Steven Nichols Curcuru: television pioneer; technology columnist; Resident Wizard [UPDATE 1]

Steven Nichols Curcuru, television pioneer, technology columnist, and Resident Wizard, age 68, passed away peacefully at a friend’s home in Groton, MA on January 6th, 2013, as a result of pancreatic cancer.

Born in October 1944 at the West Point Military Hospital while his father was serving in the European Theater in WW2, Steven grew up with his parents Edmond and Patricia and two younger brothers. Although the family moved frequently during Steven’s childhood, they regularly spent summers in Southhold, NY where he raced his Lightning sailboat and worked as a lifeguard at Founders Landing Beach. After graduating early from Phillips Academy, he attended the College of William & Mary where he worked at the school’s radio station WCWM and as a folk music producer, and graduated in 1967.

Steven then moved to Concord, MA, and worked at WNAC-TV Channel 7 in Boston. In his long tenure at Channel 7, he brought many innovations to the television newsroom in the 1970s and 1980s, including designing and installing the first-ever computer network story editing systems, computer-controlled studio cameras, and computer animated weather graphics. Steven produced a number of major news events at Channel 7, including Emmy award-winning coverage from onboard the USCGC Eagle of the American Bicentennial OpSail ’76, as well as winning other Emmy awards and a New York Film Festival award. He was also a part-time journalism professor at Boston University, where he particularly enjoyed mentoring newcomers to television news production and helped to launch a number of careers in broadcast journalism. In 1993, Steven moved on to become the Resident Wizard at Mugar Enterprises, advising the company on technology investments and working to produce and expand Boston’s Fourth of July events. He wrote a regular column for PC Week, and served as a judge at Comdex computer conferences.

Steven is survived by his mother Patricia N Curcuru, his brothers Kevin H. Curcuru and Kim M. Curcuru, his son Shane Curcuru, granddaughter Roxanne Curcuru, significant other Linda Miller-Foster, and best friend Karen Coe.

A memorial gathering is planned at the end of January in Sudbury, MA for local friends and family. A private family memorial will be held at Southhold, NY in the summer. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memoriam of Steven N. Curcuru to the Northeast Animal Shelter, to the MSPCA-Angell shelter, or to Coast Guard Mutual Assistance.

Comments or questions about arrangements posted here will be passed on to the family.

Do you know Steven Curcuru?

If so, he (or I, his son) would love to hear from you – preferably via email!

That is, Steven Curcuru, sometimes called Steve and styled as the Ol Wizard, educated at Phillips Academy, William & Mary and WCWM radio, Boston University, WHDH-TV, and Mugar Enterprises, and past writer for PC Week, and Massachusetts resident.

His old contact info should still be valid, or you can reach me at me@ this domain name and I can pass along a message.

Please note that this call is not for fans of the west-coast based graphic illustrator also named Steve Curcuru, nor is this for the local Gloucester politician and business owner Steven Curcuru, or any other Steve(n) Curcurus I may have missed. Although I’m sure we’re all related somehow!

Music lovers: do you hear these?

Listening to some pop music in the car the other day, one particular part of several songs seemed to jump out at me. I was wondering if these are a part of music that today’s highly processed recording studios deal with or change regularly, or if it’s not something that’s typically engineered out (or not) yet.

Breath sounds.

Seriously. I’m not sure what specifically got me listening to them, but once I started hearing them clearly, I couldn’t stop. Then I couldn’t stop listening to new songs, trying to see if they had left vocalist’s breath sounds on the tracks or not. It was interesting seeing in how some cases the extra intake of breath – perhaps in the middle of a big belted out chorus – really added to the realism of the singing. And careful listening showed that some vocalists have very clear singing styles – you can almost picture what they look like when singing the end of a phrase from listening to how their voice and breath changes.

Is this something that music studios and engineers regularly process out (or not, or change subtly perhaps) these days? Or have the amazing audio processing tools not made it to the point where it’s a simple click of a button to say yes or no to the sound of vocalists inbreaths? Semi-pro recorders seem to have some tools, but they’re certainly not completely automated.

I was also surprised where I did – or did not – hear breath sounds. Call Me Maybe – certainly a highly-produced and engineered track! – seems to have left them all in, without apparent modification. A couple of other highly-produced tracks left them in, in one case distractingly so (well, perhaps that was because I was focusing on them). But another, less “pop” and presumably less produced/engineered track had clearly taken them out. That, or the vocalist was very careful with a good studio mic to keep their breathing sounds below levels.

I was just wondering: with today’s computing power and highly produced or over-produced songs – who can do things far beyond Auto-Tune with the click of a mouse – is analysis of how breath sounds affect the track something they do all the time now, or is it still a rarely changed bit of sound?

Tap, tap, tap… is this thing on?

Have you ever noticed how the really good sound engineers only ever need to say “One, two, one, check check” to get a good mic check? They never count to three. At least not the good ones.

Anyway, I finally had the mental energy to do the bash WordPress into upgrading tonight, since the self-upgrade never works on my webhost. Sadly, routine system maintenance is one of those things that I have a high procrastination skill in, thus since the admin system was broken, I haven’t been blogging. Twitter is too fast for me – I need to focus on home (i.e. being at home) and work things, which quite frankly aren’t Twitter material. And Facebook is amusing for the witty repartee; at least I enjoy it.

But I need to start blogging again, either here or at, since I’ll be speaking at ApacheCon NA in Portland this coming February 2013! Really looking forward to attending an ApacheCon as just a speaker, and not an organizer. I’m hoping it will be more relaxing. Then again, I haven’t written all the slides for my talk yet, so…

There will be other extended family news coming out soon. Hope all the locals are being treated well by winter, and hope all my down under friends are enjoying the beaches!

WANTED: 17in ASA JH8 wheel for BMW E36

‘Nuff said. It’s summer now, my Blizzaks are shredding, and I only have three 17in’s of this style, which apparently is no longer carried at any of the obvious tire places.

Any suggestions for a 1995 E36 17in wheel that will never go out of stock? The New England roads – especially in this economy, when potholes don’t take priority in funding – are really torturing my alloys.

Dr. Edmond Harvey Curcuru, CPT (R) USA: beloved grandfather; decorated officer; distinguished lecturer

Dr. Edmond Harvey Curcuru, CPT (R) USA, age 89, passed away peacefully in his sleep at his Longboat Key, FL home on March 20th, 2011, as a result of long-term heart complications.

Born in April, 1921, Edmond grew up in Ferndale, MI with his parents Louis and Florence, two brothers and sister. After high school, he and his brother Louis both received Congressional nominations, and were accepted into the same class at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY. While at West Point, his brother Louis lost his life while flying a training mission. Edmond graduated in an abbreviated three years with the class of June 1943 and received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Before departing for the war in Europe, he married his Highland Falls, NY sweetheart, Patricia Nichols.

Arriving in Europe in the fall of 1944, Edmond was assigned to the 502nd PIR of the 101st “Screaming Eagles” Airborne division a few short days before the Battle of the Bulge. He made his only combat jump off the back of a truck into the battle near Bastogne, where the 101st was encircled by the enemy. As the only surviving officer of his company, he led his men until forces of the 3rd Army broke the encirclement, winning the Bronze Star for his actions. Shortly thereafter, he was wounded by a bomb, losing the use of his wrist and acquiring some lifelong shrapnel along with a Purple Heart.

After his medical discharge from the U.S. Army after the war, he taught at Miami University in Ohio until being recalled by the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He spent his remaining Army service as a Captain teaching at West Point, and was one of the original faculty members of the Department of Military Psychology and Leadership.

After retiring on disability from the U.S. Army, Edmond moved to Connecticut, where he consulted and presented training for Life Office Management Association and across the insurance industry while receiving his PhD from Columbia University. He was one of the founding professors at the Stamford branch of the University of Connecticut Business School, where he taught business and management classes. He traveled extensively for his teaching, lecture, and consulting work on leadership and management theory with many insurance companies, and served as a director for the Sentry Life Insurance Company of New York.

Edmond continued his consulting and teaching work with his own company, Management Services, Inc. for many years, well past his retirement age. He called several places home in his life, including Palm Springs, FL; Weston, CT; Longboat Key, FL, and especially Southold, NY, where he dearly loved predicting the weather, and watching the sunset over the waves on the beach.

Edmond is survived by his wife, Patricia N. Curcuru; his sons Steven N. Curcuru, Kevin H. Curcuru, and Kim M. Curcuru; grandchildren Shane Curcuru, Julie Curcuru, Emily Curcuru, and Todd Curcuru, and great grandchildren Roxanne Curcuru and Arin Mcgilvray. Services will be held later this summer at the Southold United Methodist Church in Southold, NY, at the family plot.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to your preferred U.S. Army Veterans organization, or to the Southold United Methodist Church, in memoriam of E.H. Curcuru, USMA June ’43.

Condolences and memories may be added on the web Comments on below and will be presented to Patricia and the family.

I’ve got that post-apocalyptic feeling…

It started with some bad news over the weekend which I’ll blog later, which set an odd tone for this week. But coming into work early this morning, I definitely get the feel I’m on a movie set doing a modernistic post-apocalyptic script.

Weather and News

We had late spring snow yesterday, so while my body is telling me it should be too warm for snow, there’s still just enough snow on the grass and a few dark spots to be more than a dusting. It gives an eerie feeling, like the onset of nuclear winter.

Oh, and then there’s the news these days. ‘Nuff said.

Office Building

They’ve been doing construction downstairs in my office building lately, and the sound travels through some of the walls. It’s an annoying cross between the clanking of SkyNet robots, and the strange chittering of some little alien creatures.

But even better than that is the latest way to save money on garage lighting. The building landlord recently replaced all the lights in our underground parking garage with efficient but flickery fluorescents. But they went even further than that: 80%+ of the lights now have motion sensors, meaning they’re turned off most of the time, until you drive near them.

It’s quite an experience being in the underground garage, where most of the lights appear to be out, and there’s just this hint of chittering in the background…

The Mall

To top it all off, those post-apocalyptic movie directors even got the Galleria to participate!

  • None of the escalators are working. Possibly because of the mice scurrying along them.
  • And the elevators aren’t working right either; one keeps coming and going with no-one in it.
  • Plus, there’s a whole line of refugees in the mall, huddled along the wall, wrapped in blankets and looking a little shell shocked.

So I’m definitely hoarding the emergency food in my desk, and raiding the drink machine before anyone else gets into the office. I’ll be ready.

(Yes, it’s all true. Well, there was only one mouse; I do have pictures. Plus they were doing maintenance on the escalators & elevators.)

(Oh, the refugees? Yes, that’s true too. They’re waiting in line for their iPads. Reminiscent of an earlier day…)

Ideas of March and 011 Plans

Taking inspiration from Rich Bowen (from Chris Shiflett) here’s a blog entry to celebrate a hopefully Joyous Spring after yesterday’s Equinox and Supermoon.

Ideas of March #ideasofmarch

  • Blogs are a great social CV, far better and long-lived than Twitter et al. Think of your blog as the world’s way to see what you think is important, and how well you play with others. A great compliment to a more traditional CV.
  • Blogs for me can be cathartic: oftentimes writing down great little ideas I have (even if they’re the kind that are only great in those 30 seconds before you fall asleep) helps get them out of my system, or even evolve them into something useful.
  • Blogs can encourage meaningful conversations, or at least conversations you remember. There’s far too much immediate topical stuff or cheap jokes or riffs on Twitter for it to really make you think bigger.

011 Plans

  • Blog more – well, blog some: target monthly. Check!
  • Edit more. Write drafts, save them, and come back to finish.
  • Get my average weight down below my past two decade’s average weight (which was amazingly stable for years and years; basically before my daughter was born). In progress – close!
  • Post some of my Domino designs and ideas. I’ve built so many Domino apps in the past 6 years that I have a bunch of reusable design patterns that I really like. Plus the bleed yellow people seem pretty cool.
  • Start my daughter’s post-college fund. We have some money for college; this is for her to use afterward.
  • Upgrade all blog and email and feed reader software and centralize domains to simplify my brain. I recommend Dreamhost for domains and hosting.
  • Organize and document all of the ASF’s branding policy, including training for all PMCs on how to effectively self-manage trademarks. Working on it.
  • Eat fruit every day. Most days.
  • Exercise at least 4 times a week. So far!