Thursday, September 25, 2014


I remember laying in my own driveway, breathing heavily and wondering what to do next as I looked at my mauled leg. I limped inside my house, and took a moment to cool down. My first instinct was to arm myself, and go after the dog, make sure it didn't hurt anyone else. Being who I am, I had all sorts of mental preparation for preventing myself becoming a victim, but not much in the way for grappling with actually being one.

When I went over to the neighbor, he was there with his friend (who owned the dog). The dog freaked out, lunging at me again barking and basically going crazy.

I backed slowly away with my hands raised in a non-threatening manner.

I cried out, "your dog attacked me," and pointed at the wounds.

My neighbor turned to his friend shaking his head, and said "told you".

The dog owner seemed baffled that I had a problem, even as blood ran down into my socks. It wasn't until I explained the legal situation he was in that it sort of dawned on him what was going on. In the end they paid for my medical bills and the dog went away. That would have been the outcome regardless as soon as I called the police. In the end it didn't come to that, but the encounter changed me forever.

Tuesday afternoon while I was on a stroll, a large black dog rushed at me, barking and going basically bat crap loco. The owner, trailed behind screaming and freaking out at the dog, basically mimicking the dog's behavior.

I backed slowly away with my hands raised in a non-threatening manner.

Having been attacked and bitten by dogs more than once, I'm pretty much done with the animals. In every case I was just minding my own business, and the dogs went after me. In every case, the dog had an owner that was imperceptibly brighter  As an adult it was in my own driveway. I have had extremely close encounters with Pitt Bulls, Bull mastiffs, and Rottweilers working in my previous occupations.

Once, I had a customer ask the company to make a delivery to their back door. When I got there, the gate was locked so I had to climb it. Their two mastiffs had broken through the backdoor to the garage and streaked toward me as I made my descent. I don't even remember going back over the fence it all happened so fast. The fence barely held them as they barked crazily trying to get at me.

Why do people delight in having large and extremely dangerous dogs for house pets? I make a lot of assumptions about these sorts of people. If I meet someone new and they own dogs, they have to be pretty awesome for that encounter to become a friendship. I know, it isn't rational, but neither is my fear of dying in the vacuum of space.

My maternal grandparents had an amazing dog.

My mother had several great dogs that I loved and enjoyed.

I have friends who had lovable dog companions that I looked forward to seeing when I saw my friend.

I think there are some people who have an affinity for the animals and are able to train them and raise them to be good companions. I think these people are extremely rare, and that most people lack the wisdom or the empathy to competently have any pets, let alone one capable of harming or killing someone.

If you do have a dog, and it isn't in your home or fenced yard, pretty please, with some fucking sugar on top, keep it on a leash. .

Thank you.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thinkpad 10, In Use (Part 1)

A couple nights previous I was out with friends on an unplanned excursion for pie. I had been working on a poster for a presentation for my wife and had an idea for how I could change the background. All I had with me was my Thinkpad 10 tablet device.

I didn't think it would actually work. Opening a 48" x 36", 300 DPI poster with twenty layers of images and text did not seem likely to go well on my Thinkpad 10 (fanless tablet device). I wanted to open a slightly smaller file, pull a layer from it, manipulate it, and drop it into the poster at the proper resolution.

My Thinkpad 10 did it.

I opened both images in Photoshop, select the layer I wanted from one, and then drag n' dropped it into the other. It took a second for the image to appear in the proper place, but once there I was able to manipulated it into the right place, apply filters, and so forth. Being a 250+ MB file it took thirty seconds to save once I'd resolved my pixelated meddling, but it actually let me do real work between bites at the diner.

I think there is something to be said about the software in all this as well. My Thinkpad 10 is clearly capable of doing more than I thought, and yet it struggles to play back video from Vimeo and Amazon at times. It struggles with Sketchbook Pro sometimes as well, in just re-sizing brushes and things. But, in Photoshop? Or Word? Or OneNote? It performs extremely well, exceeding what I thought it could do, handling huge documents and images. My experiences have made me a lot less likely to blame the device when something doesn't work properly.

Maybe it is a 64 bit vs. 32 bit thing? Or, something with the architecture. As updates come out for the new Sketchbook Pro, I guess it remains to be seen. For video playback inside browsers, I may need to just convince the site I'm visiting from a mobile device to fix it. I'll post with whatever I figure out.
From The Poster Presentation

Monday, September 8, 2014

Thinkpad 10 Mini Review

This new Thinkpad branded tablet is kind of a big deal for me. It comes closest to the mark (so far) for what I envision tablet computing should be like. It almost does all the things.

I'm running:
  • Chrome web browser (Runs)
  • iTunes (Runs as well as iTunes ever does) 
  • Unity (runs decent, but does not take touch or pen input well)
  • Skype, Desktop Version (Runs surprisingly well)
  • Sketchbook Pro 7 2015 (Doesn't run as well as I would like. *Sad Trombone*)
  • Photoshop and Bridge CS6 (64 Bit) (Runs great, very surprised) 
  • Dreamweaver CS6 (Runs great)
  • Office 2013 (Runs great)
You can see all the specifics here at Lenovo's Site.

The tablet weighs 1.3 lb. and is extremely capable. I could see certain users setting themselves up with Lenovo's Bluetooth 3.0 Dock and a pair of Dell monitors and the Thinkpad 10 being their only device.

I'm going to skip the stuff covered by Lisa Gade and a host of other capable reviewers, and talk a little bit about some things I worried about that weren't covered.


My 8" Windows Tablets really struggled with this so I was pretty concerned about it. The Thinkpad 10 does what Samuel L. Jackson has famously asked children to do. It goes the fuck to sleep. When you close the quick shot cover letting the device know it's time for lights out, it does exactly that. If I set it to sleep and don't touch it for eight hours, it'll have virtually the same battery life remaining.

I have owned no other device that does this. Everything else seems to bleed power while it rests. When I open the cover, the device springs instantly to life, ready to go. When you're using something to take quick notes and carrying it everywhere with you, this is huge.

Haptic Home Button

These are pretty much the bane of artists who work on tablets like the Surface Pro. Basically, your wrist brushes up against it, there's a barely discernible buzz, and you're whisked away from whatever you were doing to the Start Menu.

The Lenovo Thinkpad 10 has such a button, but it is kind of broken, probably on purpose, and it is a good thing. You really have to press it, purposefully, to get it to trigger. I have not once, in a week of using it to render visuals or generate handwritten text, set off the button and had my user experience interrupted.

Why not just put in a physical home button? Because it would require drilling a hole in the glass that makes up the screen, weakening it, making it susceptible to moisture, pressure breaks, and other calamity. The barely reactive haptic home button is the way to go. Trust me.

Pen + Palm Rejection

It's really shallow. Generally, when your pen comes near the screen the touch interface turns off so that you aren't messing things up with your palm while you write. This is good, unless the distance the screen detects the pen is really shallow. I've been trying to retrain myself so that I don't lift the pen tip in between sentences and brush strokes but...

Everything I render has a spattering of little dots in the lower right hand corner of the canvas because my palm gets to the screen before the pen while I'm drawing or working in Photoshop, OneNote, or Sketchbook Pro. I haven't found a fix for this but if I do happen across one, I'll update this post. I make it sound worse than it is, but I can't think of a reason for it to be this way. I didn't have this issue on my Asus Vivotab 8" Tablet (similarly Wacom-equipped), Surface Pro 1, or Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga.

I'm almost tempted to load the latest Wacom Feel Drivers, but the pen input is so perfectly accurate that I'm afraid I'll mess it up. I'd rather suffer through palm dots than trying to re-calibrate the stylus. Hopefully, Lenovo fixes this with an update of their own.  

Windows 64 with Bing

If you don't absolutely need Windows 8 Pro, go with Windows 64 with Bing. For my use case (non-corporate/academic) it functions perfectly well and has all the features I need. It runs all my writing, rendering, and development software Best of all, it knocks about $130 off the price. For that big of a price dip, I was expecting to be paying for a Pro license the first day I turned it on and grumbling about my own foolishness. So far, that had not come to pass.

Seriously, unless you need to hook up to a domain or need one of the other Windows Pro features, save yourself the money.


For $599 there is no better 128GB 10" tablet on the market for getting work done. The 4GB of RAM makes multitasking not only possible, but elegant, and the high 1920 x 1200 resolution screen lets me crowd a lot of documents, visuals, and browser windows side by side. If I can figure out how to get the palm rejection to work a little better, it would be perfect for what I need a tablet to do.