Dear Steve Jobs

Dear Jobster,

Took a look at Time magazines top ten iPhone apps the other day. Given there’s 300,000 apps, I assumed there had to be some in the top ten that I couldn’t live without. I thought these “gotta have” apps would be just the excuse I need to buy myself an iPhone for Christmas.

1—Tweetie 2. Surprisingly, too few Positive Momentum readers have begged me to begin tweeting and I don’t read others’ tweets, so the number one app creates zero “gotta have” juice.

2—Yelp. Finds restaurants, bars, and other businesses and provides reviews. I like the potential, but the problem with most review services is the anonymity and mismatched subjectivity. Anonymity means it’s impossible to tell whether company shills are praising products in an attempt to increase sales. And subjectivity is fine if you know the reviewer and he/she has similar interests/tastes, but that’s hardly ever the case. Of more value than Tweetie 2, but hardly a “gotta have”.

3—Slacker. Sounds like a more robust version of Pandora, which I like. Custom playlists, no commercials, nice. I’d use it on occasion, but out of 300,000, the bronze medal?

4—Flight track pro. Don’t fly nearly enough for this to create any excitement.

5—Mint. Money and budgeting program. I’m not a budgeter. I can see why some people would like this app, but of little value to me.

6—Sling player mobile. Remote t.v. Cool, and I’d use it on occasion, but watching t.v. on the iPhone screen doesn’t seem too appealing. As you know, I’m waiting for the tablet. Tablet in hand, I’ll purchase this one.

7—The small chair. Stories, short films, readings, interviews, art. Exclusive content. Hard to say not knowing what the quality of the content is. Again, the screen size is a limiter and maybe I’d give it a go with tablet in hand. At the same time, I try to keep up with too many periodicals already, so this one doesn’t get generate much juice either.

8—Runkeeper. Basically a Garmin with one important advantage, much easier to read. Obviously, most personal technologies are made for people far younger than me with much better vision. Love the screen shot of this app. No more huddling in the laundry room trying to see if that was a 4:55 or 5:05 mile I just ran. :) First “gotta have” deserving of top ten status. But wait, my  iPod nano and Garmin easily slip into my back running short pockets, but the iPhone is too big (and heavier too). I’m not an arm strap guy so this complicates things.

9— Mobile photo editing. I don’t take a lot of pics and prefer working with those I do take on a much larger screen. Detecting a pattern? Tangent. I just got my first pair of bifocal contacts. Utterly amazing. I can read tiny footnotes, I can see Oregon and Canada clearly, and I’ve retained my boyish good looks. The optometry trifecta.

10—Locavore. Find locally grown, in-season foods. That’s the galpal’s job and she knows exactly where the food-coop is. Another one that doesn’t move the needle.

So SJ, that’s all you got?  Makes me wonder how most consumers adapt personal technology. Instead of consciously concluding this device is going to improve the quality of their lives, I suspect they feel a need to conform. There’s a tipping point (that would make a good book) where holding out translates to a loss of social standing. Since I’m not much of a social standing guy, I want to know the new device is going to make a positive difference in the quality of my life.

My final verdict? Not nearly enough juice to get me to iTouch or IPhone up.

Peace Out,


Late Adaptor

Ever goggle yourself? I just did it to see if my new blog would pop up and I was glad that it did. Unfortunately though, a summary of my “” entry also popped up and I’m very sorry to report I still score a big zero for “hotness”. Who cares that my other ratings are so complimentary, I want some chili peppers dammit (the symbol used to depict hotness)! My lovely wife was outraged when she first learned about this injustice and has committed to hacking into the system and rectifying things so that’s helped me move on.

A personal technology update. I’m still probably the only person over age twelve that doesn’t own a cell phone or mobile as some Euros refer to them. I also don’t have a Facebook page, could not care less about what Ashton Kutchar, Shaq, or Lance Armstrong are tweeting about, and only have music on my iPod nano (girly music according to my sister).

One of the stranger things about me though is I follow personal tech discussions fairly closely (David Pogue, Walt Mossberg, Farhad Manjoo). I’m addicted to and I’m anxiously awaiting the June 8th Mac Conference. How WEIRD is that, the last guy without a cell phone logging on daily to see the most recent screen shots of the soon to be released, new generation iPhone. You’re thinking off-the-hinges eccentric, but I really prefer “quirky”.

How is this lunacy explained? My interest in personal tech discussions is easier to explain than my non-conformity. I’m a social scientist at heart and I’m intrigued by the ways the technologies are changing how we relate to one another and our culture more generally. On the other side of the equation, one of my hang ups is the slow and steady dimunition of privacy. Another factor probably  is simply not being as social as most other people. Also, the longer I remain untethered (email is a whole ‘nother story), the longer the non-conformist part of me wants to stay untethered. How cool would it be to the the last untethered person (I’m thinking Newsweek cover story). I don’t begrudge anyone their smart phones or hand held computers, I have no illusion of having any impact on the inevitability of increased connectivity, and this post aside (remember Positive Momentum is a secret society), I don’t advertise my cell-less status.

That being said, I am ready to buy Apple’s Kindle killer whenever it comes out (probably first half of 2010 according to I want an electronic reader and I have to confess to being intrigued by some of the iPhone apps. Maybe I should just buy an iTouch when it’s updated. I was impressed by a recent  iTouch to iTouch via Skype article I read. Maybe I should buy my lovely wife an iTouch too and then we can Skype away. Since she’s the only person who thinks I deserve a chili pepper, she’s the only person I want to talk to.

Should I buy an iPhone, iTouch, hold out for the tablet?

And yes, I own APPL stock; yes, all the references to their products in this post are subliminal; yes, tomorrow you’ll wake up and begin transitioning from that Seattle company’s products to APPL’s.

Is resistance futile and should I just create a Facebook account, start Twittering, join Linkedin, and upgrade the blog with all the social networking doodads? Why or why not? Has your personal tech enriched your life? Have the benefits outweighed the costs?

Care to sell me on digitizing my life?