January Book Review: Steve Jobs

As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I decided I wanted to read one book a month outside of my required readings for graduate school. Since my parents bought me Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson for Christmas, that seemed like a natural book to kick off 2012 with.

The first thing you’ll probably notice about the book is holy shit, that’s a long freaking book. And it is. It took me almost exactly a month to get through it, and I’m typically a very fast reader. Due to the time investment, I would only recommend this book to people who are staunch Apple users and who are really fascinated about learning about the Apple products that they own and love.

The book is divided up by product and takes a deep look at how each one was conceptualized. To make things more interesting, they also intertwine the product development cycles with tidbits of Jobs’ oftentimes tumultuous personal and professional life. After reading this book, I’ve realized that Apple really could have failed years ago and the products I depend on everyday might not have ever come to existence. It’s such a strange thought.

Highlights of the book for me included:

  • Learning about what Jobs was like as a youth and what life events helped build his philosophies on life, products and business
  • Learning about Jobs’ strange habits such as going on ridiculously strict diets and being so picky about design that his home went unfurnished for months
  • Getting an inside look at what it would have been like to work for Jobs, who was a really big prick to the people who didn’t perform in the way he thought they should
  • Seeing just how many connections Jobs had… which shouldn’t have surprised me, but I didn’t realize Al Gore was on the board of Apple
  • Hearing from Bill Gates about what it was like to compete with Apple and learning more about their complicated relationship

All in all, I’m glad this was the book I chose for my first month. It was truly fascinating and I felt like it was pretty fair and balanced.

Next up: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Five Things Friday: iPhone app Edition

I recently became a proud iPhone owner thanks to rain damage sustained to my Blackberry whilst rocking out to Portugal. The Man at Lollapalooza. I gotta say, it feels good to be rid of my “1998 technology” as my buddy (and longtime iPhone user) Andy likes to say.

In honor of Steve Jobs announcing his resignation as the CEO of Apple, I thought I would share the 5 apps that have made my iPhone experience so freakin’ awesome.

1. instagram

Since before I owned an iPhone, I’ve had instagram envy. I love being able to take a photo, put on a sweet looking filter and share it with my friends not only on instagram but also with the option to share on Twitter and Facebook. I like it so much that it has actually decreased my Tumblr usage quite a bit.


2. OKCupid

I’ve been a fairly avid user of OKCupid over the past couple years, and the iPhone app is really awesome. The Local feature plays off of the grindr format in that it allows you to see who is local and available to hang out right then and there. I haven’t taken advantage of meeting someone through this feature yet, but it’s definitely something I might be open to when I’m out on the town in Boston.

3. Kik Messenger

The one feature I knew I was going to miss about my Blackberry was bbm. Kik messenger is the iPhone equivalent. While it isn’t super necessary because the iPhone texting format is basically the same as chatting, it’s still nice to have a messaging tool that feels somewhat exclusive.



Uhhh. I don’t think I really even need to explain why this is so awesome. Thanks to this app, I can take Don Draper on the T with me every morning on my way to work. Waiting for a friend that is going to be half an hour or so late? BAM. An episode of Party Down at your fingertips. Netflix is just generally one of the best things ever, but it in an app and its even better.


5. Catch the T

Out at the bar and wondering if you’re going to be able to hit up last call and still make the last T home? Wonder no more. If you rely on the Orange, Red or Blue line to get home, Catch the T has you covered. You can check times by line and station and it gives you three options to take (assuming its early enough to have three options left). It’s the only app I’ve paid money for, and I’m sure its going to prove itself worthy.

Have an iPhone app that you can’t live without? Share it in the comments!

Five Things Friday

1) Charlie Sheen

First I couldn’t understand how that Two and a Half Men show was popular in the first place (my grandmother loves it, so I can’t hate on it too much) and now I really just don’t get Charlie Sheen in general. I’ve been trying to not pay attention to it because I can’t stand how Americans love to watch the total self-destruction of celebrities, but I can’t escape it. This dude is making a moron of himself every time he opens his mouth and now it has led to him losing custody of his twin two-year old sons.

One thing I will admit I have enjoyed about all of this is photos of cats quoting Charlie Sheen that my friend Andy put on my friend Liz’s wall for her birthday. Best gift ever.

2) iPad 2

I have never wanted something so bad that I truly cannot justify owning. Everything about it is just so bad ass. Even the invitation to the media ruled; it enticed people to show up with a cryptic message reading “Come see what 2011 will be the year of…” And Steve Jobs (who unfortunately looks incredibly ill) definitely didn’t disappoint. Some of the new features of the iPad include: rear and front facing cameras designed for video chat, availability in both white and black and the ability to hook it up to an external screen.

One day it will be mine. Sigh.

3) Save Service

I mentioned this last week, but it is still a huge deal to me, so it is definitely worth another mention. As I mentioned in a blog post from a couple days ago, AmeriCorps funding is in serious danger of being cut from the budget. Check out that blog post to see how YOU can help stop this from happening.

4) Reconnecting with Friends

In attempts to assuage my homesickness I’ve been dealing with, I’ve been trying to contact people I haven’t spoken with in awhile to catch up. It always feels good to hear a familiar voice and reminisce over old inside jokes, it is just so difficult to set aside the time and do it. Plus I think social media gives me a sense of false involvement with my friends. I can tell you what is going on in most of my friend’s lives based on their Facebook updates and Twitter feeds, but I don’t know what’s up beyond that. It has been totally awesome getting real updates from some of my favorite people on what’s going on with them. So glad I did that.

5) Project Ubuntu

My good friend and former City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley colleague Daniel Becton is working on an incredibly impressive service initiative called Project Ubuntu. Essentially, it is a yearlong service project in which Daniel will visit communities in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. to complete service projects. It is a celebration of service for our country and it hopes to spread the spirit of volunteerism along the journey.

I’m a huge supporter of this and think you should be too. I encourage you to like it on Facebook, follow it on Twitter and check out the website.

Five Things Friday

This is a new series I’m doing on my blog inspired by City Year New York’s blog. It’s called Five Things Friday and it means that every Friday I am going to write about five things that have either directly happened in my life, I’ve found interesting on the news, or pretty much anything else I feel like writing because hey, it’s my damn blog so I can do what I want!

Here goes…

1. Apple Cares

So I’ve been having issues with my Mac just shutting off on me and it has been stressing me out a lot because I’ve been working on a couple important projects for work. Since I have Apple Care, I took it into the Apple store for a date with a barista on Valentine’s Day. While my battery didn’t “qualify” for a free replacement, the (super awesome) barista decided to replace it anyway. Not only that, but they replaced my keyboard because there was a chip in it due to a design flaw. And they did it all in about 20 minutes. Best Valentine’s Day present ever.

2. No Hot Water, I Cry

We haven’t had hot water at my apartment complex since Saturday. I never knew how much not having access to hot water would affect me emotionally. I literally broke down and cried when I got home last night and not only didn’t have hot water, but not even the cold water would work in the shower. I haven’t showered in a few days and it is really getting to me. I honestly can’t take it anymore. Thankfully they are supposed to replace the boiler today. If they don’t, I’m seriously going to freak out.

3. AmeriCorps Funding Threat

As most of you know, I have been an AmeriCorps member since I graduated from college. The experiences I have had serving in AmeriCorps has forever changed my life.  Unfortunately, the Republican party is proposing to slash AmeriCorps from the budget. I encourage you to read this article about why AmeriCorps deserves to be saved. If you agree, please sign this petition and help keep this incredible program going strong.

4. Lil Kim’s Tasteless Album Cover

I don’t really understand the beef between Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj but it is getting a little out of hand for my taste. First there were songs about them pissing on each other and now Lil Kim’s album cover is an artistic rendering of her murdering Minaj, complete with a dead body and a pink haired head that is clearly detached from the body. I don’t even want to honor it by putting it on my blog, but you can see it if you click the link above. She’s going way above and beyond to try to stay relevant. Sorry Lil Kim, you had your time to shine. Stop trying to relive your glory days by tearing other people down.

5. 2011 State of the City Address

Last night I attended San José Mayor Chuck Reed’s State of the City Address. While the radio personalities who were emceeing the event were painfully lame, the Mayor’s speech really hit home. In San José we have a real problem with the high costs of pension plans for city employees (particularly fire fighters and police officers). While it is highly unpopular with the unions, Reed is determined to do a fiscal overhaul of the pension plan system, which will help balance the budget and will make it so the city doesn’t have to continue cutting much needed services. While he didn’t address the recent spike in gang murders, it was an informative and inspirational speech and I trust that he will do what is best for San José.

Hope you enjoyed the first edition of Five Things Friday! Let me know what you think!