And where we are today.
First off, I neglected to include a photo of my Mom, Dad and I in the first part of this (lengthy) story. Let me correct that omission now!
I always have wanted to have and interact with the latest in technology, to understand it, and in some cases, take it apart! From the 1990’s on I was blessed with the kind of work that could indulge this passion. I built my first TRS-80 (with help from Heath Corporation) computer in 1978 and I taught my sons Chip and Erik to program that beast in the BASIC language when they were 10 and 8 respectively.
As technology advanced, I owned the first PALM Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) – even before it was called a Palm Pilot. I used that device during my career, in South America, and Europe and even in Thailand. It was very new and I could even put spreadsheets and (editable) MS Project plans on it. With a contact list that couldn’t be beat, and with the wealth of information that I (continuously) gathered about my business contacts, on my Palm – I made friends quickly and across the millions of miles that I travelled in 38 years. You can’t help but think kindly about a person that knows your dog’s name from one meeting in Sao Paulo – two years later! I went through four generations of those PDA’s and wished for the day that it could reach telephones.
Time passes. I outfitted my Year 2000 Leadership Team with push-to-talk Nextel world phones in 1997. They were great; I didn’t care for the Nextel network but that was the only game in town. I bought a personal AT&T set of phones for Lynn and I during the formative year that we started the eBusiness Competency Center in Akron. When we were asked to move to Europe, my company outfitted me with a nice (dumb) phone on the T-Mobile network. While that network absolutely sucked, for MANY reasons, we limped by. I had the first (text-only) navigation system put into my companies BMW. This was
done to keep me sane. Those that know me know that I can’t find my way out of a dark room by myself. 18-32 letter street signs that are posted on the side corner of a building, do not lend to an intelligent linking between a map (in German) and your view from you wet (raining) car on a dark night.
As the leader, I was expected to travel to the various team locations. I HAD to find my way! EUR 1,700 later, I had my navigational device, that I called Isis.
Then we retired; with a fixed income that was a fraction of what we were used to. It was back to dumb phones for us. Then the iPhone arrived, and evolved, and was ‘fed’ by wonderful applications, and evolved – and I was in serious distress that I couldn’t afford the phone or the data plan. Then a blessing occurred; the iPhone 4 came out and the 3GS-16GB phones were deeply discounted. I snapped up that $97 phone before they could say “out of stock”.
Then I found the Apple App Store! WOW!! After upgrading to iOS4.1 with its multitasking and grouping of applications into logical and functional collections, I went nuts! ITunes and the iOS give me the chance to put a LOT of apps on the phone. In three months I have over 212 applications on my phone – with most of them being free! I’m not into Gaming; I am into Learning, and the possibilities are endless.
One of the applications that I purchase was the Nike-iPhone link. This involves a low cost sensor that you put into a low-cost pouch that is affixed to your shoelaces. And what an (free) app it is; I encourage you to follow the link that I have provided. Time passed; no exercise was undertaken, largely because the week after my beloved wife Lynn passed away, it got HOT in Florida. Far too HOT old for this old fart to venture far past my pool – and ‘pool ‘it’ I did. Also while it was measuring 105F in the shade, I took my old notes from Germany and wrote a book Views from Sandhausen: Experiences from a Foreign Service Assignment,
which is in gestation as we speak. Last week the temperatures ameliorated to the point that I can get out and walk – Hooray!
Which brings me back to today; I recently purchased a pair of (MBT-style) shoes at a discount of 65%, and made by Skechers! If you follow the link you will see a coming trend that is amazing. Exercise shoes that have rounded bottoms! This is done to provide the wearer’s body a whole new set of exercise inputs. These shoes work immediately. I put them on Friday and wore them around the house. There was no serious walking and no sweat involved. I did this for maybe four hours. My calves hurt!!
Further, Saturday AM I didn’t put them on again because from the center of my back, down to my feet – I Hurt! It is a GOOD hurt as it says that these things work!
We are coming to the point of all this, I promise. As I was walking around the Southern Hills Golf and Country Clubs North course (something that is prohibited) , my little Nike application was tracking my steps, and distance, and pace, and calories burned and, I’m sure, the phases of the moon. It is also playing my iPod library of extraordinary music. Whilst all of that is going on, I have the mapping app up whose GPS tells me to within three feet of where on God’s Green Earth I am, and follows me as I walk! Synchronously, I am taking pictures with one of eight on-board cameras, and I’m IM’ing those photos to a close friend in Tennessee! And don’t forget, the beat just keeps on rockin’. I’m sure that if I wanted to initiate the solution of a differential equation, it would do that too (all at the same time).
Let no man or woman or corporation tell you that you can’t do just about anything today. I am blessed to have lived during the (computer) technology renaissance! I embraced it early, rode that ‘one-trick pony’ down the road as hard as I could, and when I try to look back even two years ago – it is unbelievable! Just look at the beyond-exponential growth documented in this study http://tiny.cc/ko21r
Fact: 15 pentabytes of data are created every day – eight times the volume housed in all U.S. libraries. Every Day, after Day, after Day. Today’s systems have to correlate, analyze and take action more than 200 times a second.
Source IBM, Today I am a writer. To do that right and to squeeze as much out of the effort as possible, I am now an Independent Publisher. My current client base – One. So, I’m evolving from a far left-brained occupation to a far right-brained one. What fun!
You have no idea how good it feels for a data-centric, logical, Information Technology guy to exercise his creative brain cells. I really enjoy writing. When I was working on Lynn’s Story I had a defined mission; to keep our friends around the world informed, and to deliver their support to Lynn, every day. I sat at the computer, where she sat, interacting with her global family and friends, mulling over the possibility of putting Views from Sandhausen to paper.
Could I do it, did I want to, and how big a job would it be? As I am finishing up the Views project I realize that I really like writing. As I sit here finishing off this blog post I am thinking about the next book. Yes, I think there is at least one more in me. Time will tell if I am any good; let it be said by no one that I didn’t try, and had an absolute BLAST doing it.