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September 30, 1998

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Information about Ty Davison straight from the horse's mouth.
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Years worth of mind-numbing details, ponderings, and events.
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September 30, 1998
Well, the hit counter finally stopped spinning. As of this writing, we're at 1144, which means my goal of 1500 by year end isn't out of the ball park. (Actually, my original goal was 1000, but we blew past that before I knew what happened.)

I've posted some new information in MacAdvocacy about Nisus Writer, a really cool word processor that's being given away over the net. Check it out.

My friend Jennie and I have decided to give East Coast Swing dance lessons another go. We had completed a couple of classes but were forced to take a break because of various summer-time commitments. We're also talking about doing a "Street Swing" drop-in class, which should teach us some fancy stuff that's not in the traditional Swing repertoire.

September 28, 1998
Another wedding weekend, this one with friends Terri and Jim at winery in Morgan Hill. The weather wasn't particularly cooperative, but that didn't stop it from being a truly beautiful ceremony and reception. Erin, who's known Terri since they were both 4, served as the matron-of-honor. Erin and I even managed to do a little East Coast Swing at the receptionenough, anyway, to convince me that it's time for more classes on my part.

It doesn't hold a candle to the wedding in terms of importance, but Mike Breeden of Accelerate Your Mac! was kind enough to post a link to my article on Macintosh Vocal User Interface possibilities, and once again my hit counter is flying. Up about 150 or so yesterday alone.

I've been fortunate enough to be able to work with my friend Helana on a web site for her company, HR Dynamics, Inc., over the course of the last few days. I hope to have a link posted to the new site shortly so that ya all can see the fruits of our labors.

Nearly shouted myself hoarse at the Steelers bar yesterday. Imagine how I'd be if we had lost!

September 25, 1998
I've been catch-up the last few days from my recent vacation in Oregon. That partially accounts for the lack of web site updates.

The other reason, as you can probably guess if you've read the main page, is that I've discovered the usefulness of Apple's speech recognition technology. It is, in short, amazing. Almost every function that I automate with speech recognition and AppleScript happens much faster than I could do it with a mouse or a keyboard. It's been a good long time since I've been this excited about a technology. Those of you in the neighborhood, call me up, and I'll invite you over for a demo. You've got to see it (hear it?) to believe it.

September 21, 1998Salem,Oregon
Unwilling to be left in the dark politically, I watched most of the president's grand jury testimony on CNN this morning. I anticipated this being a "nail in the coffin" to the president's political hopes, but on the contrary, I thought that the tape was not nearly so damning as it was purported to be. Yes, the president was obviously weasal-wording his way through areas, and I think it was pretty clear that he's guilty of perjury, but many of the the additional charges are probably not going to stick. It was a very smooth, very impressive performance.

And I should note that even the release of 2800 pages of Starr Report supporting documents seemed to bolster some of Clinton's claims. I think the charges of subborning perjury and perhaps even obstruction of justice will be completely thrown out. Still got that perjury problem, though.

September 20, 1998Salem, Oregon
Continuing the newlywed theme, I saw friends Matt and Ginger for the first time since their wedding last month. They are, in short, doing great. Ginger and I had a chance to talk while Matt graded some papers, then we were all joined by our mutual friend Dennis for a superb dinner. After-dinner activities were nothing short of an Apple-lovers paradise with 3 different Macs being upgraded and fiddled with. As always, time went too fast, but it sure was fun while it lasted!

September 19, 1998Salem, Oregon
Attended a lovely wedding and reception for my friend Jenny. I'd not met her husband Todd before, but I had the opportunity to speak with him at the reception and I'm pleased to say that he struck me as a really nice guy.

Even though we didn't get to have an extended chat, it was similarly terrific to see Jenny. We've been good friends since college where God knows we spent hour after hour hanging out together, and it was such a thrill to see her so happy and excited.

September 18, 1998Salem, Oregon
Ma and Pa were gracious enough to allow me to haul them to the local Macintosh store so they could ponder the virtues of Apple's iMac, a speedy little jobber compared to their aging 486 SX-33. Everyone was suitably impressed, but we still have to figure out how to connect two Windows-only printers to the beasty before this becomes a viable alternative to the Wintel-induced hell they've experienced for the last few years. I've already sent an e-mail to Apple on the very subject.

In addition to the Apple store tour, I also gave Mom the complete run-down on MacOS 8.5 which is due out next month. This isn't the parental abuse some of you might think; my mom is turning into a major tech-head when it comes to computer stuff, and I dare say, given a platform that makes logical sense, she will be able to do some astounding things via the computer.

September 17, 1998, part IISalem, Oregon
The fun began with my Alaska Air flight into Portland. Descending from our cruising altitude of 35,000 feet on our approach to PDX, the plane hit more turbulence than I have ever experienced. We had drinks flying through the cabin and the two women across the way from me apparently took turns accidentally throwing beverages on each other. Fortunately, the passengers took this experience in good humor (since nothing else would've helped) and what was a moderately terrifying experience became something of a shared laughfest.

[In case anyone isn't aware, there's actually very little a pilot can do to avoid turbulence. The above story shouldn't dissuade anyone from flying Alaska Airlines.]

While we couldn't arrange our schedules to meet this trip, I spoke for a while with my friend Dave. Biggest news: His wedding is upcoming soon! Hearty congratulations to both Dave and Melissa!

September 17, 1998
Quick thanks to Shan who showed up for last night's chat. I noticed a whole number of others who logged in but didn't chat. Please e-mail me if Yahoo!'s chat thing isn't working. If you just didn't want to chat, no hard feelings. Hope to see you next week.

I'm going to be out of town for a few days attending a friend's wedding. Expect the next site update on or about September 22. I'll have an extraordinary experience to share with you regarding a new human-computer interface. I could be wrong, but I think it just might revolutionize the way we interact with our machines.

September 15, 1998
I don't know how many of you out there are adept at the use of computer illustration and drawing programs, but I'm happy to announce that I've finally, after years of study, figured out how Bezier (pronounced "Brassiere") curves work in Adobe Illustrator. I've only completed chapter one of the "Classroom-In-A-Book" for Illustrator (about a month after I started), but it's just been one revelation after another.

This program is really a lot of fun if you know how to use it, and my learning Illustrator after literally years of fumbling around cluelessly really speaks volumes about the quality of those Adobe books. I'm not ready to recommend them just yet (since they're $45 each), but we'll see if I get to that point after a couple more chapters.

(Okay, I lied. It's not "Brasseire" curves, it's "Bez-ee-ay ." It's funnier the first way. Sue me.)

September 14, 1998
I've added information on the technology side of my album work to Music. Specifically, I'm now looking long and hard at Mark of the Unicorn's 2408, supposedly the best audio card available without spending a fortune.

Also in album-related news, I've completed another song, Love Remains. It's a song about memories of love, and how, after the anger and bitterness of a breakup, time really does seem to heal all wounds. It's far too early to tell if this one will make the album or not (since objective listening requires some distance from the time of creation), but right now I'm pretty pleased with it.

By popular demand, my friend Dennis resumes his 15 minutes of fame.

September 13, 1998
Escaping the yuck of yesterday's Starr Report reading I headed over to The Island, a "Food & Grub" (or was it "Grog"?) joint a few miles down the road, for the Steelers game. I'd not been to a Steelers bar before and this one was every bit as seedy as you might imagine. Still, other patrons and I had a great time urging our team on to victory, and you've got to enjoy a football game were everybody is just as enthusiastic for Pittsburgh victory as you are. My voice is shot, but I'm sure I'll be back.

I pretty much napped away the rest of the afternoon as temperatures climbed into the high 80s/ low 90s. I was exhausted anyway from a pickup soccer game I played in yesterday. I might be in okay shape to run a few times a week at Rancho San Antonio, but that doesn't translate at all into being in shape for soccer. I've gotta get some more games in.

September 12, 1998
Today's kudos and "atta boy" go to my dad who is volunteering time to teach U.S. citizenship classes. Way to go, Dad!

Of course given the current state of affairs in the White House (pun intended) , one might very well ask why anyone would want to be a U.S. citizen about now. Well, dear friends, I've read the Starr Report in its entirety, and without going X-rated on the News page, I'd like to share a few comments and observations:

If you've not read the report—and I'm not really suggesting you do, frankly—what you're missing is a really tawdry summary of presidential sexual peccadilloes and the resulting cover-up. It did nothing to change my long-standing belief that Clinton is a lousy president and devoid of any kind of moral firmament.

At the same time, I find myself deeply saddened by the whole mess because it's dreadfully apparent just how awful a thing this is for the nation. With all the problems we face, from education to the environment to whatever else you want to name, we now are forced to focus our intellectual energies on the question of what ethical standard is appropriate for our elected officials. In this confused moral age, this will likely split the nation down the seams.

Despite what I might think, barring new revelations (please God no) I expect Clinton to escape with only a congressional censure. But we will never have seen a lamer "lame duck" president.

September 10, 1998
Good chat last night at the Club House with friends Dave, Helana, and Shan. Continued apologies to my 68k-based Macintosh friends. I don't know if I'll have a solution for you or not regarding the weekly chat. I don't like the situation, but I've not found anything yet that works. Certainly I'm open to suggestions.

Enjoyed the San Jose Mercury-News Mark McGwire headline yesterday: "Power Mac: It's an absolutely incredible feeling." I had a chance to watch the 62nd home run and resulting celebration last night, and that's probably as close to tears as the game of baseball is ever likely to move me. What a great accomplishment; what a terrific guy.

Newsweek apparently decided to destroy what journalist integrity they had and do a cover story on the role of genetics called "Do Parents Matter?" It's just hype for a new book by Judith Rich Harris in which she contends "nothing parents do will affect [the] behavior, mental health, ability to form relationships, sense of self-worth, intelligence or personality" of their kids. Now prima facie that's the most unsupportable argument I've heard in years, but there are magazines to be sold, so here comes the sensationalism.

Even the article itself quotes other researchers and academics talking about Harris' new book:

Add Newsweek to the list of those doing a tremendous disservice. I'm sure next week's issue will be something like: "The Holocaust: Did it really happen? The raging debate."

We killed a bunch of trees for this?

September 9, 1998
Today's congratulations to my friend Dave for joining the hysteria at the Davison On-line Club House. [Club house has closed. Sorry.] As I've said before, with chats, message boards, and cool links, the excitement never stops. Send me an email today, and I'll invite you to join. (Again, the invite requirement is a silly Yahoo!-based restriction, and not my fault.)

While we're handing out congratulations, how about a round of applause for Mark McGwire who today set the major league record for home runs in a season? Sixty-two homers, and the man still has something like 18 games left. Watching him at bat this year has been like watching Michael Jordan play basketball, and I say this as a guy who's not a particularly big baseball fan.

Apparently the stock market surged today with the Dow up a record 380 or so points. Lots of people seem to be in a tizzy over the recent ups and downs, but us long-term investors really couldn't care less. Our retirement funds have 35 years to overcome any losses we might suffer this year, that's more than enough time. Invest long-term and worry not!

September 8, 1998
For you conspiracy theorists amongst the readership, here's a Bill Clinton site that ought to leave you with plenty to think about. Personally, I don't know how much credence to give a site like this, but it's still the type of thing that makes you go "Hmm..." (I suppose I wouldn't be surprised to find that a number of the cases listed were CIA "black ops" or something of that nature.)

I've added a link to the Chess! section for the web site of Exant Software, makers of the excellent Mac freeware program ExaChess Lite. I've used ExaChess Lite for a couple years now, and it's fabulous. (I've even corresponded with Rolf Exner, the author, and submitted a bug report which Rolf used to fix a bug in version 1.0. The current version, 1.2, is flawless so far as I can tell, and I've played a lot of chess using it.)

I've updated Site Info to reflect some of the upgraded software tools I'm using to create and maintain this site. Most notable is probably Adobe PageMill 3. Although I'm still using their trialware version, I've determined that there are enough new features that it's a good $49 upgrade for me. If you're a more advanced HTML person and have the money spend, run don't walk to Go Live's CyberStudio 3 instead.

September 7, 1998Labor Day
Area weather is still in the 90s, and if I'm not wilted into nothingness before Tuesday it will be a miracle. Forecast calls for lower temperatures in the next few days, but I'll believe it when I see it. But enough of my whining. Happy Labor Day everyone!

September 5, 1998
I've had the good fortune to play a few games of chess in the last few days with my friend Al Starfy. Despite the occasional e-mail game, I've been away from serious chess study for a few weeks, and I feel like it really shows. That's to take nothing away from Al because he's upped his game marvelously. It's just that I'm having trouble remembering some basic opening theory, and it's a little disappointing to have moved backward in that respect. Nonetheless, I plan on re-energizing my studies in the next few weeks.

On a related note, Al's chess web site is down for the count thanks to a lightening strike which took out his hard drive. Al told me that the hit wiped out his backup as well, so at least for a while us chess fans will be without the excellent resource he was providing.

I've completed some more songs and filled out the track list for my upcoming album. In addition, I've changed the working title from Peace to Undeserved (which is also a song title). It wouldn't surprise me if I added or dropped a few songs, but this is the first time I've had a completed 13-song track list, so it feels like an accomplishment.

September 4, 1998
I've published another rave about Apple technology, this one on a little known system extension called "Apple Data Detectors." I think it's absolutely fantastic, and if you're running MacOS 8 or 8.1 and a PowerPC machine, you should definitely check this out. Read all about it in Mac Advocacy.

Congratulations to my friend Helana, who became the latest participant in the Davison On-line Club House. [Club House now closed. Sorry.] Chats, message boards, cool links...the excitement never stops. Send me an email today, and I'll invite you to join. (The invite requirement is not my idea, by the way. That's a silly Yahoo!-based restriction.)

Last time I checked the hit counter was sitting around 570. That's an increase of approximately 130 in the last day or so, and most of those should be new people. I'm pretty doubtful that any of them will bookmark the page or visit again, but see if that stops me. No siree Bob! I'm gonna keep updating this thing anyway.

Again mid-90s yesterday which renders me and my computers barely able to function. Probably me more than them. Looking at low 90s today, and I'm really praying for lower temps on the weekend. I've been drinking water like a fish.

September 3, 1998
I passed along word of my Seybold commentary to my buddy Mike Breeden of XLR8YourMac. Look at that hit counter go! Sure, most everyone's passing through to read the Seybold bit, and the site will never see the likes of them again, but what a pleasant moment it was to see a hit counter climb by over 100 in a day.

I'm now using the PageMill 3.0 for Macintosh trial software to update the site. As I've noted, I'll have a full review upcoming. Right now I'm just busy fiddling with the site's fonts. Version 3.0 finally adds the long-overdue ability to change on fonts, so expect to see lots of Palatino and Helvetica instead of the Times Roman which I loathe. I'll be using Palatino—which is larger and therefore more readable—for text, and Helvetica for headlines and links. I think the contrast also helps make the site look better, too. If you don't notice a difference in fonts on this site, it probably means that, almost unbelievably, you don't have either Palatino or Helvetica installed on your system. Drop those two into the System Folder, and feast your eyes. (This could also be a browser preferences issue.)

Besides fonts, other, more substantive, advancements and enhancements to the site are upcoming as well.

September 2, 1998
For my Mac-using friends, I've placed on-line a downloadable desktop picture featuring Apple's latest "Think Different" ad. It's available in the Gallery under Digital Art. This is a Davison On-line exclusive! (God, I hope people find this funny, otherwise I'm gonna look like even more of a putz than usual.)

September 1, 1998
Spent the day at the Seybold SF 98 Publishing Expo in San Francisco's Moscone Center. A complete review of my experience will be posted on the main page then transferred to the Mac Advocacy section. There's a lot there.

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