2018: Day 205 the one with a new Pixel 2 XL phone case
Today was going to be a day when I wrote something interesting. Not the day I wrote something interesting. Just a day of writing something interesting. Sure enough that did not really happen. In fact it appears that I leaned into the opposite of interesting and wrote a post about smartphone cases. If you enjoy that type of musing, then this blog post is really tailored to provide you a certain degree of enjoyment.
Back on October 5, 2017 I ordered a Pixel 2 XL smartphone. Today a new case for that phone arrived. This time around it was a Spigen Neo Hybrid Herringbone Google Pixel 2 XL case. Clearly listed in the features were flexible inner protection and some reinforced hard bumper frames. It seems like a pretty sturdy, decent, and reasonably secure case. I elected to get the kinda blue colored case. This new case is replacing my Caseology Parallax Series Slim Protective Dual Layer Cover Geometric Design case in navy blue. Sure that is a lot of detail to say that I now have a brand new case for my phone that is less than a year old.
Overall I have been very happy with our Pixel phone cases from Caseology. This new herringbone case just seemed to be aesthetically pleasing. The reviews had said that the new Spigen case would be hard to put on the phone and difficult to remove. Those reviews were true and observations were true. The case fits very tightly and is difficult to remove. That is not really a big problem. I do not take the case off my phone very often. Really the only time that that the case ever gets removed is if the phone is overheating from being outdoors.
Throughout the week I have been increasingly interested in reading about the pending Pixel 3 XL release. Getting a new phone is pretty exciting. One of my real weaknesses is always wanting the newest smartphone when it comes out. Over the years I have always wanted to have the best possible phone on the market. Having three different generations of Pixel phones is something that will probably be pretty exciting. Google appears to be releasing a phone every year vs. every two years. That pace will probably cause my smartphone collection to grow pretty rapidly.
2018: Day 204 the one where I got a Gaiam ball chair
Sure a lot of options exist for office chairs. Getting a new Gaiam ball chair directly from Gaiam online seemed like a good idea. Certainly the first few minutes were exciting. About 10 minutes into using the new chair I remember just how out of shape my core muscles must be. Given my attempts to avoid using the Amazon marketplace for goods it seemed like a good idea to just go out to the Gaiam website directly and buy a ball chair. Thanks in part to a coupon at the top of the page it seemed liked like a good idea to buy one of the classic balance ball chairs. Seven color choices existed. At the time getting the blue one seemed like a good idea. Strangely enough the new chair arrived in the original box with a shipping label stuck on it.
Setting up the chair took a few minutes. Probably the hardest part of the entire process was trying to inflate the ball to the right level of fullness. It took two separate attempts to get the ball inflated to the right level. After completing the assembly and setup process I started using the chair. Today my total usage equaled about an hour of time and it was enough to begin to test my stamina and balance. We will see how I end up feeling about the chair tomorrow morning. For the rest of the month I plan on using the chair for two to three hours per week. It might be easier to just walk downstairs and walk on the treadmill. Either path is better than sitting in the same place all day. That pattern is not good for a lot of reasons.
Really my only reservations about the new chair are related to a general fear of falling. At some point either in the distant future or potentially sooner the ball is probably going to fail and the distance between sitting and the floor will quickly vanish. That fear might be a little bit exaggerated, but at the same time it is entirely possible.
2018: Day 191 the one with more thoughts on repeaters
A lot of time and energy are spent trying to capture attention. Capturing even a small percent of the public mind at any time is a Herculean feat. Truly it is one of those challenges that just keeps getting harder. Earlier today I spent some time working on a Coursera class titled, “Serverless Data Analysis with Google BigQuery and Cloud Dataflow.” Overall it was my 8th class from the Google Cloud team on Coursera. Each of them captures my attention in total for a few hours. Alright — maybe some of them captured most of my attention. Machine learning and artificial intelligence in general have been hot topics, but they have only captured a small percentage of the attention defined within the idea of the public mind. Figuring out what the attention of the people is focused on is a difficult thing to capture to begin with. Things bubble up and sometimes things capture the attention of a large population.
Every day that I have been at home since 2006 has involved being able to enjoy the mountain views of the great State of Colorado. That realization was a pleasant moment of reflection and a reminder to appreciate the greatness of natural splendor. Like I said it has been a day of reflection. Maybe a combination of the lake views and a lot of computer labs was enough to make me ponder things. That is something that is great in spurts. Being a reflective practitioner is a great way to go about engaging in deep learning and an equivalent level of understanding. None of that helps me write better or more epic blog posts, but it does help me dig a little bit deeper into the world around me and that is an awfully good way to go about things.
Within one of the slides today the instruction was talking about a new specialization for learning Tensorflow. Strangely enough I ended up getting a no results found for my search on, “advanced machine learning with tensorflow on GCP”. The slide from today noted that was the next specialization that I should consider for learning about machine learning with Tensorflow at a deeper level. Obviously, that seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, but it does not appear like that next set of courses is out in the wild yet. I’m sure it will be out in the wild soon enough and I will be able to enjoy that next batch of 5 courses on Coursera.
Earlier today I was thinking about potentially starting up a YouTube show that just involves me telling a series of short stories. Yeah — that sounds like an epic idea. It would go beyond a spoken word performance series (not a vlog) and really delivery some non-fiction based short stories. That thought lingered for a few minutes or maybe like an hour or so earlier today. Maybe it is one of those things that could end up coming back. Some thoughts are like ideological boomerangs that end up showing back up to shape the future.
Outside of that I started to think about the nature of how we respect builders not repeaters. That argument is related to creativity not the actual act of physically constructing things. Building toward a new stronger future involves creating. It pretty much involves creating within the moment in new ways all the time. Constantly producing and building new things is much harder than simply repeating the same thing over and over again. Stump speeches are one of the things things that made me think about that. Imagine for a moment the modern chautauqua running daily where the speaker tries to educate people via the same story day in and day out. It would be much harder to continue to evolve and build on the same talk every day. Things change for lectures in the world of higher education, but they do not really change day to day. Professors for the most part deliver relatively stable content year over year in most academic disciplines. Sure some outliers exist where rapid change is ongoing and will continue.
The mundane nature of being a pure repeater is harder than you might expect. Entire novels have questioned the nature of being content without any attempt to striving forward. Maybe it would be easier to become a Luddite and work toward a minimalist existence. Rejecting anything new and simply repeating the same pattern go forward sounds like an awful plan to me. Waking up and following the exact same routine every day might make you feel like you an know what will happen in the future, but the pattern is not really evolving. It is not really changing. For me something would have to give. Something new would have to be interjected into the routine to create a certain degree of chaos to the routine.
You can imagine that based on the title for this blog post that I wanted to write something insightful. It had to be good. It had to be really good. The title alone was enough to pretty much require that level of commitment. Sure it probably fell short of my expectations, but maybe over time the post will grow on me upon further review. Today was one of those days that made me really question things. Outside the weather was very hot. A certain kind of heat that was muggy and oppressive towards the middle of the day. For better or worst that type of heat wore me down enough that I really started to think about the nature of being creative and the nature of giving up any effort to create and just repeating a routine.
2018: Day 185 the one with the 4th of July and a trip to the Zoo
My writing has become somewhat conflicted. Throughout the year I have wanted to engage in huge writing projects. You could describe it as the epic creation of weighty tomes. My level of focus and dedication to the craft of writing on a daily basis did not support that type of production. Part of the conflict was based around what to produce and how to produce it. Throughout the course of this year. This year is over half way done and I’m really getting bogged down with a series of technology related rabbit holes.
Both of my desktop computers sport the 4000 model of the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard. Microsoft has released a newer version of it that is wireless and had a better more awesome design aesthetic. You are probably right about the relative necessity of buying a Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Wireless Desktop Keyboard to replace my current one. I’m guessing that my current keyboard will last for several more years. It is entirely possible it might last for a decade. It is wired and the keys are in pretty good shape. Nobody outside of this office has ever used either of those keyboards. Sure that probably means that they are in prime operating condition for years of typing. In some ways that is enough of a reason to not need to purchase the Sculpt edition of the keyboard.
That example was probably enough of an example to set the stage as to what exactly keeps pulling me down technology created rabbit holes. Some type of technology will catch my eye. Over the course of a few minutes or a few hours I’ll start to learn about it, to research it, or maybe to even watch pointless videos related to it on YouTube.
We are about to head out to the zoo. Today was one of those days where the zoo was very empty. Only a few folks elected to celebrate independence day at the zoo. We were listening to the radio and somebody was talking about being a champion of things. It was on of those moments where i wondered about being a better champion of things. I’m a champion for a stronger civil society. I believe the fabric that holds us together creating a degree of civility works. That fabric at the moment is strained in parts and might have a few tears. Maybe I need to return to my roots and spend some time every day writing about civility and civil society.
2018: Day 184 the one where I wrote this post before breakfast
Right now I’m testing my new keyboard. It is a Logitech K780 wireless keyboard. You may have guessed that from the photograph attached to this blog post. It has a pretty good amount of travel and feels ok so far. Strangely it feels a little bit heavier and a little bit more like a real keyboard than any of my other bluetooth devices. My Nexus 9 has a very quick screen timeout. It appears that in the morning before breakfast my rate of typing is a little bit slower. Some pauses seem to be happening. They are little gaps in my focus that tear me away from the moment. My big plan for the day was to write for an hour and produce 2,000 words. For some reason that did not happen. I’m starting to get used to typing on this keyboard. My other keyboards in my office are natural ergonomic style keyboards.
2018: Day 183 the one with a better title about the end of compact discs
Oh eBay. I’m searching for Nirvana DVDs right now. Reading articles about the end of compact disc (CD) sales earlier today really made me think. Part of that thinking was about maybe buying some Nirvana DVDs and CDs. some time ago I bought a deluxe edition of the Nirvana album Bleach on vinyl. Before my purchase of a record player getting compact discs was really a major part of my technology driven journey. Both buying music on CD and burning discs was exciting. Digital music was so much better than the tapes I had been putting in my Sony Walkman. I had one of those yellow ones that was water resistent or something to that effect. Being able to store data on a disc was super exciting. It changed the game. It democratized data storage in a way that until the cloud was inconceivable.
I cannot really overstate how exciting that technology was at the time. It was a sea change in storage technology. Even backing up music discs was exciting. It fundamentally changed the entire music industry in some unexpected ways. Corporate executives from Best Buy elected to stop selling compact discs this week. I did not expect to have any emotional reaction to that news. Strangely enough it did make me think back about CD of the month clubs and the joy of going to Best Buy to purchase new albums when they came out. Some album releases were a really big deal. They were talked about on the radio for weeks before the day when a new album could be purchased.
Right now I should be finishing up a class on Coursera. It turns out that a few labs for the, “Leveraging Unstructured Data with Cloud Dataproc on Google Cloud Platform,” course are taking me a little bit longer than usual. That was bound to happen at some point. Some labs are more interesting than other and the ones that hold my attention tend to go by much quicker. Maybe in a few minutes I’ll jump back into the course on this Chromebook and knock out a lab or two tonight before going to bed. Part of what it takes to knock out courses is the will to complete an hour or two of learning every night.
This weekend I spent a fair amount of time reading about microblogging. Perhaps the greatest appeal of that style of writing happens to be the implicit disregard for titles. Every day this year writing and coming up with a blog post title has been interesting. Perhaps the great joy of microblogging is not having to come up with a title. To that end the blog post for today will not have a title. It will be a post without a title and that is something that I’m completing ok with at the moment. Maybe tomorrow that will be something that displeases me. Right now I am watching the second disc of the 3rd season of Northern Exposure on DVD. For the most part the series really holds up pretty well.
I spent some time looking at reviews of the Logitech K780 wireless keyboard. They have it at the Best Buy not to far from the house. Tomorrow might just be the day that I go and pick up that keyboard. It easily can switch between my Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone and my Nexus 9 tablet. The keyboard seems to have a solid design that would support a little bit of mobile writing. Sure you might be wondering why with this uber sweet ASUS Chromebook Flip C101P up and operationally why I would need any more bluetooth keyboards. The answer to that question is rather simple. I do not need any more wireless keyboards. Right now my office has at least three wireless keyboards. The Nexus 9 keyboard, an Amazon Basics bluetooth, and a Microsoft universal mobile bluetooth keyboard.
2018: Day 179 the one where I pondered for a moment
Sure the impending intersection of technology and modernity should be at the forefront of the public mind. That is not really the sort of thing that jumps out and grabs the attention of public. Maybe it would be to easier to download the audiobook for the 5th book in the Dune series and just relax. Spending the rest of the night just listening to a book is one potential way to go. Another way to go would be to focus in on finishing up my 7th Coursera class of the summer. I need to complete a couple labs to finish out the “Leveraging Unstructured Data with Cloud Dataproc on Google Cloud Platform” course by July 9, 2018. Alternatively, I could could listen to Pandora and spend the evening writing a few words down and pondering things. Just maybe right now the possibilities that will be pondered are the priority for the night.
A lot of doors are open right now and a lot of different topics have been pulling my attention in a ton of different directions. This ASUS Flip Chromebook C101P has been updated to the developer channel for updates. Part of that decision is to help speed my way down the path to being able to run Linux applications on this Chromebook. It looks like the ASUS Flip Chromebook they were referring to wasa the C213SA model vs the C101P. I guess staying in the developer channel seems like the right thing to end up doing. Extending the Chromebook ecosystem to allow the installation of Linux application is a pretty darn fantastic. Sure it would be easy enough to mess around with Crouton and force the issue. Waiting for it to be a native feature seems like such a strange thing to bank on in the would of cloud first web native applications, but it does seems to be one of those things that people are looking forward to having.
For some reason my spelling has been absolutely atrocious this week. Maybe installing a service to help proofread would be one way to go about helping double check my grammar and spelling. Yesterday I did write a blog post about getting new socks. That is probably an all time low for the year. It can only be up from that moment. That might be wishful thinking at this point. A review about reviews might be worse, but socks are pretty darn ubiquitous at this point. Today was one of those days that my walking desk got some usage. That was enough to help test out the new Bombas socks that arrived this week. The ankle length socks seemed to work out pretty well and were very comfortable. Well this blog post just devolved into talking about socks. For two days in a row that has happened. It seems to be a rather disturbing trend in my writing. A little bit more time pondering the moment and a little bit less time writing about socks is probably in order. Maybe just jumping into the next paragraph will help move things forward…
Tomorrow should be one of those days where a lot more doors open than close. Pondering the potential of tomorrow is always a lot easier than trying to spring into immediate action in the now. Maybe that is reflection of the procrasting that over planning allows. Sometimes the quickest path to resolution is to take action. It might just be the fastest path forward to switch gears and immediately make a change. That is what I’m thinking about at the moment. Right now in this moment that is the series of thoughts that are on my mind and driving my next steps.
Today was going to be the day that I wrote something meaningful. My ASUS Flip C101P was fully charged and nothing was really standing in my way. Perhaps some degree of self-censorship still lingers in my writing. That is a hard thing to shake. Outside of that standard problem things started off well enough. Maybe it was the day that I should have returned to a daily blogging routine from years gone bye. For better or worse at times I blogged intermittently throughout the day. Writing in that way one bit at a time is something that has been completely foreign from my routines in the last decade. Most of my writing these days happens in one major lesson of production. Some days maybe have two writing sessions. On rare occasions maybe that stretches out to three writing sessions. That would be the absolute maximum. Sure the title of the blog post today probably gave it away. This post is not about writing or the best of prose. This post is about socks. Or at least this post is about the arrival of some new socks. That is essentially what happened today. After being inundated with advertisements from Bombas socks I gave in and ordered a few pairs. None of them have been tested yet, but they are now resting in a drawer waiting for tomorrow.
It seemed like a really good idea to purchase a Samsung 128GB FIT USB 3.0 Flash Drive for my Chromebook. Sales can make something look pretty darn tempting. It arrived this week and is plugged into my Chromebook, but I have no idea what it is going to be used for. My Chromebook simply does not need that much extra storage. Maybe loading my music collection to the drive or something like that would be the best way to utilize the storage space.