September 3, 2014

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via The Atlantic:

Last, Silicon Valley startups seem to be able to offer the great experiences that they do because they centralize our information within their server farms. But email proves that this is not necessarily the case. Progress can come from much more distributed decision-making processes. The email protocol evolves based on the deliberations of the Internet Engineering Task Force, not by the fiat rule of a single company in Silicon Valley or New York.

Nearly 100% of my communication is done via email. In the rare cases that someone sends me an SMS, it goes through Google Voice. In both cases, I have an indexed, searchable organized repository for all of my communications. With Email, I own 100% of it the server, the internet connection, VPN tunnel and desktop mail application. There are no ads in my Inbox, only communications server to server with my contacts. Google owns my SMS but hosting my own SMS relay is very costly and difficult at the individual level. I worked on SMS technology @ Brightkite (check-ins via SMS) and it’s not a cheap setup to own your own shortcode.

I’m off topic now but my point is, one day Facebook will be gone and email will still be alive. I don’t use Twitter or Facebook anymore. I don’t use any of those new fangled services. I can email my photo full resolution (not cropped like a square) to a thousand people just like I do with instagram. I can email videos, photos, party invites and thoughts. Email rules and unfortunately, articles like the above-linked one don’t come around as often as they should.

September 2, 2014

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via The Bold Italic:

I think you would have had to live in both SF and New England to fully appreciate this. If you have, it’s worth the read.

September 1, 2014

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via McSweenys:

I’d noticed that in my store, only Managers, Creatives, and Geniuses have their face on their employee key cards. Everyone else’s card is white. How do you get your face on your key card? You get it by visiting Cupertino.Managers, Creatives, and Geniuses, the senior positions in the store, are flown on the company’s dime to Cupertino for training, Apple finishing school, if you like. You’re paid salary to take classes and partake in tradition. It makes the pilgrimage seem that much more of a reward.

I do totally know the feeling. In a few years, I’ll post my employee key cards which you can only get by going to Cupertino. I have the files but can’t share them at this time. They are truly a big deal both for fans of the company and the remote employees. They mean basically nothing but it’s a rite of passage and is a big moment for all of us that ever worked for that fruit company.

August 29, 2014

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via Matt Gemmell:

It’s important to have a boundary between your work and home life, psychologically and physically. For anything but the most casual, occasional periods, you need a dedicated working environment.

there are a lot of tips in here and I encourage teleworkers to read it but this one really stands out. It’s good to switch off and be home when your’e at home. That’s hard with an apartment but you have to make it work.

August 29, 2014

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Every year for as long as I can remember, I post a blog post about the last year here on Earth and what I’m looking forward to going forward. In 2010, I moved to New Hampshire on September 4th so I’ve been doing New Hampshireversary + Birthday blogs as a single post since then and the format has worked pretty well.

This is the first year where I was at a loss for words. I’ve been writing a Quarter-Century biography over the past few months off an on. The chapters are split not chronologically but in sections like there’s one about my Dad (both of them) and my move to San Francisco and various life events. It’s been fun to write and readers of this blog probably have noticed lately my blog posts containing more nostalgia than before and that’s because in writing these chapters, I start thinking that the past few years have been pretty boring. Exciting in the grand scheme of things, exciting if I compare my life to my peers from high school but compared to the first 25 years, the last 3 have been boring.

Traveling the world, meeting new people, finding and losing love and exploring my career and working up the ladder are great but the last 12 months have felt stagnant as if I’m a quiet stream covered in mold and not rapids of fast moving water, roaring and throwing up mist with every rock that comes in my way. 

This is all my fault of course but besides the stagnation, I’m also not feeling driven to actually do much about it at least not yet. I’m very happy in New Hampshire, happy with how I spend my time and with who I spend it with but I’m also going through some mental and physical discoveries about myself that should have been unearthed years ago. This could be a feeling that all people go through as they settle down. I’m no longer looking for a better job, a new lover, a new hobby or bench pressing more than I did the last day. I make more money than I ever thought possible and have a savings account. I feel good and see no reason to make changes. Maybe that’s why I’m stagnating. First world problems, right? I love going to Belgium but after being there 8 times, it’s just another trip to Europe.

In the last year on Earth, I guess I did some cool things. It’s just unfortunate that I don’t feel like they’re worth covering here. I’m also approaching my 4th full year in New Hampshire. Wow. Soon, my job @ TomTom will be the longest I’ve ever held, another thing that older people appreciate more than younger people. Four years @ TomTom. Incredible and every day feels new and fresh and fun and I have no desire to look elsewhere. In fact, there are opportunities there to do something really great that I’ll talk about should they come to fruition.

I am becoming less social which is not at all surprising. Last year and the year before, I wrote about wanting to live more remote and have a smaller circle of friends. I’ve mostly realized that goal. For the longest time, I wanted to know everyone, see everything and live in New York. Now I’d be happy with a cabin in eastern Oregon with a dog and a goldfish. Alaska also sounds pretty good or the Northern Territories of Canada. As long as I have Internet, I’m good. 

I celebrated my 28th birthday alone and by choice. I bought a cake, had some whiskey and watched old movies. I’ve celebrated most of my New Years alone as well. I prefer it. Milestones to me should be enjoyed in solitary so you can really reflect on things and not distracted by entertainment and other personalities. 

Here’s to another year at my current job and another year in New England. 

As always, thanks to everyone who drops in to read this blog. It’s a labor of love and one that I’m happy to keep maintained. 

28th Birthday

Quiet Night @ Home

August 28, 2014

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via Sweet Mac Setup:

I find it depressing whenever anyone suggests that RSS is dying, because I honestly think it is one of the greatest inventions in the history of reading. What’s not to love? You get to handpick a series of feeds that will then send you articles to read, and instead of piling up around you, like magazines and newspapers of yore, the articles magically disappear after you read them, replaced by a fresh batch. That’s the concept anyway. The execution of that concept took a while to find its proper form.

This was a great review. I’m going to stick with Reeder.

By the way, RSS isn’t dying, it’s just most people are too stupid to know how to use it. When I explain RSS to people, they get really excited. Then they forget about setting it up because just going to @CNN on Twitter is easier. I love RSS. I could not update this blog for years and the 200+ people who subscribe will know I’m back as soon as I publish something new.

August 27, 2014

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via NYTimes:

Unlike pens, fingers don’t run out of ink, they’re free and you always have one with you. I use mine to take notes on my phone, highlight books on my Kindle and draw pictures on my iPad. I don’t have to worry about losing this work because, unlike a piece of paper, my digital notes live in perpetuity online.

This is the dumbest thing I’ve read all week. I feel dumber for having read it.

With the exception of signing credit card receipts, I haven’t used a pen/pencil since I was 12 years old. Why? What device do you think killed the writing utensil for me in the year 1998? The personal computer did. It was in 1998 that I got my first laptop 2nd hand from eBay and took it to school. It was a PC but my school had WiFi. It was’t secured because no other kid in school had a wireless device that could connect to it. The teachers used it…and they printed to laser printers located in every other classroom. So that’s what I did.

Freshman year of high-school, I saved up and bought my first new Mac (iBook Clamshell). It was the first of many Macintosh computers and the thousands of words I I wrote in high school were done on a laptop. In Sophomore year, I got one of those thin USB scanners so i could scan in work and then mark it up in Adobe Reader Professional.

The iPad didn’t kill the pen. the finger didn’t kill the pen (Nick is talking about touch screens) it was the keyboard that killed the pen.

By the way Nick, I’d love to see your artwork drawn with your finger on the iPad.

August 26, 2014

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via Shawn Blanc:

Since the Synology is attached directly to my modem, it has its own connection to the Internet. But all NAS drives connect direct to the modem (usually). The Synology is cool because, since it has its own operating system, it doesn’t require a dedicated Mac in order for the files to be accessible from my home or from anywhere else in the world. While it’s not quite as powerful as a Headless Mac mini plus NAS setup would be, it is about $1,000 less expensive. And if you’re just wanting to dip your toe in the water with this stuff, from where I’m sitting, a Synology DiskStation is a great place to start.

Shawn’s review covers most of what I’ve wanted to say about my DS214 Play which is similar to what Shawn has but also has a hardware transcoder to compress & encode media files at the NAS (great for streaming content to my iPad from the road).

I do want to write more about the unit once I’ve had more time with it. My experience while similar to Shawn’s is quite a bit more intense because I had much more content. My iTunes library alone was 3.9 terabytes (almost filling up my LaCie Blade Runner) and I had another 800 megabytes of files from when I was younger, school work, memories, etc. Then there’s the 400 gigabytes of RAW images that live on my iMac. I ended up getting two 6 terabyte WD Red drives and w/ mirroring the NAS is almost completely full. I attached my 4 terabyte Blade Runner (USB3) to the back of the NAS and that is where my 3 computers back up via the wired/wireless network.

I plan on doing more with the Synology over the coming weeks.

August 25, 2014

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via NYTimes:

The N.S.A., though, is unique in its ability to match images with huge troves of private communications

.“We would not be doing our job if we didn’t seek ways to continuously improve the precision of signals intelligence activities — aiming to counteract the efforts of valid foreign intelligence targets to disguise themselves or conceal plans to harm the United States and its allies,” said Vanee M. Vines, the agency spokeswoman.

It took a long time for us to get to where we are but I can safely say, United States of America is the most paranoid country on Earth. We’re also one of the dumbest and fattest so at least we we’re #1 at something.

August 22, 2014

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I’ve been reading more on the topic lately (no it’s not for a friend or a coincidence) and have enjoyed a few articles that I thought would be nice to share with you all.

Life Without Sex: The Third Phase of the Asexuality Movement via The Atlantic:

 In other words, you might want to have sex five times this week, or you might not want to have sex at all. Your experience of desire might be intensely physical, or it might be indistinguishable from emotional attachment. You might experience next to no attraction for years, and then find yourself consumed with another person. At one point in your life, sex might be the ultimate thrill; at another, it might be boring and routine. And all of it is okay, and none of it marks the essence of who you really are.

‘We’re married, we just don’t have sex’ via The Guardian:

People always ask how our marriage is different from just being friends, but I think a lot of relationships are about that – being friends. We have built on our friendship, rather than scrapping it and moving on somewhere else. The obvious way we differ is that we don’t have sex, though we do kiss and cuddle. We like to joke that the longer we’re married the less unusual this is. By the time we’ve been married five years we’ll be just like everyone else.

Do I feel as if I’m missing out on something? Not really. We’ve decided that if either of us wants to try sex out in the future then we will see what we can do. We would both be willing to compromise because we’re in a relationship and that’s what you do. 

 The Masturbation Paradox  via Apositive.org:

If sexuality is just the desire for sex, then people who only masturbate should feel like the most purely sexual people on the planet.

They don’t.

Rather inconveniently, people who only masturbate tend to call themselves asexual. We can’t say this universally, but currently the asexual community is the only place where people who masturbate exclusively have gathered together to talk about it in any number. These people don’t identify with sexuality at all. Unlike most people, who consider masturbation sexuality and sexual desire to be central motivating factors in their lives, people who only masturbate tend to think of their sexuality as nonexistent. They spend their time hanging out and sharing an identity with people who experience no sexual arousal at all, or who experience sexual arousal and are never motivated to act on it. These people relate to one another’s experiences, use the same terms to describe themselves, struggle with the same problems and swap the same strategies to tackle them, and they do it all in a community founded by someone who masturbates and calls himself asexual. What’s going on here?

Reading more about this, nothing is black or white. There are many gray-sexuals or there are those who right now aren’t and could be sexual in 10 years. It’s interesting how we go through life. I’m not sure I’ll ever have kids…or a wife for that matter. I haven’t felt love for a long time or at least not in a way most people do. Maybe it’s my upbringing or I was born that way but I like being left alone and there are others that do too even if they’re not asexual.

and swap the same strategies to tackle them, and they do it all in a community founded by someone who masturbates and calls himself asexual. What’s going on here?