Our whole lives, we're told we're special. That we have something that nobody else has. That we're the smartest kid in class. The handsomest boy in the school. We're conditioned into thinking that the world is ours and that we deserve to succeed.
Listen up: You are not special. Despite what your parents and peers may have told you throughout your life, it's statistically likely that you are not a child genius. You are not the next Mark Zuckerberg. You aren't the best looking kid in school. You're not incredible at what you do. Statistically speaking, you're pretty normal.
It's so easy in life to just go through the motions. To float through your day, completely tuned out from what's going on around you.
Wake up. Drive. Work. Eat. Sleep.
I've often pondered how people can go through their lives by just going through the motions. I'm surrounded by people that do every day. How come everyone else seems to be just fine with the status quo, but I'm fighting internally about whether or not I want to live a life like this. How is that possible? Am I weird?
I've had this post in my drafts for some time, but haven't been able to finish it. In somewhat ironic timing, Dustin Curtis wrote about something very similar:
It used to confuse and fascinate me how so many people with great dreams and great visions of the future can live such ordinary, repetitive lives. But now I know. I’ve experienced it. Doing something remarkable with your life is tough work, and it helps to remember one simple, motivating fact: in a blink, you could be gone.
The fragility of life is both terrifying and motivating. I haven't gone through a major life threatening event yet, but I was religious for a long time. I mindlessly thought that my life was some sort of a gift from God, and that I was here for a reason. A year ago, I woke up one day and couldn't convince myself that it was believable at all, so I just ended that part of my life that day. I changed my entire mindset because I wasn't satisfied that I was living my life to it's entirety, since I was told God tends to work by making you wait around for something to happen.
All of a sudden, the purposeful life I was living – the one that was 'driven' by a deity – was gone. I had lived a life of not caring about consequences or considering death, since I was supposedly going to live forever in a mythical place called heaven anyway. I woke up to the fragility of life, and was terrified.
Suddenly, I wasn't special anymore. There wasn't a deity protecting me. I could die at any moment and it would be over. That's it. It crippled me for a long time. I found menial tasks terrifying because there was a risk of death! I'd walk to work and wonder as I waited to cross the roads if maybe this would be it.
That thought is probably the most motivating thought that continually haunts me. Pushes me to do great things. To break the ordinary. To adventure into the unknown. I know I'm not inherently special, but I can make myself special. By not putting your dreams off until some mythical date in the future when you're going to do that thing you've always wanted to do, you're already winning.
By breaking out from the ordinary, doing great things, 'fighting' the status quo and pushing the boundaries, you define your own 'special'. It might mean doing something completely radical and living on the edge, or it might start with something small. Either way, it won't be easy. Lucky for me, my girlfriend wants me to break the fold too, so she gives me a gentle nudge in the right direction.
If you don't constantly fight to push the envelope, you're likely to just fall into place like everyone else. Waiting for the right moment to come before they are ready to change. Time is always against you, so defy it: do it now and do not give up until you reach your dreams.
Don't wait. Do something amazing. Even if it's risky. If you fail, do it again.
I encourage you to read the rest, too. Most of what they did is pathetic and has stalled the internet for longer than you probably realize. It goes deeper too, the writer of the post believes Microsoft is trying to break the web again with Windows Phone:
When [Microsoft] recently got rid of their probation officer, for the last crime they were convicted for. The very next day, they [supposedly] placed Steven Elop into Nokia, basically killing it, with 9000 engineers and workers leaving the company in protest on the spot. And they put their shitty WP7/8 on Nokia phones. And what did they do? They again, made IE non-replaceable and “hard-wired” into the OS. And promptly got sued for it.
Even with Internet Explorer about to hit version 10, I still can't stand to use it, and I sure hope that Microsoft will open Windows Phone up to alternatives soon.
I find it pretty hard to hold myself back from taking a dig at people who swear by a particular brand of products. “I only buy Apple” or “Windows is the only platform I'd ever use” is enough to fill me with a fit of rage.
If you think about it, take a step back, and look at the entire picture, you could be having a better experience in general if you were more open to any product.
Instead of it being a question of Google v Apple v Microsoft, ask yourself “which product works best for me?” Every different company has it's strengths, and by sticking exclusively to one you are absolutely missing out.
Be open minded. Consider your options all the time. Don't be a fanboy.
You'll be pleasantly surprised how many more options you'll have.
Probably not the best sign in the world that Microsoft has to release service packs to the RTM version of Windows 8 before it has even launched. I mean, why declare RTM then? Well one possibility is that you’re working to meet a deadline rather than releasing when a product is fully baked.
I hate to call people out usually, but MG is just being a ranting fanboy without even thinking before he types, claiming his favorite company as the best without even stopping to think for a second. It's almost like watching Fox news.
Microsoft patching Windows 8 before it even hits market is a good thing. Things are fixed before getting into end users' hands. Apple waited until after their OS (Mountain Lion) went to market to release bug fixes related to a major power issue, and Microsoft has fixed theirs before their product even ships.
Ed Bott points out that MG's logic seems to fall down to:
If Microsoft delivers a 170MB update to its customers based on more than two months of feedback from enterprise customers and hardware partners, it is a sign of incompetence.
If Apple delivers more than 700MB of updates in the same period of time based on complaints from its customers, it is awesome.
The amazing thing is readers gathering around MG mindlessly agreeing with him. Here's a suggestion: Stop drinking the kool-aid and actually think about what's really going on here, it's just a distortion field.
Microsoft is loving the “anticipation” of their potential customers. They're loving people getting “excited” about Windows Phone. There's lots of “buzz” out there. They're loving creating “suspense.”
…Except, there's a problem. Yes, people are excited about Windows Phone, but most of them are getting frustrated at the lack of information or solid facts and going elsewhere. Seriously, some of the best phones ever released are available now, why would you wait for Windows Phone?
Microsoft seems to think that by putting their consumers on a drip-feeder about the OS and handsets that consumers are getting excited. They were getting excited, but now that has passed. The lack of information is disturbing, and the fact that the information is out there about handsets (we pretty much know everything about HTC's and Nokia's offerings) but you can't go get one, and nobody can tell you when it'll even be available is even more disturbing.
Windows Phone looks great, but Microsoft seems to have taken on Microsoft's strategy of “we don't comment on speculation or rumor.” The problem with that is the cat is already out of the bag. Apple can get away with this because consumers are excited about a product that might not even exist yet. Microsoft's already laid their cards on the table, and so have their OEM's. People were excited, for a time, but now the vague attitude of Microsoft is becoming an issue.
It's bad on the PR side of things, too. Microsoft seems to have Nokia and HTC in a deadlock. If you even ask anything to either company, you'll get back a “we can't comment on that yet” or “we'll have more information soon.”
I've also talked to a number of major companies, who have been barred access to the SDK, despite offering very promising opportunities for the platform (like integrating NFC-based payments across an existing network). They're being told “just wait for us to go public” or “we'll have more information soon” and that's it.
It's great seeing your executives wave around Windows Phone and brag online about it, but it's more frustrating than good.
Microsoft is acting like everything is going swimmingly with Windows Phone, but there seems to be some sort of deeper issue. There's still no complete SDK. Still no solid details about what to expect. Still no pricing. Still no dates.
I can't see consumers getting excited for the platform by Christmas, especially if developers who actually want to make great software for the platform are being pushed away.
The buzz is wearing off, both for consumers and developers. I have one piece of advice for Microsoft: be transparent. Fast. You have too much to lose, and it may be too late already.
I was browsing The Verge forums today and came across this post, which is probably one of the most apt descriptions of what's wrong with the Windows ecosystem reboot:
About twelve years ago when I was 10 years old I created my MSN account which would now be my Microsoft account. I have used this e-mail for everything, and when the Xbox came around I used it for Xbox Live. This being in the early 2000's DLC and internet services were near to non-existent.
At the time I was living in Amsterdam, and from the time the Xbox 360 came out I have spend hundreds of euros, and hours on my Xbox account. Having bought all that DLC and unlocked thousands of achievement points. So now I live in the UK and because of Microsofts old policies, I can not in ANY way change my location. I can not add a credit card or purchase content available in the UK.
So I contacted Microsoft and all they had to say is, 'it's unchangeable, you need to make a new account'. As if it was nothing, do they not understand that I would lose all of my DLC, Achievements, save games and everything else connected to that account?
This has always been an issue with the Xbox ecosystem, and now it's a problem with the Windows ecosystem too. It's still not fixed. There are no workarounds. Update: I'm now aware of this hacky workaround, but calling it a solution is like putting a band-aid on a broken leg.
The new subscription Xbox Music, Windows Phone's games and Windows 8's paid applications sound great… until you realize what the catch is. You stand to lose everything if you move.
Microsoft doesn't understand that people travel around the world, and are hugely sentimental about things they've paid for. Here's a list of some services that are affected by Windows Live ID billing region locks and what you will lose if you move countries:
Xbox Live – Achievements, Gamer Score, Content, Membership
New Zealand is currently going through the process of freeing up mobile network spectrum by disabling analogue television broadcasts nationwide, but after months of delays by the government, networks still do not know what rights they have to the spectrum. Without this knowledge, they can't plan future 4G networks (as there are many different spectrum types that operate globally) so development is stalled.
Carriers in New Zealand are trialing 4G LTE right now, and I've heard first hand that it's actually ready to go in some cases, pending spectrum allocation, but it looks like it's going to be held back from the public due to a grab for the actual air space the networks would “use” by the native people of the country.
It guaranteed to Māori the right to keep their lands, forests, fisheries and all their treasures, but they would hand sovereignty in the English version, and governorship in the Māori version, over to the Crown and would also be able to sell only to the Crown. Initially, there was little dispute, as the settlers were able to buy land from the Māori through legal channels. However, after a while, Māori became disillusioned and less willing to sell, while the Crown came under increasing pressure from settlers wishing to buy. Consequently, government land agents were involved in a number of dubious land purchases.
Fast-forward to the 80's, and the New Zealand government started allowing Maori people to claim grievance (current and historical) under the treaty and offers settlements based on that.
The Maori have successfully claimed ownership of mobile spectrum previously by stating it is a “treasure” of theirs and that the government has no right to sell it. In 1999, they were granted one of four available blocks of 2GHz 3G spectrum licenses for a discounted price by the court, plus $5 million dollars in damages to develop it.
That spectrum was then licensed to create a new carrier in the market, 2 Degrees Mobile, which has significantly disrupted the New Zealand market by means of aggressive pricing tactics.
Now, the Maori are claiming that the 700MHz spectrum (which is critical for 4G LTE networks) should belong to them under the same “treasure” law, and that they should be allocated a block (or the entirety of it should belong to them).
The New Zealand government has always felt that air space is not a treasure, but the courts decided differently previously. The current government – National – still disagrees that spectrum should be able to be claimed as a “treasure.”
To take it one step further, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples wrote to Computerworld last month saying that unless there was a “principled Treaty-based agreement” between the Crown and Maori claimants, disputes would arise every time a spectrum auction was proposed.
A proposal put forward by the Economic Development Ministry would allow Vodafone, Telecom and 2 Degrees to each secure 10MHz of the available 45MHz of spectrum (whilst letting one carrier grab 20MHz and another 15MHz), but the proposal ignores “rights” arguments and the spectrum is likely priced out of reach for 2Degrees or Maori to purchase outright.
The government still does not have a solution for the problem yet, and it's now becoming likely the auction will slip it's target date of March 2013, delaying the roll-out of 4G LTE networks by both Telecom and Vodafone.
I've not heard of any issues threatening the roll out of 4G globally like this at all. It's a pretty unique situation to have mobile networks ready to roll, but being roadblocked by cultural claims to the actual air space. I'm hoping this gets worked out pretty swiftly. I'm not in politics, but from a technology standpoint, it seems ridiculously stupid to allow a group to roadblock developments like this.
Yes, I have switched to Windows 8 full-time, and it's not because of the new Metro interface or charms. It's not because of the ribbon or Internet Explorer 10. It's really not because of anything you may expect.
It's much more simple than that. Here's my top reasons I'm sticking with Windows 8 on my laptop.
The fastest OS yet
I've just picked up a HP Folio 13 for work and home. It's not the most powerful machine, but it's got an SSD built in and has an i5 processor. Out of impulse I installed Windows 7, and the machine started in ~20 seconds on Windows 7. Not all that impressive, but not slow either.
On a whim, I installed Windows 8 to see if it would improve on that. I've been seriously impressed with the results. It starts (from POST to the login screen) in 6 seconds. Sometimes less. A seriously impressive improvement. Not only is it faster to boot, it takes seconds to log on (3 seconds compared to around 10 seconds to be ready to rock), additionally, hibernation resume is less than 3 seconds on Windows 8.
Unbelievable. Not having to wait feels like the future, and this alone made me stay. When programs or Windows Update ask me to restart, and the system taking less than 10 seconds to be ready to roll again means it doesn't bother me. Restarts used to be a pain. Now I don't even think twice.
It appears that Windows 8 is more “SSD-aware” than Windows 7 and changes the way it runs when it knows it's on an SSD. I don't know what they did, but it's amazing.
Copying… done right
I don't feel like I need to say much about this, but combining these was one of the best things that Microsoft has done to Windows. I love the detailed statistics too.
As someone who spends 70% of their day at a workstation with dual external screens, little things that improve my workflow can make a huge impact. I love that there are multiple taskbars… after years and years of users complaining, and I love that it's not thanks to some shoddy 3rd-party software.
It's even better at supporting hardware
I didn't think it'd be possible to beat Windows 7's driver database, but Microsoft has. Windows 8, out of the box, picked up all of the drivers for my Folio 13. Windows 7 picked up all but five. It's not the obvious user improvements that are the best ones.
But wait… I thought you hated Metro?
I've talked a lot about how I think Metro is a bad idea, especially on the desktop, and I stand by most of that. In my usual work day, the only time I enter the start screen is to run a search for an application, or to quickly get somewhere. I don't use the Metro applications, period.
Metro isn't something I completely hate. I see where Microsoft is going with this, but it's nowhere near where it needs to be, and right now, it's just a hurdle between me and where I need to be. It's a manageable annoyance.
I'll be recommending Windows 8 for businesses based on the basic improvements (and more) that I've talked about here. The start screen is a pain at first at work, but eventually you find that you don't really have to deal with it.
If you're truly happy with Windows 7, stick with it. But if you're willing to try something new for some seriously awesome desktop-side improvements, I suggest giving Windows 8 a shot.
The build up suggests the software maker has something special to unveil in late October. If it doesn’t, then many developers and potential Windows Phone owners will be left wondering, “why all the secrecy?”
Nice article by Tom at The Verge on Windows Phone 8's secrecy. You know, how essentially nothing has been revealed to anyone in the market (ironically, except The Verge who have devices). Developers and consumers are in the dark, yet Nokia and HTC seem to be trying to push devices like they're already available.
I think confusing consumers (and influencers in the news industry) will have a very bad short term effect this holiday season. This secrecy has cost them what Nokia gained for the platform: the upper hand.
The iPhone is on the market and WP8 is nowhere to be seen.
Now, in the technology world, everyone knows about the Microsoft Surface. It's one of the most exciting devices of the year. The only thing is, there's a little bitterness to that since we know virtually nothing about it, and nobody's managed to play with one for an extended amount of time yet.
Microsoft seems to have this idea in their head that viral advertising is going to help spread the word about the device, but it's not going past exciting a pack of geeks who already knew about it and are angrily awaiting more information.
At a guess, they're trying to do something along the lines of creating buzz about a 'unknown' product, and then when the big reveal comes along, everyone will be amazed and want one. These sort of things do work sometimes, but in this case, the product base isn't there yet. I don't think anyone but the press actually cares.
I'm impressed Microsoft is trying new mediums of advertising (and I think this is a really cool way to advertise) but they need to have some solid detail like dates, specifications and prices before they can try getting the market excited. Otherwise, consumers will be disappointed.