My daughter’s flip phone, 2015 not 1994

In the mid-90’s I upgraded from a Motorola brick cellphone to a MicroTac (flip phone) and then a StarTAC (flip phone), and now, 20 years later, I’m using a Moto x2. My daughter has a lot of tech of her own: laptop, a few tablets, an iPod Touch, a couple gaming consoles, and a few robots that she programs. AND, WITH ALL THAT, SHE WANTS A FLIP PHONE!

We told her recently that we’d get her a phone at the start of the next school year. “What kind of phone would you like? Android, iOS, Windows?” I asked. I expected her to want a smartphone. “I really really want a flip phone, Mommy,” she declared.

Huh? Is my almost-tween, gasp, becoming a hipster? Nope, it’s about the user experience.

“Because it takes too many taps to get to things on a smartphone,” she describes:

  1. Power button
  2. Swipe or enter code
  3. Find the app icon
  4. Tap icon for messages
  5. Find the message

“With a flip phone, you can just flip it open and type a message. It’s faster and smarter than a smartphone. It’s smaller and would fit in my pocket better. I don’t need apps, I just need to communicate.”

She’s Generation Z (New York Times, March 28, 2015):

Despite their obvious technology proficiency, Gen Zers seem to prefer in-person to online interaction and are being schooled in emotional intelligence from a young age

I love this kid. Determining her own path and desires, not looking at what her peers are doing. Yet.

The Dissolution

In the 2nd half of 1997 I started up a company, incorporated and opened a bank account and hired employees and leased office space, met my wife, Moya, and met my good friend Robert (who was my wife’s neighbor and landlord).

Today is an anniversary of Robert’s death (I thought of emailing him, again, and remembered he’s gone) and today I closed that corporate bank account.

The corporation was officially dissolved at the end of 2014. When I announced, to friends, that the dissolution was final, everyone thought of marriage/divorce/dissolution.

The steps, in closing the company I grew and nurtured, have felt a bit like I’m divorcing a piece of my younger self.

In 1997, tech was BOOMING, a friend of mine designed a logo for my new company, most of my first clients were people I knew in the industry. I loved controlling and managing everything.

15+ years later, a couple booms and busts later, a few different offices, employees hired laid off fired, clients coming and going, a product developed launched and killed, from WAP and Netscape to smartphones and tablets and chrome, from legal stranger to legal wife, making and losing friends, improving myself, ch-ch-change.

I didn’t expect so much emotion and tears and relief this morning. Here’s to progress and change and life and death and memories.


How to Survive Recess

I found a crumpled up piece of paper with handwriting that matches my daughter’s writing when she was 9. Her friends were excluding and teasing her at that time. She wrote up (and must have kept in her pocket) a list of “Tips to have fun at recess”

1. Don’t hang out with people who exclude
2. Ignore people who make you feel bad
3. Seek out people
4. Spend time observing people who may feel bad
5. Ask new people to do new things
6. Hang out with trusted adults
7. Ask Coach for advice
8. Remember that your friendship is a gift
9. Remember to smile and not worry
Extra credit: if someone says, for example, “you like mold, ew, that’s gross,” then say, ” that’s ok, everyone has different tastes.”
11. Hang out with pigeons


The Best Gift Ever

I think I’m an easy person for gifts. I like rye and gin (or rye gin). I like long multi-course dinners with friends. I like donations to causes I support (alleviating poverty and hunger, fighting for equal human and civil rights). I like tickets to lectures and opera and musicals.

I didn’t know that the best gift ever for me was a waterproof clock with suction cups. My wife knew.

waterproof blue clock with suction cups

She gave me a gift (this clock) saying it was anxiety relief. Weekday mornings are always a rush. I keep a close eye on the time from waking up until leaving out the front door (and in between make breakfast for our kid, pack a lunch for her, help get her ready to go). When I get in the shower to get ready to go, I take off my glasses, and then myopia interferes with my ability to see a nearby clock. I lose track of time, I get stressed out, and then I’m cranky.

Now this little blue clock hangs in the shower where I can easily look closely to keep track of time. Thank you, Moya!

little blue clock in our shower