January 1, 2013

2012: The Year I Gave Myself Permission to Succeed

Filed under: Uncategorized — marcstober @ 11:58 am

A lot changed in 2012, because I gave myself permission to do so.

I bought a new car and a new laptop (and a Mac, at that).

I went to two conferences: the Jewish Futures Conference in New York, and an Interaction Design course at one of Neilsen/Norman Group’s events.

Finally, I started a new job at Vistaprint at the end of the year.

The common theme is that these were all things I’d previously told myself I couldn’t, or shouldn’t, do.

I’d told myself I shouldn’t spend this sort of money on myself. I’d told myself that jetting to a conference with a Macbook or working at a household-name e-commerce company were things that only the “cool kids” could do.

And I told myself, as I always had, that I was one of the unpopular kids. I came up with moral reasons to justify to myself why I didn’t buy the tech I wanted, the car we needed, or go after the career opportunities I was ready for.

But I was lying to myself if I said that I didn’t go for more because I really didn’t want it. So I faced my fears, and I succeeded.

November 7, 2012

The Right to Tinker and Make Stuff

Filed under: Consumer, Politics, Software Blog, Uncategorized — marcstober @ 9:16 am

I’m amazed by the overwhelming 85% support for Question 1, “Right to Repair,” in Massachusetts.

Here’s a summary of the question (from boston.com):

Should auto makers be required to give owners access to the same diagnostic and repair information that dealers and authorized repair facilities have?

I suppose people will vote yes on this because they expect it will hit them in the pocketbook when they get their car serviced. But it’s also a vindication that people don’t think it’s wrong, and shouldn’t be illegal, to do what you want with stuff you’ve bought. I thought maybe I was crazy or at least living in a tech bubble from hearing that our elected leaders favor things like SOPA or TPP. Years ago I wrote to Barney Frank on the issue, and he strongly disagreed with me. And what to make of Chris Dodd’s new job?

Now, here are some more referendums I’d like to see pass:

  • People should have the right to jailbreak their devices. (This is now legal for iPhones–but not iPads nor other devices–because of a bureaucratic exception, not by right in the law.)
  • People should have the right to copy DVD’s to their iPad (without paying extra for a “digital copy,” like I did with the last DVD I bought).
  • People should have the right to keep, permanently, a book they’ve bought on their Kindle; it’s not a rental.
  • People should have the right to bring a book home with them from an overseas trip. It should be clear in the law this isn’t the same as a mass counterfeiting operation.
  • People should have the right to put their dancing baby video on the Internet without licensing the music on the radio in the background.
  • Girl Scouts should have the right to sing Happy Birthday at camp, without relying on the forebearance of those who could sue them.
  • People should have the right to create their own prayerbook with their church/synagogue’s liturgy, and not be told not to share it.

By the way, I don’t jailbreak my iPhone, and I take my car to the dealer for service. But I like to have that choice.