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Desktop/Laptop browsers jumped the shark a long time ago.

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

I had one of those, “it’s the _____ stupid” moments yesterday.

So the desktop/laptop browser is circling the tank.  I have been predicting the demise for a while and I am now convinced that my beloved Chrome, FF, and IE (IE is more of a love/hate relationship) are all but dead.

Don’t get me wrong they will probably be a around for years to come, but the peak is clearly in the rear view mirror for them now.

I think they will still reign supreme for intranet and complex online tools but as far as being the primary platform you need to build for, those days are over.

I don’t think you or any company can expect to build a web app and expect users to have or want to access it via a computer.

I have experienced this in two ways.  One as a consumer and one as a producer.

As a consumer, my dear mother – against my wishes, bought me an iHealth watch for Christmas.  I LOVE IT.  My mom goes on and on about how she bought me the best gift and how I love my gift and everyone else is mad because I said I didn’t want any one to buy me fitness technology because I was going to pick it out myself, and some people wanted me to be in the fitbit tribe and some people wanted me to be in the garmen tribe… and now I am in the iHealth tribe… it goes on and on.  But I love it and it’s perfect for me.

But I digress… so iHealth has and amazing website with lots of charts and really cool technology.  The main interface for my watch is a phone app.  The phone app is pretty good, but the website is better.

I set up my online account and logged in twice.  That’s it.  I use my phone at 5 time a day and I never, ever, never-ever, never-ever-ever use the website.  It’s just too much of a pain in the ass to log into.  I am on my computer every single day.  I know my user name I know my password.  I have three browsers up all of the time.  I could check it from work and I never-ever go to the website.

So here I am a consumer that loves web pages, has a browser up all of the time, am very interested in the data, the web page is awesome and I never go.  Dude, the computer browser is dead, D-E-A-D dead.

As a producer I set up a web page for my lovely daughter the my future son and law.  I built a mobile and desktop view originally.  Then a added feature to the desktop view and forgot about the mobile view.  We added an RSVP page, the RSVP page doesn’t display in mobile.

Every single person tried to RSVP on the mobile site.  There were a couple of exceptions and they were 40 and 50 something people, but anyone under 40 tried to use their phone in vertical/narrow display mode to register.  They were shocked and appalled that the phone wasn’t working (it works now by the way.)

It shocked me and my wife and even my daughter for a moment and then it was like duh.  It will take 30 seconds to register on the phone during 30 seconds of dead time.  It might take 10 seconds to register on the web page, but that’s during 10 seconds of productive time.

The phone let’s you take dead time and turn it into productive time.  When I am on my computer I want to be blogging, watching videos about technology, programming… When my boys are on their computers they want to be doing homework, writing, playing video games… If you are going to be RSVPing to a wedding the perfect time is while you’re riding in a car, waiting for a meeting to start, waiting for the waiter to bring menus…

Things are changing.  The desktop browser is going the way of the main frame.  There is still good paying work for main frame developers, just go to dice you will see.  I am sure there will still be good paying work for desktop browser developers for a very long time.

One day I am going to miss the time when the desktop browser reigned supreme… sigh, but I for one would like to welcome our new mobile browser overlords. :)

Man it’s been a long time since I visited slashdot… I wonder if they have a phone app.

4 Wheelers, Jet Pilots, & Tiny Slices

Monday, December 29th, 2014

A lot of people tell me that “People are idiots” and I have always found that interesting.  In one of my favorite movies a character says “A person is intelligent and rational, but people are…” basically idiots.

I have found that I have a lot in common with people that are like me.  I am a computer programmer and I have noticed that when I have to do something I like to break it into little parts and then do the little parts.  I have noticed that most computer programmers do that too.  Most of the people I am around are computer programmers.

Anyone that doesn’t do things by breaking them down into small pieces and doing the little parts seem strange to me.

Here’s the deal, the VAST MAJORITY of people are not computer programmers.  The way I and all of the people around me do things is weird.  I feel like I am just and average guy, but I am a tiny little minority.  My tiny little minority does things a certain way.  We are mostly around each other, so the way we do things seems normal to us, but it’s weird as hell to most people.

We have relatives that own 4 wheelers.  They and their friends own multiple 4 wheelers.  When you drive a 4 wheeler the world looks different than when you drive a car.  You notice things that people in cars don’t notice.  All of your friends with 4 wheelers notice things that people in cars don’t notice.  Here’s the deal, the VAST MAJORITY of people don’t own 4-wheelers.  If you own a 4 wheeler you’re in a tiny little minority of people that has seen things that everyone else hasn’t.  With the additional information you will come to different decisions that everyone else.  What seems obvious to you is weird as hell to most people.

My first job was at Boeing.  A lot of the people I worked with were x-jet pilots.  They mostly hung out with pilots.  They saw lots of things the rest of us haven’t seen.  Most of them had fought in the Vietnam war and most of them survived when most of their peers died.  Most of them had been very close to death dozens of times.  They saw things in a different way.  Here the thing the VAST MAJORITY of people have never flown a jet or been that close to death dozens of time.  They are a tiny little minority even though most of the people around them had also been jet pilots.

Here’s the deal, most people seem like idiots because they are operating with a totally different set of facts than you are.  It seems like were are all just average folks, but there are no average folks.  We are all members of teeny tiny little slices of society and we are surrounded by people from our little slice.  If you ride in a car all of the time you might not realize that there are gators in ditches along the road.  You might break down and something that seems idiotic with someone that rides 4 wheelers along the same road.  The car driver is operating with a different set of facts than the 4 wheeler driver.

It’s a lot easier to stay mentally stable and not make as many mistakes when you realize that you are from a tiny little slice of society and when you step out of your slice you go from being the expert to being the idiot.

So for now watch out for gators in the high grass next to the road.

Michael Brown and Eric Garner… events that have changed my view of the world.

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

It’s weird because my view of the world doesn’t matter very much.  But I have found that it’s impossible to operate in this world with out sharing your views.  It’s truly weird because you would think that just drifting along listening to others and keeping your views to yourself would be ok, but silently listening to other people’s views is often processed by others at acceptance.

Imagine someone says “The sky is green” in a room and I am in the room with others.  Then if I say nothing (I guess we should imagine that there is a blind person) then I am agreeing with the statement.  Later, the blind person might write an essay about the green sky.  When they are corrected they will likely say to me, “why didn’t you say something when that guy said the sky is green?”

Here’s my basic opinion.  Any time a person is dies because of someone else’s action there should be a judge/jury trial.  I don’t know if it technically possible to do that, but that’s what I think, I don’t want that to change what you think and I don’t want you to try to change what I think.  If you live a different lifestyle than me then I’d love to hear your opinion.

So now I have to share my views, but I don’t really care about most people’s opinions and I don’t really want to change any one else’s opinions.  I also don’t want to support opinions that I disagree with.  I think everyone comes to their personal opinions for good reason.

In my life things change all of the time.  Sometimes the changes are big and the way I react to those changes is unpredictable.  Based on my observations I am not unique in this.

Not all of the changes in my life are physical.  Some are mental and sometimes the mental changes are very disruptive.  Like, I recently found out that I talk really loud and it disturbs everyone on the 5th floor of the building where I work.  That  knowledge has changed my behavior (I hope.)

Two events have been presented to me that has changed me.  The facts are hazy, but here are links to some facts about the events:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Eric_Garner

Before these events I had mixed feelings about the police.  I think that police are normal people doing a job.  I think that some of them are good people and that some of them are bad people.  I think they have an important job to do and that sometimes mistakes are made, accidents happen, crimes committed…

Here’s what’s changed for me.

Before these events I assumed that if a police officer pulled me over and then shot me that there would be a trial in front of a judge and in front of other citizens.

After these events I assume that if a police officer pulls me over (and even if there is a crowd of witnesses and even if there is a video) and he decided to shoot me that he wont be tried in front of a judge/jury for killing me.

All and all nothing major has changed.  I have believed for a few years that when a police officer interacts with you that you must do exactly as they say.  Period.  Then you can get a lawyer and come after them later.  I think the police have ultimate power and authority in the moment.  I also think that they are almost defenseless after you have been released.

I think all of the police officers involved with these events are damaged now.  Even though they are cleared of all wrong doing they are now to damaged to work in law enforcement, I think.  If they are sent out to handle anything and it goes bad it will be very bad for the organization that they represent.  For example, if they get a job for the Vermont State Troopers and then something goes wrong, that will be especially bad for the Vermont State Troopers.  I doubt the Vermont State Troopers will want to hire anyone involved in these events so they don’t have to worry about the baggage that these guys bring.

I think I am fairly safe from the police because they are people with lives and they probably don’t want to have bad lives, lose their jobs, lose their homes…  I think I need to be very polite and compliant to the police.  I think I need to report a police officer that mistreats me.  If a police officer mistreats me I need to blog about it.  If a police officer mistreats me and it’s bad enough I need to find a well trusted local lawyer to help me document the event.  That’s how I am operating in my situation.

To sum up, before these events I thought a police officer would go to trial if he killed me for no reason.  Now I think a police officer probably won’t go to trial if he kills me for no reason.  I am guessing that in most localities if a police officer kills more than one or two people they will be politely relieved of duty for some administrative reason and getting a new job somewhere else will be difficult. It’s as simple as that, it’s just a slight change to my world view.  I do feel bad for everyone involved, these were sad events and a real shame.

The near future of my blog…

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Yesterday I planned to write about what I want to blog about for the next couple of months and why.  Instead I went on a rant about angular and google.

So the last few months I have been very focused on Angular and specifically technical factoids about Angular.  Over the last six years I have focused on a very wide variety of subjects.

A few months back I decided to quit posting opinions. The reason I quit posting opinions is because almost everyone I am around and almost everyone I am exposed to is a lot like me.  They are a lot more like me than they or I like to believe.

Most of the people I am around and that read my blog has a car, lives in a house, goes to a job, eats every day, sleeps every day, has one or more legal addiction (caffeine, alcohol, porn, food, hoarding, twitter…), has a pet, is part of a family, has car insurance, has health insurance, has never been to jail, went to college, watches TV daily… These people (people like me) have opinions that are useless to me and my opinions are useless to them.  We just take the same opinions, chew on them, and then spit them out… over and over again.

About six months ago I started to realize that the majority of Americans are not like me.  They are people and they think and they have opinions, but most people are nothing like me.  My opinions about health care are probably ignorant and stupid to people that aren’t like me and they are just old and useless to people like me.  Basically, I have such a narrow view of the world and information is so sanitized before it’s fed to me that I can’t possibly have anything useful to say.

Well, that’s not 100% true.  While my opinions are damn near useless, my observations are likely useful.  So I do want to return to posting about observations I find interesting, but leaving my opinions out of it.

I also like to post about how I feel about things.  Again, I don’t think my opinions are useful, but how things make me feel are probably useful.

Basically, I do want to start posting about non-technical things again.  I want to focus on the what and not the why.

Over the next couple of months I’d like to post things like:

The ______ issue makes me mad.  My understanding is that _____ was caused by _________.

I want to skip things like:

The ______ is caused by people being so _______ and every time ______ people think ______.  He did it because they are _______.

So over the next couple of months I want to keep posting technical factoids, technical observations, technical opinions (because my opinions in that arena might be useful), and social observations.

The near future of my blog.

Friday, December 5th, 2014

I post once a day and I have 2300 posts.  So I guess I have been posting daily for 6 years.

The subjects I post about are all over the place.  Over the years I posted about technical things, politics, economics, personal feelings, local businesses, life…

For the last couple of months I have posted exclusively about AngularJS.  Which is kind of funny for a lot of reasons.

One reason it’s funny is because of all of the companies in the world Google tops my list of companies that I don’t like.  Google created AngularJS and I make a good living programming in AngularJS.

Another reason it’s funny is because I have spent the last couple of weeks blogging about and trying to understand $scope in AngularJS.  I will probably have to study AngularJS for at least two years before I gain mastery (expert understanding and elite use ) of $scope.  That’s not the funny part though, the funny part is that Angular is at 1.3 right now, but they are planning on releasing 2.0 in 18 months.  Google is removing $scope from Angular in 2.0.  So $scope will be gone before I can master it.  Is mastering $scope worth it?  Well, yes but that’s another subject…

Well, I have rambled enough, I’ll continue tomorrow…

Rod’s has decided to give up on football.

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

We live in the south and football is very important in the south.  Unfortunately, we do not understand the southern football culture.

Rod has played for three years.  The first year Rod was the center and defensive end.  He ended up being the most valuable offensive lineman.  The second and third year Rod was the fullback and middle linebacker and he was the most valuable player.

Rod enjoyed the attention and glory of being MVP.

This year Rod has been going to practice through out the summer.  This required getting up at 6:45 AM every morning.  No late night TV or video games. No late night face book.  The practices were a lot like what you see in movies, lots and lots of yelling, lots and lots of insults, lots and lots of running.

This is pretty much throughout the entire summer.  So if you play football for four years you never get a summer through out all of high school.

So one day (the first day that they were wearing pads) the head coach called three players over.  This describes the three players:

1) A lineman that doesn’t want to play lineman.  He has freely admitted to purposely not blocking and he has always been very lazy in practice.  He was promoted to tight end.

2) A tight end that pretty much sits the bench and rarely touches the ball.  He was moved to the line.  He sat the bench at tight end and he will likely sit the bench at lineman.

3) Rod, two year MVP.  More touch downs and yards than the rest of the team combined.  He was moved to right guard.

Rod likes attention.  He enjoys activities like pole vault because people love to watch pole vault.  So Rod decided he would rather focus on pole vault, shot put, discus, and decathlon than play right guard in football.

The coach was/is furious – we seriously fear sending back to the High School (southern coaches have a lot of power – I asked him if Rod is still welcome at the HS, he refuses to answer the question so I take that as a no).  Some of the players were/are furious too.  Interestingly, the coach is mad at Rod for being selfish. He says that a player shouldn’t every be selfish, that whole no I and TEAM.

This is fucking weird.  Not the idea that there is no I in team.  I can really get behind that concept.  I don’t agree with that concept, but it’s great.  The thing that perplexes me is that these coaches spend all kinds of time focusing on individual successes.  Who lifts the most, who runs the fasted, who hits the hardest, who works the hardest…

I listen to these god damn coaches ramble on and on about how every player doesn’t deserve a trophy.  The only player that deserves a trophy are the ones that do the best.  So what the fuck is that?  Seriously, what happened to no I in TEAM?

How do these coaches balance this in their brains?  Any player that says, coach I want to play a different position is selfish.  Then coaches say oh look how much so and so lifts.  Or look this is my MVP.  Or look how fast so and so is.  So if a player works really hard to get stronger than everyone else than that is not selfish, but anyone that wants a better position is selfish.  If you don’t want to be stronger then you are selfish.  It’s OK want to be better than everyone else in some things, but not other things.  It seems totally arbitrary.  There is no pattern.  They just make it up as they go.  Or so it seems.

So they fawn all over the I-individuals that are peak performers and then they smash any I-individual that attempts to stand out.  Except they don’t.  Except they create plays that make some I-individuals look great.  Except they fawn over I-individuals that stand out.

I heard this story.  I heard that a player was coming back from vacation and he was struggling.  He was taking a break during conditioning and the coach lost his mind.

He started screaming, YOU’RE TAKING A BREAK!!!!  YOU’RE TAKING A FUCKING BREAK!!! IF WE DON’T WIN GAMES BECAUSE YOU TOOK A BREAK I WILL GET FIRED AND I WILL HAVE TO MOVE MY FAMILY!!!

Isn’t that selfish?  Yes, it is.  I don’t get these guys.  I am sure it all makes sense to them, but it doesn’t make sense to me.  I wish I could understand the way these guy’s minds work.  I have been around long enough to realize that what they are doing makes sense in their paradigm, but it sure seems wacky if you are outside of their world.

I think it took a lot of courage for Rod to stand up to the coaches.  I think the coaches were trying to take advantage of Rod.  I don’t believe the coaches care about Rod or Lex.  I think the coaches care about their personal well being and that the coaches are selfish.

Am I wrong about that?  Probably, but when my mind logically processes that actions of these coaches I can’t see how they can possibly be helping the vast majority of the players on the team.  I think they help some I-individuals, but most of the players are probably worse off (financially, physically, mentally, socially, and academically) that they would have been without football.

I know a player, he’s about 5’8″ in real life (6’1″) on paper that played on the line for the last four years.  He had great grades and he could have gone to KSU or Georgia, but instead he’s going to a private division 2 college.  The tuition is $30K+ a year and he’s paying with student loans.  He’s going to owe $100K+ when he’s done with college.  He could have gone to KSU and gotten a degree for about $30K but he was just determined to go play college football.  That young man would be a lot better off without football.  He was a straight A student.

Rod is a straight A student, he doesn’t need football so he can go to college.  He needs football so he can play football.  But it he isn’t enjoying football, why should he play football?  The only real reason he should play football is because the coaches need all of the players they can get.  They need the money and they need the bodies.  The coach wants Rod to play football because the coach is selfish.  He wants the money I earn and he wants to athletes I raised so he can do what he wants, pay his bills and not have to move his family… selfish, not that there is anything wrong with that.

Ni! So, logically, if… she.. weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood and therefore.. a witch!

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

When I watch the talking heads on TV I feel like most of their arguments are equivalent to the logic from Monte Python:

Ni! So, logically, if… she.. weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood and therefore.. a witch!

The Grapes Of Wrath – things are changing

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

I finished The Grapes Of Wrath last week and I am rereading it now. Yesterday, I heard a podcast that was comparing the Chinese government system to the US government system.

The main problem the Joad’s had was that the world advanced, but their skills and mindsets were optimized for the previous world. They came in and displaced the Native Americans because their parents and grand parents had a more efficient way of doing things. They took the land and made it produce in 40 acre plots and they were able to make use of the local resources to force the Native Americans out. Then a generation or two later the Joads found themselves in the same position. New people figured out how to control 1000 acre plots and then they were able to displace the Joads and all of their kind.

This story follows them as they are pushed out. I would love to find a story about what the American Indians in that area did when they were pushed out. I bet the story is similar.

The reason I started this post was to try to compare the modern American government to the Joads. The truth is that the American government is just a reflection of us. We send good people to Washington DC and they just turn out bad after a few years. They make decisions that are just horrible. For example, 95%+ of Americans hate the idea that our laws make it legal for the government to seize land from one private citizen and hand that land to another private citizen. We all understand that sometimes the government needs to seize land to build a road or a facility (police station, military post, water treatment…), but there is no excuse for taking a farm from a family and giving it to Walmart for a super store. Polls have shown that more that 95% of Americans agree on that. Fixing this could be done in a week. They could just create a law that says, “It is illegal to take property from one private entity and give it to another private entity. If it happens then the Governor of the state in which it happens will be imprisoned for 1 year.” Simple, then the governors would make sure that state laws to prevent this would happen. Georgia could make a law that says, “It is illegal to take property from one private entity and give it to another private entity. If it happens then the chairman of the county and the judge that authorized it will be imprisoned for 2 years”. Then the county laws would be changed and so on. But in our system a governor could never be put at that kind of risk. 95% of Americans want this, but when any one of us gets sent to Washington we won’t do it.

The point is that our government isn’t perfect, but it is very good. The Joads weren’t perfect, but they were very good. I think our government system isn’t working any more. We have a 1900s system in a 2000s world. I am not saying that the other systems are perfect, just like the book isn’t saying that the corporate systems were perfect, but they were better and the only thing that kept the Joads from making it in the new world was their own mental issues. The Joads could have gone into truck driving or mechanics or a lot of other things. The Joads just had a certain way of living in their minds and they couldn’t get past it. The US is in the same position right now. The way we are doing things isn’t working and it probably won’t ever work again. The new world is going to be great, but we (the USA) need to figure out how to operate in it.

Until we figure out how to operate in this new world there will be a lot of unneeded suffering. Guys our system is messed up, things are changing.

US 10K is finished…

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

The US 10K is a Marietta tradition that is over 20 years old.  They usually have 10-20 thousand runners.  It’s a very nice experience… they have a wheel chair race that is always emotional.  We’ve participated every year for about 10 years straight.

It’s kind of like, wow, Marietta is for real.  No piddly little organization could ever pull something like the US 10K off.

So it’s over.  We got an email stating that there will not be a US 10K this year.  Why?

Well, because we (Marietta) just can’t do it.  In order to do something like that you need everyone to sacrifice.  The city has to lay out resources to close the roads and grant permits and the police have to be nice.  Local businesses have to lose revenue.  People have to pay and participate.

It’s like $25 a person to participate and you have to get early, early, early in the morning on labor day.  So that was like $250,000 – $500,000 in revenue and I suspect that didn’t cover the costs.

Five to ten years ago you would go to the US 10K and everyone would be so nice.  People that were stuck because they couldn’t cross the road with with their car (shut down) would get out and cheer everyone on.  Last year they would just sit in their car and be angry.  Two years ago Georgia’s Own Credit Union started towing cars and the police just laughed and laughed at the people as they ran up the hill to the parking lot after running a brutal 10K (mostly up steep hills).  I have been told that Georgia’s Own saw a steep drop off on ATM fees on labor day and an ambitious employee cleared the cars to make sure the Georgia’s Own wouldn’t have to do their part in supporting a Marietta tradition.  White Water used just let everyone in on Labor Day and then they started not letting anyone bring in food and they they started only letting the runners in and then they started charging everyone $10.

Georgia’s Own and White Water aren’t bad, they just can’t afford to sacrifice for a Marietta Tradition.  The people steaming over traffic being blocked aren’t bad they just can’t afford the sacrifice.  The laughing police aren’t bad they just can’t afford worry about losing a Marietta tradition.

The US 10K was great and I am very happy I had the opportunity to be a part of it, but we just don’t have what it takes to pull something like that off any more.  We all hope that we can get it going again, but I have a sneaky feeling we have peaked.  Marietta’s best years are behind us… so what do we do now?

Tax breaks for Oil Companies…

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Tax breaks for oil companies… I really, really, really don’t get it.  It doesn’t make sense.  If it doesn’t make sense if it’s not profitable to get oil without government help then the government should just do it.