Thurs 01.01.15 – The night before last we had a brief, windy, and cold storm that whipped through SoCal and dropped more snow on the local (lower) Santa Ana Mountains than on the (higher/taller) San Gabriel Mountains. Thus, both yesterday – New Year’s Eve – and today, there was a good coverage of snow on Saddleback Mountain and some of the surrounding hills. It is / was AWESOME, in the true sense of the word.
The last time I saw so much snow, so low on Saddleback was after a freak cold snap just before Thanksgiving 2004. I was so excited about this that after going to dim sum with Erika at Elite in Monterey Park, a picked up Scruffy McDoglet who went on the lam after the gardener left the gate open, and then Scruffy & I drove out Santiago Canyon Road just a bit beyond Irvine Lake to take photos of the SNOW!!! on Saddleback Mountain.
Snow in SoCal is really the best New Year’s Eve gift that 2014/2015 could give me. So Exciting.
Sun 03.18.12 – Here in the coastal area of Southern California, we have very very few days that could actually be called cold, a few nights per year, but very few days. By cold, I mean temps below 50F/10C by 10am. By most standards in the temperate and northern areas, 50F/10C is relatively balmy, but please do remember that in the greater Los Angeles area when the temps drop below 65F/18C, most folks start whinging on about it being FREEZING and put on a parka with their flipflops or/and Ugg boots with their shorts.
Let me further whittle this down, since 1990, by cold I mean that there have only been two days where I could and did wear a wool sweater outside during the day, when the sun was out, as I went about my daily activities. There are at least 10 nights a winter season that I would wear a coat, be it wool or fleece, and fleece gloves when walking the dogs.
SoCal is known for its warm days and cool nights, so a night in the 40s F in the winter is not that rare near the coast, but cool days are rare.
Today, a winter storm from the north-east Pacific was pulling out with 17mpg winds and temps in the 45-48F range all morning. It was glorious. I wore my wood Icelandic style sweater with fleece gloves and a long sleeved shirt while walking the dogs in the 8-9am hour. I was wildly excited about real weather, rather than fake 65F wear ones Uggs weather.
Scruffy was not as excited about the chill as I was, as he has only one thin layer of hair. I suppose if my dream of moving north, as in 50-60 deg latitude north, comes true, I will have to either get Scruffy a down feather filled body bag that he can walk in, or he will have to stay in SoCal with my brother Joe.
Unfortunately, temperatures will return to a normal 68-78F in two days. Bastards.
Regardless of how I personally feel about the Nokia-Windows alliance, the above photo is SO FULL OF WIN that it makes my whole day happy.
On the left in the slightly rumpled-it-is-the-end-of-a-long-day suit, smiling away is Stephen Elop, the CEO of Nokia.
In the center with his thumb up is everyone’s fave happy, enthusiastic blogger, Mr. Clinton Jeff.
Why Full of Win?
1) How many CEO’s of Fortune 100 companies run around towards the middle or end of the yearly company conference party rather than be in the extra special VIP area?
2) How many CEO’s would pose towards the end of said party with happy, excited overly caffeinated bloggers?
3) How many humans on the planet would say to said CEO, “Hi, will take a photo with us?!?!?!?” Clinton would. This is why we love CJ, he has got cajones.
4) Rewind 15 months ago to 4 years ago, would OPK have posed for this photo and actually looked HAPPY? No.
Mr. Elop has now risen in my estimation. Now if he would resurrect Harmattan/Meego…
This morning, my Mom, who had read last night’s blog post, asked if I was anxious.
I responded, “No, I was just reflecting on the last ten years and stating where I would like to go from here.”
This is a true statement. Right now in my personal life, I am happy and surprisingly content. In my professional life, my dance card is currently full, but I don’t want to get lulled in complacency.
Reflective, yes. Anxious, no.
The last two to three years brought a clarity to the fact that I work best in collaboration, my favorite projects of the last 5 years are the ones where I have worked in a team or closely with a creative client who wanted to collaborate. The last year worth of projects has made it even clearer that I do best when I am working with people in the same space and then am able to work on my tasks. I have honestly looked at my productivity patterns and see that they are not at their best when I am working at home all by myself with no client/collaborative contact for weeks at end.
I have several web designer friends who work best when left alone to themselves and they don’t want to work on team projects. I have one friend who after the initial client meeting will only deal with clients via email.
The Myers-Briggs personality assessment can say a lot about one’s working patterns and what environment they do their best work in. I will bet that my friends who do their best by themselves are Is for Introversion, in that they get their energy from being alone & work best when left alone. Reductive, I know, but I don’t want to dedicate paragraphs to parsing this out, when you can go read about it yourself.
I have taken the long form Myers-Briggs several times in the course of my life and I always test out as just a little to the Introversion side but very close to the Extroversion. This means that I get my energy from being by myself at least a few hours a day, but I am still social. I have noticed that I am happiest when I am able to touch base on what the plan is, break up into small groups or alone to get the task done, and then reconvene to assess and then iterate.
I wrote last night’s post on my ten years as a freelance web designer as a way to celebrate and reflect on what the last ten years of my professional life has been all the while being honest about the bad as well as the good. If that honesty was conveyed as anxiety, that was not my intention.
I think it is all to easy, particularly given that a web professional is always connected and by the nature of our professional community we are frequently on social networks, to paint one’s client situation as rosy and to only announce or put up in one’s portfolio the good projects, but it hard to talk about the doubts, the mild to major failures of projects or hopes, and otherwise be honest as it can be seen as unprofessional or it would look bad to do so.
I am interested in being honest. Honest that I don’t want to get caught in complacency of my life, but I want to examine where I have been and where I would like to go. And professionally, I would like to work at a company or firm where at least 50% of my time would be working with/for/around the mobile space.
Thus, not anxious, but examining and moving forward.
Forgive me for last night’s storytelling rant/praise about Over the Air updating of one’s mobile / smartphone. But one point that I would like to pick out from the story’s threading is that of ease of use for the customer.
Many in the mobile and computer technology space complain about how users do not update their computers, mobiles or software thus making it more complex, difficult, and at times more expensive for creators, designers, and developers to provide great experiences (giving the the stink eye to IE6). But we can’t complain if we are part of the problem in making updating difficult or more complex than it needs to be.
Apple has solved the problem of updating by making syncing between one’s iPhone/iPod/iPad as close to automatic as possible when you dock or plug it into your computer. But it creates another problem in that one need’s to have access to a computer to update or sync one’s Apple mobile products and it can also create problems if you don’t want a full sync or update. I have heard quite a few friends complain about both, either not having a regular computer or by syncing unique data on the mobile is wiped out by the sync. Apple makes it very easy but they have control over how the update happens.
Google’s Android has solved the problem by making all their updates to any Android phone happen over the air. As I detailed out last night, Android puts a little notice up in the top tool bar that updates are available, the user can then click on the tool bar and a drop down menu will give one the alerts as to which software and/or firmware has updates available. Google makes updating very easy and gives the user the control on when and how much they want to update.
My complaint of the last four years about Nokia’s Symbian S60 devices and updating is that the updating can only occur when one has the mobile phone attached by USB cable to a Windows PC/laptop. If one does not have access to a PC or one does not wish to find a PC to update one’s mobile, then one goes without. Once one gets a PC of which to conduct the update on, it becomes a multiple step update process that usually includes updating the Nokia Updater software and then updating the phone. Most of the time this takes at least 3-5 times longer than an Apple or Android update. Unnecessary kit, steps, and time just to update.
What was so exciting to me and praiseworthy yesterday was that the Nokia N900 with the Maemo linux-based OS uses the Android model of OTA (Over the Air) updates. The user clicks on the alert in the top tool bar, one chooses the updates that one wants to have updated, and as long as one has data connection it will update. As stated last night, this whole process for a major firmware update took less than 10 minutes. It was truly efficient.
From the user experience perspective, we as creators, designers, and developers cannot assume what the user will have for ‘kit’ or a computer to update with and what access to connection they will have. Thus I suggest the following for updating of software and firmware on mobile phones and computers:
1) Let the device that needs to be updated be the only device involved. If a mobile, don’t force the user to find a computer to conduct the update.
2) Make the available updates be readily noticeable to the user on the front or home screen of the device.
3) Allow whatever connection is most convenient for the user to do the updating. If wifi, then let the wifi do the job. If data connection through a mobile carrier, then let the sim chip do the job. Don’t force it to be through the mobile carrier as some folks have very spotty 2G& 3G connections. Don’t let the user fear that a spotty connection will brick the device. Conversely, if it doesn’t work for the user to do the update only through a mobile connection, then give them steps to get around this.
4) Allow the user to choose how little or how much they want to update. If a major firmware update, then say so in plain language, not the internal language of your company or specialty.
By taking these four steps we can encourage users to update and make the update painless. Painless updates that just work make for a good user experience, excitement for new features or bug fixes, and in the end for brand affection and loyalty.
Fri 04.30.10 – This morning after several days of watching for the UPS man, two birthday gifts arrived with a thump on the front step: my new PacSafe travel camera bag that will hold a DSLR plus several lenses and Two, count ’em – two, camera phones in their own special area; and more importantly my very own Nokia N86 8 Megapixel camera phone. Not a trial N86 that will have to be returned to WOMWorld/Nokia, but my own, my very own.
Now those of you who read this blog with any regularity know that I have a camera phone and moblogging addiction, in the course of the last 5 years and 5 months that I have been in possession of a mobile phone with a camera and a data connection to mobile blog with. And in those 5 and a bit years, I have tried out many, many camera phones but have only owned 5 of my own camera phones, of which the arrival today of the Nokia N86 was the 5th.
Welcome lovely little 8 megapixel bundle of glass, metal, and plastic kick-ass camera phone joy.
This morning around 11am, after a day plus of drying out with the battery out and a morning of desiccating Santa Anna winds, I put the battery back into Chick-a-Poo and turned her on.
She works. The keyboard has no sticky keys – thanks to Q-tip & rubbing alcohol, and the touchpad is working just fine.
Yay! No need for expensive repairs or to buy a new computer! Yay!
Moral of the Story: When your computer gets wet, immediately unplug it from the power source and pull out the battery, then let it dry for 1-3 days depending on the humidity or lack there of in your area, use rubbing alcohol to help speed the evaporation process.