The Most Popular Posts of 2011

Dear Readers,

I enjoyed sharing a lot of what I learned in 2011 with you. Here were the most popular posts from the year:

1) School Principal Shortage

2) Is On-line Learning a Good or Bad Thing?

3) The Public School Budget Crisis and the Dilemma of Professional Development

4) 2011 RAMROP—Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Piece

5) The Life Changing iPhone 4S

6) Young, Devout, Maligned

7) Home Schooling is Hip. . . and Selfish

I appreciate your reading, subscribing, and forwarding posts to others. A special thanks to those who took the time to comment during the year. Recent new subscribers, a kind comment from a former student, a thoughtful email from my mom, and support from a friend at a holiday party have me ready to roll in the new year. Seemingly small gestures add up.

I’ll continue trying to provide meaningful content. I could use your help in two ways—by jumping in the water sometime this year and agreeing or disagreeing with me about something and by sending questions and/or links of things you’d like me to write about.

In appreciation,

Ron

The Life Changing iPhone 4S

The earliest adaptors, the tech glitterati, have determined that the iPhone 4S, or the phone’s Siri voice recognition feature more specifically, is a life changer. John Gruber said he “could live without it, but wouldn’t want to.”

Funny how one day life is rolling pretty darn well without voice recognition on phones and the next a few peeps start asking, “How did we ever live without it?” And before long, we’re wondering how did we ever get off the couch to change the television channel and how did we ever use our phones just to talk to people.

Walt Mossberg provided this life-changing Siri voice recognition example. WM, “Find a French restaurant.” 4S, “I found 13 French restaurants, 7 in Bethesda.” WM, “Remind me to call my wife when I get home.” 4S, “Okay, I will remind you.”

I’m not anti-tech, but the hyperbole in the reviews helps distinguish between those earliest adaptors and the much later ones like me. As an AAPL investor I follow the phone releases, and I’m glad when they’re successful, but my heart rate doesn’t quicken at the thought of standing in line to purchase one.

Call me crazy, but the life-changing bar is a little low if it hinges on finding a French restaurant or receiving a reminder to call someone.

Wake me when an iPhone can accurately fulfill these types of requests:

• Find a nearby, inexpensive restaurant on the water with great vegetarian dishes, quick service, and a table near a television programmed to the game.

• Alert me 30 seconds before my wife is about to ask me a “how do you feel about” question.

• Whenever my wife asks a “how do you feel about” question, provide me the optimal answer.

• Show me AAPL’s closing price for next Friday.

• Alert me 30 days before the UCLA basketball team’s next National Championship.

• Tell me if it will rain next Saturday afternoon anywhere in Thurston County between noon and 3p.m.

• On the first day of every month, please remind me how much time I have to live.

Be still my beating heart

Postscript.

Steve Jobs

John Gruber of Daring Fireball quotes Steve from his 2005 Stanford commencement address:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Puts the negative press coverage of the iPhone 4S in perspective. We forget we’ll be dead soon and lose sight on what is truly important and instead focus on the status phones provide, stock prices, and market share.

[Besides the commencement address, fav read from last night—The Steve Jobs I Knew by Walt Mossberg]