About Me

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I recently graduated with an MBA and an M.S. Information Systems from Boston University, concentrating in Marketing and Business Analytics. I also live on a boat and have a Boston Terrier named Maracas.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Google Play

Mondays are my worst day.  I know I sound like Garfield, but they are.  I have to be in school from 8 AM to 9 PM.  My day is composed of school, work, meetings, extra curricular activities, more meetings, and a three-hour class to finish the day.  So when I go home, I just want to relax. Well, I was trying to relax, minding my own business when BAAM! There it was.  Something new on Google.  But what?!  What is "Play"?

I was really intrigued, but was careful not to click on it.  This one click could mean so many things during a time where I just want to relax.  It could get me going down the rabbit hole, or get me all worked up.  I'm not sure what reaction it will cause, but I know that it will not be relaxing.  So, at this point, I'm clearly all worked up, so I go ahead and click on it.  Oh man! Did I just make a poor decision!!! Well, there goes my peaceful evening.

Google Play is almost a direct hit on a company that I admire very much: Amazon.  For the longest time, I thought Amazon had the best strategy for sustainability.  While Google owns search, mail, and Calendars, Amazon had the store, the cloud, and prime.  While Apple had consumer electronics, Amazon was creating their own and distributing Apple's.  While Facebook had the social network and all of our personal information, Amazon had our purchasing habits, credit cards, and our hearts.  Well, maybe not our hearts, but they are a company you can trust and is well diversified.  They are able to compete in most of the fronts.

So, now comes mean ol' Google trying to anger everyone.  First with Android to compete with Apple.  Then with Plus to compete with Facebook.  And now with Play to compete with Amazon!? Well, this just plain stinks.  First of all, it got me worked up and writing this stupid blog post.  Second of all, I'm afraid it will be a half-hearted attempt like Plus, and that their reason for doing this is only to learn more about us and not give us a good product.  Lastly, it is challenging Amazon, a company that I truly like and respect.

Anyway, I am sure that this is their first day in a new school and they don't want to hear people complain about them.  I just hope that they're here for a little while and move on.

I really don't know what to expect and not sure how this fits their overall strategy.  I can understand why Google may want to get into the driverless car industry, but not why they would open up a digital store.  Unless, of course, that they want to plague all of our media with advertising.  And if that's the case, well they just plain suck! I guess we will have to see how this pans out.  For now, I hope Amazon wins.  And Google: please don't cancel any of my accounts.  I offer a picture of Maracas as tribute!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Art of Procrastination

Procrastination is usually seen as a negative thing.  People associate it with wasting time and not really generating any value.  I would like to make an argument that procrastination is an art and that we all become very creative when we are trying to avoid doing actual work.  This actually takes a lot of energy and  practice.  TV is playing the same thing, people on facebook are still trying to be witty, and the interwebs are just full of cats. So when I need to avoid doing homework, I start looking for things that need fixing.  

I currently need to find a job, am taking five classes, need to prepare a speech, have 2 informational interviews, and need to prepare for a business competition.  I am extremely busy, so I decided that it was more important to create a base for our dry-eraser and markers.  In front of me was a cork board and to my left I had plenty of supplies, including resume paper, thumb tacks, a ruler, scissors, and a mechanical pencil.  My engineering mind starting working. 
(think hamster spinning really fast)

Base Drawing - Rev C
Base after cutting
I went through a couple of prototypes before I settled on a design.  I would combine some structural engineering with origami.  By bending the paper, I would give it enough structure to actually support the weight of one (1) eraser and two (2) dry-erase markers.  As you can see from the picture, this was the design I settled on.  You can actually see the dimensions in case you want to replicate the process.  However, if you want to REALLY procrastinate, I suggest that you come up with a unique design of your own!

Once I finished drawing the outline, I started cutting and bending.  As you can see from the picture, it is not a terribly difficult project.  That is the true beauty of this design.   

One of the most difficult challenges I faced was anchoring the base to the cork board.  However, the thumbtacks were very useful and provided an added level of support.  As you can see, I placed four (4) thumbtacks on the base support, and two (2) clear ones on the top support to prevent the base from bending and collapsing.

After finishing the base, I tested it and it was a success.  My friends didn't realize it was paper until I pointed that fact out.  Now, my design sits proudly in our office doing a very good job of supporting our eraser and markers.  I am a proud man!

Once again, I have proved that procrastination can actually be a good thing.  I am super busy today, but instead decided to share my design with you folks.  

If you actually design a base for yourself, with the same materials, please send me a message and show me.  Maybe, one day, we can make a website for people to waste time and learn.  Oh wait, that already exists. It's called reddit

Thursday, March 15, 2012

iPhone Apps for Business Students - Day 7

Day 7 – frustration
1:15 am
Here is the first chapter of the tutorial that I am making.  It is very simple and will show you how great it is to work with the Storyboard function of Xcode.  The app is very, very simple.  It's really there to get you comfortable with using Xcode, especially if this is your first time programming anything.  Also, here is the actual file in case you want to see a working app.  Have fun with it and let me know what you think of the tutorial!

As far as my actual programming:

Man, I was thinking that this was going to be easy.  I have been watching the Stanford classes on iTunes and have been getting my hands dirty with Xcode but I am starting to hit a lot of walls.  This is hard stuff.  Anyway, I finished programming a calculator and am starting to understand how to store values.  This will be critical when I start asking users to add information into the app and the database.  Also, I have been trying to get the authentication process going, but for some reason my mind is crashing.  It’s like I am getting the blue screen of death as soon as I start reading the code that retrieves information from AWS.
Anyway, I’m sure the beer doesn’t help, even when it’s a Racer 5.

Here's a picture of Maracas that I am hoping will turn into a meme.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

iPhone Apps for Business Students - Day 6

Day 6 – on the phone
12:11 pm
I was able to register as a developer through my school.  This has allowed me to test the app on an actual phone, so it’s pretty cool to see something I made on my iPhone. Also, I managed to make the app talk back and forth with AWS.  I’m getting very comfortable with Xcode and am diving deeper into the programming.  This coming week, I will be playing with some of the logic and actual user interface.  Also, I will be trying to make the logging of appliances and electronics actually work.
I have realized that learning how to code for the iPhone is pretty cool and easy at first, but the deeper you dig, the WAY more difficult it gets.  I have been a little frustrated lately.  I guess that if it was easy, anyone could do it.  But, shouldn't anyone be able to program?  We would live in a world full of amazing things or a world full of crappy apps.  I guess that's why they keep programming hard.  As it is, there is already a bunch of crap.
Anyway, people seem to like Maracas, so here she is poking out of a port hole:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

iPhone Apps for Business Students - Day 5

Day 5 – AWS Breakthrough!
11:23 am
I couldn’t fall asleep because I knew I was so close to getting my app to talk with AWS.  I decided to start a demo app from scratch and have its sole purpose be to talk with AWS.  I looked at the “HighScores” demo again and scrutinized every bit (no pun intended.) In any case, I was finally able to get it to register with AWS.  I don’t know if I did this right, but I couldn’t create the domain through the app, so I just went in through the Firefox plugin and created the domain.  VOILA! It works! Oh well, now I really have to go do some other school stuff.
Here is Maracas during a snow storm