Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Summer has Fallen

Golf CourseWow! After one of the hottest, driest summers since I moved to Arizona (in 1994), fall has arrived. Not just on the calendar but also with the weather. On Thursday when I played golf, the high was only about 95°. That may sound excessive for those of you in colder climes but considering that it was 105° the previous week when I played golf, 95° was quite comfortable. Today it barely crept into the 80s.

Everyone recognizes certain familiar signs of the change of seasons and the one that is applicable to Arizona golfers is the beginning of overseeding. What is overseeding, you ask? Well, the hot dry summers here will kill the temperate grasses that are found in most of the country — such as rye and fescue — so most of the courses in the Phoenix area (and homes as well) use bermuda grass. Unfortunately, bermuda grass goes dormant in the winter (triggered by the shorter days) and turns brown. It's not dead — it just looks that way.

And what winter visiter to the Valley of the Sun is willing to pay $200 to play a round of golf on grass that looks dead? So to provide a lush green golfing experience, the golf courses will (1) cut the bermuda very short; (2) rake the turf; (3) plant a temperate grass and (4) water like crazy. Of course, during this time, the golf course is closed for about four weeks. Fortunately, the courses stagger their dates for overseeding so, with a bit of searching, one can still find a place to play before overseeded has begun or after it has been completed.

Taylormade R7 CGB A few weeks ago, I wrote about my club fitting session at Hot Stix. I now have my new irons and have played with them twice. Sweet! I am still getting used to them but my scores have been quite respectable (for me) — 84, 84, 85 and 87 (only played twice but both times by myself, playing two balls). It always takes a few rounds before you get used to new clubs but I'm getting there. Still working to get that tempo just right — of course, that is a life-long challenge for most golfers.

I am finding that these clubs, as promised, do add distance to my strokes. My accuracy has been better than my old clubs — but I would still like it to be even better. So far, so good. Let's hope the good results continue.

No More Windows Things going right: golf. Things going wrong: computers. It is amazing but we have four PCs in our household and every one of them has developed problems that will, at some point, require re-installing Windows. In my experience, there are design flaws in Microsoft's star OS that creep in over time. In the short run, it's deficiencies in memory management — requiring a re-boot at least once a week.

However, over longer time periods, Windows will seem to acquire a mind of its own — and not a very rational one at that. Our main PC has developed a number of such annoying traits but recently experienced one that could no longer be ignored — Outlook, my email program, will abort every time it is run — sending the obligatory error report to Microsoft then terminating. Fortunately, I keep my laptop synchronized with the failing computer and its Outlook runs fine.

So after doing all the necessary backups, I began the process of re-installing Windows XP on the failing system. It got almost to the end when the setup program announced there was a cyclic redundancy error in a file on the CD-ROM. Stop. End of Install. And stupidly, the file with the problem appears to be an electronic manual of some sort. An install aborting because of an error in an unneccessary file? That sound rather Microsoftish. Or is it Microselfish?

I cleaned the CD-ROM, same result. I tried putting the disc in the second CD-ROM drive but the setup program would not recognize it. So tomorrow, I have to take the system to the doctors (Data Doctors) to get it back up and running.

Apple Logo This ongoing battle with Microsoft reliability (or lack thereof) has caused me to consider a move to the world of Apple. Since the Mac OS is built on top of Unix, it should be more reliable. Back when I worked for HP, I had a Unix workstation for several years and it never failed. And such a move fits with my current vocation and avocation — the majority of digital photographers are using Apple.

On the practical side, there are fewer viruses affecting the Mac — and on the coolness scale, Apple has it all over the PC vendors. But there is a learning curve for someone already knowledgeable about PCs — despite what the pro-Apple evangelists will tell you.

Further, possessing limited funds, I could only change one computer at a time — so I am thinking of changing the Photoshop system first. Any comments?

 Life is good.

 B. David