Hot and cold…

After a day to consume the hands on reports, read as much as I could get my hands on, and look at the iPad from every possible angle I have to admit that my initial “must have” lust has run from hot to cold ever hour or so. I’m looking for a device that will let me eliminate the 8’’x10’’ folio I tote around from meeting to meeting to take notes on; something that will let me do basic Office editing, view pdf files, check in on Facebook, maybe drop a quick post to the blog, and keep my calendar and email at the tip of my fingers while doing those other things… and optimally, I wanted to be able to do more than one of those tasks at once.

As the iPhone has evolved over the last three years, many of the original missing features (read: cut-and-paste, mms, etc) have been added, but multi-tasking has remained elusive. Seeing the released details of the iPad seems to indicate that it remains a function that will be missing in action on this device as well. Working in a word document and having to close it in order to open the web browser or messenger is annoying on a phone… and it might just be a deal breaker in something I’m going to want to use as a quasi-laptop replacement.

Specs and details aside, the iPad is one sexy beast in terms of design and I can see how it could be a must-have device for pure consumption of media content. I won’t even complain (too much) about another Apple device tied to the anchor that is AT&T Mobility’s 3G network. Of course release day is still a long time off and that leaves a lot of time for more details, and updated iPhone OS, and for Steve to make an appearance to announce “one more thing…” So for now, I’m withholding judgment while leaning towards wanting the new toy despite its apparent limitations. Check back with me in April and I’m sure my lust will know no bounds.


I’m hopelessly addicted to all things new and shiny… Gadgets make me happy in a way most people will never fully understand. That I’ve switched my allegiance to the bright and shiny products developed by Apple for my computing and telecommunications needs is letting me develop a personal pool of electronic gadgets that is becoming more and more tightly integrated. My phone talks to my laptop talks to the cloud… If satellite phone service ever gets to a point of being almost reasonable on price, I’d have nearly 24/7/365 tie-in to the grid. I get a warm fuzzy by being able to reach out at any time from any place… Ironic, I know, for someone who doesn’t have all that much use for people. But where I don’t know much about people, I do know that I like having access to the data that populates the web. While maybe not the sum total of human knowledge, it’s getting damnedably close to the sum total of human knowledge that most of us will ever need to know. The more data that I have available at any given time, the more I like it.

Tomorrow, I’m hoping to hear an announcement out of San Francisco that will add one more layer to connectivity. Apple’s iPad, iSlate, iWhatever should fill the gap between where it’s inappropriate to have a cell phone out and about and where a laptop could be considered overkill. I’m thinking here about 2-3 day road trips, a bevy of staff and project meetings, and all manner of places around the house and the office. I’m thinking here of something that could reasonably replace the pens and legal pads that I tote from meeting to meeting and from city to city… One more link in the chain of perpetual connectivity tied to the cloud by 3G and WiFi.

I’ve been a slobbering fool for technology long enough to know that many “game changers” aren’t… But my last two years with Apple have taught me to expect the unexpected and that sometimes game changers are exactly that. I know some will argue that other companies have done it first, but they would be hard pressed to argue that any previous attempt at a true tablet is as elegant in form or as integrated with a hardware family as whatever Apple rolls out tomorrow. I’m planning to be all geeked out and tuned in to the real-time tech bloggers tomorrow afternoon at 12:00 CST as Steve throws down the gauntlet one more time. This ought to be sweet.


I’m no special fan of the New York Times, I find most of their editorial content to be smug and arrogant… and those are traits I generally tend to value only in myself. Actually, I have no problem with smug if you have a reason to be, but from what I can see, the Times, like most other major newspaper publishers, is continuing to struggle to gain traction in an world that turns more and more towards the digital media for its news. I usually ignore news and commentary from the Times, but this article was special… it mentioned that the Gray Lady was trying to find a way to charge readers for its online content in an effort to stem the losses its taking in its print division.

Maybe some people will be willing to pay for an online subscription to the New York Times, or Washington Post, or Possumtown Gazette… but I’m pretty sure you’ve discovered a bad business model here boys. I can’t see how it is smart to start charging people for content that you have been giving away for years without substantially improving the product. It seems that to start charging, you would need to improve the service you are providing in some way… Otherwise, what’s to stop me from getting my highlights from Drudge, the AP, and the ten thousand or so other news sources that populated the interwebs?

This isn’t really a rant about the Times. I don’t want to see the end of good, independent journalism, but if a stalwart of print media like the Times can’t manage to survive the internet age, perhaps it should move aside and allow more responsive companies to take its place… or the government could give them a bailout. Either way.


I made an important discovery today in my quest for the perfect e-smoking experience… They apparently make the cartridges in five different strength… of which i’ve been using the lowest. That pretty much explains the intense desire to chew my own arm off and wanting to bludgeon everyone I’ve met for the last four days. That bit about cartridge strenght is apparently something they don’t cover in the basic research and I only ran across it in one of the e-cig forums by accident while looking for new flavors to try. Needless to say, my order for high test carts went in this afternoon. I’m guessing that the added umph will be what it takes to get me over the hump and make the transition to all digital. As it stands now, I’m hitting an analog ever 4-5 hours to bump the level up and then using the digitals to maintain a slow glidepath. Until the new carts arrive, I’m holding at five or six analogs a day. Tinkering around with body chemistry is fun… I still believe this is a good product and a worthwhile transition, but I’ll be happier when I get back to getting my full fix all at one time.


I’ll confess that I wasn’t as happy with the GreenSmoke as I had hoped I would be. Once the first weekend’s newness wore off and I was living with it day-in-and-day-out, it didn’t pack the punch that I was looking to replace. Being a dedicated techie and really thinking there was something to the idea of getting my fix the new fangled way, I decided to do a bit more market research and settled in on the Vapor King model marketed by This little number, ladies and gentleman, seems to be the real deal in terms of giving a very “analog” experience within a digital footprint. The weight feels good in the hand, the delivery is smooth, and the flavors (oh boy, the flavors) are bloody fantastic.

The “starter kit” priced out at about $90 and included two batteries, five cartridges, a car charger, a USB charger, and carrying case, a charging case, and a USB dongle that turns your MacBook Pro (or PC) into an e-hookah. They tossed in a few freebies, like a sample pack of nicotine cartridges and some “drip” fluid as well. I ordered a few extra 5-packs of cartridges and all told my total cost to get in the game was $109 and change after getting a 10% discount. For you non-smokers out there, that’s about the price of two cartons, or a week-and-a-half’s worth of analog cigs.

I’m optimistic that this will be the device I’m going to settle on for the time being. I couldn’t ask for a better experience than I’ve had with this one so far. For anyone considering going digital, I have plenty of suggestions that I’ll probably get around to posting at some point. Until then, feel free to pick my brain… You know how much I love talking about new toys!

Feel the power(point)…

Let me start out by saying that many, many of you have probably forgotten more about Microsoft Office than I’ll ever know. I don’t make any claim on being an expert or even an advanced user, but I can weave my way through most of the basic functions without causing too much turmoil… Like creating and editing a well-structured memo or building basic spreadsheets.

What I really want to know tonight is how the hell you get to be a GS-12 or higher without being able to put information into a pretty straightforward PowerPoint presentation that someone has taken the time to structure for you. Seriously, all that needed done was adding numbers to replace the “xx/xx” and using actual words to “fill in the blanks.” *sigh* And it needed to be done last Friday, not at 11:55 on Wednesday! All I can say in your defense is that you’re either too stupid or too lazy to burden the taxpayer. Then again, why would you work when you know someone is going to save your ass at the last minute and do the work for you. I guess there’s not much incentive to be an overachiever… Unless more work is its own reward.

It’s the 21st century, people… Technology isn’t going anywhere. Either figure it out, retire, or get out there and see if you can win us a Darwin Award. Since you’re already doing the least you can do, let’s make that a stretch goal for the year.

I may not go to heaven, but hope you go to hell. Asshats.

Slightly used…

NASA is putting two space shuttles up for sale at the low, low price of $28.8 million each. I mean, come on, that’s a steal at twice the price. It’s a friggin’ space shuttle after all. And yeah, I know it’s technically not for sale to individuals, but between the bunch of us, surely we can find some state or local government that wouldn’t mind picking it up for us… Sort of like the guy who bought beer for you before you were 21. All we’d actually be paying for was the shipping and handling of getting the thing from Houston to our destination of choice. It’s so much better than a Shamwow or even that crap that Billy Mays use to peddle in the small hours of the morning. So if anyone out there has a really big garage or wants to make a donation, get in touch! Discovery is already spoken for, but Atlantis and Endeavour are still available. Act now to take advantage of this special offer before supplies run out!


I picked up my first cigarette the summer between my freshman and sophomore year in college. As I recall, I was working on campus at the Summer Planning Conference – basically shepherding incoming freshman around campus and making sure they didn’t burn the buildings down during their three-day stay. During the three days between sessions, there may have been some drinking. Actually, there was definitely drinking going on and that’s also where I learned to love Sam Adams Cherry Wheat and rum in its many varieties. Of course that’s beyond the scope of this tale. With the timeline set, that means I’ve been smoking more or less regularly for about 12 years (although it doesn’t seem like nearly that long).

About 48-hours ago, my newest toy arrived. The GreenSmoke electronic cigarette is going to take some getting use to over the next few days. What I’ve noticed so far is that it’s really not all that much different from the old “analog” smoking habit. It doesn’t pack quite the same punch as the real thing, but that may be a function of having ordered cartridges with too low a dose of nicotine. Aside from that, I’m not noticing any particularly bad physiological issues. No headaches or dry mouth; no problems sleeping; no cravings bad enough to make me want to chew my own arm off. The only down side I’ve found in the first 48 hours is the battery life of each e-cig leaves quite a bit to be desired. With a battery necessarily being so small, it’s easy enough to see why they can only hold a few hour of charge. Still, I could see getting caught with a dead or dying battery being just as terrifying as being caught with only one or two smokes left in a pack. The solution, I suppose, is to bring on extra batteries and chargers and stash them around strategically. They even market a USB pass-through device that basically lets you tether your cigarette to a laptop. I’ll be looking into that one as it seems like a good compromise solution until battery technology catches up with the concept.

The reason I know this thing might actually work is that on an average day I would usually smoke somewhere around 30 cigarettes. Yesterday I had six and probably had the same number today. Without my new favorite toy, I would have had that many before 8:00 on a weekday morning. I’m not saying this is the best solution available, but if I can get my fix almost anywhere, save money over the long run, cut out all or most of the additives, it seems like the beginnings of a no brainer. I’m not foolish enough to call this a change in lifestyle after only 48 hours, but I’m cautiously optimistic. It’s definitely a good thing to have so many of the perks, but so few of the drawbacks.

Going digital…

After a fair amount of consideration and research, I placed an order tonight for my first electronic cigarette. That’s right, I’m making the switch from analog cigarettes to digital smoking. This “personal vaporizer” is battery powered, takes nicotine laced inserts, and the second hand effect is nearly pure water vapor… According to the reviews at least. Nothing burns, so there’s no smoke in the traditional sense. It has the added value of evading most state indoor smoking bans and FAA regulations as well.

Start up costs are a little steep at $135 for two battery packs, three varieties of charger, and five nicotine caps, but operation and maintenance cost appears to be minimal when compared to the increasing cost per pack of the real thing. If it proves to be an effective substitute and if it stays legal, the cost savings over the course of the year could be significant.

There is always the more intangible and unproven benifit of not ingesting the laundry list of things besides nicotine that analog cigarettes give off when burned. Sure, it’s not as good as actually quitting, but since that doesn’t seem likely to happen this would appear to be the next best alternative. Besides, most of the truly amazing toys in my life all plug in… Why not bring my dirty habits into the 21st century too, right?

You can believe there will be a more detailed review when the unit arrives.

Easy come, easy go…

I’ve heard of a 24-hour flu, but a 24-hour sprain seems a bit unlikely. Whatever caused the very sprain-like symptoms yesterday has vanished not quite without a trace, but awfully close. Things are a little tender, especially when sudden movement is involved. Most importantly, though, the gimping around and leaning on every fixed object within reach are passed. Those with a more inquiring mind would ask, “What the hell was that?” I, on the other hand, have elected to let it go easy and not ask too many questions unless it shows up again. I could have gone to the doctor tomorrow and pointed to places where it use to hurt, but that didn’t seem likely to produce results other than a friendly, “Let me know if it happens again.” Doctors are pretty predictable like that.

And so, for tonight at least, peace and tranquility again reign ‘or my happy kingdom. You can rest a little easier tonight knowing that in the event of a repeat performance, I’ll be limping my way to the doctor to do battle against it with the best combination of medications BlueCross can buy. Here’s hoping we stay on the downhill side of 36 painful hours in Memphis.