Insane

Aside

My workload has been insane since my teammate/coworker Keith left. On Monday, Nick gave notice. My stress level has quadrupled (at least) and my workload is going to do about the same. Thankfully, we’ve filled Keith’s position as of Monday. Too bad FNG’s not taking over all the work that Keith passed on.

Because of the increased stress level and workload, I’ve been working more and reading less. I’m about 1/4 the way through The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and I’m enjoying it very much. I hope to finish it this weekend while Jenna and I are up north. Lots of take-away items already.

The Success or (likely) Failure of Windows 8

My friend Trent posted this article on Google+.

Five Reasons Why Windows 8 Will Be DOA

So many large companies behave like Microsoft that it’s almost difficult to be disappointed by the list of things wrong with the Windows 8 OS. For example, it was the lack of evolved and well-thought-out development tools that buried the Wii – because programming for the Wii is expensive and difficult. Or… Why does the iPhone have so many more titles/apps (that’s applications for old schoolers or “programs” for the informed) than the Android market? Because, with the iPhone, you only have to program it once. If you can get it to work on THE iPhone, then there’s nothing else to account for. With the Android market, you have to worry about n different phones with n different screen sizes and so many different versions of Android still floating around out there with Bob only knows how much carrier-specific bloat-ware on those phones. Sure, you have to get it approved by the Apple people and they can yank it at their heart’s desire and it can cost you lots to get it approve, but you only have one version to write, one version to fix, one version to upgrade. This, by the way, is why Google purchased Motorola Mobility.

Windows 8 does NOTHING to address that from a developer standpoint. There will still be machines out there running Windows ME (I just threw up in my mouth a little) that have to be addressed. Or, at least the architecture they’re running on must be addressed. Then, there’s the different input devices that your app/application/program will have to account for. Will it be running on a tablet, or a pc (x86 or 64bit?) or will it be running on a phone (which phone?) Or, worse yet, will it be on any/all of these?

While the Apple model is restrictive and cumbersome, I think they may have just gotten this whole picture right – perhaps without even knowing it. They have control of the devices. They have control of the OS. They have control of the applications that get approved. They have the final say on who provides service (cell carriers) for their devices. From a provide for the lowest-common-denominator perspective, they may have hit the bull’s eye. My 14 year old daughter and my 75 year old father would be equally comfortable running any one (or all) of their devices. I don’t think I could say the same about Windows.

For power users, there’s Linux/Unix. We’ll always have command line level control of everything we do in the hard-core/power-user operating systems. Microsoft doesn’t play in that arena any more, any way. Have you tried to do anything in Windows 7 that didn’t offer/require a wizard? Even the most simple things are made wizard-enabled with Windows 7. I suspect that Windows 8 will take that one step further and require that you use a wizard to figure out which wizard you need to change that user preference which, in the end, will be a one-line change to a config file that we used to be able to edit in notepad.

I hope, in the battle between operating systems, the browser wins the day. Most things that end-users do on a computer today can be done through the browser. Even those things that require heavy back-end programming can get by with a web interface quite nicely. For everything else… command line will win the day. Get out your pocket-protectors, geeks… we will win in the end.

Pacemaker Award

Apparently my academic accomplishments in the Executive MBA program qualify me to apply for consideration for the Pacemaker Award from the University of Toledo. The award is presented to selected undergraduate and graduate students based on academic and non-academic achievements and contributions of the student spanning the College, University, and the community.

If I am lucky enough to get the award, I’ll be presented with a $300 award and I’ll be invited to a dinner sponsored by the university.

I only wish I had more community contributions and club/group memberships to put on my application. Unfortunately, I was too busy being a full time single parent to join + participate in a lot of extra things when I was an undergraduate. Getting my graduate degree while working full time and participating fully in my daughter’s life was sufficient to keep me busy for the past year and a half.

This recognition would look nice on the resume, but I’m not holding my breath.

Cognitive Surplus

Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky
This book was recommended by Kantar CEO Eric Salama in a corporate email from September(ish) of 2011.
It took me forever to get through. The ramblings of this author seem to run the gamut. It wasn’t until chapter 7 that he seemed to try to tie any of it together. Had the book been written in a different order, I probably would have been more into it and it would have made more sense.

This book had the potential to be inspirational and world-changing as he points out all the potential good that could be done if we would come together as a society and use social media for more than cats with funny captions. He points out some fantastic examples and talks about how they came to be, why they survive and what makes them truly special. I wish I would have taken notes as I read this book because it would make it easier to write this review. Unfortunately, I did not. I’m not going to go back and re-read it in order to assemble this review, either. You can’t make me. I don’t want to.

If you are aware of sites like donorschoose.org and ted.com then you’re aware of the positive potential of society when we act together. If you’re older than 30, then you’re aware of how the internet grew to be what it is today. If you’re a geek, like me, then you’re familiar with how we went from AOL to individual web pages to geo-cities to myspace and then to facebook. We clearly don’t know what’s in store for the future and we can’t predict how people will use technology and thankfully, Mr. Shirky doesn’t make any attempts to predict what might be on the horizon.

If, on the other hand, you’re not familiar with man’s ability to create a greater good and you think that the best the internet has to offer is /b/tards (oh, wait… you probably don’t get the 4chan reference) then you’re likely to get something out of this book. If you’re under 30 or over 70, then you may learn something from reading this book.

There weren’t any take-aways in this book that I could apply to my daily life.
There weren’t any inspirational quotes that I could pull from it.
There weren’t business practices that will make me a better leader.
There were no dog-eared pages when I finished.
There were no markings in the margins.
There were no highlights.
I never sent an email to my friends telling them they needed to pick up this book… now.
About the only take-away from this book is: Next time, take notes as you read that way you can do a proper job ripping a book you don’t like.

The simple fact of the matter is, this book bored me.