Archive for April 2015 - Page 1


    Apple Watch Pre-orders


    Today was the first day for Apple Watch pre-orders. Being an Apple nerd, I like to have anything that's newly released from Apple, that I want to purchase, on day one. Here is my pre-order story.

    After Apple's September event, where they unveiled the Apple Watch, I looked at the different models of the Apple Watch. With this being a first generation Apple product, I knew that I would not want to spend a lot of money. Mostly because I do not know what the day to day benefit of a watch would be. The secondary reason is that I will likely end up getting the second generation when it comes out. Only time will tell whether I follow my iPhone [footnote] I have purchased a new iPhone every year regardless of contract. I have now decided on buying unlocked only.[/footnote] or my iPad [footnote] I bought the first, second and third generations. I then waited until the 6th generation to buy my next iPad.[/footnote] pattern. The third reason is that I stopped wearing watches about a decade ago.

    As I mentioned, I looked at all of the Apple Watch models. I wanted to keep the price down, so I knew I was going to get a sport model. I have always liked the way that the Space Gray Apple devices have looked. I ultimately decided that I wanted to get the 42MM Space Gray Sport with the black band. Knowing that Apple Watch pre-orders started today, I favorited the configuration I wanted to purchase, to make it easy for ordering.

    Living in the Central US time zone, I set my alarm for 1:45 AM. I woke up just before my alarm at 1:44AM. Bleary-eyed and only half awake I made my way to my computer to be able to order. I pulled up the Apple Store webpage in two browsers, and opened the Apple Store app on both my iPad and iPhone. I did this because during the iPhone pre-orders, the application came up before the website.

    Once the Apple Store app became live, I quickly went to the watch section, went to my favorites, and began ordering. I chose the 42MM Space Gray with Black Band. I then added Apple Care. I went to check out. The date said 4/24 to 5/8 for delivery. It was not guaranteed to be delivered on launch day, but that was okay. I wanted to use a different payment method besides what I have setup in Apple Pay. [footnote] My bank does not support Apple Pay, why, I do not know.[/footnote] I entered in all of the information for the payment. When I got back to the confirm purchase page, I watched as the date refreshed from the launch window, to 4 to 6 weeks. At this point, my heart dropped knowing that I would not get it during the launch window. I think choosing a different payment method is what the time change.

    Having seen this, I quickly went back and put in a second order. One for a 42MM Silver with the Blue sport band, since that was the only other 42MM Sport watch that did not have a 4 to 6 week shipping time. So I put in an order for that watch, and used Apple Pay to pay. That one stated 4/24 to 5/8. I then placed a third order. This one includes a 6 meter charging cable and a Black Sport band. Somewhat ironically, the charging cable will be the first item to ship and arrive.

    Looking at it afterwards, the emails indicating that my orders have been placed were sent at 2:05AM, 2:07AM, and 2:16AM respectively. With the app being available at 2:00AM, this means that the 42MM Space Gray Sport sold out in about 3 minutes. As of this writing, all of the models have a ship date of June. The Apple Watch Editions vary between July and August for ship dates.


    After having gone through the experience, I mentioned it to a couple of people I follow on Twitter, particularly @BearsFan34. So here is where the dilemma I am currently experiencing. Do I want to have the Apple Watch early and not get the model that I originally wanted or do I wait for the one I want and just not have it during "Launch window".

    The other option I have is to just keep both. It seems excessive, but I could always return the 42MM Silver Sport with Blue Band or sell it to somebody. Unlike many, I would not mark up the watch 200%, just to make a profit. I do not see this as a fair thing.

    My initial inclination is to cancel the Blue Sport After talking to a few people about the dilemma, and sitting back and reflecting on it, my inclination is to cancel the 42MM Silver Sport with Blue Band, as well as the Black sports band from the third order I placed. If I were to do this, somebody who pre-ordered from Apple would be getting their order early, which is always a nice thing to see.

    I gave myself a deadline of tomorrow morning to decide. So I will be sleeping on it tonight and making my decision and then doing something at that time.


    As a quick side note, Apple has released some new Beats Solo 2 headphones. These come in three new colors, Silver, Gold, and Space Gray. I am going to be on the lookout for a couple of pairs of bluetooth headphones. I may look at these, but given the price tag of $299, I will likely look for something a bit cheaper. If anybody has any recommendations, I will gladly accept them. If I really wanted to, I could justify buying a pair by canceling the 42MM Silver Sport with Blue band.

    Also, today was the day that orders for the 12" Macbook. The 1.1GHz Macbook is seeing 1-3 business days for shipping for the Silver and Space Gray models. The Gold model is 3 to 4 weeks. The 1.2GHz Silver is 1-3 Business days, while the Gold and Space Grey are listed as 3 to 4 weeks.


    Tornado in Illinois 4/9/2015

    Here is a video for a tornado that hit Rochelle, IL. I did not take this footage. With it being spring, now is a good time to refresh your emergency procedures in case of tornados.


    Impacts of Social Media

    One of the things that I do not get to do very often, is listen to a podcast live. Most of the time it is because they are recorded during the day so work interferes with listening live. There's one podcast that I listen to every week, almost always after it is posted, is Accidental Tech Podcast. This week Marco was traveling so they recorded the podcast on Thursday evening, and for once I was able to listen live, because I did not have to get up early on Friday.

    In the after show, Marco mentioned that he has been pulling back from Twitter, mostly due to the negative comments and how he cannot have a conversation with his friends, due to the public nature of Twitter. I know I could completely relate, I too have been pulling back from Twitter. I still post and reply, but it is not nearly as much as I have in the past. I went through a week of not posting, my thoughts about that are here.

    This got me to thinking, what is the impact of social networking on society. Before we delve too deep into that topic specifically, let us pull back and look at the Internet as a whole.

    The Internet provides a multitude of things, it provides an easy way to connect to people whom you never would have met otherwise, collaboration, the ability to find people whom you have lost touch previously, and the ability to access more information than one can consume in a multiple lifetimes. However, it also brings some downsides. These include anonymity, disassociation, and the ability to reenforce your own agenda. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but merely a selection. We are going to look at the impacts of social media, which means looking at the downsides.


    The biggest thing that the Internet, and hence social media, bring is the ability to be anonymous. Anonymity is not all bad. Under certain political regimes, being able to be anonymous is a benefit. In certain cases, it protects you from being persecuted for thoughts as well as being a barrier for identification, as in a whistleblowing source, among other benefits. However, it also allows individuals to hide behind a false identity, just for the sake of hiding behind a false identity and to remain anonymous.


    The way that we interact with the Internet and World Wide Web (yes, they are different), is through a screen. This interface while currently our primary means of interaction, also brings the downside of distancing ourselves, on a subconscious level, from those on the other end of screen. This disassociation can impact those on the receiving end of something you say. Now, this leads to the discussion of social media in particular.

    The Discussion

    During the discussion, John brought up the idea that, drive by trollers as we will call them, is akin to having somebody randomly walk by and say "You Suck" from the sidewalk while you are having a conversation on your front porch. I think this is an apt analogy to the way that some people act on the internet.

    Do not get me wrong, nobody is perfect. Everybody has their good days and their bad days. I am sure we have all sent off a reply, or comment, to something somebody posted without taking a step back and thinking about how it might affect them. I know I have been on both sides of this situation. Despite this, there is a certain segment of the population whom will always attempt to find somebody who does not agree with their position and they will say something mean spirited, just because that person does not agree.

    We all have positions, regardless of how these are formed (my positions are based upon fact, not beliefs), these are the positions that we hold. We are all allowed to disagree. However, saying something negative just to be negative is not constructive nor helpful to anybody.

    The biggest aspect that negative commenters forget is that there is a human on the other side of the screen. This person feels just as much as you do. The best way to put it is through the chorus of the song Human by the Pretenders.

    Well there's blood in these veins And I cry when in pain I'm only human on the inside And if looks can deceive Make it hard to believe I'm only human on the inside

    As a note, I will be using Marco as an example during this, only because it was discussed during the after show. This could apply to anybody. I am not suggesting that Marco do any of this. It is up to him to decide how best to proceed and find what works best for him.

    The fact that Marco is pulling back, due to the negative comments, and having it be more difficult to have a conversation with his friends on twitter, is a natural reaction. If someone, or some group, is acting in a way that causes you to not enjoy what you are doing, then you need to stop doing it. Either that, or find a way to come to peace with the issue. This is not fun at all, because the actions of somebody else are causing you to no longer enjoy something you previously enjoyed. One can only takes so much before they end up breaking. This reminds me of the chorus from another song. This one is by the artist Thompson Square. It is titled "Glass".

    We may shine, we may shatter, We may be picking up the pieces here on after, We are fragile, we are human, We are shaped by the light we let through us, We break fast, cause we are glass.

    Possible Solutions

    For this example, let us presume that Marco stops using twitter except to post tweets from his blog and updates to Overcast his podcast application. One of the ways that Marco could change would be to move to another discussion mechanism. This could be another social network, say, forums, slack, a private blog or any other mechanism that would meet his needs.

    There are some downsides to this. The first is that not everybody would join that medium. The second is that it would become yet another place for all of his friends to check that on top of the existing mechanisms.

    Alternatively, he could just revert to using something like Instant messages, or SMS, but this has a downside to being a one-to-one relationship, and would be excluding most individuals due to this. A group solution like Group SMS would work, but that can quickly become intrusive and unwieldy.

    Another solution could be to use a group Facebook chat. The downside to this is that it is Facebook and some people may not have a Facebook account and trusting Facebook can become a dicey and divisive answer.

    I suggest this last possible solution only because it would sound like something Marco might do. That solution is to come up with his own app that creates a private Twitter that only those that he wants to invite, would be able to use.

    Possible Solutions for Twitter

    One of Marco's arguments is that due to the public nature of Twitter, he cannot just have a conversation with his friends over Twitter. There may be a solution, but this would have to come from Twitter because of the nature of the solution. The solution is to have a new type of tweet. For lack of a better term, I will call it the "Following Only" tweet.

    This type of tweet would only be visible to those whom the poster follows and nobody else. This type of tweet would not be re-tweetable and all replies would only be seen by those the original poster follows.

    An one alternative there could be a different type of tweet, the "no-reply" tweet. This type of tweet would be one that does not allow replies, period. These could just be things that you want to post just to post.

    A second alternative, could combine aspects of the previous two concepts. This could be called the "Only Following Reply". The tweets themselves could be public, but only those that the poster is following could reply to the tweet. This would allow the tweet to be public, but would not invite the "drive by trollers" to comment.

    Do not get me wrong, creating either of these types of tweet would be a technological headache, as well as a nightmare for the user interface. However, once created it could have immense positive impacts not just for the users, but for Twitter as a brand.

    It could allow a new set of interactions and provide a new dimension to the Twitter service.

    Only Solution

    Sadly, you cannot change other humans. The only real solution for this, which is already in place, is to provide a mechanism for "Verification". Twitter has the idea of a verified account. These accounts have more granular controls than standard twitter users. This, I think for somebody like Marco, John and Casey, would be beneficial, even if there was an up-front monetary cost for becoming verified.

    If Twitter offered this service for everybody, I do not know if I would sign up for it, because I do not have the reach that the hosts of ATP do, but it would be something that I would consider signing up for.

    Final Thoughts

    If you have any social media account, it behoves you to think about the following: First, there is a real person behind that account. Second, you do not always know their circumstances nor how what you say will affect them. Three, if you are just going to post something to be mean or because you disagree and you are not being constructive, think twice about posting it. It will likely not be helpful and will only end up making you look bad. There is already enough animosity in the world. There is no need to create even more.

    Post Script

    I mentioned Marco in a couple of tweets, apologizing for something I said back in his Build and Analyze days. It's not likely that he remembers it, but I know it was not nice to say, and it was said in haste. I would like to publicly apologize to him here. I know what I posted probably had no effect on his current feelings. Regardless, it was not appropriate to say at the time, and would not be now. Now, I can see that it was just Marco being Marco, but that does not make it right.