Where in the world…are you?

Greetings and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Today, I had to take a drive out to a floorings place to view and purchase flooring for my basement renovation. This place was 41 niles away and I’ve never been there before. As I loaded the address into Google Maps, I wondered…. “What I’ve there was no GPS and I had to use a map?”

I’m old enough to have had to reply on maps, when needed, to get places. Yes, found memories of those HUGE fold out maps you get from the gas station, LOL, talk about an inconvenience that wasn’t even known back then,

I can’t even imagine how long it would take for me to study a map, keep it open, and drive to where I need to get it. I also remember having GPS hardware in the car that you had to periodically download maps to keep in current…crazy today.

Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps… is tech that has definitely made me lazy, but it’s one of the best technology assets ever been developed…(now if I can only get a decent Car Play unit installed in my ride 🙂

Have a great night.


The ever evolving mobile phone technology 

“Can you hear me now? – Verizon

Greetings all. Hope your December is going well. Another work day is behind me. I just finished dinner and have retreated back to my home office to compose this blog post, with (based on my post from two days ago) the Fluid channel streaming some cool chill step, chillout, and liquid trap on somafm.com.

“What’s up with this graphic above?”, you may be asking. Well, it represents my entry in to the world of mobile phones. Let’s go back….way back. The Motorola TeleTac 250 was the first mobile phone I ever purchased. I got it from, then, Bell Atlantic Mobile which is now Verizon. I graduated from keeping a beeper on my belt to this hefty, chunky phone with a removable battery that had to be placed in a cradle for charging. Let’s talk a bit more about it. I have a leather case, complete with a belt clip, that allowed me to carry it that way, when it wasn’t stored in a bag somewhere. The one line amber LCD display is only large enough to display full ten digit phone number and other types of messages, like diagnostic codes and pager codes (yeah those things that pre-dated todays emojis BIG TIME lol), remember those? https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/samir/11-pager-codes-that-you-need-to-know

I was very much, by default, used to using that phone, pager codes and all. In fact while it was far thicker than my iPhone 12 mini of today, its height (with the antenna retracted – yes an antenna you had to pull up) wasn’t taller than my current phone. What’s the biggest difference between the Teletac 250 and any mobile phone today? It’s simple – you can only do to things with it: make/receive calls and pager (text message) codes with it..in other words…zero distractions come with modern day mobile phones. That, in itself, is an entirely different and long topic of discussion.

As the evolution continued, I when from the Teletac 250 to the much smaller and very sleek Motorola Razr V3M flip phone. Outside from its form factor and totally different design, the big and new thing was a built in camera. While the picture resolution compared to today’s phone was pretty much garbage, there was nothing better to compare with, so that WAS big. I actually miss that phone for its size and features even though the introduction of a camera was the gateway to the city of Distractionville. I will tell you this, I’m pretty certain that if this phone were able to operate on the 5G network today and at a decent price, I would seriously consider dropping my iPhone….for sure.

From the Razr, ended ups with the Blackberry Curve, with Blackberry being all the rage during the last 90s. The Curve was, of course, a step up in technology, just as the Razr was to the Teletac. From the Curve, I finally switched to the iPhone 4S in 2011. Being (and still am) a fan of Apple products, it was only a natural progression. It was then that voice recognition was introduced into the iPhone line up with the creation of Siri (hence the “S” in “4S”). I kept the 4S for a few years, jumped to the iPhone 6, then 7 in 2017. I used the iPhone 7 until it was on its last leg and finally jumped all the way to the iPhone 12 in June 2021.

The gist of this post is really about how mobile phone technology, especially the iPhone, has advanced so far away from just “making sure the call goes through”, and (to me) the biggest feature set and selling point has been the camera. While we all realize that mobile phones and all the built-in technology can and does easily replace all the separate devices we used to have to carry around – recorders, audio players, laptops, GPS devices, and….cameras. Being an engineer for my entire career (both in software and hardware development), I totally get it like there is no tomorrow but I’m glad to have seen the birth and growth/evolution of this tech as it gives me broad perspective in terms of experience usage, a perspective that allows me to assess the pros and cons of such evolution ESPECIALLY regarding the ubiquitous grip it has on us.

It’s interesting, as one example, I still have a digital camera – an old Nikon D3100 DSLR that I actually brought for cheap from a photographer that was upgrading. While the pixel resolution is nowhere NEAR what current mobile phones give, it takes exceptionally fine photos, but as you know, the convenience factor, from a use factor, is waaaay down compared to taking everyday photos (and video) with my iPhone12.

Sometime ago, I read an article about the accepted use of mobile phone technology in our daily life. In the midst of the article, a question was posed to who use said phones now but are old enough to have grown up in times prior. The question was: “Back in the 60’s and 70’s, If you could put a device in your pocket that would essentially allow you to be tracked at any given time, but you were free to use it and all its beneficial technology at will, would you use it? I’ll let you assume what the answers were.

…and the beat goes on.

Thanks for the read.

PS: Yes, I still have the Teletac 250 🙂

where does your creative thinking seem to thrive?

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Good morning, I hope the reading of this post finds you well. You are a creative thinker, even in the least bit, whether you are prolific music composer, hobby artist, NewYork Times best-selling author or finger painter. There are certain places where your creative thinking seems to flourish best, or there are certain scenarios involving those places that are a catalyst to it.

This has a direct alignment to problem solving as well. Many times I’ve read (especially in articles of productivity) that if you’re stuck on a problem, seeking a solution, the best thing to do is remove yourself from your current environment and take a walk. Removing yourself from the focus of what your dealing with, in order to gain clarity, can often be just what is need to find (or at least better approach) a solution. A familiar scenario is writers or composition block. At times, a total shift in mindset, even momentarily, could be just the thing to get back on track.

As for me, being a musician since I was 14, songs that I write, music that I compose often pops in my head. In doing so, I need to be able to some how get it out of my head and onto, into, some sort of medium so I won’t forget the foundation of the idea. The weirdest thing with me is that for as long as I’ve been a musician, these ideas seem to always come to me…in the shower, LOL! I’ve lost track of the times, over the decades, when this has happened, even to the point of me hopping out, throwing a towel around me and either running down to the studio or grabbing a portable cassette recorder and humming, even beat boxing the idea in so I don’t forget the “virgin idea” (which often times happens to be the best foundation for the final song)…hilarious times.

Things are a little different now, with the advent of mobile phones, as I can just grab the phone and record said ideas into the voice memo for recollection. Even more convenient is the ability to export that audio into my digital audio workstation, if need be, and continue from there, building more of the track around it.

As for writers who suffer the same, I suspect it’s far easier just grabbing something to write with and some sort of paper, but you get my drift!

If you deal with this in anyway, shape, or form – how do you handle capturing your creative thoughts while in an environment not readily conducive to maintaining them?

Enjoy the rest of your week!


AV (Autonomous Vehicles) – A Threat to US security??

Good day all, I hope you’re well.

Today, Wednesday, was my first day back to the office this week, as I usually work from home on Monday and Tuesday. The morning commute (and sometimes the evening commute) generally means one thing – catching up on listening to my favorite podcasts. This morning, I listened to a very interesting episode of Wired Security, which talked about the use of autonomous vehicles from China in the US and how they can pose a threat to national (cyber) security. Should you want to read the story and listen to the podcast, you can find both here.

One thing rang out to me in this article – the potential use of Chinese AVs as “cameras” that could record and send data back to China that relates to national infrastructure that can be studied to develop future cybersecurity attacks on it. I never gave that any thought until today. It seems that the US has never given any thought to this until recently, after allowing said automobiles to be used here. As a related note, the ubiquitous use of surveillance tech still freaks me out, especially putting in my home address and seeing different versions of my property taken by what ever Google camera cars roam past unbeknownst to me. The article also talks about, on the other hand, Chinese restrictions on using Telsa in its country.

The US has already banned the use of Huawei products here for security reasons. I wonder if they will follow suit in this case.

I like to mildly follow the development of AV technology, not only with Tesla but via what Waymo, Einride (for shipping), Cruise, and other manufacturers are doing. On a smaller scale, I’ve yet to see any food delivery bots roaming around, but a friend of mine tells me he’s seen them used on the campus of George Mason University.

I think this topic may turn into a future episode for my Tech Times podcast.

Be well…


Digital Day Off (DDO) – An exercise in virtual abstinence

This blog post was originally published back in May 2010. Over the last 12 years, a lot has happened in the world of digital consumer technology in the area of social media and mobile devices, though I believe the grip of such has not lessened. I’ve had many discussions with people about said effects and read many articles and one highly recommended book – Deep Work by Cal Newport that has allowed me to rethink and strive to succeed in lessening my “digital footprint”. I will admit that the results of said rethinking haven’t been as successful as I’ve hoped but as my friend Darrenkeith says “…that’s all on me”. With that, I thought it was fitting to repost the weblog. The dates and times have changed for the subject content hasn’t.


Hello Readers…

I hope all is well with you. and that your Memorial Day will be or was spent, to some extent, doing what the holiday was created for – in memory of the men and women in our armed forces. Those that are currently serving and have served for us in all capacities.

Well, it came to fruition this weekend, an experiment I’d been wanting to conduct for about a month now. Yes, the DDO (dedicated day offline) happened yesterday. There are a few of you that I had mentioned this concept to in the last month. I had two particular conversations with Deb Lee, @dallisonlee, professional organizer, on this topic (some of you may know I’ve been a contributing author to her Organize To Revitalize blog on the subject of my adventures in time management and the technology that can aid it). I initially called it a “Digital Day Off”, but thought the term was too broad, broad enough that it would have to included most, if not all, things digital (video games (though I’m not a gamer)), the use of mobile phones, HDTV, etc). My reason for conducting this exercise of “virtual abstinence” was to assess the amount of time I do spend online and how much of it, spent doing certain activities (largely related to social networking), is actually robbing me of time better spent reaching goals. Interestingly enough, the day I had the conversation with Deb, this article appeared in The Post.

My first foray into social networking came back in 2000 via membership to Blackplanet. I actually joined by way of helping a coworker design her site page. I was then that I began to learn the basics of website design (within the HTML code constraints for what Blackplanet would allow). After getting a taste of social networking there, it was basically onto Myspace and Yahoo 360, Vox, blogging from my own website, various IM clients (AIM, Yahoo IM, MSN Messenger), then Twitter, and finally FB (the latter I’ve since left about two weekends ago). Along with the social networking, I always used the net for two basic things – work, and as a learning tool for basically five areas of interest – music production, technology, photography, financial literacy, and web design. Let’s now add the mobile web, and there you have it, a communications medium, now in the palm of your hand, deeply woven into the course of our everyday lives. A communications medium, whose benefits (as well as its negative aspects) range far and wide Looking over the last 10 years of being a regular passenger on the information highway, but growing up through college my first two years of college WITHOUT the internet (fancy that, huh?), I began to remember what life was like without it, and how I spent my time without it. While I can only speak for myself, my assessment was that more time was wasted on the info highway than not. This assessment caused me to purposely conduct the experiment during a normal day – not a day or timeframe where I would be away from the net for whatever reasons (vacation, family visits, etc), but during a time where it was always a mouse click (or similar) away. It created a great challenge in overcoming the temptation to connect. As inferred above, it was done as a matter of habit assessment more than anything else, but the correlation to time management is there. In looking back on my regular online activities, I saw that I could have altered them to achieve what always seems more impossible than not (with my busy schedule) – knocking tasks off my to-do list. Was a DDO really necessary to make this assessment of time management? No, I could have just decided to allot only a certain amount of time online of every aspect of my online daily routines (which probably could have been easier).

The outcome of the experiment allowed me to use a good part of my regular online time time to improve my financial budgeting/investment literacy and revamp a financial improvement SPD (systematic plan of development) for savings, investing, debt reduction and retirement . I also got a great nap in during the early hours of the afternoon ;-). In retrospect, it made assess the extent of my habitual behavior and constant temptation to be “connected”. I won’t say that all possess it to an extent (my wife is a good example of one who spends very little time on the internet – but get rid of the TVs in the house and …never mind…you see the point I am generally illustrating – 🙂 ).

Now that I’ve taken my first DDO, purposely, I feel it’ll be something that I’ll regularly do, maybe more than just once a week. Curbing time daily spent online is, of course, something to throw into the mix as well, but it wasn’t until today that I really see how a forced day off (for me) is beneficial. The time is currently 11:44 EST, and this DDO will officially be over in less than 16 mins, but I’ve learned some valuable things on a personal level. That’s always a good thing. Back to the SPD. Forget the government, I want to create a stimulus package for my own economic situation.


The Tesla Model S – Gimmie!

Image: tesla.com

Greetings all…

So yeah, this ride, this automobile above, I’ve been kinda feenin’ for it over the last year or so, maybe more. As a matter of fact, I did a recent Tech Times podcast episode about this very blog post topic.

In any event, I’ve always been interested in this particular EV based on it’s tech and aesthetic design. Every time I see the Model S it just grabs my attention in various ways. Over the last year, I began to become more interested in its technological development, specifically via the opinion of Tesla owners about what is good and bad, what should remain vs what has been taken away, etc. I find that valuable, yet intriguing because of the little I know about its design evolution.

I work in a research park which is part of a well known laboratory and their are a LOT of Tesla owners that work there as well. I’d say that the Model S is predominate model owned and I often play a little game called “Spot The Tesla” to see how many I see in a given day at work. Though I see a number of them on the highway during any given commute day, I see the majority at work.

As I spoke of in the podcast above, from where I stand, I would LOVE to own a Model S. The thought of learning all about its current technology is exciting BUT I know (as of this writing) that I’m not ready for the paradigm shift need to drive an EV everyday – I’ve been driving a combustion vehicle way too long. Though one seems to see charging stations more and more, they’re not ubiquitous and I’m still afraid of getting stuck with no battery life and no charging stations around (though after making the adjustment to the regularity of EV driving and development habits, that probably will never happen).

I just know that there are many products that have been created, but don’t have the visual draw that the Model S has upon me, coupled with the sheer technology this EV is built around, and that is essentially it.

We’ll see. I’ve had my current rocket bunny for three years already, perhaps when it’s time to purchase another vehicle – the Model “S” would be “Sweet” to own.

Thanks for the read,


Do you continue to use archaic technology and why?

Greetings all. I this post finds you well.

Raise your hand, toot a horn, etc, if you know what this above image is. In case you don’t know, it’s a device that allowed me to personally and really get introduced to the world of the information highway (and I use this term as a substitute for the “internet” and not the web, because I watched the birth of the internet),

This dialup 56K modem is a device that was connected to both a computer and a telephone line that allow a user to connect to the internet. I remember owning a 14.4k USRobotics computer in the early 90s to allow me to connect to bulletin board systems (or BBSs), like DC’s digitalNation, with my new Mac Classic II computer. Those were the glory days and I even remember using slower modems at work.

Is it archaic? Sure it is, compared to where we’ve evolved to at present. Would I ever use it again? Definitely not, and now that I think of it, I don’t even think I could, if I wanted to. However, based on the definition of “archaic”, let me get to the question stated in the post title: Do you continue to use archaic technology and why? The answer for me is not only yes, but a resounding yes! I’ll explain why.

There are basically only two reasons why I choose to use archaic technology:

  • 1 – Under various circumstances, the use of archaic technology can continue to serve a purpose in maintaining and sustaining certain processes that can still be executed in the midst of using current technology created to replace it.
  • 2 – There is a certain enjoyment, a certain level of fulfillment in continuing to use archaic technology despite it being often times inconvenient, slower, tedious, etc compared to getting the same “tasks” done or reaching the same end goal. I’ll elaborate further.

First, I’ve been recording and producing music in various stages of my home recording studio for decades and, of course, recording technology (hardware and software) has and continues to go through upgrades and updates, putting consumers in a position to continually make a choice (sometimes being forced to) for upgrading their hardware and updating their software environments. The easiest path to take (if chosen and possible) is to do just that – upgrade and update. That path will allow for the most seamless continuity for getting the job done. One of the big reasons for that is hardware vendors and software developers, over time, discontinue support and manufacturing of the same items that have served you so well in your production environment.

Suppose you decide to forgo upgrading and/or updating items in your current production environment for whatever reasons you choose. You’re then left to use the current tech you have, which may well be on its way to be already considered archaic. This requires you to also source said hardware, especially, in case what you have fails to serve you (thank goodness for various sites like eBay, Reverb, Craigslist, and tons of other marketplaces that may allow you to still get said hardware). If you’re in luck, you can continue to maintain and use what you have, within the constraints you’ve always known, but sacrificing a faster, more convenient way of doing things. Being involved in music production for so long, I can tell you that many still go this route for reasons I won’t get into here.

On the software side, especially with mobile apps, this can be achieved too but via a more difficult approach. Smart phone and tablet mobile apps are constantly being updated due to the respective device OS (and device hardware) maturation, and what ends up happening is that mobile app developers eventually stop supporting apps for use with newer devices and their respective operating systems. If you like the way a specific does it job, you’re then forced to not only ensure that app stays on your current device but keeping the device running as well. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me. What needs to be taken into consideration even goes further – if the app depends on connecting to a website for operation (as in the case of Nike’s sunsetted Nike Fuel apps back in 2018), if that website goes down, you’re out of luck even if you maintain the mobile app and device it resides on.

Secondly, using archaic technology could simply (and oftentimes) just be a simple desire to experience all that is associated with the use of it from days gone by. Well known examples/approaches follow:

  • mp3/audio players
  • music CDs
  • music cassettes and players
  • vinyl records/turntables
  • letter writing (plain old pen and paper/stationary)
  • minidiscs
  • typewriters
  • analog and digital tape recorders
  • hardware synthesizers/samplers/drum machines

All of these involve more inconveniences than the technologies that have replaced them, simply because the advancements of digital technology, internet connectivity, and GUIs make for far simpler and faster operations. Yet and still, there are many reasons, like use experience, associated memories, and the like, which cause those to continue using such technologies even in the midst of said ” inconveniences” .

So, back to the question at hand – do you and, if so, why?

Thanks for the read. Have a great day/night.


Automobile Controls: Touchscreen vs Manual

(Image courtesy of Apple.)

Greetings all, hope you’re well.

It’s getting close to the time I need to leave for work. I’ll do the usual, hop in the ride and hit the highways and by-ways to head in. Often times, I like listening to podcasts on the way in, which are usual streamed from my iPhone to my car’s infotainment system. Many times I may start listening to an episode and decide I want to change to another one or the radio, as I’m driving

My car is a late model vehicle that has a fairly large information screen in the middle of the dashboard, but not so late that it’s a touchscreen, nor is it a new enough model to have something like Apple CarPlay as a standard feature. For as long as I’ve been driving, there is one reason I prefer it not to be a touchscreen for various operational features – you end up taking your eyes off the road at times to change things you need IF your only way to do so is via touchscreen. I prefer the old tactile approach of turning knobs or pressing buttons by “feel” while I’m driving for it lends to greater concentration.

Well, you might say, “What about the iPhone, that’s all touchscreen, yes?” True, it is, and I’d have to do the opposite while I’m driving – take my eyes off the road to fiddle with the phone’s screen – something I try not to ever do (unless I’m at a complete stop).

Speaking of which, here’s a pertinent article on the subject: Apple Embraces the Ever-Expanding Dashboard Touchscreen

Eventually, I believe the tactile controls of buttons and knobs will disappear from an automobile’s cabin, especially as autonomous vehicles become ubiquitous (heck, I still use my rear view windshield and door mirrors over my back up camera!). I’ve not looked in the lastest models that really use a lot of touchscreen technology, maybe I’ll make some time to check them out but , until then, I’ll keep pushin’ and a-turnin’ vs tappin’ and a-slidin’!

Thanks for the read.


Exploring Mastodon

(Image source: CNN Business)

Greetings, I hope this post finds you well. This is the post for Day 4 of the #30DayBlogChallenge that Soulcruzer, Darrenkeith, and I have accepted.

For those of you unaware, Mastodon is free and open-source software for running self-hosted social networking services. It has microblogging features similar to the Twitter service, which are offered by a large number of independently run nodes, known as instances, each with its own code of conduct, terms of service, privacy options, and moderation policies. When Twitter was just turning 11, in 2017, I joined the Mastodon.technology instance just to poke around and engage with like-minded individuals. I explored it very briefly but never stayed around long enough to engage as I had planned to. Twitter was still very much giving me what I needed from a social media site I joined 11 years earlier.

Fast forward to this timeframe, the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk, and all the, seemingly, chaotic activity that has ensued since. As such, there is a great deal of worldwide opinion that Twitter is going to go up in flames. As bleak as things seem to be, I’m not subscribing to what I call this “chicken little/doomsday” hype, but will take a wait-and-see attitude. For reasons I won’t delve into here, there are specific things I need to experience to make me leave the platform – until I do experience them, I’ll be around.

When I finally decided to re-join Mastodon a week ago, I found that the mastodon.technology instance, as of December 5, 2022, will be no more. If I recall correctly, it’s due to its age, low usage, and the server maintainer’s lack of time to fix issues with it that have occurred over the years. When I went to joinmastodon.org to look for the mastodon.social server for login, the page didn’t show it. What’s the deal with that? All my Twitter friends joined mastodon.social, but how? I never took the time to find out how and, instead, ended up joining (somehow) mastodon.online. In the end that was fine because mastodon is a decentralized network and that allows me, once setup properly, to follow anyone whose account is on another instance, so all is well.

In the last week, I set up my account, added links, said hello to a few familiar immigrants from Twitter and followed them, the opposite has occurred as well. Twitter will still be my main site until I decide to leave and until then, I won’t be engaging on both places – I don’t have the time BUT at least I’m properly set up.

I don’t know what will become of Twitter, but I’ll keep tweeting, while Mastodon keeps tooting.

Thanks for the read, oceans of rhythm…


My upgrade to the Apple Watch Ultra

Greetings all, I hope this post finds you well.

Since July 2017, I’ve been tracking my fitness workouts with the Apple Watch. First starting with the Series 3, then continuing with the Series 4 (gifted to me). For all intents and purposes, the watch has proven to be a useful device for what I need, even with its many more features as an evolutionary medical device and companion to the iPhone’s features.

After doing two weeks of what I consider deep research online and talking the ear off of a recent Ultra owner, I lastly decided to determine what my best purchase approach would be. Applying for a brand new Apple Card vs Best Buy resulted in the former winning. This upgrade was also a milestone birthday gift to myself and I admit (although I’m not an ultra athlete by any stretch of the imagination), the tech that the Ultra offers, compared with its aesthetics and what Watch OS9, and beyond, will continue to offer for it, made it a compelling enough reason to upgrade. While my current Series 4 can make use of the WatchOS9 updates, and is still supported by Apple, I’m glad I made the jump. The whole experience thus far has been very nice.

While I won’t wax philosophically about its usual selling points (you can spend a short amount of time on YouTube to get your fill of a diverse set of opinions), I do enjoy the extended battery life between charges. While that is a good thing, I’m used to going to bed at with a minimum of 30% – 40% of battery life, so nightly charging has never been a issue, especially because I don’t track sleep metrics. What I do enjoy about it are along the lines of its aesthetics – particularly its 49mm size, sapphire flat glass bevel and titanium case. Outside of a new $750 MacBook Air I purchased for a family member, and M1 Mac Mini for my studio last year, this has been the most expensive Apple product purchased since 1991, the year I purchased my first ever Mac, a Mac Classic II.

As mentioned above, WatchOS 9 provides many of the software features across the Ultra, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch SE 2, however the Action Button is a handy feature that will become even more useful as developers create more apps that can take advantage of it. The Wayfinder watchface, in conjunction with the Compass app and backtrack features is also a nice edition. The Ultra, as many articles and YouTube posts talk about, is hardly a “Garmin killer”. I constantly state that if Apple and Garmin remain on their respective evolutionary paths, Garmin will remain king in the realm of fitness tracking watch devices, especially for the ultra athlete. The reason is simple – Garmin fitness watches are dedicated to fitness and ultra-athlete activities, while employing smartwatch features. The Ultra, while being a first real entry (level) introduction into outdoor extreme athletics, is still a smartwatch with upgraded fitness tracking/outdoor athletics features – it lacks many of the things that Garmin is superior for, especially battery life (there is no real comparison between the two).

That being said, I anticipate the Ultra serving my needs for years to come, and believe future WatchOS updates will make it shine even more.

Thanks for read.

Oceans of rhythm/peace and blessings.