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"Murphy was an optimist!"

From the mouths of babes August 30, 2014 9:08 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Evan, Family, From the mouths of babes, Of Being Dad
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Evan, 9 years old: “I like being high!” “Everything looks different when you are high. It’s so beautiful.” “Being high is awesome!”

We were driving the rental truck home.

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The last year of single digits in our house! May 27, 2014 3:23 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Evan, Family, Of Being Dad
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Nine years ago, I held a blank journal in my hands and promised the gooey alien freshly spat from wife’s vagina that I would write a letter to him every day. Today the alien can read but fortunately is far more interested in watching Youtube videos of people playing Minecraft narrated by fowl mouthed f-bomb dropping cynics than seeking out my digital drivel. While the dusty journal remains devoid of entries, fear not son, I have left a virtual trail of embarrassing photographs, stories and videos to provide you and your future therapist countless hours of recurring couch sessions. Happy Birthday! You mean the world to me! (and please quit cursing behind our backs)

[Dear reader, They grow up fast. Set the excuses aside and spend time with them lest you role play a Harry Chapin ballad. And the ‘cursing behind our backs’ was a joke.]

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Last week of school May 19, 2014 8:48 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Amy, Daily Life, Evan, Family, Noah
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This week represents the last 2 and a half days of school for Knox County students. So naturally they are working hard to prepare the students for their rising grade by showing them 2.5 days of movies, video games, and socializing.

I would love to see 2.5 days of fine tuning study skills, personal time management, and lateral thinking puzzles.

That said, drivers be alert. You are about to see children in places at times you don’t expect them.

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My submission for Dad of the Year May 14, 2014 7:41 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Amy, Daily Life, Evan, Family, From the mouths of babes, Of Being Dad
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"Stop fighting, Goddammit!"

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Parenting – Old Math February 23, 2014 3:30 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Evan, Family, Of Being Dad
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Just taught roman numerals to my 8 year old. That was fun!

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Check out my child actors! December 10, 2013 10:18 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Amy, Evan, Gadgets, Of Being Dad, Technology
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Learn more about Node+ at variableinc.com.

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From the mouths of babes November 27, 2013 7:27 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Evan, Family, From the mouths of babes, Sarah
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College girl has come home for Thanksgiving.

Evan, 8 years old: "Mom! Sarah has different boobs. Sarah’s boobs are fluffy."

I’m really hoping I misheard that and he really said "boots."

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Awkward parent moment September 10, 2013 7:42 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Evan, Family, From the mouths of babes, Of Being Dad
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Tonight’s awkward moment of reading aloud to your 8 year old brought to by Neil Gaimen in Stardust. I hesitated as I read with enthusiasm, "and her tongue slid into his mouth" but I bravely pressed on, "his hand felt her small breasts through the silk of her dress" huh? "touched the hard nubs of her nipples" Now wait a minute! Did I just read that out loud to my 8 year old boy in the presence of my eleven year old girl?! I flip the soft porn over and examine the back cover for an age recommendation. There is an S in a triangle which I presume means safe but I read the next paragraph to myself and skipped reading aloud the parts about arching, pushing, exulting, and not pulling out because she held him inside her with her legs wrapped around him.

Skipping to the next safe paragraph, I continue reading to my children.

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Of Being Dad August 26, 2013 8:33 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Amy, Daily Life, Evan, Family, Of Being Dad
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I just read to my youngest children for an hour. I am hoarse and happy.

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From the mouths of babes August 17, 2013 11:14 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Cathy, Daily Life, Evan, From the mouths of babes
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Evan, 8 years old holding 3 week old kitten: "You know how they say they always land on their feet?"
Mom: "NO! Don’t drop the kitty!"

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Today’s accomplishment — iPod brought back to life! March 23, 2013 3:37 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Evan, Family, Of Being Dad
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For Christmas, Amy and Evan received iPods. About three weeks ago, Evan’s iPod was in his coat pocket when the coat went through the washing machine. Fortunately it was discovered before going through the dryer. I immediately pried the case open (it is held together with a glue strip) and removed the screws holding the mother board in to lift it for slightly for drying. I grabbed a Tupperware container and put the open device in it, covered with a papertowel, then poured two pounds of rice into the container. Next I went to Amazon to order five new adhesive strip stickers. Today I applied the adhesive strips, replaced all the screws, and snapped the screen back onto the iPod and it started right up! Knock on wood, it appears to be performing as new!

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From the mouths of babes February 20, 2013 8:06 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Evan, Family, From the mouths of babes
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Evan, 7 years old: “Daddy, why do you have spots all over you?”
Me: “Because your grandmother knew it was time to leave the beach when your uncle and I turned red.”

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From the mouths of babes February 2, 2013 1:09 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Evan, Family, From the mouths of babes, Of Being Dad
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Evan, 7 year old con artist, in a soft, whispery, infectious voice: "Dad, you’re a reeeally good builder." *pause* "Putting up a tv in one day!" *pause* "Building a club house." *pause* "About to build a tree house."

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From the mouths of babes January 24, 2013 9:21 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Deep Thoughts, Evan, Family, From the mouths of babes, Philosophy
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Evan, 7 years old: "A boy in my class said that all the money his dad had was $2. And his dad gave it to him!"

This could be a seven year old misinterpretation. For example, I have $5 in my wallet right now but that’s it and I could see my seven year old saying, "This is Dad’s last $5 and he gave it to me!" The sad truth is that most of us are one paycheck away from being homeless. Good fiscal planning suggests keeping three to six paychecks in savings but if $2 is all you have and your son needs that for lunch then saving anything is going to be impossible. The problem snowballs. Let’s say the $2 dad wants to feed his family and didn’t turn to Fish. Instead he knows he gets paid on Friday and since this is Thursday, he skates a check at the grocery hoping it won’t clear until after his deposit. But the bank processes the check first. Now $2 dad is faced with a $36 fee from the bank plus a $25 fee from the grocery store. $61 vanishes from the budget which is already not making it. Now the next pay period will be even harder. This is the poverty cycle.

I read something astounding yesterday.

The world’s 100 richest people earned a stunning total of $240 billion in 2012 – enough money to end extreme poverty worldwide four times over

[Source, RT.com, World’s 100 richest earned enough in 2012 to end global poverty 4 times over]

Read that closely. One hundred people could change the world.

"The richest 1 percent has increased its income by 60 percent in the last 20 years with the financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process."

[Source, RT.com, World’s 100 richest earned enough in 2012 to end global poverty 4 times over]

More power to them! I would love to increase my income by 60%. I would love to taste the lifestyles of the rich and famous. However, read it closely. "[T]he financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process." Why? Because in the past 20 years the tax laws and other laws have been skewed in favor of the rich. It’s the opposite of Robin Hood. The rich are robbing from the poor to give to the rich. Cutting off welfare programs will not suddenly make the poor responsible and bring them out of poverty; cutting off welfare programs will make the poor dead…which I suppose does end poverty.

I did not mean to politicize this. My point was that a lot of people, normal people, are struggling. It is amazing that 100 people in the world could dramatically change that 4 fold. And yes, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and others are already donating their wealth for good. I hope we can reach a point where no child ever has to say "$2 is all my dad has" again.

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Why does Apple make this so confusing? December 25, 2012 10:04 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Amy, Christmas, Daily Life, Evan, Family, Gadgets, Holiday, Of Being Dad, Technology
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Goals

Situation

We have one Macbook Air in the house. My wife syncs her iPhone with iTunes on this Macbook Air. For Christmas, the 7 year old and 10 year old received iPods. Yes, I understand DRM. Rovio Entertainment would much prefer I buy Angry Birds 3 times instead of one. I have no problem with that although I do feel like the model for DRM for music fails when compared to the physical world of records and CDs.

Possible solutions

As best I can tell, there are four ways to manage multiple devices with iTunes.

  1. Individual User Accounts
  2. Multiple iTunes Libraries
  3. Management Screen
  4. Playlists

Each of these has their respective pros and cons.

Individual User Accounts

Since each user account is its own space, that means each user has their own iTunes library and sync settings for their iOS device. Easy to understand, (relatively) easy to set up, and easy to maintain–it’s a good approach!

[Source, About.com, 4 Ways to Use Multiple iPods on One Computer]

The problem with this approach is Apple doesn’t allow children under 13 to have an AppleID. So you are faced with lying and apparently Apple permanently associates the age first entered with the email address. Sharing of apps and music is difficult or impossible (DRM…and I’m okay with that).

Multiple iTunes Libraries

With this method, each person who uses the computer has their own iTunes library and sync settings. This way, you won’t get music, apps, or movies mixed across iTunes libraries (unless you want to) and won’t end up with someone else’s content on your iPod by mistake.

The downsides of this approach are that parental controls on content apply to all iTunes libraries (with user accounts, they’re different for each account) and that each user’s space is not as cleanly separate. Still, this is a good option that’s easy to set up.

[Source, About.com, 4 Ways to Use Multiple iPods on One Computer]

Although promising, this approach seems burdensome and ripe for making errors since iTunes launches the last used library by default.

Management Screen

With this approach, you choose what content from each of the tabs in the management screen you want on your device. Other people using the computer do the same thing.

The downsides of this technique include that it only allows one setting for parental control of content and it can be imprecise (for instance, you might only want some music from an artist, but if someone else adds more of that artist’s music, it could end up on your iPod).

So, even though it’s messy, this is a very easy way to manage multiple iPods.

[Source, About.com, 4 Ways to Use Multiple iPods on One Computer]

I believe this is how my wife has been managing multiple devices in the past. It does allow for sharing of certain apps and music but if a child starts syncing with a different iTunes library, your personal device will start prompting you for their password in addition to yours in certain circumstances. I am also not sure that this approach will allow the children to use Facetime, iCloud, and iMessage the way we want. Instead the 5GB of space on iCloud may end up being shared between all the devices while the iMessages intended only for my wife (nudge nudge) could inadvertently be seen by the children.

Playlists

Downsides of this approach include that everything each person adds to the iTunes library is mixed together, the same content restrictions for all users, and the possibility that your playlist could be accidentally deleted and you’d have to re-create it.

[Source, About.com, 4 Ways to Use Multiple iPods on One Computer]

I am afraid this will also have the problem noted above with Facetime, iCloud, and iMessage.

Conclusion

Apple has made this unnecessarily confusing. It’s as if Apple is adult techie centric and in no way thinking about the way a family might use their devices. For instance, the iPad does not support multiple logins or even a level of control that would allow your child to safely use the device. Cathy is constantly having to rename folders and put applications back in the correct spot because she cannot hand the iPod to the child in a locked down mode. A simple second password with attached restrictions such as "cannot view certain applications" or "cannot rename folders." With such an approach Apple could allow unlimited screen lock passwords that would allow settings for the adult, the teen, the child, or even the toddler (and yes, toddlers use iPads).

So, how do you manage multiple iDevices in your house? And with children under 13?

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