May 15, 2013


I'm a full blown geek. This is something that I admit. This is something that I fully embrace. I proudly wear my geek badge. It's part of who I am.

I spent my afternoon doing what I'm paid to do, that is, writing code to build applications to help my fellow employees be more efficient in maintaining important telecommunication networks. That's a pretty geeky job and it is something that I am proud of. I feel like I am doing good in the world in my way through my career and it feels good.

While I was writing code today, I had the Google IO keynote speech up on my second monitor and playing softly in my ears. This approach is probably not the most efficient way to write code because quite frankly I was distracted by all the new geeky things (and nifty enhancements) that Google was announcing during this three-hour presentation. I thought the presentation was well done and I thought that overall what Google showed us today was quite exciting.

It's been a long while since I've been excited by technology. In search of something new and exciting, last year I tried to make the switch to Linux full-time through the purchase of a Lenovo ThinkPad. Having lived in the Apple world for so long, the Lenovo had big shoes to fill when it came to my hardware expectations. It turns out that the hardware was solid enough, but I didn't find it exciting after all. Interesting? Yeah, kind of. But I couldn't embrace that laptop like I feel like I can embrace my older MacBook Pro. Along the same lines, however, I'm not excited by Apple's current line of MacBooks and the like these days. With each software update, the MBP is being forced into obsolescence. While I can certainly work up a lust for a new 13-inch MBP Retina, honestly I think the lust would be short lived. I'm feeling the need for the next step in the evolution of technology.

I think some of the products that Google demonstrated today, namely the improvements in search via voice and Google Now, the enhancements to Google Maps and the closer integration of all of their products, while still remaining friendly to differing OS platforms, are herding me in the direction of looking outside the walled garden of Apple again. This might make my husband nervous. But I'm not ready to leap until I know where I'm going to land this time. Should I consider a Pixel? Should I just go with a Nexus tablet? Should I continue to add more Google services to my existing Apple hardware?

After watching the Google keynote today I couldn't help but think that Apple better be announcing some mighty impressive stuff next month at WWDC. I'm not just talking about a prettier skin over iOS 6 or a slightly bigger iPhone 5, I'm thinking more integrated yet cooperative enhancements to the entire technology experience. Granted it would be nice to have a version of Siri that doesn't try to play Bananarama when I ask for a song by Heart or a version of Maps that doesn't try to send me across the active runway of Houston Airport as a valid route to Interstate 45. No, I'm looking for something along the lines of Google Now, something like "here's a steakhouse you might like" popping up automatically on an iWatch when it's 6:00 p.m. and I'm in the right neighborhood. Or a heads-up display on the lower portion of my windshield, run by my newest iDevice, showing me the proper way to Interstate 45. In reality I should probably be happy for the ability to use FaceTime to call some of my friends using Windows 8 or an Android phone, that would at least be a step in the right direction.

Cooperative integration that is more predictive and a heck of a lot more intelligent: that's what I find exciting. Google is making inroads to making this happen. Can Apple do it as well? Can I have an iDevice that can talk to an Android phone? How about Google Glass being able to fully use my iPhone as a homing station. Or what about Find My Friends being able to find all my friends or Siri using my Google+ data to show me where the closest barbershop is. Will Siri understand a statement such as, "Great suggestion, Siri, how do I get there?"

There's no doubt that next month Apple is going to announce a few nifty things, let's face it, they're overdue for that sort of thing. But I have to tell you, if these next evolutionary steps in the iWorld continue to be part of a walled garden, I'm not sure that I will be able to have the same feelings of geeky excitement that I had today when watching the Google IO keynote. Could these tech folks that have migrated over to Google products and powered hardware after years of Apple devotion be onto something after all?

I guess only time will tell.



I have a bit of a pet peeve that I’m going to rant a little bit about. This is something that really rubs me the wrong way and makes me feel judgmental about a person. While it isn’t right to be judgmental about a person based on a superficial aspect of a conversation, I think I have some sort of point here buried in this muddy blog post.

The scenario goes like this: “Picture it, a restaurant, anywhere in the present day.”

Server, noticing you have finished up your meal: “Would you like any dessert?”

Customer: “Sure, I’m in the mood for a little something. What do you have?”

Server: “I have a delicious blueberry pie and a chocolate thunder thighs godiva high cake. I also have some scones leftover from yesterday.”

I. The server said “I”. The server personally has blueberry pie, chocolate thunder things godiva high cake and leftover scones. It makes one wonder what the other servers are serving for dessert. Are there desserts better than the desserts being offered by our server, since it seems like every server has their own desserts to offer? Perhaps the server over yonder has something in vanilla. I was in the mood for something vanilla, too.

My point is the “I”. This was something that was hammered into my head as a young lad when I worked at the family business. “Can I help you?” was a no-no. “What can we do for you?” It’s the team you’re dealing with, all of us that work here have banded together to bring you the best experience possible. To say “I” implies that you bring something that others can’t, which doesn’t really foster teamwork.

“I have Guinness and Coors Lite on tap.”

I want to watch when you push the bartender out of the way to get my Guinness from YOUR tap.

“We have Guinness and Coors Lite on tap.”

Much better.

While I am a loner and a bit of an introvert and one that would rather do things in solitude instead of in the middle of a crowd, I still all I can do to make our team look its best. Teamwork: that is what it’s about in most workplaces today and by using the singular, “my team” or “I fixed it”, you’re basically telling me that you can handle it on your own and/or you’re just out for your own good.

I’m not that insecure. I will always use the “we”. Though I may approach it alone, I’m always part of the team.


So yesterday I posted a link to a review of the latest album by Agnetha Faltskög, the first “A” in ABBA. I listened to the album several times while in my home office yesterday and I absolutely adore it. Comprised of all original material, Agnetha’s voice sounds almost identical to what ABBA fans are familiar with and the quality of the tracks is excellent. It’s a pop album for grown ups and quite frankly, it’s a nice breath of fresh air.

I listened to the album today via Spotify, since I’m working at the office today and it’s the easiest way to listen to stuff. The Spotify version of the album has commentary on each of the tracks in between each of the songs and it’s kind of interesting to hear the backstory on the tracks. One piece of commentary that got my attention was regarding the disco-flavored track, “Dance Your Pain Away”.

One of the writers/producers of the album was in Sweden at a gay club when a patron motioned to him to come over. Intrigued, the producer went over and talked to the “small gay” as he describes him (at least I think that’s what I heard) and the man said, regarding Agnetha’s album, “don’t forget about us.” The producers had been feeling that thus far the album had been missing “something” and that comment from the “small gay” made him realize that there was no “anthem” on the track. The customer went on to say how Agentha was an icon in the gay community and that was important to include something for her gay fans.

Enter “Dance The Pain Away”. It’s a really fun disco themed track. I’ve listened to it several times and I really think I can hear a sample of an ABBA song in the bass line but I can’t put my finger as to which track it is. This particular track, just one gem in a treasure box of an album, feels very familiar. It’s like one step away from being a full-out ABBA track and it’s kind of fun. I hope it makes some inroads into public exposure. I know that if I were still DJing I’d spin it up in the mix to see how the crowds react. I can definitely see it being one of those summer anthem tracks.

It has been a long time since I’ve been excited about an entire album by an artist. It’s good to know that music can still excite me. Thank you for the music, Agnetha.