Thursday, March 26, 2015

Obstinate Technology Brand Evangelists/Foaming Fanpeople and the Special Place in Hell Where They All Need To Go

Let's face it kids, we are in the age of technology-everywhere-everyplace.  As someone who works in an information technology related field, I am reminded of this just about every day of my life.  But one thing really chaps my ass.....obstinate technology brand evangelists/foaming fanpeople.  Yeah, you know them.  They are so super-proud of their gadget/device/computer from <insert brand here> that it seems their entire existence (or a good portion of it) revolves around being some sort of unofficial spokesperson for said brand.  No, I'm not talking about the people who actually get paid to advertise <insert brand name here>.  It's as if their gadget/device/computer is somehow the center of the universe and common sense comes second.

Just search the internet or visit a technology-related discussion board and within less than a few minutes, you will have discovered this interesting subculture and the one-sided vitriolic or I-love-my-<insert brand name here>-so-much-that-I-dream-of-having-sex-with-it-or-marrying-it mentality that powers these champions.  So as of late, we have stuff like....

PC vs Mac
Windows vs Mac OS vs Linux
iOS vs Android
Xbox vs PlayStation vs Nintendo

...and so on.

Now, that said, I think that competition is great for the market.  It gives consumers a choice.  However, if someone is going out and buying something or endorsing or something simply for the label and not doing any research, trial, or anything related to intelligent decision making, well, something has gone wrong.

Case in point....

Today, I finished up a big analysis project.  I used Excel 2013 for the final finishing touch.  I didn't choose Excel 2013 because it's made by Microsoft or that it runs on Windows.  I chose Excel 2013 because it was the best tool to get the job done efficiently and elegantly and it's pretty much a standard-issue item in our client community for data consumption and presentation.

Right before I was about to finish the project up and email it out to those who requested it, a colleague-of-some-importance-who-was-copied-on-the-initial-request comes into my office and looks at it.  I had done some new things with pivot tables in Excel for some added polish and flexibility.  He was impressed with it and congratulated me on a job well done.  Naturally, he was copied on the email with the Excel spreadsheet when the project was delivered.

And of course, he's using a Mac.  Now, I've got nothing against Macs...well, they are a bit pricey..but they are amazing computers.  But here's the rub.  Our environment is primarily a Windows-based environment from the servers to the desktops.  Most of the users in our department use Windows-based PC's as do most of the users in the entire organization.  Currently, the highest version of Microsoft Office (which includes Excel) is the 2011 Mac suite.  I'm not sure what the capabilities of this version are compared to Office 2010 or 2013 but the 2010-or-higher fancy pants shit that I did for this project apparently won't work on Office for Mac 2011.  Of course, he comes to let me know this if the whole world might come crashing down or something like that.  This isn't the first time either.  Oh side note on this...yes, I do believe he does have virtual machine software on the Mac running a current version of Windows 7 Enterprise.  I think that's a base installation item for Macs in our organization.  For those of you who don't know what the fuck that means, it means that you can run both the Mac OS and the Windows OS on the same computer.  Great option for those pesky softwares that are only current on Windows or will only run on Windows.

Just so you're keeping score, deploying any technology solution to more than one person mandates that you target the lowest common denominator for consumption.  Please review this article:

Wikipedia: Usage share of operating systems

But let me summarize in case all that mumbo jumbo bores you to death.

Windows 7 currently holds a 55.99% market share in comparison to the 3.55% market share for Mac OS X 10.10.

So, let's recap buddy.  Your super-fancy-pants Mac that runs Windows VM is so super and shiny but for some reason if it won't open natively on the Mac...that's somehow a concern?  Oh yeah, this from the same person who is concerned about file size attachments because he's unable to open them....wait for it...on his phone.

So, in summary, I don't give a flying shit how much your fucking machine costs or how pretty it is or if you've rolled your own kernel or not.  If you're not using the right tool for the job, it's like buying a Ferrari just to drive down the street.  Go back to using's platform agnostic.


P.S.  For the record...

  • I compute, do desktop productivity, and all my programming on Windows 7 both at home and at work.
  • I tablet on an iPad.
  • I Android on the phone.
  • I Google for social and web productivity.
  • I game on a PlayStation3 and a Wii U.
  • I still shit in a toilet...just like most of the rest of you.

Common Courtesy R.I.P or How to Embrace Realistic Cynicism and Not Become a Homicidal Maniac

In transit last evening to purchase a sub (the sandwich not the naval vessel), and as I was attempting to make my unprotected left turn into the parking lot of the sub shop, some young hipster from two lanes over in a driveway to my right decides that it's his turn or else and royally fucks me over from making my left turn.  Nice.  Then after making this left turn, Miss Vapid Self-Absorbed abruptly cuts me off in the parking lot as she chows on her fries or onion rings or whatever.

The basic human response to this would be rage or wrath but I'm older and wiser....well I just craft an unrepeatable combination of curse words in my mind to describe each of these winners and go and get my sandwich.

Why this post?  Well, between this, the texting zombies, the cell phone worshipers, the elevator rushers, and the generally we-just-don't-pay-any-attention-at-all vibe of the populace...fuck...when did common courtesy die?  For me, it died awhile back but as a foolish believer in the goodness of others, I guess I'm in a fantasy world where common courtesy is somehow still out there.

Never fear...cynicism is here!  I guess this is the point in life where I realize that cynicism isn't an attitude or a "world view"'s a skill!  Now, when I think about how somebody isn't worth the flesh that they were printed on in my own local space cadet infested dystopia, I can actually feel like I've somehow accomplished something with my talent.  And it's true really.  If I gave one tenth of a fuck about this sort of thing, I'd probably be a raving murderous lunatic....hell bent on death and destruction....with a rusty spoon so that it would take as long as possible.

On a more positive note, Donald Fagen is currently in my world both musically and linguistically.  "The Nightfly" is in the player and I'm currently reading "Eminent Hipsters"...his memoir of sorts.  The music is timeless in my opinion and the album feels like it could have been the next Steely Dan record at the time had they not stopped working.  Periodically, this album gets stuck in the player.  It's so good.  The book is scathing, harsh, and hilarious.  Both worth checking out if you're so inclined.

Starting Fresh (Again)

Well, this is the second time that I've completely wiped this blog and started anew.  For some crazy reason, the voices in my head are telling me to document my experience lest we, as a species, actually get our shit together in the future so that I can remember how we got there....if we ever do.

I'm almost 45.  I've lived in Arlington, Texas most of my life.  I'm a business intelligence analyst/developer working in higher English, that means I talk to big databases and program stuff to extract stuff from said databases to give to my higher-ups so that they can make decisions....or something like that.  I'm also a musician. I have been playing an instrument of some sorts since I was 12.  My primary instrument is keyboards but I also dabble/dribble in guitar and bass.

So rather than give you my life's story bit by bit, I'll use this blog as a sort of online diary to document my journey from this point forward on this rock we call Earth.  For a brief catch-up of sorts, I'm current watching the entire Dark Shadows TV show on DVD (loving it), studying complex chord structures on both the guitar and keyboards to stretch myself a bit (basically studying Steely Dan), and listening to soft-rock/pop-rock/jazz-rock from the late 70's and early 80's (Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, etc.).  I also play video games but that's sort of in a dry spell right now.  More to come...