N. Harrison Ripps

My father passed away yesterday. I'm still very numb about the whole thing, still processing, but I didn't want this moment to go by without some writing. Going through old articles from a previous version of this blog, I found something I wrote about my dad on the occasion of his retirement from performing surgeries in 2008. I'm reposting it here for posterity. Rest in peace, Dad,

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A few weeks back, one of my coworkers (we'll call him Adam) had a major health scare and was hospitalized for a while. Another of my coworkers (we'll call her Betty) pulled together notes of well-wishing from our team and prepared them in a really thoughtful way, adding “get well soon” messages and images to the document before sending it along. Adam is out of the hospital now, which is a huge relief for everyone.

This week, in a completely unrelated incident, Betty's father passed away after a heart attack. This time around, the task of collecting people's messages of support has fallen to me. And wow, am I bad at this. At Adam's suggestion, I am following the same playbook that Betty used. But it feels highly ironic to be using this format for her, when just weeks ago she was doing this for someone else.

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I'm a big fan of the Mass Effect video game franchise. I've played the main trilogy through so many times that I could talk you through the whole plot and the big decision points without loading up the games.

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I've always used Instagram to promote my DJ hobby stuff. I know it is owned by (and integrated with) Facebook, which I actively dislike, but I always viewed IG as “Evil Adjacent” rather than “Pure Evil”. But at some point along the way, FB has now “streamlined” some things between the two platforms. The result is that if you want to use a scheduling app (like Buffer or Later) to queue your IG posts ahead of time, you need an IG Business Account that must be connected to a Facebook Page. You can't just have an IG Creator account anymore, you must also have an FB account.

So where does this leave folks who have no desire to be on Facebook?

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Twenty years ago today – the Ides of March, 2002 – I enlisted in the Army National Guard. Unlike most of the young men and women going through in-processing that day in Boston, I was already a college graduate, I was already married, and I wasn't exactly young. I was twenty-eight years old. Had a full-time job as a software engineer, had a mortgage. What motivated me to join was a sense that I could be doing more to serve others. It was just after 9/11 and I felt like it was something I could do.

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When I was in high school, I had a fast food job in the local shopping mall. I was in Danbury, CT, which was close enough to New York City to attract a lot of business from urbanites looking for a change of scenery on the weekends. This made for very busy weekend shifts, and absolutely insane holiday rushes. Each day as Christmas of my senior year approached, hungry shoppers would be stacked up in twisting lines, five people deep, in front of every restaurant in the food court.

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My hunt for a shiny new laptop always starts with the best of intentions, but well-intentioned laptops usually don’t come with gaming-ready GPUs. What do I mean by a “well-intentioned” laptop? I have a lot of respect for [System76][1] and [Star Labs][2] for their lovely Linux-first systems, and particular respect for [Purism][3]‘s holistic approach to the union of open source hardware and privacy. But I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t admit that my ideal laptop is just as capable of running triple-A video games as it is of running Linux-based workloads...

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In October of 2018, I got my annual physical and came face-to-face with the reality of my current weight and fitness levels. I was at 30 [BMI][1] and at my lowest amount of regular physical activity in years. The trend was not good.

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Here at The Internet Shipyards, Friday night is cocktail night. Today’s special guest: the Rusty Nail, also known as the World’s Simplest Cocktail.

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Starting back in September I published a series of articles for the Red Hat Developer Blog under the series title “That App You Love”. I’m psyched to announce that “That App You Wrote”, my followup presentation, has been accepted as a talk at DevConf.cz this month! Didn’t read the original series? You can follow along here...

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