Boston / Cambridge Trip

Here are some photos from our recent trip to Boston/Cambridge. We had a wonderful time being tourists and averaged 10 miles per day on foot! It was a wonderful mix of history, excitement, and fantastic weather.

It was neat being in such a densely populated city where people really take pride in their surroundings. Most of Boston was incredibly clean and well kept. The locals were very friendly and far less "afraid" to come up and talk to a stranger than people in the mid-west, it was quite refreshing!

In short, if you haven't been, I would definitely make the trip.

The iPhone 6 Dilemma

You may have read the title of this post and assumed I was debating whether or not I should upgrade to the iPhone 6, but that isn't the dilemma at all. I am genuinely excited about the new hardware as well as iOS 8. The dilemma is deciding which screen size to get because in all honesty, I want something in the middle. The perfect size for me would be 5.1" which happens to be the same size as the current Samsung Galaxy S5 which my wife has. I still use a wide array of Apple products so I am not ready to jump ship and convert to Android just yet... With that said I have been spending the afternoon some what (or completely) like a crazy person holding these cutouts up to my ear and manipulating them with my hands. Pretending to text, swipe, call, etc in an effort to determine which size I want. Short of going in after they are in stores and playing with one this is about the closest I can get to seeing how it would be to jump from 4" to 4.7" or 5.5".

Consumption is an obvious win for the larger device but I also think that apps like Garage Band, iMovie, Keynote, etc are going to be made infinitely better by the increased screen real estate. I am also hoping that the typing experience is enhanced with the larger screen. As far as downsides go, will the iPhone 6 Plus too big to comfortably text on with one hand? Will it fit in most cup holders? Do I need new jeans? Is Apple going to start selling larger hands if needed? So many questions!

Obviously I could answer all of the questions above by going into a store after the release date but I have a feeling that sales will sky rocket after the first day they hit stores. Because there are so many unanswered questions about the two sizes I think pre-orders will be lower than ever leaving lots of room for those who decide in the next couple of days.

The Brilliance of Simplicity

I have always admired businesses who thrive on a simple concept/idea. I believe that if you do one thing really well you can make a good living doing exactly that. I have recently come across a couple of products in this category that I just had to blog about.

The first product is something I found via Shark Tank and while it is extremely simple it has proved to be quite valuable. The product is called Drop Stop and it is simply a neoprene casing filled with hypoallergenic polyester fiberfill. It "installs" quickly and easily by sliding the opening over your seat belt catch and pushing the Drop Stop down between the seat and the center console. Once installed you can no longer drop your cell phone, money, parking ramp ticket, etc between your seat and center console. Again, this sounds so simple it is almost silly but think about how distracting and dangerous it can be if you drop something that you need and have to try and dig for it while driving, not a good scenario. After getting two of them for my wife and myself, I went and got them for my parents as well. After only a few months we have all had experiences where the Drop Stop "caught" something that would have otherwise fallen into the horrible oblivion known as that space between the seat and center console.

The next product which has been a real game changer for me is something known as Kinesiology Tape. More specifically I have been using a brand called KT Tape which is available on Amazon, CVS, Target, and many other retailers. The short version of what it does goes like this: by taping problematic muscles/areas you are effectively lifting the layer of skin and attached tissue covering the muscle so that blood and other fluids can move more freely in and around that area which helps to increase mobility. By just having the tape in place over the affected muscle you are also "tricking" the muscle into thinking that it is being better supported which in turn causes the muscle to relax. I have two herniated discs in my neck (C5-6, C6-7) so really everything from playing sports to doing long coding sprints bothers my shoulders/neck. I have been taping religiously now for a couple weeks and have noticed a huge improvement while doing anything athletic as well as standing/sitting for long periods. The tape generally stays on for about 2-3 days (even with showering) so you can really "stretch" (get it?) your dollar. I recommend buying the uncut strips because they are quite a bit cheaper and often times it's nice to be able to customize the length of each strip.

So at their core what do we have here? A neoprene casing filled with polyester and some fancy tape. While neither of those things sound particularly brilliant, the way that they are marketed/used are exactly that, brilliant. I am a tech guy and I love complex, (sometimes) over engineered things as much as the next geek but some of the best things in life are the most simplistic.