Category Archives: Family

About family matters

Dad at auction

ONR NewsletterCJ emailed me this link to a Bonham’s auction last summer. They sold a “complete set” of the Digital Computer Newsletter, a periodical Dad started in the late 1940s to share information about computers under construction or in operation. The issues range in date from 1949 through 1962.

This is one of the earliest computer technology periodicals out there. The auction brought over $4,000.

Unfortunately we didn’t keep a “complete set” like that ourselves. I have the first issue tucked away at the bank, and a few other gems. I don’t know what the other items are worth.

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Author of My Turkey ’tis of Thee

My Turkey 'tis of Thee
My Turkey ’tis of Thee

I first learned this song from my old friend, Tim Leonard. The song is a tradition in his family and is attributed to their distinguished ancestor, the Reverend Doctor Thornton Bancroft Penfield (1867-1958). The Reverend Doctor was born to missionaries in India but grew up in the US, graduating from Columbia in 1890.

He wrote a fair amount of poetry and had a sense of humor. He did time as class poet at Columbia and he edited various college publications.  He also published a book of poems called The Four-Leaved Clover.

[Updated!]

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WordPress and Facebook

Memo to self: next time I edit one of my WordPress postings, be sure to edit the “Publicize” property in the upper left corner.

If I’m updating an old post, I must be sure to un-check Facebook so I don’t republish an old post. If I’m creating a new post (like this one) that doesn’t need to go to Facebook, I should also un-check Facebook.

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Friend Links

I’ve decided to collect all my “friend links” here. I’m starting to collect “dead wood” in my blogroll by pointing to blogs that haven’t been active for a couple of years. I want to keep the links in case they become active again.

Learning Stick Shift

Here are my own thoughts about learning stick shift. Kelsey learned from me, though there’s no true teacher aside from experience. I think there are two essential tricks to learning a stick shift:

1. Practice Makes Perfect.

It’s muscle and reflex training, not head training. It takes time to get the feel of the clutch, especially from a dead stop. Take advantage of opportunities to practice stop-and-go with the clutch. Be sure to do it on hills, too.

2. Listen To The Engine

The tachometer and speedometer tell you interesting things, but the sound of the engine really tells you when to shift gears. If it’s high-pitched, you need to shift. For improved gas mileage, you want to shift sooner rather than later.

[This has been revised since first posted 7/31/10]

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From Treo to Storm II

Last fall, Alex warned me that Apple was dropping their support for the Palm Treo. I couldn’t upgrade to Spotted Lynx, or whatever the latest OS-X is called, until I switched phones. While I had been hoping to hold out for a Verizon iPhone, my patience ended a couple of weeks ago. After a weekend with a Droid, and a brief flirtation with the Palm Pre Plus, I settled on the Blackberry Storm II.

Aside from the built-in contact list and calendar (oh yes, and the phone) I rely on a smart phone for two other things: an ebook reader and a password manager. And I also want to feel some comfort for the phone’s security model. And, oh yes, I need easy access to contacts and calendar on my desktop, presumably through a sync feature.

I didn’t warm to the Droid because it’s too much like having a laptop on your pocket. And since the Pre Plus was a complete rework, I figured it wouldn’t be that similar to the Treo in practice. There was a period of suspense after acquiring the Storm, since I wasn’t sure it would in fact do all I wanted, but things eventually worked out.

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