Rock walker

Here’s Reader Number Two climbing around on the rocks at Worlds End State Park. What a great park! I really want to go back there again. I really want to go camping anywhere. With my family that is.

I already have frequent chances to camp with the scouts, which is also a lot of fun, but it’s a different kind of fun. We’re going this coming weekend, although we’re only camping on top of the septic system at the church, since we’re working on our video on Saturday morning in church kitchen. We’re planning a paper airplane flying contest in the Hall of Culture on Friday evening. Since we’ll be at the church, we can’t have a campfire, of course, and we need to be particularly good neighbors, so we’ll find fun things to do inside. It will be fun regardless.

But the real camping fun this year will be our family trip to Ohio and Illinois (along with other possible destinations) in the first two weeks of August, as mentioned in a previous column. I’m ready to go right now.

Elizabeth, my friend and co-worker from San Diego, Denver, and McLean, came up to Newtown to work on an ICD with me today. We had her come over for dinner this evening too. It was really nice to see her and catch up on things. Today’s work went really well too, and I got a great sushi lunch out of it to boot.

I listened to a new podcast tonight. It’s called Daily Giz Wiz and features Dick de Bartolo and Leo Laporte. de Bartolo is a very entertaining guy who discovers and writes/talks about all kinds of neat little gadgets. He used to appear on The Screensavers pretty often, along with several other more networky shows. He’s also a longtime writer for Mad Magazine, which I really enjoyed as a young person. His website is here. Anyway, the podcast was pretty cool. It’s supposed to become a short daily show, and I’m really looking forward to hearing it every day.

Right now, I’m listening to an old Charlie Chan radio show. Very entertaining. I’ve found a website or two with some old shows available for download. Unfortunately, they’re pretty heavy on Red Skelton shows – not my favorite – and too light on Bob Hope and a few others I enjoy quite a bit more. I would love to find some old Blondie shows. Readers are invited to let me know where they are (for free, of course).

I finished reading The Psychology of Everyday Things. It wasn’t exactly what I had thought it would be, but it was fascinating nonetheless. It’s basically a treatise on what makes for good design, which it basically defines as ease of use. I especially enjoyed the early parts of the book where numerous examples of bad design are given. The examples hit pretty close to home. If you look around a little bit, you can find practically unlimited examples of hard-to-use things, including such commonplace things as doorknobs and telephones. Very amusing and informative. I recommend the book. Just don’t expect it to be a psychology book – it’s more of a human factors engineering treatise.

Having finished that book, I’ve started Eniac, by Scott McCartney. It’s a history of Eckert and Mauchly, the designers of the first digital computer. I’m only nine pages into it, so it’s way too early to tell if it’s any good, but the subject is a fascinating one to me – the history of computing and the people who were there from the beginning. I’ll keep my loyal readers informed of my progress and opinions. I’m sure they’re dying to know.

It’s just a few minutes after nine o’clock, but I’m really sleepy, so it’s time to quit. Besides, Charlie Chan is done. I was too busy typing to find out who done it, so I’ll have to listen again soon. The suspense is killing me! Good night.

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