Faith in The Future

Both my wife and I are freelance consultants. I’m a technical consultant and she’s a non-profit and arts management consultant. Because of this, our “office” is usually wherever we are. We spend many days shuffling between various locations. Our computing needs have to be highly portable and durable. We always buy the most machine for our long term needs and always purchase the piece of mind that Applecare provides. We even keep a spare machine on deck should one of our machines need to go in for service. Generally, we replace our laptops when the Applecare runs out (i.e. every three years), which just happens to be this month.

For my beautiful wife, we decided to get the new Macbook (2.26 GHz, 250GB, 2GB RAM) to replace her previous three year old model (1.83 Ghz, 120GB, 2GB RAM). Her needs are basic – web, email, office apps. For that, this is more than enough machine and should last her very well for the next three years. It’s an amazing machine for the price and we recommend it highly.

For me, I decided to “replace” my self upgraded black Macbook (2.0 Ghz, 320GB 7200 RPM, 4GB RAM) with an… iPad (WiFi only, 64GB). I know. Crazy right? Well, here’s the thing – the Macbook I have is more than enough machine for me capability wise. The upgrades I have given it mean that it will be enough machine for several more years to come in this respect. I did not need “more machine”. What I needed was “greater flexibility and portability”. The iPad will serve me well in almost every situation I can think of. It will allow me to do everything I need to 99% of the time. My Macbook will become a desktop machine, an adjunct to the iPad, with the added bonus of being able to be portable for those rare times I need more machine when out and about at a client. But, for all intents and purposes, the iPad will be my main daily machine.

Still think I’m insane? Well, wait until I tell you that I used a Newton MessagePad as my main “daily worker” for years. Every model from the introduction of the MessagePad 120 all the way until the 2100. I used it for web browsing (as it was at the time), reading, email, notes, calendar, address book, word processor, and much more. In other words, exactly as one would use any portable computer. During that time, I saw the sort of computing I was able to do with a handheld device, and the way I was doing it, as the future of computing. With the introduction of the iPad, my faith in that future is regained.

I am sure the time will come when I have to replace my current Macbook. But that is at least a couple of more years off as I see it. The iPad really is a return to the future for me. Call me crazy.

It’s not a bargain if you don’t need it.

The title is taken from a line my Father said to me once in discussing my Grandmother, who thought anything worth having was worth having five of. I have remembered it ever since. I remember it every time I see a tremendous deal that seems just too good to pass up. A sweater on super cheap clearance (us Minnesotans can never have too many, right?). A printer that is practically free after rebate (I can always give it to someone else as a gift, right?). 

Lately, I remember it anytime I see a super cheap bundle of Mac apps, that grows to even more at download milestones, all for an unbelievably good price. I think to myself, “Wow, that is a really good deal for that one application I want, let alone the ten others. Plus, they are giving five bucks of that price to charity. I can get a deal and be a humanitarian all at the same time. What a bargain!”

It’s not a bargain if you don’t need it.

Let’s just say there is one of these bundles – lets just call it MacTheft  – and the price for eleven apps is $19.95. And, let’s just say they promise to give $5.00 of your purchase to starving children in cataclysmicly devastated regions of the world. Therefore, the price of the software – all eleven apps – is theoretically $14.95. But, let’s just say there is only two apps out of the eleven that you really think you need. Here is a crazy idea to try… 

Buy the apps outright, full-price, directly from the developer.

Crazy, right? 

I know, I know. You are not getting a bargain, right? Wrong. Did you need the apps? Then you are getting a bargain. Even better, you are directly supporting the developer and their future development. Not only that but you are also not cluttering up your hard drive with software you will never use. You are not wasting your time and attention on bargains that really aren’t.

OK, fine. You want a “bargain”. How about this… Contact the developers of the two apps you want and say something like…

“Hey, I see you have your apps available on MacTheft and, while that is great and all, I really don’t need all eleven of them. I really only need two, your’s and this other guy’s. Therefore, I am contacting each of you to see if I could give you $7.50 cents directly.  I figure that is about 10 times more than you will get from my individual sale if I buy it through MacTheft. Also, I was planing on giving five dollars to the starving children too.”

What’s the worse they can say? No? 

My point is that you owe it to yourself to avoid these bargains and giveaways unless it is stuff you really need and plan on using. If not, you are still wasting your money, your time, and your attention no matter how much you pay.  Even if the price is “free”.

Introvert (NFJ)

My first time taking a Meyers-Briggs Personality Assessment, I questioned my MBTI score enough that I decided to take many more, at different times, to see if they would come out the same. They all did.

For those that don’t know what the heck I am talking about (which I assume is most of you), the score derived from this test is called the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) To catch you up to speed, here is what Wikipedia has to say about the MBTI:

The MBTI preferences indicate the differences in people based on the following:

▪ How they focus their attention or get their energy (Extraversion or Introversion)

▪ How they perceive or take in information (Sensing or iNtuition)

▪ How they prefer to make decisions (Thinking or Feeling)

▪ How they orient themselves to the external world (Judgment or Perception)

By using their preference in each of these areas, people develop what Jung and Myers called psychological type. This underlying personality pattern results from the dynamic interaction of their four preferences, in conjunction with environmental influences and their own individual tendencies. People are likely to develop behaviors, skills, and attitudes based on their particular type. Each personality type has its own potential strengths as well as areas that offer opportunities for growth.

My MBTI is INFJ – which stands for Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling, Judging. That said, I want to mainly focus on that first part because that is the surprise – I’m an Introvert. Why is this a surprise? Because most people who know me in real life, and those that know me online, would likely never guess it.

The reason is that I do a good job of hiding this fact. I mask how completely draining most social interactions greater than a one on one conversation are to me. How much I value and protect my alone time. How my ability to interact socially, and talk, and appear outgoing, and speak my mind is a complete smokescreen to mask what I really feel – which is “I hate this. I’m frightened. Get me out of here so I can be alone”. That going to a small gathering exhausts me for a day. That going to a large event, means that it will take me weeks to fully recover. The way I hide this is by finding someone, or a group of people, that I know and talking their ear off. I cling to them for dear life in the hopes that I won’t have to be confronted with my sheer terror of the situation. Because these people see me as talkative, open, and liable to say anything, they likely assume that I am as outgoing, jovial, and energetic as any Extrovert. And don’t even get me started if I am somewhere I have never been and don’t know anyone. Putting me in a room with a group of people I do not know is like putting me in a tank full of sharks – I remain very still and quiet as possible and pray no one sees me while looking for the easiest exit.

Introversion in the MBTI does not always mean someone who can’t be social or behave in ways that the world would perceive as outgoing. In fact, many famous people and leaders would also fall in the Introversion spectrum. For instance, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela are all INFJs. It does mean that Extroversion is not where we derive our energy. It, in fact, drains it and that we can only recharge that energy through solitude.

What I have always found interesting, and this is purely my own anecdotal observation, is that most Extroverts have no capacity to understand Introverts. They just don’t get it. No matter how many times we might explain to them who we are, how we react in social situations, and how we feel. If you are an Introvert in a relationship with an Extrovert, it is not uncommon when having had a few days full of many gatherings, and then complaining about how tired you are, for them to cajole you into attending another. The reason being is that they derive their energy from such social interactions and have no capacity to understand that such a thing will not be the perfect anecdote to your ills. I should mention that I have spent my life surrounded by Extroverts, including my wife, I think many Introverts are drawn to them. Therefore, my anecdotes are based upon a lifetime of experience.

I guess all of this is just to share a bit about me. Why, though invited, you may not see me at your event, party, dinner or other gathering of two or more. Why, if I do come, and I know someone there, I will seem like a lost puppy, happy to find it’s master. Why you may not see me at another for a while. And why, before reading this, you had no idea why.

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