May 102020

This is a blog entry I wrote for another blog a few years ago. That site has since been decommissioned so I thought I would publish it here.

Sometimes it is the Small Stuff…

When I see someone I tend to acknowledge them with a “Hi,” “Good morning,” or at least a nod of the head.  At one point in my life, I worked in a large, government building.  When I entered in the morning, I tended to greet everyone in some way.   I really didn’t think anything of it.  Then, one day, I woke up in a really bad mood.  I walked into the building sulking.  As I walked to my office people greeted me as I always greeted them.  By the time I got to my office, I realized that my mood had changed significantly and that I was now in a pretty good mood. 

I then realized the true worth of that brief “hello” or “good morning” that I greeted people with every morning.  It is a small thing…  And ultimately it leads me to the belief that one of the biggest gifts I can give someone is for them to experience a heartfelt smile. 

As a trained scientist and engineer I have been trained to pay close attention to the facts and logical progressions.  During one of my first jobs, my manager called me over and introduced me to an engineer.  She told me that he was having a problem with a program and that she wanted to help me tell him out to fix the problem.  She put two conditions on me: 1) I had 15 minutes to do this.  2) All I could do was talk to him, and I was to tell him what I intuitively thought the problem was.   To make sure I followed the rules, she stood with us. (Yeah, she knew that sometimes play loose with the rules.)  After talking to the engineer for a while I told him what I would instinctually look for.   He went away scratching his head and she told me to go back to what I was doing.

About 10 minutes later, she showed up at my desk.   She told me that I had pointed the engineer directly at the problem and that his program was now working.  As part of the conversation, she shared that she had learned to trust my intuition more than most people’s contemplative responses. 

That exchange taught me to use my intuition as a resource. In general, it tends to point me in the right direction.  Thanks to the lesson she taught me that day I learned that my analytic ways could benefit from the insight that that soft and nebulous intuition could provide.

It was a small thing….

In high school one of my hobbies was photography. I taught some community education courses in photography during the evenings. One day, during the summer break, my father called me and told me to come down to his office.  The president of the corporation wanted to learn about photography and wanted me to spend a few hours teaching him about it.  …  This was my father’s boss’s, boss’s boss.  As prepared to drive to my father’s office I found myself getting extremely nervous.  This guy had a lot of influence over my father and I knew my effectiveness would reflect on him.  I realized that if I allowed that to happen then I wasn’t going to be effective.  The analytical side of me came out and I started thinking of the president as I would any other person. When I arrived at my father’s office, I had calmed down and the meeting went extremely well.

Those few hours one afternoon reinforced the fact that we are all humans first. That we can all learn from each other and that we all have something to share.  A short meeting between an executive and a teenager changed how the teenager viewed a wide range of people.   Now, as an adult, when I have to talk to people I am rarely intimidated by a person’s position. Respectful, yes.  Intimidated, no.

It was a small thing…

I can go on with a long list of small events throughout my life that altered the path I was on. 

I have to wonder how many times that I have done something that was a small thing to me that altered the direction of someone’s life path. 

I have to believe that at the end of my current journey, the biggest contribution I will have made will be the result of many small things that I never realized that I did.   And that the stuff I thought was the “big stuff” was ultimately small stuff. 

 Posted by at 8:13 pm
Jan 052013

Historically, I have rarely traveled.  My primary computer is a 17 inch MacBook Pro which I view as a transportable desktop.  It has historically served me well.

Just over a month ago, I started a new job that requires me to travel some.  As I write this, I am in Europe.  Before I left I was trying to figure out what computer I would use on the flight.  I know up front that a 17″ laptop, coach seats and me are not, as a combination, compatible.

While I love the iPad for consuming information, the on-screen keyboard and I have a love/hate relationship.  I’ll use it for short items, but I’ll fall back to my laptop if I have to write more than a few sentences.

So, I decided to to try a bluetooth keyboard with my iPad. The battery life of both the iPad and the keyboard are definitely sufficient for long flights. I selected the Logitech keyboard primarily for its intelligent use of magnets.

My one gripe about the keyboard.  It is slightly smaller than a standard keyboard.  It is much, much better than the netbook keyboards I have used in the past, but that slight size difference does take a bit of adjusting to get use to. (I am a touch typist.)   Don’t get me wrong… It is a great keyboard.  I have yet to want to throw it out the window like I typically want to after five minutes of trying to deal with a netbook keyboard.   This posting is being written on my iPad with the Logitech keyboard.

Okay, so that is the negative…. Now to the positives. This experience has significantly changed my thoughts on the usability of such a configuration.  I have always been skeptical of touch screens  along side keyboards because of the distance between the hands and the screen, and the position of the screen.  With this class of iPad keyboards, the screen and the keyboard are in very close proximity.  Reaching up to touch the display is natural. I want to use the word “intimate” to describe the experience.  There is something about that close proximity that changes the feel of the experience.  I find this environment extremely compelling and I look forward to using it more.

Will it replace my laptop?  No.  I am one of these people who tend to have a number of application windows open, side by side when I work.  The iPad does not have the screen real estate to handle that.   My vision is such that high pixel densities are not the answer.  I prefer large quantities of screen.  On my laptop, I frequently use it with an external display.

But, I believe I will be using my iPad for more things thanks to the addition of the keyboard.

I now would love to see Apple, or someone, manufacture a version of Apple’s standard bluetooth keyboard with a slot to hold the iPad in a landscape orientation similar to the way  the Logitech works.  That would overcome the keyboard size issue.  But for there to be a standard full size keyboard, the keyboard will have to be wider than the iPad, so the case aspect of the keyboard would change some, making the combined unit slight taller.  Who knows…. There are a lot of creative minds out there.  Maybe someone will solve that problem.  Time will tell.

 Posted by at 1:30 am
Jun 212012

The other day I was Googling for some information and found the following two patents in Google’s patent database. My father, Benton A. Vizzier, Sr is listed as an inventor on these patents.

Jun 152012

A couple of sites that I find interesting:

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day – Astronomy Picture of the Day is just what it says it is.  Each day it presents a new image or movie dealing with astronomical studies.  Thanks to the space research and some very gifted photographers, it has a wealth of interesting images to present.
  • The Ark in Space – Is a blog by RJ Evans focusing on aspects of this amazing marble that we all live on.


 Posted by at 10:13 pm
Jun 032012

Continuing with some information on area mountain lions/cougars/pumas.

A neighbor pointed me at the following article in the local community newspaper, the Press Banner:

Press-Banner – Nature Friendly Trekking through mountains to save big cats

This article references the UC Santa Cruz Puma Project. They are putting GPS collars on mountain lions and tracking their movements through the area. Sadly, they cannot publish the data since some people will hunt the big cats.

People in this area might want to note the last paragraph in the article:

    [Two of the Puma Project members] will be taking their cages, collars and GPS equipment on a free walk along Loch Lomond on June 10, a Sunday. This walk is sponsored by an environmental grant from the San Lorenzo Valley Water District.

Google Map of Loch Lomond.

Jun 012012

I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains between Santa Cruz, CA and the San Francisco Bay Area. As a result we occasionally see Cougars/Mountain Lions/Pumas wandering through the neighborhood. Here are a couple of links concerning living with them that may be of interest to some. In my opinion the take away from this is basic awareness and knowing how to behave if you ever encounter one.

Experimenting with WordPress

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Experimenting with WordPress
Nov 202011

I don’t know if any of the family members might be interested in having their own web page or not. Just in case, I set this up to experiment with WordPress’ “Network” configuration.

 Posted by at 1:25 pm