Random Thoughts on Boredom

A thought occurred to me the other day…

Maybe it’s good to be bored

Remember when you were a kid and you thought you might literally die of boredom? What if that was a good thing? What if boredom was critical to our childhood development…and as an adult, what if it still is?

Of course, the problem today is that I have more Apple devices than I have perishable food items in my fridge. Always on. Always connected. Always Addressable. But never bored…and maybe that’s a bad thing.

I took my mom to the dentist yesterday and as I was waiting room, I tried something. I put my phone in my pocket and I stared out the window – into space. I allowed myself to become bored. In doing so, I think I allowed myself to be the unwobbling pivot at the center of an ever-revolving universe; to be still…

Now I’m bored, time to go watch the rest of Stranger Things 2 😉

Random thoughts on Google Search

I was just thinking that I ought to be able to raise my camera (iPhone) and ask a question like “where am I?”. GPS is never going to be perfect and signals bounce off buildings so what if you could combine GPS with a visual input to determine location? I can also imagine something basic like pointing my phone at a car and asking Google “What kind of car is that?”. Last but not least I can imagine pointing my phone at an insect bite and asking “Should I go see a doctor about this?”. That would be cool…like living in the future.

Random Thoughts about Living in the Future

Someone tweeted the other day that in the not too distant future people might say (when referring to cars) “I can’t drive this, it’s a manual”, but they’ll be referring to the steering wheel and not the transmission. And that got me thinking…define future. A year? Five years?

After a childhood spent reading Popular Mechanics, I had become jaded after the vision of the Year 2000 failed to live up to expectations. But lately it seems like “The Future” is finally arriving and more importantly it’s accelerating. I have “nephews and nieces” who range from one year to twelve years old and I keep wondering which of them is going to be able to, need to, or want to operate a motor vehicle. Potentially none of them. Even if Level 5 autonomous vehicles are still a few years off, Uber/Lyft is here to stay.

I also think about the next generation and what their interactions with technology will be like. Every other tech article is about “AI” or “ML” and Intel claims to have built a 17-qubit processor. Okay it has to operate at almost absolute zero degrees, but it also wasn’t that long ago that my computer took up half my desk – now it fits in my pocket (sort of).

What will their buying habits be like? I’m guessing they won’t go to malls. I’m guessing they’ll just buy everything on Amazon, and I mean EVERYTHING including prescription meds, liquor, homes, repairmen for the homes, food delivery, and even Cars…assuming car ownership is still a thing in the future. Either way, I hope cars fly in the future.

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Re-learning my first language

I can’t imagine most people know this about me, but technically speaking, English was my second language. My mom had a zero English policy in the house until I was about 8 or 9 years old. I learned by ABC’s along with my A Ă Â both at the same time. Yeah, the first three letters of the Vietnamese alphabet are three versions of the letter A. Honestly, I think it’s rediculous. I can vaguely recall a time where I was fluent in Vietnamese – reading and writing. These days, I can barely pick out my favorite dishes on a Vietnamese menu. I figure everything is still in my brain somewhere…somewhere in deep cold storage. But finding the words from my first tongue are proving to be more difficult than finding a missing sock out of the dryer.

Random Thoughts on Technology

The Network is the Computer – John Gage 1984

Thirty (plus) years after the PC Revolution and twenty (plus) years after the Internet Revolution, most companies are still using computing, networks, and software simply, as a more efficient means of data entry, word processing, and accounting.

It’s remarkable (to me anyways) how slow companies have been to adopt “technology”. I see the same story in virtually every industry. But for a few exceptions most companies view technology as a “bolt-on” or “extension” to their core business. The reality is that “technology” has become the core of their business for one simple reason – The first interaction between any consumer and any brand almost always begins with a search on Google.

“Google is your homepage” – Me 2016

 

Else-Discipline

What’s the opposite of self-discipline? Other-discipline? Else-discipline? That’s what I’ll call it, else-discipline. I really suck at self-discipline. But I really excel at else-discipline.

This evening I ate a bowl of pasta for dinner. Actually, it could be better described as three bowls of pasta which just happened to be served in a single large bowl. I don’t just eat dinner, I over eat dinner. I don’t just drink bourbon, I consume it.

I don’t have good eating, drinking, or exercise habits UNLESS I have a marathon or ‘half’ on my calendar. But the moment after I’ve entered my credit card, t-shirt size, emergency contact, and hit the ‘Submit’ button for the race – then it’s game time.

Spin up the FTL drive

I’m sure there’s a psychological, biological, neurological, and perhaps even zoological explanation for this phenomenon. I think I’ll call it else-discipline. I need a goal to work towards. Something to commit to. A fear of failure.

So tonight, I’ll eat one more Kit Kat bar and drink one more bourbon.

Tomorrow – One more breath. One more mile. One more race.

Ctrl-Alt-Delete

Truer words were never spoken. So write something already. Write. Just write. That’s what I always tell myself. Write something. Write anything.

But it’s hard. Hard to find time and hard to find the reason to write. At least, that’s also what I tell myself. Not enough time. Not sure what to write. The reason of course is simple. It’s a lie. I attach too much meaning to the words I write. They’re not that important. They’re not even tangible. Just 1’s and 0’s that will be written to a cloud based instance of my silly little WordPress.

I’m already feeling a little bit better. I’ve written words. Words which maybe one or two people will see – including myself. But I didn’t do this for you. I did this for me. And already, it’s starting to help. In fact I think I’ll celebrate with a bourbon. Here’s to writing…again.

Changing gears…

The recent election has affected me profoundly, in ways I’m still just starting to work out. The morning after the election, I posted the following to Facebook:

Seek to understand, and then to be understood. Then, buy a paid subscription to the NY Times or Washington Post. If you can, buy two. There’s a reason why the framers of our democracy included freedom of the press in the first amendment. Trust me on this one. Stop getting your news from Facebook. Seek facts to inform your decisions and not just to affirm your opinions. Have a real conversation with someone you disagree with and don’t just shut them out. Do it for me. I’m the guy who knows how your wifi router works so maybe I know what I’m talking about. Then again, I might be an INTJ high functioning sociopath who’s batshit crazy. Who knows. Here’s what I do know, I’m going to sign off Facebook for a really really really long time. 

And so I did. I deleted the FB app from my phone and iPad. Logged out of FB on my Mac, and turned off notifiations. It wasn’t premeditated. It was the opposite. It was unexpected. I really like Facebook. And just to be clear, I didn’t quit social media. I think people who “quit” social media like the smell of their own farts. Social media is woven into the fabric of our society, kind of like Walking Dead. You can’t ignore it. Well, you could, but you might as well move to the Northwest Territory and live in a wooden shack with no electricity or running water. No, I just need to reboot. I need to take a step back and re-examine…well, everything.

Btw, I did buy a subscription to the Times, Post, and the Economist just for good measure. I can’t fully articulate why I felt this was important. But I’m certain (or at least I hope) my high school English and Civics teachers would be proud.

Spending less time on social media has been good for me. I’ve been spending my mornings and evenings reading – books, magazines, tech blogs, the Federalist Papers, and of course the news…the real news. Btw, it turns out that ‘Nationalism’ is pandemic. Get ready to start hearing the term ‘Frexit’. AI is advancing at a frightening pace. The stock market hit record record record highs today. And I also just read that Man landed on the moon! I guess I have a lot of catching up to do. But I like where this is headed.

Control+Alt+Delete

Happy Rebooting.

 

Web 4.0 ?

I can’t help but notice that more and more news publishers have begun pushing their articles (content) out to hosted platforms like Facebook Instant Articles (FIA), Apple News, Medium.com, and – if you think of Google.com as a publishing platform – Google AMP.

Strange as it may seem, this might be a win-win-win situation for all stakeholders.

  1. For consumers it means a better reading experience. Pages load “instantly” when read in Facebook, AMP, Medium’s native app,  or Apple News.
  2. For news publishers it means they can focus more on producing content rather than building technology stacks to publish/host the content. That means the cost to publisher content decreases.
  3. For advertisers, it means increased reach because Google, Apple, and Facebook are likely to favor news articles that are optimized for thier platform. In fact, some publishers have even begun letting Facebook sell ads on their behalf – for a 30% cut.

And here’s a thought…

Would consumers be willing to pay for a “Netflix for News”? Instead of paying a separate subscription for the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, GQ, Runners World, etc. – it sure would be nice if I just could just pay one online service and could read articles from all of the above.

Happy Reading!