Category Archives: rant

Apple, why is it so hard to love you?

A few months ago, when my iPhone Xs Max arrived, I was so excited, I could barely contain myself.

I immediately set to transferring my content from my old X to the new Xs Max.

Transferring was a breeze and I was struck by how far we’d come from the old days of having to manually back up your phone, by physically connecting your phone to computer to synchronize your new device through iTunes.

Although I hit a minor snafu requiring technical support, the resolution was painless and instantaneous.

In hindsight, that minor snafu was a portent of things to come.

Let me explain.

I’m typically not a first mover when it comes to anything Apple.

Usually, I’ll wait about a month before copping the latest device.

I let others suffer through Apple’s missteps (and issue fixes and updates) before stepping into the breach.

I probably would have done the same thing this time, but for Verizon offering to swap my old phone and upgrading me to the Xs Max.

But now I had it, was past the aforementioned snafu, and was getting used to my latest acquisition.

The Xs Max has a bunch of cool features, to be sure.

My favorite I found completely by accident when I was putting my Mous case on the phone.

It’s the battery indicator.

Touch the battery icon on the phone and a larger icon shows up on the center of screen showing you how much battery you’ve got left.

But that was just a gateway find.

Touch any icon on the top of the screen and a larger version of that icon appears.

The actual battery life is probably my second favorite thing about the Max.

Unlike Apple’s previous claims that the battery life of their <insert version of iPhone here> had <insert percentage here> more battery life than previous versions, the claim with the Xs Max actually bears out.

There are a host of other features that make the Xs Max one of the best iPhone releases to date.

But then, there are the things that make me want to smash the phone with a hammer.

Without fail, you can always count on Apple to muck things up.

Like when they got rid of the battery percentage indicator.

Or eliminated the home button.

How about losing the headphone jack?

As excited I was for the Xs Max, I knew – I just knew there was going to be a moment when I would be like “WTF Apple?”

My “WTF?” moment came the first time I tried to attach a picture to a text message.

Ordinarily, when you’re typing a message and want to add a picture, you hit the camera icon next to the text input field and the picture tray slides up from the bottom.

From there, you can simply snap a photo or select from your recents.

If the image you’re looking for isn’t on that tray, you can expand your search by opening your photo library in a new window.

The convenience of having your recent photos pop up in that tray can’t be overstated.

But, true to form, Apple has eliminated that convenience.

Now, instead of having a tray slide up from the bottom of your screen with your recent photos, selecting the camera icon opens up the friggin’ camera!

To get to your recent photos, you’ve got to click the media icon on the top left of the screen, which then opens up your media library.

Then, you can select a recent photo or open up your entire media library.

And this is where Apple has outdone themselves.

Before, all you did was select the image you wanted to use and it would be added to your message.

With the new Xs Max, selecting the image is just that – selecting the image.

Pick an image and the blue check box shows up and then – nothing.

You’re not taken back to your message to continue typing or to send your message.

You’re stuck on the screen.

The first time I did it, I felt like Ben Stiller in Zoolander, trying to get the files out of the computer.

There was no obvious way to get back to my text message.

There was no little blue arrow in the footer to indicate that I was uploading an image.

In fact, there was no footer at all.

There was nothing on the screen that seemed in any way helpful – besides the “x” in the corner – which said to me that I’d be canceling the addition of my selected picture to my text message.

At a loss, I clicked the “x” assuming it would send me back to he previous screen where I could retry my attempt to attach a picture.

Wouldn’t you know that my picture was there?

This convoluted process is now how you’re forced to add pictures to a text message.

Really Apple.

I get the desire to thrill and delight users with new features, but why, for the love of god, don’t you leave the things that work perfectly fine, alone?

I could go on about all the other infuriating things about the Xs Max, but why? It’s not like Apple actually pays attention to its users and makes changes in a timely fashion.

Or, more appropriately, they know when they’ve fucked something up. They just don’t care enough to fix it.

There’s another version of the phone on the horizon for me to love – and hate.

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Filed under iPhone, opinion, rant

What the f*!king f*!k? Top 10 reasons I hate the iPhone X.

Even though I’m an Apple fanboy, who will go to great lengths to extol the virtues of my beloved Apple, I’m also a realist, ready to expose Apple’s flaws notwithstanding.

Case in point, the iPhone X.

Typically, I get the latest Apple devices the minute they hit the stores – more accurately, I pre-order them as soon as they are available.

I bypassed the iPhone 8 Plus specifically to be first in line to get what I was initially calling iPhone “X” but have since been advised is actually called the iPhone “10.”

Now that I’ve had it for a week or so, I definitely have buyer’s remorse. I had built it up in my mind to be this next level ish. But it’s just meh.

It’s more than “meh.” It’s downright frustrating.

More than once I’ve contemplating asking for my first born back and returning the phone to Apple.

There are sooo many things wrong with it, I couldn’t possibly list them all.

But not to deprive you of my expert analysis of the iPhone, and as an homage to the iPhone X (I mean “10”), here are the top 10 reasons I hate the iPhone X (I mean “10”).

1. I miss the Home button. When Apple first disclosed that they were going full-screen, like most people, I thought “wow!” In theory, getting rid of the Home button would free up some serious real estate for video, apps and games. But in actuality, the transition to no Home button has been hard. Per Apple’s design guidelines and best practices, you’re not supposed to use that space for anything but the Home bar, which isn’t quite as useful and intuitive as the Home button (to which so many of us had become accustomed). Now instead of pressing the Home button to turn on your phone, log in (via Touch ID), exit out of apps, take a picture, etc., you’ve got to do a bunch of different things to achieve the desired result.

2. Force touch is a farce. I used to be able to swipe left from the side or up from the bottom of the phone on the lock screen to access the camera or flashlight (which was stored with other functions on the control panel). The first few times I tried to access the camera, by doing the obvious and holding the camera icon, nothing happened. It took me a few attempts to get the camera to open, and when I tried to do it again, I couldn’t. I had to resort to a Google search and videos before I understood that force touch and release was the trick.

3. Face ID sucks. Apple touted Face ID as the hot new shit. Per Apple, “Face ID lets you securely unlock your iPhone X, authenticate purchases, sign in to apps, and more—with just a glance.” It was supposed to be uber-secure. But as we now know, it’s quite easy to fool Apple’s biometric security system, as one 10 year old was able to demonstrate on YouTube. Not only does it unlock on siblings’ and offsprings’ faces, a well made mask will also do the trick!

And that’s when it works. I’ve wanted to smash the phone on my face for all the times that nothing happens at all. Or when I held it up and am presented with the keypad to type in my security code. WTF?!!

4. Missing: battery percentage indicator. There is nothing more frustrating than running out of juice on your phone. The battle of the battery was made manageable by the little percentage indicator that let you know exactly how much juice you had left before you were assed out. But with the iPhone X (I mean “10”), you’re reduced to guesstimating when trying to determine remaining battery life. Of course, you do get to see the amount of battery your phone has left, when you connect it to a charger, but what good is that when you’re out and about? Hey Apple, maybe if you got rid of that f*cking notch you’d have more space to give us back our percentage indicator.

5. I just want to turn off the f*cking phone! If you’ve ever owned an iPhone, you know that rapid charger or nah, your phone charges much faster if it’s turned off than when it’s on. So you can imagine my chagrin when I couldn’t figure out (a) how much battery I had left, and (b) how to turn the damn thing off so that it could charge faster. Before, you could just hold the side button for a few seconds which brought up the slider allowing you to turn the phone off. Now the side button dials up Siri. In order to turn off the phone, you’ve got to hold the side button and either volume button in order to get the slider and turn the phone off.

6. App switching is a bitch. Prior to the iPhone X (I mean “10”), I was able to access the apps I had running in the background by a simple double press of the home button. But the home button is gone. So now what? More goddamn gestures. That’s what! To access your apps, you’ve got to swipe up from the bottom of the screen in whatever app you happen to be in and hold it in the middle of the screen. If you do it correctly, then you’ll see the rest of your apps pull in from the left side of your screen. Now allegedly, you’re also supposed to be able to switch between apps by swiping along the bottom of the screen from left to right or right to left in order to access apps quicker. But I’ve yet to be able to master that lil trick.

7. Wireless charging is whack. The iPhone is a notorious power drain. So it was with great joy and excitement that I greeted the news that wireless charging was coming the the iPhone. Lesser phones had wireless charging, and now Apple saw fit to bestow that capability upon its loyal subjects. In anticipation of being able to charge my phone without tethering, I purchased the Mophie wireless charging base. Boasting the latest Qi technology and up to 7.5W fast-charging speeds, I just knew that I was stepping up my game when it came to keeping my iPhone juiced up. Alas, twas not to be. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve placed my phone on the damn Mophie overnight only to wake up the following day to a half-charged phone. Even when you get the alert on the home screen that your phone is charging, it may not actually be charging. Back to being tethered.

8. Can I puh-lease just close the friggin’ apps? Remember how you used to be able to exit out of apps by double-clicking the home button to pull up all the apps you had open on your iPhone, and simply swiping up? Those days are long gone. With the iPhone X (I mean “10”) you’ve got to swipe up from the bottom and hold to reveal all your apps. Then you’ve got to long hold one of the open apps to get the “-” symbol to appear on the top left corner of the app, before you either swipe up or press the “-” symbol to exit out of an app.

9. Why can’t the iPhone just open to the home screen? One of my biggest pet peeves with the iPhone X (I mean “10”) is the fact that it never opens up to the home screen after you unlock it. Never. You’ve got to swipe up from the bottom on the lock screen to expose whatever screen you happened to be on when you last used your phone. And then swipe up from that screen to get to the home screen. That’s just too much work if you ask me.

10. What’s with that stupid notch? When the “all screen” iPhone X was announced, I thought, what are they going to do with the phone and earpiece? I had fantasies of a camera hidden behind the glass and an earpiece embed seamlessly into the screen. And then I saw that notch and thought, that’s hideous. And then came the Samsung commercials and memes, which (I had to admit) were spot on. Not only is the notch aesthetically unappealing, it also wreaks havoc on app makers who haven’t yet updated their content to meet Apple’s exacting design guidelines. Note to developers – make sure you do to avoid having navigation buttons and other functionality inaccessible in landscape mode.

Now despite my distaste for the above, I still love my iPhone X (I mean “10”). Most of my complaints go to the fact that I’ve got to unlearn everything I knew about navigating on an iPhone and acclimate myself to doing things on the X.

Like the missing headphone jack, it’s going to take a bit of getting used to. But it also means that I’m riding the wave of the future for Apple devices.

Do you have an iPhone X (I mean “10”)? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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No one cares about seeing you live.

I haven’t blogged in a while.

Kinda got bogged down by life, but I’ve had the itch, but didn’t want to write just to be writing.

I had to be inspired. You know what I’m sayin’?

Anywho…

File this under “rant”.

Remember when Ustream came out?

Everyone was so excited about being able to see their favorite artist, entertainer, comedian or speaker streaming live from an event.

The appeal of Ustream was the fact that you could see live events without actually having to attend.

Since Ustream, there have been many more copycats in its wake trying to replicate that appeal of Ustream with varying degrees of success.

Take for example Meerkat (now Houseparty), which purported to offer users the ability to stream events live directly from their mobile phones.

While streaming in the correct orientation was somewhat of a challenge, and getting people to tune in to your stream while your stream was live was also somewhat difficult, it did reinforce the belief that live streaming was a thing of the future.

Where Ustream had opened up something that people were really interested in, Meerkat took it one step further with their mobile app.

Then came Twitter which also offered a live streaming option in the form of Periscope.

And we all know how that went…

Does anyone actually use Periscope?
These live streaming forays were all followed up, of course, by Facebook Live, which is by far one of the more popular live streaming applications out there.

There are others out there too, like Instagram, but they’re all ‘also-rans’ so I’m not going to devote too much time reviewing each one.

Suffice it to say, if you’re trying to live-stream anything, you’ve got options.

So what does this all mean?

It means that people who have no business streaming their business to the world are all over my feed with their foolishness.  

That’s what.

Every workout, walk down the block, shopping trip, bar mitzvah – every mundane pieces of peoples’ lives are being streamed and broadcast live as if anyone gives two shits.

Why am I getting notifications that “Jerome is now live!”?

I don’t give a fuck!

There’s double entendres at play when you say something is live.

The obvious connotation, is that there’s something happening right now, in real time.

The other, is a form of slang, which implies that an event is exciting, engaging, ‘poppin’.

But nine times out of ten, Facebook Live events are anything but.

And I’m just going to put it out there, turning in a circle to give a panoramic view of your setting, walking around to create a sense of movement or holding your phone high above your head in your outstretched hand does nothing to make your stream any liver.

What has live streaming actually accomplished?

Deepened the cult of narcissistic personality that grips today’s society?

Giving folks a misplaced sense of importance?

Generating a glut of bad videos?

Do you Facebook Live or live stream yourself?

How many people have actually tuned in?

How many people have watched after the stream ended?

Few to none, I’m sure.

You’re probably thinking, “if I keep it up, more people will tune in.” Right?

Wrong.

No one cares about your live streams.

So stop.

You’re embarrassing yourself.

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Don’t be a douche. 5 customer service tips for dummies.

Marshall Field says, "Don't be a douche bag."

Marshall Field says, “Don’t be a douche bag.”

If you’ve been following the interwebs, then you’ve likely come across the story of the Comcast rep who fought the customer trying to cancel their service.

If you’re not up on the incident, a mini-recap is in order.

Dude wants to cancel his service. Wife calls Comcast and is abused by the rep for about 10 minutes. Frustrated, she hands the phone to dude, who is similarly abused for another 10 minutes. Inspired, dude decides to start recording and captures the last eight minutes of the rep’s totally ridiculous behavior.

You can listen to the call here.

As someone who suffered under the oppressive yoke of Comcast before Fios gave us free, I was not surprised by the shitty customer service experience.

And as someone who has experienced shitty customer service from brands like Louis Vuitton (I know how Oprah feels), I realize that customer service is no longer a self-explanatory term.

Every day, we are all faced by people in customer service roles that could give a fuck that their job is to be helpful, and instead have cultivated the art of showing you their full asses.

How many time have you been condescended to? Cut off? Passed inaccurate information? Yelled at?

Far too often, I’m sure.

So today, I’m sharing my top five tips for not being a customer service douche.

1. Remember that the customer is always right.

When I was growing up, I heard this maxim over and over: “the customer is always right.”

Businesses knew that customers kept them in business, and they knew that they had to keep their customers happy. How, pray tell, did they do that? By teaching their public-facing reps that their job was to keep the customer happy. Happy customers meant more sales. More sales meant higher revenues. Higher revenues meant profits. Profits allowed the business to thrives. Ergo, happy customers equalled a thriving business.

If businesses treated their customers like kings and queens, they could never go wrong.

2. STFU.

I used to work with a dude who would routinely black out on customers. He was so abrasive, so condescending, so insulting and dismissive, that I marveled at his ability to keep his job.  As project managers, we’re frequently on the receiving side of abuse, so inwardly, I rejoiced at the “Fuck you!” he routinely doled out.

But outwardly, I was more often alarmed about how poorly he understood his role. His whole attitude demonstrated that he didn’t get the fact that his behavior was a reflection of the brand that employed him. My advice to him, which he failed to observe – ultimately to his demise – was “hold your tongue.” When you’re feeling frustrated and want to go off on your client/the customer, take a breath and shut the fuck up.

3. “I’m sorry.” and “Thank you.”

When customers are mad, you’ve got to recognize they’re looking for scalps. Invariably, by the time they reach you, they’ve already run the gauntlet, gotten the run-around or are simply so frustrated with whatever it is they’re dealing with, that the need no excuse to go thermonuclear.

There are no greater calm-inducing words, than “I’m sorry.” When you say “I’m sorry” as a customer service rep, you’re telling the customer “this is our fault” and putting yourself at their mercy.  Similarly saying “thank you” throughout your interaction, even for the slightest thing, helps to establish that you’re appreciative of the customer working with you to resolve their issue.

4. Never bite the hand that feeds you.

Always remember that the person on the other end of the phone, opposite you at your desk, or on the other side of the counter, directly or indirectly pays your salary. In essence, the customer is your boss. If you wouldn’t tell your boss to (proverbially) kiss your ass, you shouldn’t tell the customer either.

If you treat the customer like your next paycheck depends upon how satisfied they are with your interaction with them, you can’t go wrong. Unless you don’t like money.

5. Don’t be an asshole.

At the end of the day, when someone is having a problem, which you’re in a position to assist them with, your attitude is the last thing they want to deal with. Sure, the customer may be a total jackass, with no home training, and just because you picked up the phone, you’re in their crosshairs and the object of their abuse.

But their lack of home training doesn’t give you license to treat them badly. If you can’t figure out if you’re being an asshole or not, act like you’ve got your grandmother on the other end of the phone, and treat them accordingly.

It’s really quite simple: Keep the customer happy. Keep your job.

Or you could be like the jackass from Comcast – who may not have his by the time the dust from this debacle settles.

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STFU! And other useful tips to help you keep your sanity.

Keep Calm and STFU

I got a call the other day from a friend looking to vent.

Apparently, he’d been working on a project for a hot minute, which had gone through an extensive planning and discovery cycle, multiple design iterations and painful concessions on both sides.

Although there was a consensus on the approach and planned deliverable, it was not his recommendation, as the proposed final solution fell short of the work he knew his company was capable of, and well below the client’s original expectation for the project.

During discovery, he painstakingly outlined all the options with his client, detailing the pros and cons of each approach, including costs, timing, and end-user experience.

He believed that his company was setting itself up to develop a substandard product, which the client would not be happy with and his company would end up having to re-do at the 11th hour to satisfy them.

Despite his best efforts, no one would listen.

Heading into development, he repeatedly expressed his mis-givings about the selected approach, warning all who would listen that it fell short of the standards typically applied to projects of this type and other products in the market.

Again, no one would listen.

Today, the client saw the project – and hated it.

Calls were made and he was back at square one – and bitching vociferously – to me.

What, pray tell, did I tell my friend when he was done ranting?

STFU.

That’s right.

I told him to shut the f*ck up.

Compassion is not my strong suit.

But bear with me.

You see, I’ve been here before.

No. Not ranting to a colleague about my job.

I am the consummate professional and handle all my shit with aplomb.

But I’ve seen many a colleague get off a call or emerge from a meeting flustered and frustrated.

Fussin’ and cussin and clearly out of sorts.

The source of their frustration was often valid: they had suggested a course of action – that was shot down – only to later find themselves in the unenviable position of cleaning up a mess that the failure to adhere to their recommended course of action has caused.

How often does it happen?

Enough to be a post on my lil’ blog, that’s how often!

But I digress.

As a consultant, project manager, aide or assistant, you’re often in a position where you possess superior information to the people you’re called upon to support.

While you may be the ‘low man on the totem pole’ you usually have access to information that makes your’s an informed perspective.

Worthy of a fair degree of weight, deference or consideration.

But because you’re not the HNIC, your opinion holds little weight when it comes down to decision-making time.

And despite the fact that you know what the fuck you’re talking about, you lack sufficient authority to force the right course of action on the parties or powers that be.

And therein lies the problem.

Time and time again, you find yourself on the wrong end of a fiasco – not of your doing – but which you have to resolve post haste.

So what to do?

Here are four fool-proof ways to help you manage problems (before they start) and be more effective at getting shit done.

1. Keep calm.

One surefire way of making a bad situation worse, is panicking.

So, as a matter of course, I never do.

When I was pledging my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., we had to memorize the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling.

When shit got rough, we’d recite the poem and it brought the most tremendous sense of calm.

There was one line that resonated deeply with me, and is apropos for our little lesson today:

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing their’s and blaming it on you.”

There is no greater skill, when facing adversity, than the ability to remain calm.

This is especially true if you’re the fall guy in a position of authority, with other people looking to you for answers.

2. STFU and stop complaining.

Sure, you’re frustrated – if only they had listened to you, the shit storm you’re  facing could have been avoided.

But they didn’t.

So fucking what?

Hindsight is 20/20.

Complaining is for babies and bitches and never helped anything.

And once you’re ‘that dude’ – mumbling to yourself about how shit’s always going wrong – you’ll find that your life becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure.

You’re in a jam, and you’ve got to get out of it.

So stop bitchin’ and man up.

And that does not mean bend over and take it with no vaseline, sweet-nothings or money on the dresser when it’s all said and done.

Not at all.

It means that you’ve got to figure out how to be more effective at managing your shit so that you find yourself less frequently on the wrong end of problems.

3. Document everything.

If your shit is starting to feel like Groundhog Day, and you’re reliving an endless loop of Hades, perhaps it makes sense to document what you’re doing so that you can figure your way out.

Rather than rely upon your recollection, maintain documents, email threads, meeting notes – anything that you can refer to in the future and use to show others (read clients, managers, developers) the error of their ways.

When a similar issue rears it’s ugly head in the future, you’ll be prepared with your case studies, post mortems and RCAs to provide empirical support to the positions you take.

More importantly, if anyone ever says “why didn’t you tell us that sooner?” or “why didn’t you give us any alternatives?” you can refer to the email, memo or note, which shows that you did.

4. Always have a Plan B.

If you’re so sure that a particular course of action is going to result in failure, you should have a contingency plan in place.

Preparing for the unexpected is a sign of an insightful individual.

But preparing for the known is just common sense.

If you find yourself confronted with a situation you foresaw, and you’re bitching and moaning – as opposed to implementing your Plan B – you’re a fool who deserves what you’re getting.

To summarize, when a project you’re working on starts to go south:

(i) keep calm – cooler heads always prevail; 

(ii) shut the fuck up – no one wants to hear your bitchin’; 

(iii) document everything – CYA is the order of the day; and

(iv) always have a Plan B – for “Bitch please!”

Class dismissed.

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Filed under opinion, rant, Smack talking

XYZPDQ and other common courtesies people fail to observe.

Ya smelt it ya dealt it.

Ya smelt it ya dealt it.

Lets start off with a simple poll today, shall we?

If you answered ‘Say “excuse me.”‘ you’re not a savage. Stop reading here.

If you answered anything else, read on.

Most likely, if you’ve ever been the offender described above, self-preservation and the avoidance of shame won out over common courtesy.

You allowed others to suffer in silence and confusion, rather than providing them the solace of directing their anger towards your malodorous (and forthright) ass.

But imagine if we lived in a world where no one observed niceties.

Where you were left to fend for yourself.

No “Gesundheit” when you sneezed.

No “Good morning” when you entered a room.

No “May I help you?” when you walked into a store.

No “Excuse me” when someone bumped into you.

Imagine a world of savages.

Has anyone ever said “XYZPDQ” to you?

If so, you were eternally grateful for the intervention, I’m sure.

What’s XYZPDQ?

A response to an oft repeated faux pas by many, that’s what.

It’s the acronym for “examine your zipper pretty damn quick.”

In other words, your fly is down. Zip it up or risk further embarrassment.

To be accurate, it should be EYZPDQ, but it doesn’t quite flow off the tongue.

But that’s besides the point.

The point is that every once in a while, strangers behave in ways completely at odds with our disconnected society.

We’re a society of people who mind their own business and don’t care to intrude on the personal space of others.

Even if it means allowing them to suffer shame in silence.

Think about the last time someone told you you had food in your teeth.

Or that you needed a breath mint.

Or that your shoelace was untied.

Or your toddler was walking into traffic.

Okay, that last one was me. But I had four kids with me at the time and only two eyes.

We’re often surprised when acts of decency are shown to us.

The kindness of others shouldn’t surprise us in the least.

But they do.

Why?

Because we live in a world of selfish bastards. That’s why.

The concept of extending common courtesies, like holding a door, ceding the right of way, excusing ones self after a bodily emission, or a simple “thank you” after a kind act, are pleasantries long dead in today’s society.

Excluding yours truly, of course.

I’m the consummate gentlemen, raised by genteel parents, who understood the importance of being polite.

But the rest of you savages, would more likely cut someone for looking at you the wrong way, than ask “may I help you?”

I’m always struck by the way people respond to my acts of decency.

I recently gave up my seat on the PATH to an obviously pregnant woman.

You would have thought I’d opened up my chest, cut out one of my lungs, and implanted it in her open chest cavity saving her life, the ways cats were staring at your boy.

Seriously? Move on folks, nothing to see here.

It just goes to show you that the common courtesies and simple acts of decency we should take for granted are not that common.

So what’s our takeaway for today?

Don’t pass gas without excusing oneself?

Not quite, but close.

Always be courteous to others.

A simple act of kindness goes a long way.

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What the f*@# do you mean you don’t have an iPhone?

20130701-183251.jpg

You can file this under rant.

One of the things that boggles my mind, is when someone in the mobile space says that they don’t own an iPhone.

Whoa!

Hold your horses.

Before you start prattling on about the whole Samsung/Apple debate (Winston), know that that’s not where I’m going with this.

Simmer down now.

iPhone is just a placeholder.

The title to this post might have been “What the f*@# do you mean you don’t have an <insert name of mobile device here>?”

But that didn’t quite roll off the tongue.

Feel me?

Honestly, I could care less about your mobile device preference.

Apple, Samsung, HTC, LG, Nokia, Motorola, I could give a rat’s ass what you like.

As long as you own a smart phone capable of approximating the intended feature or functionality you’re trying to vet, we’re cool.

But when you’re building a mobile site, developing an app, using QR codes, or integrating augmented reality…

ANYTHING that requires a proper smart phone to experience…

And don’t own a proper smart phone…

You. Sound. Crazy.

At least to me you do.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve talked to folks about how a feature works or is supposed to work.

And learned – in the midst of that discussion – that they’ve never actually tested the issue being discussed on a device.

Or, worse yet, that they don’t even own the friggin’ device to test on.

I mean really?

How do you form your lips to critique something you’ve never tested?

Why are we even having this discussion?

Trying to describe a function or feature to someone who doesn’t have the device in question is like trying to describe color to a blind person.

No. It’s actually worse.

Especially if that person is making decisions in the absence of valid information.

Sure, wireframes, mock ups and emulators can help you imagine what the finished product will be like.

And they’re great for what they’re for – modeling.

But there is nothing like experiencing a thing on the platform for which it was intended.

And there’s nothing more valuable than getting feedback from an actual user.

Now, truth be told, I used to be one of the people of whom I speak.

Back in the day, I blacked out on Android users, but never owned an Android device.

My opinions of Android’s inadequacies were wholly based on conjecture not fact.

I have since seen the error of my ways, copped a Samsung GS3 and tested countless other Android devices.

So the disdain I now feel for Android devices, is steeped in fact.

But I digress.

My point is, don’t be like the old ignorant Stephen, casting stones in a glass house.

Be like the new Stephen, who opens the window to cast his stones carefully and with precision.

Now class, what have we learned today?

1. Stephen has a low tolerance for BS.

2. If you’re developing for mobile, you’ve got to have a mobile device.

I’m done.

Rant over.

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Filed under iPhone, mobile, opinion, rant, technology, Uncategorized

“Hey Facebook, does this shirt make me look fat?”

Does this shirt make me look fat?

Hey Facebook, does this shirt make me look fat?

Note: You can file this under “rant.”

Do you know what I absolutely hate?

People who live their every breathing minute on Facebook.

It’s one of my biggest pet peeves.

You know who I’m talking about.

Troll your feed and you’ll see them.

They’re the ones with the frequent status updates.

Every Frappuccino consumed.

Every traffic jam.

Every stubbed toe.

Every <insert other inane activity you could give  a shit about here>.

And the pictures.

Loads of pictures.

They post every vacation ever taken, airplane wing, cocktail umbrella, toe shots and all.

Every shot of their kid from ultrasound to graduation.

Every shoe, seashell, snowfall.

Riddle me this Joker: why do people post multiple head shots of themselves?

Have they forgotten how they look?

Do they fear that without that same-angled-plastered-smile-arm-length-self-portrait shot, we won’t remember them?

Maybe it’s just vanity.

I mean, Facebook is a big ego-stroke.

It was designed to give its users a platform to share.

But damn!

Zuckerberg didn’t necessarily want you to reveal the most minute and insignificant detail about yourself and your every waking hour.

I mean, do we really need to know that your STD test came back negative (or positive)?

Or that your momma had her bunions removed?

And it’s not Dear Abbey.

“Hey FB fam, I just shat. Should I wipe front to back or back to front?”

“Facebook, if he’s sleeping with her, but tells me he loves me, should I stay with him?”

“I’ve got a toothache, Facebook. Should I take something or tough it out?”

Stop asking for advice.

Don’t you realize that your proclamation that you “don’t need a man!” only serves to alert the world that you are (once again) alone?

And – in point of fact – actually in need of a man?

All I’m saying is that there is such a thing as over sharing.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

Yes. I live in a glass house.

Right now it’s full of shattered panes as I toss rocks at the rest of you.

I know I’m guilty of the occasional over-share or posting of frivolous bullshit.

Once I even posted a picture of myself on the throne.

Which I’ve tastefully and artistically recreated above for my loyal readers.

But I digress.

Seriously, take these small bits of advice.

Unless you’re an exhibitionist or shameless fame seeker, keep your Facebook posting to a dull murmur.

If you’ve added your mug to your Facebook album, wait at least a month before posting another. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

The multiple shots of yourself in the car, in the ladies bathroom at your job, sitting at the bar in TGIF – is overkill. Be selective.

If you’re mad at someone, tell them – privately.  Fighting on Facebook  is just…immature.

Finally, every once in a while, post about how you’re going to be taking a break from Facebook.

Everyone loooovves getting that post.

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Filed under rant, Smack talking, social media

I love Netflix. Now if they only streamed the movies I wanted to see.

No Fios

I’ve been a cable subscriber for years.

Even though cable sucked, they were the only game in town.

Then came Blockbuster.

Like cable, they had a super selection of movies, which you could watch when you wanted.

But their expensive rental and draconian late fees, made them a not-oft-used luxury.

And it was inconvenient.

Unlike cable, if you wanted a movie, you had to get into your car.

Drive to your local Blockbuster.

And hope that the movie you wanted was in stock.

Netflix_logo

When Netflix arrived on the scene, they gave Blockbuster a run.

As long as you were willing to deal the whole snail mail thing.

And didn’t have a problem waiting until your movie was returned before you could get a new one.

Netflix wasn’t totally intolerable.

And they were dumb cheap.

But they weren’t really an alternative to cable.

You couldn’t just plop onto your couch, point your remote and wham – instant gratification.

But that was yesterday.

Netflix realized that the landscape for movie rentals was going the way of the dinosaur.

And they adapted.

Added streaming to their offering.

Changed to a subscription model.

And watched as Blockbuster folded, under the unbearable weight of it’s brick-and-mortar infrastructure.

Like cable, Netflix offers streaming television programs and movies.

Like cable, Netflix allows you to stream to your television, mobile and tablet devices.

But unlike cable, Netflix is DUMB CHEAP!

And you can stream your movies anywhere – not just in your crib.

I pay like $200 a month for my Verizon Fios.

To be fair, it’s a bundle: internet, phone and tv.

If I just had Fios TV, I’d be paying like $90 a month.

I pay $7.99 a month for Netflix.

$7.99!

If I wanted to add the ability to receive multiple DVD’s at home, it would be another $4.

So for like $12 I could get my movie on.

There is, however, one serious drawback to Netflix…

Most of the good movies are on DVD.

No seriously.

Sure, every once in a while, a movie you want to see is available for streaming.

But for the most part, the really good stuff isn’t available.

Trust me.

I’ve been down this road before.

Since wifey is a night owl, she’s constantly trolling the channels to find something to watch.

Cable routinely fails to deliver.

So Netflix has become the good old go-to.

And while there are literally hundreds of thousands of movie titles to chose from…

The movies we want are never the ones available to stream!

Netflix get your shit together!

I’m just bitchin’.

Cause there’s nothing on tv.

And the movie I want on Netflix is only on DVD.

Which means I can’t watch it right now.

And I’m a big baby.

First world problems.

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Spin class sucks (and forty five reasons why I hate Rodney Cummins)

Violence must be my theme this week.

While I’ve only been in one real fight in my life – with Darrell Cabbel when I was sixteen – I’ve had to suppress these urges.

I kicked his ass.

But that’s another story for another time.

Right now, we’re talking about why I’m plotting on taking out one of my colleagues.

Several months ago, when I started working at Usablenet, one of my team members, Rodney Cummins and I, started going to the gym down the block from the office.

Two or three times a week, we made it our business to get money.

For my urban vernacular challenged, get money = work out vigorously.

And get money we did.

Religiously, each week we’d get money.

We got so much money together, that our co-workers nicknamed us Chukummins.

Chukumba + Cummins.

I know, they’re juvenile.

Anywho…

The Red Barron, another one of our colleagues invited Rodney to spin class, also at the gym, and he went.

The Red Barron = a red-headed Irishman.

I mocked them mercilessly for going to an obviously sad excuse for money getting.

He came back from that class, bitching and moaning about how hard it was.

But remarking about what a great workout he got that day.

Spin class?

Hard?

Great workout?

The Red Barron?

I found the whole thing ludicrous.

The next time we went to get money, I had Rodney take me to the spin class.

So I could get my spin on.

And debunk the myth that spin class was in any way comparable to the money we were getting on the man side of the gym.

That day, there was no class being offered, but I decided to just jump on a bike and see what it was like.

I had Rodney play instructor and simulate a few minutes of the class.

He ran through a short warm-up of pedaling with slight resistance, before ratcheting it up.

“Pedal seated for a four count.”

“3-2-1.”

“Now up for a four count.”

“3-2-1.”

“Back down for a four count.”

“3-2-1.”

“And up again for a four count.”

“3-2-1.”

This is spin?

This ain’t shit!

Spin is for sissies, I thought.

Until he said, “now hold it for another four count.”

By this point, I was quite used to the simple rhythm we had going.

And I was totally ready for my “now sit 3-2-1.”

I needed to sit.

But when he told me I had that four count to go, I felt the burn in my thighs.

I started to sweat.

Mind you, we had been spinning for less than a minute.

My mind raced frantically.

WTF Rodney!

Hold it for another four count.

Really?

Right then, I decided that spin was the devil and promptly dismounted from the bike.

Nearly pitching myself over the handle bars in the process.

Spin bikes don’t coast and have no brakes.

The only way to stop is by gradually decreasing your rate of pedaling.

No one told me.

So not only were my thighs burning, but I nearly died too.

Curses flowed from my mouth like I was possessed by Beezlebub.

I cursed him like he stole from me.

Like he violated my mother.

Like the soulless bastard he was.

Eventually, as feeling returned to my thighs, and the burning subsided, I felt less hatred towards him.

And as time passed, so did my memory of that unfortunate 60 seconds of spin.

Until today, that is.

You see, for months, he and the Red Barron have been attending spin.

The running joke is the invitation they extend to me each time they go.

Knowing I’ll decline.

Rodney is cursed afresh with each invitation.

But today, another one of my coworkers was going with them.

And – against my better judgment – I was compelled to attend.

Pride is a motherfucker!

Despite the single digit temperatures in NY today, I was sweating on the (not long enough) walk from our office down the block to the gym.

Fear gripped me as I entered the spin class and took my assigned bike.

No. 20 mocked me as I sat upon it, strapping my feet into its toe harnesses.

As the class started, my hatred of Rodney renewed.

The whole time, mind you, he was clapping and uttering ‘motivational’ catch-phrases at me.

If I had a machete handy, a headless torso would have been pedaling astride me, instead of this bloody happy fool.

But no machete was handy.

All I had was Rihanna to get me through.

And my unwavering desire to save face in front of my colleagues.

So I pedaled.

Thighs burning.

Sweating like a slave.

Angry.

Cursing Rodney with each new hill – or sprint – or eight count.

45 minutes later (and only having almost pitched myself over the handle bars of my bike twice) I emerged.

Ass sore.

Broken, but unbowed.

I will never attend spin class again.

And if they ever find the headless torso of a Black man in gym clothes near the New York Health & Racquetball club…

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Filed under rant, Smack talking