Holiday Want List

2020 is almost here and there’s no better way to round out the year than with a wish list. For the FIFTH year in a row, I’m sharing my “want list”. This years list items from a few of my favorite / luxury brands across multiple categories. #treatyoself !!! And Enjoy!

LAGOS anything … jewelry $$$$

This brand is amazing. From bracelets, to necklaces, earrings and now Apple Watch bands, LAGOS screams luxury!

DRUNK ELEPHANT skincare $$

Pick anything from this popular skincare line and you can’t go wrong. Their vitamin C serum has been my go to for sometime.

UGG & Barefoot Dreams for cozy apparel $$$

I lumped these two brands together because when I think about staple pieces for the winter, they are my go to. Ugg for the boots (DUH) and actually both brands have AMAZING throws (as in blankets). Barefoot Dreams also has wonderful loungewear.

Sugar Paper holiday wrapping $

Love their designs and color combinations! There’s really nothing more to say. You can find this brand at Target

Stocking Stuffers … from Nordstrom, of course 💁🏽‍♀️ (mugs are by Anthropologie) $ to $$

And finally, SPANX leggings … who knew??! $$

Apple TV+

Apple’s new streaming service has arrived! At $4.99 per month, Apple TV+ lets you stream all-new Apple Originals, ad-free and on demand. If you purchased any Apple Device after September 10th, you get 1 year of Apple TV for FREE! Click this link on your new device to activate your subscription. If you are eligible, you will see a button that says, “Enjoy 1 Year Free“. Once you activate the service on your new device you can log in from ANY Apple Device you own and stream content (i.e. after activating Apple TV+ on my iPhone, I logged in on my MacBook and watched my first show there). Note that Apple will start charing you $4.99 per month exactly 1 year later so set a calendar appointment NOW to reminder yourself to cancel (or not). Basically, Apple has 1 year to prove to you that this service is worth $60/year ($4.99 per month @ 12 months). The website to watch is tv.apple.com

Apple TV+ debuts The Morning Show starring Jennifer Aniston alongside Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell that seems promising. And of course, Oprah’s Book Club is launching on the service. Other shows available now include: For All Mankind (Drama), See (Drama), Helpsters (Kids & Family), Dickinson (Comedy), Ghostwriter (Kids & Family), The Elephant Queen (Documentary) and Snoopy in Space (Kids & Family). Upcoming shows noted on the site are: Servant (Drama), Hala (Drama) and Truth Be Told (Drama starring Olivia Spencer).

Check out a few of the trailers below:

You can find all trailer’s on Apple TV+’s YouTube Channel. Follow Apple TV on Instagram or Twitter to stay up to date on Episode availability and new show alerts.

Happy Watching!!!

Long Commutes

During the month of July I expect to have long commutes one day a week. Of course my OCD-like behavior (as well the well-known dreadful Atlanta traffic  conditions) has me researching how to best maximize my travel time to/from work. There are lots of services available out there that seek to capture and keep your attention, so how do you pick which services/features to pay attention to? How do you know where to start? Keep reading below for my recommendations!

Since the obvious goal during a long to commute is to get home as quickly and safely as possible, we MUST start with a travel app. There are many available including Google Maps, Apple Maps, Mapquest (yes… that still exists 😳) and Waze. I’ll just jump ahead and tell you right now that Waze wins and will be at the center of my long commutes. Not because it’s such a great app (it is! users report crashes, cop sightings, slowdowns, etc.); but, more so because Waze plays nice with others.

Let me explain. Yes, I will be commuting; but, I also want to do other things to help the time go by faster and ease the pain. I want to do things like listen to music, audiobooks or podcasts. When I say Waze plays nice with others I mean it seamlessly integrates with other apps or services. For music, it’s Spotify. For Podcasts, Stitcher and for books, Audiobooks. These tight integrations or hook ins allow you to select songs/playlists/books right from within the Waze app itself. There’s no need to leave the Waze app itself to start listening to another service.

(By the way, this post is a great synopsis of what I do for a living… software and process integration. I spend my days focusing on optimizing user experience for the software we use to run our business for things like taking orders, billing customers, etc. and automating those processes. I identify opportunities for integration/automation, lead projects to implement them and also streamline (or lean) complex processes to make them simpler #techie 💁🏽‍♀️)

WHAT IS LEAN SIX SIGMA

Now, you may prefer Apple Music over Spotify; but, for me the days of tech giants producing great isolated products/services are over. Partnerships (or tightly integrating with others) will always prevail and Apple is not so good at that part yet. Waze, on the other hand, makes integrating easy. Because Waze will be at the center of my long commutes and I value integration, I choose the following:

Now, don’t get me wrong. All of these services are great and honestly, any one in isolation will do the trick; but, if you want MORE, go with services that tightly integrate with other services/features you also value. Your life will be easier because of it!

5 reasons you’ll use Waze over Google Maps


 

Macintosh turns 35

Remember me? I just turned 35 years old! In 1984, I cost $2,500 and came equipped with a 9-inch black and white monitor #yikes! Compare the 1984 model with the swankiest version available today– $2,299.00 for a 27-inch screen with a Retina 5K display. 👀👏🏽

In 2013 I visited the Living Computer Museum in Seattle, WA and got a chance to experience many working iterations of Apple’s Macintosh computer. There’s also an Apple Museum in Prague – you can check out the 3D Tour here.

If you want an even more personal trip down memory lane, check out the Macintosh Software Library where you can play old-school games and applications right in your browser!

Smart Speakers

The smart speaker industry is expected to grow 63% in 2019 (Deloitte). I have not been an early adopter of smart speakers because I wanted to scope out the market, gauge user adoption and weigh pros/cons for each option. The most popular options being: Alexa (Amazon), Google Assistant (Google) and Siri (Apple). Apple is my go-to for hardware (phone, laptop, watch) and I tend to prefer Google for services (i.e. calendar, mail). Given my perception, I’m curious to know if it will hold up in the smart speaker arena.

Before we get started I have a few biases / perceptions about smart speakers to disclose:

  1. I’m ~75% paranoid that someone on the other end will be “listening” to what’s going on in my home (see also Enemy of the State).
  2. Amazon scares me – they are getting too big and too involved…. in everything. (VICE News). So much so that I recently cancelled by Prime subscription. (see also RWA Series – Subscriptions).
  3. Apple seems “safe”. Washington Post
  4. I’m not interested in having a smart speaker that makes it easier / encourages me to buy anything or hear ads…. ever.
  5. I feel pretty confident that when Apple launches something new that it’s fully vetted, well thought out, tested and ready to go. Others sometimes just want to be first to the market and will launch anything to get a dollar, whether it truly “works” correctly/ideally or not.
  6. Having a lot of choices on which options to “connect to/use” is not my cup of tea. As an IT professional, I prefer to keep my personal technology choices/life simple!

Now, back to business – the business of choosing a smart speaker (Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri). One tech reporter summarizes the decision this way, “You are choosing your tribe… This decision will shape how you get information, what appliances you purchase, where you shop and how you protect your privacy.” Washington Post  To be honest, this article itself wasn’t very helpful; but the comments (781) were: “Here are my top 3:

  1. Why would I “invite” any of these devices into the privacy of my home?  Really, the speaker delivered a family’s conversation to one of their “contacts”?  It is unfortunate that a technology with the potential to be true assistants to those with disabilities, is just being marketed to the general public as a way to build databases to sell more stuff.
  2. Just remember, with all of these products YOU’RE the product. If you think you’re inundated by ads now, just wait. With these devices, your every move is being tracked inside your home and is put up for sale.
  3. Interesting how Apple has solved the privacy/security question. Basically it generates a pseudo random ID when you ask it a question, and that is what goes back to the cloud. So there is no way to associate your account with the action/query. 

I find it pretty interesting that not once have I even mentioned (or thought about) the actual features/benefits of smart speakers. What can they actually do? To be honest, I have no idea other than the general things I’ve heard/read about: turn on/off lights, set the thermostat, play music/movies, lock the doors, etc. Do I really need any of that? Nope. Do I actually want any of that? Nope. I don’t even use Siri on my iPhone. At this point, I cannot think of a single reason/way these items would enhance my life. That is what technology is supposed to do, right?

As this point I just need to point out one (obvious) thing – sometimes we get so caught up in making a decision about which technology to embrace, we forget why we want/need it in the first place. If I HAD TO CHOOSE, it would be Apple Home (privacy/security trumps EVERYTHING); but, to be honest I’m not at all even remotely moved to add a smart speaker my collection. Maybe that will change in the next 6-12 months; but, for now… I’m good! In case you are curious / intrigued, see also Best Smart Speakers 2019

In summary, be sure to let your LIFESTYLE & NEEDS help dictate what technology you embrace (bring into your home) and fully weigh the pros/cons of all options! Bri’s Recommendation on Smart Speakers? Just say no!