When you work for yourself the idea of “progress” (or lack thereof sometimes) becomes a driving force for your happiness. Well it does for me anyway. My progress has been ok (no better) recently but I am daunted by how much work is still out there to be done.

Dying to get a product shipped to customers. Need to focus on a date  again as without one I feel I’ll drift. Ok, now back to work. :)

Office 2014?

I installed Office 2014 for Mac a few days ago but haven’t had a chance to play with yet. Not sure when I’ll find the time but interested to hear if anyone else has a point of view.

Loving WordPress again?

I started blogging on Blogger. I liked it.

Then I found WordPress. Wow, I was impressed.

Then over time I started to feel that WordPress was just too bloated to love. In fact I felt it was ugly, cumbersome, “yesterday’s news”. 

I started dabbling with Ghost. I love how unencombered Ghost is. How lightening fast it is. But it’s raw. Probabaly too raw for most people right now. I guess considering it hasn’t even graduated to a 1.0 release this makes sense.

Then I installed the Blogo app on my WordPress blog and I got excited. I can again add blog posts with ease. Yes my blog is still sluggish but at least with fast composition I can start generating content again.

If you’re on OSX and blogging on WordPress you really owe it to yourself to check out Blogo. It’s very nicely done, fingers crossed it gets my lazy ass back to posting regularly.

Hearing Aids and Augmented Reality

I remember clearly sitting around my father’s dining room table at Christmas about 10 years ago and listening to my parents talk about hearing aids. I remember thinking this was maybe the dullest conversation of my life. Of course it didn’t elude me that the two speakers for this topic shared DNA with yours truly and that that probably meant that some day I would more personally connected to the topic. Well that time has come.

I am at the end of a 6 week trial and while my hearing isn’t completely shit (sorry to throw you off with industry speak), the hearing aids do make me realise that I was missing things before. So yes the hearing aids are adding a function you might expect … I can hear better. Here’s what you might not expect … I can hear more than a person without hearing aids. No I’m not talking about some super powerful magnification of external sounds, I can actually hear things that aren’t there. That might sound concerning at first blush but I assure you I’m not experiences a psychotic break.

Here’s what I mean … I have fancy hearing aids which implement Bluetooth Low Energy and make my hearing aids an “Airplay device”. That means I can pick phone calls on my hearing aids, I can get Google maps directions while walking around unencumbered, I always have “headphones” for my podcasts. The veritable list of useful uses of having always-on attachments to your ears is surprisingly long. I’m now convinced that the auditory channel might be the first real opportunity to market “augmentation” to the masses. Up to now the focus seems to have been in the visual spectrum and the importance of the visual input can’t be minimised but as the Google Glass experiment has born out, super-imposing information in a useful, safe, non-intrusive way is not easy. It will happen but it may take take (and money) before we’re all tapping into our sight.

Consider instead hearing and headphones. The headphone business is a high margin, desirable business but with any business cycle the big margins will start to deteriorate as everyone wants a piece of the gold. That then leads to a need to differentiate. I suspect that higher quality audio via better D-to-A converters is more mundane part of this differentiation strategy but augmentation needs to be considered too; and it will be because:

  • Cost: It isn’t terribly expensive … the infrastructure is already there, all that’s needed is a move combine fashion with ease of wearing so people don’t mind wearing more permanently
  • Value: I’ve already found a whole host of things which are useful to impose onto my day-to-day experience and that’s without the benefit of a mainstream, big-capital industry putting effort into building these apps
  • Brand: ultimately in the game of differentiation the ability to offer “augmentation” could be seen as creating a whole new category which would almost surely command a heft brand premium and the almighty margin dollar

Anyway, my next meeting is coming up. I know because my “ears” just told me. Until next time …

Forerunner Unreliable

I’ve used various models of the Garmin Forerunner for years and feel some brand loyalty to the products but it is wearing a bit thin today as my Forerunner 620 completely screwed up yesterday! This wasn’t the first time — I was getting some VERY odd behaviour earlier in the year — but a factory reset got it back to working well up until yesterday where it decided to press the “stop” button twice on my long run. Suddenly about 10 miiles into my run I realised I had no idea how long I’d gone (as I hadn’t realised the run had been stopped)!

This was terrible but due to somewhat familiar terrain I was able to guestimate my distance and got to what I thought was 20 miles only to find out on my return that it was only 18. Very annoying.  

Vagrants in Dockerville

I’ve been playing around with Docker for a few weeks now and while I’ve used VM’s for ages I’m just starting to use Vagrant. My next task is to build a smart way for Vagrant and Docker to inter-operate. More on that once I get there.