Archive for the ‘My humble opinion’ Category

Politics you’ve actually inspired me today

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

When I tell people I’m very non-Political I really mean it. Presidential debates and the such usually make me avoid TV all together. So, whatever your politics I’m usually mildly patronizing about my interest. I’ve never been a fan for two main reasons. Usually a politician is offering what he does not have to offer. Go back to elementary school and one of the platforms for class president might be that they’ll add 10 minutes on to lunch break. There’s no possible way they can offer that but some people in the class will vote thinking, “I like more lunch too.” The same is true for modern politics. The checks and balances system doesn’t allow for one person to offer half of the stuff that the put on the table.

Former Deputy AG Sally Yates (left) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX, right) during 5/8/17 Senate hearing

The other reason I don’t like politics is because I believe in individual thinking. The majority of times people in politics subscribe to whatever train of thought their party has and are unable to say they don’t believe in something. This crossing party lines is a huge no no.

With all that said let me tell you why I’m completely inspired today by politics. Former Deputy Attorney Sally Yates! I won’t bore you with the details but in short she was fired by Donald Trump for basically telling him that the person that is in charge of giving him his security information had been compromised by the Russians. Fast forward she’s being interrogated at a senate hearing. Senator Ted Cruz (Repulican) is obviously partial to the president’s ban of people coming into the country. Now, I’d be one to bet that this exact same man would be completely against this if the president was a Democrat. The reason the internet went crazy yesterday in this woman’s favor is from what happened next. Being peered down on and spoken to with such demeaning condescension the Senator asks her was she aware of a law and with a brief quip eludes to her incompetence when she is unaware of it. This is where I want to freeze you at this exact moment and take you somewhere else.

Appropriately enough the president of the United States, Donald Trump, started a show on TV called the Apprentice. I considered it a really good business show until it started to focus on celebrities doing the challenges instead of hard working people really trying to show their skills and get ahead. The good part of this is that the show branched out to Britain where a different billionaire, Sir Alan Sugar, hosted the show and stayed with the format of people winning a job in a key position in his company. When all the candidates of this show were funnelled down to just 4 remaining they entered into a brutal challenge. The interview. The interview was each of the four remaining candidates being interviewed by 4 different interviewers. To watch the show you’d see how these 4 people were like horsemen of the apocalypse.  They would dig up anything and everything on you and tear you to shreds with only words. The entirety of your life was now in question. Your morals, beliefs, work ethic, upbringing… EVERYTHING. One after one you’d see some of the cockiest, elitist and prideful candidates broken down to quivering shells of their former selves when they went back into the waiting room. I often looked at this show and it made me look at my resume and life history and think how I would fair. This is the lions den I saw the former Attorney General Yates in.

Now let’s go back. Following the break down of the law posed by Sen. Cruz she thought for only a millisecond then looked down and ruffled through some papers she had in a manilla folder in front of her. This woman being looked down upon, judged and what some say “bullied” responded with a law that was more specific and written after the afore mentioned one. She took all the fire he could throw at her and responded in kind with such firm grace that his attack was completely nullified.

This stirred in me a moment of deep contemplation and retrospection that you might find inspiring as well. We’ve all have done or are doing things in life that can be questioned. The irresponsible person looks to point the finger elsewhere and blame circumstances or other things. It’s a hard pill to swallow but sometimes you have to be like this woman. Look back on your choices and say, “Right or wrong I did that.” I learned from the British Apprentice and from this hearing. Once you’re not hiding from yourself and resolute in your choices no interview or interrogation can ruffle your feathers.

 

Do black lives matter or is it just easy to think #blacklivesmatter

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Recently in light of police violence in the United States (where I live) ending in the deaths of black people the revolt against police has understandably reached a rapid boil. As is the case in almost everything in our day and age the internet has taken hold of this to bring together not just black people but people of all races against this problem. As is the problem with anything race related there is going to be racial tension especially since to my knowledge all the police officers involved in these altercations are white.

Now full disclosure here if you don’t know me or haven’t seen me… I’m a 45 year old black male computer consultant. My family consists of 4 kids  from 26 to 14 mostly into tech as well. The hashtag #blacklivesmatter has flooded the internet polarizing the issue but my question to you is “Do black lives matter?” This may sound silly coming from a black person but it’s definitely not exactly like it sounds. What I’m really saying is does the hashtag really put together all that is going on and the core of this issue.

Why wouldn’t it matter? The problem I have with all things internet is that people can sit behind a screen and talk about all kinds of stuff from their desk or couch but never actually do anything at all. People have made an effort to change that by adding so many ways you can get involved, give money and sign petitions online and I love that usage of the internet. However if you’re not doing any of those but just putting your voice out there do black lives really matter to you? I can hear the voices out there reading this saying, “Yes Mr. Condescending. Voicing a problem brings awareness of it and that’s a start.” This statement is very true and before I go on I would love to acknowledge it. This is what a collabrative distributed system like the internet is GREAT for. However, just like every other meme and hashtag soon it will become internet lint. It now lines the pocket of a server somewhere letting you know there was once something important there at one time but after time and regular cleaning now it is just trash to be throw out to the four winds.

Why does it matter? Even though it may be one of the biggest and most widely seen hashtags on the internet the fact of the matter is black people are an underrepresented populous that get racially profiled all the time and people suffer. This can’t continue to happen whatever your racial background. Arabic cultures in America are feeling the same pressure and it’s not right. Whenever any minority encounters this there look for something that gives them a sense of strength against a mighty foe. Think early colonist militias fighting the mighty British armies shooting from trees or David and Goliath’s battle of two best soldiers to decide a battle that would surely have gone the other way had all the forced collided.

What are you going to do about? Now is the best part to me. The reason I don’t like meetings, town hall events or hearing the rhetoric of so many black groups that just shout about knowing your past is the lack of clear actions to solve a problem leading to getting up from the table and getting stuff done. Let me take a hard view in my stance from our own community. Black lives DON’T matter to you if you raise your children with no respect for authority. This first thing may seem like it’s take a victim blaming mentality but instead it’s taking a proactive accountability on us. This doesn’t apply to all the police incidents for sure because there is evil in the world however if our children (and this part is all races) don’t respect teachers any more because parents back the student first, don’t go to a church where they respect clergy and can tell the crazy old lady off they will surely exude that disrespect in their movements towards police and right or wrong bad things happen from there. There is a thing know as Right but dead right. If you’re not focusing on the children that you’re raising or in your sphere of influence then keep barking at the establishment as much as you want but black lives don’t matter to you as much as you think. It started with my generation. Over privileged kids that didn’t have grandparents and parents like mine that instilled respect in them for adults and the trials and work ethic of their generation.

Just like with religious, health or political interests don’t be or follow the person making the most noise thinking that’s the way to God, health or environmental peace. The simple way? LIVE IT. I don’t talk about breathing I just breathe. I don’t yell about God I just live in as much a Godly way as I can daily. This is what spreads. I teach my kids about being examples of being your true authentic selves (read into that not kissing up in any way) but changing the way the world sees you, your race, your gender and your family. Any teacher will tell you that the bane of their existence is the child saying, “but I didn’t do anything” when they’re getting in trouble. Why is it always you?

I’m also doing work with countries like Ghana and Haiti’s youth right now (as well as programs empowering youth here in the U.S.). Some children in these countries have even seen videos of my daughter Keila being young and talking to thousands in and audience about being empowered to do what she wants in this world. Those countries and many others that have black people still live feeling powerless with few white police. Oh and as a quick history lesson, Haiti is the country that the slaves being shipped to North America overthrew their slave ship owners and created their own country. With or without white oppression and racial profiling doesn’t equal strength and power.

As Ghandi said and has resonated in my life since I was a kid, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If I want to see violence then I would be violent. If I wanted to see yelling and inactivity then I would do that as well. If you want to see Black lives matter live and breathe a life that matters.

Constantine: The quest for the perfect tech guy.

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

As I’m writing this I’m rewatching the 2005 movie Constantine with Keanu Reeves. The TV show of this DC comic that originated in 1985 holds a very interesting character. John Constantine. I don’t want to go into depth in comic geekville but this character touches the very soul of what the hacker mindset encourages.

As a Christian myself I must ask others of many faiths to put aside their condemnation and assumptions aside for just a minute to understand the character not for if it’s a good or bad thing but what the characters aspirations are. He deals with the occult and battling demons through spells, black magic, trickery and ancient knowledge of the occult. The background of how he became that way is irrelevant to this conversation but what is relevant is that he really knows his stuff. Really knows it to the point he gets out of many dangerous situations with only his wits.

The hacker mindset is the tech dream for similar reasons. The hacker does have some toys and can do some deep stuff because of them but what makes them good is pure know how. They seem to know a lot about a whole lot of things in such a way that they can use very little yet bend their environment to their will. This to me is still the dream.

I don’t code to survive. I code to create.

The use of tools to make bigger and better tools that fit the situation you desire is what we desire. Learning and listening because some day some how these mountains of what may seem to be useless will prove to be what saves us.

This isn’t just a tech thing. Many professions desire this Constantine like knowledge of just the right thing you needed to know or figure out to get you out of a certain situation. The problem? The goal is endless. Regretfully life is not like TV. This goal can never be reached no matter how much you learn. However, I must say, like every life long learner like myself and probably like you my dear reader, it’s a hard but wonderful ride.

Top 10 Phillip facts

Monday, November 9th, 2015

I am a big sucker for lists so here’s a Phillip Banks top ten interesting facts list.

  1. Unknown to most my favorite sport is football even though I’m known for playing basketball all the time and in leagues all over the city.
  2. I have a weird immunity to alcohol which is one of the main reasons I don’t drink. My metabolism is so high that is consumes the alcohol before too much reaches my brain. I’ve done many tests on this by chucking whole bottles of wine and drinking 8 shots of different vodkas in succession to see if I was affected at all. Even did equations afterward to test cognitive balance. No effect. The down side to this is that medicines don’t work for me either in most cases.
  3. I’m pretty sure I’m ADHD from every online test I’ve taken or read. I have an incredibly hard time focusing. This would seem unpredictable because I love to read a lot. It is actually something that is horribly hard for me but my desire to learn supersedes my desire to give up because I keep getting distracted.
  4. I love the color blue. Just realized I just keep having more and more of it around me.
  5. About 10 years ago I read a man saying imagine if you read 50 books a year how much you’ll have gained when you’re old. Ever since then I’ve set a goal (that I usually don’t reach but at least get close every year) of reading 50 books. Thus I usually would rather drive in my car alone because I’d rather be listening to an audiobook than music while driving.
  6. I’ve been told this by a doctor but I’ve never taken the time to look it up but I am supposed to be written up in some medical journal somewhere. At 38 I broke my leg in 3 places from an accident on a basketball court. In a month and a half I was back on the basketball court. He told me my accelerated healing was of huge interest to his colleges.
  7. I absolutely SUCK at doing paperwork. You’d swear it was written in a foreign language sometimes. At companies I used to work at in the past I always had people in accounting trade me doing or making things that would make their life more efficient for doing all my paperwork. If they didn’t they might be waiting on me for a while to get the paperwork to them.
  8. My front right tooth is chipped. The reason being when I was 12 I decided I was going to learn to do tricks on my oldest brother’s skateboard. I was quite the daredevil because I wanted to try every stunt possible like one of my childhood idols Evil Kenivel. Well, needless to say between tricks I neglected to pay attention to a huge crack in my driveway that catapulted me into the sky and land on the concrete chipping my tooth.
  9. I absolutely despise coconut. I love chocolate but German chocolate has that one thing I really don’t like. Coconut. It all started from my sister and I helping each other up to some cans that had cookies in them on a high shelf when we were kids. If you made a mistake and reached into the wrong can you’d end up with coconut on your hands and I couldn’t stand that smell.
  10. I started programming when I was 10. As in a previous blog post I mention how it’s obsession slowly took over and took the place of my first love playing guitar.

5 ways social media could improve

Monday, November 2nd, 2015
Crossroads of Problems and solutions

Crossroads of Problems and solutions

I’ve always been that guy in the meeting that would almost pull out my hair when people tear apart ideas but are never the person offering good valuable input. I thought I’d take as my goal to always be that guy that offers that little bit of value to everything I offer.

With that said I thought about this issue of social media and its needed areas of improvement. I have a good view of this seeing as how I do social media management for companies and evaluate new social media platforms when they are first announced. I’m that guy that will have an account right away to see where they may have strengths that my clients could use. With that in mind lets get started shall we?

  1. Context is key. There’s a lot that companies are doing to enhance your time on social media and keep you engaged. From the simplicity and minimalism of sites like Ello and now pretty much defunct Diaspora to the heavy weights like Facebook. The thing that I think would help with this is the problem of context of posts. Say for example that person posts a status that you just feel like you have no idea what they’re talking about. This could happen on Facebook or Twitter because there are tons of posts and this person doesn’t effective garner your attention all the time or they’re just lost in other posts you may not know what the background to this post is. This is an issue of what context these people are coming from. Hashtags have added a little connection to past posts that fit in this same line of thought but footnoting of some sort would make a great addition to posts knowing that if you really wanted some background on this post you could show posts that it’s also connected to. (P.S.: I’m not much of a user of Reddit however I do believe this background info is highly encouraged).
  2. Algorithms. Algorithms rule social networks behind the scenes. They are the equations that are the secret sauce to what you see and read. Facebook is the best example of algorithms because what you see in a Facebook newsfeed is made up of what the equation figured you wanted to see from the friends that you have. In short, I tell people not to complain about how horrible it is on there because the algorithm behind the scenes is looking at what you look at, read, click on and saying the content I’m going to show you most matches who you are. If you’re finding a ton of negativity in all the posts you see on Facebook then you’re seeing a reflection of what the algorithm sees to be who you are. This has proven itself to be a pretty decent system however it only works so well. For one reason it will only choose through a certain amount of your friends to even look through in order not to give you too much content unless you go into your account settings and specifically ask it to show you more. This is a problem more in the domain of psychologists. Coming up with algorithms that figure you out better is tricky. Artificial intelligence (AI) in video games works in this same area. I think a combination of the two say, a tour guide that is already working with information such as contextual data like your calendar would fix this issue. Imagine you have boring meetings all day. Feeding you more entertainment in your feed might be a little bit more of a pick me up that’s well needed.
  3. Evolution vs. Stagnation. Ok, on this one I’m going to look at myself because everyone isn’t looking for this in life but the start of every good idea is just what works for one person and expanding on it. I see life as am I getting better as a human being or am I stagnating. At that point I course correct and I teach my kids the same. From time to time I think that incorporating an algorithm, AI, and context data together could work to tell me from what I’m putting out there a little bit more about myself and how I’m doing. Systems like Klout using information gathered from all your social media platforms and tell you about your “popularity” and it’s growth. Firstly, I have used Klout in the past over an extended amount of time and found its service useless in giving me good info about myself. Secondly, it doesn’t used analysis of the text to tell more about me. What if I put up a post that said, “I just got a new job making a billion dollars as a rock star.” If it didn’t see me post it to all the social media platforms and get enough likes (which may be because I didn’t get seen on enough people’s pages from the algorithm issue above) then it might not see me as well liked till much later on and I could infer I’ve stagnated from their service. There are other services like Klout but I’m not familiar with one that has proven more effective. Please leave a comment if you do know of one.
  4. Overload. This one might seem a little contradictory seeing as how I want algorithms to sort this info out but information overload is a real thing in terms of social media. The key word being media. Media is a form of visual, auditory or tactile absorption of information. However, when is enough enough. I had a friend recently tell me about her cousin who gets drowned in Twitter posts. One of the best words of advice I’ve ever read on social media is to never expect to keep up with Twitter. Twitter’s main feed lacks a filter. As friends post you see it like a virtical stock ticker showing anything and everything. Unless you use grouping and alerts properly you can easily get overwhelmed as you gain people you’re following. Thus, overload on Twitter is easy but who just has a Twitter account alone? You have Instagram, FB and others. This adds to the overload especially considering you’re adding in text messages you get on your phone. Something that I like for this is something I’ve seen with blogs. All the works and title’s in a big box and the ones with more relevance to you having an increasing font size. I love that concept for social media and what posts to look at.
  5. Value beyond the like or favorite. The thing that people are looking for most in whatever they do is value. We talk to certain people rather than others because of the perceived value that this person’s conversations have over the other person’s. The value proposition in many things can be very skewed based on popularity. Systems such as Pandora, Spotify and Musicovery have figured out that what’s popular is not as important as what value you may get from what they find you. This can be equally as true for social media content. I’ve found many artists on these sites that I wouldn’t have ever known existed that played music I found fantastic. Social media discovery could combine all the afore mentioned things and find other people like me that are saying and doing things that bring my life joy instead of who’s the most popular. I can not deny the joy of a like, retweet or share but that joy is fleeting and becomes forgotten. However, finding other people that bring you constant joy with other humans that you want to get away from the keyboard and see all over the world? That’s what I believe social media should be all about.

What’s your take? Leave me a comment and let me know.

How to be an “Undefinable You” like Keila Banks #undefinableyou

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Recently my daughter (Keila Banks) did a talk at O’Reilly Media’s OSCON 2015. Hey keynote talk was “Undefinable Me.” In the talk, in short, she talks about how she’s a 13 year old coder and many many other things that make it hard to define her (video here). She ends her talk by saying “Join me in being an undefinable you.” Since then I’ve been flooded with messages, emails, texts and calls about her video asking for help with this concept. I will explain it in detail here.

When my daughter gives talks we brainstorm on an idea and I let her expound on it. She does all her

Me, my dad, Keila, Uncle John and son David.

Me, my dad, Keila, Uncle John and son David.

own writing and video presentation so there’s no speech written. She’s just talking about yourself and who can’t talk about themselves. I presented her with a title idea. To talk about herself. Let me digress for a second to give you a little background.

My dad (Sammie Banks) was an electrical engineer since the 1960’s. My uncle John was a mathematician that worked for the Pentagon back in those decades as well. This was a VERY hard thing in that there were few black people in technology fields. My father aimed us towards whatever we wanted. He’d pay for books if need be but he wouldn’t give out answers he knew to things. If I wanted to know I had to come back with enough information to discuss the question. I wasn’t an exceptional kid at math but I felt computers which had just started to be put in homes to be my new purpose. My dad’s words of advice to us in all things was simple, “In whatever you do you’re going to have to be twice as good as the guy standing right next to you.” Understanding the undertones that the man next to us was probably a white man the message was clear but racism was inexcusable no matter what other people did.

The lessons he gave me were changed a bit by me to come up with idea of perfecting my 3 principles at the core of everything. Mind. Body. Spirit. My children discuss and learn things (Mind), healthy and in good physical condition from exercise (Body) and God fearing and kind (Spirit). My things don’t have to be your things but choose your things. What are your core beliefs? Do they make the world a better place and not just you?

Men of the Banks family

Hunter Banks, David Banks, Sammie Banks, Phillip Banks Jr. and Phillip Banks Sr.

Programming since I was 10 like my sons and daughter I used to find on error message that would always cause you a problem when it hit. “Undefined variable.” This meant somewhere along in your code you were supposed to give something a value but you forgot to. Being undefinable is lacking the ability to be given a simple value. Programmers and geeks might know this as a list or array needed which gives this thing many values. This is the same for you but you’re going to break the program because you want to be undefinable. They’re going to have to come up with a new language for you.

I’m a 6’3″ Christian, black, athletic, geeky, sociable, funny (just roll with on that), inner city Los Angeles native that works on all tech things but mainly free and open source technologies like Linux and Firefox (read into that part a tree hugging/hippie tech geek perception) and always with his kids. I won’t go into the possibly negative connotations associated with who I am that I completely shatter in people’s brains but that’s great. That’s how it starts.

The main focus I wanted her to hit that she hit so well is that she’s not special. Even if you did this we’re smart that only gets you so far. Hard work on yourself is what gets results. So if you’re female change the narrative of what people say about females in tech to one that makes gender sound silly being discussed. If you’re young make the value associated with your age irrelevant. If you’re black, Latin, Asian, etc. defy saying or thinking things like, “I’m this way because I’m [fill in nationality here].” Then and only then are you an undefinable you.

Keila Banks on the Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC

Keila Banks on the Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC

Reference: Keila Banks “Undefinable me” talk at OSCON 2015
Business Inside article: (http://www.businessinsider.com/13-year-old-girl-coder-wows-crowd-2015-7 )
Banks Family Values (FOSS Force): http://fossforce.com/2015/07/banks-family-values-texas-linux-fest/

 

 

Our Jesus Christ is now digital

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

I’m a man that can learn something from anyone so I’m open to being wrong but I’m also a man of action thus the necessity of this post. I don’t often talk about religion or politics in public forums because it’s one of those things where people will end up engaging you on your beliefs. When that happens I will have to engage back and those that like to engage people publicly usually enter into long dialogues where they can’t me made to feel vulnerable so they will stick to their guns no matter what. Also let it be said that other faiths could just as easily apply this as something like Allah is on the internet.

Our Jesus

Jesus on the internet

I went to my church yesterday for a bible study and we talked about the role of the church in this day and age. I find myself having more questions after the fact than I do when I’m there because  so many things tie my brain into a knot. Who is the church trying to reach? The church is trying to reach you. How are they trying is the point. My church is filled with some of the greatest well meaning people I know but is walking from door to door or yelling on a megaphone on a corner effective? Maybe 50 years ago but even businesses like vacuum salesmen and Mary Kay have learned a long time ago that those things are more about action than effectiveness. People buy products, causes and ideas from people they trust. They don’t often buy from the person on the street that they don’t know. Don’t get me wrong. I do believe it happens just not often.

With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social networks people are now communicating by the millions. Why not you? Our Jesus is here on the internet because me and you can make it so.

Quick history refresher. Jesus lived in a time where paper was at a serious premium so things were written on scrolls. The vast majority of the population was illiterate so scribes were well learned people. Even if they could read the printing press wasn’t invented by Gutenburg for another 1400 years after Jesus. So was it a good idea to duplicate pieces of paper to pass out 50 to 100 years ago to tell people about Jesus? YES! How about now? Hmmm. I’d like to suggest to you that not so much.

Who trusts you? I’d like to think the people I interact with in person as well as on the internet know I am but a flawed man that has done (and will do) dumb stuff along with the vast majority good stuff. However, these people may find me funny, smart, honorable and well intentioned for one reason or another but at the same time a Christian. Why does this matter? Because like Jesus roaming around as a lowly carpenter they can relate to Him being just like them.

If you’re going to go all preachy and fill your page everyday with glory hallelujah’s you might catch someone here or there. Instead I might offer as an alternative that you let your light shine from what you’ve learned where people find you genuine and come to you. People know my life may get rocky as may yours but the ones you want to reach are the ones who are looking for answers in life. Those people go to the ones they trust. That’s when I get the text, email, Facebook message, tweet etc. because this world is now a digital one and my digital door is always open. Ask me where you can learn or do more.

Where’s my quickening?

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

I’m really big on reading. Lets just say when I was a kid I didn’t go anywhere without something to read. Usually even just a magazine. I guess my whole goal in life was to be that wise older guy with salt and pepper hair. Picture Morgan morgan.jpgFreeman sitting with a newspaper in hand telling stories the enlighten you while also letting you know he wasn’t the most perfect child. That’s me. That’s the story of my life. I look at my bookshelf at home now and when people ask me have I read those books I scratch my head and say, “Oh crap I guess I have read most of them.” I have no idea why this still surprises me but it does every single time.

About 5 or 6 years ago I read an article where a guy said that if you read 50 books a year then imagine how much information you will have gained in 20 years. I said, “You know what you’re right!” So, starting from then I’ve set out on this mission. The first year was easier because I broke my leg pretty bad so I was on the couch for a month so I did nothing but read. One problem though. I didn’t receive my quickening. Where’s my quickening?

An old movie series that started in the 80’s and also had a the_quickening.jpgTV series based on it was called “Highlander.” Now the thing about Highlander was that there were these random people that for some reason or another became immortal. The one caveat to this is that they could sense each other and knew they’d have to search the earth to kill all the others because as the tagline says, “There can be only one.” Whenever any immortal cut off the head of another immortal the sky would become turbulent, clouds would circle and they’d go into convulsions as lightning would come from the sky into them giving them all the knowledge gained by the other immortal over his/her lifetime. This is the quickening. That’s what I expect from reading.

Last year I took a course in speed reading. I felt that I could consume even more content if I read faster since I have a really short attention span and I keep stopping for crazy things. Did it. Got good but still no in the middle of the night quickening.

I now see life as a slow quickening. The new info is in there. Churning itself together with the old stuff. I will it so I will one day be that Morgan Freeman guy but just like with everything in life, you don’t just wake up one day and you’re someone or something else. Patience is for the virtuous who want to change.

I’m a computer guy that deserves a spanking

Friday, May 27th, 2011

A long time ago in a neighborhood far far away a computer guy was born… Well, actually it was only 5 minutes from my current house but that’s beside the point. The point is that I’m that guy. A long time ago I was told by my father to do what I love and I’ll never work a day in my life. With that, I learned to find the love in almost everything I’ve had to do (and believe me it My usual Skype posewas hard sometimes). So I’ve never worked. The second thing was, work at a different company every year till you’re 30 then you’ll have a breadth of knowledge that will serve you forever. I did and it is true.

I got to where I am now because my joy is finding solutions to problems and I use various forms of technology. It’s like having a magic wand in my back pocket. My problem though is centered around not believing anybody needs anything I know. Yes, I know it sounds silly seeing as how I’ve had a couple Google top 10 search results from this blog and emails from around the world but I never believe those results and write articles very rarely. That’s all going to change now because talking to my cousin Shyra today I got a good verbal spanking. It started with, “You have information in that head of yours that a million people would love to have!!!  Get to blogging!!!”

Not to say that I haven’t heard the same things from my wife, clients, and a lot of people on Facebook that find the observant craziness in my writing amusing but it just takes one thing sometimes to get you on the ball. All social media outlets watch out. Here I come! Also, if you know more and want to give me a good verbal spanking to get me on the right course go for it!

The best is yet to come? Maybe…

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Recently I got into a debate about interfaces. I know this isn’t the most common conversation. Actually, it was spawned by a conversation about my last blog post on Windows 7. Critiques (even if they are not heavy handed) will usually cause someone from a group that loves the item to lash out at you without fully thinking about the review. Zealotry of anything will cause you to be blind to some extent. The zealotry that is the core of most computer fights isn’t what most people think it is. Most people find themselves in three basic camps: Mac, Windows, or Linux/Unix.

Analyzing the problem further you will find that the real difference between all of these is the interface. The interface is how you interact with the computer. Mac people learned when their computers turned from Motorola processors to Intel that the guts became the same as everybody elses. They learned even earlier when Mac went to OSX that the core became Unix. Briefly returning to the aforementioned debate, the other person disagreed with my assessment of Windows 7 because the interface was easier to use for him. Joe Average User will never flip his lid over the look of Windows 7. Linux users have learned this the hard way. The major Linux interfaces are Gnome and KDE. Both of these have added all kinds of crazy effects, transitions, shading, etc. to better the eye candy in Mac and Windows. In actuality it can look much better than what either of the others can do. At that point they realized, “It’s not how pretty it looks. It’s usability. How easy it is to use.”

Usability is an area that Mac excels at. A Mac is a pretty easy piece of equipment to learn to use for the most part. With that said, it does however have the reputation of not being useful for higher level work or tweakers. Just creative types and people just typing papers and getting on the Internet. These areas seem to be some of the commonly said weaknesses of Linux. My friend’s believe in Windows 7 being easier to use goes even deeper than usability though. It strikes at the heart of my own zealotry. Input devices.

The monitor, mouse and keyboard have changed very little for the last 30+ years. We love these devices. They are near and dear to us. Have we reached the end of the interface road though? If you ever saw the move “Minority Report” you will be aware of Tom Cruise moving items in the air on a two dimensional projection in the sky. Many companies have come out with prototypes of this technology after Microsoft released video of it’s “Microsoft Surface” technology to come out to the public soon. Is this the next step? Even though keyboard changes like the Dvorak (no connection to publication famous John C. Dvorak) style keyboard were introduced in 1936, before the computer even came out, it has not been adopted because we don’t like massive changes in our inputs and interfaces.

So, all that to say the big question: “Have we reached the end of what we can get out of what we are using?” I really can’t picture how much more can be done that will totally blow the mind until virtual reality and 3D projection come but the future always holds some new surprises.