Armen Chakmakjian

Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

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.

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.