Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Let the Stalking Begin!

We've added two new babysitters to the mix for mini-chaos. For a lot of babysitting I'm working in the front office and available for any issues and to spy, but sometimes I'm out of town when we need a daytime babysitter.  To be those extra creepy parents we decided to buy a nanny cam.
I had a long look between the Dropcam and the Belkin NetCam. Dropcam got acquired by Nest (Google) and I love Nest.  Belkin makes the WeMo line of home automation and I love WeMo. What to do? I finally ended up going with Dropcam with hope that Google is the bigger player and high hopes that Nest, the sub company, will go all on with HomeKit later this year. It'll be interesting to see how all the home automation I've done rolls into HomeKit.
Dropcam is pretty slick! I can have it send me push alerts when there is movement during alert periods. You can even flag/name areas so if someone opens the front door between 10pm-8am I get an alert that the front door was opened and Dropbox auto records it. Pretty sweet. 
So what's the social protocol on telling babysitters about the spying camera? Do you let them know, or do you just spy?



Monday, June 2, 2014

Being Polite

Let's go back to biblical times, 1823! - Book of Mormon (The Musical, duh...)

I went to the park with Mini.Chaos for band day to sit and relax and listen to music. He had a great little time there. Mini.Chaos loves when we clap for him, and every time a song would finish, a whole audience would applaud and he would go CRAZY happy. I presume he thought there were hundreds of people clapping for him.

On the walk home a couple of mormon missionaries were biking by and I smiled and said "hi," causing them to stop their bikes and say hi back. A brief awkward exchange followed.

"Have you ever talked with missionaries before?"

"Yeah. I hope you guys have a great afternoon." Start to resume walking.

"Well, do you have time now to talk with us?" Pause walking to be polite.

"Nope - I've got a baby to get home, I just wanted to wish you a good day." Start to resume walking.

"Okay, we'll maybe we could have your address. We could swing by a more convenient time."  Pause walking to be polite.

"No, sorry.  Thanks, have a great day." Start to resume walking.

"Well, is Christ in your home? We really would love a chat." Continuing walking away...

"Yep, Christ is in our home.  Have a great day!"

In general, I think the Mormon missions do a good thing, and every time I've talked with Mormon missionaries they have been nothing but nice and polite and a little bit pushy. So I always do want to say hello, wish them well, but rarely am I casually sitting somewhere with time on my hands just ready to start chatting.

So what is the best way to have a polite and brief conversion? Or to end the conversion politely without providing them my address or phone number.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chug the Espresso

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons. - T.S. Eliot

"No, coffee doesn't suppress the appetite." I heard my mother-in-law say this from across the room and turned to interject in the conversion. "Yes it does. It's well known. What do you want to bet?" People turned to look if she would take the bet and she weighed her confidence versus mine and finally decided it wasn't worth it.

I work to hard to keep my reputation as the person in the family who debunks the craziness. Both sides of my family have a habit of reading this one thing this one time and related it back as known fact. "Did you hear that the Paleo diet has been proven to cure autoimmune disease?" I hear this stuff, read the peer-reviewed studies in medical journals, and debunk the insanity.

Long story short on this one (too late), science is now inconclusive if caffeine is an appetite suppressant. More recent studies have not shown a link. Nicotine is an appetite suppressant and caffeine does increase the effects - but just caffeine alone? Inconclusive.

Oh well - it wouldn't be science unless it was sometimes proven wrong. I'm still going to drink all that coffee - it protects from all sorts of stuff like liver cancer and liver cirrhosis.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fanboy - There Can Be Only One

People want to own their music. - Steve Jobs

Pick your poison and commit, because that's how you enjoy it. My brother was over, heard my internet radio streaming, and asked what it was. I told him it iTunes Radio. When he asked me if I liked it better than Pandora there was only one answer? No. Without a doubt, I like the stations I used to listen to on Pandora better than the stations I listen to on iTunes Radio. So why don't I listen to Pandora? Because I'm a fanboy. Apple is the ecosystem I choose to support and so I do my best to use Apple with all my heart and receive the experience they are trying to give me. Apple Maps. Apple Podcast app. iTunes Radio. iTunes. AppleTV. AirPlay to Airport Express devices. I know that there are better options on the market, but I have this hope that if I give my money to Apple, Apple will do good things with it.

Apple Beauty

Sometimes I wish that I could be a fanboy of another ecosystem. Android, Chromebook, Google Maps, Google Music, Google Video -- it's another tempting place to be. I could declare myself a Google fanboy, wear Google Glass, and mock the Apple kids with all the stuff I could do and they can't. But I am not an Google fanboy.

I look over at the Microsoft Surface 3 and drool. For a decade (wow, really? long time) I have said all I want is a laptop where the keyboard detaches. Not an iPad. Not a big phone. A beautiful touch interface laptop, where I can leave the keyboard at home. I think Microsoft has gotten it right - the tablet they have been trying to build for a decade (wow, really? long time). I could see this great world of the Surface, 3, Windows Phone, Windows 8 running on some amazing laptop hardware with an Xbox as my home entertainment system. That would be a cool place to be. But I am not a Microsoft fanboy.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. For now - Apple is mother. Apple is father. Don't screw it up.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I Need a Drone

Look, this thing can’t land on somebody’s head while they’re walking around their neighborhood. - Jeff Bezos

Sibling Chaos: "I'm surprised you don't own a drone."

Me: "What am I going to do with a drone, spy on neighbors? I only buy ridiculous toys with functional value."

SC: "In a few years, you're going to be playing frisbee or baseball with Mini-Chaos and he's going to get a toy stuck on the roof? How are you going to get that toy down? Use a ladder?"

Me: "A ladder? Like a chump!?!? I need a drone!"

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Read about this Ray Gun

These things must be true, or else it would not be a ray-gun. But it is. Ray-guns come from space. - James Alan Gardner

I wrote a lot of poetry in high school and college. Some of it was good. I read a lot of poetry in high school and college because I liked it. I eventually stopped reading poetry and stopped writing poetry.

In my mid-twenties I wrote a lot of short stories. Some of it was good - you can even find it on my site. I read a lot of short stories in my mid-twenties because I liked it. I eventually stopped reading short stories and stopped writing them. I have three short stories that are stopped in the middle and I'm not sure if I'll ever finish. Every year for NaNoWriMo I challenge myself to write one complete start-to-finish story (of any length) and I fail.

In preparation for this years NaNoWriMo I started to read short stories to see if I could be inspired. I was titalated by one I read last week. It was utterly delightful. The full text is findable online, so stop what you are doing and read it. You'll enjoy it.

The Ray-Gun: A Love Story by James Alan Gardner

This is a story about a ray-gun. The ray-gun will not be explained except to say, "It shoots rays."

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Tablet-first World

It's about a different philosophy. - Craig Federighi

I drive to be mobile-focused with my company's products. All of our designs for admin screens are for tablets. All of our designs for consumers are for mobile phones. As a standard modern company, most of our documents were in Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. The really hip people (like me) used our Google Apps account to put stuff into Google Docs, Sheets and Presentation.

A a month ago the big cheese at work declared to the company, "we are mobile first! Since only Apple has mobile-centric versions of all the office apps, we are now Apple-centric." So the company plowed forward to switch to iWork. To watch an enterprise salesforce switch from PowerPoint to Keynote is priceless. To watch the customer success team and the lawyers start writing customer documents in Pages is great. There was an exception provided for spreadsheet use of Excel instead of Numbers, especially for finance. Otherwise, everyone has spent the past 30-days stressing over this change. Google Docs? Bah - that is what iCloud sharing is for!

As an Apple Fanboy this is fantastic for me. I've always wanted an opportunity to try all these cool Apple features so I can proudly proclaim to my friends, "Oh yeah, we use iWork collaboration and it's fantastic. It's so great to edit a Pages doc instead of being trapped in that Google interface." Achievement unlocked.

But what's funny about that is in the ONE MONTH since making that decree, Microsite has launched iPhone/iPad versions its office suite and Google has launched native iPhone/iPad versions of its office suite. Now - being iPhone/iPad first doesn't mean being Apple first. So we'll see how long this change lasts. Maybe will switch back to Microsoft suite in a month.