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!

Random Thoughts: Start with WHY?

At least once or twice a year I feel compelled to go back and rewatch the seminal TED talk given by Simon Sinek back in 2009 titled: “Start With Why?”.

The first time I watched it – and every time since – it profoundly changed my life and my way of thinking. A bold statement given that it’s just a YouTube video. But it really has shaped virtually every aspect of my life – simply because it provided me with the lens and a context to view the things that I do in my everyday life. It’s a guiding compass.

My own version of “Start With Why?” is “Begin at the beginning…”. I’ve been saying that for literally as long as I can remember.

It allows me to center myself, become present in the moment, and practice “mindfulness”. So whenever I get stuck on a problem, or get confused, become upset, lose my keys, or need clarity…I go back and I…begin at the beginning.

And it always starts with a simple question “WHY?”

Random Thoughts About Doing Nothing

I was just thinking about an evening in college (back in the 20th century) when I was standing at the bus stop (aka Drunk Bus) after a long night of drinking at a party. Without any warning, a black car pulled up in front of me and from the rear door, my friend Ricky jumped out. 

I hadn’t seen Ricky in years, but before I could even say his name to greet him, Ricky put his arm around me and said:

Lenny the best moments of your life won’t be spent drinking at a party. Parties are a lot of fun, but the best moments of your life will be spent just sitting around a table shootin the shit with your friends – doing absolutely nothing.

Ricky patted me on the back, got back in the car, and before I knew it he was gone. That was the last time I ever saw him again. 

I guess the moral of the story is that there are people you work with, people you eat with, people you drink with, people you “Facebook” with, and then there are people you spend time with…doing absolutely nothing. 

Here’s to Ricky *cheers*

On-Demand ride sharing from GM?

GM announced today that it has closed a new round of funding that includes $500 from GM. Meanwhile Ford is rumored to be partnering with Google’s autonomous vehicle program. And in other news McDonald’s has unveiled a new restaurant concept that’s identical to Shake Shack.

On-Demand ride sharing from Ford & GM. Custom-Order food from McDonald’s…it’s like living in the future.

Could Ford be the next Uber?

Ford is piloting an “Uber” concept called Dynamic Shuttle Service which will provide on-demand ride sharing to its employees.

If on-demand ride sharing becomes truly ubiquitous, well…most Americans won’t need a car , which I imagine will make Ford very sad unless…they become the ride-sharing platform of the future. 

When you think about it, Ford could (in theory) step in and provide the “hardware” and inftrastucture needed so that Americans won’t need to own a car. So perhaps in a few years instead of grabbing an Uber you’ll grab a “Ford” which will bring a self-driving car/van right to you and take you anywhere you need to go.

I wonder what we’re gonna do with all the parking lots in the future?

Things that make you say “hmmmm”

Happy Motoring!

Random Thoughts about Android

Once upon a time I was a mobile app developer with a small mobile app development company, and for the most part we did pretty well for ourselves…and we only developed for iOS. Ok, that’s not entirely true, we did hire an Android developer but then he moved to L.A.

People called me names, called me crazy, called me stupid, and would protest: “Why would you not support Android!?!”

And I would reply: “Dude, Fragmentation” and then an endless series of debates would ensue about the veracity of my claims.

The last time I had this debate was 2014 and Lollipop was the flavor du jour. So has Android fixed “fragmentation”?

According to their own estimates almost 75% of the Android user base is still running a version of Android older than Lollipop and almost a third of Android users are still on Jelly Bean – which released in June 2012.

http://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html

Let’s just all agree, no one uses a Blackberry anymore.

Happy App Developing!

Random Thoughts: The Death of the Nav Menu

Full Disclaimer: I’m an Apple Fanboy

Nonetheless, I keep thinking about Apple’s demo last week and the introduction of 3D touch. Call me crazy, but I think it might be the biggest UI improvement in computing since the introduction of the mouse. No really, I’m serious.

Apple has solved a problem which I don’t think many of us even knew existed. I think the implications are in fact rather profound. For the better part of three decades we’ve become conditioned to navigating by clicking on menus (sub-menu) and buttons to navigate and interact with website and app content. But with 3D touch, it’s a layer of abstraction that now becomes unnecessary. It’s superfluous, it’s clutter.

Soon you’ll interact directly with the content on the screen through taps, swipes, and 3D touch – instead of a series of non-linear interactions with a tabs or menu/sub-menu interface.

The content is the UI. Think about it and let it marinate.

The End of Channel Surfing

Google can’t answer the following query for me:

What channel is the Redskins game on tonight?

To be fair, SIRI doesn’t know either…what’s up with that?

It’s 2015 and you’re telling me that there’s not a single piece of indexed content on the web that didn’t have this information? It’s a pretty simple question and for me it makes a strong case for why we’re seeing so many Americans “cut the cord”. 

I don’t actually care what channel the game is on because I don’t know what the channels are. When I was a kid there were only three channels – four, seven, and nine…and sometimes twenty, but only if we could get good reception with the rabbit ears.  Now…well who even knows how many channels I’m paying for.

The way in which we search for TV content should be identical to the way we search for…well…everything else. By time, topic, keyword, category, reviews and ratings and…wait there was one more…LOCATION 🙂

Hey SIRI, put on the Skins game

That should definitely be a thing.  Someday. Until then….

Happy Channel Surfing!