Welcome to the new domain

I had purchased the personal option on wordpress.com awhile back and had wanted to test whether I would stay around or just bring up a self-hosted site. With this, I earned the one free domain thing. I think I’m ready to call this home now after deciding to not import the 10 or so years of old stuff from my blog before. This is a new start for me and it fulfills what wordpress.com sold to me. With a blog comes incredible responsibility. Well maybe a bit of that :-). This is what the blog is meant to be about:

  1. Its meant to prepare me for a change in about a year when I can stop working and hit the road and be a place to capture the preparations and planning and elimination of things which are in my place now.
  2. I don’t blog politics or other stuff like that even though I just did recently. I don’t find joy in it these days so after reading that post done in anger, I am going to delete it. I don’t like where we’re going or where we are coming from these days.
  3. Between the now and then, its about travels both figurative and real. There is the need I have to take a vacation, to plan a trip, to find a place where I can relax. I like to write on my daily meanderings. In the past I wrote about Sydney, Singapore, Tokyo, Kyoto, Seattle, Portland, and Eugene. Lots of places I visited in the then and there.
  4. Most of all, the blog is meant to trace and record the moments. After all; why do you write one of these things? Is there a thing you wish to communicate, an idea you wish to transform, a story to tell? I’ve outlasted a few people and I still read a few blogs outside the ones I’ve followed here. Particularly noteworthy are these folks that I think maintain a standard of blogging. Jonas Luster, Doc Searls, and Setuid all create content that I admire. I’ve worked with or near them at various places and their writings, stories, photographs still leave me wanting more. So many others have simply gone away and the blogging has become something different with the passage of time. Now there is no institutional or power glory or authority. Its about wanting to communicate and tell and see and show and share. Perhaps collaborate on occasion.

So there you have it, a new domain with no new purpose. Now I’ve redeemed the value of the blog here and created newness. I’ll go walking soon and see yet another tree and leaves and a glorious evening with its sun touched skies. So many steps and a plan and a desire to find another thing that is worthy of doing and others that are not.

Its all good though. Perhaps you will find some value here and maybe not. Its okay. Sometimes I don’t either 🙂

How about a cup of Joe?

Its Saturday morning after a few beers on Friday night. I live in a room in a house in the San Francisco East Bay. I want things easy. No convoluted paths to happiness so I brew coffee and not drink instant. Ah, but how to brew that two cups I require you may ask.

Well asked dear reader. I’ve done French Press coffee, ground my own beans to a coarse grind, bought gourmet beans from here and there. The only thing too much work was the French Press. Enter this cool little device

Image result for bodum 34 ounce pour over

Source: Bodum at Amazon

This is a 34 ounce pour over from Bodum that I bought. What it does is simplify the whole coffee endeavor. It makes the mornings easier and there is no pressing and waiting and all that stuff. I also needed a way to heat the water and my old trustworthy blue hot water heater fritzed out on me. So I bought another goodie from my pal Amazon.

Source: Cozyna at Amazon

The Cozyna is a nice touch and also makes me happy and the way it pours with its goose neck spout is a thing of beauty. It does not whistle which would probably scare my housemates a bit. It does shut off gracefully and the water is ready.

So here is how I do my coffee and make the Joe all ready to be enjoyed.

  1. Warm exactly 24 ounces of water in the Cozyna. This equals two cups that I want each day at home.
  2. Measure exactly three spoons of coarsely ground coffee using the spoon included with the Bodum and pour into the filter.
  3. When water is ready, pour an initial amount to soak and “bloom” the grounds and stop for 40 agonizing seconds. Now start slowly pouring water over the grounds in a circular fashion for about 3 minutes or so until all gone.
  4. Coffee will be ready right after and it tastes so good!

The Bodum pour over makes just enough for my two 12 ounce coffee cups. And there is joy in the Mike force. The aroma of the freshly cooked up coffee is incredible and I watch morning news, consider the weekend, and simply enjoy that essential morning where there is no place to go, no chore to do right away, and no one requiring attention besides me.

In a larger sense, this transforms the days into moments of silent splendor and wonder at a simple thing like a cup of Joe. It links me in silent reverie to seeing my daughter force later today but it leaves me focused in the moment, the coffee, the steaming pour over and how a few simple things which do not take much space and just a bit of cash can make a person feel happier. Living in a room has its challenges and happiness moments.

Having a few choice things to spoil me and enrich a moment or two makes the other moments expended in work or duty or chores more reasonable. Its the cup of Joe folks that steams away on the desk.




Travels here and there

I’ll depart for a few days to Tucson for work in early February and then after that, a week in San Diego via the Amtrak. For a number of years I’ve been a user and have great appreciation of OneBag.  The site is organized around a central idea about how to travel sanely and completely get away from checking bags or traveling with what I consider to be the bane of all existence those wheeled bags which seem to just barely fit into a overhead compartment. These bags also seem to conveniently run over feet, bump into heads, and be a major nuisance in the terminals as well.

There are two bags to consider. One I have had for awhile which is the RedOxx AirBoss.

Image result for redoxx airboss

This bag has seen me through months long travel to India, trips to Singapore, Japan, and Vietnam and all around the states in a variety of conveyances (train, car, flights). Its look is rather minimal so one has to find a method to pack it which will be optimal. Luckily OneBag also provides a template and approach which I have changed ever so slightly.

The main idea here is to arrive at a number of clothing easily packed. You create a central core which will hold small items like underwear and socks and then wrap things around it. I travel with the rule of four primarily. For a months long trip on business I only packed 4 pair of underwear, socks, and t shirts. I also packed a second pair of jeans. Perhaps I was lucky in that work did not require suits and ties. Since I was going to a warm climate, a jacket or flannel was not required except for leaving so I wore it.

This bag then fits into just about any overhead compartment I have found on flights. Smaller regional aircraft and larger international flights. When I get to the destination, I’m already out the door by the time the other frustrated travelers are getting their checked bags. In another example, I traveled to Singapore and on to Chennai India but the company booked the tickets through for me with only two hours layover and then the connecting flight was delayed. Had I checked the bag, I would have been without just about anything I could have really used. Having everything with me in a traveler’s hotel in Changi Airport was very handy!

A Second Bag

I’ve wanted a different form factor bag for awhile. The AirBoss is good but its not a backpack type bag. So I started looking. OneBag again has recommendations so I found a second bag that I will start using that also fulfills the packing and TSA size requirements. The second bag is the MEI Voyageur.

Image result for mei voyageur

This bag fulfills a different set of needs and if you read its reviews and uses, you can see it has a different set of features and functions than the AirBoss. It is very flexible, turns into a backpack but has that core room needed for the rule of four I travel with. Now I have this bag and cannot wait to give it a try on both my Tucson and San Diego trips.

Travel Conclusions

If you have traveled and have felt the frustration and irritation with the whole checked bag thing, check out the resources I’ve listed. I’ve found the rule of four to be indispensable in lightening my load and giving me a truly flexible travel arrangement. You simply do not need much. In another example a friend and I traveled together. He checked his bag and was then bumped from the flights or they were changed after his bag was checked. Where was the bag when he got left in Denver for an unplanned night due to weather. I have been unceremoniously dumped at airports but have had the AirBoss with me with my stuff.

Give it a try when you travel next and see what you think. Its very liberating to not have a checked bag that rolls around on those irritating wheels behind you.



Doing what you like

I’ve had a particular fantasy of late regarding work. Perhaps its because I’m approaching the last year of being gainfully employed and I can see another pathway opening to these old eyes. Maybe its also because I’ve realized a few things about doing IT in general and being a Infrastructure Project Manager specifically. Its not a passion job. Its something else.

Then it dawns on me.

I don’t like it.

And that perhaps is okay because I think most people go through work days with not a lot of “like” or perhaps “Like” sprinkled around. There is a small like and then there is a big Like. The small like gets you through the day to day operation. The big Like gets you through the years at a thing. How many of you have a big Like thing? I have moments of the big Like thing but a thing that has bothered me is that somehow I’ve lost the sense of joy and accomplishment at it.

If I let the rivers of time claim me and memories come back about doing archeology, there was a passion thing. Perhaps it was being outdoors walking in a forest, on a mountain, in the Mojave Desert on Edwards Air Force Base. Maybe finding cool things and creating hypotheses about why cooking pits got larger over time and attempting to link that to population growth. That’s not quite like maintaining a Microsoft Project schedule with the dates and times and late tasks and milestones swirling around in this never-ending circle. Fogging up the view. Screwing up even a beer drunk. Keeping rusty old lines still on the etcha sketch that is my memory.

The two things are so disparate I also note.

But let me ask you all that may read this on occasion. Do you particularly love and find passion in the thing or things that give you an automatic deposit every two weeks? Does it transcend that work thing and become a joyful endeavor? Has it ever?

I remember once before when it was. I was with a small company whose name will be kept out. This company was not noteworthy other than it was scrappy and startupy and full of a bunch of people in the US, UK, Asia that I loved. I got travel. Oh yes. I traveled. I would hit the road every other month for weeks in India and days in Singapore and side trips to Japan. But not just the travel. The work. The things I was asked to do and then do again. It created that joyful endeavor for me.

Then divorce and a multitude of personal changes which all affect the other spheres of the Mike force. If you think you can separate the poles of your existence and isolate them. You are…


So give it some thought. I have. I have a year left at this and then a new thing beckons. A thing that takes me back to the roads and paths and airports traveled and not traveled before. I need a year of salary for a lot of time on the road. There are things I have to see out there and places to get back to and find again for the first time.

And that’s a passion. And this is not.

Being an IT Project Manager

I’ve started a few articles on LinkedIn on this a few times. If you read publications out there, there are shining attributes to this profession. I’ve read a variety of reviews that propel the idea that becoming this is something that can fuel that inner fire while still making money. Let’s face it, many, most, all of the things we do where we go provide skills to another we get paid for. Rarely fewer are those things we get paid for and enjoy. Even fewer are those that challenge, enrich, enjoy and we get paid for. Those are statements of love for a thing. A passion.

So let me ask,

Who of you believe that being an IT Project Manager fulfills those larger goals?

I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years now. I’m an old timer at a few things and one is doing project management. That does not mean I can pass judgement on it as a profession but I will anyways. So here is a list of things I’ve compiled about it

  1. Its a hard profession to do
  2. It takes more than 8 hours a day to do it justice
  3. There are more failed project managers than failed projects
  4. There are two types of project managers. One likes chaos and anarchy. The second likes everything defined and reasonable. The two cannot exchange projects or either or both will go crazy.
  5. There are words involved. Words like Risk, Change, Scope, Requirements. Big words which have worlds of meaning but when you’re a project manager they mount up and people trot them around as they wish.
  6. Its not fun and its not a passion.
  7. It requires good notetaking and calendaring skills

There are more. So many more; but we will stop there. I mention in number 6 its not fun and its not a passion. There is nothing fun and I have to admit until the present job I lost the sense of joy and accomplishment at finishing. Thankfully at the current place that’s returned. Its not fun though and its not a passion. Its not archeology where your hands touch artifacts carefully crafted hundreds and thousands of years ago and the sun touches the face. Where the desert blasts sand down your back and seeps into a thousand places you wish it wouldn’t. Its not being at 9k feet in the Eldorado National Forest and realizing maybe, just maybe, yours were the first human feet to touch this ground. And its definitely not swilling beer with RWR in sleeping bags under the stars and being thankful for each can of warm Bud.

No, its grim and hard and sometimes there are moment of joy. Its also frustrating and irritating and hateful but I would not replace the things I’ve done in it of late. I have had a measure of success and been given a position that perhaps I dreamt of before. But the project management piece is still a crapshoot. Its a good then bad and then horrible thing which can run awry in one project schedule.

So I sit wondering the basic thoughts. How long to continue? Will I miss it when I do go?

I don’t think so. As I mentioned there are failed projects which line the gutters of a street that project managers pick their way down. These projects grab at the ankles and challenge you and make you think you can get a thing done in 3 months which normally would take 6. Remember that one condition about the two types? I am a chaos project manager. I take some measure of satisfaction at rescuing sick projects and delivering them within a timeline which some would say is not possible.

Yet its done and often. It takes combining all the things into a force.

Have MS Project will travel. Its a schedule not a plan though. You don’t build plans in MS Project. You build schedules. A plan is a narrative. I ain’t caring if you got your so-called PMP. There are just as many failed project managers with PMP as project managers without the initials on that road. I’ve rescued projects that those same project managers scalped and they had that after their names. Just because you got some kinda thing after your name does not make you able. We used to joke that PhD archeologists meant only that they were either post hole diggers or piled higher and deeper. Maybe PMP have some other meaning.

And such it goes in my life. Grim joy bounded by bouts of frustration and angst. Then it dawns on me, my time is limited and I’ll depart this whole thing within a year and the road will be mine.

New Years Eve Obligatory Blog PostI

Here its another New Year right around the bend. I posed to my son on Facebook a rhetorical question perhaps for him,

What will you accomplish in 2017?

I don’t think he will answer because I don’t think he knows what he will do or get done or be challenged by. My daughter has a more concrete plan but I think the question frustrates her too. I just don’t think either of them know what to expect, what to want, what to need, what others bring to them and what they would bring to others. I do have an idea perhaps from being on this earth for a set of years and seeing expectations shattered and new ones borne from the desperation and ashes of the earlier set. Here i no appreciable order are  the things I want. Perhaps some take longer than a year and others require less but we all need the short list of things:

Continue to explore a daily diary. I think its a great self-expression to write down what I see as I move forward. The diary perhaps is a mile marker of life spent in no fast or slow lane. Just spent and recorded. The diary is the most personal of reflections where I lean into or out of the winds and flames of yesterday, today, tomorrow. There is no stopping it now.

Write this blog on a regular basis. This blog is the latest but truth be told I’ve written these things for over 10 years. I had my own domain which I quit to find a new thing and I wrote on Advogato before. This is something which I will keep for a few reasons. Writing is cathartic to me. It removes the constipation of life and lets me list out the technological, anthropological, social things which are highlights or low lifes.

Hit the road. At some point by the end of 2017 or into 2018, I will leave the United States behind. I’m old and I know that this will occur as sure as I wake up now and do work. I will lessen my material belongings to a point where everything is in a suitcase. The rule of four applies. You don’t need dozens of socks and underwear. You only need four. You need a bag that will fit in the overhead on any regional, national, or international flight. But the main thing is that between hitting the road and recording what I find, I will go. Where is a good question. The where is not so important as the going but I have a list of places to go live in for as long as my visas last. Cheap places that offer value to an old guy on the road that is not afraid of the movement. I’ll have stories to tell and this blog will subtly transform to that. I don’t expect to monetize it or sell it or write articles on solo traveling the world.

No more relationships with the opposite sex. I am not interested and I am no good at them. Something in me is broken after a number of failures and I’ve admitted that I simply cannot attend to the requirements and needs and expectations of another human being. Hell, I cannot even deal with my own. I just don’t understand anyone else and I think that’s okay. This leads to the next one…

Friendship is ever so more difficult and it won’t get easier. I don’t expect to become popular as a friend since I don’t think I’m good at that either. I’ve lost people and they’ve lost me and I just don’t care. Its the same expectation thing as with the opposite sex but it applies to how easily or difficult it is for me to make friends.

Finally, there is change. The change in how life does its cosmic dance and makes me see ends and beginnings of things. As an anthropologist once noted,

There is nothing so constant as change

And I can take the list and create the diary and write the blog and know that I am not good at the things which bind me to others. There are failures and successes. That’s what a new year is all about dear reader or two.

A life spent with a Diary

I’ve not always been a diarist or journaler but I have traveled to a few different tools since about 2009 to find a suitable thing. First was Evernote and I would fill it with my traveling reservations, notes, web page links and snips. Kind of a multi-tool of a thing for me. Then Evernote started changing and the account changed even more. I had kept a web-based diary as well or perhaps it was before and I copied those notes to Evernote. Whatever the sequence was, I deleted the diaries from 2009 to about 2015 because of the anger and depression in them over the relationship gone awry.

From 2015 until now I used Google Docs and this became an excellent choice since no matter what platform, the notes sync’ed across them all and I could edit, add images and maps, create travel blurbs for myself, keep tables of things.

I have considered the use of the diary or journal and since 2015 writing in Google Docs, I have updated the journal several times a month. I start a new Google Doc with  a new year and off i go again. Since I have about 100gb of space, I figure I can last for awhile at this pace. Even were I to hit the road to find a thing; the tools would still be there.

The tool is rather utilitarian in nature but what it lacks in some kind of funtastic UI, it makes up in being a more than adequate processor of words. Lets face it, when we want to write a thing we want to write. We don’t want to measure some tool, find out you need a subscription to create a certain thing. I don’t care to share so I don’t need something with that button. The diary is exceedingly personal.

When some archeologist digs up my Google Drive in years to come, I think they will say something like,

What a mixed up guy this was. He never knew what he was or wanted but charged blindly ahead anyways.

And aren’t we all and don’t diaries and journals exist to replicate that outward gesture in a personal way? I’ve thought a few times about simply sharing it with my daughter but the thoughts there run rough after a few beers sometimes and often are pointed at my ex-wife who still bears blame in my more vindictive states (namely drunk). But even outside that the journal is not meant for consumption by others.

So I come to the meat of the matter today. I started looking at a new tool since now I can have Android applications on my Chromebook. This extends how I can create potentially libelous and slanderous content to another level :-). That application is called Journal and it offers a saner and simpler tablet for entering text. It also installs cleanly and is useful and functional on my Acer chromebook. Just as an aside, lets face it folks that adding in Android applications on Chromebooks was a touch of genius. We don’t need to have the platforms combine. We need thoughtful integration where each benefits. I like the chromebook because of its sheer simplicity but when it just was the browser and nothing else I pined for an application like X application on my android phone.

Now with Journal I have such a thing. Does it take the place of the simple and easy Google Docs with its effortless sync’ing across platforms? Will it suffice with my decidedly non challenging approach to writing these things? It needs to be portable across platforms I use but mostly it has to satisfy the “habilis” in me. The tool user requires that the tool be useful and that I extend productivity, fun, escape with it.

So let me  ask you. Do you keep a diary? Is it the tool that matters or the content? If the tool gets in the way of the content for me; the tool goes and I find another. That’s why Evernote hit the road.

What do you expect to accomplish with the diary? Nothing? That’s cool. Me too. I don’t have some end all and be all condition to be met. I don’t do it for anyone or to hold it above someone. I do it because I feel better doing it and I think people need a place to record inner most thoughts and feel secure that those thoughts and feelings are protected. The old movie about stealing the diary and the lock and discovering some innate secret is not fantasy. Its a mainstay of those of us that keep these things.

I’ll continue to write here and also there. The two don’t really touch unless I blog about the thing. There’s the thought of touching virtual pen to paper in both worlds that is fascinating, challenging, and desirable.

If you don’t keep one, have you ever considered it? Life goes on in some path of ever increasing years and age and I think we need a place to record the passage.

Your thoughts?

Living in a Single Room

An ongoing adventure. One that started back in 2014 when I moved out of a house with whole bunches of stuff to a room. I worked then for IBM and worked at home 100% of the time. I think folks are used to living in a house with rooms where you can simply relocate when a mood or a need strikes you. You have a bedroom and a porch and a kitchen and a living room. Perhaps you have an office where you go when you get tired of the other places. You probably have closets where you keep all the stuff.

When I moved, I had a single room. It was called the Master Bedroom in this house. The house was trash basically. Things either worked badly or not at all and the owner was more engaged in get rich schemes than keeping the place up. Weird things happened most of the time.

Finally around October of 2015 I moved out after being asked to leave in 30 days. I moved to another room. A small 10×12 or so room. A room just big enough to hold even less of my stuff. Gone was the desk or table, end tables, japanese screen that separated the room. Now I figured I was at this stage of living where each part of the room was functional in some way. You ever lived in a single room? An interesting philosophical, social, and cultural thing. A single room which has a division at some level but in the small room, no real room for division. Everything in the room was bed and TV. Then about a year later, the room mate living in the larger upstairs room departed and I took that room. More room but still not separate rooms. A room with more room.

You cannot have a couch and love seat and fridge and stuff. You cannot invite someone over for an evening and entertain in the living room. I have a living room but in this house no one lives in the living room. There are 4 others living here now. They each have some thing they do that I don’t know much about. Three downstairs and two upstairs.

The door is the exit and entry. Its like a leaving and an entry all at the same time. I stand a chance of seeing a room mate but most likely not. They all run around their circles. That house outside the door is not mine and I don’t want it. Its a common area where no one gathers. My room is warm though to me. It holds all my stuff and I do not have room for more stuff.

One question I hear when folks hear how I live. Is it comfortable? How do you cook and do laundry and have internet and do all the things? People are used to their multi-room environments where they travel or migrate to their rooms in search of a thing or things. They have rooms to do each thing.  I don’t. I have a room and a closet and I pay less rent than most people but there is a part of this that I would call “giving it up”. You give up a certain lifestyle and tenor to your existence. You don’t just move to a single room. You grow into it. You know what will work and what won’t.

Can you do it? If you’re divorced I would say yes. Can you do it if you are older like me? Sure you can. What do you need to live the room lifestyle? I think you need to admit that this thing is different and its less and you have to have less but find value in the things you do have. I don’t have desktops and multiple laptops. I have a phone and a Chromebook. I guess I am lucky because I know computer networking so I can build my own wireless network in my room with a few little things and knowing how basic networks do their thing.

You cannot do it if you want to have a separate room for a thing and you have to have more things. I also know at some point even this will be too much for me and I’ll do one more junk pickup which will be everything. The remaining stuff will fit in a bag.

If you live in some big apartment and wonder why the money floats away and you need to visit Ikea and buy more, you cannot live in a small room until you make a change in how you see things. But a single room has its benefits too. It will make living easier for you in the long run. It creates value when you still have money at the end of month. Perhaps or not you have to change eating habits. I admit to not cooking whatsoever at home any longer. I eat two meals out every day. Have not had a home cooked meal since sometime in 2014. I just don’t care to amass all the stuff which is needed for cooking.

Clothing has gone way down too. Gone are multiple closets of stuff. I still have shirts I will never wear so those will probably go next. Its still an evolving process to get down to a point where I’m good with what I have and still own things I need and perhaps want. I’m not a minimalist. I’m a mikealist. I want things still but many of the things like fancy furniture and end tables don’t fit.

If you want a change and you are by yourself, pick up craigslist and see what you can find. Its a sea change in living. You may not like it. You may need to go back to the rooms of stuff. But maybe not.

Sunday Tech Talk — My two new favorite devices

I got tired of all apple gear so shipped it off to my friend in in Salem, Oregon. Gone are the iPhone 7, two iPads, a Macbook Air 2015, and a gaggle of cables. There is something about the gear which bothers me, dumbs me down, makes me less able to fumble around and change things. No custom launchers or icon packs on the phone or changing the default apps for the browser, calendar, email yet you can do it easily on the Macbook. Why? Or better yet Why not? I like futzing with things. Android is better for me because I can do futzing.

Two devices now become new favorites for some period of time.

Acer Chromebook R13


This device is big for a convertible tablet and I like it. It folds over to tent and tablet and the build quality is stellar. Change it to the Beta channel and you get the Android apps and can install the office apps, games, android things you like. I like Flipboard better on Android. I like MS Office apps or the choice to use the real apps and not the shadowy online ones. I like a few games. I can install another browser if I want.

This laptop comes with 64gb of storage and 4gb of memory. It seems very quick on the uptake and its quiet folks. No fan running and the Mediatek processor seems very capable at powering the things I like doing. This wins a spot on the desk in my room.

Surface Pro 4


Now the second device. I bought this thing from Swappa so its gently used and I got the keyboard case, the pen, the charger and the version of the Surface which has the i7, 256gb of storage, and 16gb of memory. This thing is quick folks and does not stutter on the office apps like the earlier Surface Pro 3 I had. It also has less battery life and runs about 5 hours compared to the 12 hours on the first choice.

What it does do that I like is have a really portable environment that folds up on itself and runs the group of regular old Windows applications I have managed to collect. I like mostly free or open source applications and I have an Office 365 personal subscription so I can install on up to 5 devices.

Using it at a Starbucks yesterday convinced me that this device really performs well at regular tasks and multitasking applications for me is excellent. Copying data, sharing information to my journal or splitting the screen is nice on this.

Be sure to bring along the power connector when you venture out.

My final device is not a favorite but I use it because the company gave it to me. My Samsung Galaxy S7 is free and the mobile plan is free and I use it but I don’t particularly like it or recommend it. I don’t like it enough to recommend it but it works with the Airwatch MDM and Boxer mail good enough. If you want an android phone that’s capable get yourself a Pixel. If you want a consumer device check out the new LG phones or perhaps the Huawei as an up and comer.

The Galaxy S7 is just another Samsung phone with no real thing to recommend or desire or cherish with it. Its paid for each month so I use it.

Then I come to the farther out thing. Which device if either would I choose to take on the road? Neither. I would not take the Acer Chromebook R13 or the Surface Pro 4. I definitely would not take a phone. You can get something smaller, more portable, with enough wifi phone functions (think Skype or Hangouts or VOIP) to make things work remarkably well. It would be a chromebook though because of its nature and how I could completely redo the laptop or powerwash it in minutes. If I lost the device, a replacement is only a few hundred dollars. When I think of how the Surface Pro 4 runs with all those DLLs and INI files and registry things, its scary. One false move and the thing could be a multiple hundred dollar paperweight. On the road you don’t need that.

To me, you need a device at about the 11 or 12 inch form factor with up to 12 hours of battery life. Something like the Acer R11 or Asus Flip. You don’t want something to kick butt. You want something to save your butt.


Happenstance Encounters

I live in a 5 bedroom house where we we all have rooms and share a common area. Encounters with housemates is rare. Today I ran into Bill in the hallway. I had not seen him for almost a month. It dawned on me that we all live these exceedingly private lives and though we share kitchens and bathrooms; we rarely have social interaction or visit. Never has someone knocked at my door and said,

Hey! You got a minute to talk about things?

Instead each person is in an orbit of their life and travels that orbit in singular determination. This creates a bit of discomfort when you first encounter a housemate and I think both persons are not expecting or requiring the resulting discussion.

We stumbled on for words and for those words not said. Kelly, the new housemate, fits in well the way we all live. She is a private person as well. She has been living in the master bedroom for about two weeks or so I think. I may have seen her twice. Others come and go in their monastic ways. Holidays and weekends come and go. Their lives are taken up with entering and leaving the house and if a chance encounter happens; the result is that nervousness and discomfort that comes from two people not really wanting to share.

Its a strange thing this happenstance encounter. I also fit in well. I come and I go. I don’t make demands. I do the things I have to do. There are some unwritten rules when you share a room in a house. Basic things. Like,

  1. Don’t make feeble conversation in the hallways unless you have a point to make.
  2. Clean up after yourself.
  3. Wheel out the garbage cans and take them back in.
  4. Don’t block  a car in the driveway.
  5. Be sure you know the wifi key. New people will ask for one thing only and that’s it.

There are probably more things and I know them. The others in the house have different things. They know them and I don’t. And that’s okay. Because our encounters are only happenstance.