Observing the Dash

This morning I awoke early for a race, however, for the first time in 5 years it wasn’t a race I would be running myself. Today is the annual Monster Dash Half Marathon race. This was the first half-marathon that I ever ran after starting to run in 2010. I’ve done either the half, or the 5K, every year since. However, after surviving my 50K last week I decided that I really should just sit this one out. The entire morning was wet with a light rain falling the entire time, however I don’t think I would have cared about that, and in fact I tend to enjoy a nice rain run.

None of that meant that I didn’t have a reason to go down to the race! My good friend Michael was running the half this year as his first ever half-marathon. Michael was the guy who got me into running back in 2010, but he ended up not sticking to it, and instead watching me take up the mantle of crazy runner dude. This year he got back into running and worked himself up taking on the 13.1 today.

This morning my oldest son and I headed out and picked him and and got him to the start line and then proceeded to hang out downtown for a while until it was time to head to the finish line. It ended up being a fun morning wandering around with my kid and then cheering in a bunch of racers at the finish. I even got to see another friend of mine Pete after he set a new half-marathon PR time.

Soon enough we spotted my friend coming down the last bit of the course and cheered him into the finish. Once he finished we helped him to the car for him to recover from what was the hardest thing he’d done yet. I was happy to at least have played a small part in this year’s Monster Dash.

Chromdroid?

The news broke yesterday that Google is going to move towards merging ChromeOS and Android, starting sometime in 2016. As a Chromebook owner I knew this day would probably eventually come, but it’s still bittersweet news to hear it finally.

ChromeOS was a gamble for Google to begin with. The idea was to build an operating system for small, inexpensive devices, that revolved around the browser (in this case Chrome). For the most part, it worked, and was a quick and easy way to develop cheap portable devices that could operate much like a traditional laptop. Yet, there were obvious deficiencies. Many developers weren’t able to create the type of apps that had the same user experience as on other desktops. The Chromebook marketplace was also quite small, and so investment into a development platform that had a limited audience, with limited functionality, isn’t appealing. In the end, most ChomeOS apps were simply links to websites that you could get on any other platform where Chrome ran.

Google has said that ChromeOS isn’t “going away” but much of their focus seems to be on getting these two systems to converge. This is similar to what Microsoft has already done with Windows 10, and it’s ubiquity across various devices. Apple hasn’t quite gone this way yet, but it certainly is leaning towards more cross-pollination in its operating systems. Google is simply following the trend.

The downside for ChromeOS is that the beauty of its simplicity probably won’t survive the melding of the minds. What has been a fun stripped down way to get things done online, will one day be inundated with thousands of apps, and tons of customization, similar to how we build Android phones. ChromeOS folks have been asking for more apps for the platform, and I suppose you need to be careful what you wish for.

Social politics

Last night I didn’t watch the Republican debate. I didn’t watch the Democrat debate, nor the Republican debate before. As someone who’s followed most presidential elections pretty closely since I was a kid, I’ve gotten more and more concerned with how contentious the process has become so early in the cycle. The amount of time and money that is being spent by such a large field of candidates, for something that only one of them will achieve, is more and more mind blowing every four years that it comes up.

One thing, however, that I am happy to see is how some candidates are embracing social media, and embracing it well. I remember the first few elections that we had after the dawn of the Internet. Some candidates managed to put together a basic website, with a few photos and some talking points, but that was about it. Nowadays, social media is king when it comes to getting out a message. Social media would also seem to me to be much more cost effective than many of the traditional methods of reaching people.

Overall though I still feel like it’s way too early to be talking about any of this, and I’m looking forward to next year when all these debates actually mean something in the grand scheme of things.

Never too old to love tech

I was delighted today by the video below of a 97 year old woman who wanted to visit Google headquarters. Her assisted living community granted the wish and the short video about the visit is awesome. I love seeing her reactions to technology that is so far beyond what she learned about when she was younger, yet she took it all in with wonder and amazement. I think that it’s sometimes hard to fathom that just a few years ago the type of technologies that we take for granted simply didn’t exist. The other night I came across one of my favorite old cell phones, a Samsung Alias phone that flipped in two directions, and realized that the phone was only 5 years old.

In the span of those 5 years I’ve had multiple new smartphones that have rocketed our connected lifestyle to heights that we’ve never had before. Even in career fields that have nothing to do with technology, a smartphone is often considered a basic tool of communication with co-workers and management. I can’t even recall the last time I’ve bothered memorizing my desk phone number at my job as most people just email me (which I get on my phone), Instant Message me (which I can also get on my phone), or text me (yep, phone again).

If technology continues to advance at the same exponential pace the future will look nothing like today. If I make it to age 97, what will be the technology that will be wow’ing me? Maybe it will be the technology that is keeping me alive to age 97? Maybe we’ll all be slaves of the almighty Google and they will have expanded to using our brains as storage devices for its search indexes? Or perhaps I’ll just be doing the same stuff I do today, but on my iPhone 34s. 🙂

Work friends

One of the things that I miss most about my previous job was the two other guys that I worked with. The three of us would often go out to lunch and talk about work, life, photography, beer or whatever. It was one of those things that made going into work fun, as the three of us gel’d really well. I’m sure I’ll make some friends like that at my new job, but it will take time, and being a manager makes it awkward sometimes with people who report to you. One of my co-workers and I still get together together for lunch every few weeks, so there I enjoy when we can do that.

However, tonight my old co-workers and I got together together, the three of us, for a happy hour at Urban Growler. The cool part is that it was just like when we used to get together for lunch or a happy hour before. We talked about work, life, hobbies, etc, and just had a good time hanging out for a couple hours with a few beers. One of the few things I miss about my old job, and thankful that I can still have this experience, even if it’s not all the time.