Seven Blog Posts in Three Days

Google I/O 2017 Keynote

Last week Barbara and I attended the annual Google I/O Developer’s conference in Mountain View.  We’ve attended every year since the first one back in 2008 and were glad to continue the streak.

As you may have noticed from my last few short posts here, I’ve been doing more writing over on Justia’s Legal Marketing & Technology Blog this year than in years past and as such I proposed the idea of live blogging sessions at Google I/O this year.  My suggestion was readily approved and I set to work on planning which sessions I would Live Blog.

In the end I Live Blogged 7  sessions over the course of the 3 day conference and wanted to make sure those that follow me on my personal blog knew about them.  Check out the list of sessions I ended up blogging, with links over to the individual live blog posts after the break.

Continue reading “Seven Blog Posts in Three Days”

On the claim that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is anti-feminist

Minister or Teacher: Hermione is still awesome

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a bit of an unusual entry into the Harry Potter canon.  Not being a novel makes it a completely different reading experience than the core 7 books that we love, being written by multiple people (rather than just J.K. Rowling) makes some of the characters have a slightly different feel, and centering the story on a character other than Harry makes it inherently feel different.

I for one loved reading it and I look forward to the day I can eventually see the play itself to experience it the way it was designed to be experienced, but not everyone agrees with me.  People speak out against the differences in Time Travel between this story and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  People speak out against the differences in the way Ron Weasley is characterized.  I tend to disagree with them, I think Ron seems perfectly normal and the Time Travel is consistent with the warning Hermione gives to Harry in Prisoner of Askaban.

One thing that has been hitting the media lately is a statement by a few people that “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child lets down women and betrays Hermione’s legacy” (Mashable) or “How Hermione Granger Is Portrayed in Harry Potter & The Cursed Child is Offensive To The Fans & The Character.” (Bustle).

As with the other claims, I disagree with this assessment and wrote an Essay for the Harry Potter Lexicon to dispute it.  Please give it a read and see if you agree with me or not.

The Time Keeping Cycle

Time Keeping Cycle

As I sit here today checking the time on my Moto 360 Android Wear smartwatch, I’m amused by a concept I’m calling “The Time Keeping Cycle.”  When I was in high school college I wore watches all of the time (usually a Casio calculator watch, yes I was “that guy”), and pretty much everyone I knew wore wrist watches at the time as well.  They were simple and useful.

I’ve always been one to prefer function over form and even back then I longed for a watch that did more than just tell time.  That said though at some point in the early 2000s I stopped wearing watches (and so did most people).  The few people who still wear watches tend to wear them more as a fashion statement rather than as a utility device to tell time.

Why did everyone stop wearing watches?  Because pretty much everyone started carrying a cell phone around with them wherever they went, and in addition to keeping you in contact with the world around you, cell phones could also tell you the time (and be used as a calculator).  Now over the last couple of years, companies have been trying to get people back into wearing watches again with smart watches.  Thanks to Android Wear, they’ve finally convinced me.

It is interesting though that timepieces have moved from inside the pocket, to the wrist, back into the pocket, and now back to the wrist again.  For the enjoyment of anyone who cares, I’m including a brief history of the watch, ending with my personal history with watches after the break.

Continue reading “The Time Keeping Cycle”

Wearing a computer at MIT, a 2 decade dream realized

Nick at MIT with glass

When I was young (somewhere in the early/mid ’90s), I saw some program (I don’t know which) on PBS and they were talking about some guy (I can’t find the program, and don’t remember names, but I presume it was either Thad Starner or Steve Mann) at MIT who is wearing a computer with a Head Mounted Display and a single hand keyboard, and a computer kept in some sort of backpack.  At that point I knew 2 things.

Continue reading “Wearing a computer at MIT, a 2 decade dream realized”

Looking forward to the Third annual 24 hour Disney Day

Barbara and I are ready to attend the Rock Your Disney Side 24 hour event at Disneyland Park this Friday.  For the third year in a row, Disneyland will be open for 24 hours from 6 am Friday to 6 am on Saturday morning.  This year’s hashtag is #RockYourDisneySide and the event has a Heroes and Villains theme.  Looking forward to an exhausting but fun day.

We are now a month and a half after Barbara’s last chemotherapy treatment and while we still need to be careful with her out in crowds and sun, we hope this event marks the beginning of a return to normalcy for our lives.  She’s not officially marked as being “in remission” yet, but her counts have been stable for the last few months and she is no longer on the chemotherapy, so we are confident and hopeful that she will be declared in remission soon.  What better way to celebrate than a return to “The Happiest Place on Earth”

Walk with me to End Lupus

Nick after the 2013 San Francisco Walk to End Lupus Now

As many of you know my wife Barbara has Lupus and in October she experienced a flare up of her lupus that put her into the hospital.  Before this flare up occurred however, I was already planning on doing a 5K charity walk called the Walk to End Lupus Now.  After the flare up occurred it became even more important to me to participate in the walk and raise money to help fund Lupus research and awareness.  Me and my boss Tim walked the 5K and I’m proud to say the two of us raised $1600 for the Lupus Foundation.

This coming October I will be participating in the walk again.  If you would like to sponsor me in my walk, you can do so at my donor page for the event here.  If you want to help even more though, I encourage you to get out there and walk with me.  You can Join Team Moline and  walk with me at the 2014 San Francisco Walk to End Lupus Now on Sunday October 26, 2014 in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.  If you aren’t in the bay area but want to walk to raise awareness and money for Lupus Research, the Lupus Foundation hosts walks around the country throughout the year.

Just last week Barbara had what is expected to be her last (6th) Chemotherapy treatment of this particular flare up and the doctor is optimistic that this particular flare up is under control.  This is a tremendous blessing to hear as her previous flare up when she was 12 required 15 Chemotherapy treatments over the course of 3 years.  The doctor is also slowly stepping down Barbara’s dosage of Prednisone (steroids).  She is now taking just 1 20 milligram pill per day.  At the height of the flare up she was taking 60 milligrams per day.

If you would like to know more about Lupus and how it effects people who have it, I encourage you to check out Barbara’s story on her blog, and you can also read more about Lupus at the Lupus Foundation of America Website at lupus.org.

MoviePass Insults and screws its customers

We’re also excited to introduce a new feature: The Countdown Clock. This clock counts down the time until your next available screening. You will still be able to go to a movie each day, but there will be a 24-hour period between screenings. Your MoviePass app has already been updated, and you will notice these changes the next time you see a movie.

For Many months now I’ve been recommending MoviePass to everyone I talk to who likes movies. It always had several restrictions that made it hard to justify:

  1. Only one movie per day
  2. You can only see each movie once
  3. No IMAX or 3D (you can’t even pay the upgrade cost)
  4. You can’t pre-buy your movie tickets, you have to go to the theater, check in, and then buy your movies (and if you have multiple people in your party with passes, you have to each make your transaction separately, which causes longer lines at the box office)

These were annoying restrictions but overall I still considered the pass to be a good enough deal to lock myself into a year contract at $34.99/month each (Me and Barbara) and do it. It gave me the opportunity to budget my love of going to the movies to a set amount per month and not have to think about “Do I really want to pay to see this movie in theaters or should I wait for BluRay?” If I was remotely interested in a movie I went to see it, and if it turned out to suck, I didn’t care because I’ll just see another movie the next day for no additional cost.

Unfortunately yesterday MoviePass made a sudden change with no warning that I find absolutely unacceptable, and to make it worse they tried to pass it off as if it was some exciting new feature for their customers.  Yesterday I received an email from MoviePass with a subject line of “New Features.”  This is what MoviePass had to say Continue reading “MoviePass Insults and screws its customers”

Looking at Life from the Other Side of the Glass

Nick Moline, proud Glasshole

It is hard to believe that it was just 1 year and 1 week ago, Google uploaded to its YouTube channel, a teaser video for a project they had been working out of from their top-secret “moonshot” [x] Labs called Project Glass.

The project was ambitious, an augmented reality layer over your very life, answering questions before you even asked, and all around simplifying your life.

2 Months later at Google I/O 2012, Google staged a “demonstration” involving a blimp, skydivers, BMX Trick bikers and more to show off the device as what seemed like little more than a network connected GoPro camera.  They then asked Developers who are interested in getting an early look at the technology if they would be willing to fork over $1,500 for the chance to be one of the first non-Google employees with this whole new class of Technology.

I and 2,000 other attendees happily stood in a long line to put down our commitment to try it out.  Then, months of agonizing waiting began.  Waiting for a future that was so close we could taste it.

Continue reading “Looking at Life from the Other Side of the Glass”

Not too fat to journey through space… mountain!

As many of my friends know, I am a huge Disney Fan.  A year and a half ago, on a trip to Disneyland with my wife and Brother-in-law I went through the line queue at Space Mountain and attempted to get into the ride vehicle.  Sadly, I couldn’t even sit down, let alone pull down the lap bar, and I was forced to get off the ride and wait while they enjoyed it without me.

Later that trip in July of 2011, at Disney California Adventure, I attempted to ride California Screamin’ only to once again sadly have to wait while they enjoyed themselves without me.

As those of you who follow my blog know, I’ve lost a lot of weight since that trip.  On Tuesday, December 11th, I went in for my monthly weigh in and I was 339.6 pounds.  This is a total of 150.6 pounds lost!

Nick Rides Space Mountain
Nick Rides Space Mountain

Friday, December 14th, 2012 My wife and I went to Disneyland again, and the first thing I did that Friday morning is make a bee-line for Space Mountain.  I’m happy to report that the weight loss was enough, I was successfully able to ride Space Mountain, and the proof is above.

The next day, December 15th, 2012, we had a great time at Disney California Adventure, and like before I made it my goal to ride California Screamin’.  I’m happy to report that once again I was successful and I was able to ride it as well.

Both rides were fantastic (in fact Space Mountain seemed even better than I remember from my childhood) and were a great encouragement to me that my weight-loss efforts are working.