20 day Challenge.

I’m in the midst of my personal 30 (well, 28) day challenge for the month of February and it’s going quite well. This was in personal to me and not something I really wish to discuss on the blog as of yet, so there’s that. Since this personal growth challenge is going so well, I decided to add a 20 day tech challenge for the remainder of the month.

I’ve been reading up about the latest flavors of iPad, Google tablets, and Microsoft Surface products; all manufacturers are claiming these things are their solution to the “ultimate computer”, no matter what form this computing device takes. All three solutions I’ve been reading up on, the iPad Pro, the Microsoft Surface Pro, and the Google Pixel Slate, offer a hybrid approach of tablet with keyboard. All but the iPad Pro provide support for a pointing device like a mouse or trackpad.

I have the original version of the 10-inch iPad Pro. It’s my Electronic Flight Bag, having replaced my previous Mac Mini in that area, and it works very well in that role, especially when coupled with an Apple Pencil. My 20 day tech challenge for the remainder of the month is to see if I can do everything I want to do with my daily computing needs by just using this iPad Pro.

My iPad Pro has the latest version of iOS and it is coupled with the Logitech Slim Folio Keyboard Case. The keyboard is backlit and connects to my iPad through the SmartConnector, so I don’t need to charge it separately nor do I have to pair it via Bluetooth. It just works. I love that about it. I also love the keyboard. Though it is smaller due to the small size of my iPad, it is very comfortable to type on and I can fly along with my typing habits with ease. This keyboard also provides typical full-sized laptop function keys, something missing on the Apple Smart Cover available for iPad. I also prefer the Logitech keyboard’s touch, feel, and travel over the Smart Cover from Apple.

iOS and the App Store provide all of the tools I need for this little quest I’m on. The goal of this 20 day venture is to force me to learn all the nuances of the iOS experience on an iPad and to determine whether it can ultimately fully replace my MacBook Pro. While I don’t plan on replacing this iPad any time soon (it’s the perfect size for the cockpit), I am looking at possibly replacing my MacBook Pro with the newer, larger iPad Pro, if it is something that I can absolutely do.

One of my goals it to play around with editing video during this challenge, so don’t be surprised if you see a flight video or something before the end of the month.

The tech companies are trying hard to push us to a tablet driven experience for our primary computing needs and it feels like we need to shift the computing paradigm a little bit to get technology moving in a forward direction again.

Let’s see how my little experiment turns out.

Speculation.

Angela Ahrendts. Photo from The Verge, take by Nick Statt.

Apple announced this week that Angela Ahrendts, senior vice president, retail, would be leaving the company to pursue other personal and professional interests. She has been with the company and in the position for around five years.

I have been surprised by the number of people overjoyed with this announcement. Occasionally it has been Ms. Ahrendts enthusiasm and energy in the position that has kept me soldiering on through some of Apple’s rough spots over the past couple of years, and by “rough spots” I’m referring to security breaches and other particularly interesting bugs released to the wild.

As the leader of Apple’s retail ventures, Angela brought “Today At Apple” to their retail stores. Her vision of the Apple retail experience included transforming the Apple Store to “Town Squares”, where folks could hang out, learn about their Apple devices, chat with other Apple tech enthusiasts, and, if so inclined, buy something or get something fixed. The new Apple (I guess it’s no longer called Apple Store) on Michigan Avenue here in Chicago was a prime example of this. There’s lots of seating, I huge presentation area for “Today At Apple” seminars and, though I haven’t seen it in person, a conference area for business customers. I have occasionally seen folks out for a walk with Apple employees, taking photos along the Chicago River. Angela was very much a proponent of solidifying the human connection to Apple technology.

Many have been speculating as to why Angela is leaving the company. Is it because of the recent earnings announcement? Slowing iPhone sales? Is Tim Cook unhappy?

Honestly, even though Apple is a very public and publicly traded company, is it really our business as to why Angela is leaving? Apple retail has flourished for the past five years under her leadership. I often hear of folks complaining about wait times or stores being in disarray. Maybe I’ve been lucky to not have experienced this sort of thing. But truthfully I couldn’t care less as to why Angela is leaving. It’s really none of my business.

I’m sure there will be changes at Apple retail locations when Vice President of People Deirdre O’Brien takes over leadership for the division. I’m interested to see if the changes Angela made stay in place or if the locations go off in a new direction.

In the meanwhile, I wish Angela well in her new personal and professional endeavors.

Soap Opera.

Remember when television schedules were populated with soap operas? They were all the rage when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s. Every afternoon folks were sitting down to watch their stories. My grandmother was fond of “The Edge of Night”. My mother was fond of “Another World”.

Have the soaps been gone long enough for a generation to get surly and start trying to turn real life into a soap opera? Ever since Trump took office I feel like I’m trapped into either a hideous Reality Show (what will the next ‘twist’ be?) or a soap opera.

This afternoon my Twitter feed started populating with something about Bezos Going After Mr. Pecker.

Jeff Bezos Says National Enquirer Threatened To Publish Nude Photos As Blackmail

Interestingly, the MAGA crowd, both human and bots, are going after Mr. Bezos on social media for being rich and allegedly having a mistress.

Because Trump is above all that?

Now I realize we are talking about the National Enquirer here, but there’s a lot of discussion around this story claiming this latest stunt by the Enquirer is being pursued as a favor to Trump because Bezos owns interest in The Washington Post. And we all know the one dipped in marmalade screams “fake news” every time he reads something in The Washington Post that he doesn’t like.

I’m a little worried that all of this endless drama has established a new norm for politics in this country. Now politics have never been that great to begin with, but we have firmly planted ourselves into the depths of the deepest septic tank with this administration.

I feel like the toilet is constantly overflowing.

I’m hoping that 2020 will bring about change and we will move toward some sort of civility in this country again.

Let’s leave the soap operas to Mac, Rachel, and Iris.

Manifest.

Photo from IMDB.

So Earl and I have been watching NBC’s Manifest. It’s on Monday nights at 10:00 PM Eastern/9:00 PM Central (yay for Central time!)

The show is fairly uneven. If you’re not familiar with the storyline, basically Flight 828, en route from Jamaica to New York, goes through some really rough turbulence and then is diverted to Stewart Airport (after being turned away from JFK). The kicker? When the flight lands it’s 5 1/2 years after it left Jamaica.

I hope they got a meal during that long ass flight.

Anything with airplanes is going to get my attention, so Earl and I subscribed to the dreaded Monday night slot on NBC. I’m always hesitant to watch anything Sci-Fi like on NBC because they start getting weird with the series by either throwing the storyline into a weird tangent (Heroes) or just killing the show without warning (The Event). However, Manifest was cleared for a full season, which is somewhat comforting.

Honestly, it feels like the writers aren’t sure as to what they want the show to be. Is it Sci Fi? Is it supernatural? Is it a soap opera? Is it Dynasty? Twists, turns, ins, outs, so many ways for the story to go.

Not to give too much away in case you want to watch the show when it’s bingeable, the folks on the flight that was lost for 5 1/2 years suddenly have subtle yet very present “callings”. We don’t know what’s causing them, we don’t know what they mean all the time, but as time moves on they become more and more frequent and intense. Psychic stuff? Fortune telling? Who knows.

At times the story is plodding along at a snail’s pace. It’s during these moments that you start to notice that some of the acting is a little wooden or the special effects are a little less than what one would expect in 2019, but because I’m a fan of these types of shows, I am forgiving. There are times when I reach for the iPhone or something because the story is moving along so slowly. There’s romantic triangles and occasionally a bit of family drama mixed in but we are still finding it tolerable.

We never watched “Lost” so we don’t know how much like “Lost” this show is turning out to be. It’s twisty and turny, which is good. I just hope the writers resolve the mysteries before this show comes to an end.

And we don’t know when that will be.

A couple of stray observations (without spoilers):

  • None of the men apparently own a razor
  • I found it easy to mix up the characters of Grace and Autumn but that could be my thing
  • One episode must have been sponsored by Chevrolet because there’s a lot of Silverado going on
  • The head mean person will look familiar
  • The New York locales look honest and filmed on location
  • Did the NYSDMV issue special license plates for television shows, because prop plates on all New York based shows begin with “Q” these days

Disconnected.

I felt like today was a good day to start taking a break from Twitter again. Normally I can thread myself through the flames from the dumpster fire and make the experience enjoyable, especially when I concentrate on my connections with geeks and pilots, but after wading through some especially robust idiocy this morning I decided enough was enough.

I started out my Twitter experience by blocking the keyword “Trump”. but that went against my belief that if you’re going to Twitter, you should Twitter all the way. So the keyword blocking lasted for just an hour or so. During that time, the idiot in chief went ahead and said we had to build the wall before a caravan of immigrants arrived at the border, and his bots and followers all chanted yes in unabandoned idiocy, so I decided it would be best to just step away for a bit.

By the way, this post will still auto post to Twitter because I haven’t turned off that connection. I’ll be doing that after I finish this post.

I would like to think that I’m stepping away from Twitter forever, but you know and I know that won’t be the case. So I’m stepping away from Twitter for now.

At least until I have the mental capacity to deal with it again.