It Just Works?

I realize that the evolution is technology is making it more difficult to manage all the things we have going on with our devices. However, when you’re writing your own software exclusively for your own hardware, and charging a premium to be part of that experience, this should not be possible. This is not an example of “It Just Works”.

This screenshot is from the latest version of iPad Pro running the latest version of iPadOS. If user interaction elements just disappeared like this on applications built and maintained by my team at work I’d be calling meetings and having frank discussions with quality control.

There’s a reason I am reevaluating who I invest my money with to maintain my realm of technology.

Nostalgia.

I know I’m showing my age here, but I’ve been in a nostalgic mood as of late. Yesterday I asked Spotify to play a “great tune for Valentine’s Day” and it surprisingly came up with “We’re All Alone” by Rita Coolidge.

I was instantly transported to the back seat of my father’s 1971 Heavy Chevy, listening to 62 WHEN, riding with the rest of the family up Interstate 81 between Syracuse and Watertown, New York. Mom in the front seat, me sitting behind her, my sister to my left behind Dad as he drove us home from my grandparents’ home in the city to our mobile home next to my grandparents’ farm in the country.

Listening to Rita sing this track through headphones was an amazing journey. I was struck that I immensely miss the sound of music delivered through analog means and the experience of listening to an entire album, instead of random songs selected by algorithm.

I tried not to think about what a cover version of this track on “American Idol” or “The Voice” would sound like; any youngster (there’s my age kicking in) singing this song today would over-emote, engage in very unnecessary ‘melodic’ acrobatics, have pains of overwrought emotion and bad singing on their face, and make shrieking noises while an engineer backstage undoubtedly applied AutoTune1 to make it sound ‘perfect’.

Rita’s version is nearly perfect as it was recorded in 1975.

The complexities of the control required to sing this song properly are evident in later performances of this song by Rita; as she got older her voice lost some of its’ shine as age is wont to do. I stopped her Farm Aid performance of this song in 1986 about a third of the way in; I didn’t want to put tarnish on the memory of her sheer brilliance of the original performance. Watching this video from sometime in the 1970s (which sounds like it was a lip sync to the original track), I can’t help but admire the sheer beauty of Ms. Coolidge and of the song itself. Rita always presented herself as a very classy lady in her performances at this point in her career, and I found her to be a beautiful woman.

From 1975, here’s “We’re All Alone”, by Rita Coolidge.

1I stand by my opinion that AutoTune is absolutely the worst technological advancement of the late 20th century, and one of the worst crutches known to musical performances.

Star Trek Future.

Cross-posted from Facebook.

Photo from syfy.

So I’ve been a Trekker since The Original Series. When I make my fan movie (which will live in the Voyager era) I’m using the theme from “Star Trek: The Animated Series”. In 1988 I sent storyboards to Paramount describing how the transporter should look in “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier”. (Voyager ended up with a very close representation of what I suggested but I doubt I had anything to do with it). I love the theme of hope, the better future, and the moving beyond many human failings that were depicted in all incarnations of Star Trek through “Enterprise”. 

We’ve been watching “Star Trek: Picard”. We subscribed to CBS: All Access just to watch. I wanted to love it. I was excited about Picard, Seven, and all that is Star Trek in the 24th century coming back to television. But while some of it feels familiar, I’m struggling with the swearing, the constant strife, and the use of very 21st century language. Name one place where Kirk said “groovy” or Deanna Troi said “rad” or “gnarly”. 

Why so much darkness? And don’t get me started on the vaping.

Prior to the 2010s, Star Trek has represented what we should be moving to: humanity getting better, evolving into a more caring species with a thirst for knowledge, exploration, and the betterment of the universe. Poverty, homelessness, the need for money: humans had moved beyond that. The “pew pew” was always a last resort. There were bad guys, there always will be, but Star Trek was classy and polished. I was hoping “Star Trek: Picard” would bring that back. 

I’m starting to doubt it will do that. You can put a fancy label on a cheap wine but sometimes that wine really does belong in a box.

I’ll finish this season but I hope it takes a turn for a brighter future soon.

Impressed.

I’m always amazed at what Google Photos can do to a photo with a little stylizing. The colors are amazing!

Cold.

I believe tonight is the first time during this winter season that it’ll get below zero Fahrenheit. I was hoping we’d get through the season without temperatures dipping that low but Mother Nature seems to always accomplish her plans despite the increasing amount of interference from the humans running around on her planet.

I’m taking the expected cold temperatures tomorrow morning as a signal that I should workout inside and focus on my strength training with my resistance bands instead of going outside and burning of cardio through a lively walk. I’m not in the habit of trying to freeze my face off just for the heck of it, even if it means the chance of a lower number on the bathroom scale.

I’m sure the workout tomorrow morning will be quite dandy. And cozy warm.

Enough.

I’m burned out on politics. Are you burned out on politics yet? We still have nine months to go to the U.S. Presidential Elections and already I’m sick of reading about candidates, hearing candidates voices, and see ads from candidates. My YouTube feed is full of ads, the television is full of ads, Twitter is full of its typical shtick and Facebook is full of its typical propaganda. I started talking about politics tonight at the family dinner and Earl asked me to stop. He’s burned out too.

Plus, I get loud and emotional.

I just want good times to come back. I want people to stop being mean to one another. I want sanity. I want stability. I want people to stop promising things they have no hope of delivering on all to get votes. I’m tired of news channels and pundits and opinions and shenanigans and ad clicks and hashtags. Everyone claims to know what everyone needs but no one seems to be able to get there.

I could go on but I’m tired of this blog entry. You should be too.

Be kind to one another.

Distraction.

I’m finding the political talk on Twitter exhausting so here’s a photo of some fish. They’re in the Pacific. Near Oah’u.

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Upright.

Remember when we were going to solve all the world’s problems once our computers were all connected together in this “Information Highway”?

Instead we’re all spending the evening making our brooms stand up without support because of a “planetary tilt”.

Skant.

In the 24th century we won’t be as hung up on “gender norms” and what we’re wearing and what we’re suppose to wear and all that. At least, in the Star Trek universe it won’t be a big deal.

The first few episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” had crew members, both male and female, wearing the “skant”.

Apparently this look never really caught on and was abandoned about halfway through the first season of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (before River grew a beard).

Personally I was always a fan of first season Riker’s look, but then again at the time I was just happy to have Star Trek back on the air.

The skant persisted in a modified form, making its way as a dress uniform, this time with pants underneath.

I don’t think the skant ever made it to the later uniform styles but I did enjoy it’s appearance back in the day. Even if it was just to prove that in the future we would get beyond trivial things like what men and women we’re wearing.

IDIC.

Cussin’.

Photo courtesy of CBS.

I didn’t drop my first f-bomb until 7th grade. At the time I had recently inherited my grandfather’s wrist watch and I mistakenly set it on the side of a gym locker. The watch fell behind the row of gym lockers and it took some creative use of coat hangers to retrieve it. When it dropped I exclaimed frustration with an f-bomb. The gym teacher shot over to me knowing something was wrong. The issue was resolved. But I still swore from time to time.

My parents rarely swore and if they did you knew they were in a zone no one wanted them to be in. Things relaxed a little bit as we got older, but my Dad rarely ever swore. I followed his lead until I got into radio. The second radio station I worked for was owned by a husband and wife and swearing was second nature to them. It wasn’t a staff meeting unless the words were blue. As the Program Director and later Director of Operations, I quickly learned I couldn’t get my point across unless I yelled and swore. A lot.

I didn’t really enjoy that aspect of the gig.

All this being said, I’ve sworn more than I should over the 50+ years I’ve been around. Swearing has become rather commonplace and I’m still taken aback when I hear swearing on television.

I was really surprised to hear an f-bomb in a recent episode of “Star Trek: Picard”. The Starfleet Admiral dropped the adjective in the middle of an emotional response to Picard and my first thought was, “how did this person get to become an Admiral if she can’t even control the emotionality of her vocabulary”?

I’m so happy it wasn’t my beloved Captain Janeway in that role.

I feel like the use of swearing and cussing is indicative of the loss of control in American society. My friend Jeff reminds me that a focused, structured individual shouldn’t have the need to swear. I agree with this mindset and I’m trying to make a better effort to not swear anymore.

I believe we should be what we want to see in society. By tempering my language a bit perhaps I’m contributing more positive energy to society.

It might not change the world, but I can certainly try.