Pinpointing the Exact Moment I Went Gay

In nature vs. nurture, nurture sure tried hard:


Me, 11 months old, March 1988.
Status: Clearly straight. You’re doin’ it right!



Me, 2 years old, May 1989
Status: Uh oh, whatever he’s holding doesn’t look good.


Me, 2 years old, also May 1989
Status: Oh no! We lost him!



Me, 3 years old, Christmas 1990 receiving what is a toy chainsaw. Clearly I am not happy.
Status: “I wonder if I can join The Village People with this chainsaw?”

I Found a Photo of Mom and Me

It’ll be ten years this January that my mom died. I was going through some photos my grandmother gave me recently and found some new ones. I only have three photos of mom and me together. Mom destroyed all of the photos of her about a year before she died without anyone knowing. I think she was trying to create some level of separation.

Two of the three photos I now have were in this envelope from my grandmother. This is one I hadn’t seen until just now. I’m guessing I’m right around two years old here; probably taken in the spring or summer of 1989. I do not know where this was taken, though. It’s not anywhere I remember.

Mom and me

Setting File Permissions on OS X Without Disk Utility

I’ve been transferring files around a lot the last few days. I had a 27″ iMac that I had done Migration Assistant on for years, even as far back as when I used a PC many years ago. So when I wanted to use my MacBook Air with all those documents, photos, movies and more I dumped them all on an external hard disk.

The problem, evidently, was that the file permissions somewhere along the line got royally screwed. So much so I couldn’t even open my iPhoto library on my Air; I could read some files but not write (which prompted problems with Pages, Numbers and Keynote files trying to Auto Save).

I went to the Genius Bar and the Apple Genius, named Wayne, struck me as incredibly rude and unhelpful. He told me “I don’t know what you did, so I can’t help you.” At one point he said he “needed to move on”, so he told me to run Migration Assistant on a Mac I told him I didn’t even own anymore. Which is why I’m not opposed to naming his name here. Luckily, I figured out my problem.

I came home and did some more research. Using Terminal sudo commands didn’t work, using “Get Info” and applying them to all files on the external disk didn’t work and even selecting individual files didn’t work. The result was infuriating, even when I clicked “Ignore Permissions on this Disk”.

Turns out, there’s a utility I’m linking to here for the Googlers searching around for a way to repair disk permissions without Disk Utility, which doesn’t work on user files; just system files.

It’s called Permissions Reset, it’s Lion-compatible and is available for download here:

It works wonderfully where everything seems to have failed. I’d recommend having a backup of even the semi-locked files, then running this on a few files or folders first. If so, I went whole hog after testing and just ran it on the whole disk by dropping the icon into the utility. Then I set the “Owner” from “root” or “wheel” in some cases to “myuserid”.


Update on the MacBook Air-As-a-Real-Computer

I’ve upgraded my 11″ MacBook Air to a 13″ Air, which has the same resolution as a 15″ MacBook Pro. In addition, it’s doubled my RAM and increased my hard drive capacity to 128 MB.

I have sold my old 11″ and the iMac. I have my Time Machine backup set to backup the Air and Carbon Copy Cloner is backing up external files (music, photo, movie libraries) to the Time Machine backup, too.

So, the current setup looks like this:

1 Apple Cinema Display ($1,000)
1 13″ MacBook Air ($1,200)
1 1 TB external hard drive ($80)
1 1 TB external Time Machine backup drive ($80)

My prior setup was:

1 27″ iMac ($1,700)
1 11″ MacBook Air ($1,000)
1 1 TB external hard drive ($80)
1 1 TB external Time Machine backup drive ($80)

I’ve already reduced the valuation from $2,860 to $2,360. Since I can keep the Cinema Display for a good long while (they don’t exactly change much for years at a time), I stand to save some money on upgrade costs later on by swapping $1,200 Airs instead of $1,700 iMacs. It also reduces maintenance burdens and file synchronization (seriously, stop saying “DROP BOX!” I use Drop Box, it’s great, but it’s also almost full. I have a lot of files, ok?)

I can also get amazing portability and access to most all of my files with the Air.

In the near future, I intend to upgrade the Cinema Display to a Thunderbolt Display (I still have 12 days to return this display to Apple) and plug in a Thunderbolt-capable external hard drive to save most of my larger external files. I won’t even notice a slight bit of lag then on writing files.

Then the current 1 TB drive will serve as a backup and I’ll plug it into my Airport Extreme and then I’ll have my own homemade “cloud drive” with all my files, accessible from anywhere. Neat! I’m also giving BackBlaze a trial for cloud backup of my files, too. (I looked at Carbonite first, but it doesn’t backup files on external hard drives, where most of my files now live).

The Air is amazing. I have managed to get it fired up a time or two that the fans kicked on, but it’s a very quiet, quick machine. I turned to my iMac earlier to fire up Safari and gave up waiting on it to load. I managed to load, search and find what I needed on my Air faster than my iMac could boot Safari.

I’d recommend this setup to anyone who does light computing for sure, and would advise high-end geeks consider it, too.

Experiences at the Apple Store

I’ve been to the Apple Store at Keystone two or three times over the last few days. I’ve been contemplating products and setups for my office. In that time I’ve spoken to several different Apple store sales associates and I wanted to share some observations.

My first observation was that they are not prepared to handle people like me. I walked in and spoke to an older associate, probably one of the oldest I’ve ever seen working there. I kinda preferred that, actually. I told him I wanted a Thunderbolt cable to plug from my Air to my iMac so I could just use the iMac’s display for a while with the Air. I knew the price and capabilities of the cable, the associate did not. He thought the cable was $29, I said it was $49, he checked and it was $49. I wanted reassurance that what I wanted to do was possible and he went to check with others to verify. Everyone seemed to think plugging the cables in would work. It did not.

My second trip to the Apple Store was to return that cable and for a Cinema Display. I wanted one of the new Thunderbolt Displays. The person I spoke with, whose name I don’t remember, I recall being very speedy and jittery. He kept shuffling around and bouncing all over the place and said, “Yep yep yep” a lot. I couldn’t tell if he was just like that or was trying to hurry me the hell up.

He went to the back of the store to check for a new display and came out with a big box. I handed him my credit card and he stopped to say, “Wait a minute…let me check something.” He turned and noticed the display was the prior generation, a non-Thunderbolt enabled display. He almost sold me the wrong product from what I asked for. This, of course, was after I stood there for 8 (!) minutes waiting for someone else just to bring it out of the back of the store. As much as Apple’s tried to make their stores efficient with payment and sales help, they fumble hard on that front.

So I left without buying the old display. But I wanted to try out my Air in an Air-only setup without my iMac. So I went back the next day to buy the old display with the knowledge and proclamation to the next associate that I would bring it back in 14 days and hope to get the new one. They were cool with that, and I was cool with that, too.

However, things took a downturn when I spoke to a young female associate about the display. She didn’t even know if the displays in the store were the old or new ones. When I asked, “So, I can just plug in my thunderbolt cable to the Mini Display port and the USB ports from the monitor to enable the three ports on the back, right?” She nodded slowly.

“Yeah, and the Thunderbolt cable will deliver power to the Air, too and enable the use of the USB ports on the back of the display.” She said. “Wait, why does the display have a USB plug and a power adapter then?”

I knew what the monitor needed. The old displays had three cables: one for power, one for USB and one for MiniDisplay. The new ones just use Thunderbolt for USB and display and they have a power adapter, too.

“Yeah.” She said. “Yeah? You mean that little ol’ MiniDisplay port brings power and connectivity to everything?” (It doesn’t.)

“Yeah, I don’t know much about these displays. Let me get someone else.” She quickly turned and returned with a cute little guy. I do remember his name because he made a good impression on me. He was knowledgable about the products, even if he did somewhat talk down to me (he explained what Engadget was to me as he looked up Thunderbolt specs. I know what Engadget is dude.)
So I bought the display and I have it sitting on my desk as we speak. I will try to upgrade it in the next week or so to the Thunderbolt display, hopefully as they get them in.

My last trip to the Apple Store was Friday night. I sold my 11” Air on eBay for a good price and went back to buy a 13” with better specs. I spoke to a guy who also made a good impression on me and I remember his name, too. He was my favorite of all the reps I’ve spoken to, as he was smart, pleasant, conversational and seemed like the kind of guy you’d want to share a beer with. He wasn’t overly hipster or punk or emo or whatever the kids are these days.

We talked shop a bit as I debated between a high powered 11” Air, a mid-powered 13” Air or a 13” MacBook Pro. Talking through it as I debated (trying to balance price and speed), he wasn’t afraid to talk specs with me and gathered pretty quickly I knew what I was doing. After I decided on buying a 13” Air, he told me, “I’m supposed to ask, but do you want Apple Care?” I said, “No. I don’t keep them long enough to warrant the expense.” He agreed and added, “Yeah, I don’t know why we sell it with the Airs, personally. They’re no moving parts in them besides the fans.” That was the first refreshingly honest thing I’ve ever heard any Apple associate say. Kudos to him. If someone from Apple is reading this and you’re feeling like your associate didn’t do this job: yes, he did. He understood his customer perfectly and still did his job like you asked. His remark may not fit the Apple PR guidelines, but I know better and he knew it.

I still love Apple products and much prefer the experience at an Apple store vs. other retailers. God forbid you ask questions at a Wal-Mart. I bought an iPod there once and the clerk made no hesitation at telling me “they are junk” and his no-name piece of crap Sony thing was “far superior”. That the “Apple fanboys are stupid,” this AS I’M BUYING AN iPOD!. This was two months ago.

Apple’s retail experience is good, but they’re clearly designed and trained to deal with the masses. If you know what you want or know anything about RAM or processor speeds, you’re beyond anything they’ve reasonably trained for. Luckily, I guess, most people aren’t like me.