Gone cold…

This Friday is going to mark the first time since 2007 I haven’t schemed, connived, stood in line, or woke at three in the morning to get my hands on a new release of Apple’s iPhone on it’s release day. The idea of it leaves me with mixed emotions to say the least. Living in Apple’s universe has never been about having cutting edge hardware or software so much as it’s about having a platform the feels somewhat more refined and well put together than the competition. There’s very little doubt I my mind that iPhone 7 will continue this trend, but if I’m honest, my 6S Plus is still feeling like a really solid device in terms of fit and function.

As much as I hate to admit it, iPhone has reached a point in its life cycle where it is already doing everything I need or want a cell phone to do. It’s capable of doing much more than that, really. I know there are plenty of features that I either purposely don’t use or find myself not even aware of until someone shows them to me. With this year’s round of incremental improvement there just isn’t a change significant enough to convince me to spend the $1000 to be an early adopter – although I have to admit the dual lens camera is looking pretty sick.

I’m not quite ready to concede that I may have entered a period where I’m no longer compelled to have the newest and shiniest tech. The 2006 vintage plasma television in my living room and the 12 month old phone on my hip may belie that point, though. Of course I reserve the right to change my mind a week from now or three months from now, but whatever desire once drove me to take a vacation day and track down the update on day one seems to have gone cold.

Been there, done that…

The thing that no one ever seems to want to understand or be willing to accept about productivity software is that it’s usually designed to meet a specific need. Word, not surprisingly, is a reasonably good piece of word processing software. Take away all the bells and whistles and right down at the center of its core functionality, it still lets you put words on a blank electronic page and then tinker with them until everything looks just right. Most people grasp this almost intuitively at some level.

The real problems creep in when things get a little more complicated… Like when someone decides to buy into an entire file-sharing and collaboration platform that’s closely integrated with the Microsoft Office family of products. When they use the platform as the programmers intended – it’s actually a remarkably effective and efficient way to manage your information. On the other hand, when you give this product to a somewhat aged group of people and tell them to start using it from a standing start, well, you’re pretty much just inviting things to end badly.

I’ve seen this story play out before. The first couple of weeks are going to go like gangbusters, but once the early adopters have had their fun, the rollout will slow to a crawl. After that, it will be a hand-to-hand fight to convince the 50% who are holding out that it’s worth doing. Eventually, it will die under its own weight and we’ll be stuck with another system that we’re halfway using. Yeah, this ain’t my first rodeo, cowboy.

Stick around long enough and I guess you’ll see history repeat itself over, and over, and over, and over ad infinitum. At least this way I’ll only have to act surprised with how things turn out, rather than actually being surprised that something so simple could go so badly awry.

Google+

I’ve gotten quite a few “adds” on Google + over the last week. First, let me say that I’m not ignoring all you other early adopters out there. Yes, I have a Google + account, but no, I’m not actively using it. I feel like I owe you an explanation for that.

Way back in 2010 when I went all in with a hosted website, I selected Google to host my “business” email needs. The Google Apps for Business account gives the average user a fantastic suite of tools to manage an enterprise-style email set up: multiple addresses, analytics, the legendary Google-powered spam filter, and a metric crapload of additional storage. These are all good things and exactly what I wanted for www.jeffreytharp.com.

Along with the goodness that is Google, however, comes the badness. With the beta rollout of Google+, I discovered that Apps/business accounts are not yet supported. Bummer. This means that in order to poke around with Google+ I have to log in with my old “regular” gmail username. Not a big deal, you’d think, but after spending the last year tweaking everything so it’s seamless from desktop to laptop to phone to tablet, the need for a second logon is a huge step backwards.

Technology is supposed to make out lives easier or better in some way. Until Google+ rolls out support for Apps users, though, for me it’s a little like a broken toe. It’s not going to kill me, but it’s enough to be ridiculously annoying every time something touches it. I’m not going to take a step backwards just to be an early adopter. For now Google’s go at a social network doesn’t integrate into my “everything else.” Until it does, I’ll be sticking with Facebook and Twitter… who manage to play nicely with my Google-powered email address. Too bad Google itself can’t seem to do that.