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Episode 95 – Remote Tech

Overview

Al is back in California, so we have a lengthy discussion on how much easier it is to work remote compared to several decades ago.

We talk a bit about how open source software has helped us and when we like to use open source. This is more than just on Linux.

We discuss Boy Scouts and Eagle Scout a bit, because one of Alan’s nephews is in the background. Stephen talks about his cool Eagle project.

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Transcript

[00:07:27] Alan: Let’s get started up.

[00:07:31] Stephen: Wow. You’ve got a nice background today. How would you find that one?

[00:07:36] Alan: It is a matter of fact here. In fact, uh, this is the kitchen table at my parents’ house and it’s actually kind of weird because with no light source, I’m looking really like shadowed here. Um, let me get a light on overhead and see if that the, yeah,[00:08:00]

I should have done a little experimenting that doesn’t put a lot on me. Does it better? All right. One more.

That’s a little bit more from the kitchen. Does that balance me out? The big thing of course is that the sun is coming right. So against the patio door here. And so, you know, uh, this is the best I got for today, but over the wait, I just tilted it and that made it better. Who knows? So, no,

[00:08:41] Stephen: we, we we’ve got clouds here, but the whole side over here is like shiny.

That’s true.

[00:08:47] Alan: I don’t have a direct reflection, so I’m doing fine. Thank you. Well, I don’t have anything cool on it. I just have a generic. Uh, this isn’t really geekery, but I [00:09:00] guess it is one of the interesting things about being out in California is how much of my fantastic working environment that I have at home at the Skynet home office.

Do I, how can I recreate it? How much do I bring with me? So right now I’m on my Mac book, air laptop, which it’s reasonable sound and reasonable camera, which is kind of a miraculous thing, you know, compared to, I don’t know, however many, 5, 10, 20 years ago, um, when they first started to have FaceTime for starting to have any kind of presuming and stuff like that, you really had to.

Have a matched equipment to make sure that your teleconference worked correctly and that there wasn’t constant stuttering that interrupts of each other didn’t wreck it. And boy, they really seem to have solved so much of that. You know, there is still a little bit of cutting in and out, but my ongoing assumption now is as long as I have my laptop or my phone and zoom, you really can do this from pretty [00:10:00] much anywhere, you know, and they have noise cancellation.

So if I was sitting there in an airport, we could still have a conversation without worrying about being drowned out by it all announcements, all the kids, screaming, all that. So,

[00:10:11] Stephen: and like you said, your phone too, I mean, it’s amazing how, you know, like you said, 10, 15, 20 years ago to go on any type of.

Out somewhere to a client to do a meeting, anything. I have a laptop, I have my phone, I have this charger, I have this cable, I have this extra thing. You know, it was just this big bag of stuff. And now literally, if I’m going out of town or I’m working remotely, I grab a laptop and my phone and I’m pretty much set.

And that’s crazy knowing what it is. Exactly.

[00:10:42] Alan: And this is again interesting artifacts, you know, when you and I do this at home, we’re still within 30, 40 miles of each other. Now we’re there. And then I just looked it up and we’re like 2,400 miles, 2371, because when I was talking with my mom yesterday and I was saying, you know, instead of being local, I’m actually all the way over in Lakewood.[00:11:00]

And when she said, how far it’s like, well, I think it’s like between 2000 and 3000 miles. And she, for some reason, she kind of wanted to know when. In real time on my phone, I could put any maps and say, if I’m trying to get, I could Oceanside, you know, 23, 70, a an hour, no, a day and 10 hours driving. If you drove straight through by, um, uh, artificial enhanced means perhaps, you know, I don’t think so.

Unless you were doing what, you know, what’s the name of the races where they try to go coast to coast in the fastest time ever.

[00:11:32] Stephen: Right? Right. Like, like the movie Hidalgo was that the horse isn’t

[00:11:36] Alan: Cannonball run was a movie about that kind of thing, but it just it’s, it’s just amazing. Yeah. One other thing that I’m realizing is, so I, uh, I’m very spoiled at home.

I have a two monitor set up. Each of them is like 24, 27 inches. I’m just having a lot of screen real estate. And then we have tuned. It is like my mind. I don’t want to be [00:12:00] distracted, but I don’t mind having my, um, browser open and my email and my calendar and just whatever I need to work on my top three, four or five things I can easily get to it that come compresses and crushes down into a little laptop screen.

Um, the last thing that we do when we’re getting out of here house sold mom gone, et cetera. I don’t want to say that out loud. Sorry. It’ll be a truck of stuff for each of us brothers coming back to the Midwest and dropping things off. So I’ve been emboldened by, well, if you’re going to get a truck anyway, I can get a couple other things here.

So I go looking for like, how can I get an external monitor just as if I was running a presentation at various different places, you know, you and I have talked about, I got all the adapters. I need to go from my Mac video out to HTMI or DVI or for that matter. And so I found like a high rated high quality monitor, like 27, 24 inch TV for like 150 bucks.

And that was [00:13:00] not nothing, you know, I don’t, I don’t, I always think about what 150 bucks, you know, you don’t just throw that around, but for the recapture of how I like to work and the enhancement of my life, when I’m out here a week out of a month for the foreseeable future, it just seems. A reasonable thing to do so, and in this era of Amazon delivers, it’ll be arriving like today.

You know, I thought of doing this Tuesday while I was in the airport and I kind of cleared it with calling to make sure that it was all, you know, I’m not, um, I’m not addicted to my setup, but when you’re here for days in a row, it’s just, I dunno. So I guess those, the key part of it is the confidence with which that same setup that I’ve used to be able to go into any environment when I’m doing a presentation and know that it doesn’t matter what laptop projector they have, or if they have a windows box or whatever, I’m going to be able to sub in my macros, my adapters and in two minutes troubleshooting.

So that I’m up and running on that screen. And it is kind of funny. Things are deteriorating a little bit as we [00:14:00] got, you know, when you did your cool presentation, I find out that HTMI cables have. Uh, different endedness we’re in so far as I know, I’m not sure it was labeled on the cable, but there was a difference.

It would have a big fucking thing on it, hanging off, say

[00:14:17] Stephen: TV ad. You know what I mean? But you’re not used to looking for that. You ever seen a cable like that? Yeah.

[00:14:25] Alan: So, and as much as they’re not putting smarts into cables, you know where it does its own, I dunno, signal strengthening or maybe it’s copy protection, whatever else it might be.

They’re building things into cables because you can drive things so much now that it does have some sports to it, but it’s not the expectation for a long time. Every foam court was exactly the same as it was every evening. That cable. HTMI cable and now they’re not,

[00:14:50] Stephen: that’s a good right there. You know, we’ve talked a little bit about this, but the specifications and the standards, people don’t realize that back in the day, how many different [00:15:00] types of plugins you had on the computer and PC and apple had different ones.

And at the time you remember like T and T came out with their own computers and everybody had their own stuff. So every now and then you’d get this weird connector. That’s only for them. And you know, it was definitely better now when everything’s basically USB with a few other things. Yeah.

[00:15:21] Alan: It’s kind of funny, you know, you get, you learn pain, pick the monitor that I bought.

[00:15:29] none: Specifically

[00:15:30] Alan: avoided HP, because they’re one of the ones where back when you were doing a additional memory and a PC, and there was balloon standard, right. Loaders, Intel, Microsoft, I guess. But there were some that did other things than that. And HP was one of them where the basic assumptions that you could make about how a window.

Some cases a little bit like Microsoft, you know, embrace, extend, and extinguished things were better in what they were doing, but you had to commit to HP. And if the whole point of going with [00:16:00] the windows environment was more people making things. So it kept prices down more software. Well, I don’t want my things to break on HP boxes because I save $50 over here.

And now I’m losing that. I can’t use into it or something that you and I mean, I had that little twinge of, you know, when you go past the place where you once caught a speeding ticket, every time you go by there, you slow down because your, your, your, your reptile brain memory says danger, danger tickets.

And so I’m hoping that HB hasn’t continued its way, word ways that instead if I put an HTMI HDM cable in there, it’s just going to work. Oh, that’s an additional,

[00:16:42] Stephen: right. Right. W when I worked at the computer store, people bring in HP computers that we’d be like, oh, Hey, it’s your turn to fix it. You know, nobody wants to touch them.

Then they’d be, come in and say, well, what would you recommend? You know, I saw this great HP on my, but the problem is the reason. Uh, we recommended not getting an [00:17:00] HP didn’t make sense to the normal person. Well, it runs all the same stuff while it’s cheaper, you know, that was they, they marketed it just like they should have, but you know, if you knew, you knew

[00:17:11] Alan: exactly and I’ll say, you know, it, wasn’t only HBPC I know they have had great workhorse printers for a long time.

That’s kind of how they made their name. You know what I mean? Exactly. And, but unfortunately they had the, they were the first ones to, for their cartridges build in the smarts that said, Hey, I’m going to be able to let you know when your car keys is getting low. Well, that’s handy to know. Oh, but also I’m going to check to make sure that it’s funnel official HP cartridge, and then that whole industry that’s.

Refilling cartridges or just having a third party. Like I just named them absent brother, but so many other places don’t do that. HP was the one that did, and again, that kind of in legal terms, a tying agreement, you know what I mean? Where you make it though, so that it only works. If you use up and down the vertical chain, all the things from a vendor, [00:18:00] that’s just a way of them getting additional money because you have to buy that HP card, which were 79 bucks instead of a refill for 39 or whatever else it might be.

And I don’t really care about them. I care about the principle of the thing that I don’t want to do business with the company that’s trying to addict you trying to force you to only

[00:18:19] Stephen: use their stuff, which arguably it’s just about all of them. I mean, you know, you could give that same argument with, uh, apple and Microsoft, you know, Microsoft is done it, apples tended towards it since Steve job’s has gone.

And you know, and not that they didn’t do it before, it was just probably there. So it’s corporations, man.

[00:18:42] Alan: You know what it might be. It’s that there’s a sense of proportion to it by that meaning like I could see how from platform to platform Macko, Wescon windows less, very different and there’s justification for having things be.

Dedicated reach to those different platforms, but what could be more [00:19:00] generic than printer dust? You know what I mean? The fact that they found a way to say, Hey, that Popsicle stick, that doesn’t fit in every Popsicle. What do you mean? That’s the most generic thing I can think of? No, no longer. We found a way, put a chip on a Popsicle stick and you and I meet.

I don’t like

[00:19:16] Stephen: where they get all well, we’re back with 95 hit. And, uh, Microsoft basically started paying all the companies to take all the smarts and drivers off the hardware and they put it all in windows. So if you bought one of these, it’s like a hundred dollars cheaper than the other stuff, but you had to only run it on windows.

There were printers and modems and, uh, video cards, well, video cards anyway. Well, not now, but you know, they, they, they said we’ll pay you. So people have to get our, you know, Microsoft’s not dumb.

[00:19:49] Alan: Exactly. And that’s kind of funny, you know, again, the geekery aspect, like business doesn’t care about a lot of that.

As long as the five by a hundred, a thousand boxes. And they all work within my company. I’m okay. [00:20:00] But if you’re a gamer, if you’re an individual who wants to maximize the use and that you actually think about, well, there’s a new video card out, I want to upgrade. So I get that faster refresh rate and more pixels and all the kinds of stuff.

And then you have to go into that role though. Drivers and compatibility and slot, like something that sure. It looks like the same slot that I’m plugging this into. And yet they start to play with the pins and stuff like that. So it, the gamers were the ones that always seem to be like there’s new technology being developed, but there’s pain associated with embracing new technology and boy.

In the overall, do you and I have talked about this and never mind to doing it because it was education. You know, once I know this part of my being a consultant is now, whenever anybody says, Hey, I’m getting this weird thing. It’s like, oh, I bumped into that. It’s because your XYZ is not really compatible with it.

So you have to download this little widget, Google, whatever, you know thing, and that’ll clear it up for you, but how would they have known that, you know, my, my [00:21:00] stereotype was all this, oh, you didn’t read appendix D of the manual where it talks about the very specific things that this requires. And I, it was nice.

It’s almost like you get people talk about the techno priests and the magicians. Well, if you were just a guy that knew more, that had bumped into more of those crazy situations, you really could think you could look like you were just pulling things out of the air or pulling them out of somewhere lower, but at least you knew how to conquer it.

I have no clue. Unfortunately, like people also talked about now that things have become more opaque. Any number of times, I’m like, oh, why in the world? I have no clue. I haven’t bumped into the HDCP thing with my Roku box as my TV. And I, you know, it’s kinda funny if you don’t mind. I think that’s an interesting theme.

So I’m also trying to set that up here. I have an older Roku box compared to the Roku ultra that I have at home now. So I brought that about with me just to say, well, let’s see if it works. [00:22:00] My dad has an old Sony Bravia TV, so it has like a single HTMI port. So then it’s okay. Am I going to get one of those HTMI splitters?

And they do different splittings where you could have one thing go in and out to multiple monitors, or you could have three things go in and go out to a single monitor. So I have to be careful about that. And like you and I talked about when I was troubleshooting at home, you find out that all the HTMI ports aren’t the same, but it has multiple.

This is the one that handles the concrete protection. This is the one that handles the music better. You know what I mean? And so now I I’m cobbling this together and it’s, it’s cool that if it works, it’s going to be, wow. Well, his TV is even older than mine and this older box, and yet, somehow it still interoperates, but what’s the first glitch that’s going to happen where, huh, Disney doesn’t work even though it should, because they do something that is more modern and checks and doesn’t let it go to

[00:22:55] Stephen: and Disney, put some code in there and paid them for it.

And [00:23:00] that’s, I mean, that’s happened so often, you know,

[00:23:03] Alan: what’s funny is. Named Disney randomly. If I were to pick a company that was trying to say, who, what are we going to do to make sure that our stuff is more specifically only allowed, et cetera. So I could have picked Netflix because as you know, there’s a little bit of a controversy going on now

[00:23:20] Stephen: where they’re cracking

[00:23:21] Alan: down, cracking down because there’s been so much Netflix sharing.

And that’s, I really think that that shouldn’t have been allowed. There really should be, Hey, you know, an IP address, you know, but if you’re sharing from different locations in the house, it’s still legit. If you’re sharing from California, Texas, and Ohio, maybe not so much. So, so I, I’m looking forward to when I get this all set up, what really works and what doesn’t, and again, having that little bit.

Anybody else who has an older TV and you’re thinking of, can I use a newer box? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll have some insight into, well, you got to make sure that you have an internet capable, even has any smarts. [00:24:00] Then you can see if the firmware for the TV has any update. And then, you know what I mean? Like, um, there’s going to be a whole cascade of what I’m going to try before I say, well, this works in this stuff.

I can watch three of my channels. If you will. I can watch Netflix and HBO. But I can’t get to Disney or whatever else it might be. Right.

[00:24:21] Stephen: Well, and that’s what we were talking about with the differences and all that, uh, Mac OLS and the controlling like HP has done, but now we’re getting more third parties that we’re able to rely on.

So it really is, it goes back and forth. So, you know, things get a little crack down and for awhile, you know, but now you got more choices in Linux and I usually wouldn’t recommend any Linux to just the average home user, because they’re going to want to download software in seven days. But, and this helps with the travel, how much stuff is on a service that’s web-based that you go through a browser?

[00:25:00] I could literally only have a browser and probably do everything I do in a day. Some of it might take a little more work, you know, FTP it, you can do it through the browser. It takes a little work, uh, programming. Like there’s one of the, uh, apps, uh, I have for writing that is right through the browser. And then the cool thing is I can pull it up on my desktop, on my laptop, on my phone, on my Mac mini.

And it’s the, yeah. You know, and that’s, that’s where we’re getting a lot of that, you know, that’s why people can say, well, I don’t care about. Or windows. I have a Chromebook because I do everything through a web

[00:25:35] Alan: browser. Yes. And they really, that I have said that to people where they think that there’s still a war on and it really is.

It hasn’t been, it hasn’t been since we had ubiquitous browsers that take care of all that in compatibility, if you will. And they’ve got their own little war that, you know, depending on how much they follow the HTML standard and CSS and the various different things. If you throw a Gobi into the mix that it works better on some platforms than

[00:25:59] Stephen: [00:26:00] others, how much extra crap they have built into it,

[00:26:03] Alan: I still have, and this just boggles my mind.

I still have four ticket master that I can’t buy tickets through safari, the default Macintosh browser, because it brings up a pop-up window that isn’t fully secure and other browsers that have their own security that matches it to HTTPS. But it’s not really the secure version. They’ll still bring it up.

The matches says, no, this isn’t the standard. And so we’re not going to show it to you. So every time that I’m like, especially if you do this thing where you just went on sale at 10 in the morning and I’m going to hop right on and get pretty close tickets, and then I’m pretty to buy. It’s like,

[00:26:40] Stephen: I forgot about

[00:26:41] Alan: the problem with Laurie.

And then I got to go recreate all that and you’ll lose your spot in the queue. It’s like, damn it. I’m going to be six rows further back because.

[00:26:54] Stephen: And, and, you know, browsers are funny. Uh, I’ve got Chrome and Firefox [00:27:00] and edge and blaze and opera, and I still have a Maya or whatever that’s supposed to be.

[00:27:08] Alan: I’ll have safari. Exactly. You know, and it’s kind of funny. They, um, I did that for a long time when I was really doing much more coding and was making sure that I was on multi-platform stuff.

I would check every browser and look for the weirdest consistencies and could I resolve them? And I would also check various different versions of the OSS. So Mac deteriorates pretty well windows, there was often big changes between what, uh, what was the previous to edge explore, you know what I mean?

Like that they have various different things. And, uh, just the amount of overhead that went with that, I kept thinking there has to be someone that’s going to put together the. Automated testing box. That’s going to say you check boxes as to all the platforms you think you need to support, and I will run it through and give you an error report that says, this is what breaks here.

This, that, you know, the code has been decorated here, that cremated decremented, um, you know what I mean, [00:28:00] where there’s, there’s browses or it’s the thing cause there, um, it’s not really compiled. I don’t actually, I don’t know if it changes depending on where you go. Sometimes if it’s got any kind of Java or any kind of live code in it, it downloads things, you know, download what’s it needs while it needs it.

But then you also, what, I don’t know what current version of those various different things, cause it kind of does that in the background and I’m not aware of what it’s doing with, and it’s not just Java it’s PLC it’s um, what are all the other, you know, there’s kind

[00:28:29] Stephen: of like a, well, just all the media, how that gets handled and

[00:28:35] Alan: there’s different compressors and decompressors, there’s various different, you know, things that live, let you look at all the different kinds.

Uh, drifts and it’s like, you know, I know I say GIF, but I said Jif because the guy just died. And so I gave him Jeff, because he insisted was shit, even though it’s a hard geographic, but anyway,

[00:28:55] Stephen: well, unless you have a Jif GIF, then

[00:28:59] Alan: [00:29:00] exactly. I just stumbled on to, uh, I like to keep my stuff up to date because it eliminates all those weird little glitches that you don’t realize is happening just because you’re one, those

[00:29:10] Stephen: brand new

[00:29:11] Alan: ones do that too with associated, well, three specific called Mac update.

Um, So max app store has gotten really good with it. Anything you get from the app store, it automatically keeps updated in the background and you never have these incompatibilities, but you don’t get everything from the Mac ups app store. You get things from many other vendors, right? So there’s a cool utility called Mac update that used to take care of scanning in the background and letting you know, I can automatically do this for you, or you have to run an installer at here’s where to get it and all that kind of stuff.

And I guess whoever was running it, owning it got tired and they stopped updating it like two ago. And, um, GRE I keep getting requests from them to keep my subscription going, even though I’m on a macro west that they don’t [00:30:00] support anymore. So you’d think that a place that checks the update checks the compatible version of everything would check my compatible version of Macko S and say, why am I telling you that Mac update desktop should be anyway?

So I’ve abandoned them. There’s a new utility called Mac update. Which is like, why would they do that? Why would they create that ambiguity? But they did. And that one seems to do all of what I used to like the old one did, and it’s very current and it’s very smart and all that kind of stuff. And then I got to see over the course of two years, just how many things had deteriorated.

Like I got this cool thing for the Mac called graphic converter. I’m not sure if there’s a windows version of it, but all of what we just talked about, good Lord, there are so many, um, photo things and animated graphics and all different kinds of things that if you want to change between them, this really will do it.

It really knows enough about the formats for every single thing. It handles like 130 or something. And so if you’re trying to, I’ve had a number of times where I’m going to a website and [00:31:00] wants me to update or upload a picture of myself as part of my profile. Well, I have a pretty standard PNG that I use.

Oh, this one, somehow it doesn’t take PNGs. Well, this is it’s like, you don’t speak English, you don’t take

[00:31:13] Stephen: sides. And

[00:31:15] Alan: so then if I really need to be on that site, I’ll go and convert it to whatever they require a tip or something like that. But I’m like, man, if I, if I had to depend on each of those applications to do the conversion for me, I know none of them seem to do it.

This cool, um, Swiss army knife of graphic formats has saved my bacon dozens of times, just to be able to, no matter what people are asking for, I can give it to you in that format. And so far as I can tell it, doesn’t degrade. It, it doesn’t deteriorate it world. Now this is all pixelated to call the handle.

You want to meet it and perpetually update it. So whenever the. An update of that new standard. It embraces those new things that now it includes meta information and all that kind of [00:32:00] cool stuff.

[00:32:00] Stephen: It’s really nice. And I will say, I mean, I do use Linux a little bit here and there again, I just can’t get myself to use it daily because I always run into little things that are aggravating and take too long and

[00:32:16] Alan: valuable.

You don’t want to spend your time in 3d

[00:32:18] Stephen: mode all the time. There are some times when the first thing I do is like, okay, I have a problem. I need a certain type of software. I need a different type of software or blah or whatever it happens to be. I will do a search. And first thing I’ll do is look for open source Linux type software and see what’s available because a lot of times it’s is really good and really powerful and works.

And even better now, they’re coming out with makin a windows versions. It used to be like a Linux only version. Now it’s Mac and windows and it’s open source. And so, uh, you know, there are some, but again, it’s not something, if you are just the [00:33:00] casual user, you know, home user, you know,

[00:33:02] Alan: that’s right. What was interesting is looking at that in two years worth of not having customers, different things.

There were a number of things that I haven’t, I hadn’t used it in two years, so I hadn’t been prompted. Open offers or Libra office to say, Hey, we’ve got new updates. And so I guess it’s nice to have that around when I really have to get something from somewhere else. And I can’t use Microsoft because there’s something on, but it had been that long since I’d had to do that.

And so it was kind of handy, I guess I do have that. And then also I kept making little notes to myself, of whatever current desktop I’m on, because I’m on the M one version. I thought that I had pretty much loaded everything I might need over the course of the first couple of weeks, but then, oh, I have a Libra office by that open office.

And then you’re like, oh, open off. It was no longer being supported. So maybe I’d check that back then, but maybe it just is the passage of time sometimes kills off noble efforts, like open source Microsoft. Right. And so that little reacquainted with, [00:34:00] oh, that’s a good font handling utility. I don’t really deal with fonts at a deep level anymore.

That’s another thing. That’s kind of a solid problem. But if ever I had to do something where I have to worry about the degree to font and a fund and the whole family that doesn’t include. Not only italic and bold, but other, other things to it. Now I have this thing that will fix that for me. So it will be compatible or whatever, you know?

[00:34:23] Stephen: Right. And it’s funny, you mentioned open office and Libra office. Cause I use both of those. I have them on my windows and I have them on my Linux systems and there’s things I do with some surveys that I get as a spreadsheet and the easiest way to use it is to convert it to a CSV and open it and open office.

And I have, it’s easier to manipulate and do things than Excel because you know, for this particular thing and I convert it and use it and Libra office is recommended quite often for writing, but it’s also the one that comes installed on a raspberry [00:35:00] PI. So, you know, and what I mentioned about the clouds, so I do my writing on Scrivener usually, uh, on my windows, but I have vellum on my Mac.

And that’s what does the formatting and stuff? So I have to export it, save it as a word doc, into my iCloud drive. Then I open up my Mac and there it is. Boom. I pulled in the vellum format. So again, it’s using the best tools and there are tools on windows, but that’s always, everybody says, , that’s just use it.

I have the flexibility. I can use them all. I don’t have to one.

[00:35:39] Alan: And this is, it’s kind of funny. We probably should have said right at the very start of the episode, we should have said, Hey everybody who has a smartphone, you’re probably not going to care about all this. Final compatibility and converting because it does all that in the background, there is no longer even having to worry about what dot, you know, SUV or something like that is attached to it [00:36:00] only occasionally when you really do get a PDF that you can’t open for some reason, because, you know, whatever it might be, sometimes there really are things that will open on your phone, but it they’ve made that invisible because it was such a hassle for so many people having to deal with the difference between an X L S and an XL X or whatever, you know, the various different standards that Microsoft has had.

And I guess I’m happy about that on the phone. But I also I’m aware that sometimes it really does matter platform to platform or whatever that needs to know what to do in case it breaks. You know what I mean? We’ve talked about this before. The more that it gets a little fake, the more that it helps them, things that when something does break, you don’t even know what to do.

[00:36:41] Stephen: You know, we should do a talk sometime about little tricks we’ve learned on the phones and things that people may not realize. Yeah.

[00:36:48] Alan: That I’ll tell ya. That used to be a fixture. Every Mac world conference that I went to, there was a guy named Dr. McIntosh, Bob Levites if I remember, right. I don’t know if I ever heard his name shout out loud.

I think it’s like this. And he [00:37:00] had that in the, in it, all the little bits that he had picked up over the course of time. And you could just, while he was talking here, people in the audience going, so that’s what that, you know what I mean? Save somebody so much work in so much pain of just. Uh, I am not sure how much this matters nowadays.

It used to matter that you knew what the loading order of things were that, you know, it really did make it, that you had to put something in place first, so that whatever little changes, little demons and stuff, except running didn’t collide with something else, there was even a thing, a Mackintosh facility called conflict catcher that not only told you about that, that had a whole database of what had to do it in order.

But if you really couldn’t figure out what was going on, it would do things like start with your set of, let’s say 16 different things. And it would say, okay, I’m going to run the first eight and not the second day. And if that all works, then I know that it’s not in that set of eight and they would do 8, 4, 2, 1 and do various different mixtures that it would say, [00:38:00] it looks like the problem is with XYZ.

And you know what I mean? So it actually, that was such a common problem that it had automated the binary search way of figuring out. This guy either has to get eliminated or has to get a newer version, or you have to put it at the very start at the very end of all this. And there are certain things that I really abandoned because though they were powerful.

They didn’t play well with others. You know what I mean? You just couldn’t put them into the mix with all the other stuff it’s like, and you make that last ditch effort of going to their website and in the, you know, Hey, contact us, you put the box, okay, here’s what I got going on. And you don’t work with all these things and really you, how can you be incompatible with Adobe or Microsoft or Mac, Mac O S and that kind of stuff.

So it’s not just me. This has to be causing pain to a lot of other things. Maybe you need to not just put it out there, but actually do some compatibility testing and maybe one out of 10 times with somebody actually you’d see the next version had fixed, [00:39:00] whatever was wrong with it. A lot of times it just seemed to be, I don’t know, it’s a kid doing it as a hobby and they, they don’t want to do all that testing.

They want to move on to the next cool thing.

[00:39:11] Stephen: And that’s one of the things, and this actually is a little bit of a tech update. I mentioned it goes right into it. One of the things we’ve talked about, difference between Macs and windows is windows. I mean, I don’t want to say open in the sense of open source, but it was open because anybody could write software and hardware and get it all to work in the there.

And it was, you know, it was pretty easy to do relatively. And so that’s why we had 500 million choices of everything, apple with the other direction and tried to really clamp down and focus on, okay, this works, it works with everything else. That’s your choice, you know, and w we don’t need 500 million choices and they kept it small.

So yes, there are sometimes incompatibilities on windows and everyone always blames Microsoft. It’s like, it’s not Microsoft it’s because you bought from a bad [00:40:00] company that doesn’t know how to make drivers. Uh, that’s really the problem. Uh, Microsoft did what they did to allow those types of things. Um, but that, uh, What I’ve done in the last couple of days.

Uh, this is something I mentioned way long ago and I finally sat down and did it on my Mac. I I’ve been doing publishing and some game programming and, uh, mostly it’s going to the phones and tablets, but you can do it for the desktops with windows. Uh, it’s not too hard to create something there’s all sorts of online stores.

You could sell your games or whatever, anywhere, uh, Android going through Google. Again, it’s not huge problem. It’s fairly easy to get it set up, but, uh, apples, as you have to have a. And you have to get it certified and you have to have certificates and security. Yeah. So it’s much more difficult, a lot more work, especially if you’re mainly a windows [00:41:00] user, but it’s also, I would say more trustworthy.

They don’t get a lot of crap through you don’t hear about the flashlight programs that are ripping your contacts on the iPhone as you do Android.

[00:41:13] Alan: That is exactly the reason that I have usually differentiated between windows and Mac is not only the, the amount of software out there, like you said, and the age of the browser that tends to matter less and less, but it absolutely was like, if you’re worried about malware, Apple has had a much better stance on that for a long time, you have to certify and you have to stay within how they do controlled memory.

Do you know what I mean? They really they’re set up so that there really is partitioning and that they can’t get root. They can’t take your machine down. They can’t lock your hard drive. That’s worth a whole bunch of time and money to me to make sure that I’m not going to be the one that gets the email that says, Hey, we decree, we encrypted your hard drive.

You know what I mean? And I, my, my biggest problem currently is I think I might’ve mentioned this. I’m [00:42:00] not. Anywhere near good about we’re using passwords by that meaning? I do. And when I, even my longest my, I think my longest one is still say to my second longest one, which I’ve used dozens of places. I just got word that it had been in a breach.

So then the overhead of having to go to each one of those sites and update your, um, uh, Mack kind of comfort that by saying, we have a way of generating a password specific to a site and we keep it for you. We keep it in a key chain. That’s encrypted. So it’s not a, um, a hole into your system, but the hassle of how many places I have to go to and other password managers besides apples, like, um, one pass last pass, a couple of things they aren’t perfect.

And so sometimes it’ll generate a new password and I’ll go back to the site later and be like, oh, it didn’t save it. Well, I remember the random one that you have, and I wasn’t used to taking, uh, you know, um, the five. Take a [00:43:00] screenshot. Maybe I need to take screenshot. Cause then it’s on paper because if I take.

Um, you know, drag my cursor across it, do a copy, do a paste into a little document. Do I have a document that has all my passwords tell me that that’s not a security hole. Someone finds that plain text document and

[00:43:17] Stephen: they have my passwords for every right. And especially we were just talking about cloud and stuff.

So you save it. You’re,

[00:43:25] Alan: you know, so I don’t mind, uh, I’m moving more and more towards all the biometrics. If I have to put my phone down on my magic, you know, I have to do face recognition that, you know, my new iPhone 13 max does all of that. And the only hassle occasionally is, oh, I don’t have a tilted, so it can make up my face.

Oh, it had, I had to do a version of me with glasses on with my mask on, but now it handles all that. It it’s a little bit, I’m not exercising the memory muscle that has you remember the various different passwords, but it’s also nobody else has [00:44:00] my face or my things with mask and that kind of stuff. So it’s that much safer and it doesn’t have to worry about the, it didn’t remember my password and now I have to go through the forgot your password.

Here’s a couple security questions about your first doggie or whatever else.

[00:44:15] Stephen: Oh, that that’s, that works until I 3d print and Al

[00:44:20] Alan: and that’s true. You know, I just saw a movie where they had to like cut somebody’s finger off in order to be able to get into the lab. It’s like, please don’t take my face off.

[00:44:32] Stephen: So I, I don’t know if you saw my post on this, but, uh, the coolest thing yesterday was Ryan’s messing with everything I had to go through. Uh, security certificates on the Mac and get them into key chain and we’ll walk through all those steps. It’s a lot of work, but it was the coolest thing yesterday that I had game maker open, had a little program.

I created that I was putting on my Android. I think I showed it to you, just the, Hey, it works great, but [00:45:00] to be able to connect it to the Mac and it like shot it over there, it compiled on the Mac and I could put it on my test, uh, iPad. And I’m like, that is just the coolest thing. Like instead

[00:45:12] Alan: of having to drop to the command line and do all that in order to get something installed, that it really now does have all that compatibility and, and platform to platform, transport and stuff.

That’s very cool. You know what I mean? I’m spoiled by how easily they’ve made that,

[00:45:27] Stephen: right?

[00:45:30] Alan: Nope. If you developed for the Mac at all, and you used their development environment and new swift. Man another way in which things have gotten so much better. I mean, I I’m by way back, you know what I mean? You said it all.

I was back in the days of basic and Pascal and PLC C and C plus and C plus plus and Fortran. I really probably know a dozen, two dozen different languages having said that one of the things that made you like, or not like various [00:46:00] different languages was how, um, how they handled the typing of variables.

So you had to worry about really knowing whether it was charactered or, or, uh, numeric and especially everything about garbage collection and memory management and even more so just the, um, um, While you’re working in the development environment. How do you know syntax? I don’t want to be popping open a book to make sure that I have the right number of commas because this thing takes eight parameters.

And if you don’t have the perimeter that you care about exactly in the right place, it breaks. And so they have all kinds of wonderful integration for when I use, you know, any command, you can pop up things that say, here’s how you know, this is correct or not. It never lets you make just grammatical things.

If you need a comment, it tells you about it. If it, if it has, uh, you know, um, an open and closed Perrin and you’re missing the closing Perrin, it’ll tell you about it. So the amount of time that it used to be spent way back in [00:47:00] that crappy name in COBOL days, Having to run a program and having it break because you had something in the wrong column, or you had something that wasn’t, you know, it it’s taken all of that pain away consistently.

The things that were taking the most of my time, that weren’t really about producing something beautiful, but we’re just overhead. Like I said, memory management, they’ve got such great stuff now about awarding memory leaks and it, so people that continue to develop these development environments because it’s its own very sophisticated program and it handles multiple languages and it’ll like highlight things in different colors so that you can scan and pop open paragraphs and stuff.

You can expand and collapse things. Yeah, it has changed how I programmed, because I used to be when I’m trying to debug a program, print it all out and lay it on the table and go like, you know, with colored pens, almost matching with them. I used to do, they did for

[00:47:57] Stephen: me automatedly [00:48:00]

[00:48:00] Alan: and it had been that way, not just recently.

2030 years. They’ve got very smart, very quickly. Some frustrated programmer says, I’m not going to write another program. I’m going to write a better development environment

[00:48:12] Stephen: so that every

[00:48:13] Alan: program is easier, man, hats off to them because they have

[00:48:17] Stephen: such great stuff. Yeah. Well, that’s, that’s what I got attracted to Python more recently because I’m playing with it and I’m like, wow, this language is just like almost perfect.

You know, easy and it makes sense. And the things they did were smart, but also, um, hats off to Microsoft for doing C sharp, which is the next extension of C plus plus their own thing. But they made it open source. And there’s people on all environments programming in C sharp because a lot of people really, really like it.

So, you know, those modern languages, man, go back to the cognitive six heck I remember the Commodore 64 basic you have to put line numbers in and you had that number at like 10 and 20. And not just 1, [00:49:00] 2, 3, because if you forgot something and you had to put it

[00:49:02] Alan: in there, there was no 1.5 line that’s exactly

[00:49:06] Stephen: right.

And nothing to tell you that your go-to 2 55 should not be go to 300.

[00:49:14] Alan: I, I made a living for a couple of years working for Pete Marwick, doing software tools. Old garbage COBOL, but getting COBOL and made it into nice, structured COBOL so that a human being besides the original author could read it and understand what it was doing instead of having things that sell through, you know, based on not only go through structure, but just, it flows through you had everything.

So you could see. The movement of the flow of the code. And in those old places, like big insurance companies, utilities banks, that first had to go to a big iron to big computers. And you had either one guy that had been there for a long time and didn’t render his secrets up easily. Cause that was his employment insurance.

Or you had 50 people that had worked on it all [00:50:00] with their own ideas as to what data naming conventions are and coding standards are. And it really was like, good Lord. This is like schizophrenia really bad. This is just so cobbled together. I really that go through a very cool tool. So hats off to, well, John Delmonico and Jerry Hawkins, you know, trying to think of the people who, who built these tools that figured out how to fix all of that John Hayes, who, who wrote, here’s a way to get a measure of complexity of your code so that you could see out of your portfolio of 10,000 programs.

If you fix these 10, you’re going to get rid of. 80% of your problems that you’re having elsewhere, where people can’t figure out. If I have to change the date, come year 2000, where, where am I going to have to go and code to do that in all the data divisions, all kinds of stuff. I know I’m dating myself or COBOL, but you know what I mean?

Wow. I worked on the format or for awhile. Being plunged into that and like, wow, there’s such smarts into your, they wrote it in COBOL and [00:51:00] writing something as sophisticated in that in COBOL was its own kind of like, it was amazing. So hats off to the whole, uh, shout out to my, my, uh, peat Marwick catalyst group team, because they were doing things that like nobody else in the world was doing that.

And that’s a real cool environment, like grow up as a coder that you’re not just on grade, another reporting program for a bank that instead they were doing really cool, sophisticated stuff and selling it to like governments and stuff like that. You know what I mean? So

[00:51:29] Stephen: anyway, Hey, I got two questions for you.

First one, which brothers that with the Eagle in the background.

[00:51:38] Alan: Oh, Oh, actually, that’s my, um, nephew.

You asked me the most like, oh my God, I hope I don’t get their names wrong. So that’s Nick. I, my older brother has Arielle and Brian and my younger brother has realia and Nick and that’s Nick that has the entire [00:52:00] Eagle scout badge it’s happened within the last couple of years. And it was very cool to be like, wow, I didn’t know anybody else.

I guess I knew other people have done it, but nobody in my family had gotten the full

[00:52:12] Stephen: set.

[00:52:15] Alan: Yeah. I think he did Eagle scout and I thought it kind of required. I dunno, like 39 out of 42. I think he

[00:52:22] Stephen: might’ve had, well there, well, there’s a hundred and some different badges, but yeah, there was 40 ish or so that are required.

You have to get, or 30 something. It changes. I mean, I got it in the stone age, so, um,

[00:52:36] Alan: wow. Honestly, I think that’s one of those things people always talk about. Hey, what’d you put on your resume? Do you put Mensa on there? No, not necessarily, but if you were an Eagle scout

[00:52:46] Stephen: that really

[00:52:48] Alan: young, you had sticktuitiveness

[00:52:52] Stephen: and multiple talents.

I got involved back with Scouts with my son and I shake my head. It’s not the [00:53:00] organization that used to be, uh, at least not our local thing, but okay. So here I’m going to brag. Uh, this’ll be a, not even a humblebrag. This is a straight out brag. So you start boy Scouts when you’re 12, after we below a, and there each rank, there’s a certain time period.

You have to, uh, be that rank for at least a minimum length of time and meet certain requirements, leadership and merit badges, and certain amount of camp outs, blah, blah, blah. So the shortest amount of time was like just a little over like two years, almost two and a half years, uh, to go from, uh, the Tenderfoot to Eagle.

Like that was, you know, if you really worked on it. So you start at 12. I got my Eagle at 14 and a half. So most people don’t do it that quick. But, and you’ll like this, my Eagle project was down at west branch. There was an old fishing trail [00:54:00] and I worked with the, uh, army Corps of engineers for this right down by the spillover dam.

There was a mile long trail. We converted it to a hiking trail. We put in bridges, we put stuff down for people to walk on. We put up signs, we made a booklet, so people could identify things and did all that. So, uh, that was my Eagle project

[00:54:22] Alan: said that’s impressive as all hell to. And I, as you know, we go hiking all over the place.

I’ve seen probably half a dozen of those where here’s a beautiful, um, you know, uh, patio. Bench right on the river that it was somebody who’s Eagle scout project was to create this beautiful thing with the little placards that say, you’ll probably see loons here and stuff like that, you know, so good

[00:54:43] Stephen: for you.

That’s cool. It took almost a year completely to do with all the work and all that. And it was a mile long and we had spots, you know, marked, and, and there were three other Eagles after [00:55:00] me that did projects on the trail that improved parts of things that sat near things. So that’s great. That was, and I remember it because the day.

Uh, we opened the trail and the newspaper was out and, you know, the local rep from Scouts and army Corps of engineer leader from Pittsburgh and blah, blah, blah, all that jazz, they all came out. We had a big hoo ha and all that. I was like, oh my God, talk faster because I wanted to go see back to the future in the theater.

And they were taking, I didn’t want to miss it when you’re 14, you’ve got your priorities.

[00:55:36] Alan: Honestly, that’s like pre high school. That’s just amazing. Cool. I made it to we below it and I didn’t advance anywhere beyond that. So good for you, man.

[00:55:43] Stephen: Well, thanks. So there’s my brag anyway, so, okay, so here’s my other question.

Something, you mentioned a as a topic a while back that we haven’t touched explain to me what Wordle is now. I know it’s an app. I know it’s a word type [00:56:00] game. I have not played it, but I’ve been seeing more and more people posting and I see these weird blocks and people are like, oh my gosh, I have no idea what I’m looking at.

[00:56:09] Alan: Honestly. I’ve never played it because I saw it come out quickly. And a lot of people, I have kind of an automatic aversion to fads. I don’t want to get pulled into the next farm game or the next league of legends game or whatever else it might be. So even though it was a word game, I’ve resisted it. And I’m not sure why, because I actually love Scrabble and other things.

The way it works is you have six tries to get a five letter word and you guess a word, and then it tells you, um, which of the letters are yes. Correct. And in the correct place. And which of the letters are it? Is that letter is in the word somewhere, but it’s not in the correct place. And green is the one where it’s both of those things.

And yellow is the one where it’s the right letter, but in the wrong place made a little complex because it, for instance, if you have multiple uses of the same letter [00:57:00] in Dali, it’ll tell you L but it won’t give you two ELLs because it doesn’t have any way to show that for your one LDU, you using your starter word.

And so people, they, they, there’s a whole now kind of interesting set of skills, the science behind. So what’s a good word to start with. Well, you know, there’s a letter distribution. If I remember it, it’s something like that. The most current and commonly used. And so you try to come up with I’ll try stone, because that way it’ll have, you know, two of the valves and STN, which are common, I’ll get a lot of information for that.

And then the next one will be something like, I dunno, the metal or something like that, where there’ll be the vault you haven’t used yet. And I already am wrong because E but by gathering that you’ll be able to quickly get to, okay. I know four out of the five letters apply my anagram and skills. And so you’ll people often get it 2, 3, 4 once in a while, and you’ll see this people will really grouse about it because they got a word like.

It’s got four out of the five letters. Correct. [00:58:00] But the one that they’re missing there’s many possibilities. So if we have like, um, sta blank, E it could be, um, stale or, you know, uh, um,

[00:58:10] Stephen: stare

[00:58:11] Alan: or state and all that kind of stuff. And so sometimes you’ll see them get really close after the second or third word and then get three swings and misses because they kept praying to guess the letter instead of, well, what letters could it be?

I’ll think of a word that has. Three of those five letters and whichever one you want. I mean, there’s, there’s kind of a, a guess ability to it that you can apply. Um, some people have never missed one. They really are really good at their vocabulary and they’re really good at that little science of making good guesses.

And once in a while, people will say, I just pooped for the first time, because I was so certain that it was, I dunno, you know, uh, all those things and turn out to be steak. I didn’t guess the Quay darn it. You know,

[00:58:54] Stephen: so I can see how that appeals to the Manson, you know, a [00:59:00] group puzzle game it’s words. It’s Adam.

Yeah. I can definitely see that.

[00:59:04] Alan: It is cool. I probably, it’s kind of funny. I should be doing it, but fighting against that is at one point I was playing Scrabble online. And I was finding out that I was dedicating, like, I don’t know, an hour a day to it, you know, because if you’re playing, you can play multiple games and when somebody else has gone, they tell you when you can go back on.

And so it was like, it didn’t seem to be taking a lot of time. I would go on and I clicked pretty quickly. Um, but then the cumulative thing was I was playing an hour a day. And when I looked and I said, man, what could I be doing with that out? I mean, I’m already pretty good at Scrabble. I’m not necessarily getting that much better.

And I could be out walking in that hour. I could be sorting comic books in that hour and I just kind of pulled back. And now I have the thing of, I don’t want to start in anything that I could see B and I don’t think oral can be an hour. It probably is two minutes out of your day,

[00:59:53] Stephen: but has that addiction quality?

So every 10, 15 minutes, you’re just checking real quick [01:00:00] or whatever.

[01:00:01] Alan: I think I mentioned I was in a very cool trivially called, uh, um, why is it escaping me? Sorry, learned league. Yeah. A really great guy sourced in, uh, I integrity does really good high quality trivia things. And there’s a little bit of your mast against a certain person.

And you bet on w w what, uh, um, the probability that you think they’re going to get the answers just like they’re betting on yours. So you assigned points if you will. And. And I was doing okay. Cause I know a lot of trivia, but what I was discovering was I really didn’t like that. That was like, you had to do it every day for the course of 30 days or something like that.

And I didn’t like the fact that I was, and it was on my mind. I’m overseeing a show at Playhouse square from eight to 11. I’m loving the show. And then instead of, oh, well let’s just go to a Latin’s cause they’re open late and have a little late night dash. Nope. Got to get home. Cause I didn’t get my, my alerted league in and I got to get it in or I forfeit and forfeiting [01:01:00] is really bad.

And I don’t know, I didn’t like the fact that I was making it the most important thing. And then it ended poorly. Um, as you might imagine, there there’s a whole bunch of good trivia people in it from college bowl days and jeopardy days and stuff like that. And so it really matters to some people a lot and I was doing pretty well, but I haven’t really been that guy.

I’m not, I wasn’t a big, uh, it’s academic, you know what I mean? I wasn’t in that field. So. The more than I got, uh, that I did. Well, there were things like, who is this guy? I’m like, well, just be kind to me, just be happy that I’m doing okay. Um, I’ve made a big mistake. They have big rules about cheating too.

You know what I mean? You really, why would you cheat about a trivia contest, but there really are people that apparently their egos in it or they, I don’t know. I don’t know. So while you’re working on it, of course you can’t, what’s the point of looking something up online? You know what I mean? You, you, you answered the questions.

[01:02:00] Um, There was a cool question that I was curious about and I made a copy of it so I can look it up later. Apparently you can’t even do that. That looks suspicious. And so I, I got booted because I’m pretty sure that that’s what they thought I had done, but, and it’s kind of funny, but I had submitted my answers and I didn’t look it up until afterwards, but they don’t know the timing of that or something, I guess.

And so I’m sad because I was kind of enjoying it, but for those reasons, it can’t be the most important thing in my life. And like, why isn’t this just fun that instead. And, uh, oh, and I, I, so I hope you don’t mind. This is kind of a weird connection. I, uh, I actually know I was on jeopardy and I one once, but I became very aware on jeopardy of how I kinda got like butterflies in my stock, because well, now this isn’t sitting around at a men’s gathering and just throwing out answers.

And if anything, we’re saying a funny answer because that’s more fun. And then say the real answer that it was important. You’re playing for money on jeopardy. So why did [01:03:00] I lose on jeopardy? Because I kept like betting big money. And then, because it was a, a big question I would kind of, my mind would go weird.

I wouldn’t be all Coleen. I would get all kind of twitchy. Well, the same thing was happening and this learned league thing then like a couple of times got into the final rounds where, you know, there’s going to be a championship. And after I had gotten, I dunno, pretty consistently 80% of questions, right.

Or something like that in the final, I get like 50, because the questions are that much harder. And also, cause I could just see. I’m not performing well under pressure. I’m not that guy. I never really thought of it that way. I never really thought I was the guy that if I was to come up, you know, bottom of the ninth at bat, that I’d be the guy that would whiff instead of getting a single or hitting a Homer or something like that.

But somehow that was happening often enough, but that was also people saying, well, and also you’re not just doing it online. There’s somebody observing you. You know what I mean, to make sure that there’s no [01:04:00] cheating. And so it’s like, I don’t know. I was friends with them. How are you doing Scott? You know, let’s go.

And I got enough weird, tough ones that it really proved. I don’t know a lot about magic magazine. I know a lot about your sports trivia, even though I’m not a big sport head, but my numbers were such that people were not happy with me. You know what I mean? And so I just, why, why am I doing this? Why am I, why am I going into this situation?

If it matters a lot to certain people let them have. I was, I didn’t like how I was handling it. I didn’t like the stringency of it to me trivia, like it’s kind of built into the name. It’s not significant it’s trivia. Does it really matter that I know who was to the what number you dialed in, dial M for murder, to me, it’s funny.

[01:04:48] Stephen: If you can

[01:04:49] Alan: find the name of the planet, that was the ice planet in star wars, but it doesn’t matter. It never matters.

[01:04:55] Stephen: You know what I mean? So the people that

[01:04:58] Alan: memorize [01:05:00] lists of international

[01:05:00] Stephen: currency and memorizing trivia doesn’t necessarily mean your IQ is higher smart and getting it wrong doesn’t mean that opposite either.

Okay.

[01:05:09] Alan: And there is that, and maybe, you know, that’s gotta be part of it. Yeah, it is it isn’t about being smart. I have, I have real respect for people that have amazing memories. It’s very cool to have that photographic or near identic memory, the people that can name for every song, like the artist and the label

[01:05:26] Stephen: that it was really kind of

[01:05:29] Alan: an amazing savant skill.

But I know it’s a savant skill. It only matters if you go on and play jeopardy or you go on, uh, who wants to be a millionaire.

[01:05:38] Stephen: Right. And so it’s very, it could

[01:05:40] Alan: be handy. It made me a couple thousand dollars, but that wasn’t going to make a living off of the fact that I remember Saturday morning, cartoon show theme songs,

[01:05:49] Stephen: who would I be?

It’s like magic. You know, I’ve played magic, a large portion of my life. And I go down to my friends and we play magic. I love it. But I’ve only played in a few [01:06:00] tournaments and I never enjoyed it as much because they’re out for blood. They’re out to kill. They’re not to be number one and the best and, and with magic, you know, it’s one of those things that if you spend more money, you’ll get better cards.

It compensates for skill and to some degree, I mean, you still have to have some skill to it. Definitely, but I never wanted to spend that money. I never wanted to be that hardcore. I never wanted to be, like you said, I have to go every Friday now to defend my title and to move up in ranking and I want to go and have fun.

[01:06:32] Alan: That’s right. I know we talked about this in a very early episode. You know, I had really odd skills when I was young. Like I can play chess very well. I could say. Uh, a crypto grounds very well, but when I got like approach with, Hey, you could be a chess master. He was like, well, I don’t know that I want to do only that don’t you have to kind of be Bobby Fischer and crazy isolate yourself, study chess all the time.

I kind of wanted to do a lot of different things and I wanted to have fun doing it. So whenever Colleen and I had talked about, [01:07:00] Hey, we should go to the Horsham puzzle tournament in Stanford, Connecticut. Always what I say is, well, I want to go on whatever the division is that says, I’m curious as to how I would do, but I don’t care.

I’m not competitive in that way. And I just, I like to be around work people, but the people that are too fanatic about it, I don’t want to be around them. I don’t want to be.

[01:07:20] Stephen: Well, that’s why, that’s why in some of the RGS, uh, when they have the tournament’s now those, or, you know, just local, minor tournaments.

And they don’t mean anything past Sunday, but a lot of times I won’t play because there are some people on certain games and you learn who they are that they’re just cutthroat and they’re like out for blood. And if you happen to be on their team and you make a mistake there, if you’re not paying attention, they’re on your case, that’s too much stress.

It’s a game, which is by definition, supposed to be fun. And if on that,

[01:07:52] Alan: it’s kind of funny that I, I think I got an early impression of this from like mad magazine of all places. They used to have lots of [01:08:00] references, maybe in Dave Berg’s things about how. Couples, we’re almost divorced over playing bridge.

You don’t want to lead that. They’d be analyzing the game and that you threw the wrong card and they were really angry about it. And I was like, I learned to play bridge in college and it seems, Hey, I was okay because I, I remember as well, I know the conventions, et cetera. But then when I got into that thing of, well, no, you have to call them every Tuesday and Friday and be, you know, play regularly.

And you got to find a partner that you’re compatible with. And I was like, I just, can I play casually? No, they immediately try to kind of induct you. You know what I mean? I’m being groomed to be a chess master and another one of those things that even at like other ferments, I just. I don’t want to have to get any better than I already am for playing Scrabble.

I’m really quite good at it. I’ve gotten, I have a good inner grabbing ability. And so, but I don’t want to memorize the two letter and three letter word lists [01:09:00] because that’s absolutely essential to be a competitive Scrabble player like itself, you know, like really? So he’s a world class sprinter, is he, when is sprinting going to matter?

But anyway,

Well, I watched the Olympics. I’m aware of that’s a pretty rarefied skill. And so it was credible. And so it was magic and all the things we’re talking

[01:09:23] Stephen: about, you know, but I always, I like to do, like you said, a lot of different things and I like different games and stuff, but I’ve never really cared so much about being the champion.

I just want to play, I just joined a kickball league, uh, and kind of a false, um, I’ve wanted to either play soccer or softball, but the problem is they want a whole team to sign up and where I live everything’s far away and nobody else around me wants to do it. So this of falls kickball league, you can sign up independently and once they get a full team of independence, I’m like, great.

I’ll do it. I’m there. [01:10:00] So as long as we get a few more people, uh, I’ll be playing and I’m happy, you know, kick balls. The one I wanted to do, but I want to get out and a little exercise and some people, and, you know,

[01:10:13] Alan: actually, that’s a great idea. You know, I used to play softball in Chicago all the time in Chicago and we’re at 16 inch.

It’s not minutes. It’s the big marshmallow ball. And occasionally when I went up against people that were like trying to take it too seriously, Uh, I would play, but I would make fun of it all the time. You know what I mean? Like my infield chatter would always be making fun of the fact that we’re caring too much about position.

Oh no, this guy is not a hitter. Bring him in. It’s like, oh yeah, you got to worry. Oh, I won’t even go into it in college. Um, but downtown leagues from Pete Marwick and, uh, where I worked at a consultant to Ameritech, they had a big softball summer league and that would be like, bring my dog fenders. He’d be like the [01:11:00] head of the party.

Cause he’s just such a cuddly, real plush toy. And then I’m like, you know, Hey, can I bring my diet Coke out there and set it down while I played third base or something like that? I just tried to make it how unserious I was thinking. And the alpha males. Haha. We’re taking it so hard. I never fluffed it. I never liked voluntarily missed something.

I tried to play well, but I didn’t have that like in the gut need to win

[01:11:29] Stephen: the story of my life. And I, I figured that this is kickball. I mean the only other thing would be Dodge ball. If you’re taking those too seriously, you need to reevaluate your life.

[01:11:40] Alan: Yeah. I, you know, Colleen and I love playing mini golf and one of the reasons that we love it is because.

How can you take it seriously in a while you brought your turbocharged ultra putter so that you could hit the crocodile’s head and it went onto the magic Lilypad just perfectly. You must be very proud. And [01:12:00] I just, I, we, it’s a great equalizer, not only between her and I, but with your buddy, you just can’t take it seriously.

I don’t want to become a golfer. I don’t want to get up at 5:00 AM and keep knocking strokes off because I’m getting better and practicing. I want it to be what we just talked about. Fun and lighthearted and inherently silly,

[01:12:17] Stephen: you know? So actually the one place I worked, they had a, uh, some sort of a golf tournament and I almost went to it, but something came up, whatever.

I don’t know. But the way they did it was like the perfect way to do it. I thought it was wonderful. Cause I’m like, guys, you don’t want me, I don’t golf. I’ve never golf. I’m going to hit the weeds. I might only make it halfway to the green it’ll, uh, you know, to be a part of 20 vendors up there. Like it doesn’t matter.

It’s a scratch game. I’m like, what the hell is a scratch game? We have teams of four and they only take the highest score. So even if you’re the one that sucks the whole time, you don’t bring the whole team down. That’s awesome. I love that.

[01:12:55] Alan: We’ll tell you about the shot exactly. That, you know, it’s funny when I have I’ve occasionally played golf [01:13:00] and that’s like, you know, get me to the pin.

My short game was really good. I played a lot of video games and they would laugh, but it’d be like, I was a pretty good putter cause that’s my distance, I guess is 20 feet, not 400 yards

[01:13:12] Stephen: or whatever. Did I tell you? We found a bowling place down here. We went bowling a couple of weeks back. Uh, and I’m okay.

I used to actually go bowling with my grandmother who was on a league and had trophies and stuff. So it’s one of those things where people are like, oh, the nerds going up to play. Oh my God, you got to strike. You know what I mean? That’s what happens. I’m not great. You know, when I hit 120, I’m like, Ooh, good game.

Um, but better yet. I don’t know if I told you that they have ax throwing at this place.

[01:13:46] Alan: If you’re a Norseman, you don’t have a lot of experience doing

[01:13:49] Stephen: that, but you know how much fun it is to throw an accent and, you know, get it the sink into the wood. And you’re like, oh my gosh, I got to do that again. So it’s something we should do sometime. [01:14:00]

[01:14:00] Alan: And did you do the Johnny Carson, remember where they had the guy that was Davy Crockett’s Indian companion and on a Johnny Freeman’s Johnny Carson episode, they haven’t demonstrating his ax throwing skills.

And as I recall, it didn’t hit the guy in the head. It hit him right. In a tender

[01:14:16] Stephen: area videos forever.

[01:14:19] Alan: Exactly. It’s like, Ooh, you know, I guess this guy is now, uh, you know, uh, emasculated or something like that. No, no circumcised. They said circumcised. If I remember,

[01:14:29] Stephen: right. Well, you know, he was trying to hit woods, so you never know.

Okay. Well now we’ve degraded the gun. Cause I got to pick a kid up from school still.

[01:14:42] Alan: Okay. I’m on California for the coming week. We can do this again next Tuesday or whatever works for you. Okay. I’m not flying out until late Tuesday night if I remember. Right. So depending on, uh, Whatever’s easy for your schedule.

I know exactly. [01:15:00]

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