Monday, August 17, 2009

Fixing things

My beloved Mac Mini died a while ago. The hard drive went out, so it failed to boot but I had it backed up (Go Time Machine!) so I didn't lose anything. This would be a pretty epic failure for most, but I'm a computer guy so it wasn't a huge worry for me.

This weekend, my car's dashboard lit up with a "Check Tire Pressure" dummy light. I was freaked. I thought sure it would be a trip to the dealer, a couple hundred dollars and/or lost time to get it fixed. (I really didn't assume it was ACTUALLY just tire pressure, but that's because cars are a mystery to me.)

Well today, I fixed both; and I'm quite pleased with myself.

I ordered a new laptop hard drive from Amazon, cracked open my Mini, detached the WiFi antenna, unscrewed the mother board from the housing, detached the hard drive, slid in a new one, and got everything back together and it works!

But the thing that really stressed me out, was this car light. I couldn't see any difference in the tires so I thought it was a bad sensor. But when I took the pressure of each tire and compared it to the manual, I discovered that the front driver side wheel was 20 psi when it should be 35. So I filled it up with $.75 of air and the light went off! It's called a dummy light for a reason.

So tonight I'm celebrating the small victories in life. Here's to proactive backups and easy car maintenance!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Dream Merger

I'm getting married! I'll start from the end and work backwards.

Most recently, we put up our website at, so I can finally blog and link to it. You can also just google for [Troy and Thu Wedding] because we're awesome and have the top hit. You'll have to do that because we don't yet have a lot of details like time or location (who said you're invited?) but you may read our stories and get to know us. We've always joked how an Apple and Google employee would be like a corporate merger, hence Dream Merger.

Secondly, the proposal was accepted in Boulder, Colorado under the beautiful Flatirons while we took a 4th of July holiday. Boulder is a special place for me, and I selfishly wanted to plant pleasant memories in Thu's head of the most beautiful place in the world. I don't think I needed to buy a rock for that, but it didn't hurt.

And firstly, the ring I selected is a sapphire stone accented by small diamonds. Thu and I had been shopping so I could understand what she liked. Instead, she told me all the things she didn't like and I took lots of notes on my iPhone so I could extrapolate what she wanted. Wanting it to be a surprise, I took the day off work and rode the Bart into San Francisco to the San Francisco Provident Loan Association where Ben and Allison made me an extremely happy customer.

Jump back with me to WWDC '09 (2 months ago), I had just finished presenting Quartz Composer to hundreds of raving developers and knew I'd finally have some time to go ring shopping. SFPLA was the highest rated jewelry store on Yelp so I walked up to Mission street where they are located. For those of you who know San Francisco neighborhoods, Mission district can be -colorful-; so it comes at no surprise that the building looked like a cross between a 1920s bank and a jail with bars on the windows and thick plastered walls.

But the ominous exterior was no indication of the attitude within. I met Ben for the first time, and he made me feel so comfortable answering my questions about rings, giving me advice about the proposal itself. He recently got married himself, so it was like having an older brother in the jewelry business. I felt no pressure at all and he was very knowledgeable.

Contrast this with some of the places that Thu and I went after that day with shoddy quality and low customer service. The sales associates would push certain styles and "bling" on us. One place even tried to pass the softer, cheaper tanzanite off as sapphire while whispering to each other in vietnamese. Never go ring shopping at the Grand Century mall in San Jose!

So I played hooky and returned to SFPLA on the last day of June. Thu and I were leaving for Colorado the next day, so I didn't have much hope to buy a ring in one day. I talked to Ben some more, and also met Allison who reminded me of a conspiring little sister. She was so excited by my ring selection and it really balanced Ben's stoic humbleness so I felt both confident and excited by the duo.

The two of them were able to get it done, even going so far as to shut down the jewelry portion of the store in order to rush out to their gem suppliers to get me stones to look at, brought the different choices out of lockdown into the sunlight and within reach of that shady Mission neighborhood, then put a rush order on the setting and cleaning so it could be done before I left the city that day. It was all so perfect, and I cannot say enough about them, or the ring that Thu very much enjoys.

As I rode the Bart back home, I texted Thu, "I finished everything I needed to get done before we leave." just to keep up the charade that I had worked all day long.