Worst case scenario

“What time do we have to leave in the morning?” Becca asked.

“Seven would make me happy,” I said, “But eight at the absolute latest. Worst case scenario, we have to leave by eight. If one of the kids spontaneously bursts into flames and the other two are running around naked, we still leave by eight.”

“Flames, huh?”

“Flames. Eight ‘o clock.”

“Okay.”

If you say so

While shopping with my wife at Sam Moon (or as I like to call it, the fifth circle of Hell) it became really irritating to see all the packages of cheap jewelry that said “best quality.”

This reminds me of all the businesses in the world that brag about being the best quality. Only about 10% of those really are best quality. The other 90% are either ignorant or just plain lying about it.

You shouldn’t have to say you’re the best quality. It should just be obvious to everyone who ever deals with you.

To upgrade or not to upgrade

We have an iPad but not an iPad 2. Do you recommend upgrading or do the new features not justify the cost? — Sarah

For me, the answer is no.* We own an original iPad. I’ve been contemplating getting another for my own personal use. Ours is for the family, which means every time I pick it up, I find jelly or some such on it. I’d really rather have my own. That being said, I’m holding out for an iPad 3.

I’ve spent time with the iPad 2 and it’s a very impressive device. Much lighter than the original, and noticeably snappier. Unfortunately other than that, there wasn’t much that I’d place in the “have to have” category if we’re talking upgrade. I’m sure FaceTime is nice, but I have it on my phone and have used it maybe twice.

Now, if you don’t have a tablet at all, of course, go iPad 2. As far as an upgrade though, it just wasn’t compelling enough for me.

*I guess it also depends on what kind of person you are when it comes to technology. You wouldn’t know it by the amount of Apple techno-crap I own, but I’m not usually the “gotta-have-it-on-launch-day guy.” I usually buy the most expensive computer I can and then use it for four or five years. I never upgrade software if I don’t have to. I get a new iPhone every couple of years, but usually don’t feel the itch to upgrade yearly. Overall, I’d say I’m very patient when it comes to buying new technology. Some people aren’t like that, so factor your personality into your upgrade decision.

The iPad category

When the iPad was released most people were skeptical about it (myself included). “It’s just a big iPhone” was a common quote. Also, “Why not just use a laptop?”

The Bucs’ linebacker coach, Joe Baker, admitted he was “a little skeptical” when the team started using iPads. His concerns were rooted in a past experience, when another team he worked for started using laptops. At the time, he said, it was a poor integration of technology and the team’s needs. Today, he admits things have changed.

“To have all that information at your fingertips accessible and convenient,” said Baker. “It’s a godsend.”

The form factor and user interface of the iPad are just so intuitive it has opened doors and is being used in ways a laptop never could. The ease-of-use on an iPad can never be discounted. The information the team needs is literally at their fingertips.

Quote via CNN.

Defining what “taking off” means

Last year around this time I took a few months off from posting on Twitter and Facebook. It was so nice. I found the desire to write more long-form entries here on the blog and generally just felt more relaxed. It was like taking a breather after running for hours. I discovered that I had begun to think in 140-character snippets. Everything that I saw or experienced, my brain dutifully composed in my head as a tweet. My fingers would then, also dutifully, type that message into Twitter. It’s annoying, not only in my head, but probably to the world that reads those sometimes inane tweets.

As a result of that time away, I’ve used Twitter far, far less in 2011. Coincidentally, we’ve done an order of magnitude more business this year than last. Interesting.

As my stress level has steadily risen I decided to take the last few months off again. One week into that sabbatical, I noticed something different this time. I’m training my brain to think long form again, but I also miss Twitter a bit in one way: it’s actually useful. Several times I’ve wanted to ask a question on Twitter and stopped myself. But there are sometimes friendly people out there who like answering questions.

As with everything, it’s all about balance. I guess there’s nothing wrong with using Twitter for genuinely useful communication. I can use it when I need it. So now “taking off” means not posting every thought I ever have. It’s refreshing, and after just one week, I’ve found a renewed desire to write again. For a good chunk of the year I figured my not writing was because of having too much going on creatively. In the past week I’ve actually had to do more creative work than usual and yet still feel the desire to write. I still subscribe to the theory that I only have so many well-written words to give in a day. If I give a large portion of those to Twitter and Facebook, I rob my other endeavors.

It makes me wonder if I’ll use tools like Twitter even less next year. Probably so. I need to treat it as just that, a tool, and not a place for everything that sails between my ears.