A Time for Reflection

A Time for Reflection (by StarbuckGuy)

This photo of birch trees reflected in my cup of coffee was a casual snap I took a few days ago while writing in Starbucks. Like many of my shots, it was a quick capture of the small things I enjoy. Imagine my surprise when this simple shot went nova on Flickr. The comments and faves started rolling in and for most of one day this shot held at #2 in Explore — Flickr’s featured photos section. It eventually dropped down to around #250, but being featured at all still surprises me

In another way, though, perhaps I understand it. One of the more difficult things to achieve these days is time for reflection. For simplicity. For quiet. I can see how this image appealed to a lot of people.

The photo works symbolically for me too. It’s a time of reflection for me as I explore the things in life I most connect with during my retirement. Photography and writing still hold strong, but neither quite satisfies completely. I’ve thought about this for a long time. As much as I love photography and writing, they’ve always been activities I’ve pursued as sidelines. Like playing music. Creative things to do, but not mainline.

My career was in IT and I miss it. Not the 24/7 on-call pager stuff — I’m happy to pass that on to the next generation. What I miss is development and design. There’s something about logic and data structures that makes my synapses sizzle. I’m a predominantly left-brain individual, with some right-brain tendencies. I appreciate the elegance of programming code that is beautifully written and works well, and I like trying to write it.

The problem is, I don’t have any development projects to work on, and it’s been some years since I last did any serious C programming. I didn’t want to go back into corporate IT work on either a part-time or contract basis. Business systems don’t excite me.

It was my wife, Marion, who came up with a breakthrough in my thinking. She was visiting ex-colleagues from Sheridan College’s IT program who are starting to teach programming and design for mobile devices, like the Blackberry. One of them suggested this would be a good area for me.

Bing. A light went on. Here I am, loving my iPod Touch and it hadn’t occurred to me that I could learn how to program for it. I’d been wanting a Macbook anyway, but couldn’t justify one solely on the basis of my writing projects. I did a little research and looked at some Objective-C samples and realized I not only understood them, I got excited by them. I also discovered that you can register with Apple as an iPhone / Touch developer for free and that Apple provides all the essential development tools.

That sealed it. So on Black Friday, I took advantage of the $100 off sale and ordered a 15″ Macbook Pro with 4GB RAM and 500GB drive. With antiglare screen. The two programs I intend to purchase as soon as it arrives are Scrivener, for writing projects, and VMware Fusion to allow me to run Windows programs virtually until I have time and budget to replace all my software with Mac versions.

Now the wait. It’ll take about a week or so to arrive. I’m keeping my little Dell Mini 10v because of its compact size and light weight. I run Linux on it, but once I’m set with the Mac, I might Hackintosh the Mini.

Excited? You bet.

4 thoughts on “A Time for Reflection

  1. Great picture Gene! I often use my coffee time to reflect. Two years ago I thought about the ipod touch when it came out and opted for the Palm TX. It’s now pretty muc orphanware. I am eyeing eyepod touches and have looked at handwriting recognition programs. But for typing, I bought a 1997 Compaq Armada 7750MT for $5. A few weeks later I had installed a 20gig drive, wifi and usb all for under $75. OperaUSB gives me Flash 9 capability, and I can even run photoshop elements 2 on it and Irfanview converts my Canon Raw Files. It’s a little slow, but it’s cheap! It may be too heavy for you to lug around, but there are plenty of newer used keyeboards and netbook style laptops, although not with full size keys.

    You go, boy!
    -Bob G

  2. Bob, way to go! Those older machines are a great bargain.

    I still use my Palm TX quite a bit for writing. It’s the companion BT keyboard that makes it work for me.

    The iPod Touch is really fun. It’s easily the neatest technology I’ve yet had my hands on, literally in this case 🙂

  3. Hi Gene,

    Great photo! It does have a soothing relaxed quality.

    I would be interested in how the iPod Touch development goes for you. I’ve been thinking of giving it a try myself. I used Scrivener for the NaNoWriMo contest this year and I really enjoyed using it. Writing in full screen mode really helps focus my attention on writing an not all the “bling” of the application.

    Have fun with your new toys. 🙂


  4. Thanks Matt.

    I’ll definitely keep you up to date on the iPod Touch development. I plan to blog my progress with it. For me it’s mainly a brain exercise, one that I think will be fun. I might even produce something useful to someone.

    I’m looking forward to Scrivener. The full screen mode is much like writing in a text editor, as I do now on all my systems. Plus it has all of Scrivener’s bells and whistles.

    What’s the word for a new Mac user? Macite? Macolyte?

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