With great power comes great responsibility-Spiderman (Or Possibly Stan Lee)

You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain-Harvey Dent

Today, I evangelized for Google.

I don’t approve, in general, of selling products for companies for free. I’ve made a career out of doing the opposite, in fact. But today, without even thinking about the fact that I wasn’t getting paid, I did the following:

  1. I posted multiple links on my soon (within the next few hours) to be defunct Facebook page to my Google+ account, and encouraged all of my friends to join, as they will no longer be able to interact with me on their favorite social network.
  2. I walked a friend through the features and benefits of Google Docs over Microsoft Office and converted him to its use.
  3. I walked a complete stranger through the same process; even going so far as to create a shared doc so she could see the value of the collaboration tools.
  4. I talked to no fewer than four people, in real life, about the advantages (when they finally arrive in Canada) of buying a Chromebook.

This was all in the span of about 9 hours.

I’m passionate about what Google is doing; with social, with the cloud, and with productivity in general. I think that this whole concept of everything being rolled into a browser, making work, life, and everything in between utterly seamless and essentially without thought, is the natural maturation of the Internet. I believe in these concepts so strongly that I will soon be making some very large bets regarding them, at possible detriment to my financial security. (more on this later) Read the rest of this entry »

Print is dying.

We’ve all seen headlines screaming that message. (There’s irony in those two sentences. Real irony, not the Alanis Morissette kind.)

Such and such magazine’s subscriptions are plummeting. It’s horrible; they’re a cultural institution; society is crumbling. Etc.

Newspaper X is resurrecting itself as a tablet app. Newspaper X only sold 8 installations of its app and is now sharing afterlife space with Hansen and the political career of Ross Perot.

I’ve seen articles in favor of revamping long form journalism as a digest service. I’ve seen articles calling for its destruction in the face of the rapidly diminishing attention span of a populace that no longer cares about writing as art. I’ve seen micro-theses written on the self-indulgent notion that there will always be a place for print and that traditional news channels simply have to weather the storm.

The truth is, no one knows what’s going to happen. But things are certainly going to change. Read the rest of this entry »

An Open Break-Up Letter*

It’s no secret, to the five people who occasionally land on this site before moving on to better things (like The Oatmeal) that I don’t like you, Facebook.

In the beginning, I wanted you, but couldn’t have you. You made me your bitch by staying exclusive; exclusive to everyone but me, it seemed. Then the invites began. I opened my email one day and there you were:

Oh thou deadly beast! What hast thou started-eth-eth?

Ah, youth. How innocent we all were back then. See profiles? I don’t know what that means**, but it sure sounds nice. Share photos? Hey that’ll give me an excuse to use that digital camera I bought last year.^ Connect with friends? You know, I’m awfully busy and, for the most part, if I’ve lost connection with someone, there’s probably a good rea…ah, what the hell. Could be fun.

Do you notice what’s not in that description? HEY! Don’t you walk away from me! I’m not done. What’s missing? Read the rest of this entry »

The Whole Sort of General Mish Mash (WSOGMM) is the sum total of all the different ways that exists of looking at things, or more specifically, all the different probabilities that exist through which you could look at things.

The Whole Sort of General Mish Mash is a metaphor created to help people better understand a part of the complex concepts presented by the complicated web of probabilities and possibilities (parallel universes, one could say) presented by creation.

The Whole Sort of General Mish Mash, one could say, should be viewed as a plate of pie, or as a large tank of water. You could slice it and divide it up any way you’d like, and you’ll almost always find a way of looking at things somewhere in probability (a parallel universe) that somebody will find familiar.

-Douglas Adams*

The Internet is a really big, imaginary village.

Wait. Village is the wrong word. It’s a quaint little digital giant megatropolis. It started off as a village though, and that’s still how a whole lot of us perceive it.

And that’s a problem. Because Megatropolisses (megatropoli?) need different…I want to say rules, but really it’s just conventions, than villages do.

I want to get something out-of-the-way up front. I am, in general, a big believer in privacy and our rights to it. For example, the only reason that I’m not as famous as I should be, is that I don’t want to expose myself or my family to the prying metaphorical eyes of you lot. (heh) I believe that we should all be afforded as much protection from outside examination as is possible; no one should be allowed to peek in our windows.

But that’s when we stay indoors. When we’re out in public it’s another story altogether. People will look, and we have to be prepared to accept that. The alternative is to never go outside. Read the rest of this entry »

The following is a four part series originally posted at http://www.dearthey.tumblr.com.

Part One: On Cloud Computing And Why I Was Wrong    

I laughed when Chrome OS was announced; A great big hearty mwah ha ha.

Why, I pondered (as I choked on the effervescent bubbles of funny rolling up from my belly), would anyone spend hundreds of dollars on a machine with little (or no) storage, just so they could work entirely in a web browser all day?

I’m not laughing anymore.

When Apple announced the launch of iCloud I was sorely tempted to smack myself in the face. When shopping for a new computer a few months earlier, I had laughed my ass off (this always gets me in trouble, I see this now) at the MacBook Airs on display. Sure, they’re thin, and pretty and, unlike my iPad, run a full OS, but 64GB as a storage starting point? For a thousand bucks? In 2011? Ha!

But then, like I said, iCloud was announced and it all made sense.

I don’t need to carry my music collection with me? Or my documents? And I get to carry around a laptop that weighs less than a burrito at my favorite Mexican joint? Sold.

Not so fast.

You see, while I had been laughing at the MacBook Air that day, I talked myself into buying an iMac instead. A sexy beast to be sure, but looking more than a little chunky for my day to day purposes once I’d made the decision to go thin*. And it cost $1700. So, yeah, three months later, I was not going to win the fight to give another thirteen or fourteen hundred bucks to my Apple overlords (Hail Hydra) with my lovely but financially conservative wife.

So I grumbled, and I toyed with the idea of putting my iMac on Kijiji (not met with positive reception by my family) to finance my craving for Air, and then, as I often do, I sulked in front of a computer. Read the rest of this entry »

My grandfather is dying.

Cheery, I know.

I’ve had a…problematic relationship with family during my life. I moved out when I was fifteen due to a near fatal combination of my teenage rebellion and my mother’s hellish and sadistic early menopause. My brother and I have different fathers; his tried to be a parent to me when mine wouldn’t and, for reasons so clichéd they sometimes make me ashamed to have not been written by Dan Brown, I wouldn’t let him and so he lost interest.

I have had slightly more meaningful relationships with a couple of my favorite hotdog vendors than I have had with some members of my immediate family. And the guys at my local comic shop? They are dear to me in a way that the people who bought me birthday presents when I was six simply aren’t anymore.

I am not, in some cases, without regret in these matters. I’m sure some of the family I’ve distanced myself from are far more complex and nuanced as human beings than I ever gave them credit for when I was younger. And, to be fair, I have redeveloped some of those connections over the last few years; it’s amazing how quickly baby photos on Facebook will incentivize people to call you out of the blue.

But nothing fills me with more regret than the distance that grew between my grandfather and I.
Read the rest of this entry »

I haven’t been here for a while.

I mean, I’ve been here, sitting in front of my computer, doing…stuff (yes, fine, there’s been some porn involved) but I haven’t been blogging.

And it’s not because I haven’t had anything to say; I’ve drowned Twitter with my inanity and the things I’ve learned just at my job the last eight months or so would fill about twenty posts worth of material; I’ve just had a hard time sorting through all the noise to find something I wanted to write about.

That noise…

The world is vastly different now than it was even a couple of years ago.  Whole lives are lived digitally; the online world allows bravery and cowardice in equal measure and the Internet as a whole has gone a long way to reversing the popular wisdom that led to, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” It no longer matters entirely what you look like, first impressions are now based on what you say about things people care about.  Let’s not kid ourselves; it’s not as though we’re living a brave new world wherein you don’t still have to go to the gym in order to get your chat room sweetheart to blow you, but we’ve certainly come to a place where thought is currency.

That led me to think about the 14-year-old Walrus and what he would think about the world as it is now.  Would he stand in awe at the technological marvels we’ve wrought? Or would he cringe at the fact that the future of Western civilization is so very bleak?

The world as we know it is ending. Read the rest of this entry »

Unless you live in a bubble, you can’t help but be aware of what happened this week.

That’s right, for the first time ever and in defiance of all the odds, an article written by me had over four hundred hits and

Oh, right.

Deep breath. (Not everything’s about me. Not everything’s about me. Not everything’s about me.)

So. The other thing that happened.

 I debated writing a piece actually on the vengeful destruction of Prop 8 at the hands of the forces of truth and light but, for a number of reasons[i], I decided not to. After all, the Walrus is about setting trends, not following them. I couldn’t just let the issue pass though; it’s kind of one of those big deal historical moments that you get laughed at a decade later for being asleep during. You know, like when we did this very same thing as a whole nation up here in the North[ii], where we care less about who’s nailing who as long as they’re staying warm.  

Anyway.

The point is, I had to say something. So I said to myself, “Self, what’s the angle here? What can we possibly say that will use this news to shed light on some crucial but oft neglected facet of humanity’s humanity? What nugget of sheer and insane genius can we ejaculate vigorously on the chin of the zeitgeist?” Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been reeling for a couple of days.

I woke up Sunday with a noble purpose. Infiltrate an enemy camp, isolate the most dangerous thespian of our time, and lay mighty waste to his vulnerable bits with the Thunder Staff of Walrus. I had a cover for this mission; my daughter’s dance class was performing on the family stage at a major musical event and Kevin Costner (shudder) would be performing at the same event.

How did Costner rate a spot on my very exclusive people-who-must-be-erased-as-though-they-never-existed list? By being the career killer of some of the finest actors of the last half century.

It’s true. Every movie that Killer Kev has had anything to do with in the past decade or so has been littered with supporting casts made up of the most talented aged actors alive. And then, once the smell of burning celluloid and traumatized moviegoers has dissipated, those actors are never seen again. Read the rest of this entry »

Three years ago I went on a crime spree.

It started with a simple mugging; a cab driver. I pistol whipped him in the head from the backseat of his car and bolted with his money clip.  The police became involved rather quickly and, in order to escape, I shot a couple of officers; young guys, just out doing their job. Staying on foot wasn’t an option; I could hear sirens in the distance. I ran up to a car stopped at a traffic light, pulled the driver side door open, and dragged the poor bastard behind the wheel to the street. Getting into his seat, I kicked him in the jaw to stop his blubbering before slamming the door, gunning the engine and then blowing through the red.

I drove for hours, stopping only to steal gas once from a fat, pedo looking fuck manning a Pump Stop and then, in a fit of blood lust that would make Wyatt Earp nod in approval, I started shooting randomly out my window. BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.

Reload.

Repeat.

And believe me when I tell you, if any of this had happened in the real world, I would probably feel at least moderately terrible about it. But it didn’t. Read the rest of this entry »