Coding Day 4

So, I got through the second part of the tutorial today. I’m hoping that the XML Serialization will work this time :D.

This evening I got bored and decided to try to create an OSX virtual machine, because virtual machines are fun. Below is a picture of the install process. And here is a link on how to do it yourself with Virtualbox and iAtkos – http://www.macbreaker.com/2013/01/iatkos-ml2-mountain-lion-virtualbox.html.

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24 Days of Game Development

I’ve decided to go through another challenge in my life. I want to work on developing a game. I’ve always wanted to, but have never found the effort. I’m working based on a tutorial  that I’m sure I will make modifications to, once I figure out what I’m doing. This is the tutorial I’m working on – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agt9-J9RPZ0

I started yesterday. I had worked on this project previously, but just quit randomly. Now, I’m excited to start again. I have run into some trouble on the third tutorial and am struggling to get the XML serializer to work the way it’s supposed to.

My goal is to work for at least 20 minutes a day every day of December until Christmas. I’m excited to get started and we’ll see how well it turns out.

Commitment

I don’t know if it’s just me or all of my generation, but I feel like I can’t commit to anything in my personal life. I see people on TV all the time like the following video:

A friend of a friend was telling me about someone my age, working in the same field that I am, who dropped out of college and is making $40 an hour. I mean, I graduated college and I make $14 an hour. Why can’t I be that committed to something?

I try to commit to things, like this blog, but I end up with a half-dozen unfinished posts and no traffic. I feel like I start something and am excited about it, but never stay committed.

My grandfather seems to have this same problem. He is committed to his job as a pastor, but has so many unfinished projects in his life. He had a 90’s magenta Ford Taurus that was rear-ended and not worth fixing. He started to convert it into a mini-truck, building the parts out of wood. He called it his “truck-let,” but never finished it. There was a basement in our church that he was trying to convert into a game room. He got the ping-pong and pool tables all set up, then covered them in donated crap and never got around to sorting through the stuff, so turning game tables into just tables.

I just wish I could have half the dedication that some people do. I have committed to various things throughout the years. I tried to learn programming, but once I got an application to be barely functional, I basically gave up. I’ve tried to blog before, but just quit one day. I go on and off with my commitment to exercising.

Does anyone else feel the same way as I do?

A Week with a Smartphone

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Although I went a week without a smartphone and basically without tablets and learned much about myself and smartphones, I am happy to have my phone back. This week I have learned a lot about myself again and what smartphones do to me.

  1. Smartphones are super-convenient – I love having the ability to search Bing, send a text message, compose email, sync with my calendar, or use Nokia Here maps at my fingertips. Just today, I was going to my Mom’s wedding – congratulations to her btw – used maps to find my way there, listened to music that I wanted to listen to, and was able to call hands free while driving by voice command.
  2. Smartphones shorten my attention span – This is something I need to work on. During our weekly meeting at work, I got bored and was playing on my phone. My boss suddenly says, “Matt, what have you been working on this week?” Embarrassed, I said what I was doing and moved on, but it seems like having the smartphone gave me more opportunity to tune out. I need to focus on paying attention, even when it seems unimportant.
  3. Smartphones drive me crazy – My phone has been having trouble streaming music this week, when I’m in my car. It makes me curse it out, then I think of the week that I didn’t have a smartphone and just switch to listening to the radio. I’m still dissatisfied, but I know that I should calm down.
  4. Smartphones make me less personal – I tried to make rules that I would not send texts, search Bing for things, look at Twitter, etc. while I was in the car or with other people. This has been a hard goal to accomplish. I would always think of things to search for in the car or people to text and do it at stoplights. I actually followed through with this part of my goal and was able to focus more on driving. I’m getting better at not constantly checking my phone when I’m around people, but I did text my roommates while I was hanging out with my grandparents tonight. Sorry, Papa, some of your stories are boring.

Overall, I’m so glad to have my smartphone back, and am working on having better social etiquette with it. I read an article this week – can’t find the link :( – that was talking about how to battle people who are glued to their phones in the work environment. They talked about, if someone were to be rudely using their phone during a meeting, to ask to reschedule the meeting. I don’t want to be that guy. I want to be genuine and able to communicate well with people in person.

The Rest of My Experience Without a Smartphone

On the last few days of the experiment, Wednesday through today, I have learned about smartphones and what they do to me. Smartphones fill the lulls in life. The times that I am in the elevator, waiting on a computer to install or uninstall a program, waiting in line at the grocery store, or other various situations where I am in limbo between one task and another.

I discovered that elevators are awkward places without smartphones. Sometimes I would get out my phone, check the time, change the background and put it back in my pocket. This is the only sort of game I have on my Samsung SGH-a157.

As I leave my dumb phone to again return to my glorious Nokia Lumia 920, I leave myself with the following knowledge:

  • Focus on people, not your phone. Even with my closest friends, I used to use my phone all the time. I would check Twitter, text other friends, and Bing various things. I felt like these things were so important that I had to get them done at that point. I would like to change this. I don’t need to check Facebook, Twitter, Vine, etc. while I am chilling with my friends. Even if all of them do it, I don’t need to.
  • Bathrooms are awkward without a smartphone. I want to let this one be clear. Using the bathroom to do a number two without a smartphone sucks.
  • I can do it. As nervous as I was for this experiment, as much as this goes against my nature, I can go without a smartphone. It doesn’t control me. I can live without it. It’s convenient, yes, but it can consume my life. #balance

I also learned that my digital life was clogged up. I had too many social networks, things I was following, etc. Yesterday, I deleted about half the apps off my iPad, today, I will do the same thing on my phone. I had too many news sources that I was following. Too many Twitter accounts I was following. I’ve thinned my following list from 153 to 78. I need to go through my Facebook friends and have a similar reaping.

I could have switched yesterday afternoon back to my phone, but I decided to wait and I’m glad I did. I’ll kind of miss this crappy phone. T9 is amazing by the way.

Another blogger commented on one of my previous posts with the following video. I believe it speaks well to what I learned from going a week with a dumb phone.

Without a Smartphone 3

I was at a coffee shop and with no tablets or smartphones, I wrote the post for day 3 on paper.

Day 3

This morning I awake to a loud alarm, startled. I finally figure out how the snooze button works. For a $10 phone, this thing seems hard to figure out. I wake up again 10 minutes in the future to a sound just as loud as before. I had adjusted the ringer volume down, but apparently it has no effect on the alarm volume.

I am surprised to find my phone still holds three of five bars of battery. I have never charged it. It’s battery has been going strong since Sunday at 4pm. This is a huge advantage of this phone.

Speaking of advantages, I figured out speaker phone. I was overjoyed at this, but soon realized that at the same time I felt pathetic for finding this to be such a big deal in my life. I am saddened that I have sunk to such a state that I am this dependent on technology.

I feel like my texting response speed has improved. I am getting better at not looking at the keyboard and figuring out where the letters are. I’m impressed by the designers of T9. It works.

Running

Today, when I arrive home from work, I decide to run. I like to time myself when I run to track my progress. The timer app on my Samsung SGH-a157 forgets where it is at if the phone is closed. I don’t own a watch, nor have an old iPod to deal with. I figure I can go into the clock app, track the hour minute and second I start and finish, and subtract. Even the clock app has no second hand. I cannot figure out for the life of me how to time this run on this $10 phone. I just track the minutes and guestimate the seconds. The main thing I miss while running is music. Music feels so motivational and fun. I only hear the gross sounds my body makes while running: the breathing, sweaty arms rubbing against my tired torso, my ankles cracking on certain steps. At the same time, I feel more at one with myself running without the music. I feel like I am a part of my surroundings. I complete my run and eat dinner.

Coffee

I later go to a coffee shop with my roommates and some friends. I know, the prime place to blog is a coffee shop, where all the other narcissists and I can write about ourselves on the internet. I quickly remember that I am not going to be using my tablets, so I am left with pen and paper or T9. While T9 may be great for texting, it is not great for writing long essays. Pen and paper, back to the basics, I think. My hand starts to hurt near the end. I haven’t hand-written this much in years. The other bothersome thing about being at the coffee shop is de novo music. There are so many distracting conversations and noises; it seems impossible to focus. I try to read a bit of my book, but have no luck. I am able to write out this post, but poorly. I miss my music.

Positives for the day

  • T9
  • Speaker phone!

Negatives

  • Music
  • Timer for running
  • Music again — This one really sucks.

Without a Smartphone Day 1 & 2

Samsung SGH-A157

I have decided to start a blog about life or whatever, so here you go world. I’ll do a formal introduction of my views on life, the universe, and everything in a later post. This week, I will be using this piece of shit phone as my daily driver as a technological and social experiment.

My life has been consumed by phones throughout the years. The first phone I ever had was a Motorola Razr, and the quality of phones I have had has only gone up from there. I have had Blackberries, Androids, iPhones, and most recently Windows Phones. My current phone is a Nokia Lumia 920. Not to gush, but it’s pretty much the best phone ever.

I’m an IT person, so I’m always at a the forefront of technology. I sometimes feel like my life is consumed with gizmos, gadgets, and computers. I fix people’s computers eight hours a day for a living; I play with computers, phones, and tablets all the time at home, and I eat tech news for breakfast lunch and dinner. It can be overwhelming sometimes.

For these reasons, and because a lot of people told me not to, I am switching to this phone for a week. I want to see if I am able to last for that long on the worst phone I’ve ever owned. I want to prove that my phone doesn’t control me. I want to show the world that I am better than the technology that I clutch so closely.

The Rules:

1. No using my smartphone for an entire week

2. No using my personal tablet (an ASUS Windows RT tablet) as a substitute for the phone.

3. Only use my work tablet (an iPad 3) at work, to keep it from being a phone substitute.

4. Learn something

Day 1 & 2

I work at Best Buy a couple times a month because it’s fun and I like the discount. I have been contemplating making this switch for a few weeks. I have been thinking that it would be good to go on some sort of detox from my phone.

I begin work, not thinking about phones at all, but because I work at a mobile phone store, this soon changes. I remember that I want to switch to a shitty basic phone experimentally. I threaten my co-workers, and they are shocked that I am thinking of doing such a thing. When you work at a mobile phone store, it’s hard to not become attached to the latest and greatest technology. Deciding on which shitty phone to buy is harder than you may think. There are ones with cameras, bar phones, flip phones, feature phones, qwerty phones… I decide to buy the $10 flip phone and purchase it around 16:00. My teammates are in shock.

This phone is the worst I have ever owned, probably one of the worst phones ever made. It has no bluetooth, no headphone jack, no ability to sync to the computer – more on that later -. no speakerphone, no conversations text messages view, no front screen, nothing. You can make calls and texts. These is “mobile web,” but the phone’s screen is too small and the processor is too slow to do anything worthwhile. I managed at one point to get on twitter’s website, but it was completely useless.

I come out on the floor with my newly purchased phone and realize that I don’t have any contacts. I had tried to export my contacts to my SIM, but Windows Phone 8 does not support exporting contacts to SIM. No big deal, I think to myself, I’ll just export them to a vcard file from gmail when I get home and transfer them to the phone that way.

By the time I arrive home, I have put the five most important numbers to me in my phone. I get on my computer and am able to easily export my contacts to a vcard file. Thanks gmail. My phone is plugged in to my computer, but does not seem to be working. I’m awaiting the popup that lets me put the phone in mass storage mode, but no dice.

I go out to Samsung’s website to download their Kies software. Downloading the lastest version, 2.6, I think to myself, I got this, but sadly I am wrong. After an hour of googling and some frustrated words, the computer says “This phone is not supported by Kies 2.6, please download Kies 3.0.” Samsung, I’ve got some news for you, Kies 3.0 does not exist. Annoyed, I enter the contacts I needed, which takes until around 11:30, and go to bed.

I wake up to a super loud alarm that I set on my Samsung SGH-a157, hoping my roommate was not awakened by the loud noise. One awesome thing about this phone is that I have not plugged it in since I bought it.

Throughout the day, I text a few people, but the thing that I miss the most is twitter. It’s so hard to be disconnected from my friends, tech news, and things that I am interested in. During the day, I have to take a shit, this makes me miss my smartphone so much more. I forgot how boring that process was without a smartphone. I end up writing a useless note to practice typing in T9. I remember that I used to be a boss at typing in T9. Those days are long gone.

I feel lost without my smartphone, yet I am satisfied to show off this new phone. I am showing all my friends, and the first thing they do is grab it and see if there’s anything they can do with it, but at the same time I was worried last night when I drove 20 minutes to my mom’s house that I may need GPS to get to so unknown location. I’m excited and nervous for the days to come.