★ Internet Beer Users

In June of last year, I attended a live recording of The Talk Show. Being the huge nerd that I am, I went by myself. No one that I know is nerdy enough to go to something like this and my wife fully supports my weird interests. I’m totally comfortable going to events on my own and this was no different.

The show itself was great. I had a fun time and I even got to meet other nerds that I’ve followed on the Internet over the years. After I decided I’d had enough free alcohol, I was about to leave when I heard someone call out my name. I thought this is impossible. Having only lived in the Bay Area for a few years, the few friends that I had were not going to be at a live recording of a podcast. I looked in the direction of the voice and saw this guy approach me and ask again, “Jay Torres?” I said yes, and he introduced himself by his Twitter handle, “I’m Nick Pro.”

It’s now July and by this Friday, we will have put out our 26th episode of our podcast. We made our podcast public on February 10  after over 6 months of planning and brainstorming. I’ve always had a thing for making digital stuff. I started a blog in 2001. I’ve been listening to podcasts since 2010-ish and I’ve found them to be interesting and they are now my main form of entertainment. I always wanted to try and make one but I didn’t want to make one on my own and I didn’t know what to talk about.

On that night, over a beer at Cellarmaker, I mentioned to Nick that I’d always wanted to make a podcast and mentioned those two points. He mentioned the same and it kind of clicked. We’re both into tech obviously and we enjoy craft beer. We can talk endlessly about both, why not do that? Here we are, with half a year’s worth of episodes out into the world.

We’ve been having a great time recording it. It gives me something to do aside from being an engineer, husband, and dad, it scratches my creative itch. If you’re into drinking above average beer and/or into Apple, video games, or nerdy things as well, give us a listen. Cheers!

Watch Screen

This week, I was featured on Mark Miller’s site to share my Apple Watch screen. I talk about my watch faces and how the watch fits into my life. Head over to Mark’s site to read the interview.

Update: Colin Devroe linked to my interview and posted his own thoughts on his site. He doesn’t have the same opinions as I do now, but he says to check again in a few years.

★ Apple Watch: My Thoughts

I’ve had my Apple Watch for two weeks. There has been much written about this product and I certainly have read most of those articles while trying to decide if I wanted one for myself. My wife graciously bought me one for my birthday so the decision was made for me.

I got the 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Apple Watch Sport. It comes with the black sport band but I also purchased a white sport band. I think the gray aluminum contrasts nicely with the white band. I’ve worn watches on and off since I was a kid. My dad handed down my first watch, a Timex Ironman Triathlon with Indiglo. Most recently, I’ve worn a Kenneth Cole watch, and a couple of Nixon watches; The Banks and The Chronicle. Whether I realized it or not, I’ve always enjoyed wearing watches, as both an accessory and as a gadget with the Timex. When the Apple Watch was announced, I wasn’t completely sold on it. As I read the initial reviews and a few more in depth ones, I changed my mind.

From L to R: Kenneth Cole, The Banks, The Chronicle, Apple Watch
From L to R: Kenneth Cole, The Banks, The Chronicle, Apple Watch
The Banks. Wearing Space Black since 2006.
The Banks. Wearing Space Black since 2006.
The Chronicle
The Chronicle

I stopped wearing a watch around the time I got my iPhone. It was cool to have an iPhone in those early years and I didn’t mind taking it out to check the time. You don’t realize it but it is very inconvenient to have to reach into your pocket and take out your phone just to check the time. Often, my hands are full while out running errands and pulling out my phone to check the time is impossible. Looking at my wrist to check the time instead of reaching for my phone is MUCH easier when you’re out and about. The raise your wrist action to activate the screen has been accurate about 90% of the time. Annoying when it doesn’t turn on, but not a deal breaker. I also tend to activate it while driving when I make turns. Not a big issue, but I do notice it when it turns on.

Receiving notifications was another feature I knew I would appreciate. Here’s a real life scenario that happened this week. My family and I were out to lunch. I waited in line to order while my wife took my stepdaughter and our newborn son to find a place to sit. She told me what she wanted and left to find us a table. Right before I got to the cashier to order, I felt a noticeable tap on my wrist. My wife texted me their drink orders. We were in a loud food court and I definitely would not have heard my phone go off in my pocket. And if I did, I’d have to reach in and unlock it to read her text. With the watch, all I had to do was raise my wrist and the text was right there. No need to tap or hit any buttons.

Modular Face
Modular Face
X-Large Face
X-Large Face
Simple Face
Simple Face
Utility Face
Utility Face

I also wanted the Apple Watch because I think it’s a really nice looking watch. Even with the display off, the all black face looks understatedly attractive. I love that you can switch faces as you please and there is sure to be one that you like. I’ve been switching between the Modular face and the Simple face. The watch complications are also extremely useful. If checking my phone for the time was the number one reason I took it out, the number two reason was to check the weather. I can now do it from my wrist with a quick glance. This by itself has saved me so much time.

There are so many other features that I haven’t had a chance to play around with. The health and fitness aspect is one that Apple is marketing and one that I haven’t tested out extensively. Third party apps are currently limited but that will change once the next version of watchOS comes out in the fall. For now, I use Dark Sky, Swarm, Do Button and Clear the most. I like to use Swarm check into restaurants and other venues to keep a record of what I do everyday. I no longer have to reach for my phone; I can do it from my Watch without seeming rude. I can control the lights in my apartment with Do Button which is linked to my WeMo Switch. Using Clear on Apple Watch for crossing off items on my grocery list is SO much better than taking out my phone each time to cross off an item.

The watch has seamlessly fit into my life and even at this early point, it would be a pain if I left home without it. This is NOT an iPhone replacement; it is a cool watch that does cool things. If you set your expectations like so, you’ll like the Apple Watch.

Technology Vs. Fashion

Gavin B. Keilly, chief executive of GBK Productions, a marketing firm in Los Angeles that specializes in putting high-end items in the hands of trendsetters, says that Apple is giving its watches to celebrities because the masses adopt fashion in a very different way than they do technology.

With gadgets, consumers seek out the advice of experts. With fashion, trendsetters often set the agenda. “If a celebrity is wearing something, it’s going to make someone want to go out and buy it,” Mr. Keilly said. “Celebrities: They sell.”

A Million Origami Lobsters

A thought experiment designed to illustrate how difficult it is to deliver millions of products efficiently and profitably.

There’s no rush; you can deliver your million lobsters any time during the month, provided that you don’t mind people complaining that you are way too slow at getting this done. Oh, and you’ll be criticized in the international press for every failure to produce perfect lobsters.

And now, imagine this same plan, except with this twist: no one has successfully folded this particular type of Origami lobster before, so you really don’t know how it’s all going to turn out. And your reward if you are successful will not be praise, but demands that you build even more next month.

Congratulations. You’ve just imagined the scenario that Apple executives had to create for the launch of Apple Watch, except that Apple products are orders of magnitude more complex than paper lobsters. Also billions of dollars of revenue hang on you getting this process right the first time; if you don’t, your company and possibly the entire category of smartwatches will be deemed a failure. No pressure at all, really.

Logistics are hard.

Tidal and the Future of Music

Ben Thompson on Tidal, a new streaming service backed by several popular artists, including Jay-Z, Kanye West and Beyoncé:

“This ultimately is why Tidal will fail: it’s nice that Jay-Z and company would prefer to garner Spotify’s (minuscule) share of streaming revenue, but there is zero reason to expect Tidal to win in the market. Tidal doesn’t have Spotify’s head-start or free tier, it doesn’t have Apple’s distribution might and bank account, and it doesn’t have any meaningful exclusives3 — and to be successful, you need a lot of exclusives; it’s too easy and guilt-free to pirate (or simply skip) one or two songs.”

I’m a fan of Jay-Z and Kanye but I see no other outcome for Tidal but failure. 

Tim Cook Leads Different

Regarding Apple Campus 2, Apple’s new campus currently under construction in Cupertino:

Visible in the distance are Apple’s existing Cupertino campus, downtown San Jose, and Levi’s Stadium, where the San Francisco 49ers play and which, incidentally, would fit into the 30-acre park that will be at the center of the main spaceship building.

The Evolution of Steve Jobs

There will forever be books and pieces written about Steve Jobs. He was the Henry Ford of my generation. Most portray him as a harsh dictator who wasn’t afraid to tell people what was on his mind. Fast Company looks at how Steve evolved as a CEO, especially in his second act:

Despite his reputation as a tyrannical micromanager, Jobs maintained an excellent and relatively stable executive team during his second tenure at Apple. The more mature and confident he became, the more he surrounded himself with strong, opinionated executives who felt comfortable arguing with him. This was something he had learned during his exile from Apple.

The Story of Crossy Road

At this year’s Game Developer Conference, developers Matt Hall and Andy Sum talk about their hit app, Crossy Road.

They revealed that, 90 days after its release, Crossy Road’s combination of solid gameplay, unobtrusive in-app purchases, and optional in-app ads powered by the Unity engine, has earned $10 million from 50 million downloads.

Great for them.