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I did a wrap up of how the Google Assistant compares with its competitors at Apple, Microsoft and Amazon for Justia’s Legal Marketing & Technology Blog.  My brief overview discusses what each of the Digital Personal Assistants brought to the table, and how Google has taken what they see as the best aspect of each and added their own flair.

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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.

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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.

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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”

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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.

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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 →

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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.

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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!

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Waiting to be let into the theater wearing my Newsies hatLast Saturday, my 6 month wait came to an end as Barbara and I got to see Newsies on Broadway during our trip to New York City.

Newsies is a relatively new (hit Broadway in March, 2012) Broadway Play by Disney based on the 1992 live-action Disney movie musical of the same name, which in turn was based on the historical Newsboys Strike of 1899. It is currently playing at the Nederlander Theatre on 42nd Street in the Broadway theatre district of Manhattan.

The play was everything I hoped it would be. Barbara and I really enjoyed it, and given the chance I would definitely see it again. If you visit (or live in New York) and get a chance to see it, I highly recommend the play to everyone, especially those who enjoyed the original movie, as it is every bit as good as the original (better even in many ways). Continue reading →

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The next version of Android is officially Jelly BeansGoogle I/O is almost here, and the Google Developers have created a nifty widget for enabling the live stream of the video on your blog, as well as embedding my own Google+ stream as a Live Blog of sorts, so head on after the break for my live blog where I will post about the stream while it happens.

In preparation for I/O, on the Google Developers Plus page, the Development team has now officially confirmed the name of the next version of Android will be “Jelly Beans.”  The confirmation comes with a new statue on the Googleplex Lawn. Continue reading →