May 24, 2013


So I just had a lite breakfast in the café car here on the Amtrak Lakeshore Limited. After I got my breakfast I found out that there was a full blown diner car at the very end of the train and that I could have had french toast or something down there. I’m not disappointed or anything, but I did find it surprising that the diner car is at the very end of the train, mostly because the sleeper cars are in the front and it would seem logical to me that the diner car would be in the middle so it would be readily accessible to all passengers. Maybe I should have asked for a map.

After getting my food from the man with the delicious UK accent, I needed to find a place to sit. Both of the seat areas were pretty busy, though there was no one singing “Snow Snow Snow”. Not being the crazy outgoing type, I worked up some courage and asked a woman if I could sit at her table that she was sitting alone at.

We ended up having a very nice conversation.

It turns out that she’s from Rochester, N.Y. and that she teaches comedy and improv there. I didn’t know that the folks in Rochester even had a sense of humor so this was something that I found to be a little bit fascinating. When she asked what I did, I told her whom I worked for and she was quite familiar with the company (it is the telephone company, after all). She admitted that she no longer had phone service, having opted for her iPhone, but she liked it when she had it. Ah, technology marches on.

The first question that popped into my head was how one teaches comedy and improv, since I have always thought that to be an inherent ability. I didn’t ask her this, though, because I didn’t want to sound insulting, especially since formulating sentences this early in the morning can be a struggle for me. So we talked about art and iPhones and the like. It was a pleasant conversation.

One thing that I was excited about was that she was using Siri on her phone to set reminders and all that. Now that was something that I could relate to.

Maybe these little attempts at being outgoing aren’t so scary after all.

iOS 7.

9 to 5 Mac is reporting some new details on the planned changes for iOS 7, the next operating system to run the iDevices (iPhone/iPod/iPad). It sounds like Jony Ive is going to follow the current industry trend of making things look flatter and more minimalistic.

I like minimalistic. However, one of my beefs with my brief exposure to Windows 8 was that it was so “flat” that the user didn’t know what elements were clickable and what wasn’t clickable. I don’t like that sort of confusion.

I have always been impressed with Sir Jony’s hardware designs and I’m really excited to see what he’s done with iOS when it’s announced at WWDC (World Wide Developer’s Conference) in a few weeks, but I’m really hoping that there is some added functionality as well. I don’t want only aesthetic improvements, I really want Siri to come out of beta and to be capable of a lot more than she currently is. Google is getting ready to launch a “conversational” search engine interface, Apple should be gearing up to do the same with Siri.

Still, I’m quite excited about WWDC and I’m really looking forward to seeing what changes make it to iOS 7.