Annoyance and stupidity (rant alert)

I am, maybe without proper justification, annoyed at @neilhimself, Neil Gaiman compromising a certain amount of integrity to try and help sad Blackberry avoid going through corporate hospice care.  Perhaps it is out of pity or a fascination with death (this time, the death of corporate profits) that has caused an honorable and independent artist, responsible for groundbreaking works of genius to (a) appear in a Super Bowl ad and (b) use his creativity and genius to promote a mere piece of commerce.  To the best of my knowledge, Blackberry shares none of Mr. Gaiman’s values regarding creativity, aesthetic exhilaration and the healing power of pure beauty.  On the contrary, this is a company (formerly known as Research in Motion) that rose to the highest success making a purely functional device that the most conservative and least artistic members of our society could use as they would go to war against others in the unending fight to defeat competition and satisfy shareholders.  Blackberry was dependable, basic, useful.  You could trust that device.  It wouldn’t let you down.  A solid weapon for battle.

So, really, I should not begrudge Mr. Gaiman a few extra shekels in his pocket to do what he would be doing anyway – creating, writing, interacting with his audience.  I should be more appalled at the stupidity of Blackberry for giving up on its own identity so that it could pretend to “think different.”  Instead of using the Windows model and leveraging what they do best.  Microsoft Windows 8 is the same on your phone as on your desktop.  And it is the same on the tablet.  Everything is unified with Windows 8.  There is one operating system and it works.  On everything.  Considering how many people already use Windows products every day, it’s pretty exciting to consider what comes next.

But did Blackberry takes its broad user base and attempt to innovate a more unified and modern product?  Looks like no.  Instead, they appear to be chasing a competitor that is so far down the road, it probably forgot that Blackberry even exists.  Blackberry wants to be Apple.  That might have been an OK idea two or three years ago, but now?  Now it just looks sad.

And there is a sadness to Neil Gaiman.   Not because of this silly ad campaign for a second rate product that no one will buy, but because he sees heartache and the grim realities of pain and loss.  And he writes about them.  And considering what’s going to happen to his new bosses soon, maybe they picked the perfect pitchman.

But I’m still annoyed.

Better than Facebook. Better than Twitter.

From GigaOm:

What Tumblr did instead was to design a more thoughtful form of community engagement by requiring people to repost content in its original context, rather than simply piping in an anonymous comment… Tumblr deliberately chose “reblogging” as an alternative to commenting because, at a certain scale, internet forums degenerate into a “horrible world of internet anonymousness and awfulness.”

Come and tumbl with me.

The lonesome stars

From Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

A new study using data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope suggests a cause for the mysterious glow of infrared light seen across the entire sky. It comes from isolated stars beyond the edges of galaxies. These stars are thought to have once belonged to the galaxies before violent galaxy mergers stripped them away into the relatively empty space outside of their former homes.

Stuff like this makes me want to start my own business

I am SUCH a sucker for fancy task management applications.  This one is team-based, which means I have no use for it my button-down-Outlook/proprietary unnamed legal software work life.  But when I see stuff that looks this good and this easy to use, I can’t help but fantasize about implementing it to lead my own team of creative bad-asses to glory – in the law or wherever!  Here’s the New York Times article and below is the promo video.  It’s called Asana.

I’m going back to @6Wunderkinder for task management

The more complicated my life becomes, the more I absolutely depend on task management.  That is not specific to software of any particular kind.  Its about making lists of specific, bite-sized, action items that can be accomplished in an orderly fashion.  The theory is that, with the formation of well-managed lists, the brain is freed up for unbound creativity.

Countless software developers seek to exploit the absolute right-ness of lists and GTD theory with varying success.  The benefit for me is that the excitement of gadgetry and the beauty of design will draw me in to interacting with my lists and promote focus and productivity.  The apps, in short, can be a major boon to getting things done.

At work, I am forced to use Microsoft Outlook.  If it were my business, I would implement a different, customizable solution, instead of the one-size-fits all approach of Outlook Tasks.  But I’m not that high up in the food chain.

In my personal life, which includes a zillion things i need to keep track of for the new baby, music, taxes and finance, social gatherings, and other stuff, I can go whatever direction I please.  My requirements, however, are rigid – cross-platform and cloud-based.  Google would seem a natural, but their task management application is simply a poor appendage grafted onto Gmail.  Astonishingly disappointing.

Before I got forced into Outlook, I used Wunderlist and it was brilliant, though not terribly pleasing to the eye.  After Outlook, I left poor Wunderlist on the side of the road and started with Any.Do.  The latter is a gorgeous Android app that alleges sync with Google tasks.  I love love love the design of Any.Do, but the sync is questionable at best, and there is no app for iOS or Chrome or Mac or Windows.  They say it’s coming, but I’m not seeing any product development or even app updates.

I’m going back to Berlin.  Wunderlist really does have it all, and the appearance is somewhat custimazable to make it a little more pleasing.  I realize the interface may never be ‘slick’, and maybe that’s just not the German way, but this company is going places and they’re delivering everything I need to get things done.

Surprising, yet welcome news about my Motorola Photon

In July I finally upgraded to my first superphone – the dual core Motorola Photon 4G. Since my purchase, I have seen the price of this handset nosedive, as the company enjoys much greater success with the RAZR and other models. No matter, I love my Android 2.3 with customized user interface, perfect Google integration, and a host of apps for work and play. The thing is solid and reliable.

But, because of weak sales, I felt certain I would miss out on an ICS upgrade. And that would have been fine. I’d happily hang in there till 2013 and see what upgrades were available then. Now, however, I’m not so sure. Turns out, somehow, I’m on the list for Ice Cream Sandwich. I may have to wait till Fall, but, as I’ve said, this phone is pretty darn good just the way it is, so I don’t that’ll be a problem.

It’s the “Catch-All Social Media Blog” again.

I continue to view WordPress as my go-to HQ, the hub of my online existence.  The fact that it is now the most ungainly blog platform of the services I use is discouraging, but everything has it’s place.

Twitter is like a text message to the world, with little side-chats, important news stories, and a whole lot of people acting really silly.

Google+ is the upstart, unlimited by any character number, capable of handling photos, blogs, plus ones’s, shares, just about anything.  I love it.

And then there is my dear buried treasure of Tumblr, so sweet, so emo, makes me feel like a real hipster (plus about 75 lbs).  My Tumblr is so vain, I just want people to look at it and think I’m so cool, with my pictures of cars, old movies, genius musicians and freaky artwork.  The Tumblr time-line is a lot like Twitter in that you follow who you like and unfollow who you don’t.  You can give hearts just like on Google+ and reblogs instead of retweets.

I’m joyful to have given up Facebook.  My profile still exists for some reason, but I haven’t looked at it for months now, trying to lead by example.  I equate my recent effort to start yoga with giving up Facebook for good.

And then there’s all that other stuff – Picplz until there is Instagram for Android, Instagram for my iPod Touch, Foursquare, Google Reader, Evernote, Last.fm – the list goes on and I’m always looking for more toys!

So this brings me back to my dear old WordPress blog, my hub.  I shouldn’t have to make an effort to post here – it should be instinctive.  Maybe the extra trouble makes it more precious than those other networks and outlets.  But like the fact that I have to change the background on my phone at least once per week, I’ll revamp this website in the coming days – not to improve your user experience, but just to make it fresh and shiny and new for me.  And then I’ll tell you all about it.