Tech Discrimination

I recently posted this on my Facebook and it triggered quite a bit of discussion. I was borderline surprised to see at least 1 commenter write that they would intentionally bump PCs they saw at coffee shops – probably a bit extreme but certainly acknowledges the reality of tech. Whether it be your choice of laptop, smartphone or even apps – don’t the cool kids use Snapchat? I guess we all want to be cool again – see below repost from Facebook.

Per my FB post below, here are some of my notes on migrating from Windows to Mac.

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(Reposting from Facebook, July 28, 2015)

So I’ve officially made the switch to Mac – yes, I’m like a decade behind my colleagues and almost embarrassed to write this. At Tempo, I justified using a Windows laptop because I had to test Exchange sync with our calendar but secretly it was because I was an Office and Outlook die-hard and I couldn’t bear making the switch off of Outlook (not to mention, I didn’t think Windows was that bad 🙂

Well now that Tempo is part of Salesforce and my laptop is entering it’s 3rd year, it’s time to make a switch. The change interestingly is less so because I care about switching to Mac but more so because of the “tech discrimination” I used to get using Windows. In the last month, I’ve caught-up with multiple investors and I’d ask the point-blank question, what do you think if someone pitches with a PC. Most said, “I don’t really care but my partner…” -> cop-out! Clearly you’re at a disadvantage if you pitching with a PC.

Independent of that, I can’t tell you how many times I used to get funny stares speaking at conferences whipping out a PC. It always took a little bit of miracle-work because Mac connectors to the projectors have become the default.

I also remember being asked once in an interview in ’07 if I was a Mac or PC user, ha! In any case, I have folded to the peer pressure and probably upgraded at the same time. Technology is meant to be replaced with better!

Good luck Microsoft with the Window 10 launch tomorrow! And hoping that you can fix the consumer sentiment but unfortunately, it’s often winner take all until the next tidal change.

PS I’m working on a lengthy blog post at my personal website on how I configured Fusion with OSX so I can keep Outlook 🙂 until they get Outlook 2016 on Mac in parity!

Using a Chromebook for a Week

Apologies for the lack of posts, I’ve been heads down incubating at SRI.

Last week, on almost an 18-month basis, it was time to send in my HP laptop into warranty. I’m not sure why I continue to buy AMD based laptops considering they are plagued with over-heating issues (and I’m sure my over-use lifestyle doesn’t help). In any case, the laptop was off to warranty and so I only had my Chromebook.

I made sure to copy all relevant docs off my laptop into a personal folder on my Dropbox and my recent move to Office365 with some pain (for another post) meant all of my email was in the cloud (and yes, I use Gmail as well but I am an Outlook fan). I also took out the primary drive since warranty seemingly wants to format the primary disk as if that helps solve the problem (but that’s for another story).

Day 1 with the Chromebook wasn’t too bad, it was a lot lighter than my 17-inch laptop and so that made it easier to work with and the battery life was awesome but then I hit my first snag. Not sure what are the odds, but I received an email with a video product demo attached. I probably have only received a video attachment in my email maybe 10-20 times in my life and it happened to be this week, ha! In any case, you realize pretty quickly that the Chromebook can’t really open or play miscellaneous attachments. So I had two options, open it on another computer or upload the video to YouTube to than watch it (sounds counter-intuitive); I decided to defer until I got my laptop back.

Day 2, 3, 4 etc went pretty smoothly. I was finding that the Chromebook was very sufficient but I was starting to miss something and I realized it was the geek in me. Windows and Linux desktops allow you to constantly just “tweak” around, I’m not sure how you describe it but it’s the moving of icons, adjusting folder properties, renaming files, re-ordering your tray, performing pointless upgrades etc etc. Maybe it’s just me, but I find these little bits of activities to be almost fillers of micro-boredom, maybe best analog’ed to the mobile app ecosystem where much of the fun is in just browsing and randomly downloading/uninstalling. That piece was missing with the Chromebook and it almost felt like I was not being productive since I was always in the browser?

Five days had passed and I somehow managed to not have to edit a PPT or an XLS considering I’m a PPT and XLS monkey. Part of that was because I timed the warranty with a long weekend and so I was mostly offline. In any case, this is where the fun began. As much as I love Google docs and use it extensively, it’s no substitute for Excel or Powerpoint (or even Keynote, I’ve had a Mac laptop as well). Editing a financial plan in Google Docs was a non-starter and so I thought I’d give Office Web Apps a shot and this is where it broke down. Whether it’s Microsoft or Chrome, Excel and Powerpoint online was not really working via the Chromebook. I’ve certainly played with it in the past via Chrome on my PC but it just didn’t work on my Chromebook. Considering that these items were time critical, I ended-up borrowing another laptop to edit these docs and unfortunately had to keep that laptop because I can’t “slideshow” from the Chromebook. I suspect Google is thinking through all of these scenarios and is probably targeting the more casual web user as opposed to the hyper-prosumer but I would add that I did make time for Allies and Empires and Flash is awfully slow on the Chromebook.

My laptop arrived a day early and I was back to my PC. Fortunately, I managed to not sign-into Skype that week since it was a meeting-full week but I do remember one day where I was looking for the calculator app and realized that there is no calculator on the Chromebook; I tried simple arithmetic through the Google search engine and that did pretty well 🙂 Anyways, summarizing, I was pleased with the Chromebook but it wasn’t sufficient for my needs. For vacation, it’d probably be perfect and for most folks I know who primarily only browse, it’s more than sufficient. I presume Google will build more stuff locally into the Chromebook to substitute for some of these problems (looking more and more like an OS) but regardless of how rich they make the device, if it feels like it’s all in a browser, I will certainly miss the pleasure from tweaking arrays of options and menus!