Everything old is new Again


Max’s school was out of session and he was hanging out in my office when I started repairs on my iPod Mini. He seemed genuinely interested in the little device and asked if he could have one. I laughed it off at first, but after a bit of thinking I realized it wasn’t a terrible idea.

Max has started to develop his own musical taste and has asked to have a way to play music in his bedroom. Ashley and I have considered allowing him to have his iPad in there for playing music, but I do not like the idea of him having access to the internet in his room at the age of nine, potentially unsupervised. I could add internet filters to our home network, but that can be its own can of worms or whack-a-mole. We’ve also considered purchasing him his own HomePod for his bedroom. My initial concern was introducing a potentially always on microphone in his bedroom. Fortunately, it is possible to disable the “Hey Siri” functionality with its always on microphone. There is the risk of Siri misinterpreting the request and playing something completely wrong, which could include explicit content. Thankfully, there are settings to for the HomePod to enable or disable explicit content. My only other concern with a HomePod, would be the noise aspect. The speaker can only be used to play music for the room and not be routed through a headset or headphones. With an iPod, Max could listen to music quietly, without the need for the internet, and would only have access to a pre-approved music library. It honestly doesn’t seem that ridiculous.

As luck would have it, the website I found for purchasing replacement iPod Mini parts also sells refurbished iPods. Not only are there refurbished iPods, but there are custom build iPods, with novelty cases. I decided to give it a try and purchased an iPod Classic 5th generation for Max’s Christmas gift. I also purchased a pair of wired headphones that mimic the design aesthetic of the original iPod earbuds. I plan on buying a few albums and syncing them to the iPod as well so that he’ll be able to enjoy it as soon as he opens it. I like the idea of him also having the chance to explore music with an iPod. I also don’t hate the idea of staving off more internet access and screentime for a little while longer.

iPod of Theseus


I recently had the urge to bring out my iPod Mini and take it with me to the coffee shop. This was going to be a very hipster move on my part. The iPod Mini turned on without issue. The last time I had booted it, I reminisced at the music that was stored on the drive. It was a digital music time capsule. This time though, there was no music. I thought this was odd, but perhaps I had erased the device before I stored it last time. Unfortunately, I was met with a sad iPod icon after trying to sync music to the device. The drive was failing, or rather had already failed.

After a bit of research, I determined that I could replace the original drive with a Compact Flash Card. Unfortunately, Compact Flash memory is rather expensive when compared with SD Cards. Fortunately, I found an SD Card to Compact Flash adapter that was well reviewed and seemed promising. I was able to purchase the adapter and a 128GB SD Card for the same price as a 32GB Compact Flash Card. I also figured it’d be worthwhile to replace the battery while I had the iPod apart, so I purchased a replacement battery as well.

Once the parts arrived, I set aside some time to begin my project. I was concerned about marring the top and bottom caps or the metal frame around those plastic caps. After a bit of research, I decided to try a method I found in a few different places: use hot glue to attach a piece of wood or pencil to the plastic caps and then pull the caps up enough to pry them off. This took a few tries, but worked surprisingly well. The hot glue peeled off easily and it avoided disfiguring the caps or the metal case.

The rest of the procedure was fairly uneventful. I switched out the drive and the battery, then pushed the internals back into the case and connected the click wheel ribbon cable. Before I sealed the iPod, I wanted to verify that everything was working. After connecting the iPod to my computer, I found my Mac was unable to recognize the iPod. I hadn’t bothered with formatting the SD Card and now my Mac didn’t understand what was going on.

As I disconnected the click wheel ribbon cable again, I heard an unfortunate popping noise. After formatting the SD Card and trying again, I discovered my click wheel was no longer functioning. That unfortunate popping noise was the connector on the ribbon cable snapping and the solder on the pin pads had cracked. I do not have the equipment at this time to repair that solder. I think this would require a scope or, at the very least, a strong magnifying glass and a very fine soldering iron head.

Fortunately, I was able to find a replacement click wheel until I can get the original repaired. After carefully reassembling everything, I finally have a functioning iPod Mini again. It’s difficult to call this iPod Mini my original iPod Mini. At a certain point, is it possible it’s now an iPod of Theseus? I’ve pondered this while listening to music on the device, thoughtfully reminiscing about how much this device has meant to me over the years, especially in the years after I had purchased it. This was my first Apple product of many. This iPod Mini was the gateway product that, quite possibly, shaped my career; it deserved a proper restoration and I’m thankful I was able to provide that.

Dolly Levi, You are a Damned Exasperating Woman


A few months ago, we were trying to settle on a movie to watch on a Saturday night. After perusing Disney+ for a few minutes, we settled on Hello, Dolly!. Ashley had seen the movie, but I had not. I was aware of the cultural significance of the musical and its reference in Wall•e, which has been a family favorite for years.

I immediately fell in love with Hello, Dolly!. I found Walter Matthau to be hilarious and the music to be infectious. Matthau’s character has quite a few great lines, but there was one in particular that has stuck with me ever since: “Dolly Levi, you are a damned exasperating woman.” As soon as I heard it, I knew that it summed up my feelings towards my daughter, Adelaide.

Adelaide is fiercely independent, frustratingly so. She rarely heeds my warnings of potential danger in situations, like when she decided to practice twirling at the top of our stairs. I pleaded with her to practice twirling elsewhere, but she felt the top of the stairs was the perfect place for this. I eventually had to pick her up against her objections. I try to explain my feelings or my concerns. She usually smiles and continues doing what she wants. I raise my voice. There is no change. It’s a constant battle. I want her to be a strong person. I just want her to be a bit more receptive when personal safety is on the line.

I love her dearly. She is already three years old and it’s happening way too fast. I plead with time to slow down, but time is about as obstinate as Adelaide. I recently sat with her and just watched her twirl. Her twirls are beautiful, even if a little clumsy. I really needed her to finish getting her pajamas on for bed, but I just watched. I asked her a few times to finish getting her pajamas on, but she smiled and kept twirling. I considered raising my voice, but doing so wouldn’t help and would only make me feel bad later. I sat and watched. She finally walked over, gave me a kiss, and finished changing into her pajamas. Progress.



Twitter seems to be in trouble. I have to ask myself, “Why do you care?” I haven’t been an active user on the platform in over six years. When I made the deliberate choice to check out of Twitter, I made my account private, uninstalled the application from my phone, and abstained from posting to the site. I have considered deactivating my account over the years, but have resisted the urge. What if I want to resume using it? This is doubtful, especially in its current state.

A few podcasts have urged people to download their Twitter history. I had been resistant to this, but after the initial Twitter layoff I decided to request an archive of my history. The process was smooth and I was able to download my archive a few days after my request. I didn’t know what to expect from the archive. Why would I want a bunch of random data? I was taken aback by the formatting of the archive. The archive is presented as a local web page, where you can navigate through your history of posts much the same way you could do so on the website.

Once I launched the local webpage in the archive, I was not ready for what awaited me: my full blown anxiety of the upcoming 2016 US Presidential election. My last few months of posts on Twitter were filled with concern and anxiety. My posts reeked of desperation. I was bargaining to avoid what eventually became inevitable on election night. I had forgotten what the final days before my sabbatical were actually filled with.

It seemed fitting that a few days after being confronted with this trauma our former President would announce his 2024 campaign. I didn’t want to see this, but I knew this was coming. My unease has returned. I’m not looking forward to the next two years.



We are currently having improvements made on our home. The drywall has needed repairs since we moved in. We neglected to have the work done before moving in due to the time commitment of finding someone to perform the work while managing a move at the same time. This is much needed maintenance and I will be happy once it is complete. However, the journey to that completion has been a slog.

The largest issue is “stuff.” What do we do with our “stuff?” The contractor we are working with will handle moving and protecting large pieces of furniture, but we need to move our “stuff” off of the furniture. That is a reasonable request, but it has been a stressful undertaking for me.

Our kids each have their own toys and books that end up strewn around the house. This is their “stuff.” Ensuring this “stuff” doesn’t consume our shared living space is a constant battle. Ashley and I also have our “stuff” littered throughout the home: books, memorabilia, and tchotchkes. As I was moving a few autographed hockey sticks around, my immediate thought became “why?” Why do we have this stuff? These items are not even on display. We have moved them three times now and we have never displayed them in any of our residences. Why do I feel the need to pack them around with us? Why do I feel compelled to protect them in a half-assed manner? These items are not encased or stored properly. These items may have some monetary value, but these items will not fetch that much if sold. Yet, I feel compelled to keep and care for these items. Why?

Separation Failures


Over the last eight months or so, I’ve had difficulty separating work from my personal life. I have been unable to disconnect, which has left me with a low level hum of anxiety as a constant companion. To be clear, I am not working all the time; rather, I just carry work with me without release, no empty space to occupy my thoughts when I’m off the clock. I have been unable to sit in the moment in my downtime, unable to just enjoy or relax.

One stressor in this is that when I’m off the clock from work, I’m on the clock as father. There is no break, no rest, no solace. I chug through the work day and push through the evening for those one or two hours (if I am lucky) of “me” time. Once that time is available, I then feel guilt for not accomplishing more, not working more, not being involved as a husband or as a father more. Time is fleeting and our most precious commodity; once it is spent, there is no reclaiming it. It is finite and in high demand. I’ve been reading a 300 page book for months because I will not permit myself the time to just read.

Macintosh Classic Restoration: Chapter One


A few years back, a coworker kept a Macintosh Classic on his desk as an adornment. I was unfamiliar with the machine or what it was like to use one, but I loved the look of the machine. The first Apple computer I used was the Apple II, which we used in elementary school. We mostly used these machines for academic games and word processing. Between that time and my first Apple computer (the first generation MacBook Pro), I did not even touch another Apple computer. Although I was not given the chance to own or use one, I became enamored with Apple computers when the iMac G3 was launched. I wanted an iMac, but it was, sadly, out of our budget.

As we were preparing to move office spaces, we were asked to cull our personal items. We would have less personal space in the new office, which meant space was at a premium. My coworker was preparing to part with his Macintosh Classic. I learned that it was not functional and he did not care to take it home. To spare it from the e-waste bin, I took the machine home.

I had planned on keeping it as a desk adornment in my home office. For over two years, that is what I did. However, over the past year I started reading more about 68k Macintoshes. I found communities of people who have great affection for these machines. Some will lovingly restore the machines to working order. The bug bit me and towards the end of 2020 I decided I wanted to do the same.

For Christmas, I received an iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit. With this kit, I proceeded to pop open the Macintosh Classic to assess the state of the machine. The case was incredibly difficult to remove. In the walkthroughs I had watched on Youtube, the case slide off easily. This was my first clue that something was amiss. After thirty minutes or so, I finally had the case off. I was horrified to find rust. The metal chassis had quite a bit of rust, especially the part of the chassis that the cased mounted to with screws. That explained the difficulty in removing the case. Before removing the case, I had noted a knocking noise when moving the computer around. I soon found the culprits: the remnants of the PRAM battery and a capacitor were rolling around freely in the case. My guess is the PRAM battery acid corroded the metal chassis. I had heard and read stunning stories on the amount of damage these batteries can do.

I started inspecting the boards. The logic board looked pretty clean. I still need to remove the PRAM battery cradle, but I was relieved to see the logic board to be in good shape. Somehow the acid from the battery had avoided damaging the board. The analog board looked clean as well. I found a missing capacitor there, which explained the loose capacitor in the case. Now that I could see the boards looked clean, I decided to move forward. I would need all new capacitors (these are the most common failure points) and the tools to replace the capacitors (hello soldering iron). Over the past month, I acquired these items. Now I was ready to get down to business.

Pictures taken of the case removal

One Year


We recently celebrated Adelaide’s first birthday. It is simultaneously difficult to believe that she has already been with us for a full year and that there was ever a time that she was not with us. There have been some tough moments. However, this year has been quite fulfilling. We are now in that phase where she is developing her own personality and her own mannerisms. I love watching her progress. I adore her.

We are unbelievably fortunate to be in our position and in good health.

Christmas Project: Final Chapter


A little late with the finished product, but I was able to finish my Christmas project before Christmas. I had a custom box built to house all of the components. I was able to mount the relay and the power strips. I used double-sided tape to hold all of the other components down.

Christmas Project Box

Unfortunately, the relay had a bit of an issue. The first channel would not completely shut off. So the relay would kick that channel on, then the lights would remain lit after kicking it off. I ended up starting a return process with Amazon and they shipped a replacement which made it a few days before Christmas. Unfortunately, the replacement also had an issue: the sixth channel would not work at all (lights would not kick on). I believe I will cancel the return, keep both, and start looking at part replacements. It seems like that component can be replaced with a little solder work and if I can fix these boards, I will have two functioning boards moving forward.

I plan on keeping everything together and adding on in the future. I really need to figure out how I am going to add more sequences in the future. There are websites that sell sequence files, but I would need to update my script to parse those new sequence files. I could also make my own sequences, but that would require me to analyze music file waveforms and come up with patterns myself. This seems to be quite a bit of work, especially for someone like me who is a novice when it comes to working with audio software. Oh well, that is a Christmas 2021 problem.



I typically do not set resolutions for myself. I believe that most resolutions are destined to fail. However, Ashley promptly asked me what my resolutions were for the new year. After a year in which I mostly focused on “hanging on”, I decided it was probably a good idea to set resolutions for myself for 2021. Without further adieu, here are my resolutions for 2021, why I chose them, and how I plan on achieving them.

Read a book a month

I spend most of my day on a computer or wrangling kids. I’ve never been a big reader, but I feel better when I read more often. I typically read 3-6 books a year. This year, I want to read a book a month. My plan to accomplish this is to read in the morning, instead of procrastinating to reading at night when I am too tired to read or even really retain much of what I am reading. I figure I can read a bit in the morning with my morning coffee and a bit in the evening before bed and I should be able to read more than I have in the past.

Be better organized (Take notes)

I am not disorganized, but I would not classify myself as organized either. I spend a not insignificant amount of time every day retracing my steps on where I was yesterday so that I can continue with today’s work. Things have not been falling in-between the cracks, but I believe that I can take small steps to avoid the extra time and brain power involved with retracing my steps, which will incrementally make my life better. My idea is to take notes, almost keeping a journal. One thing I realized when I was in college was that I retained information better after writing it down. This led to me rewriting my notes while studying. I believe that writing down what I have been doing will help me retain that information. Additionally, if I do not retain it, I can spend a few minutes reading through the previous day’s notes and I should be ready to go.

Mail birthday cards to close relatives

I have done a pretty good job of adding birthdays to my contacts. However, I usually just end up sending a text message on their birthday. Instead, I would rather take the time to send them a birthday card. I plan on buying a box of birthday cards. Then I plan on taking some time to look at my upcoming birthday calendar for the next week at the beginning of every week. Then I will make out cards for family and friends with upcoming birthdays. I might write a small script to query contacts for upcoming birthdays and compile a list to help speed up this process.

Restore the Macintosh Classic

This is a bit of a fun one. I saved a Macintosh Classic from the trash heap a few years ago. It has been an office adornment ever since. However, I recently received an iFixit tool kit for Christmas and was able to open the Classic. The PRAM battery had burst and a capacitor has popped off the analog board. The metal chassis is completely wrecked with rust. However, the boards seem to, somehow, be fine. I plan on replacing the capacitors on both boards, then I plan on seeing if it will boot up. If I can get it to boot, I will then look into acquiring a metal chassis to replace the rusted one. Then if everything goes well, I plan on retrobrighting the case and completely restoring it.