Sunlight over Jaisalmer planeWow, its been too long since i blogged about anything. Seriously too long. Well its been an interesting past few weeks for sure- ups, downs and adventures all around. First with the downs-which range from the pressure cooker of end-of-year at work to the death of my pet hedgehog tomo ( 😦 ), add some personal dramas and a dash of helping some friends out in rough spots- there’s been a lot to think about, and think through- and almost certainly, i’ll need some more time till everything really sinks in.

Balancing that though, I closed one of the largest projects i’ve ever done at work (exciting stuff!), got to see some good friends get married, and go on some ridiculous adventures from the city to Sonoma on down to Carmel- all reminding me why I (ir)rationally love California so much. Such big ups and downs- but taking the long view- things are still positive in the balance.

With the new work year ahead of me, its given me a bit of time to reflect on what i’ve done this past year, and what I hope to accomplish this coming year. I’m persuing some new projects and hope that this new inspiration brings me renewed focus as well. I guess time will tell, and at the very least, it’ll be something to write about in my next blog post 🙂


On my iphoneWith all the buzz coming up, about the 3g iphone coming, more people are asking me about my iphone, and how it works for me, and does it change your life radically, or does it make me much cooler than the new kids (circa 1988 ) or sexier than Peter Jackson (?) While some things aren’t for me to say (in polite company), I can give my random thoughts over the past year of ownership.

First off, I bought my iphone _after_ the price drop- no fancy, smoove first mover status for me, the day the price dropped was the day my old Treo died. Naturally, i took this as a sign from above to buy an iPhone, and I did, and so far…the experience has been…well, like a relationship that starts out ridiculously hot, and then you find out about all those crazy quirks that turn you off big time, but the sizzle is still so hot you don’t want to totally let go.

That’s not to say its not consistent- i mean, the killer app for a phone is to make calls- and it does that just fine. Good quality calls, it gets decent reception- although I had problems roaming in mexico, and in India for the record. But the bells and whistles of the iphone are pretty sweet, but after a while, can feel a bit like one of those old Twilight Zone episodes where some schmuck makes a deal with the devil, and he gets everything thing he wants, but the devil puts in one annoying little thing that messes it up.

While the iphone’s browser is pretty sweet, the screen is awesome, and the ability to have a built in ipod is nice, there are some basic things that it fails at. Nothing is as vexing as the picture text feature. Let me explain.

Lets say you’re out and about, and all of a sudden, you get a picture text message from someone, and for whatever reason, it would be something you really, really want to see (get your mind out of the gutter kids). No worries, your iphone can handle awesome picture slideshows, so a picture text should be no problem. Well…no. The second you get a picture text from someone, you get a curt text message saying someone “has sent you a multimedia message”- and it gives you a url to go to and enter some random code, and password of numbers and letters. Well, no worries, you can just copy and paste that random string of numbers and letters into the browser and log into this website, right? oohhh, snap, there’s no copy and paste on the iphone, so you better have practiced your sudoku or have a web -5.0 based pencil/pen to write that crap down. Well, then it takes 2 hours for said picture to appear on the website- which is SUPER lame. Well, when the pic finally gets up on the site, all that time you spent anticpating that picture make it all the sweeter right. So naturally when the pic starts loading up you feel….even more frustrated to realize the picture is in flash format, which the iphone also doesn’t support. EPIC FAIL! making you want to huck the phone at the nearest AT&T/Apple rep (careful of those small woodland creatures that may get in the way).

That being said, the iphone is pretty great minus the keyboard, and the restrictive text plans, but otherwise i’m happy. 3g will be a much needed addition to boot too. Being able to whip out your iphone and use it as a mobile photo album is pretty awesome too.

So there you go-postives, negatives, and FAILs. Shoot me an email if you have any more questions, I promise I won’t send you a picture text in return 😉


Growing up (?)

05May08

Over the weekend I was in Chicago, meeting up with some old fast friends. In the midst of catching up on all the major details of the past year- I got called out on something interesting. In the middle of conversation, I said “when I grow up”- without even thinking about how hilarious it is for me to say that. I’ve graduated and have had a full time “real” job for a while, I pay taxes, pay rent, do all sorts of other “grown up stuff”- but i’m still thinking there’s something more somehow. When does someone actually “grow up”? Is it when they’ve got married? Own a house? Or collect x amount of experiences or years? Or is it all just a state of being

I think back over the past year and so much has happened- changing jobs, being single, traveling through mexico and India and running off with the circus (so to speak). I feel i’ve grown a lot, and have been able to get a better perspective on where I’m at, and more importantly, who i am. So if life is all about the journey and not the destination, does it even matter what our end goals are- so much as they provide the experience- or the journey- that’s worth pursuing?

I’ve been thinking about that question a lot lately. Over this past year, i’ve had a bunch of short term personal plans- trips here and there, completing some paintings etc- but most of what i’ve done has been ad hoc- as events have unfolded, i’ve reacted to them without having a larger set plan.

I think it time to become a bit more proactive in my approach to life- and maybe become a bit more ambitious- and expect a more tangible of a result. I’m excited about the opportunities and am just weighing which paths to follow. Either way, the choices will add a few more adventures to my life- and regardless if I ever truly “grow up” or not- it’ll give me a another experience, another story-and a new source of inspiration to draw from. Until then, its time for me to get back to work, and get some painting done…..


NOLA

29Apr08

Image by Asian Neighborhood DesignYesterday I got back from a trip with friends to New Orleans- and I was moved a lot more than expected. Beyond the craziness of bourbon street, the hype, the spectre of katrina and the damage that’s been healed, and some that’s still sore- I saw a city that was truly unique in the United States. Its a city that’s culture, history and spirit seemed so tangible- from the distinctive look of everything from the houses, to the restarants, to the people. Rarely did I go anywhere where people weren’t friendly and welcoming- the pace seemed so much more laid back and easy than in most cities. And the stories the people tell are incredible- ranging from katrina, to growing up with some of the biggies of Jazz and funk.

There is also an amazing art scene too! A few of the galleries I (briefly) checked out looked interesting, and the characters on the street definately rivaled some i’ve met on the streets of SF (although no Frank Chu’s that I saw 😉 )

But the people are really what struck me- nowhere did I feel unwelcome, regardless if it was walking down the street, or talking to someone on their porch of their home. Many of the homes that have been rebuilt or renovated still bear the scars from the spray painted markers that were laid by early response teams during Katrina- informing whether a house was evacuated, needing to be demolished, or if there were bodies left inside- a stark reminder of the hurricane’s lingering effects. While it was still in the minds of everyone I spoke too, it seemed that they were looking forward to the future. How a lot of things were changing and getting better- it seemed like there was so much hope in many people, it was inpsiring. That being said, there was still a lot of work to do- and its clear a bunch of areas still haven’t even been touched, but in the balance, it looked and felt like things were getting better. I’m left still working through my thoughts on the trip but Nola left me inspired…now to use that energy in my other pursuits…


Identity

25Apr08

from aviatonweekAs the Web 2.0 conference winds down and all the parties, lobby-cons, meetups, mashups- i’ve started to realize how crazily connected everyone in the community, and San Francisco seems to be. Its amazing to see just how ridiculously intertwined everyone is, and how people seem to know each other.

Facebook seems to be one of the biggest ways people find those connections. Just checking out the “shared friends” feature, or taking a look at the “people you might know” box takes those random “you know xxxx? No way” moments, and forces them- where before, you had to accidentally find out from a friend. Twitter is even crazier- because of the constant updating, you can find out what someone’s up to at almost anytime- regardless if they’re a stranger or your best friend. It feels almost like overhearing a ton of conversations, happening all at once. Combine that with Flickr, and you can see their pictures, and now videos.

We’re almost at a point where we’re at persistent level of presence in both the real world (meatspace) and the virtual one (twitter/facebook/etc) and its getting really, really interesting. The concept of privacy has always fascinated me (I wrote my thesis at Berkeley on Technology and privacy). Its really interesting to see how peoples perception of privacy changes depending on the situation, their role, background etc. For instance, when we’re out at baseball game or bar, our idea of privacy is totally different than at home, or in the bathroom. These are physical location based concepts- so what does this mean in the virtual world?

A lot of what we do online we feel is somewhat private- like all the updates we put on facebook. If you’re using FB just for keeping up with friends, why worry about it affecting work? It definitely can. A year ago, I represented my company at a UC Berkeley employer conference with the goal being to find out how to better prepare students for the work world. In the discussions, the topic of the role facebook/myspace/etc came up, and how it affected employment. A quick poll of hands had 2/3 of the employers (ranging from banks to startups to tobacco manufacturers) said they routinely checked these social networks when a potential new hire was being considered. At least half of those polled said they had rescinded offer letters before as a result of what they saw. This is a classic example of our ideas on what’s private and what’s not being at odds with reality. And it gets even more complicated when more and more of these services become more popular.

On FB for instance, I have friends, exes, co-workers, customers and people i’ve met out and about. So what does it mean to have a “friend”? How much do you show, or can you show? I definitely don’t want want coworkers to see pics from and friends out at a club- sure, the limited profile option is one way to handle things, but there’s no guarantees that those pics won’t get out. And with Twitter, you can follow people that are complete strangers- and vice versa (i have a number of people following me that i have never met). With twitter, you can track a persons updates, thoughts, and communications with other twitters, giving you a better picture of what’s going on with them, and the larger community.

So where is this taking us? As these services all start integrating with each other, we’ve got a more and more complete picture of who we “are” online. But is this really “virtual” anymore? I think people are starting to view their actions online as just as “real” as in the real world- and if people are getting offer letters rescinded for their profile updates it probably validates that point. I’m worried this combined with the difficulty of controlling our identity and its expression online will instead of liberating us, put us into a limited box- where either we completely embrace and combine our online and offline personas, or completely reject the virtual. I’m curious, what do you think, where do you stand?


Sleep….

16Apr08

Y’know, its that thing that people usually do when they’re tired- most people seem to get around 8 hours of it a night- and that usually isn’t something that I do. On an average night, i’m getting around 5-6 hours, then when things are crazy- like the past few days- its more like 4. I get a little tired in the day sometimes, but i’m not falling asleep in my lunch. What is tired for you? I’m really, really curious to hear- since it seems like i’m rarely there.

Now, i get all sorts of hateration from my friends about how little I sleep- let alone my parents when I see them- but every so often I see a report like this one which shows the benefits of not sleeping. At the end of the day, i like to stay up because I can do more, see more and just use those two to three extra hours for “stuff”. Now the question is, how do you know what the “right” amount of sleep really is. Well, i’ll have to think about that one more…until then time for some more coffee….;)


Image by Todd LappinWhen it comes to loving a city, its hard to find anyone more biased than me. Yeah, I flagrantly pump this city like nobodies business- and yes, my friends even have a scientifically created “correction” they apply to my recommedations to bring my enthusiastic recommendations down to reality. I love this freakin city- San Francisco is unlike any place I’ve ever been- and there’s been a lot of cities I love that i’ve been to.

So what makes it so attractive, alluring, exciting and intoxicating to me? Great questions- I still don’t know, but i’ll try and break it down. I’ve known I wanted to live here ever since I was six years old. My parents- always the super fans of slapping me and my bro into our boxie Volvo faded-red stationwagon and trucking us around the country- took us to San Francisco one trip. When we were walking through golden gate park, right by the tea garden- I announced that one day i’d live here. My parents laughed, but lo and behold, several years later, i’m happily living not too far away from that same space.

Location and physical beauty aside, what really makes the city to me are the people. I mean, SF attracts just about every type of person you can imagine- artists, business people, tech, government, people trying to make a difference- and dreamers too. And the city in itself is just about as diverse- and divided- as the European Union. The neighborhoods have their own unique feels to the, and where you live is almost like a statement on who you are. Everthing from the Marina peeps to the mission hipsters, there’s so much going on in the city, and so much to get distracted by too.

Which is another reason why i love it- the sheer amount of activities! One day you can be having a chill drink at a bar, the next going to a fire arts ballet- and the next, going dancing at some chic club. Its all here, I don’t think I can get enough of it. And in the end, that’s why I love it so much-the only limit to what you ca do seems to be time- and i’m still working on a way to get a few more hours added onto the day. 😉 I’m thinking of maybe posting a calendar with everything i’m thinking of doing or up to- beyond just my twitter blasts- but we’ll see how that works out 😉

Finally, to sum things up best- Oscar Wilde once said “It’s an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attractions of the next world” I couldn’t agree more.