Ron Seybold's Sandbox

Creations, toys and games

Hard-wired History

leave a comment »

One of my dream writing projects, after finishing my novel Viral Times, is to pen a story of the HP 3000’s history, some 36 years and counting, a lifetime in the computer business. I’ve been on the scene for more than 23 of those years.

This week the juggernaut of Computerworld posted its Unsung innovators: 10 people who shaped the computer industry article. It’s the stuff which a good history relies upon as background, as well as turning points to compare against.

The article also includes a link to Seven Tech Titans of Today. For a writer who cut his teeth on community journalism, practiced in the fields of the Hewlett-Packard customer base, this is fun stuff. It makes it clear who the step-father of the Internet is, anyway.

Written by ronseybold

December 3, 2007 at 12:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Late night, lights-out heartbeats

leave a comment »

This has been the week of late nights for me and my wife. Abby and I watched basketball again deep into last evening, instead of going out to the movies. NBA playoffs, and the little David of the Warriors, bottom-seeded, fought the Goliath of Dallas. Top-seed vs. 8 can be of little interest. But not this series.

And so nearly three hours later we’re still naked and breathless on the bed — in front of the TV, watching an improbable upset unfold. Those Dallas desires for a playoff title lay as tangled up as our bedclothes. The Warriors, riding “The Force” that their coach invoked (Baron Davis, mostly), won and went up 3-1 in a best of seven series. No more losing for Dallas now, unless they fold up for the season.

After 45 minutes of channel bouncing, from TNT’s after-game coverage to the podium interviews on ESPN, then back, then forth, we turn out the lights. Abby’s heart is still racing. These Dallas Mavericks took our Spurs out of the playoffs last year, overtime in a Game Seven. We get to watch them suffer now. Oh the humiliation of being taken down by a bottom seed.

Hearts a-pounding, Abby cues us up our Sabrina DVD , drops the veil over the TV tube. Around our heartbeats together, all we can hear in the darkness is Audrey Hepburn’s voice narrating the movie with a fairytale opening, “Once upon a time, on the north shore of Long Island…”

Out in California in Oakland, the Warriors fans probably fought to fall asleep too, imaging a fairy tale that would let their doormat of a team sweep out the reigning conference champs. As John Saunders said on the Sports Reporters yesterday morning, Dallas may have won 67 games in the regular season, but they need to win three more very soon, or they’ll be done.” It might be too much fairytale to believe. But I’d rather be waking in Oakland this morning, or the postcard-clean island of Alameda just offshore where my friend Guy Smith lives, than rolling over to hit the buzzer in Dallas. Two time zones away, and the difference between hope and desperation.

Written by ronseybold

April 30, 2007 at 9:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Three things to keep out of your mouth

leave a comment »

Especially during the recent cabin-fever ice storm era here in Austin, you might be inclined to “treat” yourself with some bad foods. You might say, “oh, but it’s the only thing in the house.” Even that’s not a good enough excuse to consume these three foods:

1. Donuts
2. Alfredo sauce
3. Processed cheese

So says Chris Carmichael, trainer to Lance Armstrong during No. 1’s seven straight Tour de France wins. Carmichael has a poppin’ Web site with lots of free information on nutrition and training.

His bottom line on these three “worst” foods? Donuts will always leave you hungry, alfredo sauce is a heart attack on a plate, and any cheese that’s processed has something in it called alginate. Guest nutritionist Erika Highstead says “Alginate is used to waterproof and fireproof fabrics.”

On my own list I’d put bagels (really high Glycemic Index rating, poor fiber), ice cream (no matter how good it tastes, you gotta carry that fat up the hill) and root beer, a liquid that’s like a mainline of sugar. Thank goodness they only make it in 12 oz cans! (Oh — you mean there are 2-liter bottles? Uh oh.)

Written by ronseybold

January 18, 2007 at 9:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized

The $4,000 pen

leave a comment »

No kidding. The most costly item in the new Paradise Pen “Giving Manual No. 5” is a Cartier La Dona Menagerie Fountain Pen. Gold plated. Inspired by a necklace Cartier made in the 1940s for La Dona, “the Mexican Marilyn Monroe.”

“The second offering in the Menagerie Collection signed by Cartier.”

The necklace requested by La Dona was a crocodile. “Pen nib engraved with a crocodile head and the year 2006. Exotically expressive,” says the Paradise Giving Manual, which is something like Levenger meets J. Peterman.

Yes, there are under-$100 items in the Manual. But not many.

Written by ronseybold

December 12, 2006 at 9:11 am

Posted in Uncategorized

I wrote a Google-one-hit phrase

leave a comment »

I keep a blog well stocked in the other part of my life, as editor of the 3000 NewsWire. A few days ago a motivational speaker, Steve Donahue, sent me a comment about one of my recent stories on the NewsWire blog. I told the tale of how my son’s wedding day was a redemption for me, something like what a 3000 computer customer might be ready to feel. Drop the vitriol, if you can, I said. People were happy on that wedding day who had seen hard times in the past.

Well, it seems I managed to write a phrase that has exactly one link when you plug it into Google. Proper names can do this, and you can come up with a really nonsensical group of words that yield exactly one hit. But my phrase came out of writing about the wedding and Nick’s accomplishments as a rising sales person. The phrase?

“artistry of sales”

Type it into your Google search window, with the quotes included, and my editorial column will pop up.

For some reason, I’m pleased. I have the idea I might have coined something here.

Written by ronseybold

December 12, 2006 at 12:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Just one of 48,000 booksellers

leave a comment »

Barnes & Noble.com - www.bn.comTonight was my first night at Barnes & Noble, largest bookseller in the world and the company with the best-ranked retail experience in American business. For three years in a row. Not any pressure there to perform, no. Happy people. Great environment, generous benefits.

It’s part time seasonal through the middle of January, but it could turn out to  be more later. All the syntax of bookselling we got on our tour of the store tonight: mini-missions, channel shelves, dumps, toppers, waterfalls, step ladders, H’s, and the CGW: Core Gondola on Wheels.

It’s like learning the names of the sheets on a four-masted schooner. Children’s books generate the biggest share of the titles sold. Music is a high-value sale. And always, always, always, be offering the B&N Readers card.

Cover Image

There are 48,000 booksellers across the US, in 800 stores. Just 60 per store, on average. I’m one of just three coming into the workforce in Lakeline Mall’s outlet as seasonal temporary. Five hours of HR forms, briefings and an employee discount number worth 30 percent off. Which I used to buy Zobmondo, a collection of outrageous bizarre choices. Would you rather live in a home without electricity or live in a home without running water?”

Net on the night: $16.13 after taxes and that crazy book above. There’s some workshop prompts in there.

Written by ronseybold

November 28, 2006 at 12:24 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Novel writing month begins

leave a comment »

I’m part of the National Novel Writing Month “contest” this year. You’re a winner if you write 50,000 words on a novel by Nov. 30.

This month I’m working on Viral Times, my futuristic romance thriller. What month have I not been working on it? Some early work goes back to 1993.

Futuristic romance thriller. Yeah — the virus in Viral Times, MightyHand, created by a fundamentalist Nobel Laureate, that’s the MacGuffin. Matters little by the end of the book. This is a love story, with danger all about, that happens in America in about 15 years.

So I get to make social commentary on what’s popular in 2021. Concoct a crisis of Biblical proportions, literally. But mostly tell the love story of Dayton and Angie, a reporter and a natural healer. How they recover from the grief of losing love.

Yesterday I did a “print-out party” of acceptable chapters — those related to this part of the trilogy. 254 manuscript pages. At an average of 225 words double spaced per page, that’s 57,000 words.

And those pages represent only two thirds of the story. This will be a 90,000 word first draft.

So if I can write another 43,000 words in the next 29 days, do I win the contest? Or do I win a good first draft?

It’s just 1,400 words a day. About seven pages.

Lucky seven makes me a winner. But NANOWRIMO, as they call the contest, gives me some fellowship and point aim toward. Like the final chapter.

Written by ronseybold

November 2, 2006 at 9:12 am

Posted in Uncategorized