I missed a great sunrise picture this morning by less than five minutes. If you cannot take a picture just as the sun sticks its head above the mountains, you are faced with more light than cameras can process.
That is what I got today as the sun came up on top of the northernmost peak of the Peaks of Otter. My best photo looked like a weird sun bird which does not fit well with my other sunrise photos.
Fortunately the rest of the day has gone well, and I have a list of topics that I have pondered today. With luck I will get another Back Deck post out later in the week.
- High replacement part pricing happens to be an issue that spans many industries from home appliances to high technology and vehicles. We recently noticed that the vegetable drawer on our refrigerator was freezing our vegetables. Our fridge was nine years old which used to be considered young for an appliance. These life expectancies for appliances are shocking for their shortness. Compounding this problem are the high prices that it costs to fix appliances. I recently had someone tell me of a part for a microwave that was close to $200. At first I thought that was impossible until we paid $90 for a thermistor for our refrigerator. It brought back memories of when I had to abandon my aluminum Macintosh portable because of a bad ribbon cable. The cost of replacing the cable made it look very attractive to buy a new computer. While I am happy to hear of products which are more easily recycled, it would even nicer to find out about products that are designed to be repaired instead of thrown away. Maybe along with posting estimated energy usage, they should also post estimated repair cost.
- It is nearly impossible to ignore Steve Jobs speaking at Apple's WWDC. As has become the norm, he announced a new iPhone which according to Steve is "beyond a doubt, the most precise thing and one of the most beautiful things we've ever made." More than the new phone, I enjoyed Steve complaining about the problem with the wireless network keeping his demo from working. The iPhone has all sorts of great features and eventually an iMovie editor for the new HD video. I cannot imagine editing video on an iPhone. Unfortunately an iPhone for me is not going to work, the AT&T network does not even register in my house. I bought a Droid and am pleased to report, I no longer have to run to the front porch when my cell phone starts ringing. Cool features don't mean much if the network is not there. I expect the video calling, Face Time, to be as successful as video iChat. It was a great tool, but no one liked to use it.
- I am still thinking about global warming and cooling. I saw a National Geographic cover at the dentist office with the words, "Greenland, Ground Zero for Global Warming." I found online a National Geographic article about Greenland. It was called the Melt Zone. I also still have an open tab on my browser entitled, Global Cold Wave May Be Looming. Then there is the article, Arctic Sea Ice at Lowest Point in Thousands of Years. I am beginning to think that we probably will not know what is happening until after it is over, and that might be a dangerous position in the world of climate change.
- BP is still on the list. A cap of some sort is on top of the well, and they are collecting an unknown percentage of oil. It will still take years to clean up. I figure the one thing we should have learned by now is that we are not nearly as good at this as we thought we were. I will jump on the blame Cheney bandwagon.
- Next on the list is the loss of focus due to all the gadgets in our lives. The NY Times has an interesting article, Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price and a companion piece, An Ugly Toll of Technology: Impatience and Forgetfulness. The second piece has a side bar interactive test which lets you test your focus. Being an old guy, I am able to focus so I did well on the test which always makes me happy. I have stood in front of people trying to talk to them as they check email on their Blackberry. Competing with an electronic device is no fun. I think the gadgets are causing some fundamental changes in our lives. I suspect we will have far more people who are unable to relate to real people since most of their interactions are mediated by an electronic device.
And with that as a closing thought, I am leaving the computer and going to talk to my wife. It will be nice to have some human interaction. By the way, this year I have made an effort to remove the computer from parts of my life. No computer is allowed on during meals. It is a start.
Now for some non-technological fish tacos on the deck while looking out over the Roanoke Valley.