iPhone X

iPhone X

I’ve had the iPhone X for a whole weekend and that’s given me enough time to come up with some thoughts on the device.

The iPhone X is the first iPhone to give me the same feeling I had with the original iPhone.

From a design perspective, the iPhone X is a beautiful phone and it’s unmistakably Apple. The glass back and stainless steel band give the phone a great look and remind me of the iPhone 4, the last iPhone to really push the design envelope and introduce a radical redesign. Looks wise, you can’t go wrong with this thing.

Coming from an iPhone 7+ there’s been an adjustment period for me when it comes to dealing with a smaller device, but my pockets certainly don’t mind it.

Here are some more quick thoughts:

Read the rest of my thoughts on Medium.

MLB #Postseason

I’m writing this post on my phone as I watch the Washington Nationals battle the Chicago Cubs for a spot in the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers.  

Baseball is a polarizing sport. You either love it or you hate it and there is very rarely an in between. 

For those of us that love it, playoff baseball is the best baseball of the season. Whereas during the regular season teams are juggling staying healthy and handling the grind of a 162 game season, the playoffs puts everything under a microscope.  

The game becomes an incredible chess game. Every single move is scrutinized and made with a specific outcome in mind. After slogging their way through a 162 games, the players call up that little bit of reserve they have left over. 

Playoff baseball is the best baseball. 

Handling Chaos

Two of my biggest mental hurdles have always been procrastination and anxiety. When I'm not fully involved, committed to and passionate about something, I tend to procrastinate. It continues to be a work in progress.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is a whole different beast for me. I've struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I've always expected the worst from things and stress has been a constant. So, to say I'm constantly on the look out for ways to cope with stress and anxiety is an understatement..

And given the current state of the world, it's become even more important to figure out how to handle these emotions.

I've been a long time reader of Zen Habits, written by Leo Babauta, so I wanted to share one of his recent posts on dealing with chaotic times. 

According to Leo, there are 5 steps to dealing with an imperfect situation:

  1. Notice that you're getting anxious or frustrated
  2. Notice that your ideal or orderliness is causing the difficulty
  3. Let go of that ideal
  4. Breathe and re-center yourself, so you become calm and return to the present moment
  5. See the beauty and perfection in the moment

Leo goes more in depth into the practice and explains the theory behind it all so I suggest you click the link below to read the entire article. 

In the meantime, I know I'll be doing my best to put this process into practice.

A Guide to Getting Good at Dealing with Chaos

Made By Google - Pixel 2

via TheVerge

via TheVerge

It seems like Google is finally hitting its stride as a hardware company.

Everything Google announced at its Made By Google event earlier this week is something I would want to at least try out. Some of it may be a bit overpriced (ahem Pixelbook), but if money was no object everything in this photo would be hitting my doorstep sometime soon.

But, what I'm really interested in is the Pixel 2 and the Pixel Buds.

I'm especially excited to try out the Pixel 2's camera. The original Pixel had the best phone camera I've used so I'm curious to see what the new camera can do. I'm a bit surprised Google stayed away from the on trend dual camera setup, but given what they were able to do with the Pixel, I trust them.

The biggest surprise of the event however, was Google's decision to remove the headphone jack. This decision led to another surprise: Google Pixel Buds. Google is claiming real time translation when using the ear buds with a Pixel phone. If they're able to reliably deliver on this promise, it's going to be a really big deal.

And I'll be really excited to use them.

Review: Rich Dad, Poor Dad

rich dad poor dad cover

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Rich Dad, Poor Dad, has been in my Kindle library for quite some time. I’ve attempted to read it a number of times, but inevitably end up giving up because I lose interest in it.

Recently, getting my financial home in order has become a bigger priority and so I figured I would give this bestseller another shot and power through to the end. 

And power through is exactly what I did. I had to in order to finish it. I quickly remembered why I was ever unable to finish the book. So, here is another internet write up (like we another one, right?) of Robert Kiyosaki’s book.

The premise of the book is that you don’t need to earn a high income to become rich and that becoming wealthy is a relatively easy proposition as long as you find the “right deals” and assets. Unfortunately, for me, his story doesn’t back up his theory. 

First, Kiyosaki argues that it doesn’t take much money to accrue assets. Yet, he also talks about how he was the leading Xerox salesman at one time. I hate to assume, but I highly doubt that distinction comes with a low income. The rest of the book is spent talking about how he has used his various real estate holdings to pad his net worth. Hardly, something a lot of people, and certainly someone on a minimum wage salary, can do easily. 

Once he gets past this initial premise, the book kind of turns into a memoir of his accomplishments, and he really just seems to brag (despite saying he’s not doing that multiple times) about how good he is at finding deals no one else can. I’d be fine with this if he spent any time at all explaining more of how he finds these deals, other than just saying he has “financial intelligence.” Other principles Kiyosaki advocates for, like beginning a corporation to shelter yourself, aren’t easy to implement for the normal individual. 

I found it hard to find any groundbreaking information in this book and I think that had a lot to do with my inability to finish it on so many occasions. Adults with responsibilities and financial hurdles to overcome will likely find it difficult to get anything from Kiyosaki’s book. I know I did. 

The book does do a good job of explaining the kind of mindset you need to be successful in life, not just finance, but it does little else. Ultimately, I feel this book is best suited for younger people that are just beginning to learn about money and finances or for people with a positive net worth looking for ways to diversify their portfolio’s.

But, at least I finished it.

United Airlines

The airlines have a monopoly and they know it.

They know we need them. Especially in today's world, where time is money. Want to travel cross country? You could drive, but that will take a few days. You barely have any vacation days as it is. You need to maximize your time.

Are you an employee? Time is even more important. If you're lucky enough, or high enough on the corporate ladder, you might be able to spring for business or first class where things are much better. 

Which is why United Airline's response to forcibly removing a paying passenger, isn't surprising: 

That's the sort of response a CEO makes when they know business will continue as usual. That's the response a CEO makes when he knows there's plenty of passengers out there tied to his airline because of miles or loyalty programs.

Most importantly, that's the response a CEO makes when he knows that regardless of what happened, we need his company if we want to travel. 

It's time we show these companies, that there's no amount of perks or loyalty programs or miles or anything else that will compel us to give them our business. 

I hope you join me in vowing to not fly United until things change.

 

Instagram Lists

instagram logo

I'm a big fan of Instagram. It's my favorite social media platform, narrowly beating out Twitter. 

But, there's one feature available on Twitter that Instagram needs to copy: Lists.

I follow a lot of people on Instagram, for one reason or another, and I hate unfollowing accounts, because, quite honestly I'm lazy. The upside is that I'm constantly seeing fresh content. The downside is I don't want to see 90% of it. 

This wasn't as big of a problem when my timeline worked as a timeline and showed me content in the order it was uploaded. Unfortunately, since Facebook convinced Instagram that they were better at telling me what I wanted to see, my timeline has gone to hell.

Since there's no chance of going back to the old way, "lists" is the answer.

Instagram, please give me the ability to create lists. You get to keep controlling my timeline in a way that works best for Facebook's bottom line, and I get to curate lists that allow me see content I WANT to see from the accounts I really care about.

And, let's be honest, since you like copying every one else's best features, it shouldn't be too hard to do.

Advice For My Younger Self

With the start of the new year, I gave myself a goal of reading more. In part because I really enjoy reading and learning and because at 32, I’m still trying to figure out what to with my life.

The first book up was Tim Ferris’ Tools of Titan’s (amazon affiliate link). I’m keenly interested in learning about the tips, tricks, processes, and other little nuances people have used to attain success (and happiness and contentment) in their lives. I also like looking for ways to implement and adapt those ideas to help me.

While reading, I came across the piece below, where Ferris talks about writing a short story in which he gives his younger self some advice. I liked the idea and figured I’d give it a try.

“Several hours of conversation later, this stranger turns out to be my future self. I ask him for advice and he gives me the benefit of his 20/20 hindsight.”

Hindsight is 20/20 and while 32 year old me still doesn’t know a lot, there is some advice I’d share with a younger me. Here it is:

  • Keep exercising: We used to have a six pack. A great one at that. Believe me when I tell you it’s much easier to keep it than it is to get it back after you’ve lost it. Plus, the more you exercise, the more crap food (like pizza, cheeseburgers and fried stuff) you can eat.
  • Stop Caring About What Others Think: People are going to have opinions no matter what you do. Some will be positive and encouraging. The majority won’t be. So, as long you’re not hurting yourself or others, go for it.
  • Figure Out What You Like By Doing A Bunch of Different Stuff: Take advantage of being young by doing things that interest you. Like music? Take a DJ course. Interested in Photography? Do late night photo walks with other photographers. Interested in finance? Work as a bank teller. Life is too short to spend it trying to figure out what you like. Use this time to figure it out by doing as much as you can. It gets harder to take these chances the older you get.
  • Don’t Stress: This has been our biggest problem in life. Shit is going to happen constantly so acknowledge it, let it bother you for a little bit, and then let it go. It’ll save you from going insane and a virus you aren’t supposed to get until you’ve retired. Trust me.
  • Be Positive: I know this is one of those easier said than done things, but fake it til you make it if you have to. Like I said above, shit is always going to happen. Your attitude will determine how you handle those things, how they affect you, and how others see you. Besides, the world is already full of a bunch of fucked up shit, no need to make yourself feel worse.
  • Don’t Settle: In work, relationships and life. If you’re not feeling something don’t settle because “it could be worse” or “it’s not that bad” or “there’s nothing else left to do.” You’ll regret having done so and it will come back to bite you in the ass later. Watch Steve Job’s commencement at Stanfurd if you need a push with this.
  • Don’t Procrastinate: It took me two days to write this post. Don’t do this. Sit down and do things right away when you can. Don’t let them linger. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram aren’t that important and if something important does actually happen it’ll take over all of your feeds. You really aren’t missing anything, I promise. So yeah, get shit done. This may be the most important piece of advice I give you.