Long time, no post

Wow, I can’t believe how long it has been since I’ve even thought about blogging here. Time flies! That car in the banner – gone. I miss it, and it was sad to see the way it had to go, but at least no one was injured. Also, on the upside, I guess, we wound up with two newer Mustangs in the end.

Summer is also basically over now… kids are back in school, days are getting short and nights are really cool. Click off another great year.

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Spaces migration to WordPress–Awesome!

I have to tell you, when I first heard the news that Windows Live Spaces were being retired I was a little concerned and bewildered.  Admittedly, Spaces never lived up to my expectations to become a serious blogging platform, but being the dyed in the wool corporate supporter that I am, I had hope that by staying the course and driving feedback into the product it would improve.  But my hope had been fading as with each new wave of Windows Live enhancements, Spaces seemed to spin further and further out of orbit with the rest of the Windows Live world.  So, I felt – was my half hearted and languishing blog blog finally being jettisoned out into deep space (pun intended)?

So, this morning I received the migration notice email and I had a decision to make – let my blog go quietly into that good night, or cross the chasm to join a new orbit around a distant star.  I chose the latter, and I have to tell you the teleportation process was wonderful.  In a few easy, well explained and light hearted steps (loved the levity about the legalese, btw!) I have broken on through to the other side.  And now here I am on WordPress, complete with an integrated Windows Live Writer authoring experience that is first class all the way.

Goodbye, and thank you Windows Live Spaces – you’re careful guidance and help to move me to the kind world of WordPress is greatly appreciated. Live Long and Prosper.

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My Dad’s Donor

Immediately after my father’s release from the hospital last March everyone in my family wrote a personal letter to my father’s donor’s family to thank them for their life saving decision, in the face of what must have been terrible grief. My father has written a few additional letters over the course of his first year post-transplant as he has savored and celebrated annual milestones that had once seemed impossibly out of reach. He has intended that his news of survival and revival would offer some comfort to the donor family and would somehow convey the gratitude and blessing he has felt.  He had hoped that he would receive a reply, but also realized that perhaps his letters brought too much pain to be answered.

 

Yesterday, somewhat fittingly St. Valentine’s Day, my father received a letter from the family of his donor. The letter was written on December 26, 2008 but arrived just yesterday after having been routed through the national organ donor network to preserve everyone’s privacy, which I will continue to do here.  My father is spending a few months in Florida, enjoying his regained freedom, so the letter was forwarded to him there.

 

My father called me at home yesterday.  When I answered the phone I could hear such a trembling in his voice that I immediately became alarmed.  I thought something was wrong.  But quite the contrary, he was overwhelmed with joy to finally know a bit about person that he now shares a life with.  So with a determined but quavering voice, he read the letter to me.

 

The letter was written by the donor’s father. His father told us a lot about his son: his name and age, about his children, favorite sports, and so on.  The letter included specific memories about his son throughout his life.  It was a wonderful letter.  It was pretty apparent that this was a person who was a part of many other people’s lives. It made the joy of his life and the pain of his loss real to us.

 

Now when I think "Thank you" I feel like I can direct it to someone specific, in a more personal way.  And that feels better to me.

Thank you.

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Collaborative Government – be a part of it.

President-elect Obama’s Transition team is inviting Americans from every walk of life to share their stories, experiences, and ideas.
I just shared my thoughts on an issue that’s important to me, and I thought you might like to, too:
Thanks.
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Glenbrook South High School Marching Band 2006 at U of I

My daughter is in there marching and playing flute – see if you can spot her 🙂

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Time to rethink operating system architecture

I have been thinking for a long time that tried and true operating system architecture that we have relied upon since the earliest days of commercial computing might be holding us back.  What I’m getting at is the built in assumption that most OS designs have that the hardware consists of a processor (CPU), volatile memory (RAM), and offline storage (Disk Drive).  With the advent of solid state drives in capacities that are competitive with traditional technologies (e.g.: Intel thinks big with solid-state drives | Nanotech: The Circuits Blog – CNET News ) and with processors that include larger and larger on-board cache, although I’m no electronics engineer, it seems plausible that some kind of convergence could happen if we can break the assumptions that OS designs are built upon.

A lot of what a computer operating system is dedicated to doing is managing the loading and unloading of programs and data into and out of memory to prepare for execution and manipulation by the processor.

What if programs could be executed in place?

What if data could be manipulated in place?

How much computing power could be redirected to serving the user vs. serving the hardware?

Could we have instant resume, instance suspend computers (and eliminate the concept of "on" and "off")?

Could we have a computer that didn’t crash (in the sense of a hard disk crash)?

Could we have a computer that operated for months on a single battery charge?

Could we have a computer with the computing power of a laptop, but that folded up to fit into your wallet?

It’s a bit of a chicken and egg problem, I suppose.  I think, based on how things worked out last time around that we need to get creative on the hardware architecture side and make that drive the operating system.  What if we rewound history back to the point the breakthrough of the loadable programs was made and solved that problem with today’s technology, in a different way.  What if the operating system’s job was to constantly reconfigure a programmable logic device of a few hundred gigabytes?  I think things might be different than the current "state of the art" in consumer computing if we could affect a shift to adopt reconfigurable computing in the mainstream.

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He did it!

I found out yesterday, that on Monday 8/18/2008, while I was at work and it was a beautiful, mild, late summer day outside and just over five months since his surgery my Dad rode his motorcycle.  45 miles.  I’m sure there are many more to come.

This was his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the goal he set for himself to motivate him through his recovery.  And he did it.  I’m so proud, and happy.

All this summer we’ve been savoring these little victories:

That first trip back up to Wisconsin

Filling the bird feeders

Increasingly longer walks up and down hills without hesitation

The simple satisfaction of yard work

A family outing to the Milwaukee lakefront

Being there for a Christening and an Ordination

Attending a family reunion and reconnecting with distant cousins

Reprising the ritual visit to the State Fair

and the list goes on.  Lots of ordinary little life events that somehow seem a little more special because they almost wouldn’t have happened or wouldn’t have been the same.  Each a little victory and step closer to this goal of "getting back on the horse".

Way to go Dad!  And again to that donor, whoever you are, thank you.

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