Personal Blog of Charles Sieg - Entrepreneur, Founder of Renkara Media Group, iOS Developer

Three Monitor Setup

My desk at Renkara

Since going full-time as an iOS developer, I have worked from home exclusively. Sometimes I am asked why I am not open to travel. Beyond personal reasons like wanting to be home to spend time with my family, the most important reason is that my home office is designed for maximum productivity. My primary machine is a 2013 27” iMac with 32 GB of RAM. I use two external 27” LED Cinema Displays - one in portrait orientation - and I have a 15” Retina MacBook Pro open and running all of the time also. With this setup I can get a lot done very quickly. If I was to travel with just the MacBook Pro, it would significantly reduce my productivity. Simply put, my clients get the best return on their investment in my time when I work at this desk.


Camera Talk

Am a pretty happy Canon Rebel owner but loved this article about the camera wars between Canon and Nikon over the years. After reading the article, scrappy Canon reminds me a bit of Samsung in copying a great product and then innovating quickly to become a strong competitor. One eye-opening factoid: Nikon made the optics / bomb sights in the Japanese planes that bombed Pearl Harbor.


So, climate change is a bit disturbing but not nearly disturbing as the possibility of having no effective antibiotics. This recent article in The Huffington Post talks about the “catastrophic effect” that antibiotic resistance could have on medicine:

“There are an increasing number of infections for which there are virtually no therapeutic options, and we desperately need new discovery, research and development,” she said.

Ice Roads

I was recently discussing the fact that people drove snowmobiles and cars on Sunset Lake when I was growing up and that the lake ice was plenty thick to support such weight. The discussion led to talking about some “roads” in Alaska that actually traverse frozen lakes and rivers in the winter. Turns out, there is a whole cable TV show on the History Channel about this called “Ice Road Truckers”. Fascinating to me is that there is now a fully paved Alaska Highway which might be an interesting driving experience.


One of the more humorous websites I’ve stumbled across lately is this guy’s blog called “Knobfeel” which simply reviews a device’s “knobfeel”. This video is a good example:

10-Year Hoodie Update

Sooo, that little 10-Year Hoodie project I backed at Kickstarter appears to have met its goal and then some. Flint & Tinder achieved its initial goal of $50,000 in the first day and with 31 days to go, people have pledged over $625,000! The company has also listened to feedback and opened up more sizes, now from XS all the way to XXXL.

Flint & Tinder recently posted a great “thank you” video which totally sums up my reasons for backing the company on this.

According to the video, to fulfill the current orders, they need to buy enough fabric to cover 180 football fields. I imagine they will have to hire quite a few Americans to get these orders out. Go USA!

My Only Odyssey Magazine Submission

Odyssey Magazine submission, 1982

Looking back, it’s hard to believe I was already a long-time subscriber to Odyssey magazine at 9 1/2 years of age. I knew all of my constellations, stars, galaxies, and various planetary mission. I always enjoyed the artwork submission section - usually filled with amazing drawings by high school age students - and finally came up with a “new” idea for a submission: I would create a picture by coloring and cutting out pieces of a space scene and pasting them on black cardboard paper.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure

This brings back a few memories. I had forgotten there were so many variants on the “Choose Your Own Adventure” concept. Am thinking a few of these, or at least the “young reader” incarnations, would make for interesting bedtime reading for the boys.

The Hidden War on Dads

Packaging Nightmare

There is a hidden war being waged on dads everywhere this Christmas. Thousands of attractively packaged toys, delivered by that sneakiest of moles - Santa Claus - secretly contain Weapons of Patience Annihilation (WPAs).

These cleverly arranged wires and ties and plastic screws serve a sinister purpose - to singlehandedly frustrate and derail patient dads who are trying to unpack holiday presents for their wired, chocolate-addled children.

The twistie ties are particularly insidious. They are a grayish hue but with a degree of transparency such that half of the time you misread the direction of the twist and end up twisting it tighter instead of loosening. Dads with glasses or tired eyes will understand this pitfall especially well.

And when you finally extract an animal or vehicle from its cardboard prison, the item is surprisingly further bound to itself or a little plastic stand use to keep parts from moving or to keep the bold plastic figurine upright. Such unexpected bondage can often result in said figurine being dismembered by a now enraged parent.

Dads across this great nation need to stand up and fight back in this war for “frustration free” toy packaging! My suggestion is to simply throw all that crap in a bucket that can be popped open and dumped on the ground in 20 seconds flat. And, critically, every bucket should come with a microfreezer in the bottom containing an icy, hermetically sealed bottle of beer to reward paternal valor in this most significant of conflicts.


I did pretty good on my New Year’s resolutions in 2012. I only made two of them:

  • Drink more water.

  • Eat more quinoa.

Prior to 2012, I never had quinoa. It’s not my favorite but it is a very healthy alternative to having white rice or potatoes as a side dish. My secret to enjoying quinoa is dousing it with Cholula Chili Garlic hot sauce.

I also put a 2 gallon Rubbermaid water jug on my desk and set a notification on my computer to remind me to drink water every 30 minutes. Basically, every 30 minutes a little window pops up on my computer and says “Time for a drinkie!” and I stop everything I’m doing and pound back some quick refreshment. Without the notification, I’m known to work for hours on end without looking up so this solution keeps me from getting stuck in tunnel vision.

I have some new resolutions for 2013:

Eat more kale. On a suggestion from Michael Primeaux, I tried adding a few kale leaves to my breakfast smoothie. Turns out that I can’t taste the kale at all and it adds a considerable amount of super nutrition to an already healthy beverage. Kale also freezes very well so it’s easy to buy a bunch, wash it, freeze it, and just grab a few leaves in the morning for the smoothie.

Strengthen my immunity. 2012 was a bad year for getting sick. It’s probably partly due to the boys now going to school every day and bringing back a multitude of invisible beasties into our home but I’d really like to not get sick every other month. Will be aiming to improve my immune response through even better diet but also through early response measures like Zicam, Umcka, Oscillococcinum, and Wellness Formula.

More yoga. Ahu and I have been taking yoga class twice weekly for almost two years now but I’ve failed to bring a daily yoga practice into my life. I have a yoga mat and associated props sitting in front of my desk but have rarely made time to go through even a few poses a day. My body always feels immensely refreshed and energized after yoga so succeeding with this resolution could significantly improve my long work days.

It’s interesting in looking at my list that all of my resolutions are related to fitness: exercise and diet. The reality is that the rest of my life is full of awesome but is all predicated on being healthy and energetic. If I’m sick or tired, I’m not a fun daddy and don’t build as many blanket tents or Lego castles with my sons. The body really is the foundation for all other worthy pursuits.

Handpainted R2-D2 Lightswitch Plate

Handpainted R2-D2 Lightswitch Plate

This is the lightswitch plate I had in my bedroom when I was a boy. It was handpainted by Corinne Ficek, a friend of our family. I no longer live at home but my mom sent this along as a keepsake, or, as I like to think of it, an heirloom for the next deserving nerd in my family.