Southern Man

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tablet Update and Windows 8 Review

All three of Southern Man's regular readers may recall that back in June The Dean presented Southern Man with a shiny new Microsoft Surface Pro running Windows 8 RT and he has bee playing with it ever since. So he will break his review into three chunks: the hardware itself, the Windows 8 Metro interface, and Windows 8 proper, with comparisons to Southern Man's now three-year-old first-generation iPad.

Disclosure: Southern Man wrote his first program in BASIC using a teletype on a PDP-8 (Girl Programmer is chortling as she reads this). He owned the second TRS-80 sold in Southern City (his district manager got number one) and has owned dozens of desktops since. He's been using computers (and their operating systems) both personally and professionally for forty years. An odd gap in his experience is Apple; he ran the aforementioned TRS-80 against his friends Apple ][ and had an Amiga 1000 during the Macintosh Classic era.
Two computers that Southern Man loved: the TRS-80 Model III (eight times the RAM of the Model I and dual double-sided 5.25" floppy drives!) and the Amiga 1000 - full color and multitasking against the monochrome single-tasking Mac Classic. He has yet to see implementations of Gauntlet or Marble Madness that can touch the ones on the Amiga. There's also a warm place in his heart for his first 486DX PC, which he upgraded to a whopping 8 MB for Windows 95 and endless hours of TIE Fighter and Quake.

Although he's purchased many an iThing for the Southern Children the iPad is his very first Apple product of any sort; he's no Apple fanboy (in particular regarding iTunes as the work of iSatan himself) but thinks the iPad is sweet indeed. Nor is he particularly keen on the Microsoft operating systems, but that's what he (mostly) uses.

Now for the hardware. The Surface Pro is beautiful. It has the best small keyboard that Southern Man has ever used. The screen is crisp and clear. Southern Man has not yet begun to tap the potential of the touch-sensitive stylus. Everything clicks together with strong magnets. And, unlike the iPad, it has a USB port, which makes it actually useful as a computer. Coupled with a leather case Southern Man picked up on Amazon it is neatly portable and turns heads wherever he goes with it.

That was the good news. Now for the bad.

The Windows 8 Metro interface is essentially unuseable. It is the least intuitive operating system Southern Man has ever seen. The only way he was able to get it to do anything at all was to sit in his office with a regular PC and Google for help. Even such a simple act as closing a program required a 'net search to figure out how to actually do it. The "tiles" are fixed size (and different sizes to boot, depending on the whim of the developer) and there is no indication as to what words or symbols respond to touch or mouse and what does not. And there is no provision to organize programs in folders - they all just lay flat on a single...surface. Heh.

The standard Windows 8 interface isn't much better. There's no start button, pre-installed applications don't show up in the Programs list, items in the Desktop folder don't appear on the desktop... so again Southern Man had to resort to Google just to figure out how to launch basic applications or locate the Control Panel. Worse, the mouse touchpad doesn't act like a mouse because it must also respond to "gestures" on the Metro side. On the plus side, it runs Office and web browsers are far more stable on the Surface than on the iPad. Also, Flash.

But Southern Man's final verdict is that Microsoft has done the impossible; they've coughed up a version of Windows that's worse than Vista.

For another opinion, here's a video review.

Southern Man's cell phone died over the summer and he'd been thinking about a Windows phone to replace the often-frustrating Android phone. Nope - having already met Metro he just got another 'droid. He's also laptop shopping and for the first time in his life is seriously considering a Mac. That's how horribly bad Metro and Windows 8 are - bad enough to drive a long-time (as in since MS-DOS 1.0) user into the other camp. If you're considering a device with Windows 8 Southern Man prays that you'll borrow one for a month and find out for yourself if it's really right for you. In the meantime, anyone know of a touch-screen laptop with Windows 7?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How To Get Lots Of "Likes" On Facebook

Just post pictures like this...

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Teen Daughter was here for the weekend. We had a lot of fun, as usual - a nice eat-out and movie Friday evening, the local trampoline park with her cousin on Saturday, and shopping on Sunday.

Teen Daughter is a pro shopper

New York Style

Her Favorite Brand

'Tis a joy to have daughters. Expensive, but a joy.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Talk Like A Pirate

Arr, it be International Talk Like A Pirate Day. So talk like a pirate, ya scurvy dog!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Nature Photography

Southern Man does these posts any time Teen Daughter gets 'hold of the camera.

Southern Man got this one with the phone cam.

Drop the camera and step away from the car, or I lick it again!

Meta photography.

Southern Man loves his children equally (if differently) but this one adds a special sparkle to his life. Lord, thank you for my children. Guide and direct me, as I strive to guide and direct them. Amen.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Constitution Day

Today we celebrate the greatest governing document in the history of the world: the United States Constitution...

...and those who defend it.

The USS Gunston Hall, on which Southern Daughter serves. Southern Man is extremely proud of her.

Celebrate and defend our beloved constitution by asserting your rights today!

Monday, September 16, 2013


Something Southern Man has thought about for a while are the essential differences between, say, conservatives and liberals, and between men and women, and the values of the so-called "manosphere" and society in general. So inspired by this post by Captain Capitalism and others (links when Southern Man finds them again) we have a couple of lists of more or less opposite concepts or terms or ideas...
Column 1Column 2
Communal EffortIndependent Effort
Equal OutcomesEqual Opportunities
Others Before SelfSelf Before Others
Large GovernmentSmall Government
Trust in governmentDistrust of government
Security over FreedomFreedom over Security
Public SectorPrivate Sector
Public PropertyPrivate Property
Top-Down SolutionsBottom-Up Solutions
Regulated MarketsFree Markets
Higher TaxesHigher Profits
Solar EnergyNuclear Energy
Feelings are importantFacts are important
Consider Individual SituationsSame Rule Of Law For All
Truth is RelativeTruth is Absolute
Beauty Is RelativeBeauty Is Absolute
...and it is Southern Man's bet that you will tend to prefer, to a statistically significant degree, the ideas on one side of the list over the other. He will also bet that words that you didn't choose in your favored list are uncomfortably close to the truty. What this means, or whether it means anything at all, is up to you.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Caching and BBQ

Having missed the meeting last month Southern Man made a point to attend the monthly geocacher's luncheon, this time at a local BBQ place.

A festive gathering.

"No Vehicles Off Road?" We're geocachers! Off Road is where we live!

Geocaching is kid friendly.

Drawing for door prizes.

Another shot of most of the gathering. We were as usual too many for the reserved accomodations so there was overflow in the adjoining room.

Geocaching is kid friendly, part two.

People sometimes give Southern Man a funny look when he talks about geocaching. Well, people sometimes give Southern Man a funny look, period. Geocaching takes him outdoors, off the beaten path, and challenges him to do things that he would never consider otherwise, like hop fences and wade through snake-infested poison ivy and climb trees and walk out over ravines on skinny little pipes. Not to mention meet some mighty fine folk, like those in these pics. Like apples, a geocache a day keeps the doctor away. So Southern Man is going to grab an apple and go pick up another cache or two. See you outdoors!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Concert Review - Sodder, Heaven's Basement, and Halestorm

Southern Man has been working very hard and when he saw that Halestorm was playing tonight at a mid-sized venue just a few miles from work he decided to treat himself to a night of rock and roll.

First up was Sodder, a local goth-rock band fronted by (get this) a business major, Jennifer Newton, who (when not prancing about the stage) runs the band like an actual business. According to their bio on they've slowly and steadily built up a following over the last ten years. Years of exposure to Southern Son's music has left Southern Man with a bit of a taste for hard-core rock so he rather enjoyed their set.

Official Sodder pic from the 'net.

Sodder on the stage. All of the clearly non-professional photos are the product of Southern Man's cell phone.

Next up was Heaven's Basement, a British hard-rock band that put on a solid set of hard-driving rock.

Love that logo.

Then we got to the main event: Halestorm, which started as a brother-sister duo and gets a fair bit of airplay on the local rock station. Southern Man picked up their first CD a while back and likes it a lot.

Halestorm publicity still from the 'net.

"Lzzy" Hale.

As expected, they put on a terrific show and had great rapport with the audience, particularly the girls who showed up in force. And then it got better!

Arejay Hale

About two-thirds through the set the band surrendered the stage to Arejay Hale who put on an absolutely blistering drum set. It was fantastic. We're talking the next Neil Peart here. Southern Man knows next to nothing about drums and drummers but in his uneducated opinion Mr. Hale is someone to watch. If Halestorm comes around again he'll go just for the drum solo - it was that good.

Brother and Sister.

And then they closed out the show with probably their most popular single (video below) and then a good old fasioned Southern State country song.

Yeah, it's a little crazy to go to a concert alone but when you're a hard working Southern Man you grab your entertainment opportunities when you can even when none of the usual companions are available. It was a great show. Southern Man's only complaint is that the venue served no food at all so he ended his evening (at eleven-ish) at a local bar for nachose and 'ritas. Thank you, Lord, for giving me a life filled with pleasure. Amen.


Sunday, September 08, 2013

Float Trip!

It's time once again for the church singles group to make their annual exedition to The River for a weekend of fun.

Load 'Em Up!

Manly Men.

At The Lodge.

Stowing The Food. Southern Man elected to not post the photo of her threatening him with the cucumber.

Smoking On The Deck.

Naturally Southern Man slipped away early the next morning for a little pre-breakfast geocaching...

One was near this historic building.

The old highway bridge, viewed from the new one.

Make Those Lunches!

Caught Taking A Selfie.

Let's Get This Party Started!

Away All Boats!

Who's Ready To Get Wet?

River Rats.

Hey, Grandpa, What's For Supper?

Chef Paul.

Can't Camp Without A Campfire!

The Obligatory Sunday Morning Riverside Photo.

Why, yes, there will be even more geocaching. What did you think?

Southern Man's Cache Map. Magnificent, isn't it?

Several were in small-town cemeteries.

Another was in the remains of this old homestead. Only part of the fireplace remains today.

This one was a bit of a challenge to get.

Unloading At The Church. The Titan got right at 17 MPG, fully laden and driven with no regard for fuel economy.

Next Year Baby!

Tired and sunburned and covered with poison ivy (one of the hazards of 'caching) and very, very glad I went. Lord, I am so thankful for friends and the great adventures that we have. Thank you for blessing my life with these wonderful people. Amen.