$10 billion should be enough

Some guy named Thomas S. Ross has decided to sue Apple because he claims he invented the iPhone first. Specifically, in 1992 he sketched something he called an “electronic reading device” that allowed a person to “communicate, write notes, … and store reading and writing material”.

In his lawsuit, he points out how similar the two devices are:


Yep, clearly he was thinking the same thing as Apple, fifteen years earlier. Never mind that technology in 1992 wasn’t anywhere close to making this thing a reality… I mean, I could have drawn some cool little device that did awesome impossible-at-the-time stuff then too!

His technical detail drawing is kind of funny:


Notice the floppy disk drive on the left-hand side, and the comment that it will use a 16MHz 386 processor. Oh, and tiny solar cells on the sides that will presumably power all of this.

Although his patent was declared “abandoned” by the USPTO in 1995 because he didn’t pay application fees, he says he has suffered “great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money”. So he decided that ten billion dollars should be enough to put his anguished mind at ease. Oh, and royalties on all ongoing iPhone sales.

Apple’s lawyers are probably enjoying this.

Longmont sunset

Last night we went out to buy a few things to send to Alex in Peru, and the sunset was pretty spectacular.


(Dang light posts)

Gigabits = a lot of bits

Today I got plugged into Longmont’s gigabit fiber network. It’s called NextLight, and from what I hear it’s the fastest municipal network in the country. Unfortunately I can’t take advantage of the full speed quite yet, because my ten-year-old router isn’t gigabit-capable… I need to find something faster so I can transfer huge files from site to site just for fun.

Take that, CenturyLink and Comcast!

Tornado WHAT?

I just got a couple of alerts on my phone about a tornado watch, starting now. It struck me as kind of strange, since outside I see clear blue skies, a few scattered clouds, and a beautiful sun.

The National Weather Service says the same thing:


Who knew? Of course I rode my bike today. Should I head home now, when it’s nice outside, or risk riding through a tornado in a few hours?

Han in Jello

Yesterday Zack found an old box of cherry Jello in the back of the pantry. He was bored, so he decided to mix it up and enjoy a little snack. He had the brilliant idea of pouring it into our Han Solo ice cube mold.


As it turns out, Han Solo doesn’t do too well as Jello. Too bad.

Resume fun

Zing’s in the market for a new developer, which means it’s time to poke a little fun at some of the stuff I see in resumes as people apply for a job.

Let’s start with an objective that uses some big words but is basically meaningless:

Objective: To play an integral role in an innovative effort.

When applying for a job where you write code, don’t start your cover letter with:

While I am no coder, I do possess a fun, quirky attitude.

Our job posting says very clearly– in bold font with capital letters– that we’re looking for a local full-time employee. So it’s always great when people say things like:

I reside in the Greenville, SC area. If the opportunity you posted can not be performed remotely, I apologize for the inconvenience.

And finally, something that had me puzzled a bit:

I am confident that, although I can show no experience on my resume, I can be an asset to you.

Points for honesty, I guess, but this guy is a long-haul truck driver. No kidding. He’s probably really nice, and hopefully great at his job, but I just don’t understand how a truck driver applies for a job requiring mid- to advanced-level programming skills.

And so, the hunt continues.

Is 4 a lot?

Seen on an internet Q&A forum:

Q: Is 4 a lot?
A: It depends on the context. Dollars, no. Murders, yes.

Giant Meteor 2016

Seen on the internet. Funny because it’s true. And tragic.


Dream job

I just received this email:


It sounds like a dream job: $150k/year, all the vacation and sick days I want, no dress code, wow!

Unfortunately I received it at 7:36pm Mountain Time, and the offer apparently expired at 7:00pm Eastern Time. Dang it!

Two down, one to go

Today was our second high-school graduation ceremony. Kyra pulled it off!

The weather was a little chilly when we arrived but once the clouds cleared, it warmed up quickly to become quite beautiful. Here’s the crowd, with Mr. Aragon delivering an introductory speech while holding a wizard’s staff:


Kyra chose Ms. Texera, her band teacher, to hand her the diploma. They struck a pose for the camera:


This year’s graduating class was smaller than Alex’s class so the ceremony went a little more quickly. That’s always nice, since almost everyone there only cares about one of the graduates. At the end, the mortarboards flew.


Here’s the happy graduate. She’s wearing white for her 4.0+ GPA, red-and-gold honor cords, and a band award. She was supposed to get another cord for her college-level courses, but some wires got crossed and we’ll need to sort that out.


Her friends Hannah and Alex, who she’s known for something like 15 years, came to support her… as did Alex’s parents!


Grandma and grandpa also made the trip, squeezing it into their busy summer travel schedule:


I’m so proud of my beautiful girl.


Weather forecaster in a box

Dad spent about 40 years of his life as a meteorologist. But heck, he could’ve saved himself a lot of time if he’d had one of these little doodads that I saw at Walmart yesterday:


It’s a weather forecaster in a box! Less than twenty-five bucks! And it even includes the moon phase… wow!

Vonage spam

Whenever I sign up for a new service– online or otherwise– and they want an email address, I create a custom address that identifies the company. For example, when I signed up for Vonage a few years ago, I used jeff-vonage@neobox.net. The reason? If I start getting spam at that address, I know exactly who sold my information (or whose customer database was compromised).

Behold one of many spam messages I received today:


Yep, there’s the Vonage spam-trap address. Since it’s highly unlikely a spammer would guess that, it’s clear that Vonage either sold my information or lost their customer data. Either way, shame on you, Vonage.

As an aside, if I’m signing up for a new service where I don’t care whether they ever email me, I use guy@place.com. To whoever owns the place.com domain– especially if your name is Guy– I’m really sorry.

Getting older

One thing that’s nice about getting older* is friends. I just had lunch with my good friend Kendra, who I met during my junior year of college… which would be 1993. I love that I can say “I’ve known her for 23 years, and we still hang out”.

Dirk remains my longest and bestest friend; I’ve known him for 33 years and counting. We still email each other every few days, and I take the opportunity to see him whenever I’m back in Missouri. Other than my immediate family, there aren’t many people in my life who I can say I’ve known for decades, and fewer still who have been good friends for that long.

* Notice that I said “getting older”, not “getting old”. I’m not old. I continue to get older, but I don’t plan to ever be “old”.

Kyra’s last concert

Last night Kyra performed in her final concert of high school, and possibly her last time playing the flute. Before the performance, there was a banquet and award ceremony, and Kyra received a “senior medal” (along with 14 other graduating seniors) for her time in band. She was also given the Musicianship Award for her outstanding work; Ms. Texera even mentioned that Kyra was one of the “most talented musicians she’s ever had the pleasure of teaching”. Pretty cool.

The concert was good. Kyra is, as usual, the blond on the right side.


After it was over, Laralee mentioned that she was sort of bummed that she won’t be able to see any more music performances at Skyline High School. I told her not to worry too much, since I’ll be teaching seminary for a few more years (well, at least one more year for sure) and I attend a lot of the activities of my students to support them. There are several in the band and choir, so I’m sure we’ll have an opportunity to see plenty more.

Commute time < song length

This morning as I left home, Weird Al’s “Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota” started playing. By the time I arrived at the office, the song was still going. I sure like having a commute time that’s less than the length of a (somewhat long) song.

Also, what better way to start a Monday than with a little Weird Al?


Video conference with Peru

Twice a year we have an opportunity to talk to Alex while he serves his mission in Lima, Peru: Christmas Day and Mother’s Day (no, not Father’s Day). So this afternoon he “called” us via Google Hangouts and we put him on our 70″ television.


We had a great time chatting about how things are going. He told some funny stories about life in Peru, and it was fun to have more than just a weekly email to communicate. He’s doing really well and enjoying the work. Only 17 months to go!

Our Town

Laralee and I were cleaning out some stuff in her office this afternoon, and as we cleared off one of the bookshelves I found the script for the first play I acted in during high school: Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.


I think it was my sophomore year, which would’ve been 1987. I turned to Zack and said, “I even remember my first line: ‘Mornin’, Doc! Want your paper now?'”

And sure enough…


But my favorite memory was Dirk’s line. He only had one line in the entire play (unlike me, with my vast array of five or six!) and everyone in the cast knew it, so during practices we’d all shout along with him: “Oh, Ma! By ten o’clock I got to know all about Canada!”


Alas, neither Dirk nor I took this promising start in the theater to become famous actors (although he did major in theater in college).

Spring in Colorado

After a beautiful Friday, Saturday dawned cold and grey. It was so dark that even in the early afternoon it looked like dusk. The forecast called for “severe thunderstorms” and although we didn’t hear any thunder, the rain came down in buckets and we even had hail for a bit. I was down in my basement office, watching the hail pile up in the window well where it’s now melted a bit into a sheet of ice.

Apparently there was at least one tornado in the area, too. Ahh, spring!


Yesterday was a beautiful late-spring day (finally!) so Laralee and I took a walk in the afternoon. As we headed out the front door, we could smell the lilacs that grow along the side of our house. They’re in full bloom now. Walking past our neighbor’s house, we saw some huge lilac bushes.



They smelled amazing. I suspect in a few days they’ll be finished blooming, but it was fun to walk past them.


Everyone who knows me knows that I’m not a morning person. As such, my calling as a seminary teacher this year has been a bit of a challenge. Class starts right after 6am, which means I’m rolling out of bed at 5:30. For most of the school year, the kids and I drive to class in the dark.

Until now. On Friday I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some doughnuts (a seminary tradition) and noticed that the sun was just peeking above the horizon.


As we approach summer, sunrise is shifting earlier. And as of next Monday, May 9, it will officially be at 5:50am– the time we leave the house. So for the first time in the year, we’ll see the sun on our way to class. Woo hoo!