my mother (and by extension, me) disliked. 

Thus, I've used "Drew" since August 1985; I switched when returning to Clarkson for my final undergraduate tour of duty. My login was "$AHD" or "ahd", but my email said I was "Drew Derbyshire", and people simply accepted it. Now, decades later, I still use "ahd" when I can, and there many people who have no idea where the user id comes from. 

(I just tell them "Automated Help Desk".)

Earlier at Clarkson (as a freshman) when I still went by Andrew, I first learned the ancient incantations of IBM OS/360 and its Job Control Language (JCL). I extensively used it in my work well into the Drew era (1995 or so). OS Jobs run with JCL start with a JOB card; it has an account number, a jobname (often based on the account), and a 20 character field for the programmer's name and job description (printed on the green bar listing to keep it from becoming Little Listing Lost).

(Of course, when was last time you even saw green bar paper? But I digress …)

Meanwhile, I've written before about my muscle memory on computers. I'll go to do something on an old IBM host, Microsoft box, or UNIX system and I can't remember how. However, my fingers tell my brain to "Stop thinking … we are on the case". So my head listens to the stereo, and they summon the ancient incantation and bang it out.  Usually, it's right.

Lately, I've been playing with OS/MVS systems (the successor to OS/360), including writing jobs on it. Yesterday, I noticed my magic fingers had taken charge without bothering to tell me, as shown by the attached.

Simple batch JOB on my local copy of OS/MVS

When I looked at that job the last night, I realized my fingers were indeed trained to write OS JCL in the "Andrew H. Derbyshire" era. Well, that's what they still do, and who am I to argue?