The angry queer: an open letter to straight people (in the US)

Dear straight people:

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I have to often hold myself back every time I hear someone start on a “I’ve got nothing against the gays, but why do they have to flaunt their homosexuality like that?” rant, and it happens all the time, and I’ve even seen this mentality come to be accepted within the less flamboyant part of the queer community, and this pisses me right off.

You know why?  It’s because straight people flaunt their sexual orientation all the time too, if not more than gay people, because they’ve identified their sexual orientation as the dominant one.  The bulk of US culture is centered around being heterosexual, setting expectations for men and women from a young age to adhere to a life of heterosexuality.  It’s okay to be hetero, though, if that’s what you are.  You’re just being yourself, and I don’t fault anyone for that.

But when gay people want to be themselves, then it’s a whole different story, isn’t it?  When gay people start being themselves, it’s no longer being themselves.  Instead, it’s flaunting.

This is a huge problem.  You can’t just say you’re accepting of the way other people are, but only if they want to look and act just like you do.  That’s not what freedom is about.  Freedom is about having the peace of mind that you can be yourself because you have the integrity to let your fellow people be themselves as well.  It’s a shared thing.  We have gay parades where we show off our own subcultures.  Straight people have their parades where they show off things that are important to them.  And I go to both, and I think it’s great if straight people come to our parades. You’ll be loved for showing your support for us!

Straight people, you need to get over the fact that we’re different.  We’ve come to terms with that now, because you’ve been reminding us that our entire lives.  Next time you see that flamboyant guy or the butch woman, don’t feel like you’re threatened. Feel reassured that you’re not living under an oppressive regime that pushes for everyone to be the same.  Feel happily reassured that it’s okay for you to be you.

And for fuck’s sake, get off your religious high horse and quit trying to tell other people how to be morally correct. You’re in the United States, where you get to choose your own faith.  So if you choose a faith that says being gay is bad, then be reminded every time you see a gay guy that you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where you can follow the faith that works for you.

Much love,

Aaron

Evernote Feature Requests (that really are thinly veiled complaints)

One software program I use every day and would be lost without is Evernote.  I use it as my second brain and it faithfully stores all of the information I gather throughout my day that I find worth keeping for later.  The best part of it is that Evernote’s available for pretty much any platform.  You can get it for OS X, Windows, Linux (via the web, but someone’s developing a native app), iOS, Android and Blackberry.  Possibly even for webOS.  By being available on all of those platforms, it’s very likely Evernote is always within an arm’s reach for you, which is the beauty of it, because that makes it very easy to quickly capture some piece of information you’ll need later, saving you from having to scramble for a scrap of paper, then wonder where you put it later.

 

Recently, Evernote got me really excited by saying they were going to unveil a new, secret thing this week that would change the way I thought about Evernote.

 

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I was pretty excited.  What could be under that red velvet (maybe even velour?) cloth?  Of the many feature requests I have, I figured the odds were pretty good that this surprise announcement would give me one of those features.

 

It ended up giving me none.  But, at the same time, it kind of gave me all of them.

 

You see, instead of actually implementing much desired features and putting them in Evernote, Evernote is now becoming a platform instead of a tool that holds its own.  Evernote launched a service called Trunk which is basically a collection of services that can be used in conjunction with Evernote.

 

There are two problems I am seeing so far with these programs and services:

  • They often cost money on top of my Evernote Premium subscription (and are often subscriptions themselves)
  • Many don’t offer very meaningful integration with Evernote.

 

Here’s an example one:

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Ooh, I can save my PDF into Evernote?  Wow, adding that option must have required oodles of effort!  And think of all the work it’s going to save me now!  Instead of saving my PDF and dragging it into Evernote, I can just save into Evernote!  Wow, if I do that enough times a day, that could save me… minutes in the long run.

And sending to Evernote is the extent of its integration.  If you wanted to open a PDF already in Evernote and annotate it or mark it up or edit it, you’d have to send it to Evernote again.

 

Here’s one that made me laugh:

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It’s a paper notebook.  No, really, that’s what it is.  And its “integration” with Evernote is that you can just scan those pages right into Evernote when you’re done!

 

There are a few diamonds in the rough (Egretlist looks really promising), but fundamentally, I want to see Evernote get more cool features to let me use it in new ways, and seeing that Evernote developers are pushing Trunk is sending me a message that Evernote’s not interested in actually adding new features to Evernote.  Instead, they want others to do that work.  And being reliant on other companies for your own success is just not a good position to put yourself in.

I want to see Evernote investing in making new features.  They’ve got access to their core elements and can make those kinds of fundamental improvements.  They can change the mobile versions of their apps to do more (iPhone apps can’t really have third party plugins).

So, here are my Evernote feature requests:

  • You know how Evernote can OCR images (which is amazing)? Why not transcribe audio recordings?
  • Evernote has the ability to make things to-do items.  Improve upon this!  Minimally, let me specify due dates and give me some ways/views to manage the things I have to do (controlling that by location would be spiffy)
  • Make search work with characters that aren’t alphanumeric.  Seriously.
  • Let me doodle on Evernote in places other than the Windows version of Evernote.  Doodling in iOS version of Evernote would be sweet.
  • Let me record audio while also editing a note in another way (like typing or drawing).  And while you’re at it, keep track of when I write certain things so that I can go back to that part of the note and play back the audio, so I can remember context and maybe catch what I missed the first time around.
  • Instead of making me highlight text to clip from the web, let me select a box and capture that, similar to how LittleSnapper handles it.
  • Let me annotate web pages right from my browser, then save those annotations in Evernote.  This would go great with the web site memory feature.
  • Give me the ability to link to other sections of my notes and other notes in Evernote.
  • Give me some drawing tools so I can circle important things, make diagrams, etc.
  • Create a watch folder I can save stuff to that will auto-import into Evernote.
  • Give desktop versions of Evernote feature parity.
  • Give mobile versions of Evernote feature parity.
  • Fix image drag & drop in OS X so that I can drag images from notes into an Open dialog box and get the image.
  • Work harder on improving performance of Windows Evernote.  It’s a little pathetic.
  • Let me edit notes in the mobile version of Evernote.
  • Sometimes I like to keep code snippets in Evernote.  Let me define notes as being plain text, then let me edit them in my favorite text editor.

 

 

Apple’s iPhone 4 Death Grip Press Conference

My first blast from the past is from a few hours ago.  Enjoy!

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So, everyone’s been talking about the iPhone’s “death grip” issue–that is, the issue in which holding the iPhone 4 in a certain way causes you to lose your signal. Of course, none of the people making these complaints actually own an iPhone 4. Well, I am both left handed and I actually own one, so I’d like to explain what the issue is, why it’s not really an issue, and we should probably talk about Apple’s press conference they held today (in a word: wow).

So, first off, I will say that yes, if you hold the phone in a certain way, reception will drop a couple bars after a few seconds. 

But you probably don’t hold it that way.

I don’t hold it that way.

And my iPhone 3GS lost signal when I picked it up if I was in an area with poor signal. It’s just that there weren’t steel bars to make it easy to notice where to touch it to make the signal degrade.

The thing is, iPhone 4 has an issue that previous iPhones (and other phones) have. The problem can be manifested in a way that perhaps is more noticeable for people holding it a certain way. But iPhone 4 gets better overall reception due to this design change. So, Apple is sticking with the new design.

And, if you’re still not happy with that, Apple’s going to give away bumpers so that you can hold the iPhone in that forbidden way and not be affected. It seems like a kludgy solution, but then again, you can’t accommodate every single way a person wants to hold the phone. This offers something for that user who wants to hold the iPhone in that (really weird) way. 

But I don’t think Steve Jobs was really the best person for this situation. And I really don’t even think a press conference was appropriate here. Apple would have been much better off had they just e-mailed customers saying what they were doing. Because Apple used this press conference to try to tell the press that they were being dicks, spreading misinformation, while at the same time feeding out cherry picked statistics about the issue to try to tell people they’re wrong. And seriously, Steve Jobs? What is some of the random crap you’re saying here? My two favorites are when he mentioned that Apple built over 300 retail stores out of love for customers (apparently not to sell Apple stuff), and he made some odd comment saying “would you rather we were a Korean company?” I didn’t understand that one.

Steve did point out that over 3 million iPhones 4 devices have been sold so far. And that, to me, is a real sign the media’s blowing it out of proportion. If there really were a problem, people WOULDN’T BE BUYING THE DAMN THINGS. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that Steve Jobs isn’t one to fess up when he did something wrong, except during that backdating scandal when he was potentially facing jail time, at which point he was quite candid in admitting that illegal things happened under his watch. But if Apple has truly screwed something up, you can bet your ass they aren’t saying a word. Remember when all those iBook G3s had dead logic boards? Not a word from Apple besides silently extending repair programs. Such has been the case with a number of hardware failures Apple has had over the years. 

But you’ve got to admire their style. Apple isn’t the ass kissing kind of company. In fact, they’re quite the opposite. And that’s why I am a happy customer of theirs. They don’t do focus groups. They don’t ask customers what they want and implement whatever got the most votes. Instead, they focus on the whole experience, and they find smart, thought out solutions to problems. And they stick by their guns about it.

First!

Hi, I’m Aaron.

I’ve been writing lots of posts on the web, but they’ve mostly existed in various places and didn’t get to be viewed by the world at large.  I’ve got nearly 200 Facebook notes right now, and I’ll be moving in some of my older, more awesome posts on slow news days when I don’t have anything else to say.

These first posts are always kind of lame, because they never really have any content, and usually about 95% of these first posts end up being one of the only posts that get written.  Well, I like to rant a lot about things, so don’t worry; this won’t be the only post here.

But, I’ll not drag this post on too much, because it already sounds lame, boring and dry.  You’ll learn about my kind of wide array of interests soon enough, but here are some quick facts about me:

  • I’m a Mac evangelist, but I use Windows a lot too.  Also a Linux enthusiast from time to time.
  • Love mobile OSes, particularly iOS and Android.  The rest don’t really have much of a future.
  • I’m a gay rights advocate, and I love having discussions about the theory of being queer, and gender related topics.
  • I enjoy discussing fundamental political philosophies.
  • I’m more existentialist than religious.
  • I work in the healthcare IT industry, and healthcare access for all is very important to me.
  • I love art, but am not good at it.
  • I’m a little eccentric.
  • I’m interested in sustainability and the environment.
  • I kind of have a thing for the 90s.

I hope this doesn’t become a place where I broadcast my thoughts for you to absorb (which admittedly sounds a little sexy, albeit kinky), but rather, I hope my posts can be the seeds of discussion, and I hope I can form relationships with my readers (also kinky).

So click that RSS button in your browser, because this is going to be fun.  Go ahead, click it now.  I’ll wait.  You know you want to do it.