Smart Everything

Did you know that you can buy both a smart container for your eggs and a smart toothbrush to get stats on your brushing? We are about to start the next wave of products and services that integrate into our lives even more. It started with food and transportation, but the process is only going to get deeper and deeper.

The integrations can be something like a smart tooth brush or a smart mirror; there have been a number of post lately about some hackers putting raspberry pi into a smart mirror.

There is an episode of Black Mirror that shows a young man waking up to a full amount of data being processed at him during his morning routine. At the rate of increased innovation and technology developing, we will make all of this fiction become a reality.

We are also entering a time when it is almost an inconvenience to use a laptop or computer. If there are experiences you can’t achieve on your phone, there seems to be something broken. The phone is going to become the main hub of our lives. It is going to power future virtual reality apps and experiences.

The Future of Movies


Growing up, there were only two rooms in the house that had air conditioning. We would all fall into those rooms on days when it was too hot. I always remember that feeling of walking from the cool, air conditioned room, opening the door to get out, and hitting that wall of moisture and heat.

The summer is always a time that my mind associates with the movies. Overtime, my once weekly ritual has become, “we can wait till Netflix.”

Things started to changed last winter when “The Force Awakens” reminded me of the joys of going to the movies and how much fun it can be to surrender your complete attention to something else for two hours.


Theaters have become an escape for me, but I don’t go to the movies to see a particular movie anymore. Normally, there are about two movies a year that I am generally excited to go see. But lately, I have been liking to go to the theater more often.

The movie theater is one of the last places where it is socially unacceptable to look at your phone. While I was having my moment of Zen in the movie theatre, I was looking around and there was very few people. This was a film that you would expect more people to show up to during the prime time showing.  

VR the Answer

Lately, I have been thinking about ways to detox from my life with technology. It has become all too much for me to take in. Naturally, VR has been something that has been mentioned for movies and to be installed in theaters.

There is something that is gross about sharing a VR headset with a stranger, but I wanted to think about what movies I would want to watch in VR and would not make me sick for two hours. There were a lot of questions that I wanted to ask.

Video on Demand

Lately, I have been purchasing/renting a lot of content from Amazon and Vimeo. I feel like these distribution channels allow me to consume a lot more interesting content that ever before. If you don’t live near an indie movie house, some films are hard to come by. But, services like Vimeo allow creators to get their film out to audiences. I would love to know the split and how Vimeo compares to iTunes.

The rise of niche streaming services has been interesting. I subscribe to a few of them to get even more diverse information into the picture.  

It forced me to open myself up to a new content age, new rules of film, and not just watching whatever.  

What’s Next?

How many people watch a movie at home with their phone next to them? I know that sometimes when I am watching a move the phone gets looked out way too much. I think that takes away from the movie. My attention is getting broken up. It is different, I think, with a TV show than it is with a movie. We are trained to have commercial breaks. That is what I love most about the theater and that is what keeps me going regularly.

I Start The Day Doing Something Uncomfortable

I started this year with a new thing that I want to implement my life. I wanted to take either a good or a bad habit and give myself 30 days to see if that is something that I should be doing in my life. Can I hand over my life and document those results?

All the things that I found that would be the most helpful about this was the fact that I was starting to feel bad. I was interested in and I wanted to try so many different things and that I had this insatiable thirst. This allowed me to find The Sweet Spot to work in. What I noticed was that working with such constraints and some uncomfortableness provided some really interesting results in other aspects of my life. I found that given you know the opportunity to put myself on the top deadline ,I put myself in some sort of closure making every day slightly uncomfortable.

Comfort can be an enemy or it can control us. This practice started last year but it really ramped up this year. It has definitely changed stuff, other habits are back today, and there’s certain things that I’ll never do again.

I know it’s something we find that optimal self and making me, even on a micro scale, experience new things and try some things that I would normally never try, like eliminating TV from my life. I’ve already seen some results of that and is something I’m trying to figure out a way to incorporate in my day.

For me, it’s just about keeping that experimental phase open. I think that’s the key right there; not to be afraid anymore.

Is This The Perfect Snack?

Soylent is a meal replacement, available in both liquid and powdered forms.  The company has released a few intonations of their drink. Last year, I order a case of their 2.0 formula in the ready to drink bottles.

I was excited about the prospect of something that is simple and would take care of certain nutrients. However, the drink was too tough for me to drink. The taste and consistency were just too hard to for me personally. I even tried to make some of the suggested recipes, but it was just something that I couldn’t make work for me.

Conceptually, I really like the drink a lot; a readymade drink that has a ton of good shit in it. One less food decision to make in the day.

Recently, Soylent announced a new product: a bar labeled as a, “Food Bar.”  

Food Bar

The bar claims to have 12.5% of your daily nutritional requirements. Soylent, as a company, wants to create items that give you all of what you need in each serving.

The packaging of the bar is super simple and is just labeled “Food Bar.” You can see that carrying this around and leaving a few at your desk at work will get some conversations going.

The drink was something that was not for me and was something that I have no desire to ever drink again. But, the bar actually tastes ok. Going into it, I was expecting something terrible.

First Week

I decided to try to work the bar into my diet as much as possible. Could this be something that I could sustain and could this be something that would work for me?

I had a bar each day at different times of the day, sometimes in the morning and sometimes at lunchtime. I tried to never have it later than that.

The thing that I noticed was that it surprisingly made me feel full. The bar, at just 250 calories, was something that was very fulfilling. The taste was pretty good, but not good enough to want to eat five of them. It really tasted like and overcooked sugar cookie with some caramel mixed in.

Next Up

Soylent has its first product that could go mainstream. It is tasty and I really felt great. I had no strange effects like I have had with other protein bars. I felt like I had more energy and I ate a lot less over the week with them. I think they are going to stay in my food arsenal. Next up, I am going to see if there a coffee drink will make the cut.

Soylent’s mission is “to expand access to quality nutrition through food system innovation.” Healthy eating and eating well is a huge pain point for many people. Soylent is a company that is trying to do something different and something that is easy. I hope that it becomes more than just a niche thing.

Would No Man’s Sky Be Better in VR?

My gaming nowadays is usually limited to a few hours here and there. My Steam playtime for this year has been 20 hours of NBK2k17 and 10 hours of Metal Gear.  My machine is an Alienware “Steam Machine” just in case performance becomes an issue.

According to Wikipedia, “No Man’s Sky’s gameplay is built on four pillars — exploration, survival, combat and trading. Players are free to perform within the entirety of a procedurally generated deterministic open universe, which includes over 18 quintillion (1.8×1019) planets”

I really don’t know much about the game, gameplay, or story line. I didn’t really know the story behind it or who even makes it. The visuals just pulled me in and made me watch the release date and the progress. I still don’t know if I understand the whole thing.

This game felt like the start of something new, the start of the next wave of gaming. This “procedurally generated” universe sounds like something that could only be achieved with some true firepower. I have been missing around with Google Cardboard a lot and have been researching a lot about the Vive and Octus. Both are just too expensive for me to try out right now.  But, I think that we need to start rethinking games and their experiences.

#Day 1 – Hour 1

I finally got the game running. I installed it, and it booted and loaded well. It was nice that the game was a minimal download, coming in at around 3 gigs. But, I wasn’t really sure what to do. I was just dumped on the inside of a planet. I was given a mining laser and told to fix my ship. I had to figure out most of the other stuff on my own.

The game starts off by not showing most of the story and right away. I stumbled across some engaging elements, but I really didn’t know if they would turn into anything or mean anything.

I am addicted

The world is massive and I have been able to visit and explore some various different planets and environments. As I was on the lookout for some rare minerals to power up my blaster and my spaceship, I couldn’t help but wonder if this is the kind of experience I would want to consume with a VR headset. It is slow and a mythical game with a lot of walking and exploring, and I found myself looking overhead a lot, watching planets and what is going on inside of them.

There are plenty of things you can find wrong with the game, but there are many things that are just enjoyable. I had an audio book on while exploring this new planet and it was a relaxing and enjoyable experience. I would be very curious to see if there is a way to get this running on one of the VR headsets. I am not sure of the technological challenges, but this is something that I want to dive in with.

If you want a first person action game, this is not it. This just feels different and I am glad that I am on this journey, wherever it might go and whatever we might end up seeing along the way.

Three Ways Every Bank Can Get Better


Have you ever met anyone who loves their bank? Have you ever had a conversation with someone who said, “Hey, you got to try my bank.” Banking is one of those things we just have to deal with. I know I made accounts in the same places that my parents had their accounts so many years ago.

Lately, there have been a number of startups that have helped push some of the lackluster banking forward. There have been startup checking and savings accounts that have popped up and have really helped with different feature sets and usability issues that have plagued some services.

My financial system involves multiple accounts with different banks. Over the years, I have been able to experience a number of different systems and processes in managing money.

I want to propose some new features and additions to the experience that I think can make our banking lives easier. I will skip over things like fees and random charges because I want to focus in on things that can work for most types of accounts and setups.

Smart Debits

We all have those certain charges that come out of our account every month and our paychecks that come in at certain times as well. I would love to see a smart mode that would allow me to see the upcoming debits and credits before they occur. It could be a custom mode or even just a small box in a sidebar of the website. I think it would be nice to see what is coming and prepare for certain weeks and months with some upcoming bills.

mini notification

Better Notifications

Google Wallet had this amazing feature that sent you an email every time you used their debit card. This was nice for a few reasons. You were able to see all purchases and able to easily spot anything suspicious. Plus, it would certainly curtail some weird spending because who wants to get an email explaining they spent $50 on in-app purchases.

It would be nice if the notification of these transactions could be more robust, combining this with the predictive debit technology. How cool would it be to get a warning, “If you have no credits in this account in a week, you will overdraft.”


Simple is a bank that is part of the new wave of banking. They have a feature that is unreal called Goals. This is just like an enhanced savings account that allows you set dates and amounts for each goal to save for. They will transfer X amount into the goal from your main checking to make sure you get the desired amount. It has changed how I approach my banking and totally helps me save for long term purchases.

I would love to be able to take this concept and just add a few features, like the ability to stash money away for monthly bills. Certain things like a student loan or a car payment are debited monthly, but the goal concept would be amazing to have for these items. Imagine setting that you need 300 dollars on the 27th of each month for a car payment. It would take a certain amount per day out of your checking and put it into this goal, which would empty out the amount on the 27th and restart.


My goal is to try to streamline and automate all of my finances. I don’t want to ever think about it. I want to put a system in place and just check in every so often to make sure things are working.

There are some banks that are doing some interesting things like Simple, Chime, and, if you are eligible to use the product, USAA is one of the best banks in terms of its features. The one thing that I must say about these banks is that they have some many features that it is almost hard to use all of them.

A User Complained And I Felt Like A Failure

One of the clients I work for I got an email from a customer that really upset me. We had a piece of content on a website that was not accessibility friendly. I couldn’t help thinking about this all weekend.

We have to put some things in perspective. I was able to read the email and it was heartbreaking to know we caused this person some discomfort and made his life a little harder. That’s against the purpose of some of the things we’re building. We want to break down those barriers and make things easier for different types of people to consume and use. This was just some bad markup on the phone, but it’s good to remember and not forget.

I went through a number of resources on the weekend to make sure that I was up on the best practices and able to figure out a good way to fix the problems I have on my websites. Also, I was able to use it as a selling point to my company. I want to prove that this is something we need to spend time on.

Making sure you follow some basic best practices can be a hard thing to start doing. Especially when you have been writing code one way for years. I am going to be spending a lot of time making sure that this stuff is baked into me when I am starting new projects. Here are some great resources I have found over the last few weeks:

Did Pokémon GO Just Make the HoloLens Exciting?


Today, I spent an hour walking around my neighbor looking for Pokémon. Pokémon GO is the thing everyone is talking about. Never has an app affected human behavior at such scale. If you go outside right now, you see people walking around neighborhoods and stores on the hunt for Pokémon.  

I have been reading countless articles about how sales are down for Macs. Also, how this fall’s iPhone is going to be a boring release and not crazy like they usually are every two years. We also can’t forget about how we were all heartbroken by the rumor about the headphone jack on the latest iPhone.

Lately, we have seen smartwatches and VR as some of the biggest disruptions in consumer products. Most people have been priced out of VR until the fall with the ps4 will become somewhat affordable. Smartwatches you can only get some excited about.

Pokémon GO came out around the 20th anniversary of the original games. It is the first AR product to hit the mainstream. The company behind Pokémon GO had a similar type of real world game that never got above the niche factor.

Last night I found this GIF

For any of the people who have been playing the Pokémon game, doesn’t that concept look amazing? I think we have done a lot of thinking about some concepts and applications of VR, but what about AR?

Pokémon GO is going to start a wave of some other apps borrowing a similar philosophy. There has been a lot talked about the future of VR and the products in the pipeline. But, what other applications are available for AR? The video has got the vibe of a Black Mirror episode. What would be a good way to toggle gaming on and off? Imagine if we had glasses and could check for Pokémon unprovoked without warning.

There were some questions raised when Google Glass had some buzz. It is going to be interesting to see if the HoloLens can become a product that we can have these types of experiences with. The HoloLens dev kits are slowly started to ship; you can apply now and get one for $3000. I hope that a consumer product would be considerably cheaper, but I am sure that is a few years away.

I Am Ready To Invest But Is Anyone Worth it?

This week’s goal was to find a company to invest in. The new law passed recently allows non-accredited investors to invest in startups through this thing called equity-based crowdfunding. There has been a couple new marketplaces that opened and a couple of new channels for this to go through because of a handful of companies that signed up to do this right away, the biggest being a music startup called 8tracks.They opened up their latest round to this equity-based formula. I also heard about a theater in San Francisco that has been using this new platform with a lot of success.

Investing in companies at this level this is something that I have always wanted to do. I would love to have some level of investment in the company. I wouldn’t want to put a lot of money into at the start. I’d like to just dip my toes in. I think that this is going to open up some really interesting possibilities in the future for people raising money and for a different level of kind of connection to the product.

I think opening up this level of investment, people think you’re going to have this kind of kinship with the product. You have early adopters that already had this bond to the products. They are the naturally the next best well to tap. They are already brand ambassadors.

8tracks is a good example because they have a solid user base. I’m willing to drop a small amount, $500-$2,000 on a product that I believe in and want to support. We do it for things on kickstarter at least this gives you more in the game.

There’s definitely products that I have used in the past that I would love to have invested in. Plus, in a way it ties you into the success about the product or services.

If you were a customer and an investor, wouldn’t you tell everyone about it and try to recruit more people.

If you are looking for some companies that are opened up to this type of funding, you can find them at [] and [].

This Podcast Freaked Me Out

Have you ever consumed a piece of art that was so transformative that you wanted to tell the world about it?

This show showed up in my podcast feed and I had no idea what this was. I thought it was some new form of meditative podcast. The show is based off telling a story that is hidden inside some sort of mediation audio. When I first started listening to it, I was confused for the first few minutes. But, as I listened, there was something different going on. The lead vocal performance is stunning. I felt like I was transformed into another world. The vocalist manages to raise her voice at certain moments. It makes me uncomfortable and tense as hell, but the same time, the narrative feels like this is some sort of a manipulation.

Was I listening to some subliminal messages hidden within the music? Who is this person talking? Why is she telling me these things?

Within the wires is a podcast by the Welcome to Night Vale crew. I haven’t listened to many fiction podcasts, but this was one of those has made me a convert.

I spend most of my time listening to nonfiction podcasts, but this was something special. This was a true audio journey as I listened and tried to solve the puzzle and figure out the journey that we were going on.

As I wait for the next episodes, I am glad that I found this, as this was a truly inspirational piece of audio. I can’t remember the last piece of fiction that has moved me and inspired me so much. I have so many questions and I can’t wait to go on this journey.