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Archive for the 'Opinions' Category

La la la!

April 25th, 2016 | Category: Life,Opinions

I just want to note that the crocs ad, the one with the creepy singing little girl, makes me want to hit people.

That is all.

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Enthralled… by Daye the Knight

April 24th, 2016 | Category: Life,Opinions

So, I’ve read almost the entire October Daye series (nine books) in two-ish weeks.They’re just so damn fun, I’m enthralled.

I’m on the last book right now… A full report will soon follow.

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April 21st, 2016 | Category: Life,Opinions

So, I’ve never been a Prince “fan,” but that doesn’t mean I could’t appreciate his genius… and he was a genius. I honestly can’t believe I’m referring to Prince in the past tense, it doesn’t seem quite real yet. Sadly though, it is real, and he’s gone, and the world’s a little less bright.

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Go Hillary!

April 19th, 2016 | Category: Life,Opinions,Thoughts on Politics

So, Hillary Clinton crushed Bernie “The Bern” Sanders in tonight’s New York Democratic primary! I couldn’t be more pleased, it was a strong, decisive victory. Sanders has these GIANT rallies, bigger than Clinton’s often enough, particularly in New York, yet the kids aren’t showing up at the polls. His POLITICAL REVOLUTION is fiction.

Congratulations to Secretary Clinton, keep fighting for us!

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Hmm… What to write…?

April 13th, 2016 | Category: Life,Opinions

So, I haven’t written anything of value in a really, really long time. It bothers me, but at the same time, I know it’s not permanent. I just… know.

At least, I’ve been reading a lot. A book every two-ish days a lot. Right now, I’m reading the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire, and so far it’s really fun. I mean, anything about a halfling P.I. working for Faerie and human clients in the San Francisco Bay Area can’t not be good.

That’s that, for now.

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Novella review: Every Heart a Doorway

April 09th, 2016 | Category: Life,Opinions

So, if you’re looking for a rather quick read that’s part fantasy, part murder mystery, check out Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.

Every Heart a Doorway tells the tale of Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children, sort of a boarding school, sort of sanitarium for kids who have quite literally fallen through the looking glass and come home. These kids are broken, not because the mirrors they fell into, the doors they stumbled through lead them into Hellish nightmares, but rather, because the worlds they left either by accident or by force felt like where they truly belonged. They’re broken because home no longer feels like home. They wind up at Eleanor’s because their families want them fixed, or barring that, simply out of the way. Little do they know that Eleanor West has secrets, and that her school very well may just keep its charges… permanently.

Every Heart a Doorway is a gorgeous novella that examines what Alice, what the Jacks and Jills would do and feel after they returned from their adventures and came back to the mundane world. It reads like Grimm’s and Agatha Christie, with a dash of Mary Shelly, all while remaining distinctly a work of McGuire’s own. She has a vast knowledge of many genres and a iron-clad command of her craft that allows her to bend genre to her will.

Every Heart a Doorway is delightfully dark and wonderfully written. You won’t be disappointed.

1 comment

Reader questions: Attempt #2

March 30th, 2016 | Category: Life,Opinions,Thoughts on Technology

A tech-savvy reader, Bill, asked:

Hi Michael,
Since you asked, I do have a question for you, one that does try to leverage your unique situation – I hope it’s not too personal…

I’m working to try to introduce Assistive Technology folks to their local Robotics & STEM groups. I’ve noticed as I represent LessonPix at AT conferences that many of the technologies that are very expensive and hard to get in the AT world are downright cheap & available in the Maker world and I’d like to help fix that.

So, here’s the question: what are the few pieces of technology that have been the most enabling for you. I’ve made the argument that a device like a switch interface (that takes a switch and controls a keyboard/mouse) is HUGE in that it gets the user’s input into software where so many things are possible. But what else are the things you’d focus on? Would it be notification (doorbell/phone), outbound alerts, home automation?

If you had a team of motivated (but relatively inexperienced) engineers that could help you, what would you ask them to first?

I look forward to your answers!

Way back in the early 2000s there was a company that made a USB IR Remote for OS X called, the ZephIR. I still have my ZephIR, it’s a spectacular device, and it still works after all these years to control my HD TV, Apple TV, surround sound, all from my Mac. Unfortunately, the folks who made the ZephIR went under, and the ZephIR faded into obscurity. Aside from my ZephIR, I don’t know of many others in use out in the wild, and I’ve researched it. I also haven’t found any available for purchase, anywhere. Regardless, the ZephIR is rather long in the tooth, not so much hardware-wise, but its software is quite in need of a lot of love. Its database of remotes is getting really outdated, so you can pretty much forget controlling 4K tvs, current audio equipment… I rigged an Apple TV 4 to work, but it took some doing.

So, if I had my own team of plucky engineers, I’d first want to create a modern, elegant USB IR Remote for OS X, so that people with disabilities could control their home theaters, one area in which Mac users are sorely lacking. It wouldn’t just benefit the disabled, but anybody busy on their Mac who’d rather change their tv channel or crank up the volume on their home audio system without digging around for clunky hardware remotes.

Ultimately, I see the Apple TV becoming the hub for Home Automation… climate control, lighting, security systems, the works. Therefore, true access to the Apple TV will mean access to so much more.

Still, the USB IR Remote would come first.


Live! Tonight! Sold Out! Mac OS X 10.11.4

March 21st, 2016 | Category: Life,Opinions,Thoughts on Technology

So, I’m now running Mac OS X 10.11.4, and it’s spectacular. Nothing broke, and everything feels more responsive.


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Hillary Clinton makes note of people with disabilities

March 16th, 2016 | Category: Life,Opinions,Thoughts on Politics

Candidates, politicians in general, rarely mention people with disabilities, so this speech is definitely exceptional.

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The Clinton Rally!

March 10th, 2016 | Category: Life,Opinions,Thoughts on Politics
Waiting for Hillary…

Waiting for Hillary…

The Hillary Clinton rally was packed, standing room only. Had the venue been large enough, people would have filled it. Her chances to take Florida in next week’s Primary are looking really good. Still, if you’re a Hillary supporter in sunny Florida, now is not the time to get complacent. Just because various polls say she’s up by 30, 40ish points doesn’t mean it’s safe to skip voting. That’s how election upsets happen; a candidate is way up in the polls, their supporters stay home on Election Day, while the underdog’s supporters show up en masse. We can’t let that happen, in any state. We can’t let Bernie Sanders take Primaries because his supporters are super-organized, while we’re so wrapped up in polls and projections that we forget to actually VOTE for the woman who ought to be our next President, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Hillary talking plans and policies… that actually make sense!

Over the last year, I’ve really paid a great deal of attention to Clinton’s speeches. It’s one thing to visit web sites, read up on the candidates, but hearing them speak is a totally different experience.

I’m going to be honest, I’ve only really started paying serious attention to Hillary Clinton this election cycle. Up until this past year, I’ve had cursory knowledge of Hillary; She’s former President Clinton’s wife. As First-Lady she championed universal health care, and lost. She was Senator of New York, Secretary of State, a career politician. Some say she’s sort of cold, others say she’s a stone-cold bitch. That was the gist of my knowledge of Hillary Clinton. With that kind of understanding, I didn’t like her so much. I did a really poor job of understanding one of our country’s most influential politicians. Such is no longer the case.

Hearing Hillary Clinton speak, the most important thing I’ve come to understand is that she is a true public servant. She isn’t in politics for power, or greed, or to make her rich pals richer. Hillary Clinton is in politics to affect change, to make society better than how she found it by the time she leaves it. Her entire political career has been about helping people, serving America. She cares deeply that all Americans have their shot at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. She’s worked in child-advocacy, with a focus on health care for children, and early education programs. She led a strong charge to grant access to health care for all. Her attempt at health care reform was unsuccessful, but she tried because it was the right thing to do. She’s what all politicians should be, one who genuinely cares about people, especially those who are the most vulnerable. You can hear it in her voice, a sincere desire to perform good works.

As for being a stone-cold bitch, I think that’s a moniker given too often to women who are bold enough to smash a glass ceiling rather than be crushed underneath it.

After hearing Hillary Clinton speak in person, I’m only more certain that she is the right person to serve as our next President.


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