September 2002

The latest nightly build of Mozilla (the new Netscape web browser) fixes the scroll arrow problem I’ve been having in Mac OS X–you could click on the scroll bar arrow and it highlighted, but no scrolling would occur. Now it works. Checking Bugzilla shows that the bug was resolved on Friday (the patched was commented “Shot in the dark, but seems to make sense 🙂 ” ).
Also, in the preferences, you can set Mozilla to always open the Download Manager when downloading files. I’m not sure when that became available.
Looks like Mozilla 1.2 on Mac OS X is ready for beta status. My Windows XP build seems pretty stable too.

It was great to visit Kevin on Saturday and Sunday morning. We did some computer stuff, talked about a lot of things, and went to a party on Saturday evening at John Dorcester’s house. Susie and I made my Sweet Italian Jambalaya, and it was much in demand (until it was nearly gone, in fact). Kevin’s friends are really, really nice people. Cool, too. In my favorite discussion I learned a lot about Philly’s history and architecture.

The visit was too short, actually–we could have used another day. But I couldn’t really complain, since I was already missing Denise, Alyssa, and Drew. It was nice to get back home to them. I got home to find Denise on the back porch and the kids cavorting around in the back yard (Parent’s note: you know your kids are growing up when you can actually read a newspaper for more than 3 minutes while they play on their own).

I downloaded the latest nightly build of Chimera, the new Mac OS X web browser written in Cocoa from the Netscape/Mozilla source code. It’s really nice and really fast now. Downloads are much improved, too. I altered Chimera’s window buttons a bit with an app called Chimericon and now it looks even better.

Well, it looks like the pressure caused the Hershey Trust to back off the intended sale of Hershey Foods (technically, they wanted to unload their stock, but in all practicality it was a sale of the company). A lot of people around here breathed a sigh of relief.

A number of them, however, aren’t stopping there. They are collecting ten thousand signatures to force the Board members to resign in favor of new elections. I think I agree with them. These Board members definitely are not in line with the wishes of the Hershey legacy and the people of Hershey.

I’m surprised how much I’m looking forward to this. Kevin is my oldest friend (friends for 26 years and still going) and I haven’t seen him for awhile. Work has been so busy that I didn’t even realize how much I was excited about the visit. Relax and enjoy, that’s my motto tomorrow.

I mentioned my tilt table test a while ago, but they recently did a treadmill stress test as a final check on my heart. It turned out pretty well–I have no blockages or abnormalities that they could see, and they said I have less than a five percent chance of a heart attack in the next 3-5 years. As I head to the 40 year old mark next year, this is great news for me.

Robert Heinlein once wrote a great piece call “This I Believe.”

I wrote some words I strongly believe in a reply to an interview the other day, and I thought they should be posted here. Essentially, this is my advice for other technology directors in my line of work.

Advice for Technology Leaders

a) Appreciate your users–if you lose the ability to empathize with them, it’s time to find another job.

b) Don’t get stale–if you’re resisting trying new things maybe it’s because you’ve grown complacent or adopted a turtle shell “bunker mentality.” A sure sign of this is if you deny a tech request/idea immediately without even considering it or trying to make it work.

c) Keep aware of the field–force yourself to keep in touch with the educational technology field. There may be a solution to problems you don’t even know about just around the corner if you look. Hire people with contrasting strengths to give your department fresh perspectives.

d) Keep working to educate the district on your job. Show them what you do. Teach them the things they need to do or be aware of in order to support technology properly in your district. Show them why they need to give you more resources or staff. Make up charts and lists to help, and track your team’s help desk tasks for reports. Most people are amazed when they see what we do to keep the district up and running.

e) Keep the district’s best interests in every decision you make, regardless of personal feelings involved. If it’s good for the district, it’s good for you to make the decision. This is a simple statement, but I see it violated in the educational field more than you would believe.

f) Finally, involve yourself and your staff with the district and involve the district with your staff. Technology is not an island unto itself, but I see many teams using their offices as bunkers and heading out only to do tech requests. Eat lunch with the staff, attend after school functions if possible. Get to know your users better and let them get to know you and your staff.”

The Apple Store in King of Prussia is soon to open (I don’t know when), but here are some pics! Thanks to O’Grady’s Powerpage for the story.

From camping the first week of our vacation. Denise really took to fishing, and the kids loved it. We only did catch and release, since that was the rule at the lake, but we had a great time.

Here’s a picture from the second week of vacation. We only camped the first week, so the second week was all day trips (we stayed with Pop-pop in Philly for several days–the kids loved it!).

This picture was taken from the Philadelphia Art Museum overlooking City Hall down the Franklin Parkway, with Alyssa and Drew.

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