Remembered and Respected

In the US, we celebrate Memorial Day. For some, it will be a cause of celebrate the unoffical start to summer with grilling and pool openings. For others, it will be a solem reminder of those persons who have served in the armed forces, to whom have lives that were forever changed, so that we could have a life that’s free(ish).

My father was one of many who served. I never heard him talk much about that time aside for a few trips here and there. Every once and a while, we’d find a coin from Spain or somewhere very abroad and ask how it got here – then he’d smile with a reflective grin and say that it was something he recevied while in the Navy.

From what I can also remember, he didn’t serve during any wars – at least not wars that I know of. He did serve in a submarine – which sounds cool and frightening all at the same time. When he passed, it was a very respectful gesture that the Navy did in sending to us a flag encased to remind us that he did serve, and was respected and remembered for doing so.

This is where I sit on this day. Yes, to me its a work day. I’m not really much in the mood for not working some today (thuogh I will get some cookout food in later). Ibt, its that reminder that even if you don’t know who or how people served in the armed forces, that their time and sacrifices are to be respected and rememberd.

It is almost ironic though. We celebrate such a freedom in cooking out, biking, going to the pool/beach today, but these things would not be possible without the lives and stories of those for whom this day was designated to serve.

To all armed forces members past, present, and future – thank you for your service.

Living with an iPad, or How My Smartphone Gets Smarter

The past week and a half with the iPad has been one part a revelation (battery life) and another part an effort in rediscipline (just because the battery lives longer, doesn’t mean there’s more content to consume that’s valuable). It is a different device, and in light of how its designed as a appliance, I can see where there are fans, fanatics, and detractors to it a lot clearer now.

Count me a fan, but not of the iPad. My Nokia N97 has actually become a bit more fun lately. Even to the point where my other Nokia mobiles are taking a bigger backseat when they are called into duty.

What do I mean? Well, simply, I’m becoming a smarter smartphone user. And I’m pushing my mobie to do things that emphasize not only its abilities from a communication end (messaging, voice, etc.), but also how it empowers me to save money, be more productive, and even enable the device itself to display some intelligence.

The intelligence piece is probably the more interesting part. You see, there are days where I’d like to be home browsing the web on my iPad. My mobile device is the only broadband connected device(s) in my home. Meaning I don’t have cable, cable Internet, DSL, or satellite. I don’t pick up any neighbor’s Wi-Fi either. It is just me and 3G via AT&T. I prefer it this way – considering what I pay per month, it makes sense that the connection (pipe) should go with me.

I’m leveraging this connection from time to time to the iPad or my other devices by enabling my N97 to be a hotspot with the Joikuspot application. I only use it for a bit since it drains the battery pretty quick – and I like that the iPad forces me out of the house to places where there are people and caffinated drinks. Thing is, I want this connection to do more.

I’m not content with manually turning on this connection, and then running across the room/apartment to my mobile when it beeps (rings or message comes in). I’d rather be able to check those messages from my iPad – or enable the call through my headset and the iPad – and then kind of live smarter.

To do something like this, I’d need to automate a few actions. For example, I’d need my mobile to turn to a profile (let’s call it Home) that turns on the Jokiuspot and Mobile Web Server apps. When the connection is made to the ad-hoc network with the iPad, I’d like a browser widow to open up to my mobile web server’s front page so that I could log in. That window would remain open, and if I need to attend to my mobile, I could do it from there.

And in the same respect, when I leave home, those applications would need to close, and shut that connection. Making it a manual process when away from home towards using the mobile web server on the N97 and the iPad to transfer information or do simple communications and PIM.

But, as you can tell from this illustration, its not the iPad that’s really doing anything here except being a spoke in the wheel. The simple action of freeing up my reading spaces from my mobile gives me a chance to teach my old dog (the smartphone running the oldest current platform of the smartphone leaders) some new tricks (a raw version of artifical intelligence based on locational and device contexts).

In doing this, my mobile would then too move into this realm of use we can call a connected appliance – just with the caveat that its intelligence is what will drive how the rest of my personal computing ecosystem would gain use.

When mobile gets smart like this, some really neat things can and should happen. I wonder if this is something that could be pulled off this weekend – would make for a really nice new shift 😉

MWS and Managing One’s Social Graph

It has been a while since touching on the topic of the Mobile Web Server (MWS); and for good reason – I really miss that platform. Ownership of your own data, and ability to manage your mobile from any web browser, and the ability to connect to other people with an open platform is the kind of power that we should have in this connected generation.

We don’t have it. Companies tend to make a heady profit in not just being the broker of social connections, but also the owners of the data within them. It could be different – it should be. Given the recent issues with Facebook and privacy settings and methodologies, it should be different.

I was sparked to write because of a comment over at an article on Life Blog. I’m posing the comment here because it deserves additional thought on my end, and could use opinion from yours:

Until February of this year, I had been using Nokia’s Mobile Web Server (mymobilesite.net) for doing just what you are talking about in terms of managing one’s own social graph. Because I was aware of, and not willing to compromise to, the terms of service for FB and several others services, I found it one part a challenge and another part very freeing to have my own platform – and then try and work with people – literally network with them – so that they could access my content streams on my terms.

Unfortunately, Nokia shut down the gateway for the Mobile Web Server service. And there was little noise made with the MWS because “Facebook could do it” and other similar comments.

I still feel that given our use of mobile and social technologies, that such a platform has a veritable approach, and should be explored by many. Yes, there’s the issue of “what happens to this server when my mobile’s battery dies,” but really, I don’t know that it should be a concern. The way the MWS was designed, for example, connecting my device to MS Exchange took more battery life than running the server. And the open platform that it was built on (Apache, Python, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) meant that I could essentially have my own content management system (like a Blogger/Typepad/Wordpress and a Flickr, and a personal web-enabled Outlook) that I could intentionally share with others.

It was ahead of its time. And unfortunately, closed down before this brooha happened. I miss it (badly). Others will pine for it when they realize what is possible.

Killer iPad Apps

I should probably apologize for the content here being so heavily skewed towards the iPad. It’s now been a week with me owning one, and so the honeymoon phase of having this device should be just out over – which also means that I’m ready to put this device, and its competitors, through the ringer.

Like this idea of a killer application for the iPad. I get it. There’s some application, that when everyone uses it, will totally convince you that this device and platform are just unbelievable. For the iPod, it was iTunes. For Blackberries, it is email (and now BlackBerry Messenger). For the Palm Pilot (and its many iterations), it was the calendar and other PIM apps. Nearly every successful platform has one, and of course, the iPad is supposed to as well.

Well, it doesn’t and it does. iTunes is the key to most of Apple’s engine and that serves, just as it does for the iPod and iPhone devices, as that killer application. The key for the iPad is that it is just another content delivery device. It is a simple-to-use one. And that’s key for this kind of size and focus of device.

But, if there were a killer application, something that was perfect for this platform and this platform only, what would it be? Depends on the day of the week and who you ask really.

Since its introduction, the iPad’s killer apps have been games, books, iTunes, periodicals, anything that can be coded in HTML5 and use the browser to stream video, etc. In other words, there’s nothing killer. The platform has so many possible uses, that depending on your context, all of them can be deemed killer – in respect to similar devices doing the same thing – and perfect – for you.

And yet when I read Seth Goodin’s post about the iPad meeting application, I smiled (and pulled out my keyboard for this post. That application would be classified as perfect and killer because it will accomplish the point in changing behaviors, driving people to a specific hardware platform, and catering to thought leaders specifically in an enterprise context.

Anything to get people to have fewer meetings, and kill fewer hours of the day doing so has to be perfect. And this is good.

Except for the team meetings that it will take to design this application. Yea, the app will be needed to drive the project so that it doesn’t fall out of scope. Another kill, but to someone’s patience, before the killer dollars are made.

Confidence

Depending on how the bots are treating me today, the title of this thread could end up inciting some interesting spam comments.

And yet, that’s been the item on the center of my day today. Since I woke up this morning, through a phone call w/some amazing brothers, through a great day of riding (half done at this point), and through a meeting with a community leader in Charlotte, I’ve been grappling with the concept and challenges towards doing MMM as it relates to confidence.

To soe people, I guess that would sound a bit normal, and to others a bit strange. But, when you are walking towards those dreams, you really do end up with these challenges to confidence. And nice days and certain people jogging doesn’t help the concentration factor any.

But you know, I’ve got an opportunity to empower a whole lot of people. And I’m excited and intimidated by it all at the same time.

God’s got something up his sleeve, and I’m dealing with confidence. Not really the same scale, but it’s what on my plate ya know.

To even be sitting here now, with a ton of strangers looking at me with a phone (N97), iPad, and a wireless keyboard on my lap, I know that I’m made for this moment. Just this moment though. Tomorrow will have to take care of itself somehow. For today, I’m in this moment, just trying to stay true to the Scripture that’s been in my thoughts all day – Hebrews 10:32-39.

To be considered for the finish line, you have to run when the gun is shot. Guess, I’m running. I better not stop now.

Is Tech Innovation Only for the Rich/Affluent Majority

The following quoted piece is my comment that I left on this article that was posted over at Computer World. And while I agree with the premise, its also just as hard to ask the question in light of both sides that have to make the answer together. Your comments are totally appreciated and welcomed:

Speaking as a minority, and as a person who’s walking towards their own attempt to change this perception – my views are my own…

…there are a ton of barriers, and depending on one’s perspective, yes, tech innovation can seem to favor those who are rich or of a primary/majority racial or economically affluent background. However, that’s only part of the issue, the other side has to do with the perception of opportunity, and the ability to interface with people who are and aren’t in your racial/economic communities who have experienced success in bringing innovations to pass.

I have been very blessed. My parents went into all kinds of debt to make sure that my sister and I were exposed to as many types of people and innovations as they could. And while they could set the foundation, they could not create the end product. It has been up to me (and my sister) to make good on the lessons that people from every strata of USAmerican society has given us so that we could see and peruse the benefits of life – even the merits of tech innovation.

What we didn’t have, and what is harder to find in some areas of the racial/economic spectrum now is the teaching that happens after one has been granted some success. There are not a lot of people who are able to go back into the communities they came from (for whatever reason) and teach the wrongly held perceptions out. Speaking again personally, I do this with mentoring and through the magazine/consultatory that I started, but its not at all the norm. It’s more the norm to meet some area of influence and then parlay that into politics, rather than directly back into communities.

So yes, I can agree with this article in that there’s more to be done, and certainly more ownership of innovation and stewardship of innovation that needs to be done. But the problem is very basic to address and lies at the core of who we are as USAmericans – do we value what we create enough to share it with others, or are we more concerned with accomplishing a dream, only to lord those accomplishments over those who didn’t work as hard as we did.

Where we answer that says as much about the state of the next generations of tech leadership, as much as it says about the very fabrics of life in this country.

Additional iPad Reflections, the Beginning of Web as Appliance

I’m getting used to living with a two device solution in respect to having my Nokia N97 smartphone and the newly acquired Apple iPad. I’m finding that there’s a benefit to having the web in a right now mode (my smartphone), and the web in a just read and enjoy mode (the iPad). What I had not expected is that the iPad would cause me to alter some behaviors that while healthy, were really a product of mobile just not growing fast enough.

Today is probably the best of examples. I had a late start to the day and therefore didn’t want to use the iPad early on. I used a few of my mobile devices to do things such as Google Reader reading, email reviewing & responding, and some minor communications. And because I wanted to give my N97’s batteries a fresh go – I moved my SIM card into my N95 and went ahead and was simply mobile.

In the afternoon, one of the guys I disciple and I took time to hang at the coffeeshop and get some work done. I basically read for about 3-3.5hrs and then it was time to go. Thing was, I used the iPad the entire time except for a phone call – unexpected and quite challenging. The iPad was left with about 75% of battery. I had expected to let that be the end of the main browsing, but that changed as I partook in another local bakery for some more browsing.

Another 3+hrs later, I was looking at the iPad with about 48% of the battery left – and absoutely no tiredness in browsing on my end. I had not done anything except browse – no apps, no games, no blogging, only an email of one post and a few commets and tweets here and there. Essentially, the iPad just served as a (noticable and attention causing) reading device. And I loved it.

Then I realized that I was browsing the web a lot like we look at TV. Its an appliance. It goes on. And we get lost in a sea of channels and content. For me, it was 40 pages of Autoblog and several tweets, posts, and websites on various subjects. And the thing was that I just wasn’t tired. 3+ more hours and I wanted to keep going. But, I knew that I had to pull back. I was enjoying the web via the iPad (Flash and a few JS issues notwithstanding), but so much so that I started to just get lost in it.

Hence the iPad as a web/connected appliance. Its something whose utility is so simple, so fluid that you can just assume that its always going to be like that. You see, I expect battery life to be crappy – so I carry a second battery for my mobile for those heavy days (today I needed it because it was a heavy Skype day). I expect that when the devices are dead that I’d also pack it up, go home and do like the devices and recharge. Not worrying about battery life, enjoying the content, and being free to just engage with the online and offline environments around you is not normal. It should be, but its not normal.

As J. Whately put it nicely today, the iPad won’t replace paper, won’t cause a seismic shift in industries, and it won’t even be attainable by 95% of the global population. It will cause you to think hard about what’s considered advanced technology. What’s considered a real step forward. And then it will casue you to make decisions – some of them really hard, some really easy.

“Shouldn’t technology respond to be and be enjoyable? Why is it still so archaic and hard to just live with it?”

At the beginning and end of my days, I ask the question of whether I did good or not in respecting the tools that I have, and making sure to use rightly the moments that I have had with them. I see now – even typing this on my N97 at the end of one day and beginning of another – that no, we’ve accepted utter crap in respect to what’s considered advanced tech for too long.

Tools should just work, like an appliance. There should be inherent quality from the pipe, to my personal space, to the policies that govern everything in between. We aren’t there – and the more that I am poked by Nokia Bots for things automatically, and the longer that I can have those coffeehouse sessions with the iPad, the more that I will wonder why we aren’t seeing that Jetson’s future. We really should be further ahead than we are now. But, the batteries and infrastructure hasn’t been updated to meet these realistic expectations of what’s now considered a normal tool of daily life.

A Glimpse of the (C)hurch

I was talking with a woman that I consider similar to Naomi (biblical book of Ruth) yesterday and she called me a floater. You see, I’m one of those folks that doesn’t have a (c)hurch home. And that’s because I left the “home” that I was attending in a quest to take a look at the entire Body of the (C)hurch that’s inside all of Charlotte.

Last week, I was invited to a lunch where I got to sit with some pretty notable (c)hurch leaders here in Charlotte. They came together in the spirit of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 (verses 20-26 specifically) to work together for a picture of Christ in Charlotte that would essentially prove by the way of unity that Jesus is Lord.

My beginning of my day yesterday was to visit a (c)hurch that I’d never been to before. I was invited there by some people that I met as I was beginning my adventure working MMM full-time. They liked the idea of MMM and thought that it would be a good idea for me to connect with their ministry and get a feel for what they are about.

Last night I sat with one of my little friends and read to her chapter 1 of Winne the Pooh on my new iPad. I really liked that this was the default book included, and since she’s just about at reading age, it would be a good time to just sit with her and read. Between the words that she knew and didn’t know, and some of the interplay of the pictures and songs, I just wanted to show my little friend a good time in reading.

If we allow ourselves the moments and the opportunities, we will see a much larger picture of the (C)hurch than what is shown to us by our normal eyes. There are so many small moments that demonstrate the various “body parts” that make of the Christian body that we can sometimes get lost in the traditional display (for example, I know that’s a person because I see something walking upright with arms and legs).

If there’s anything that I’ve realized in my years as a Christian, and definitely in my years of living, its that the final product is always harder to see when you restrict yourself to just what you know. When you take those side-roads into relationships and depictions of relationships, you offer yourself a chance to get a different perspective of the entire scene, without the fuss of filtering so many opinions.

She was right though. I do float. But, only for the reason of taking a look at what the Body looks like, so that I can tell the story to others about why this life is worth more than the honey from bees.

A Breath of Modernity

My bro told me that he found it strange that I went to purchase an iPad. He received a Palm Pre Plus in the same week and realized a lot of what I’d been saying to him for years. Life has this accelerated pace to it thats both exciting and numbing all at the same time.

The exciting part is that we have these really cool moments and tools at our disposal. Things like smart phones, access to political and religious leaders, and even news on the now. These are things that previous generations had only dreamt of.

And we have the struggles that are unique to this world as well. There’s the balance of when to turn off mobiles devices, how to address balance with work and personal interests, and the structures of work and how these are changing and staying the same. Indeed, these challenges are just different than anything else experienced before.

Now, we can sit tight around this. We can ignore things until they hit our doorstep. That is a legit and sometimes correct approach. We also have that responsibility to be more proactive. To not just have tools that connect, but build communities that are more empowered and not limited by yesterday’s concerns. We have a lot ti deal with, and the challenge to take this weight on and create something better.

As I type this on my iPad, I am reminded that when I’m done this post, and done my reading, this device will turn off and blend back into the environment until its needed. It will be up to me to do the same, to take hold of this modern context, blending where needed, and being used where others are empowered.

This is what it means to live today. To live in these modern times.

Bicycling and a Reason for the iPad

For some reason, I am enjoying the iPad a lot more and a lot less than I thought that I would. No, it’s not a holy Grail, but it is interesting.

Of course, I’m having all kinds of issues with debating about content on it. Yes, I am keeping myself within the browser, but there’s a chance to push even that further. For MMM, this is one of my thoughts.

Until that point, I’ll have sites like this to make me think.

There’s a lot more that can be done with content that doesn’t even need an app.

Google TV, Yea I’m There Too

So some of the big news today is that Google has unveiled it’s Google TV project. In effect, it’s a means and a platform that merges the tv and web world. And you know something, I’ve been doing this with my mobile phone for some time now. This isn’t all that new.

Of course, I do have that issue of Flash limitations with my mobile. Some content just can’t be seen with my N97’s version of Flash. And that’s not totally bad, but it is a limitation.

So why can’t all tv just go digital and anywhere? Why do I need to care about the delivery container? Why doesn’t it just work?

Maybe the answer is as simple as I’m once again too early. Oh well, guess I better push something else forward, maybe that too will become new and normal 😉