Another Week to Start

      Its an interesting perspective going into next week. First off, we have HTC and Samsung showing their new toys. I will never buy either. Then a tasty rumor surfaces that there will be two Nexus phones. One from Huawei and another from LG. I would like to see a choice like this. I think its very smart if they do it to offer a phone from a new face out there and then an established purveyor of Nexus toys.

I’d like to see a new tablet which would build on the Nexus 9 with some key differences. Give the building and construction to someone new as well. Perhaps Nokia. Imagine the new N1 tablet recast as a Nexus device with perhaps a few changes. Maybe new processor power, 3g of memory and storage choices from 32 to 128g of memory. No matter what; its fun to read and hear about the rumors. The Nexus thing is always fun and each time, google stretches some boundaries and people seem to misunderstand the purpose of the Nexus line. Maybe I should state the ones I believe are true:

The Nexus line is not meant to be financially successful. Its meant to provide a view of a device that’s a reference platform which twists our viewpoints

The Nexus line is supposed to showcase some facet of Android. Either support for new hardware or a new version of Android.

Not everyone is supposed to buy these things but yet it seems more and more people that don’t know fastboot and adb or factory images buy them. I buy them for just those reasons. Strange and esoteric tools and techniques, a quick route to root, ability to unlock things easily by running simple commands.

Finally, the Nexus line is not meant to be a showcase of a commercially viable device. Its meant to capture a certain view and use of Android that is not commercial. Call it a developer preview of a thing which is not complete. Yet know the Nexus line is measured exactly in the opposite way from which it is intended.

I’m also always amazed by the seriousness that we all put into these gadgets. As a tool user, I pick the things which will make it easier, more fun, more of a learning experience. Android seems to fit here better. I’ve tried Apple gear and there is no playing, hacking, changing on it. I cannot learn on something I cannot hack on or add to or change. I just get a thing that Apple intended me to have. It becomes boring and less than useful in short order. That’s what happened to me and the Air Pad 2. I got tired of its strict adherence to some design philosophy and UI approach which is… boring. Its simply not able to become “mikes device”.

Finally, we come full circle to life how it is now. Tomorrow I have an interview which could change things quite a bit for me. I would only be there for about 9 months or so and then I’d take off some months for travel after having saved some amount of money which I am well on the way to now. I would leave the US behind for perhaps 2 months and do this trip to Asia I have wanted to do. Perhaps ride the ferry boat from Osaka to Shanghai. Then the train to Hong Kong. I would linger in each place as I would want. No clear next thing to do and spend months in the endeavor. I would return around March or April and figure out my next thing. I may come back with no job, no house, no car. Just me. But I will have learned an immeasurable thing which comes with travel. Perhaps I would make it to India and see friends there. Maybe stay in Chennai for some weeks and get to Mumbai and New Delhi. I have friends in those places now.

I would do long walks in each place and learn and experience and become more and less. That’s what travel does for a person. You face the real you and then find out what you thought was real morphed and you learned even more.

Imagine learning that in one day, the entire life thing could change so significantly. Its rather unnerving and exciting.

I’ll close this out now and see what tomorrow may bring.

Home Again – The Trip from Palmdale

Yesterday was probably one of the best yet longest travel days because I decided to head home last night instead of staying in San Simeon. I took Highway 126 over to Ventura and then drove up Highway 101 to San Luis Obispo. At this point, Highway 1 and 101 diverge and you are at a decision point. Drive farm and pastureland on the 101 or head over to one of the most beautiful parts of the Highway 1 adventure. I think of all the places I’ve driven the part of Highway 1 from San Luis to Monterey is the best. Way before my ex-wife would do this drive regularly but I wanted new memories and new photos that are mine.


This photo is along the route and you can see a fisherman on the rocks. One of so many pulloffs. I also tried to find one that my ex-wife and I used to stop at. This proved more difficult because there are probably hundreds of these pulloffs and I don’t have the pictures any longer. It could have been here too I guess.


They all look about the same and the mark of the “spot” was that there was nothing unusual about it or any markings that it was some awesome spot. I just wanted to find the place and now I’m sure I got close.

Along the route, one sees the small villages like Cambria which people stop along the road to shop, eat, stay. Very beautiful places that mark the route that the Highway 1 takes.


After going through the lower parts of the drive, Highway One wends along cliffs that abut the ocean. Its a windy, beautiful, unique drive that is marked by crashing waves, heroic rock outcrops, and small restaurants with cabins like Lucia Lodge.


We stopped at so many of these places way before. The Lucia Lodge restaurant looks down on this canyon where deer used to ramble and eat the flowers. Notice the rainbow!

Finally, I recommend the beauty of any of the places you may stop along the route.


Just the most beautiful spots to partake of when you do the drive.

I got home in the evening, ate a bowl of chili here, and considered what I had seen. A beautiful end but a long driving day where I reclaimed the coastline and got new pictures. Well worth it.

If you have the chance and opportunity, do the drive. Just break it up into days and stop and stay in San Simeon or at the Lodge with the cabins. Look at the lonely cliffs that dive into the relentless ocean. See the beauty of the coastline in an amazing engineering feat where bridges built in the 1930s provide vistas of their own.

Now I’m home. Back to work. I want to go back again with my daughter and give her the gift of Highway 1 along the coast from Monterey south.

Relocation Day — Desert to Ocean

Today I pack up after my two night stay in the Antelope Valley and head toward the ocean and Highway One. Its still rather early here so its breakfast first in the free zone at the hotel. I love the waffle machine! Probably around 10am, I’ll head down to the 126 road via the US 5 again. Then over to the coast and up through Santa Barbara and the ocean villages which make the transition from 101 to 1.

What I learned about going back to the Valley is that this is most likely the last time for me to go. My last connection Frank is gone and there really is nothing holding me here besides old memories which bump around and made me remember a few places which were still there like the Longhorn Bar and Grill and a few of the homes my mom and I lived in. Its a weird thing to return each time and I feel less than ever connected. I drove by the High School I went to, the park I used to hang out in, and then drove down Lancaster Boulevard. Now known simply as the “Boulevard”. There is not a single place remaining so while it was interesting to see what they had done to the place I used to walk and even work, nothing really sticks in my memory any longer.

Another thing is that the older memories when my ex-wife and I lived here also went their own way into history. She is so little a part of any of my life these days that I can see her with some degree of clarity. When you are close to someone you really ignore certain aspects of their personality and what they do. You just kind of accept the things because you believe that the good outweighs the bad. I’ve rethought that basically. While she has good in her I am not expecting to find it any longer. The only connecting point are the kids. I don’t have much good in me unfortunately. I’ve tried to have something redeemable but alas; I don’t. I am just me and people have to accept me for what I am. If not, I will invite you to stop reading here and go to some socially or intellectually redeemable property where you can read all sunshine and flowers or deeply challenging mental exercises.

Now the ocean will beckon and I will drive up the coast to San Simeon today. The hotel there is for a single night and tomorrow I’ll be up around 7am to get home by 11am or so. The path to the ocean takes me through sleepy cities and long remembered but not seen locales where the ocean bumps the coast in a never-ending  erosion and deposition dance.

Next post I will be home. Perhaps with some photos from my Nexus 6 to state where I’ve been.

Days of Deserts

I made it down to the Antelope Valley last night after a few stops for things. Dropping into the valley from the 138 highway from the I5 was the same memorable drive even though it was nighttime. Seeing the familiar road signs and shadowy Joshua Trees reminded me of the places here and why I always thought that this place was special. Its not only geography but the unique nature of desert ecosystems. When you drive down from the I5 you see the other ecosystems declare and then fade away. Juniper Trees with their most fragrance of all wood for burning. The mixed pine higher on the I5.

In getting here, I took the 166 highway which cuts from the US 101 to I5 so I could test my mettle on the grapevine. Truth be told that was only stressful part of the drive. The grapevine and before is a crazy mix of 18 wheel trucks moving between the two right lanes, cars and trucks careening in a somewhat balanced mess in the other lanes. I was glad to get off the freeway and then see the isolation of a state highway which links the communities and places.

I’ve wondered how many of these little roads actually connect places which would give the traveler a more meaningful roadtrip. I saw a few out on my trip. It would be fun to go north to south using these state highways and local roads and see what there is. I think most people though are only interested in going as fast as they can and don’t really care anymore about the places inbetween. Too bad.

So, being here in Palmdale, with its memories and haunts; I will venture forth for a day of exploration and doing absolutely nothing here beyond what I want to do. Perhaps take a few pictures with the Nexus 6 of the various places. Remember back to the few places still around and those long lost days of youth. Attend Franks memorial service perhaps later today or not. I don’t feel some pressing need to do anything demanded or wanted of me today.

Tomorrow, I will wend my way to highway 126 and then begin the trek up Highway One to Cambria and San Simeon and toodle along and stop and photo, eat, remember and try to find “the spot”. We shall see if Mike will be successful. As I mentioned, I am doing a lot of this trip to replace some older memories which need erasing or updating of those other days with my ex-wife. In retrospect, something was always wrong for all those years and sometimes a person cannot read the signs and things just go on in some weird turn. So be it.

Now I’m off!

Changes and Re-Arranges

Good luck to my friend Deepak on his and family’s changes. I know things will be great for you in the new place. I’m changing my location a bit as well in about 30 minutes. Will soon depart for the trek to soCAL to go to my friend Frank’s ceremony and then down to SCALE13 and see some other friends associated with one of the grandest and most sustaining software worlds I’ve been around since about 1998. Linux and open source really are exciting vistas to me and they power so many things from small rigs to giant aircraft to spaceships. Truly remarkable how far its come from my first stumbling days with distributions which either are gone or have morphed a few times. Back then we had a single choice for Network cards and a single choice for Sound. The 3Com 905 and Soundblaster were our choices. Linux on laptops was truly an adventure back then but I worked with this small OEM out in Round Rock Texas and we certified Linux on a Dell Inspiron laptop way back when. People are still wanting Linux on this or that but Dell, IBM, and others were doing it last decade. The early adopters were an adventurous and experimental type and we got so many desktops and workstations to certify from Dell it was truly amazing. We had to ask them to stop sending monitors each time :-).

Then I was invited out for this series of meetings before some Linux show because Dell wanted to showcase Linux on an Inspiron laptop at the show. A few years later after this adventure with RedHat they listened and started offering Debian as a choice for a preloaded Linux distribution. Yes folks; that was around 1999 and 2000. This preloaded stuff is not new.

Anyways, wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year for the second time and a great weekend. Let my travel mode commence.

Driving Highway One

I made one more change to my trip plan this weekend. There’s a part of the coastline which is rather special for me which is by San Simeon and the Hearst Castle.

Central Coast Map

Its been awhile since I’ve been there and probably the last time was with my ex-wife. We had a turnoff we called “the spot”. We would often stop and eat there from food we had taken or stop on some camping trip down the coast and enjoy the wondrous scenery.

I always felt that the compelling thing about the spot was that it was not special in any way or form. It was just another turnoff but somehow we had taken it and made it another thing. The test now is on Sunday to find it again on my own and reclaim it. It perhaps sounds childish after all that’s happened but these spots that we once touched also belong to me and I want the memories back or I want to make new ones. I intend on eating lunch there and erasing some of those old lines on the etcha sketch.

I’ll stay along the coast Sunday night in San Simeon as well because I just feel the need to get back to the wondrous Highway One. It travels this beautiful path along the ocean and I’ve loved doing the drive from south to north. I have not done the one from Santa Barbara north to Monterey in quite some time. I’ll just take that back too and make a new memory or two.

Soon, I’ll be at my last work day this week and I can leave a lot of the BS behind for some days and get away by myself on a road trip to say goodbye to Frank first off down in the Antelope Valley. The drive up rekindles the wonder I have always felt in the drive of the pacific. Blogging will come to find itself as well from my trusty Nexus 9.

The PCH awaits my pleasure and soon I’ll be on the road again. A weekend of driving awaits and while others wonder at it; all I can say is that its a singular goodness for me. The road stretching out before me kindles a wanderlust, a sense of desire, a need.

I’ll be writing more here over my weekend. Stay tuned.

Heading to the Antelope Valley Soon

Next weekend, I’ll be driving down to the Antelope Valley for Frank’s celebration of life at the Sands Bowl in Sierra Highway in Lancaster. I decided to drive down and leave on Friday around noon.


I have a room for 2 nights there in Palmdale. I grew up down in the Antelope Valley when it was a sleepy little desert town that my mom decided to live in due to a wrong turn on a freeway. Lancaster and Palmdale then were almost idyllic places where the Joshua Trees coincided with small communities spread out over the miles of the western nudge of the Mojave Desert. I met Frank, went to school with him, he lived with us, there. All told a life full of adventure, not much money, cheap bottles of wine, dumpsters at the Goodwill store, and Denny’s for coffee and talk about music and poetry writing.

Now I’ll drive down and say farewell.

After that, I’ll drive on down to Los Angeles and go to the SCALE Linux show for a day and turn around and drive back home Sunday afternoon for work on Monday. I decided to take a rental car so I can be less caring about the miles and impact. Driving is therapeutic and lets me dwell on things a bit as the miles dissolve under the wheels of the Toyota Camry I am getting.

I have so many memories of the Antelope Valley but when I go back, nothing is the same. Friends are gone, places I used to go like the AV Fairgrounds are long gone or moved. The hangouts on Lancaster Boulevard are bulldozed and there is an art centre there now I am told. The old AV Bowl where I worked, bowled on Saturdays, and learned about girls, life, not giving in to adulthood, sin, and pleasure. Now its all different and when I have gone more recently, dim memories are sparked about a place like Schooner’s Bar and Grill. We used to go there after a day of archeology with RWR and down the big icy mugs of Budweiser. Talk about the pleasure and almost sexual gratification of the doing of archeology. RWR still lives in his big and wonderful existence with the dogs that my daughter loves. I will most likely see RWR too.

I have to get up to Chico too. I worry about my friend Ed and what he has gone through and goes through with his divorce. The whole divorce thing is like a Godzilla monster which eats away at sanity, belief, self-reliance, and esteem. I hate what its done to people and how it keeps devouring. No one ever reach the vaunted acceptance stage that I have met. You cannot shake those lines completely off the Etcha Sketch Pine man.

So, I’ll say goodbye and farewell to one of my last childhood friends. See some friends from the technology days and startups and star-crossed Linux companies that came and went. Then back home Sunday to this reality. The house of Al. Its challenges. Back to work and sometimes the diminishing results I feel there.

New and Old

Its Friday here again. Time for the ever-popular weekly recap of things I did not blog about that I could have. Presented in a handy “ignore all” format that you can just skip over by stopping here.


Please stop now and do not continue reading this blog unless you acknowledge that you will be getting the detritus and garbage that you probably don’t want in your life. If you continue, its at your risk. You will hate yourself in the morning.

Technology News

I’m always amazed at how Apple gear is characterized in media reports. Its the best, the very best, revolutionary screen size, larger than life ability on an iPad, better tablet applications, more integrated blah and blah. Then there is the wonder of the ecosystem glue called iTunes. Android on the other hand is fragmented, their application ecosystem when it comes to tablet is not the best experience. It does not matter whether JR Raphael speaks the truth or not about what really goes on with the Android application ecosystem. The media seems to want to always compare the ecosystems and will always drool all over apple gear. I’ve seen the same with Windows and Linux in different settings. Here are some rules though from my own severely limited outlook:

you cannot compare the ecosystems of Apple and android. I am capitalizing Apple and not android because Apple is a single thing and android is a multitude of things all made by different vendors with different ideas of what a thing should do. To me that’s the strength of android and it will always be the downfall of Apple. There is no variety (which is the spice of life). You get what Apple command HQ thinks you want to have. When you get android you can choose. Choice is always popular. Like choice with Linux distributions. You know with Linux you get a set of tools which are bundled in some format, you get the kernel which makes things go. You get the desktop and applications which are the dressing and hot fudge. You get the window manager which is the tool to access. But you get your choice of distributions. One trip to distrowatch can show how it works. Its called…


Choice is always more popular than a thing you have no choice in I think. Like you can choose what web browser will be your default even on Windows. Yet on IOS devices there is no choice. You can choose an email client that will open on mailto: links on most OS’es. Not on IOS. You get no choice there.

Lets not even go to the big things on my list like changing the entire way you interact with the UI. You simply cannot change it and I don’t think you ever will. No desktop widgets, no real notifications that stream. No choice. Yet people buy these things. I think good for them. They are getting what they want or believe they want and I would never try to make them do another thing. I do feel sorry for them in the end.

Life News

Where is it said that life must remain static? That we are stuck in some completely set life that we cannot be agents of change within. I’ve come to realize that this is not the way it is. I’ve been watching things from the outside looking in and I can see the end game with work. At some point in the not so distant future, I will stop working and implement Plan B. Plan B is my super secret plan for what I have left in my life. We all need Plan B’s. Otherwise we run the risk of having something staid and well-defined and so unlike what Frost said at the end of his thing,

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Source: The Road Not taken. By Robert Frost

We know we have the paths out there. Pick the one and if you pick the one les traveled by it may make a difference for you too. The Plan B we all have when we reach the spot of departure.

Final News

The final news is life after so many years in the same place in the SF Bay area. This is not a place that endures for me. I don’t like it here. I could move tomorrow and would if not for other considerations. At some point, they won’t exist and I will move. Perhaps I will board a train and see all of this rather grand and confused country. I once said that I would rather live in a cardboard box rather than stay in the house before. The house now is by degrees better but I find myself longing for the road beneath my feet. The road that leads to the choice of the less traveled.

Monterey Retrospective

It turns out that the daughter force went with me to Monterey. We left yesterday and breakfasted down in Milpitas and then drove on down to Monterey via Highway 1 after Santa Cruz. Beautiful day yesterday! We went to the Monterey State Historic Park and Customs House, saw numerous adobes from the historic period and checked in to the Hotel and rested up. Then drove down to the Old Fishermans Grotto for dinner. Dinner was really good. Probably best meal I have had out for awhile. Quality and service way above average.

This morning we had breakfast in the Hotel Restaurant. I had French Toast with a almond honey butter confection and Arry had Huevos Rancheros. Very good.

We really did not do much besides talk and eat and drive over the Pacific Grove and looked at the ocean there. Simply beautiful yesterday. Puffy white cloud things this way and that the ocean was this deep blue. Rocks jutted out and people were doing the photo activity thing.


Really beautiful and nice location to bum around and look!

We both enjoyed the scenery.

Today was more of a preparation to drive back up day with breakfast first and then some sitting around and resting. I had decided to drive back up all the way on Highway One and we made it to Half Moon Bay. Then the strangeness set in. Suddenly my daughter’s cell phone would not work which is pretty dangerous considering tmobile on mine was having signal difficulties but ATT was not. Turns out that the ex wife turned off the phone and disabled the data. This kind of thing infuriates me and if I were a lower class human being I would say she did it just to make my daughter’s life miserable on her return from Monterey. This is exactly why I moved out of the fucking house to begin with. This kind of crap really pisses me off and it serves no good. It does not make someone do their chores any faster.

The Hell with all that. Ruined the tail end of the trip.

Monterey Bound

Time to take a mini vacation this weekend and clear out tomorrow for Monterey. Going to go eat, drink, walk there. I’ve been there a lot of times but Monterey is a city you can just visit. I got a nice motel room for a night and will find a friendly brew pub to soak up some suds in and see some different parts of the city. Normally the daughter force and I focus on the area around Aquarium for doing stuff. This time, I will be around the Fisherman’s Wharf area.


My plan is to leave tomorrow morning rain or shine and get some breakfast early on and then start the drive down by mid morning or so. I will probably do the drive south along the coast on the PCH. Highway 1 is beautiful down the coast and even though it adds to the drive it makes it all worthwhile with the views.

Fridays are good for work! My day will end at some point this afternoon earlier than normal. Still a lot to do that people want as far as the project goes but I’m feeling pretty empowered these days to focus on the work at hand to make a difference and not have to deal with some of the BS.

I’ll be catching this blog up as I take the few hour drive southward to Monterey this weekend.