Monday, 3 June 2013

#NEDJ Week 1, Monday: Introductions


I very nearly made Comparative Blogging Platforms my topic this week, as I am making some behind-the-scenes changes to that will enable me to not want to chew walls every day because Blogger is so poop. And also of course leverage synergy and all that kind of cool digital media tomfoolery (of which, very much more later). But no, I thought it might be best to get a bit of distance between me and my technical demons before I start writing about them, added to which I'm not actually very good at any of it so would probably fail the technical questions post coming in a few days.

Instead, this week my specialist subject will be (some of you will be so shocked to hear this that you will need to clutch at a passing G&T for support) the gadgetry of Apple Inc. Yes I'm copping out and playing to type. But it is also quite timely as their Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) begins next Monday, wherein the next versions of both operating systems will be previewed as well as, more than likely, new mac hardware. So maybe along the line this week I will put forth what I'm hoping for out of WWDC and then almost immediately afterward I can be shown up to be the ill-informed plank that I actually am.

IMG 0538
So then, Apple
I love me some Apple. Always have. I first started using them when I went to big school aged eleven, a sickening twenty-two years ago. I joined the Cult of Mac in the Wilderness Years between the two reigns of Steve Jobs. I started using macs when they were beige and clunky and the names had numbers in them and almost nobody thought they were cool. I was there when Apple was pushed so close to the edge of bankruptcy its employees were making their peace and preparing to switch off the Iron Lung. I was there during the triumphal return of l'enfant terrible, Steve, a miracle unlooked-for that I think steeled our resolve to ensure the business was never brought so low.

I have witnessed much in my twenty-two years. Horrific lows and jubilant highs, direct hits and own goals, wonder and confusion, bountiful gifts and heartfelt loss. But always there have been the toys. Apple makes such wonderful toys! Only occasionally breaking new ground, they have generally contented themselves with looking at a product, working out why people hate it, and then taking most if not all of those reasons away. Always trying to be simpler. Always trying to be better. Sometimes the vision has led the reality, sometimes for several years, and it hasn't been until recently that technology has been able to more fully provide the expression of that vision.

You see, the thing that I love about Apple is that they are one of the few companies who make their products because that is what they have to do. It's their passion and their joy, not just their jobs. For many engineers, they are driven to do their best work there. And yes they make potloads of money now but even when they didn't, they still did what they did because of the love of it.  They genuinely believe what they are doing will make things better for people. Not all people certainly, but they learned a long time ago that trying to please everyone is a fools game and that they should just try to please the people they are good at pleasing: normal people who can't be arsed fiddling about with their devices very much. People who want things to just work. Now, until telepathic links come along no technology is going to be hassle-free, but it's been dramatically proven that people use their Apple devices, especially their iOS devices, more than any other, even if they don't outsell. You only have to look at the most-used cameras on exceptionally photo-sharing site Flickr for that:
Screen Shot 2013 06 03 at 22 00 02

So yeah, I like Apple stuff. Recent Android phones have been exceptionally tempting, but Apple still (for the time being) has my heart. And with another release of the iOS being previewed next week, enough months after a quite seismic shake-up of the company for the new executives to have had serious play time in their new roles, and with new hardware and new hardware categories coming down the pipe in the next few months and calendar quarters, my fun is just beginning. The future is awesome and I'm glad Apple is part of it.

But is there something you've always wondered about Apple that I could try and answer for you? Why they do something a particular way, why they don't do something a particular way, what could be coming, what I think they could do better? Please leave a question in the comments below or tweet me or try smoke signals or whatever, I love comments and if I get enough (legitimate) questions I may even do a special Q&A blog post that was never part of the plan!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

ANNOUNCEMENT: Nearly Every Day In June

ATTENTION, HUMANS: Similar to last month, I will be writing crap nearly every day in June. It will be a slight variation on the theme of May's challenge but hopefully should bore you just as much.

If you would like more details of the Nearly Every Day In June Challenge, if you would like to join in, or even if you are simply hopelessly lost and trying to find your way out… please click on the shit badge below...

Friday, 31 May 2013

#BEDM Day 31: A Vivid Memory


A vivid memory


Wow. Last blog of #BEDM. Do we, like, sign each others' shirts, or books, or something?


Addiction, by FabergĂ©. That is my vivid memory. Actually, it's more of a memory of a memory. I don't remember what it smells like any more, but I remember remembering what it smelled like. A lot of my memories are like that, second-hand. But anyway, yes, Addiction, the body-spray version of it. They don't make it any more, which is a great pity. Many, many, many years ago, the first boy I did anything with was wearing this and God damn he smelled good, and God damn was he cute. I remember, a few days later, catching a smell of it on the clothes I had been wearing that night and my knees nearly coming unhinged. A few months after that I smelled it again somewhere else, randomly, and nearly spontaneously came.


You've got to love sense memory. I have no idea even vaguely what it smells like any more. But I'm confident that, well over a decade later, if that smell should happen to waft across my nose again I would instantly be transported back… <reminisces>


So, that was Blog Every Day In May. I hoped you liked what you've read, and thank you very much for doing so. If you haven't already, please consider filling in this questionnaire (we're not selling anything, it's totally bona fido)

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Blogging (nearly) Every Day In June

So I blogged every day in May. It was fun and I really enjoyed it. I never ever thought I would be able to do it, but I have, and it has given me a taste for it. But the project wasn't without its downsides. Some of the questions were a bit repetitive, some were for too biographical. There was a bit too much "tell me about yourself" which some felt uncomfortable with and not an awful lot of "tell me something cool". And also, lets face it, it meant sitting down and writing something every bloody day. But there were other things about the project I really liked. The structure and focus that a pre-defined set of questions gives means you have a target to shoot at, rather than just a blank page to fill. A group of us went about it which lent it a bit of camaraderie.


So I'm thinking of carrying on. I want to keep at it, so I'm in practise for when July rolls up and I have to start making crap up about random people in the street every day. And, rolling all of the above factors up, the way I'm going to go about it is as follows:

  1. I'm going to have a day off. Possibly even two. (Saturday and Sunday)
  2. For each of the four working weeks in June I am going to pick a particular topic, hobby, sphere of interest, call it what you will. Something that I am very interested in and can talk about at ease (and length, if necessary) but which won't bare my naked soul to the assembled internets.
  3. For each working day of that week I will answer a particular generalised question about the weekly topic and talk around it a bit. The questions will be the same for each of the four weeks.
  4. On Saturdays I may or may not write a summary post regarding that weeks' topic.
  5. On Sundays I will do bugger all unless I feel like it.

I think this strikes a decent balance between keeping things different and interesting, writing nearly every day, maintaining a structure to work against and not laying out my entire life for everyone to see. Do you want to play too? You're most welcome to! If anyone is interested I'll throw up the questions etc. soon. If enough people want to get involved I might even (gulp) do a big link-posty post like the one Nic does here for #BEDM.


So whaddya say? Want to keep the ball rolling and spend the coming month talking about whatever it is you bore people with at parties? Or did you watch #BEDM with interest but for whatever reason not want to get involved? Join… um… me…

#BEDM Day 30: Just Let Go


React to this term: Letting Go


Wow. Day 30 of 31. Almost there. And unlike others, I'm still raring to go! I could carry this on indefinitely. In fact, I may well do. Stay tuned for further announcements on that subject. And if you haven't already, do please fill in this questionnaire that will allow us, the League of Indifferent Bloggers, to judge our efficacy and plan future month-long blogging efforts...


But anyway, yes, onward. Letting go. Hmm. Weird one. I'm actually quite good at letting go, I think, though I'm a bit of a contradiction. I hate changes in the circumstances of my life and resist them usually to my detriment, but when change comes, I get over it quickly. I don't think I cling much. I definitely don't cling to objects. I'm exceptionally unsentimental when it comes to things, items. Even my gadgets, which I love dearly, I will unceremoniously sell on or give away if something comes out that I want more. I have small shoebox of keepsakes and memorabilia but in all fairness even some of the stuff in there I keep partly because I guilt myself into feeling like I should keep them, not necessarily because I imbue them with any great meaning. Um. Yeah. I guess that's all I really have to say on this subject. I don't know why but this is the hardest subject I've had to write about this month. And it's not just because today is my day off and I want to go back to reading my book. I guess I just find letting go quite easy. Too easy, sometimes.