Hey Facebook, Screw You Too!

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I have realized that I just don’t like Facebook anymore. With its recent update, I no longer get the full stream of my friends posts (even if I individually click on them and select everything), and they don’t see all of my posts either.

And it finally struck me what is so annoying about this: Facebook is like a moderator at a party constantly turning off conversations it deems not interesting enough.

Excuse me, but was I talking to you? No. I’m talking to my friends and family. I didn’t “friend” you, Facebook.

It’s bad enough that you are listening in on our conversations, without you also editing them by promoting and demoting threads! And your practice of demoting threads to the point they don’t even appear on my friends’ radar? Bite me!

Congratulations, Facebook. You have become MySpace: your annoyance factor has outstripped your utility (and you did it without even adding flashing backgrounds).

Creative Commons License photo credit: thomasrdotorg

Calvin and Jobs revisited

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I was going through my amazing cool stuff folder when I came across Jacob Lambert’s and Gary Hallgren’s fabulous Calvin and Jobs comics – a mashup of two greats!

Ah, good times.

Calvin and Jobs Parody by Jacob Lambert and Gary Hallgren

Read the rest of this entry »

Siri Seriously?

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Uhura Uniform, Dearly Photographed

One of the flaws with voice control on the iPhone (before the amazing and magical iPhone 4S — let’s hope anyway) was the delay before you could give a command.  Press the main button and hold for 1… 2… 3…  screen comes up 4… /boop-boop. Finally, it is ready.

Yes, this is so much better while driving. Ok. It probably is. However, holding a button for 4 seconds to show the phone you really mean to issue a voice command is, well, lame.

Look, what I really want is Star Trek, okay? Tap the communicator, instant /boop-boop, and talk!

Can you imagine if they had to stand there pressing the communicator for 4 seconds before it turned on. Well, there would have been a helluva lot more dead crew members.

So, with Friday’s iPhone 4S (“S” for “It’s not the 5 Sucka!”), I’m hoping 1) voice control works, and 2) it doesn’t take so long to activate that I just never want to bother using it.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Orin Zebest

It’s good we didn’t get a bigger screen. It’s real good!

Filed under: Editorials, iPhone iPad iOS | Tags: |

And so the pendulum swings back.

Dustin Curtis’ article discussing how a bigger iPhone 4S screen a would have been a bad thing is getting passed around the net.

This isn’t an attack on Dustin. And I don’t think Dustin is wrong. I just don’t recall anyone complaining about an bigger screen when the iPhone 5″ speculation / mockups / case designs / leaked front panel suggested a four inch or larger screen for months and months. Nor do I recall Apple fans rejoicing over smaller seven inch tablets saying “FINALLY my thumbs can get a break!”

However, now that the iPhone 4S has been announced with the same screen as the iPhone 4, it’s a good thing Apple wished the bigger iPhone into the cornfield, a real good thing! /eye-roll


photo by: Paolo Camera

On the Apple dashed hopes and celebration treadmill

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Apple Planet

In anticipation the iPhone 4S release on October 14, 2011, I think it is fitting to discuss the stages of disappointment, acceptance, and finally celebration of Apple products.

With each launch, Apple has a high bar to meet, this was especially true in years past when blurry photos, leaked manufacturing components, inventory notices, and unannounced products weren’t being left in bars with each iteration. Without solid information, fans were left with rampant speculation and hopes. Unrealistic and unmet hopes in most case.

In 2008, I was furious that Apple did not usher in the Apple tablet. Getting a thin Macbook was poor consolation. The “Air.” How pretentious! Sure it was thin enough to fit into an inter-office mailer, but where was the tablet? Read the rest of this entry »

Farewell Steve

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You turned the present into the future. Thank you.

Starring: Insert Your Name Here

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Hands in the air - in concert

I’m watching Amelia (the Amelia Earhart biopic with Hillary Swank and Richard Gere) and I can’t help thinking that life is much easier if you just image you are living in your own biopic.

Now, of course, teenagers are already doing this, and doing it wrong, I must say, since they are focusing on recreating the rewards of idols rather than the drive and determination that got them there. If this comes off as obtuse, I mean they focus on the trappings and partying rather than the long days training and rehearsing. To go even further on this tangent, I believe Making the Band was one of the best reality tv series since it actually showed the grueling training schedule wannabe stars went through on the slim chance of making the band.

Going back to the main topic, it is a conceit in many biopics that the protagonist seems to have an unswerving drive that leads them inexorably to their goal. While there may be moment of self-doubt, it seems to be only for dramatic tension and the character quickly regains their composure and focus.

Unrealistic, though this may be, it seems like a worthwhile ideal to cultivate especially when you are unsure of yourself.

Whether it is dealing with barking dogs of people yelling things out of cars when they pass me while out walking, or continuing to go back to write in this space, it is useful to imagine that like the protagonist in Julie and Julia, it is all part of a grand journey culminating in bigger success. And I just have to muddle through it.

One of the “truths” I recently came upon is that if you want to succeed, you cannot let yourself be deterred. You have to keep on doing what you need to do to reach your goal. Personally, I think that a necessary corollary is that you always have the ability to decide that the band is never going to make it and maybe you should put away the guitar. You have the power to evaluate your goals and decide which ones are worth pursuing and which should be left by the wayside. [I seem to be writing a lot in clichés today.] However, for the goals that you keep, you have to keep moving forward on them. That is the only way your will ever succeed. It would just be easier if you knew there was a victory scene coming up in the third reel.

Creative Commons License photo credit: marfis75

Permission to do Cool Things

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I was listening to Episode 5 of Back to Work. A brief summary: Dan and Merlin discussed how to let people give you a shot, a break, an opportunity to work on something cool and meaningful.


Stop whinging on about not getting opportunities. You haven’t gotten a shot because either:

  • You’re not good enough yet (but you don’t even know enough to realize it). Or,
  • You haven’t proven yourself capable to your immediate supervisor who doesn’t want to stick his or her neck out by giving you something cool (e.g. something valuable, which could get them fired if all goes pear-shaped on your watch).
  • You are a real pain in the ass because you constantly go on and on about not getting cool projects and/or have to be kept on to get your current work done.

Don’t worry. We’ve all been there. It is all a matter of how long it takes to get it together and start doing stuff well enough to get noticed.

Merlin offered a “ask not what your country can do for you” suggestion on getting to do better projects.

  • Keep in mind that your boss isn’t there to please you. Your boss has to please his boss.
  • Instead of asking to do something that helps you, ask if there is something you can do help your boss.

Making your boss’ life easier is a good way of showing your value and it is fairly certain to be on something that your boss will pay attention to (so your work will not go unnoticed).

Some people are not going to like this since it is a brown-nosing approach. Well, in a way it is. You are paying attention to you boss. However, it is not about getting ahead by being a sycophant and not producing anything (you are being a sycophant and producing something). Seriously though, it is about showing that you can listen to a supervisor’s needs and then meet them – which is what getting ahead is about.

Another option is to just wow your boss with something they are not expecting. Which is great, if you can figure about something that actually will wow them and not result in the following response:

You were doing WHAT on company time?

This gets to the topic of permission which was to be the main thrust of this post. The earlier section certainly still applies to many lawyers; especially those in big law. After 19 years of education and dog-eat-dog competition for a starting position, you find yourself in a position akin to an Egyptian slave moving blocks for Pharaoh’s pyramid. Figuring out what to get noticed is what it’s all about.

For solo attorney, this is the reason we left the rat race. Being a solo also means not having to prove things to a supervisor. It also means we are free of the main thing holding back attorney who are not their own boss: you don’t have to ask for permission.

  • Want to write article? Go for it!
  • Want to dive into class action cases? Why not!

There is no one stopping you. You may not be qualified to handle that yet. However, there is nothing stopping you from starting down that path.

I can’t just choose to be Gary Spence!

Lame example? Fine. You pick someone. Got it? Ok, let’s move on. Of course, you cannot choose the result. The result is what happens in response to your action and in response to the actions of lots of other people. For example: you can choose to get into politics, but you don’t get to “chose” that you will be elected. That outcome is out of your hands.

Another thing that holds people back is mistaking the first step for the outcome.

Lifting these tiny dumbbells isn’t going to get me bench-pressing 300 pounds.

Really? Because sitting on the couch has been getting you there? Obviously you are not going to go from 20 pound dumbbells to lifting massive plates. However, you will never get to lifting 300 pounds without starting much smaller. And you will never reach the goal by stopping after the first step. Or worse, never taking a step at all.

So, if you have the freedom to do thing, get out there and do it! Just keep in mind that you cannot control outcome and don’t blame the first step for not taking you all the way to your goal.

Creative Commons License photo credit: noaha

Coming of Age (At Any Age)

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I like children’s stories. It’s is hard to say this without a touch of embarrassment. After all, what does a man in his early 40s find to appreciate in stories aimed at readers a quarter his age?

For me, it is the notion that there is notion of possibility. That the future has not been written and there is still choice and the opportunity to do something amazing in it.

Check out this description from the back of “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate”:

The summer of 1899 is hot in Calpurnia’s sleepy Texas town, and there aren’t a lot of good ways to stay cool. Her mother has a new wind machine, but instead, Callie’s contemplating cutting off her hair, one sneaky inch at a time. She’s also spending a lot of time at the river with her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist. But just when Callie and her grandfather are about to make an amazing discovery, the reality of Callie’s situation catches up with her. She’s a girl at the turn of the century, expected to cook and clean and sew. What a waste of time! Will Callie ever find a way to take control of her own destiny?

Who doesn’t feel this way at times? Is this all there is? What about making something worthwhile?

It is expected that by a certain age we should know what we want.

  • Pick a practical major.
  • Get a real job.
  • Buy a house.
  • Save for retirement.

I know I am channeling a bit of the Vocational Wheel episode of Back to Work discussing the quarter life crisis and reinforced the notion that it is ok to not know what you want to do at 25 (or even at 40).

In children’s books, or Young Adult fiction (which sounds as odd to my ears as calling comic books “graphic novels” did about 10 years ago), this notion is accepted. It is ok that you don’t know what you want.

So, I still find value in “coming of age stories” and even though I am entering my fourth decade, I still feel that I am coming of age.

No Collaboration Allowed

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Desert Leader

I’m reading Salon’s article on How Finland Became a Education Leader:

The second point is that [Finns] defined professionalism as working more collaboratively. They give their teachers time in the school day and in the school week to work with each other, to continuously improve their curriculum and their lessons. We have a 19th century level of professionalism here, or worse, it’s medieval. A teacher works alone all day, everyday, and isolation is the enemy of improvement and innovation, which is something the Finns figured out a long time ago. Get the teachers out of their isolated circumstances and give them time to work together.

Now just replace “teacher” and “school” with “lawyer” and “firm”. Yeah, this is what I go on about with lawyers, whether they are solos or in a law firm. There’s very little collaboration or mentoring. Just a bunch of individuals trying to reinvent the wheel. And it just doesn’t work well. It doesn’t work well for starting lawyers trying to learn the ropes. And it doesn’t work well for lawyers trying to figure out how to keep their business running well.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Hamed Saber