Some Ray pictures

Erik 4-A tracked down some old Vassily pictures from 1994/95. I like them because you see Ray smiling and looking strong which is how I will remember her.

Vassily in Georgetown Vassily in a photobooth at North Gate Vassily at the University Sports Bar

Is Apple in trouble?

I was reading this great post from Scoble: Why doesn’t Microsoft get the love? « Scobleizer which was spot-on, but for some reason it got me thinking about Apple instead of Microsoft.

I think Apple is in serious trouble.

  1. The Amazon digital download store is much better than the iTunes store. Not the design or that dumb downloader, but the fact that they are selling high bitrate MP3s for the same price or less than iTunes sells the DRM’d files. Apple might be paying the price for being the ones who made legal downloading of music a reality. Losing the store isn’t a huge issue for Apple’s profit. The store exists to sell iPods, Apple doesn’t make much money on it. However, once you don’t need the store, you don’t need iTunes or an iPod. Apple’s innovation on the iPods will keep this business strong for them, but without the whole ecosystem, they become vulnerable.
  2. The desktop line is stagnating. I’m assuming that there is a reason that Apple hasn’t really bumped their desktop line in a while and I’m also assuming that we will get news soon. However, the GPUs on their highest-end machines are years old, and due to Apple’s locked-in nature, it isn’t a user-serviceable part. Letting this go so long is a problem. I and at least one friend of mine are waiting on new desktops before we upgrade our PPC-based machines. The GPUs in the laptops are better than what we have at the moment.
  3. The iPhone debacle: I think Apple is handling the iPhone all wrong. The phone is a triumph of technology, but even $400 for a phone is a lot of money for the average consumer. The phone doesn’t have enough features or speed on the network to replace serious smart phone competitors and it is still lacking some fundamental features that free-phone-with-subscription-phones lack like MMS and MP3 ring tones.

I don’t think Apple is dead or anything like that. I’m still an Apple fan-boy (as a user, not as a developer), but I think these signs are troubling and Apple can still snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

What do you think?

Downtown Dogs (Chicago)

For those who only think I like only hipster, expensive, restaurants. I give to you Downtown Dogs in Chicago at Rush and Chicago Ave. Whenever I’m back in my hometown and I find myself on the north end of Michigan Avenue, I stop in to this little shop-front hot dog place. I order a char dog (or two) with everything (except hot peppers). I’ll grab a Reader off the rack and listen to ‘XRT on the store’s stereo. It makes me feel like a native-born Chicagoan again. While all the tourists are packing in to Giordanos or any of the other tourist joints nearby, I’m enjoying the true Chicago experience.

Downtown Dogs in Chicago

I have seen the future and it is Thermo powered

Holy frijoles was that beautiful.

That was absolutely one of coolest demos I have EVER seen. If I wasn’t wedded to C++, I’d switch over %100 to doing ActionScript development right now so that I could use that tool to make my GUIs. Microsoft should be shaking in it’s boots, because from what I’ve seen of the Silverlight tools, they are (silver)light years behind.

I work for Adobe, so I knew about Thermo. I’d seen slide decks on it, I’d discussed it with people. I’d never seen a demo. This went beyond any expectations I might have had. This combined with FlexBuilder3, AIR, Hydra (you knew I had to make a plug for that) and Astro makes an outstanding tool set for building desktop applications connected or not.

C# has been my go-to for doing up quickie applications or doing app prototypes for my personal development. Not for much longer. Especially because I’m on the mac now and being able to do cross-platform development with such an awesome rapid app development toolset is super exciting.

Liberal Brains work differently than Conservative ones… duh.

Well, of course, this is scientific, but their conclusions aren’t real proof. See, I can say that because my liberal mind is open to more possibilities than the conservative talk show hosts who are guaranteed to rail against these findings if they acknowledge them at all.

In a study likely to raise the hackles of some conservatives, scientists at New York University and the University of California, Los Angeles, found that a specific region of the brain’s cortex is more sensitive in people who consider themselves liberals than in self-declared conservatives.

The brain region in question helps people shift gears when their usual response would be inappropriate, supporting the notion that liberals are more flexible in their thinking.

Brains of liberals, conservatives may work differently, study finds [Seattle Times]

Interesting article on Ruby vs PHP

I’ve been doing PHP for a little while, but I’m always hearing about how much better Ruby on Rails is. Luckily, Derek from CDBaby decided to rewrite his site with Rails and actually decided that PHP was better for some stuff.

7 reasons I switched back to PHP after 2 years on Rails – OReilly Ruby

I spent two years trying to make Rails do something it wasn’t meant to do, then realized my old abandoned language PHP, in my case would do just fine if approached with my new Rails-gained wisdom.

I’ve been avoiding posting

It might sound kind of stupid, but I wanted to leave my post about Ray as sort of a tribute and not distract from it by posting about anything else for a while. Reading back on that post, I can see that it was too self-centered. The only attempt at an excuse that I can offer was that I really was completely knocked for a loop by what happened and was trying to make sense of it for myself. Although, I’m not sure why I chose to do that in public.

This is what I should have said:

Ray was great. She was funny, and she loved to laugh. I saw her go through every emotion over the years and through some really tough times, but she was always a joy to be around, and she was an amazing singer.

Whenever I needed a singer for some project, she was at the top of my list. Not just because of her voice, but also because she was fun to work with.

I didn’t know her as a mother, but I can imagine that she was amazing. She was tremendously compassionate and caring.

Since it happened, I’ve heard from many of her friends in Portland or her old friends that she never lost touch with. It is clear that over the years, she never lost those wonderful elements of her personality that we in Seattle got to know and love.

The earth will be less for her not being here.

LuRay Hodder Kuca: Rest In Peace – 1968-2007

Portland family of three dead in apparent murder-suicide – OregonLive.com: Breaking News Updates

This kicks me in the teeth. I heard about it when the Oregonian called to get my thoughts and, at first, I thought they must have the wrong Ray. I couldn’t believe it. I played with her for years in Vassily and The Fellini Outtakes. She was on the first Intonarumori record. I lost touch with her after she left Seattle. I didn’t know she got married. I didn’t know she had a child. I didn’t know that she moved back to the northwest.

This is all manner of fucked up.

If there is a memorial service for them please contact me here. There are a lot of friends and former band mates in Seattle that would want to be there.