Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Be positive. Be excellent. Be thankful.

I’m thankful that people are passionate about things. I’m thankful for people that have passion for life.It appears that I arrived at the end of the Casey Neistat YouTube vlog party. Over the last couple of days I watched a couple of the videos. I sorted the videos based on the number of views. That probably means that I watched the greatest hits.

I can say from the videos I watched Casey managed to make highly professional videos pretty much everyday for over a year. Having the commitment to make a quality video every day is admirable. Working to deliver an ongoing narrative between the host and audience must have taken a lot of energy and planning.

Goal setting is easy to talk about. It takes dedication to set a goal and work hard enough to achieve it. Sprinkle in a little commentary about potential and the goal setting conversation gets even more interesting. We have the opportunity to ensure the next generation we educate has the potential to do just about anything. The goals we set today will echo forward.

The rise and fall of social applications

Applications seem to rise out of nowhere. Some of them seem to fall with almost the same speed. People are at the root of both the rise and fall of applications. People come together for a variety of reasons. If you look closely around the various social spaces that exist, then you will locate communities of place, circumstance, and interest. Some of those communities can form and fade away quickly. Communities can form around concerts or sporting events. Those communities are highly fleeting. Other communities that are more permanent exist. Some of them may be so present in your everyday life that they are almost taken for granted. Communities related to applications seem to be some of the most fleeting.

Today was the first day that I really ran down the battery on my Google Pixel XL. The phone had to be charged about half way through the day. I recently downloaded Instagram. People have been using it forever. I spent part of the day looking at all the photos my friends have posted. Using the application to better understand it seemed like a good idea. My phone is littered with applications that have very small user bases. It always seems like a good idea to try them out. Loading a social based application only to find out that nobody you know uses it can be extremely frustrating. That is typically a sign that the application is either very new or has missed the boat.

Smartphones or video cameras

Capture that moment. Remember it. Reflect on it. We record things in a variety of ways. The technology we use to record things has changed markedly. The way we remember things on our own remains the same. Some folks can simply think back and recall a moment. That recollection is probably better than anything virtual reality has to offer. It was reality or at least the part of it that was captured in a memory. People have turned to very fleeting forms of online interactions. A lot of the social networks that are running today are uniquely about the now. They focus on a live stream of things. Even the greatest of hits quickly fade away. Sometimes they pop back up in a remember this day kind of way, but that lacks any real historical narrative. It ends up being a series of single serving moments that never really coalesced into a story.

Today may be the first day that I have ever thought about buying a GoPro. That thought seemed to have blinked into existence out of nowhere. It does not appear to be an entirely useful thought. It probably has something to do with the amount of news stories that have been percolating about GoPro over the last two months. Over the last few days, I have been testing out the 4K video recording capabilities of my Google Nexus XL. It is entirely possible that the XL will meet my video needs. I could make it work. Smartphones have made recording memories easier. Only the need for a certain degree of video quality probably drives the need for more advanced technology. Those needs exist for professional video editing. Most of the video or photos that are captured during any given day or moment did not require or revolve around professional equipment.

My initial Google Pixel XL review

Keep on building that narrative. Build it one string of words at a time. Bring it all together to form a decent read. The smartphone saga just keeps going. New smartphones come out all the time. Producing videos reviewing and unboxing them is a cottage online industry. It is a nearly endless cycle of innovation and different hardware configurations. Every smartphone review is fleeting. The words ring new in the moment with a certain level of excitement and start fading almost instantly into obscurity as the new wave of phones arrives. That is the nature of the technology hardware industry. Everything is about the now. Every moment from the past seems perpetually overshadowed. Some of those moments might bubble up to the forefront of the public mind, but most of them will be forgotten.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my new Google Pixel XL phone. Fresh out of the box the phone feels like a pretty decent device. It is markedly smaller than I expected. Compared to the Motorola Nexus 6 the XL almost seems small. I used the phone to record some 4K video and a couple VR photos. Reviewing the Google Daydream VR headset will have to wait until later in the week. I have used it a couple of times. Each one of those times was for about 10 minutes. That is not enough time to formulate a strong opinion about the device. The photos I have taken so far seem to be sharp. I will probably spend some time reviewing the photos in about 30 days.

My Google Pixel XL arrived

My Google Pixel XL arrived yesterday. It was easy to unbox. Setting up the phone took about 20 minutes. I elected to treat it like a new installation and install applications on first use. You can expect a review in about a week. In the meantime, please do not let the suspense of my impending review slow you down. Maybe it is time to think about the potentially dystopian nature of the intersection of technology and modernity. Maybe the way news is delivered has contributed to the disjointed nature of our national dialogue. Our politics includes the life experiences of multiple generations. Together we form a civil society that drives our nation forward. Together we build an intergenerational tapestry that defines our social fabric. Elections tend to test the edges of that fabric. They pull on the things that wedge us apart. Elections are a time of deciding. Outside of that moment of choice we are all in this together. Today no more than the next. Today no more than the last. Together we strive forward toward a better tomorrow. Some of that promise involves technology. Some of it involves changes in our communities of place, circumstance, or interest.

Pixel XL Box

Pixel XL Box

Thinking about data science and modeling

The Statistics Package for the Social Scientist (SPSS) has always made sense to me. For years workplace tools were less complex than SPSS. The new generation of data science focused applications are highly complex. Those applications facilitate slicing and dicing data into epic infographics. That class of applications does allow end users to use highly complex models. Some of those models are not well understood. Access to highly advanced statistical modeling tools does not guarantee understanding. Data science and dating modeling fell flat during this last election.

Executive level reporting has always involved both art and science. Modeling the latest presidential election involved did not go very well for pollsters and pundits. I have done a ton of data modeling over the years. Anybody can pick up a copy of Armstrong’s Principles of Forecasting (2001). Diving in is really the best way to get started. Data science has turned into a first in the pool type of profession. People strive toward predicting the future. Most models that are aimed at predicting the future are not tested against the past. Modeling public sentiment is a challenge. Sometimes it is fleeting. Sometimes permanence exists.