Armen Chakmakjian

Posts Tagged ‘MacBook Air’

Livescribe Sky Pen and Evernote

In Random on January 27, 2013 at 3:23 am

This is friggin awesome. I have a livescribe Sky pen which syncs over wifi to evernote. while I’m sitting here taking notes in my livescribe notebook as I’m reading articles for class, every few minutes the pen syncs and I see that the pages I’m writing are appearing in evernote. Voi La.

So far though I’ve only been able to get this to work at home. When I’m at work or school (or panera bread), the network authentication isn’t handled by the pen (because they require extra dialogues). In those cases I can hook my pen up to the USB on my MBA and use a “helper” utility which syncs to evernote on my request.

This new capability really makes taking notes useful. Alas if this was available 3 years ago when I bought my first livescribe pen I’d have had all my notebooks in the cloud. Unfortunately the pre-existing 9 notebooks of info are all my MBA in the old desktop app. Livescribe mentions that they will eventually add the capability to move those notebooks (including the audio) to Evernote.

I love convergence. I write on paper, it syncs to the cloud, my notes are available on all my devices (either through apps or the evernote web client). Especially cool on my iPad.

Anyway, back to my homework. (Porter’s 28 page treatise on strategy).

2012 is almost done, 2013 is almost here…

In Random on December 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I think the Mayans were right. With 2012 closing, I get the feeling that the “Social Media” age, at least the bubble portion of it, is over. The consolidation of networks is almost complete, with Facebook at its acme now for social and LinkedIn for professionals. There are some upstarts and sites that are trying to add things, but its pretty much over. Twitter has sort of never gone beyond a technology and it seems more like a connector of other sites than a destination on its own (except during crises, then it seems becomes useful again to find links to other sites where the real news is). I’m still working on rebuilding my book website on Tumblr, but I never seem to have the time.

On the personal side, we’re in college application mode; the younger son is applying. The older son is in the middle of his 3rd year (of 5) in college. I’m proud of both of them. I’m down to my last class for my MBA, so if all goes well, we’ll have graduations from High School, Armenian Saturday School, Sunday school and Graduate School. And I’ll be retiring myself from Sunday School teaching also.

One interesting side effect of the Saturday School graduation is that my wife and I will not have the interesting excuse to visit Panera Bread each Saturday morning. Time for a new ritual I guess. Maybe we’ll go exercise.

I also had an operation this summer that kind of set me back on the keeping in shape front. It took a while for me to recover fully and there’s 5-7 lbs. I don’t usually do resolutions, I just set a goal and work at it, but this year, I’m going to undo the damage of last summer by the summer.

Just before that operation my wife and I went on a cruise to Bermuda out of Boston. OK so that added to the fitness issue, but I did try and exercise between the 14 meals a day. Bermuda was awesome, and I want to go again and leaving out of Boston was really convenient. Now I have this fantasy retirement dream where I fly to Bermuda and fly over everybody else driving to the cape 🙂

At work, things got real busy this year and the team under me doubled in size (actually just a little under that). I lead the development team that works on much (but not all) of the customer facing features of the email, survey and several add-on products for Constant Contact. One fun thing I did this year was visit customers in Arlington and learn how they used the product. And for those who have worked for me before, I wrote typically Armen-style reports to disseminate what I had learned back into engineering.

With on the job learning and the serendipitous timing of my marketing and human factors concentrations classes at Bentley, I was applying everything I was learning back and forth between the two experiences. As if that wasn’t enough learning, I also went to a 3 day and night seminar at Babson that my company offered to a bunch of us. As the lead instructor called it, it was an MBA overview in 3 days. After getting out of the class, I worked on a team that attached a corporate question, which was pretty cool as I got to work with people from across the company on the effort, not just in our immediate engineering team.

Technology-wise, I got an iPad, a new Sky Livescribe Pen, used Evernote more extensively for my school research than I ever did before. In the case of Evernote, I’m starting to put all kinds of other stuff in it that are not about school it is proving more and more useful. And when mobileme went away and took my Sunday School website with it, I moved all the content to Evernote which worked great for me. Dropbox and iCloud/IWork documents were also used and installed a windows 8 upgrade for my wife’s computer.

One of the newest things I’m playing with is “Paper” by 53, Inc. It’s like finger paint for adults, except it’s on my iPad. I guess the next area of investigation for me is whether I can draw ☺ And one thing I am anticipating greatly, the next generation of Apple TV.

Continuing the artistic slant here, I played guitar and sang at a family-friends rental down on the cape. It was pretty funny when kids in the next yard stuck their heads over the gate to hear the set and people walking along the street stopped to listen. Even my wife was impressed (although I probably have played all those songs too many times at home over the 22 years we have been married)

I also played 3 70’s songs at a fundraiser at my former employer for project bread. I’m playing the same set in a couple of weeks at an open mic; lets see how that goes. I just restrung my Taylor 12 string today in preparation, and I still have to restring my Martin 6 string before that event. My plan for an addition this year is to learn how to play “Limelight” by Rush on my Les Paul a little better than I muddle through it currently…and make sure I can remember all the words.

More on the fun side looking back, I went to 3 Glenlivet scotch tastings this year. The first was at Le Cordon Bleu where they showed us how to make beef tongue tacos and drink scotch at the same time. The second was a fun marketing event where we tried 4 different malts. The last was at the International Poster Company on Newbury Street. That last one was actually cooler than it sounds; I learned about how the posters were made way back when and saw some neat stuff. I know I’ll go back without the scotch at some point to pick out something.

Finally over the last 4 days we watched the extended version of the Lord of the Rings in Blu-ray. My ears are still ringing but we had a lot of fun watching it. It was a Christmas gift from the boys. They also took my wife and I to Les Miserables and that was a lot of fun. We tried to go see Lincoln and it was sold out and my older son is still trying to figure out how to get me to the Hobbit.

Anyway, a pastiche of what has been a great year and some of the things I’m looking forward to this year.

Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2013 to you all.

IOS5/OSX.7.2/iCloud reactions

In Apple iCloud, Social Media, technology, web 2.0 on October 15, 2011 at 12:44 am

OK so I’ve spent the last day updating my devices and data to the new model.  My overall reaction is Apple once again (just like the .mac to MobileMe transition) is yet to really understand the cloud and the expectation of uptime that each of these transitions requires.  Don’t feel so bad.  Intuit, has gone through the same transition.  The basic fact is that Apple is a device and device software company trying to turn itself into a cloud entity.  It wants to be Amazon or Google by approaching that from its product base which is terminal products (am I dating myself with that terminology?).   Intuit similarly is going through that transition…they have been approaching it from the desktop financial products…adding cloud-ish features and capabilities and hoping the that customers will eventually transition to the cloud versions of their products.  Truly, Microsoft is going through that same transition with OfficeLive.

You have to start somewhere.

That being said, I’m still a bit sore with Apple about a couple of things.  The first being them abandoning the OSX version of the Apple TV.  I’ve got a brick now, that’s the dilemma of the early adopter…it’s the chance I take of course.  I’m also sore that my $99 a year MobileMe subscription will become free, while the thing I’ve paid for (web hosting and syncing of my device settings) will be going away next June for free syncing in the cloud of my secondary information (music and photos).

Anyway, since I’m a technologist and an early adopter, I complain briefly and then enthusiastically try the next thing, adjusting my world view to the new products.

So knowing that October 12 was going to be the day I would get iOS5 on my recently purchased iPhone 4, I spent most of the east coast morning in iTunes hitting “Update” waiting for it to tell me that I was ready to move from 4.2 to 5.0.   Then suddenly the machine told me that I needed to update to iTunes 10.5.  So I did that.

Once that was loaded and installed, about every 15-30 minutes I hit the same button in iTunes and nada, I was at the most recent rev of iOS available.  Then I read a blog post saying that the expected time was 1pm Eastern.  Crap, I had a meeting at 1.  Hit the button once at 1PM (no dice again) and then during a quick bio break at 1:20 came back and this time it began to download.

About 40 minutes later came back to my cube and the update had downloaded and was waiting for me to agree to terms.  Well of course.  Then while the device was updating I hit the “Software Update” on my MacBook Air and noticed that there were updates to Lion (10.7.2) and iPhoto (to support photo streaming)…so I began to load them onto the MBA.

When the iOS5 update loaded, I told it to go ahead.  5 times it crapped out just after the backup and just as it started the restore.  Someone else with an iPhone 4 across from me said he blew away his iPhone (hitting the restore to factory settings) and that seem to be the trick.  He warned me to save away my backups…but I am intrepid so I killed the iPhone4 and then when it restored, it brought in iOS5 automagically and yay! I was up.

Well sorta.  Now I needed to update to iCloud and I couldn’t do that until my MBA was updated.  Just about this time the download of 10.7.2 finished and I told it to start.  then another meeting (hey I work for a living).  I came back about an hour later and the machine was asking me whether I wished to reboot and I said yes.  several minutes later, 10.7.2 was running.  I brought up the new iPhoto and it pleaded with me that if I wanted to use PhotoStreaming I needed to move to iCloud.  my phone was complaining about a similar thing.  Both kept complaining that my MobileMe password was failing.  Now I was starting to get concerned.

When I walked through the online iCloud migration it would get to the final screen and then crap out.  Both me and the other guy were seeing the same thing.  We rightly attributed it to the fact that once again, apple the device mfg had failed to have enough capacity to handle the millions of us doing the same thing at the same time.  By about this time, I was ready to go to school.  I went to class that night and went through the iCloud wizard a couple of more times and concluded that until the west coast went to sleep I wasn’t going to get satisfaction.  I did notice that the new reminder app on my phone wasn’t getting any of my MobileMe reminders from iCal.  I tried a couple of more times at midnight.  Still nothing (hey that’s 9:00PM on the west coast).  Went to bed.

Wednesday morning I couldn’t play but I did notice that my phone was still complaining about my MobileMe password failing.  I was using those credentials to log into MobileMe so I attributed this to the aforementioned “not ready for prime time” bugs.   I went to work.  By about 10:30 AM I had tried 3 times to do the iCloud transition and still got errors.  Then suddenly about 11AM voi la! it converted.  Suddenly my mac and my phone were in sync in calendars, reminders and music.  Very nice.  Now the difficult part.  I still had 2 mac’s to go.  My work desktop and my old MacBook Pro.  I figured I do my personal machine first so that evening I updated that to 10.7.2 and I was up.  Then I noticed that some reminders and appointments were duplicated in iCal (Arrgh).  killed a couple and then things seemed to make sense again.

The following day I updated my desktop at work.  This was a bit fraught with peril since I was updating something w/o support.    I was told that I might have active directory problems.  Didn’t happen and the update happened.  Since I had only recently migrated from windows to the mac at work, I had little info on the new machine so the mac osx apps got what I wanted and caused no duplication.

At this point everything is up, things are working and I’m here typing on my MBA and my iPhone 4 is on the desk.   I’m afraid of one thing though…my old AppleTV is downstairs.  I don’t know what’s going to happen when I get to it.  is it going to barf on its iTunes connections?  We’ll see.

So here’s my thumbs ups after the transition

Thumbs up:

  • reminder app and sync across all devices
  • recently purchased on iTunes (music on my machine without syncing with a wire)
  • Photostream (kinda, for new pictures, see thumbs down)
  • iOS5 iWork apps and icloud backups (bought them last night, but see thumbs down)
  • New iOS5 reminders.  This is really nice…except (see td)
  • the drawdown reminder gesture on the regular display on the phone.  Very Nice.
Thumbs down:
  • iWork Desktop apps don’t speak to iCloud (updated thinking they would, my bad)
  • Photostream doesn’t automagically (or even ask) to move MobileMe galleries to photo stream
  • The whole software update process overwhelmed apple backbone
  • reminders on the lock screen don’t drill down automatically (why did I think they would)
  • Since I don’t have an iPhone 4S (and Siri)  the rest of the features were cool but not earth shattering.
Overall I’m happy to move forward. I still have to deal with the iWeb mess and my Apple TV and I wish the desktop iWork would talk to the content created on the phone…I just updated and they’ll charge me 20 bucks more when that comes up no doubt.
Anyway there it is…

 

 

A week at home – technical analysis

In Random on September 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm

So I had an operation earlier this week and under doctor’s orders I stayed home. In this case the doctor gave me worst case scenarios about what the recovery from a simple day surgery would be. It sounded like one of those drug commercials where they tell you everything that could go wrong. Well for the most part he was right, I felt like crap for a couple of days and still feel it when I try acting out my normal quick start and stop pace.

During that week, I did a bunch of sedentary things. For example, I continued to explore OSX lion user features on my Air, played angry birds on my iPhone, downloaded a couple of apps to both. I did homework for the classes that I had to skip assiduously taking notes with my new echo pen. I monitored our Friday release using our corp IM tool. I continued my love affair with reading on my Kindle DX. Most days it was my subscriptions to Reuters and Atlantic magazine. However, this week I also started to play with a thing called Instapaper, where I create my own set of reading gets loaded directly to the kindle from web pages that I tell it to copy down.

Oh yeah I also watch Zuckerberg try to be Jobs and I was underwhelmed by Timeline. Oooo you have every transaction I’ve done in a database and you’re going to allow me to go back based on time and see things rather than scrolling! Awesome, I might go give up my horse and drive a car too! The open graph stuff was somewhat interesting, but I yawn. And Serendipity is when you don’t expect something and it was lucky and pleasant, not stalk people looking for their music and play it. That’s just stalking.

I also read a book, yes a real book. A colleague gave me a book on my departure from Intuit called “The Art of Choosing”. The coincidence of taking my 2 marketing classes this semester (Strategic Marketing and Marketing Research) and a book about how humans make choices was interesting. By the way, thank you for the book, Depankar, it was excellent.

The one area that disappointed me this week was that I was supposed to get my new 27″ Thunderbolt display yesterday, but UPS informed me that there was “an exception”. My reaction was to want them to employ an exception handler and deliver my new display immediately, but they didn’t and now I have to wait for them to bring it at some time next week. Sigh. I was really looking forward to it. I bought a new desk and set up in a new place in the house that’s perfect for me to do work and hide the work in between study sessions. Of course the display would be showing, but I’d put up pictures on it so that it appeared to be a giant montage of my life (or something).

Anyway, in the process of sitting there, I wrote another episode in our ongoing story of the USS Washington. There’s time travel involved. And then this morning I suddenly figured out what had been eluding me for several weeks on book 2 of the Urtaru series. I had been taking the tack of a terrorist/freedom fighter route for the main character’s dilemma. But technology, the discovery this week of neutrinos that move faster than c (meaning possibly moving back and forth in time) and my own fascination with the possibilities of time travel all coalesced into “the secret” the that second of 3 would be telling the 3rd of three. It all suddenly made sense. How could the child know something about his father that he was bound to keep secret. I’m going to avoid the machine as enemy terminator stuff, and focus on the human psychology of getting a message from the past (or sending one to the future) that might change the course of events.

Anyway, that’s my week.