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I'm back; a power outage while I was in Norway accounts for my lack of updates, as I did end up with decent Internet access for much of the time. I got arnold back up and running when I was back in Oslo, and byron is now up though flaky (need to get that USB hub replaced).

I had a really fabulous time in Norway. Lots of stories to tell. I took about 1100 photos, and was by no means the most prolific. But my first priority this week is research. Before I crawl back into my hole, here's an ad that caused me to crack up, from the Oslo subway:

The products are here and here.

I'm off to do some last-minute shopping, then the airport.

I'll be in Oslo from the 4th to the 8th, then leaving for Røst, returning to Oslo on the 12th, out to Bergen on the 13th, and back home on the 16th and 17th.

While I'm in Oslo I may have some limited Internet access, but after that, who knows. In other words, don't expect me to respond to your emails until I get back.

Long time no blog. I've been home for about a week, in a state of continual activity since last Thursday.

Thursday I did a lot of overdue computer maintenance and caught up on some research work (must…make…results…meaningful…). That night my father and I walked around Boston, something I never really got to do much of when I lived here. We went out to dinner afterward, and had a wonderful time.

Friday morning my mother arrived. I picked her up at the airport and a wrong turn caused us to get lost in Boston for a while. That afternoon I had some deadlines to meet and my father was at work, so we didn't get much done. After he came home, we went to the Cambridge Apple Store to buy two iSight cameras for my parents to use now they're on opposite coasts most of the time. The Apple Store experience was quite painless, but the surrounding mall made us both never want to go back. I'm not surprised that Apple's developing more standalone Apple Stores in large cities; Boston could certainly use one. I went out to dinner with what was supposed to be the Boston BBS group, but turned out to be only myself and another member who was in Boston for a few days. Nevertheless, I had a great time.

Saturday the three of us went to Henniker, braving the flies and doing some large-scale gardening. My mother's five-year weed-eradication plan is almost at a close, and the results are dramatic; she certainly shows far more patience and persistence than I could ever think of possessing. In the evening we went up to Waterville to sleep after some quality time shopping and eating in Concord and Tilton.

Sunday morning we cleaned the place at Waterville, I got the iSights working together (my parents love them), and we all got haircuts then drove back to Boston.

Sunday was the last day I had to spend with my mother, as well as her PowerBook. It was a lot of fun as usual to try to squeeze huge amounts of computer-fixing into a few days. I had some scrambling to do, as her mail relay (, aka is still in transit between Illinois and Virginia. FileMaker fixed, check; confusion about Word Mac vs. Windows features resolved, check; iVisit updated and iChat AV installed, check.

On Sunday afternoon, after dropping my mother off at the airport, I introduced my father to some great Mac OS X programs such as OmniGraffle and Keynote. I migrated him from Camino, Now Up-to-Date and Contact to Safari, iCal, Address Book and iSync. Camino just crashes too much for him (though it's solid for me, and still my primary Web browser; interesting how usage patterns affect browser stability!) and Now Up-to-Date and Contact have been a complete disappointment—unstable, ugly, hard to use, and with horrendous Palm sync support. iSync's Palm sync is not perfect—it's a little slow—but at least it works and has yet to lose data in our experience.

Since I've now got automated calendar sharing working from AppleScript in Palm Desktop, he can subscribe to my calendar in iCal, and I can subscribe to his (albeit not view it in Palm Desktop, which is a reasonable compromise).

Monday was another work day. That night I made some progress on getting Australian citizenship; did some preliminary packing for Norway. My father called Apple to get his PowerBook fixed, and had a rather depressing interaction with the AppleCare rep. Of the three problems with the laptop, the power and FireWire problems are readily reproducible; in fact, the power problem existed since MacHack 2001 at which I first got the machine. The third problem appeared about a week ago; the screen intermittently becomes messed up. It's easier to show than describe:

While the screen is in this state, it doesn't update and is essentially unusable. The problem's becoming more frequent of late. But Apple apparently no longer accepts photographic evidence of an intermittent problem, so our only recourse is to bring it into a dealer. On a recommendation from a BBBS member, we'll be heading to the Computer Loft tomorrow, expecting better results.

This morning my father and I awoke at 5 AM. I had a minor scare when my PowerBook refused to start up; turned it only needed a PMU reset. I had to look up how to do so: my PowerBook is one of the few models that has neither an external switch or a keyboard command. Instead, you remove the keyboard and push a button similar to the reset button on desktop Macs.

The well company was coming to Henniker at 7:30 to finish our well installation (we have running water at the barn now!); we arrived there just a bit late thanks to my PowerBook incident, but they were there a few minutes afterward. The well folks were great, very considerate and competent. About 11:30 we rented a truck into which we put 1500 feet of cedar siding for the back of the barn, and the contents of a storage garage which we moved into the barn. By the time we had returned the truck in Concord it was 8:30 PM; we were home by about 10:15. But for the shopping I'll put off until tomorrow, we got everything done today we wanted to—what a surprise! I was amazed to find that I worked for 16 hours today and I'm less tired than I am doing programming for eight; it's now almost midnight as I write this, and I'm not feeling bad at all.

Tomorrow I'll spend most of the day on research, but I've also got to go shopping for Norway. It seems likely that my friend Kriss is going to meet us in Oslo for a few days, which will absolutely rock.

As you might guess from the above, I've had little or no time for Cocoa stuff recently. I'll try to do some more ICeCoffEE work on the plane to Norway, if my battery holds out. Someone emailed me today asking if they could pay for ICeCoffEE; this hasn't been the first time, so I should really add a donate link to my software page.