May 31, 2011
So, as part of my admittedly large interest in promoting my book, (because that helps me make money off it, and I do like me some money), let me talk about why I did this, and give some background on things. First, it's a response to a failure, but then, all third-party books are. Face it, if companies created perfect, or even near-perfect documentation, or if their stuff was even close to as easy to use as they'd have us believe, the entire computer book industry would be non-existent.
But, that never happens, nor shall it. Even when you're talking about a family of devices and software like iOS, which is really an amazing step in terms of making shit easy to use, there's still, sadly a need for third party books. When you look at the IT/Enterprise side of things, oy vey, it's a fucking mess. Much of the documentation, when it exists is written by people who know this shit already for people who know this shit already. If you're trying to learn it for the first time, especially without a thorough grounding in some of the background material, it is, again, a fucking mess. This is why you have a thriving source of third party information called "The Internet" and third party books.
Yes, I know. Everything I say in my book is available somewhere on the Internet. The book just collates that information and runs it through my brain onto bits. If there's value in that, great, if not, well, okay.
So that was my first impetus: I wanted better documentation for me. It also occurred to me that other people might wish to read it as well. The fact that there are other books on this subject provide some empirical proof of that, in particular, Charles Edge's book, "Enterprise iPHone and iPad Administrator's Guide", available from Apress. Charles is a really, really smart dude, and he wrote a good book, and if you haven't yet, you should consider getting it.
Why then, if there's already a book out, written by a smart guy like Charles, would I write one? Especially if I'm recommending it. Easy, Charles and I are different people. We view the same thing, managing iOS devices, through different experience sets, worldviews, and we have differing priorities. I'm going to focus on things he won't, and he'll focus on things I would barely care about. Neither book is perfect, neither book is useless, they're just written by two different people.
As part of that whole "Charles not being me" thing, we have different speaking and writing styles. I wanted to read the book I wanted to read (yay, tautology) and realized the way to do that was to write it. That's one reason I approached Peachpit about the book. I've known the folks at Peachpit for a long time now. Based on that, I had a high confidence they'd let me write the book I wanted to write. That meant it would be somewhat informal in tone, not lecturing from on high as much as some guy who's been through some of this pain talking to other folks about it so maybe they'd avoid that pain.
On a practical level, I also wanted to not write a book that would be obsolete on June 6th 2011, by the end of the WWDC keynote. (Yes, I'm pissed I won't be there. Grah.) Which meant some decisions on my part. First, this book is not a collection of detailed howtos wherein you do what the grumpy man says and voila! Magic happens. Those are handy, but, they have a short lifespan, and are mind-numbingly tedious to write. Seriously, I fall asleep too easily as it is. Writing something like that? I'd never finish.
So instead, this is more of a guide. It's designed to give you the information you need to make your own decisions about how specifically to do things. More of a "so when you're in that part of the woods, keep an eye out for poison ivy, it's everywhere. You know what that looks like? Good, like a curtain of itch it is." rather than "You'll find Poison Ivy at heights between .1m and 5m on various trees and shrubbery. When stepping over it, you'll want to have your feet at least 20cm over the highest visible instance of the ivy..."
Just want to use the on-device settings and iTunes? Great, that's in there. Want to do some stuff with the iPhone Configuration Utility and USB tethering? In there. Mobile Device Management? In there. It's really designed to be an asset to the range of needs for managing iOS devices. Which brings me to the title.
The title has the "E"-word...Enterprise. That's something that was somewhat unavoidable, because regardless of the expectations this creates, there's no better single word for business computing. However, it is not just for Enterprises, or at least, I never deliberately targeted it at Enterprises. It should, I hope, be of use to a small business with a handful of iOS devices, a K-12 district implementing iPads, an SMB or even an actual Enterprise company. It's not going to tell you specifically how to accomplish every task you'll ever need to perform, but, it should be a really excellent..."Field Guide" that will hopefully help you avoid pitfalls and smooth your path just a bit.
Also, yes, most of the non-iOS screenshots are all off a Mac. Specifically, mine. I didn't see a particular need to include Windows screenshots, the differences would be somewhat cosmetic, and to be honest, I don't think there's a lot of "Mac" screenshots other than iTunes and the iPhone Configuration Utility. If that really bothers some folks, (and I can understand that), sorry. This wasn't a team effort, I didn't have a passle of minions at my beck and call. This was a solo effort. That limited some things. Another example is the extensive use of Casper throughout the book. That's not me trying to make everyone buy Casper, I don't own shares or anything. I happen to know some of the folks at JAMF, and because of that, felt more comfortable asking them for info, help, favors, etc., as I plowed through the book. If you wish to use a different application, please, by all means, use whatever works best for you. I needed an iOS management server for the book, and Casper happened to work really well. The JAMF folks also have some monstrously awesome documentation that was a huge help to me in writing the book, and were more than willing to answer my questions.
Again, one guy. There's a limit to how many software packages I can work with and ever actually finish the book. Do take a look at Casper, but don't exclude the others just because they aren't in the book as much if at all. They're all really good, and they all server different core audiences, some of which just may include you.
Finally, there's stuff in the book that's stronger than others. Especially that gods-damned bog of eternal stench known as SCEP. If, in reading the book, you find areas where you could have done things better or more completely, email me. Let me know. As with all computer books, there will be revisions and addenda, (I Hope!) and I can, at very least, make sure you get credit for any tips you give me that show up in said revisions and addenda. (Beyond credit, not my call, but I can try?)
This book will not be perfect in either content or tone. For the former, well, I can only know so much, mea culpa. For the latter? Nah, not apologizing. If my style's not your thing, then again, there are other books on the subject. You should check them out too. I hope the book will be of use to you, and that part, I think I got okay.| Comments ()
May 24, 2011
Look what I dood!
As i'm not sure how much of a foreword I'll get to write, let this serve as the "extended unabridged version":
It is tempting to wax Galt-ian and say I DID IT ALL BY MYSELF. Tempting, and totally fucking stupid. I no more wrote this "all by myself" than I fly on airplanes "all by myself" or anything else. There are hundreds of shoulders, hands, and kicks in the ass that created this. I may have done all the writing, but that's it. Also, this is not a 'typical' tech book. It's not a deep collection of howtos that are going to be deprecated if not obsolete six months after you buy the book. I tried at all times to make this book something you can use to get you on the right track for your needs, whatever those needs are. You don't need me to hold your hand, and I didn't. But, hopefully, I gave you a bit of a shove in the right direction so that you can handle your network and your devices the way you need to. Oh, and yeah, I wrote it the way I talk...well, sans profanity.
An incomplete list of thank you's:
To my wonderful, beautiful wife Melissa, and my awesome-in-spite-of-his-best-efforts son Alex: you all keep me (vaguely) sane and (reasonably) centered. Anytime I questioned why I was doing this, or if it was worth the effort, (which was often, especially in the hell that is SCEP), you two would, out of the blue, do or say something that would keep me going. Coincidentally, about the time this book is in final edits, Alex is graduating from High School. I am stupidly, and infinitely proud of him, and will continue to be so. You both are wonderful, and I love you both, dearly.
To the best editing team ever, Nancy Peterson and Bob Lindstrom, who kept me focused, working and regularly laughing. (Seriously, Bob has some of the funniest editorial comments ever, and they make a rather tedious task a lot more fun.) Nancy had the unenviable job of chief whip-cracker to someone who is really good at procrastination, and she did it perfectly. Whatever shreds of a schedule we managed to keep were all due to her fantastical fanatical work. I am also deeply appreciative that they, (and PeachPit) not only allowed, but encouraged me to keep my "voice" throughout the book. Which is good, because I suck at writing in someone else's.
To the crew who literally made any of this possible, the iOS and associated hardware teams at Apple, and everyone else I've met/known over the years across the breadth of the company. Scott Forstall, who I've only met once, and is remarkably taller than you think he is and Sal Soghoian, who really is the shining star of Apple as far as I'm concerned, would be the only names i'd be comfortable naming IN PUBLIC, but all of you, every one I know have done some astounding work, and I hope my humble efforts will be of assistance to that work. I may not always be happy with you, but that doesn't detract from the work you've done and do. I'd also like to take a quick moment here to thank the SE's and CE's that support cranky old bastards like me. Apple may have some issue with regard to business support, but it's certainly not because their SE's and CE's aren't busting their asses day and night. They are amazing men and women, one and all.
To the folks at the / zimmerman / agency, in particular my boss, Mike, along with Curtis & Carrie: y'all may make me come home sometimes, and seriously ponder why I'm against heroin/LSD nightcaps, but at the same time you've created the environment that let me experiment and learn how to do things with iOS that gave me the ability to write this book based on the real world experiences I've gained with Z. Thank you all for that, and for not letting the agency become just another place to work. Everyone at Z, you guys are the best.
To Zach, Lance, and all the folks at JAMF software, who answered questions and provided extensions to demo keys, and were absolutely invaluable as a resource, you guys have earned every dime you have made, or ever shall make, and you're all the tits.
Mom, Dad, Second Mom and Dad, Nicci, Gypsye, Mo, look! I dood it!
Brad, I may not have ever said it, but you're the older brother I keep trying to be more like. You and Kelly both showed me how things should be, and cut me more slack than anyone deserves. Thanks for helping me grow up...just a little.
The collection of people who went from friends to family years and decades ago - Mark, Virginia, Jenny, Michelle, Rachel, Ernie, Sami, Harv, ChuckG, SLY, Schoun, Shawn, Paul, Sarah, Sam...I'm astoundingly lucky to know all of you for so very long, and I am very privileged to have you all in my life. I'd not be doing this without you.
Jessica, the most awesome, wonderful, amazing former editor ever, who gave me my start in getting paid to write...see what you started? Oh, and I have a lovely yard full of love bugs should you ever visit :-P
Kathy Moran, Ron Moreau, Arek, Kevin, Ben, and all the other folks who work their asses off to put Macworld Expo and MacIT together - thanks for letting me play too, you're all wonderful.
My brothers in arms, Peter and Darby...guys what the FUCK is going on, and how much fun is this shit? Every Tuesday for over two years, I get some of my sanity back. W00t!
Jason, Phil, Chris, the Dans, and all the folks at Macworld: I cannot imagine having my name on the site does you a lot of favors. But thank you for putting it there anyway. It's still awesome every time I see it.
Dave Hamilton, ChuckL, JeffG, Dori, Tom, and all the other Expo peeps...every year I get a big funky reunion with my favorite people. How cool is that?
The Group which must not be named shall nonetheless be thanked.
Thank you to all the people on the Internet and elsewhere who have gone through the pain of learning how to manage iOS stuff, and took the time to share their experiences. It's folks like you that make the Internet worthwhile, far more than any New Media Douchebag collective ever will.
Finally, to the Tallahassee Roller Girls, the best fucking Derby Team in the world, y'all kick ass every bout, and give me something to scream my fool head off about; love, love, LOVE YOU ALL! Fuck that overpriced pro and college shit, Derby is where it's at!
I know I've left people out, which is stupid, but sometimes, so am I.
See? I didn't even come close to doing this "by myself". I've had help for the last 44 years to get this book done.| Comments ()
May 19, 2011
Why Acorn will keep succeeding
I don't always agree with Gus Mueller. He doesn't always agree with me. He's told me as much, directly. But read this piece from him on who Acorn is for.
I really, really hope he holds to that for as long as he feels like developing Acorn. Because that is how you have a successful product. You say "no", you say it often, and you say it without shame or justification. Acorn is not for every possible use on the planet. Not every person who uses Acorn will like it. That's okay, because for Acorn's customers and users, it is a great fit, and Gus clearly knows this. As long as he holds to this, Acorn will continue to be an awesome product that sells well. Pandering to the masses ends up turning a great product into a mess of shit.
Want to design a great application? Don't be afraid to say "no".| Comments ()
May 18, 2011
Um. No, we'll need actual proof of that statement.
I love Mike Lee to death, but this quote from Ars?
The tactic has worked before, Lee explained. When Apple originally introduced the iPhone, it only offered support for Web-based apps. Without developers hounding Apple, the company might not have ever released the official iOS SDK that enabled native apps in the first place.
"If getting 200 duplicated bugs was enough to get us an SDK, let's see what the duplicates on this bug will accomplish," Lee said. "We can and should make this something on Steve Jobs' agenda this morning. This whole campaign is causing there to be an online conversation; people at Apple read the news too."
Um...No. I really think Mike is VASTLY overstating the influence devs had with this. The idea that without dev noise, Apple might not have released the SDK passes neither Occam's nor any other test. Apple does things to further company aims and make money. If they have to rat-fuck devs, they'll do it, and neither blink nor care. The examples of this are legion. They'll fuck entire customer segments as well.
So no, sans actual proof that it was the devs that pushed Apple to do this, I'm not even slightly buying it. Devs are important, but not as much as customers, and Apple is far more astute about customer needs than most, especially devs, think.| Comments ()
Thank You Flash Team
Because I do try to be fair about such things, and also because it shows that Dowdell is such a raging twat about how everyone is out to get Flash, and Apple is Soviet Russia circa 1949..
I would like to thank the Flash team for two seemingly minor changes that are really quite huge in my world. First, the ability to easily turn off the auto-update notification for Flash 10.3. Also, many thanks to Greg Neagle for his "Disable Flash 10 Auto Update" package that makes implementing this off switch trivial.
Second, for taking Flash's preferences from shit like this:
It may not be done yet, and they may have more work to do, but it is a start, and a damned good one. I'm not going to ignore work that helps remove or alleviate pain points in my world. Especially if it's work from a team I've bagged on before. Good Job folks!
Now, if they can just get Dowdellhead to stop being such a caricature of a senile old man standing on the corner with no pants on, yelling obscenities at his genitals with regard to his continual trumping up of a war no one else cares about...| Comments ()
May 8, 2011
Mike Arrington discovers it's lonely at the bottom...
...of a sewer, and he doesn't like it. Doesn't like it one bit, and you know what he hates even more? That other people know it, so he has to continually try to drag them down with him.
Backstory: A few days ago, Arrington decided to change his investment policy, and talked about it on his shitrag website. This is not abnormal, face it, Arrington loves to talk about nothing as much as himself, and it's not like he particularly gives a fuck about conflicts of interest. The JooJoo/Crunchpad is a perfect example of that. Really, the reaction should have been "And you're telling us this...why?" But then I forget, Mike is now owned by AOL/HuffPo, so in theory, he has to play by bigboy journalism rules.
This is kind of a pain in the ass for him, as at best, it means he has to be far more circumspect in what he writes about, since he's back in the VC circle, and if you want to be really strict, it might mean he should stop talking about anything VC-related. Of course, because Mike is Mike, he puts it on the front page of TechCrunch, and that means it's going to be noticed. This is deliberate mind you. He could have just buried the change in a policy statement in the "About Mike" section of the site, but he didn't. Clearly he wanted attention, and he got it. Most notably from Kara Swisher.
(Disclosure: I am a total fan of Kara's. The woman has a touch with sarcasm that reminds me of Twain and Bierce. How can you not crush on someone like that?)
Evidently Ariana Huffington emailed her about Arrington, (what the fuck is it with the -<double consonant>-ington at AOL?) Kara being Kara, emailed Huffington back about this, and got about what you expect as an answer: "Disclosure is there, no harm no foul". Okay, weak, but sure, what the fuck, it's better than nothing. Kara emails Huffington back with a longer list of more detailed questions, and got nothing back. But then AOL says this to Business Insider:
As a rule, in order to avoid conflicts of interests, AOL Huffington Post Media Group editors, writers, and reporters may not have a financial interest in a company or industry that they regularly cover. This does not include investments in mutual funds, money market funds, or other similar investments. If an editor or reporter is assigned to cover a company outside his or her usual beat, and has a financial interest in that company, including owning stock, he or she may maintain the investment but must transparently disclose it.
Michael Arrington operates from a unique position. He was an investor in technology companies and start-ups before he started TechCrunch, and his extensive knowledge of, and involvement with Silicon Valley is one of the very things that has made TechCrunch a must-read site. TechCrunch is committed to transparency. Michael Arrington has written about the guidelines he follows -- that he rarely writes about companies in which he is an investor, and that when he does, he clearly discloses this information. The same rules apply when TechCrunch’s writers cover these companies.
Okay, so for all but one employee of the division Arrington is in, they cannot invest in companies they regularly write about. If it's a one shot deal, they can write about that company, but they have to disclose it.
Except for Arrington. Because what the fuck, he's Mike Arrington.
Keep in mind, Arrington's not owned by Gawker, he's owned by a company with, in theory, actual journalistic aspirations. That means they kind of have to operate to a higher standard, even when it's inconvenient. That's the point of a higher standard: You keep to it, even when it's inconvenient. To anyone who's followed Arrington over the years, you know that's never happening. William Randolph Hearst was Walter Cronkite compared to Arrington.
Of everyone in the pundit industry, Swisher's probably got the highest moral high ground to shoot from. From her addendum to her normal ethics statement:
In any case, as Arrington preaches, the more disclosure the better, and perhaps I should say even more so here, given the current swirl, by noting explicitly that I garner exactly no financial benefits from my relationship with Megan.
That might seem odd, because she certainly earns more. But I don’t know how much nor do I ask, since we have separate bank accounts and she always pays up–well, almost always–when half the bills are due. While it sounds painfully un-romantic, we only spend overall what each of us can afford equally in an exact 50-50 split.
In addition, I also legally signed away all rights to inheritance–although I had no such marriage rights in the first place, being gay–of Megan’s assets, which are in a trust for her relatives and our sons (for when they are too old to have any fun).
More to the point, I believe this makes me the only person to marry an exec at a hot Silicon Valley company with no prospect of any gold-digging.
Thus, I clearly would make the worst investor ever–not that I ever invest in tech or plan to while I am a reporter covering the sector.
Thank god, I suppose, that Michael Arrington is there to take up the slack.
Yeah, Kara calls Arrington "vaguely icky" but he is. Well, he's full on slimy as far as I'm concerned. But if you actually read the entire article, well, if that's your idea of a personal attack, you don't really understand the concept.
Which of course, makes you more like Arrington. Because of course, being the grotty little troll that he is, he can't let this attack on his manhood go. He's Mike Arrington, he's the bull, you can't mess with the bull without getting the horns. (Well, of course you can. The only time he gets uppity is with people large enough to have PR value. Trust me, the germophobic fuckstick has never said three words to me over calling him...well, a germophobic fuckstick to start.) Go ahead, read his response, it's standard Arrington Temper Tantrum.
I can't call it complete crap of course, because Arrington's response is a masterwork of insinuation and almost-accusation that would have made a drunkard senator from Wisconsin quite proud. Or a seven year old. Arrington's response is equal parts little kid logic and McCarthyism. First, the little kid logic:
Everyone else does it, so it's not wrong when I do it
Arrington sets this up well:
But the really important thing to remember, as a reader, is that there is no objectivity in journalism. The guys that say they’re objective are just pretending. Everyone is conflicted in different ways, and yet the “rules of journalism” don’t require any sort of transparency or disclosure unless it’s a direct financial conflict. I’m going to have to write a longer post about his yet again.
"See, it's not wrong. After all, it's impossible for human beings to be objective about things. So claiming you can be is lying, and by not claiming objectivity, I'm better than them, I'm being honest with you, I'm not bullshitting you."
Well, yes, if your philosophy is based on a self-centered narcissistic, selfish worldview that lacks any self-awareness whatsoever, that's true. However, for those of us whose emotional and mental maturity graduated elementary school, we also understand we have prejudices. Because of that self-awareness, we can, if we choose, temporarily set aside those prejudices, and judge something, even something we don't like, in an objective manner.
For instance, I am no fan of organized religion. However, in spite of that rather heavy prejudice, I can, and do, recognize that there are numerous religious groups that do honestly try to do things the "right" way. I still disagree with the concept, and think those folks would do things the right way with or without religion, but, in spite of my worldview, I can set aside certain feelings and thoughts and comment on things I normally intensely dislike without the filter of those feelings or thoughts. I don't do it a lot, as it's a lot of work, but it's entirely possible. I'm no fan of the Republican party, but I can recognize that not all Republicans are loons, and that "loons" is not a terribly mature criticism.
Self-awareness, it allows us to operate objectively in a subjective world, But you have to have it, use it, and not be of the opinion that it's all about you. Unsurprisingly, Arrington can't do that. What. A. Shock.
But anyway, that's his initial setup.
Then comes the whisper campaign:
But when you read a tech blogger call a CEO “tough and misunderstood,” should you know that the CEO in question is social friends with that blogger, and leaks confidential information to her? The answer is yes. But you’ll never know. Or when the same CEO is called incompetent by another blogger who was just turned down by said CEO to speak at his conference. Disclosed? No. Conflicted? Yes.
Of course, Arrington doesn't name names. But you know it's happened. I bet you've even heard about it, maybe in TechCrunch. Because how can you trust anyone who doesn't fully disclose every encounter they've ever had with anyone they talk about? Sure, Arrington doesn't do this in every article he writes, but who can do that? Besides, we know objectivity's impossible, so really, what do you expect?
By now, Arrington's got a head of steam, so he now names names. But still in that sleazy Joe McCarthy style:
AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher, the chief whiner about our policy, is married to a Google executive. This is disclosed by her, but I certainly don’t see it as any less of a conflict than when I invest in a startup. And yet she whines.
Kara's whining. First step: Belittle criticism. It's not serious, it's whining. Second step, insinuate. "Look who she's married to. Sure, she discloses it, but it's a conflict. She's no better than me." Arrington is assuming no one read Kara's entire article, or her normal ethics statement. But it's also pretty sleazy, even without Kara's disclosure. Because her spouse works for a company Kara writes about, Kara has a conflict, and is therefore untrustworthy.
Kara's not the only one tarred with the "guilt by association" brush:
One of her writers, Liz Gannes, is married to a Facebook consultant. She covers the company and its competitors regularly. She discloses it as well, but it isn’t clear whether or not her husband has stock in Facebook. That’s something as a reader I’d like to know. And regardless, it’s a huge conflict of interest. I think someone will think twice before slamming a company and then going to sleep next to an employee of that company. Certain adjectives, for example, might be softened in the hopes of marital harmony.
I'm going to say that Arrington has less of a grasp of a healthy, functional relationship than even a seven year old. Here's a tip Mike: Bagging on someone's employer is not the same as attacking that person. Well, if they're you or just as immature as you it is, but in a normal, healthy, relationship, it's not the same. It's not even the same if you're talking about hobbies. My wife loves "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". I think it's proof that Whedon is a hack on a Lucasian level, only whinier. I have told her this a number of times. She knows it. It's sometimes a minor sore spot with us. (Seriously, it's a fucking TV show. If you're going to let a TV show fuck up a relationship, both of you are morons.)
However, no matter how much I ask "how can you like this tripe" and bag on the show, Whedon, and everything the man has ever done, the only time she gets angry at me is if I go on for too long, and just get boring about it. Same thing with employers. If you're writing about a company your spouse or S.O. works for, and you change the story because they might get mad, that's a shit relationship. But it is not an automatic conflict of interest.
Now that Arrington has made his insinuations about his attackers, (by the way, for those who overuse the term, what Arrington is doing? That's nigh-perfect ad hominem. "Swisher is untrustworthy because her spouse works for google." Perfection), the full on "See! THEY'RE NO BETTER THAN ME! SO THEY CAN'T CRITICIZE ME! NEENER-NEENER, THEY'RE NO BETTER THAN I AMMMM"
Well Mike, even if Kara did kick a puppy, she still gets to criticize you for punching a baby. See, someone else being "imperfect" does not in fact, mean they cannot call you out on being wrong.
Also, note that he never seems to actually address the meat of their criticism. He has his tantrum, pulls his little ad hominem, and then, like every douchebag who has ever loudly left a forum, leaves with a pronouncement of how shocked he is by all this:
Before I started TechCrunch I never understood how screwed up this whole news world was. It’s ugly as hell out there, people. These people, the tech press, just disgust me.
No Mike, you understood it perfectly, which is why you troll it so much. You are like a career state-level politician claiming to be just a regular dude compared to those bastards in DC. You're full of shit, you've always been full of shit, you always will be full of shit. You are a self-centered fuckwit who still gets angry if you don't get to go to lunch with the cool kids.
You're a middle-aged Ricky Smith, still stuck in high school fantasies of sticking it to the jocks and the cool kids.| Comments ()
May 4, 2011
Goodbye Ernie..and thanks
It's taken me a while to write this, because it's not an easy thing to write about. In mid-April, Ernie Keep died.
Most of you don't know or have ever heard of Ernie, which is okay, it's a pretty small group that knew him directly. But he loomed large in my world.
I first met Ernie in '88-89 at GFAFB. He was a crew chief on B-1B's, I was an ECM tech on them. He was day shift, I was mids. He was also teaching a martial arts class on base, and from what everyone said, it was a lot of fun. So i figured, what the fuck, i'll try it.
Oh. My. Fucking. God.
I almost puked. Now, I've written before about Titus workouts, but this one, it was only severe self-control that kept me from spewing. Note, I was not 44 and overweight. I was 21-22, 185, and in the best shape I'd ever been in. Ernie almost fucking killed me that first night. Well, he had help. Because while I'm gasping and trying not to die, his wife, Sami is there. Yeah, and she's eight months pregnant. She's doing all this crap too. Ever done pushups on the back of your wrists? Tie a wiggly bowling ball to your stomach, THEN DO THEM. Even better, his son, Adam was there, all of about eleven, with that infuriating ability of kids to do this shit and not even have the good sense to sweat.
Adam, you could drive me into the ground like a peg now, but that night, I really, really hated you.
Through it all, there's Sami, intense, and to be honest, scary as hell. (Ever been tied in a knot? That was her favorite sparring technique. She wasn't blazingly fast, but oh man, she got a grip on you and you were done. Tied. In. A. Knot. Ow. Ow. Ow.) And Ernie. You know what's worse than scary? Cheerful. The man was always cheerful. he's running you into the ground, and he's cheerful. He's teaching you how to do things your body is just not designed to do, he's cheerful. Like a balding Rachel Fucking Ray, with a black belt.
So what do I do? Of course, i go back. Well, for one, it's Grand Forks, North-Fucking-Dakota. There is not fuck-all to do in Grand Forks, so it's not like I had a full social calendar on Tues/Thurs nights and Saturday mornings. Also, damnit, it's hard not to get sucked in by smiling, happy, gweilo Bruce Lee. Day after day I go back. Month after month. Then years. I keep going back.
Ernie teaches me new things to hate and fear. Like Plyometrics. PNF stretching. Pushups off a box. and the rope. That fucking, gods-be-damned rope. He'd stretch this bungee rope across the rec center, maybe 4'-5' off the ground. Then make us do everything under it. Forms. Techniques. Kicks. Punches. I'M SIX-FOOT-TWO, I DON'T DO LOW WELL. But for ernie...yeah, fuckit, squat, kick, squat, punch. Ernie was like that, so was Sami. They had this ability to get you to do the most insane fucking things, and not just like it, but want to do them. Like the stick exercise. This was a blocking exercise wherein Sami stood blindfolded with a 6' staff in her hands like an axe. You stood 3-4' away from her, in varying stances. You weren't allowed to move your feet. Then she would swing that stick up and down from vertical to horizontal, and you had to not get hit. If you did things right, you didn't get hit. If not? DOINK!
Did I mention this was oak, and not rattan?
Did I mention Sami could squat 200+ or so (Maybe Powerlift, I forget, it's been a while)?
Did I mention that she didn't believe in making it easy on you, because otherwise, you'd not learn to duck correctly?
Yeah. Swish, swish, swish, <i got thisWHATTHEFUCKYOUCHANGEDYOURTIM-DOINK!....ing>. Ow. Son of a bitch. But you learned to duck. And well!
Meanwhile, Ernie, that evil son of a bitch is standing there with his laugh. The Ernie Laugh of Damn, I bet that hurt. heh-HEH-heh-heh. Or other variations on it. Just kind of this smug little chuckle. I ended up picking it up, because...shit, I dunno why, but I copied it, and I use it. I don't want to make it sound like Ernie or Sami were petty martinets, because they weren't. They really loved what they were doing, and if you showed some dedication, and you showed up, and you tried, they would take you under their wings, and pour knowledge into you. It just involved high front kicks with a bungee tied to your foot. They weren't into passive learning.
I tried, I showed up, and they taught me. They taught me that the hard way can be cool. They taught me that when some son of a bitch sticks you in front of a mountain and you gotta climb it, you cuss the fucking mountain out, and then...you climb it. Because that's what mountains are for. You climb them. You don't gotta like it, but you gotta climb it. They taught me that you do things the right way not for awards or recognition, but because that's how you do shit. The Right Way. You do the technique or the form the right way, over and over. Because doing shit right is what it's all about. They taught me to try to do a little better every day. When I would do something stupid, like injure myself, (which I was really good at), they taught me that you don't sit on your ass. Pulled every groin muscle you have? Your arms still work, you can punch. Fracture a wrist? You still got two good legs and one good arm, get your ass back to work. Pain can be managed, you have work to do.
It kind of makes Melissa crazy. in her world, injuries are different things. She's not wrong mind you, I'm just kind of fucking nuts.
They taught me how to put my hand through things. Wood. Bottles. Whatever. They taught me the meaning behind it, that you literally can do shit that seems impossible. You just have to stop talking yourself out of it first.
They also taught me to love teaching people. Martial Arts, IT, they helped me see why helping someone else grow strong in their own lives or careers is so awesomely cool. They did it all by word and by example.
I laugh at people in cults. "How could you let anyone talk you into doing that kind of crap?" Yet I know, that had Ernie or Sami said "Hey guys, let's all jump off a building to see if we know how to fall correctly!" we'd have fucking done it. But then again, they'd have not asked us to do stupid shit. We trusted them so much that we'd have done any fool thing they asked. They returned that trust by never asking us to do stupid crap.
I wonder if they knew how much loyalty and respect they had from us. I hope so. I'd have walked through fire for them. Probably because they'd have done it first, twice, and then pointed out how fire didn't really burn you, see? No burns, now get moving.
Sami died from cancer around 1999, and Ernie died less than a month ago. I rarely cry over death, it's not something I particularly fear, or honestly, think about. But those two, them not being in the world hit me hard. I'm real glad I was working late when I found out about Ernie. Being the only one in the office for a couple hours was a good thing. Dunno why, maybe it's because the family you find can be closer than the family you get stuck with. For whatever reason, I found Ernie and Sami, and they managed to change my life. They managed to change me.
I'm going to miss you Ern, a whole lot, and I would be quite happy to not miss you. But, since you stuck that fucking mountain in front of me, again...well if there is an afterlife, and if the two of you are there, together again...make them lazy fuckers on the other side do some pushups. They're all a buncha lackadaisical layabouts anyway.| Comments ()
May 3, 2011
There are two pairs of shoes I wear in my daily life. For special, "goin' out" events, I have a pair of custom chucks that are my own design from Converse's custom shop. The shoes I wear for everything else? Classic Vans. I have two pairs of those. One beat to shit pair, so soft it's like wearing silk, with holes and all for working around the house, and a clean pair for everything else.
Unless I'm running or working out, those are the only shoes I'll wear. Because those are the only shoes I need to wear.| Comments ()
Helpful Pro Tips for reading pundits
Over the years, I've found that there are some simple tricks you can use to determine if someone is talking out of their ass with regard to Apple issues. If a pundit does any of these things in their article, feel free to completely ignore it, they will have nothing of worth to say.
- Do they quote or mention Rob Enderle as "authoritative" or right on anything?
- Are they Rob Enderle?
- Are they are a stock analyst?
- Do they bring up "Apple vs. Microsoft in the 90s" for anything other than Apple vs. Microsoft in the '90s?
- Do they claim Google is open, and Apple is draconian, so Apple must lose?
- Do they quote or mention John Dowdell as being authoritative or right on anything?
- Are they John Dowdell?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then the article is shit, and ignore it.
Dealing with pundits is easy when you know the tricks, and knowing is half the battle!
(the other half is not staring at Scarlett's tits)