Happy Birthday Macintosh!

Today is the Apple Macintosh’s 25th birthday. Time flies doesn’t it? I owe a lot in life to this little machine.

I first met the Macintosh in March of 1984. I was a Junior at Texas Tech University, studying Graphic & Package Design under Frank Cheatham. My Production class went to a computer store to have a look at one and get a demonstration. I can distinctly remember being impressed with the graphic capabilities of the machine and the quantum leap in the user interface from all other computer systems I’d seen before. My good friend and previous roommate was a Computer Science major, who built systems in our dorm room, so I was very familiar with computers, though not much of a user then. My other strong memory from that day was turning to a classmate and saying:

“When this thing gets “real” fonts, it will take off.”

I was referring of course to the early bitmapped “city name” (Monaco, Chicago, Geneva, etc) fonts that shipped with the Macintosh. “Real” fonts are just that, real. Typography that has been created and refined by masters over hundreds of years. Back when I went to school we had to learn to render typefaces by hand and I could write freehand in Garamond, Baskerville, Franklin, Helvetica, Century Schoolbook, and many other traditional fonts. Being able to just bang out a perfect typeface on a screen was a dream of every designer back then.

Well, either I was perceptive, or prophetic because not long after my graduation and entrance into the professional world Aldus shipped PageMaker, Adobe shipped PostScript and broke open the world of “real” fonts … on the Macintosh. I was present at the birth of “desktop publishing” as I was a young designer working in Seattle at the time, and all the “old guys” (as I called people my age back then) were terrified of computers and expected us kids to do all the technological heavy lifting. I learned everything I could about computers, software, networks, etc. Within a few years I was managing systems instead of designing things. By 1991 I was no longer a Graphic Designer, I was an IT guy. My design education has served me well however as the entire purpose of design, at least how it was taught to me, was the communication of complex concepts in visual/verbal form. Frank Cheatham insisted that we had to be able to EXPLAIN why we made the design choices we did. They had to make sense, otherwise, as he often said, “it was just decoration.” From that education I learned how to explain complex technology to non-technical people. I have also been able to explain non-technical things to technical people. (I’m a English-Geek translator.) This has allowed me to very successfully manage a class of people that many believe are unmanageable, “IT guys”.

I did my last professional graphic design job in 1994, designing the corporate identity of the company started by a friend of mine… a network geek I met “online” several years before on a Mac-focussed BBS. He was running the network at a local college, while I was running one at a department store‘s in-house Advertising agency. The company he started? digital.forest. That’s right, the company I joined six years later. Before that though my career took me to a publishing company headquartered in London. Along the way I learned UNIX (to manage Sun Sparcservers that ran The Bon’s OPI system), learned multi-protocol networking, people management, budget management, project management, etc. At The Bon I was telling “old white guys in ties” about this new thing called the Internet. I built my first DNS & web servers in 1995. Launched a web company of my own in 1998, and sold it in 2000.

If it were not for this little machine with a 9″ screen I’d still be drawing typefaces while designing things on paper. In a lot of ways I owe my whole professional career and adult life to this little computer from Cupertino. It changed my world. Changed my profession. Changed my career. Changed my life in some very profound ways. It even introduced me to most of my friends. It has been a very interesting 25 years. Happy Birthday Macintosh. I’ll drink a toast to you tonight.

Sorry… been a bad few days.

Started mid-week… Got some bad news (I can’t really talk about.)

Then it started snowing. Never a good thing here in the Pacific Northwest.

Then my laptop died. The old G4 I’ve been driving for over 4 years. I installed the 10.5.6 update and it just rolled over and died. Kernel panic, SPOD, you name it. I tried restoring from backup. I tried re-installing. I even “nuked & paved”… SPOD & Kernel Panic. Sigh. It frustrated me so much that after the last failed re-install I applied some “percussive maintenance” and then tossed it across the room. As you can imagine, it did not take that very well.

I awoke this morning at 4, to over a foot of new snow. The Jetta spent the night in the front of the house, uncovered, as Sue’s CRD and the Jag are sleeping in the garage these days. The boys had a 12:40 flight to catch at Sea-Tac, 70 miles away. I started shovelling out the VW from the drift. I started right up despite the cold. I let it warm up while I got the Liberty CRD out and used it to clear a path down the 1/3rd of a mile down to the road for the Jetta. A couple of laps up and down the drive cleared the snow sufficiently. I packed a shovel, some gloves, and boots, along with the boys’ luggage into the car. The boys awakened and fed, we headed off towards the airport around 8. Once down off the hill and onto the freeway the roads were in much better shape. Still snow covered, but plowed, sanded, and well packed. We were able to move along at a good rate. The snow started again in earnest when we reached downtown Seattle. We arrived in a blizzard, with 2 hours to spare, got them checked in, and then I headed off to the Apple Store at Southcenter to pick up a new laptop.

The parking lot was empty, so I had a little fun doing handbrake turns and generally hooning about for a bit to improve my mood.

Grabbed a MacBook Pro. Most people would be thrilled about this. I was just grumpy.

Drove to my office through and around closed freeways, accidents, jack-knifed semis, and idiots.

Spent the rest of my day configuring a new machine and transferring my data to it. I have plenty of backups, and was able to restore an image of my previous laptop to an external hard drive yesterday. Moving to the new machine SHOULD be easy with Migration Assistant? Forget it. Failed twice.

Had to move everything over by hand. Still dealing with the fallout of that. iPhoto is the issue I’m dealing with at the moment. Sigh.

An old habit dies… hard.

I have a confession to make: I’ve been using the same email user agent for about eighteen years. Yes… EIGHTEEN years. How many software products from 1990 do you still use?

In 1990 I was using a Macintosh IIsi, System 6.0.7, and Eudora 1. If I recall correctly it was version 1.3 or 1.5. I used my wife’s student account at the University of Washington to get online at first. A shell account on a UNIX host, a newsfeed (Newswatcher!) and trusty old Eudora for reading mail. I had a Hayes 2400baud modem at first, then I joined the 90s eventually with a Prometheus 14.4k modem, with built-in fax AND voicemail. (I was doing full-blown telephony in 1991!)

But trusty old Eudora was my mailer. It stayed my mailer.

I went through many machines (MacII, Centris 650, PowerBook 170, Duos, the infamous green 2400c subnotebook, iMacs, G4s, a TiBook that wheezed itself to death eventually, and now my current, though aging aluminum G4 PowerBook.) But Eudora remained my mailer.

I upgraded operating systems (System 7, OS8, did my best to skip OS9, jumped to X when it finally stabilized, through all the iterations of OSX up to 10.4) and Eudora kept on chugging. I managed to keep just about every bit of mail I had sent or received from about 1994 through 1998… when the great Jaz drive failure hit me as I was moving machines in the UK. Did I give up? Nope, I just started again.

Now I have just about every mail I have sent or received since 1998… all carried around in a pair of “Eudora Folders” on my hard drive (and backed up here, there, and everywhere!)

I have adapted to Eudora and it has adapted to me.

I have two distinct mail modes: work and non-work. I don’t read non-work email at work (except around lunchtime) and I TRY not to read work-related email when I am not at work, at least not on my laptop (that is what my Blackberry is for!) I have YEARS of well-tuned mail filters built (I should screen-shot them… they would astound you! Want to see them? Ask in the comments) and a signature file that is very long (it is how I have packed the “random quotes” here on my site.)

Unfortunately Qualcomm announced Eudora’s demise a while back and I knew this day would come. I test drove several other mail clients, but to be honest… all of them sucked. I know people think Eudora sucked, but it worked for me and I liked it. Hell, I stuck with it for EIGHTEEN YEARS!

I thought about Entourage. Yuck. Way too MS Office-ish. That big honking monolithic mail database terrifies me. Eudora has always stored mail is unix mbox format – plain old text files. Dealing with a corruption was just a matter of firing up BBEdit or vi. Clickty-click. I think that has happened to me three times in 18 years. I have known way too many folks who have had one form or another of Microsoft mail database files go tango uniform on them at inopportune moments. Frequently. No thanks.

I tried Mail.app. I really did. Inertia almost drove me there. It was the one I have test driven the longest. But the rules/filtering is just abysmal compared to Eudora. The mailbox handling lame. And I noted that it becomes a complete pig when you try to deal with large volumes of mail like I do. Searching through my multi-gig mailing list archives for some string of words? Seconds in Eudora! Minutes or a system crash in Mail.app. Yuck.

I’m planning a jump to OSX 10.5, mostly so I can support my family members who all use it. There have been issues reported for the last version of Eudora (6.2) on the latest OS from Apple. I figured now is the time to make the leap away from my old friend.

I thought about Odysseus, as it is billed as a modern replacement for Eudora. However it seems to be in perpetual beta, that seems more like alpha from the users I’ve talked to.

I looked at Thunderbird. No thanks. The UI is just … well… bleagh.

I stumbled across a likely little application that seems to fit the bill: Gyazmail. It has a very flexible UI that allows me to make it behave very Eudora-like when I want it to. It has very good search, rules, and filters. It can import all my old mail(!)

I’m test driving it at the moment and liking it so far. Switched my work mail to it late last week, and my personal mail is still coming over one account at a time. So far so good. If you regularly contact me via email be patient while I work through this transition period.

Good-bye Eudora… it has been a good 18 years.

Part of this is a lie.

The latter half of this message is true. Apple’s software update servers don’t have what this server needs. However in no way is the software on this server “up to date”!

I rarely talk about work here, as I consider this an escape from my work life… however I just have to rant a bit here. A major flaw in the Domain Name System protocol was discovered by a security researcher several months ago. It was revealed to a few key people who could do something about it. Further it was revealed in early May to a select group of software vendors in order to give them time to fix their software to address the vulnerability. I won’t go into the details of what the flaw and vulnerability are, as they are covered very well elsewhere on the web. Suffice to say that DNS is likely the most key portion of the Internet’s infrastructure with regards to how human beings use it. If exploited this flaw would create havoc with a very basic thing that users take absolutely for granted.

Anyway Apple was one of those vendors notified back in May. Also in May a schedule for announcement and full disclosure was settled upon: Announcement in July, giving the vendors a two month head-start to fix their software, test it, and release a patch. Full disclosure in August, giving the world a full month to install the patches.

The announcement was about three weeks ago. I don’t recall the specific date, as the subsequent days and weeks have become a complete blur for me. Since we run an Internet Datacenter, a place where servers live and breathe, it was vital to make sure that our systems were patched, and our client’s systems got patched. As it turned out our systems were secure already, since we had just completed a major upgrade and maintenance window on all of our DNS servers. We use ISC’s BIND software for DNS serving and they had fixed their software in early May, likely a week or two before we installed the latest version. We then focussed our efforts on customers.

The first shock was finding out how many DNS servers are running in our facilities! I had expected a few dozen. DNS servers are usually not high in number… it only takes two or three to handle the DNS for a huge network. By scanning our internal network we found hundreds of them. Then we scanned them to see if they were listed as “vulnerable” to this flaw, and got another shock. All but one client-owned server were vulnerable. (I had dinner with that client on Monday and congratulated him on this accomplishment! he even reads this blog, so go ahead and take a bow Nick. 😉 )

So then we began the process of identifying the servers, their owners, and what DNS software they used so we could notify them of their vulnerability and instruct them if needed on what to do next. As you can imagine this was a serious task.

Meanwhile, out there in the world… The “security community” starts questioning the guy who found this, and asking him why this flaw is any different from similar flaws that have been known for over 10 years in DNS. I’m not privy to details, but basically some select people were given full-disclosure and one of them leaked it on their website about a week and a half ago. The proverbial cat was out of the bag. The Internet being what it is, an exploit was “in the wild” within hours.

Most vendors shipped a patch for their systems either before the announcement, or within a day or two of the announcement. The date of the announcement coincided with Microsoft’s monthly “Patch Tuesday” so most systems administrators were already well-trained to expect announcements of this sort, at that particular time. Of course this announcement goes WELL BEYOND just Microsoft and it’s products but “Patch Tuesday” is now a well-known date for such news. Apple however did not have a patch available that day. Or even the day after. Apple is notoriously closed-mouthed about anything going on inside, so we all expected no acknowledgment or news from them, but we did expect a patch to be ready for installation within a reasonably short period of time. Apple’s track record with regards to security has been VERY good over the years and this was a serious issue that they had been made aware of back in May along with all their peers in the software and systems community.

A week goes by. Then another. And now a third. Every day, in fact several times a day I check the Software Update application on my test-bed MacOS X Server box and I keep seeing what you see above: “Your software is up to date.”


About two weeks ago I started poking and prodding at anyone I knew inside Apple for news. At first I just got stonewalled, which honestly I expect from Apple. Then a couple of them, on private mailing lists essentially stated that the issue wasn’t that big a deal, people don’t use Apple servers for DNS, and the systems were really not that vulnerable anyway. Needless to say I sort of exploded and unleashed a reasonable but toasty reply. I didn’t have time to correct every one of their claims (since I don’t even know the full extent of the vulnerability, since that will not be revealed for another week) but basically said “This is an unacceptable stance from a vendor who wishes to be taken seriously.” The reply I got back via a private message was: “Tell that to Steve Jobs. Here is his email address.”

Sigh. Oh well. Meanwhile I kept flogging our customers to patch their servers and coordinating efforts to do so – all while carrying out al my other job functions too. Those of you who have IM’ed or called me at odd hours over the past few weeks now understand why it seems like I’m always at my desk!

Also the larger community began to realize that Apple was dropping the ball on this issue as well. Even if they didn’t run their DNS servers on OS X, they understood that Apple owed a patch to their customers, the sooner the better. My friend John Welch, in his usual frank style, took Apple to task on his blog. One of our clients, the great folks at TidBITs published a series of articles about the issue as well.

I did what the Apple employee told me to do, and something I figured I’d never do in my lifetime… write an email to Steve Jobs. I tried to be rational and not whiny, and just stick to the facts. Here it is:

Mr. Jobs,

I would not write to you if this issue were not urgent. I am an operations exec at a managed colocation provider headquartered in Seattle, and one of our historical markets has always been support for Apple computers in our facilities. Our current crisis, why I am at work at eleven on a Thursday night, and why I am writing you right now is a major vulnerability that must be mitigated as soon as possible. We have been patching servers, and assisting our customers to patch their servers with security updates for the past week and a half. Of the many thousands of servers in our facility most all have been patched, except those running MacOS X, or MacOS X Server. This is because no official patch has been released by Apple as of yet.

What is more worrisome is that no word has come out of Apple, officially or unofficially even acknowledging the existence of the vulnerability or a forthcoming patch – despite Apple having been notified of the issue in early May.

The vulnerable code is not Apple’s. In fact the protocol itself is vulnerable and the patch is merely an attempt to mitigate, not cure the vulnerability. The ISC BIND DNS server code that MacOS X’s implementation is based upon has been patched, well over a month ago, before the vulnerability was announced.

I recognize that implementation is complicated and requires testing, deployment, etc. But time is of CRITICAL importance in this case as exploits for this vulnerability are “in the wild” as of 24 hours ago. The Internet is actively being scanned for vulnerable hosts.

There are unofficial “hacks” out there which can be applied, but your customers are all waiting for an official security update, direct from Apple, to appear in their Software Update application. At last check we have several hundred Xserves, actively being used as DNS servers in our facilities, all reporting as “vulnerable” to scans. Our Linux servers are patched. Our FreeBSD servers are patched. Even our Windows servers are patched. Our Macintosh servers remain vulnerable and we honestly have no idea when to expect an official update from Apple.

Those of us in the Internet’s operational community can not go home and sleep until we have done our part to secure our networks, and our customers. All we really ask from you right now is the same commitment. Ship the patch.

If that can not be done within the next 24 hours, then let the world know, so we can take alternative measures.

Info regarding the issue: http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/800113
Info regarding Apple & the issue: http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/MIMG-7ECL5Z


blah blah blah.

That was a week ago. I’ve gotten to the point of checking Software Update now several times an hour. Most in the community have reached the end of their rope waiting for Apple’s (theoretical) patch. The TidBITs guys and my friend Chuq von Rospach have posted “how-to” articles on patching it yourself. Chuq’s even does it in a fashion that should keep the (theoretical) Apple patch from breaking something. Given that Chuq worked inside the belly of the beast that is Apple for almost 20 years gives him credibility in my view.

I posted an adapted “how-to” from the two versions on our customer support blog today, and I’ll be on the phone with the remaining “vulnerable” customers tomorrow encouraging them to patch. My goal was to have our network completely “clean” well over a week ago. At least now I can get it clean prior to the full disclosure of this vulnerability scheduled for next week.

Still it would have been so much easier if Apple had just done their share. Done the right thing. Done what should have been done about a month ago.

Being lied to is unacceptable, and the statement “Your software is up to date” is a lie.

The Apple Retail “Experience”

On Wednesday of last week I was forced into another Apple Store visit. I have never, EVER had a pleasant “experience” at an Apple Store. I buy all my stuff online. I hate “shopping”… I have both an X AND a Y chromosome, so therefore I don’t “shop”… I just buy. I don’t wait until I’m at a store to decide. By the time I arrive at a store I have already decided what I want and all I want to do is just pay, and LEAVE. I hate retail establishments. I hate dealing with salespeople. Car Dealerships are my worst nightmare (but I have my secret weapon: a wife who is a lawyer, which is most car salesman’s worst nightmare… I pick the car, she tortures the salesman) but any store in a Mall comes in a close second.

Please understand all of the above before you read this post.

Tragically Hip

We needed a new laptop at work, something of an emergency. The perfect weapon for the task at hand was an Air. The problem was, we needed it that day, which meant our ONLY option was the Apple Store down the hill from us at the mall.

I tasked one of my staff with it, since I would rather get my teeth cleaned with a Dremel wire brush than subject myself to the “Apple Retail Experience” again (after my PowerBook repair from hell) and I had a very important meeting with our CEO that was going to consume a large part of my morning. I come out of the meeting 90+ minutes later and we have no Air. He’s called and made sure they have them in stock, but balked at expensing it on his CC. I asked him if they would take a phone order, so I could run down there and just pick it up… “no phone sales” Grrrr. I was stuck… FORCED into an actual visit to the damn store. 🙁

I hopped in my car for the run to the mall, park, and walk in. I enter the Apple Store and it appears that staff outnumber customers by at least 1.5:1. I head for the desk in the back and am waylaid by a pair of Hip Chicks: Perpetually Grinning Bobblehead Asian Girl With Skunk Stripe Hair and Groovy Greener With Hip Rectangular Glasses And A Diamond In Her Nostril. The latter asks me if I need help.

“Yes,” I say, “I’d like to buy a MacBook Air and an external optical drive.”

She cocks her head diagonally (must be the weight of the rock in her nose) and says: “Do you want the one with the solid sta…”

“No, the one with the hard disk drive please.”


A creeping feeling of dread is overtaking me like a gamma ray pulse eradicating all known life on a planet.

Instead of grabbing said item for me to buy, she steps to her left and gets the attention of some other Apple Store staffer, Non-threatening Hip African-American Dude (NHAAD). Groovy Greener (GGWHRGAADIHN) flashes her sparkling schnozz-rock at NHAAD and says “This gentleman would like to buy a MacBook Air with the 80gb and an external Superdrive. Could you help him out?”

Well, at least she nailed the order, maybe this will be easy after all.

NHAAD walks over to me and says: “Hello sir, You’re interested in the MacBook Air…”

I could tell that he was accustomed to selling, that is, throwing the pitch at a reticent customer, soothing them with his knowledge of the product line, and explaining how it would enrich their lives. I didn’t need to be sold. I wanted to BUY. I wanted to BUY NOW, and LEAVE. I delivered a curt “Yes” to cut him off at that pass.

“Would that be the one with the solid stat…”

My brain is saying “JESUS H. CHRIST ON A POGOSTICK, what does it take to just buy a goddamn computer and walk out of here! Is ANYONE listening?” My impulse control is starting to slip and despite my attempts to maintain a calm demeanor I’m sure my eyes are rolling and NHAAD can tell I want to throttle every Apple Store employee within reach, which would be easy since this store is the size of a dorm room and all these hipsters like to stand so damn close to you that my 44 year old eyes can’t read their nametags but I can still divine what they’ve had for breakfast.

Needless to say, if I had eight arms 16 eyes would be bulging out of eight tragically hip skulls at that moment.

“No, the one with the hard disk drive.” I say … an absolute pinnacle of self-control.

NHADD pours a drum of gasoline on the smolding embers of my ire by replying “Well technically it is a hard drive…”

Perhaps the reflexive jerk of my hands inside my coat pockets and the sudden shrinking of my pupils lead him to swiftly turn towards the stock room and retrieve the objects that would distract me from killing him slowly while explaining the history of the Winchester Hard Disk Drive Mechanism and the fact that there is no ” hard disk” inside that solid state “drive”…

Groovy Greener Diamond Nose Chick, who had been standing within easy strangulation range throughout this exchange shouted to NHAAD’s back as he ventured towards the stock room “…and the superdrive too!” Sensing my impatience she pretends to see another customer and scurries away. I back towards the wall to put some distance between myself and the malingering hipsters all just standing around aimlessly looking for all the world like baristas who find themselves suddenly dematerialized out of a Starbucks and unexpectedly clothed in black t-shirts and surrounded by brushed metal, but without their tip jar. The smell of overpriced hair care products was overwhelming.

I longed for a Molotov cocktail.

Scratch that, I would gladly call in an airstrike with a Daisy Cutter. “Affirmative! ON MY LOCATION!” DO IT!!!!!

After what seemed like several lifetimes, but in all likelihood was about 5 minutes NHAAD emerges from the back with the little fashionable purse that doubles as a case for the Air. He’s holding it up in the air, stiff-armed at head height with his thumb and forefinger like a new husband holding his very first dirty diaper. He asks me to come over to the brushed metal wall that serves as a counter-less checkout … um… counter. It is so stylish as to be completely useless. I’m reminded of the bent metal rod “chair” in the movie “Sleeper” that Woody Allen’s character falls out of every time he tries to sit in it.

At this point, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m going to hand this guy a credit card, grab the merchandise, and exit. Escape! YESSSS!!!

Just as I’m starting to feel a sense of relief, a 36-car locomotive mows me down.

“Sir you would like AppleCare with th..”


“AppleCare is a…”

No, really, I’m fine.”

“You have…”

“No, really… we operate as a self-service Apple repair shop…”

My brain is saying “STFU and ring up the damn purchase already!” But no, the train has 36 cars, and I’m going to get rolled over by each and every one, in series. K-thunk, k-thunk, k-thunk!

“Do you work for the State?” (k-thunk!)


“The Computer Stores Northwest??” (k-thunk, k-thunk, k-thunk)

I point to my logo’ed cap “I work for digital.forest. We mostly deal in Xserves, but we’ll be fine without Applecare, really.” (was that the caboose?)

“What printer do you want with your computer today?” (k-thunk, k-thunk! No cabooses anymore pal!)


“It is free…” (k-thunk, k-thunk)

I stare at NHAAD blankly. (k-thunk, k-thunk, k-thunk)

“…well, $99 but with a rebate.” (k-thunk, k-thunk, k-thunk, k-thunk)

“No. I really. All I want is the computer.”


(k-thunk, k-thunk, k-thunk)

NHAAD kept talking. I think he was asking about other accessories or iPods or something. I didn’t hear him because my brain was smiling while it watched imaginary security cam coverage of my murderous rampage. k-thunk, k-thunk, k-thunk, k-thunk.

NHAAD breaks me from my reverie with the magic words:

“blah, blah, blah CREDIT CARD?”

In milliseconds my Visa is out. But (k-thunk, k-thunk) he needs to see my photo ID, and (k-thunk) I sign on some odd and distinctly non-Apple PDA thing, and (k-thunk, k-thunk, k-thunk, k-thunk) NHAAD asks if I want my receipt emailed to me… or (k-thunk) printed out? (k-thunk… was that the last car?)

I grab the receipt and exit as swiftly as possible. Why is this so difficult?

Shifting Gears in my reading habits…

I finished Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (Thanks John W!) last weekend. A truly fascinating read. I grazed through the Goolsbee bookshelves to grab something else and my eyes fell upon something I hadn’t read in years (since it came out in the 80s actually!) … I instinctively grabbed it and shoved it in my pocket as I drove off to work one morning. It is Douglas Adams’ Life, The Universe and Everything.

I only started reading it yesterday, and I’m already halfway through. I LOVE Adams’ writing style. It is wonderfully entertaining to read. I’m inspired by him, truly. I love to write and wish I could write half as well as Douglas Adams. I’d love to be able to somehow channel Adams & Eagan when I write my rally reports and stories. While I’m usually confident in my photography, I know my writing is nowhere near these two greats. I guess I’ll just keep trying.

A thoroughly enjoyable diversion from my usual serious reading.

As a side note, I actually one day found myself standing next to Douglas Adams. I can not really claim to have met him, though we exchanged exactly four words. (mind you that was far more than my other New York/Celebrity encounter – the infamous William Fucking Shatner!) I was at Macworld Expo in New York City in July of 2000. I was scheduled to speak at the MacIT conference later that week (with Ron Marx and John Welch) and my speaker badge afforded an AMAZING seat at the Steve Jobs Keynote. I was in the sixth row. This was the famous G4 Cube/no-button mouse/free mouse Keynote. After the speech concluded most of the attendees stampeded the exits like Wildebeests lurching from a Crocodile to collect their free mouse. However the real geeks clamored to the front of the stage to get photos of the newly announced product. Freebies can wait… there are Cubes to undress with our eyes!


Since I was sitting right up at the front, I ambled up there too. I stood back a bit to have a look at the Cube (a truly elegant machine, I still have one on my desk at work!) and noted a rather tall man at my right elbow wedged between me and my friend Chris Kilbourn. “Quite nice” I said to him nodding at the machine. “mmm Yes” he replied, his eyes still glued in techno-lust at the gleaming Cube. I took a second glance and recognized him as Adams! I shot a photo – and despite look of this shot, it wasn’t as stalkerish as it appears… there were literally hundreds of people in a huge semi-circle, with flashes going off like crazy.

Douglas Adams

Tragically, within a year, he was dead. 🙁

I introduced my sons to his genius not long after, and this copy I grabbed belongs to my youngest son Nick. Next up will have to be “So Long and Thanks for all the Fish!”…