Archive for the ‘TV’ category

Friends, Family and Strangers

September 2, 2013

Friends, Family and Strangers

The following was inspired by seeing Stacy Dean Campbell suggest “The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty” on Bronco Roads. I must mention that I learned about Bronco Roads via Troubadour Tx earlier this year because an episode featured Walt Wilkins.

Eudora Welty’s stories were so loved by Steve Dorner that in 1988 he named his free email software after her.

While working for Schlumberger Laboratory for Computer Science in 1989, one of my favorite colleagues William I. MacGregor discovered Eudora and introduced me to it. Eudora was simple, powerful and remarkable and quickly changed our expectations of email. Schlumberger adopted it as our standard email client on Macs and it quickly gained world-wide use within Schlumberger by several thousand Mac users. In fact some people got a Mac so they could have Eudora and for the early nineties Eudora was at the center of my professional carrier during my favorite years and projects with Schlumberger. Perhaps my very favorite ‘project’ at Schlumberger was when Dave Sims recruited me for a weekend trip to help his band of rebel network admins put the Schlumberger executive NYC offices on the Internet and install Eudora on their Macs (probably about 1990).

In late 1993 my brother Willie invited me to help him start two Internet Service Providers (ISPs), one in Waco and one in Austin. Our first service was simply Internet Email via Eudora on Macs; we called it EasyMail. Our email service introduced each new customer to email via the Internet. Joe Phelps and Jan Chapman were two of my earliest customers. Willie’s company was the very first company in Waco to offer Internet Email to the public. In Austin my company was one of 3-4 early ISPs. All of Willie’s customers and mine used email accounts on a server that sat in my closet on Darwin Cove and Willie’s ISP in Waco reached the Internet through a leased phone line from his house in Waco to Darwin Cove. Before 1993 only a lucky few people at corporations, universities and military scientist had Internet access.

Today after seeing Stacy Dean Campbell suggest “The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty” I found the book on Amazon and started to read the Preface. The very first paragraph inspired me to write this post about a remarkable and important thread in the fabric of my life started by Eudora Welty. In her Preface she wrote about the importance and inspiring love of family, friends and strangers.

Each of the people in this story allowed their passion to inspire their lives.

You are each deeply appreciated gifts.



PS. If my body outlives my abilities I hope family and friends will read to me the words and lyrics of passionate writers and artists.

PPS. Special thanks to my sweet wife and our kids for sharing and encouraging my love of writers and artists. Please trust your passion.


The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
For Inventor of Eudora, Great Fame, No Fortune – The New York Times‎
Biographical article from the New York Times on Steve Dorner, creator of Eudora. Requires free registration.

William I. MacGregor, ID thought leader, passes

Bronco Roads

Walt Wilkins


Over the Air HDTV !

November 17, 2008


  1. Antenna does make a difference
  2. If the signal is still below 50% then add a $20 (or less) line amp
  3. My Mac Mini Core2Duo 2.0 has three HDTV tuners, records three shows at once in 1080i
  4. EyeTV dongle is excellent, but I like for $67
  5. I use Full version of EyeTV software to manage my three tuners


~ dws.

“All your channels are belong to me” ~ Bill Gates

May 17, 2008

Boing Boing: Microsoft and NBC enforce the nonexistent Broadcast Flag

PBS National Geographics Strange Days on Planet Earth, Dangerous Catch & Dirty Secrets

May 6, 2008

Season 2 opens with “Dangerous Catch,” which examines the consequences of overfishing, which extend beyond the water’s edge. Included: whether the damage can be reversed. “Dirty Secrets” details damage being done to oceans and rivers by coastal development, chemicals and other contaminants. Edward Norton hosts.

WOW … that was a powerful show. Makes me even more frustrated about all the plastic bags hanging in trees. Check out Dangerous Catch and (Particularly) Dirty Secrets.

Mac mini HTPC Followup: Core Skills

April 19, 2007

This should be a useful future reference … Mac mini HTPC Followup: Core Skills

technically proficient ≠ anti-AppleTV

April 12, 2007

In AppleTV, day 2, Dave Winer said, “If you’re technically proficient enough to read this blog, AppleTV is not for you.”


I’m quite proficient, I’ve made my living for 30+ years helping others get what they need and want from computing machines of all shapes & prices … and I’ve been reading Scripting News since it’s first few months … maybe from day one (I’m not sure).

I think Apple TV is spot-on brilliant, out of the park strait over center field. I fully understand why geeks think of it as an OSX computer and enjoy hacking it with SSH, VLC and BitTorrent (all tools I use most days). But Apple TV is a brilliant appliance that adds a TV to your LAN and does it with the elegance that apparently only Apple normally delivers.

Does v1.0 do all we geeks want and can imagine? Of course not.
Will it evolve to do more? I dare you to bet against that.

Apple TV is an appliance for all of us. Just because I can explain how it works or know how to enable SSH doesn’t exclude me from wanting one or two or three (I plan to have 1 per TV eventually).

I can explain and repair (mostly) my fridge, washing machine, cars, lawn mowers, computers, telephones, WiFi network, this Blog, a blender, my electric razor and lots of other modern products. Normally I choose products that just work and do what I bought them to do. Also the longer they do that without me having to ‘open them up’ the more likely I am to recommend that product to others.

ie. My Honda lawn mower has been running without a skip for 20 years! I purchased an edger and a trimmer to assist with finishing the lawn … should I want Honda to deliver a mower that edges and trims?

Please don’t equate technical proficiency with thinking that all products should be the swiss army knife of their category.

Love ya Dave … but I think you’re missing the point of Apple TV.

Long time fan,


Disclosure: I have worked for Apple, Inc for about 5 years. I also am fond of the Mini and I own both a PowerBook and an iMac … none of which are swiss army knives of their category. Last, I don’t own a swiss army knife because their too bulky and universal for me.

Comparing Antennas

April 10, 2007

Comparing some commercially available antennas”, at An HDTV Primer, appears to be an excellent reference.

Looks like I got lucky with my new Channel Master 4221