Space Tech

I can’t remember why space travel came up at the dinner table tonight, but we were discussing whether we would travel to outer space if we could. Cole has recently expressed an interest in space technology, but no one was interested in actually taking a trip on a space shuttle. That’s how I have always felt, and Cole clarified that he did not want to be an astronaut. He is possible interested in developing and building space technology on Earth. But the discussion reminded me of one that Matt and I had several times, especially as Elon Musk has for years been wanting to start some way to do space tourism. Matt would certainly have signed up if he could afford it. He would have loved it. Well, space tourism is not yet a thing but the prospect keeps me in mind of him. It’s funny that none of the kids felt that way, and shows me the lack of the influence he would have had.

Mark Twain

Over the past month, I have been reading the Autobiography of Mark Twain, first volume 2 and then volume 1. In it he describes his method of autobiography– to address what was current and interesting in his life at the moment and use that to recall past events. I hadn’t put it into such words, but all along that is really the way I have thought of writing this blog since Matt’s death as a story for the kids to have an idea of their father. Just writing a history of his life seems so laborious and as you can see from the dates, the past couple of years have not even seen many posts. It’s not that I haven’t thought of Matt, of course. I would say instead that I think I fully understand how Mark Twain could start his autobiography so many times since the age of 42 and not really get to it until age 70. And now I am 40 which is the age that Mark Twain’s friend told him he should have started his autobiography and here I am back again, inspired by Mark Twain, to try again.

Start at no particular time of your life. Wander at your free will all over your life; talk only about the thing that interests you for the moment; drop it at the moment its interest starts to pale.

Mark Twain

My New iPhone

Recently, my brother asked my how I liked my new iPhone 6. I like it but I don’t feel particularly enthusiastic about it. At this point smart phones are mainstream a without any major new features that significantly affect how I use my cell phone, everything is a subtle to me improvement.

Then this morning it hit me how I miss Matt telling me about new technology. He did love checking out the latest and greatest technologies. It was part of his job for a long time and he bought each new Apple mobile product as it came out. I will never forget the day he very carefully, clearly and completely explained to me how GSM and WCDMA cell phone technology works. I could not repeat the explanation to anyone but I remember Matt. These are technologies that developed in our life time.

With the absence of Matt keeping me up to date on the latest technology comes the realization just how much we human beings get out of communication. It’s not just that I’m missing out on delighting in the advancements of my cell phone. I miss all the gentle mannerisms, words,  tones, and expressions of Matt talking about something he was passionate about.

Movies

Last night I went to rent a streaming movie from iTunes that I had been thinking about renting for a while and realized I could not rent it. It was frustrating because I know the movie was available earlier this year for rental. I came across this same issue a few months ago when I rented a movie and watched part of it. When I tried to watch the rest of it the next day, it was no longer available on iTunes (although I did finish it because it was within my 24 hour period.) At the time, I thought it was a fluke. But after sitting down and trying to figure out what movies I could rent through streaming I discovered that that the number of movies made in the past few years that I could rent and stream seems almost non existent.

I got online and looked at a bunch of streaming services, and discovered the same thing. Sure, I can buy a digital movie, save it somewhere in the cloud and stream it to watch any time I want. But I’m not a movie buyer except for popular kids movies. So now I have ended up back at Netflix with an account to send me blue ray discs. It’s a little surreal as this is how I used to do it with Matt. I cancelled my account almost 3 years ago now. I don’t watch TV and I’m not adding the Netflix instant service because the selection is worse than Amazon. I’m still debating what to do, but for now I’m going to see how it feels with blue ray discs. It’s hard to believe I am going backwards with technology, and in my situation it’s very painful. At the same time, 3 years seems the appropriate cycle to revisit my entertainment system. I might just buy another Apple TV.

Movies

Matt was one of those people who could quote or refer to a movie in an appropriate context. Unfortunately, I am one of those people on whom such references are lost. I guess it was kind of sweet that Matt always had to explain them to me, even if he didn’t get the punchline effect of his cleverness. Well, it turns out that Luke seems to have the same ability, even at age 4. Like his father, Luke loves watching movies. Last weekend we watched Free Birds and this week Luke has come out with “We are going in there to get turkey off the menu!” in his amazingly expressive voice. And it seems to me that these times have been Luke swooping in with the comment as Cole is whining to me.

Aegis

This made me laugh then cry this morning:

Awesome Invisible Bike Helmet

I laughed because the article is hilarious. Then I watched the video and cried because it made me think of Matt. I remember back in college Matt took a business course. He had to do a group project where he came up with a product concept and marketed it. Matt came up with the idea of pre- triggering airbags by adding a sensor to the car that would sense an imminent collision. The idea was that the airbag could be deployed in a way that was less harmful to the person in the car by having more time to deploy. (I think something like this does exist now.) Matt chose the name Aegis for his product to bring up that image of protection.

For some reason, I misremembered Aegis as being a king of Greek mythology. After looking it up, I see that the Aegis was the shield or breastplate of Zeus and Athena (funny that a God should need a shield) and “is identified with protection by a strong force.” Matt loved doing that project and 20 years later, I can see the threads that came out of that experience for him. Going into a marketing career. Working on a product (LiveMosaic) that he thought was a really good idea. Sticking with the Greek mythology references (Prometheus is the name of the LiveMosaic code base). Choosing a product that he thought would enrich and improve people’s lives.

Right Now

I’m happy to report that I have been making progress in exporting the LiveMosaic content to WordPress. It’s still a work in progress, but this week I was able to stand up the test site I am working with as a WordPress blog with posts containing the textual story content as well as the first image in the story. My goal is to export all of the content and only the LiveMosaic features absolutely necessary to support the content. Next, I will be working to get all of the image content displayed in the blog and to find a way to import comments.

This is exciting for me because I feel like what I have now is deliverable..

Good-by February

With the recent changes to WordPress, I’ve decided to update the website theme. This first site design was something I cobbled together from the twenty-eleven theme from WordPress and another theme called foghorn. These sorts of changes always mark some mysterious milestone in this world without Matt. A few pictures to remember it by…

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Right Now

I am done with Amazon Web Services (except for storing data there). I reduced the scope of the LiveMosaic data, shut down the services and am moving my work on LiveMosaic to Webfaction. It promises to be orders of magnitude more user friendly than AWS and reasonably priced.

Right Now

This summer I am taking on the project to web archive LiveMosaic and the current customer sites. We will see how it goes.