Winter Vacation – Chicago

I mentioned some time ago that we are planning a trip to Chicago with my grandkids, my son, and my daughter-in-law. Over the weekend I put together a plan, bought tickets to the museums, and set up our hotel accommodations. It should be a lot of fun. I don’t think that the grand kids have been to a large city before.

We’re planning to go to the Museum of Science and Industry for one day, and the Field History Museum the next. I hope we aren’t too burned out from that much museum activity. The kids can swim at the hotel pool too. The Swissôtel Chicago has a VIK (very important kid) package for them to enjoy. I hope they get a kick out of that too.

The trip is still about a month away, but I’m looking forward to it. It should be fun.

I’ll blog about the things we do and see when we’re back. I think the New Year’s weekend will be my likely time to write.

BTW: This is Bijorn and Kiara.

Project Photos Over Time

I have a post on my site tiletrade that is about photos and technology over time. I think that it might be of interest generally and so point to it here as well.

By the way: I haven’t been posting to two blogs at one time until just recently. I’m not sure what the protocol ought to be. I could re-post this post here as well, but let’s try this first. I can change things later if it seems clunky.

Here is that post.

My blog – tiletrade

I’ve been writing again in my blog called tiletrade. I’ve also unlocked it. You can now have access. Most of the writing is about estimating and management, but I also put some posts up about technology since it relates to the process of estimating. If you want to take a look go to tiletrade.


Electric Cars – Some Thoughts

I like thinking about these electric cars. I don’t know if I will appreciate them once they are actual products though. The Smart Car in its original gas version was interesting to me too. Now they are available and I’m not as interested. I think that I am enamored with the concept rather than the reality. The thought of driving them daily is not such a pleasing thought. I think that it comes down to a macho sort of thing. Or, it might be a matter of dignity and age. Either way.

The Think City was recently discussed here locally. It’s possible that this particular vehicle will go into production soon and they are potentially planning an assembly plant here in Indiana. I didn’t get the full particulars, and the news was dismissed as premature by Think. So there was really only speculation rather than real news.

How do you heat the car in winter? That is a concern to me. Does that energy come from the battery? It must. Wouldn’t that be a real drain on the battery? But you need the heat to clear the windows and on really cold days it matters.

I guess that I am more a believer in the plug-in hybrid for that reason. For the life of me, I cannot see why that is such a technological leap for these companies. I understand that battery life and reliability are involved. Nevertheless, adding just 10 miles to the daily commute on full electric power, before reverting to hybrid status, would be a huge deal. It seems practical to me. Adding 3,000 miles of electrical range annually would make a difference; especially on a national or global scale.

We’re not going to be saving money – not much anyway. This is about not burning fuel in the vehicles. It’s about turning wind and solar power into electrical energy that displaces petroleum products going into the atmosphere and not sending money to people who hate us, and use the money to kill us.

I know these are controversial topics and there is real confusion about the merit of burning electric power if it comes from coal for example. It’s hard to have a simple answer. The dynamics change all the time and from place to place. But we need the option and the solution explored right down to production and assembly. We need to know we can do it.

November Thoughts

November TreeThese are quiet days. November has been a better month this year than most. It has been dryer and sunnier than usual. It seems more like my memory of Octobers in past time. Still though, it is a time where we are preparing ourselves for the winter. Not that we need more than a day or two to prepare here in our new home in Indiana. When we lived in our 1927 built Four-Square house in Western New York I had a lot more work to do. Screens had to be taken down and storm windows put into place. Those were heavy wood-framed windows, placed with wing nuts and hung on special hooks. They weren’t adjustable, and each window was custom made for its place. I can remember climbing a heavy wooden ladder with those windows to the second floor level to put them in place. I was younger then and poorer. I couldn’t afford to buy new windows. It became a process – both in Fall and Spring.

This time of year was the time to put snow tires on the car too. We used to be able to buy studded snow tires. The little steel studs were great for traction on icy roads, but thousands of cars with studs took a toll on the highways, and the state banned them. But November was the time of year to get tires mounted and ready.

I cut the lawn Sunday; it may be the last time for this year unless the weather is really unusual and stays warm and sunny. I will miss the greenness of  freshly cut grass, and of course the trees. They are already blown free of their leaves for this year. By February, I start watching golf on TV, sometimes just to see the cut grass and foliage in the trees in those warm climate locals.

Long ago, I thought that the southern states lived in summer all the time. I hadn’t really thought it through. I just assumed that because it wasn’t snowy like Western New York, then the grass was green and the trees were perpetually growing like our summers. Well of course that wasn’t true, and I found that out to my disappointment when I drove to Florida for the first time as a young father with my wife and kids, going to Disney World. I just kept waiting for the moment where we would drive into summer again. I didn’t know – kind of silly – but I remember that drive.

I do like the seasons. I just wish Winter was a lot shorter.

MacBook Air Ad

I have an MBA. Mine is one of the first, and it is still going strong, and making me happy with how it works for my writing. I love the keyboard and the form factor. I love the screen. I came across this ad from the introduction of the MBA about two years ago. I still find it fun to watch.