danbricklin.com/log

Starting September 26, 2002
My father moved up to Boston, Hinda Gross, EarthLink will use Trellix software to provide web site building and blogging, Stuff from my youth, Learning from a patent, Bob Wallace dies
26Sep02-03Nov02
2002_09_26.htm
Sunday, November 3, 2002 
My father moved up to Boston [link]
This week my mother drove up with a neighbor and moved my father Baruch from the temporary nursing home where he was staying in Philadelphia to his new residence at a nursing home in the Boston area. My mother will move into a condo she bought up here sometime in the next few weeks. A series of small strokes, adding to the brain injuries from the car accident 12 years ago, cut my Dad's mobility and made it way too difficult for him to live at home, and he finds the nursing home much less stressful. This move up, and permanent residence in a nursing home, has been quite a change for our extended family (and, of course, especially so on my mother). With my Mom 15 minutes from my house, and my Dad nearby a few minutes from her place, I'm looking forward to being able to spend more time with them both than I've been able to in the past.

As we wheeled my father from the car to his room, we went by some lithographs on the wall of the nursing home. They were from a series by Chaim Gross. I was completely blown away by this. My parents have had a very similar Chaim Gross work hanging prominently in their living room for years. It was a gift when they moved in 46 years ago from my Uncle Gershon and Aunt Hinda, with the artist's blessing. Chaim was my Uncle Gershon Gross' uncle. Gershon and Hinda had many of his paintings in their house, including one in the series at the nursing home. This was a very nice way to find an instant connection between my Dad's old home and his new one, and another memory of Hinda and Gershon. The world is a strange, wonderful place...

Tuesday, October 22, 2002 
Hinda Gross [link]
Last Friday, my aunt Hinda Gross died. My father's youngest of four sisters, she had suffered through a very long illness. Her husband, my uncle Gershon, died suddenly earlier this year.

Hinda in 1942  Hinda in 1968  Hinda in 1999
Hinda Gross

Hinda was an incredible person who certainly left her mark on the world, leaving it a better place for her being here. She had her dreams and found ways to live them. Growing up in Philadelphia, she dreamed of living in Israel between the Mediterranean and Jerusalem. Sure enough, along with Gershon and others, she helped found Neve Ilan, a settlement just off the road to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, where on a clear day you can see to the ocean from one side and the hills of Jerusalem from the other. When back in the US while Gershon studied for his advanced degrees, she served as a local Jewish youth group director. She so inspired and was loved by the kids that they made up songs about her to sing at conferences. She believed in the value of art and expression for all, and founded an art school to provide enrichment to Neve Ilan and schools in the surrounding area: Orthodox and secular Jewish as well as Arab. She also founded an art gallery at Neve Ilan. Fighting breast cancer for years, she was a champion for women's health issues, including going into Arab villages to teach women self-examination. Recently, despite her illness, she served as President of Hadassah Israel for two years. (See the Jerusalem Post article about her activism from 1997 -- they called her a "powerhouse" -- and you can also see a picture of her with the State of Kentucky's First Lady in 2000.) Last year Hadassah Israel, a medical organization supported by people around the world, awarded her its highest prize, the Henrietta Szold Award, for her work. Three days before her death, Israel's Ministry of Health announced that Hinda will receive this year's prize for volunteer work in public health at a ceremony at the Knesset (Israel's Parliament) next month.

Everybody who met her remembers her enthusiasm, energy, warmth, humor, and drive. She was a model to try to emulate for the thousands who knew her, and were touched by her, personally. She was buried next to her beloved husband Gershon facing the hills of Jerusalem. May her memory continue to be for a blessing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002 
EarthLink will use Trellix software to provide web site building and blogging [link]
This morning Trellix Corporation (of whom I am founder and CTO) announced that EarthLink will be using Trellix's technology to provide web site building and weblogging to its subscribers.

What should be exciting about this to the weblog community is that the approximately 5 million EarthLink subscribers are literally just a few clicks away from trying blogging. The version of Trellix Web Express they will be using for web site authoring asks you right up front if you want to have a blog as part of your web site. It even has a "What is a blog?" link right there. (See the screenshots I posted when I wrote up the Trellix announcement of this capability last August.) Weblogging is built in to the basic web site creation tool. You don't need to use or buy anything else, nor do you need to learn HTML in order to customize the "look" you want. Your blog, your "About Me" page, and your pictures can all be put on the web using little more than your browser. In addition to regular EarthLink subscribers, this deal makes the Trellix tools available to their small business customers who pay for "yourname.com" web hosting. As I wrote in my essay "Small Business Blogging", small businesses also have very good reasons to blog.

To us at Trellix this announcement is an exciting reminder of the leverage we have to bring our technology to large numbers of people.

EarthLink has not announced when they will deploy this capability, but I understand they hope it will be sometime in the coming few months.

Tuesday, October 8, 2002 
Stuff from my youth [link]
Over the past couple of weeks I've been helping my parents through parts of their move from down in Philadelphia to here in the Boston area. (It's one of the reasons I haven't had much time to write here on my weblog.) One of the things I have to do is go through the stuff still left in their house and see if I want any of it. I came back with lots of my old papers, photographs, and books, as well as some magazines and other "keepsake" periodicals. Over time, as I go through this stuff, I may write about it. ("Possible weblog topic" was an acceptable reason to me for keeping something from the trash-heap.)

Some examples:

First page of article with a picture of an IBM 701 computer  End of article: The slowness of development of these programs is cushioning the big computers social impact...But in paper work the computers will soon make possible a new level of speed and flexibility in the whole economy  Lockheed in California increases engineering staff
January 1954 issue of Scientific American article about "Computers in Business" and an ad with a slide rule as the symbol for an engineer

Dear Mr. Bricklin: I am delighted to inform...  X = 7.0,. GO TO 20, CONTINUE...The END command...
Acceptance letter to an NSF summer program in computers at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1960's; sample output from my "WHARTFOR" FORTRAN macro language with a draft of some of the documentation handwritten next to it (done along with a job at Penn's Wharton School that came about as a result of a summer program)

Slide rule with my father's name stamped on it
My father's slide rule in its leather case. He got it in college (Penn) and it's what he used when he taught me how to use a slide rule. After I brought it to my house, I found a place for it on my shelf next to the calculator I used when I thought of VisiCalc (see a picture of it in my History section).

Thursday, September 26, 2002 
Learning from a patent [link]
Last week I pointed out some of Research In Motion's patents, and how they may be using them (and the legal details when filing them) in an unfortunate lawsuit. I mentioned how patents are supposed to be a way to learn about inventions. Just by chance, this weekend I ran into a wonderful example of such learning from a patent.

This week is the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, a happy festival with strong harvest overtones. It says in Leviticus 23:42-43: "In booths you are to stay for seven days; every citizen in Israel is to stay in booths; in order that it may be known by your future generations that in booths I had the Children of Israel stay when I brought them out of the Land of Egypt..." Traditionally, many Jews build their own temporary booth and "live" in it by eating or maybe even sleeping in it as part of the celebration. This year, some friends invited many of us to their home to celebrate. They are known for their unusual Geodesic Dome-shaped Sukkah (a "Sukkah" is the name for the booth or hut). I asked Joel how he decided to build it. He said that years ago he noticed that geodesic domes had lots of triangles and made the shape of the Star of David. "What a nice design for a Sukkah", he thought. He told me he learned how to make it by reading the original patent from Buckminster Fuller! That was all he needed to figure out the rules. From it he calculated how to make one small enough to fit on his porch. I thought: What a great example of learning from a patent (and anyway, something interesting for my techie readers). I asked his permission to photograph his Sukkah this week and write it up. Here's what it looks like:

Dome made out of lots of slats of wood on porch  Slats of wood, pieces of bush trimmings, and hanging fruit
The Geodesic Dome Sukkah on the porch, view from inside
You can find the dome patent on the US Patent Office's web server -- it is patent 2,682,235. Unfortunately, it's an old patent (1954) and they only have images of the pages, no HTML text. The images are in a particular TIFF format, and don't display in many browsers. [You can always use a plug-in or look at each page's source and then follow the links there -- on my machine Windows XP's Windows Picture and Fax Viewer then pops up and shows it. (A tool like Software Garden's SRCSVC makes it easier to find and resolve the relative links in the source.)] Here are some sample links (DO NOT contact me to figure out how to view these on your system -- I can't get them to work on all my systems, either!): Page 1 (the first page, with an illustration) and Page 7 (the start of the text portion).

This patent is written in a first person, helpful style: "My invention relates to a framework for enclosing space...I have discovered...I have found...By a counterclockwise overlapping relationship, I mean that..." Very nice.
 
Bob Wallace dies [link]
Searching on Google for something else, I ran across a notice that Bob Wallace, the shareware pioneer and Microsoft's 9th employee, died last week. You can read the obituary in the Seattle Times. I used his PC-Write program to write my initial Dan Bricklin's Demo Program. I was influenced by both his product and business style. May his memory be for a blessing.

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