November 4, 2012

Too Soon.

Walking through Kinney Drugs (Central and Northern New York drug store chain) yesterday I noticed that the seasonal aisle had been populated with an assortment of Christmas/holiday decorations, festive lights and bulbs and baubles of all sorts. In the distance I overheard a “ho ho ho” from the tinny intercom speaker. The sound of jingle bells blared from a card in the greeting card section.

I’m sorry, but it’s just too early for that sort of merriment.

There may be snow in the air and it might be getting dark early, but Christmas does not come before Thanksgiving in the United States. If more people would stop and take time to appreciate what they have to be thankful for, instead of plotting on how they’re going to double their electric bill with blow up baby Jesuses on the front lawn, I firmly believe that we would be living in a happier time.

I have a few ideas of what I am going to do to celebrate the holiday, after Thanksgiving. I muse over these things in private. I do not muse over them while enjoying a cup of egg nog because it’s just too early for that sort of thing.

Thanksgiving is a dignified, responsible holiday. We need to remember that and give it the dignity it deserves.


So tonight Earl and I went to the local Best Buy (I like to call it Barbie’s Dream House Best Buy because it’s built to 3/4 scale) and we took a look at the various gadgets and widgets that were vibrantly displayed throughout this quaint little store.

My first stop was the smartphone area, where I decided to take a look at the various Verizon Wireless offerings. My iPhone 4 is starting to show it’s age (in that it has slowed down considerably since the release of iOS 6) and I keep hearing great things about the latest incarnation of Android and the upcoming Windows Phone 8, so I wanted to take a look and see what all the hullabaloo is about.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 just feels too big in my hand. While many guys like having large objects in the front of their pants, the Galaxy S3 just felt like it would be overkill in my pants. I hear it’s fast and does amazing things, but it just felt like it would be too big as my phone. I did like the look and feel of the Galaxy Nexus, though I hear it’s outdated now. If I’m going to go the Android route, I want the latest and greatest version of Android software and that Nexus line is the way to get there. Something to consider.

Unfortunately Barbie’s Dream House Best Buy didn’t have an Windows Phone 8 devices on display. I’m not sure if they’re even available yet. I did see a WP7 in the wild last weekend and it looked quite nifty, so I’m sure that WP8 will be even more nifty. I have to see and feel one in action though before making any sort of reasonable determination.

The one thing that surprised me this evening was how much fun using Windows 8 on a laptop with a touchscreen could be. After about two minutes of trying out various gestures, I found that the gestures used in the Windows 8 GUI felt very natural. I asked Earl if he liked messing around with the Lenovo Ultrabook they had on display and he really liked the way Windows 8 worked as well. I have to admit that I found this surprising. I still question the touch-centric elements on a non-touch based computer (like a normal laptop or desktop) but on a touchbased interface, it is very intuitive, it’s snappy and dare I say it, it’s fun and INTERESTING to use

As a techy that is easily distracted by bright and shiny, the latest stuff from Apple seems very stale and pedestrian to me. While iPhones and the like are making incremental upgrades and the Mac line just received a refresh across the board (except the Mac Pro), it still feels very last decade, or at least early 2011, to me. I believe that Windows 8 is much more likely to get us to the 2019 vision that is shown in the Microsoft video below (and yes, I’ve shared this before).

I guess only time will tell. In the meantime, I can’t believe I’m praising an operating system that I vehemently disliked just two months ago. Using the right hardware, Windows 8 is very impressive, even to this old geek.