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Sort of a Manifest Maybe

Gatanui

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So thanks to fantastic person @Obsessionist it turns out we've got a six-month Premier Membership now. And now that we've got it, I guess the logical first step is to write a blog entry. :P

 

You probably don't but perhaps you've been wondering where we've been lately. You may have noticed that we aren't as active as we used to be. I still come around every day and check out the news, post a news story every now and then (though probably not as often as I should :P) and browse the forums. The truth is that I've realized that I'm in a bit of a mini dark age as far as LEGO is concerned. I still follow all the BIONICLE news, watch all the Ninjago episodes and look forward to watching the Nexo Knights pilot when it airs in Germany. We still buy BIONICLE sets, although we haven't for about ten months - it's getting time again. ;)

 

However, the thing is that lately I've become much more active in another community, which is the Windows community. Now, I'm sure the first thing some of you think of when hearing "Windows" is crashes, blue screens and all the like and I'm sure some of you may even wonder how such a community exists. :P You may find even stranger that it was the often hated Windows 8 that drove me into the community. :P I'm not sure "the" community exists but there are several fan sites and general tech enthusiast sites out there that I visit and comment in, e.g. Windows Central and The Verge (which is not a Windows site, some would argue its authors are Apple fanboys but I don't care, I'm quite fond of the site somehow). You may be wondering, why Windows? Windows 8, even before its release, attracted me into the world of Windows because with all its awkwardness, I found it so interesting conceptually and, at a time where most mainstream software like iOS and Windows 7 etc. still sported pseudo-3D graphics and skeuomorphism, also interesting visually, that I wanted to find out more about it and discovered a couple of Windows-focused news sites and started visiting them regularly. Now the Windows 8 era is over and I find that with Windows 10 and the Universal Windows Platform, which allows a single application to run across the entire array of Windows devices, i.e. from phones, tablets, PCs to even the HoloLens, Microsoft has by far the most interesting concept of the three biggest consumer OS companies out there right now, i.e. Apple, Google and Microsoft. I also find the software and hardware convergence Microsoft is pursuing with Windows 10 and devices like the Surface (proud owner of a Surface Pro 3 here) very intriguing, although some argue that it's the wrong way and that Apple's approach of having one separate OS for each device type is the wiser path. However, I think that the fact that there are these different philosophies out there and that each company is having its try at their own philosophy and to prove that it's the best is fantastic.

 

Fun fact, I was invited to the Microsoft HQ in Redmond in April with nine more people from around the world as the result of a contest, where I also won the Surface Pro 3 that I own, and had a fantastic time. I even got to meet BZPower's own GSR (Nate)!

 

Of course, I'm not married to neither Microsoft nor Windows. While right now I have no intentions to move to the Apple or Google camp, things may look very different one or two years from now, particularly with the rather uncertain future of Windows Phone / Windows 10 Mobile (I would say it's still got enough energy to survive through 2016 but beyond that it's probably anyone's guess). I'm open for change, unlike a certain kind of Windows fan out there I don't have anything against Apple or Google whatsoever and I like to follow what all the companies in the tech space are doing, not just Microsoft. My current Windows "fan-ism" is just a symptom of something deeper, which is my love of technology. And by "love" and I don't mean the way you say you love pizzas or tacos, but in a different, rather deep and meaningful way, almost the way you'd say you love a person. A few weeks ago I attended a very interesting talk of Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman of Alphabet Inc., formerly Executive Chairman of Google and CEO of Google before that) in the Technical University of Berlin and while I was sitting there, surrounded by hundreds of like-minded people, I felt an interesting and comforting sense of home. While the event only served as a confirmation of what I already knew, again I felt that I had found where I wanted to be, what I wanted to do with my life, which isn't to say it's the only thing I want to do in my life but it's certainly the main thing I want to occupy my life with and what I want to identify myself with. I can say with full honesty and from the very bottom of my heart that I love technology deeply, that it's the single greatest passion of my life and that it's my dream to make my contribution, to leave my impression in this fascinating and wonderful world of bits and bytes and circuits and whatnot our species has created and I'm incredibly excited to see where this world is going to take us. I want to believe that what we have achieved so far is only a small sparkle of the beginning. I've begun studying computer science in this semester in what I hope will be the first step towards fulfilling my dream and to become a software developer, though my plans go beyond just software.

 

Which brings me to the last topic I want to discuss in this entry. My brother and I have ideas. We also have plans. Big plans. In fact, we have this one idea that's been roaming in our heads for some time that we think has a tremendous potential and we are fully determined to make real. We plan to actually begin next summer. Please forgive me for not revealing any more details than that but I can tell you that we think it's pretty big and while of course it could go all wrong or it could turn out that what we have in mind simply isn't viable with today's technology, the potential is certainly there. As Yoda would say, do or do not. There is no try. We're choosing to do, or, as Shia LaBeouf would put it, JUST DO IT. ;)

 

So I guess there is something to look forward to. We'll see. ;)

 

Despite all this big talk about technology and the like, let me reiterate that I have not forgotten about this site and the LEGO community and we (that is, my brother and I) are still dreaming of a house with a big basement to build a big city out of LEGO and to put tons of BIONICLE figures and MOCs in. ;)

 

If you made it this far, thank you for reading through this wall of text, I'll make sure to make the next entry much shorter but it's been ages since I wrote a blog entry here so I wanted to get this all out. :P And of course, huge thanks to Obsessionist for the Premier Membership that made it possible for me to write this today. Let's see where this takes us. :) Don't worry, there'll be other topics to discuss. :P

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Any time. I've got a lifetime membership, it's not like I could use the six-month membership.

 

Glad to here you've found another community to enjoy.

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Well, it's different. It's quite impersonal. I'm there for the topics to discuss, not the people. It's certainly different to this site, which feels more like a big family. ^_^ It's just that while LEGO is a hobby I hold dearly, technology is a much greater passion for me so it's logical that that's what I'm spending most of the time with. The world of Windows is just what I happen to be actively following right now because I'm finding the current direction very intriguing within the world of consumer software and Windows is something I use every day so it's easy to spend time with it and follow what happens with it. If I left that community, it's not the people who I'd miss (and honestly, discussions can be rather nasty at times there, especially when fanboys get involved).

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Windows fanboys? Those exist?

 

Anyway, glad to hear that you've found your passion in life. I have found mine too - but that's a subject for a blog entry of my own, should I decide to write it.

 

It isn't technology exactly...in my world it's more of a tool. That's not to insult your passion or trivialize it, but simply illuminate how far away from it I am. :P

 

Good luck with your big project. I love those - looking forward to seeing a result, perhaps. :)

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Haha, yes there are. :P Just like there are fanboys for Android, for iOS, for OS X... When you start reading people say things like "Lagdroid", "crApple" and "Scroogle", you know what's going on. ;) I find it kind of ridiculous to be honest. While I would consider myself a fan of a couple of things Microsoft is doing right now (though I don't agree with all they do), which is why right now I'd consider myself to be in the "Microsoft camp", I'd like to explicitly distance myself from that fanboy attitude. Some people blindly love what a company is doing and blindly hate what all the others are doing... I find things to love and things to dislike in all of them. ^_^

 

I'm happy you've also found your passion. :) You are not insulting or trivializing my passion at all! The world would be so boring if everyone felt passionate about the same things! :D I look forward to your entry about this subject, should you decide to write it. :)

 

Thank you and I hope you'll be able to see a result in a not too distant future. :)

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Some people blindly love what a company is doing and blindly hate what all the others are doing... I find things to love and things to dislike in all of them. ^_^

I share this opinion. :) I like Microsoft for being multi-tool and flexible - you can easily install multiple cool things to it. (Plus I'm a consummate word/powerpoint/excel addict, for the same reasons - lots of super flexible tools.)

 

Apple is more simple and less flexible - valuable when you just need a few things without all the distractions of Microsoft's 5 bazillion options. This works really good on mobile or for iPads. On mobile, formatting options are time-wasting - cue Apple's simple Notepad app. You don't need three media players - just one. Trying to do jGRASP on an iPhone feels like a nightmare to me, so it's just as well I can't install it. 

 

On desktop, I find Apple's oversimplicity annoying, but that is just me. Where is the file menu? :P

 

I have no idea about Android, other than the simple fact I use Chrome. That is enough technology rambling for today.

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Microsoft is commonly considered to be the master of productivity and the Office suite is arguably one of its most popular pieces of software. What I like about Microsoft currently is that their failure in the mobile phone game (though they're catching up in the tablet segment thanks to the Surface devices) has forced them to innovate in rather interesting ways, most notably the Universal Windows Platform I mentioned. None of the other big players, i.e. Apple or Google offer anything comparable as of now. Apple is so far sticking to their philosophy to align OS X and iOS visually and in terms of features and interaction, but otherwise keep them separate because that strategy is working very well for them. Google's missing piece is the desktop segment, where Chrome OS is being quite successful in the education sector, particularly in the US, but not beyond that. Rumor has it that they're planning to converge Chrome OS and Android in the future but they have reiterated their commitment to Chrome OS - we'll see.

 

Curiously, what you're mentioning about Apple's simplicity vs Microsoft's "5 bazillion options" has changed, somewhat. As a result of Microsoft's UWP push that allows apps to run across device families, including phones, many of Microsoft's newer applications are relatively simple compared to what they used to offer in the past. We'll see how the UWP concept pans out for them - there are signs that developers are slowly embracing it but the mobile phone part of the equation is still struggling so anything could happen a year from now.

 

What do you mean by "file menu"?

 

Android, due to its nature as an open source software and the way Google distributes it to hardware manufacturers, is a very open operating system that can vary quite a lot between manufacturers. In some ways, it's the antithesis to Windows while in some other aspects, it's very analogous. Going by market share alone, you could consider it the "Windows of smartphones". My main gripe with Android is its preposterous update policy, it's very difficult to keep your device up-to-date over an extended period of time if you don't get a Nexus device and sometimes even then.

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What do you mean by "file menu"?

I'm just realizing how antiquated that is in some respects - Word doesn't use that anymore - it's a file page. 

 

Open Notepad on Windows, and look in the upper right hand corner, next to the Edit menu. That's what I'm talking about. 

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What do you mean by "file menu"?

I'm just realizing how antiquated that is in some respects - Word doesn't use that anymore - it's a file page. 

 

Open Notepad on Windows, and look in the upper right hand corner, next to the Edit menu. That's what I'm talking about.

 

I suppose you mean the upper left corner? What I don't really understand is why you say it's not there on OS X. The thing is that on OS X, the menu bar is always at the very top of the screen and not inside the program window itself but there is still a menu called "File", to the left of one called "Edit", on most if not all programs I've encountered on OS X.

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