Is someone missing a smile?In the past week, I have read several articles about the change to the opening screen of a booting Macintosh. The Happy Mac is no longer a fixture here. Instead, we are greeted by a swirling circle of activity. Honestly, I don't miss that Happy Mac face. Why? Well, to put it as simply as I can – I never saw much of it in the first place. Since OS X, I hardly ever have to reboot my machine. It just runs! I close the lid and open it back up several times a day. I travel with it, never shutting it down, and it always picks up, right where I left off. No, it's not flawless, but I used to reboot my Mac 2-3 times a day (as a power user, you ask more than most machines can handle). These days, even though I'm on my Mac 12-16 hours a day, it never fails me.The smiling face is still there every time I boot my Mac. It's just not reflected back anymore.

SwitchersIf you haven't read the Apple Switcher stories yet, I highly recommend it. Even though I've been a Mac user since 1986, I find these stories very enlightening and gratifying. For years I have been telling people about how great my computing life is with my Mac. (although the Macs have changed through the years, the experience has only improved with each new version) I often grew tired of trying to explain the Mac advantages to die-hard PC users. They just didn't get it.Since OS X was released, I have noticed a newfound respect from these same people. They no longer are bashing me for being a Mac user. Suddenly, our conversations turned more inquisitive. They began asking questions. The curiosity grew, not because of what I was saying, but because they were starting to hear more and more about Apple. The Apple Switcher stories are proof that others are experiencing the same joy I do when I sit down at my computer. The stories are realistic, funny, and downright entertaining.It's simply amazing what a little evolution can do for society.

Trees of planet Earth, I apologize.I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all of the trees who have selflessly given their lives for the sake of junkmail. How many countless trees have been sacrificed to tell me about the latest credit card discounts, home mortgage opportunities, reduced car insurance, grand openings, going-out-of-business sales, Labor Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Columbus Day sales. How many pine, oak, poplar, fir, and other varieties have been ground up to tell me to register today, visit tomorrow, mark my calendar, and rush, rush, rush.

I guess I should be somewhat glad that spammers don't waste paper – just my time. I'd like to have a 'junk-o-meter' that would keep track of the seconds I spend deleting junk mail. I think it would add up to minutes a day. 20 maybe? Well, that's a good 2 hours a week. If that's true, then 2 x 50 (assuming the two weeks of vacation I used to have) = 100 hours. Well, that's 4.16 days a year — just do delete spam!!I believe that spammers should be forced to spend their time planting new trees. I think it's a nice completion to a vicious cycle. If we could only get the politicians to do something about it. Sadly enough, with the exception of our good friend, future politician, and fellow blogger, Tara Sue, the folks in Washington would likely send out another mailer – yet again, missing the point.Think about the amount of mail that is generated by your own local government. I am still getting sales tax applications from the State of Texas. I've had my sales tax permit for over two months. And, just in case I lost the first one, they sent me the same certificate 4 times!So folks, do your part to help cut down on junkmail. Don't sign up for petty mailing lists. Watch who you give your information to. Tell those solicitors to take your name off the list. Don't shop with folks that knowingly and openly resell your name and address. And please, for my sanity's sake, no matter how great the opportunity of a lifetime may be, don't forward it to me, and don't forward it to everyone in your address book.Remember: Friends don't let friends forward spam. As with other topics of the day, abstinence is the only guarantee.

Sunday was the big Harley ride. A group from Central Texas Harley Davidson left Lakeway around 10:30 and headed towards Lampasas. We saw some of the most incredible country. We took 1431 until it ended and wound through a few country roads. It went from 4 lanes, to 2, and then to about 1 1/2. The hills, canyons, ridges, and trees are unlike any other. You have to be in love with Texas to truly appreciate some of the scenery. If you're the kind who likes lush foliage and sandy beaches with clear water, Texas, at least around Austin, isn't for you. If you like the rough and rugged country, the old west, and the scrub back country full of cedar and live oak, you'll never find a prettier place.We rode into Lampasas around lunchtime and settled down for a big BBQ feast. The brisket was hot and the drinks were cold. It was a great combination. After lunch, dad and I had to leave the group and head back to Austin. We boogied down 183 at about 70 miles an hour for a good 40 minutes. As we entered Cedar Park, we were glad to be back in town. That's not my idea of a smooth ride. I much preferred the winding country roads and taking in the scenery at about 50 mph. That's the best way to see Texas – at a country pace, and atop the seat of a Harley Davidson.

Well, this weekend was a lot of fun, but MAN, was I tired.Saturday we left early and headed down to the Comal River in New Braunfels. If you've never been tubing before, here's the basic concept.You pay roughly $10 for an oversized innertube, get an extra tube to wedge in a cooler full of beer, tie the beer cooler tube to your tube, and rest your feet on the tubes of others to create a floating island. As the current whisks you downstream, you bask in the river as the sun beats down on you. You never realize how hot it is as the river water is usually around 60-65 degrees. In addition, the beer you started drinking around 10 o'clock that morning wipes away any sense of reason you once had. The trip takes approximately 2-4 hours (depending on current and debarkation point) and if you leave early enough, you can do it all again free of charge.Well, the group I was in (about 40 or 50 folks) was ambitious enough to do it twice. I was the only wimp who bailed out on the second round. Lucky for me, I had time to put on dry clothes, eat a nice lunch, and walk around town. The rest of the gang came back looking like a bus full of lobsters. Oh boy, what sun, fun, and a little beer can do to you. We can all hardly wait to go back and do it all over again!

I just caught this one on the X4U mailing list, and it's an amazingly useful tip!

If you have a networked printer, point your browser to http://127.0.0.1:631/. You'll be presented with the CUPS administration screen, which allows you to manage your networked printers and jobs via an easy to use and understand series of web pages. Very slick!

The Comal river was AWESOME!! I'm way too tired to post now. Tomorrow is a Harley ride with dad. I'll post in the afternoon on both events.

G'night

Andy