Daring Greatly: Rare Bird at 10 Years

In a few days, we’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of starting Rare Bird. I woke up this morning with the words of Teddy Roosevelt on my mind, which I first encountered years ago in “The Norman Shield,” the pledge training manual of Sigma Chi.

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

President Theodore Roosevelt
“Citizenship in a Republic,”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

I’m not certain if “daring greatly” is entirely fitting, but I believe that we have experienced the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and we are spending ourselves in a worthy cause. It’s been a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the next ten!

Why I Ride

I don’t get out often enough, but every time I climb on my bike, my mind is cleared and my soul refreshed. The best thing is, you don’t have to go far to find a decent trail. Within a couple miles from my house, I can access a trail right here in Marion county that never fails to deliver. The normal access is up on 96th Street near Hazel Dell Parkway. The trail extends south from there along the river, crosses under I-465 and continues on a long(ish) winding loop through a field of wild flowers and along the banks of both the White River and a small tributary.

I access the trail on the south end by crossing over River Road, winding back on an old access road and carrying my bike across a log that has fallen over the creek. The round trip from my house, through the trail and back is about 16 miles. I can’t imagine ever wanting to ride among the exhaust and cars of the street when there are winding trails through the woods available…

Fixing my iPhone syncing & lag problems

I love my iPhone and have found the transition to the 2.0 software to be basically painless. I was also very much looking forward to updating from the “cloud” provided by MobileMe, essentially ensuring that everything would be up-to-date without having to physically attach the iPhone to my Mac. Problems arose almost immediately: I began experiencing huge (10-15 second) delays when making selections on the iPhone, trying to access applications or even make a simple phone call. I tracked down the issue and fixed it, and you can too. Here’s how.

My problem was related to my contacts. After years in business, I have nearly 5,000 contacts in Address Book, but with version 1.0, I only synced “active” records to the phone. I simply created a group called iPhone and put everyone in the group that I wanted to have on the phone. Simple and effective. When I upgraded the phone software and turned on cloud syncing with MobileMe, however, I experienced an odd problem. MobileMe seemed to only want to sync *all* of my contacts, not just a specified group. After allowing this to happen, the delays and buggy performance began on my iPhone.

For me, I spend a lot of time out of the office. I’m rarely (but occasionally) adding new contacts via the iPhone, but I’m frequently adding new calendar events on both the phone and the computer. The events have to stay updated all the time so the office knows where I am and what’s going on, but the contacts can be synced manually (by physically connecting to the computer.)
(Note: I attribute the fact that it took a few days to fix this problem as user error. I simply wasn’t looking hard enough to find a fix.) Anyway, digging into the preferences, iTunes mentioned that I could control the push options on the iPhone. The problem was that calendars and contacts seemed to share the same preferences. If I wanted to push calendars (which I definitely did) I had to push contacts (which I was willing to live without.)

On your iPhone, choose Settings > Fetch New Data > Advanced > username@mac.com

You’ll see that Calendars & Contacts are grouped together here and share the same option, whether it’s Push or Fetch. Bummer.

But I eventually found a different location that offered what I was looking for:

On your iPhone, choose Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > username@mac.com >

This opens a MobileMe account info screen which provides the ability to individually control behaviors for Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Bookmarks. In these settings, I turned Calendars on and left the others off. This allows my calendar to *always* sync automatically through the cloud but I can manually control Contacts.

So, back in iTunes, on the Info tab, I have the ability to “Sync Address Book contacts” and choose which selected groups to sync. Now the calendar is always right, the right contacts are on the phone and the complete Address Book is backed up on all my computers (and MobileMe), and the laggy performance on the iPhone is gone. Problem solved!