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Mike Pike
Lived in Southeastern Virginia
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Mike Pike

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As a long time C# and JavaScript developer, I look forward to the day when I don't have to read stupid tweets like:

 "In C# I solve interesting business problems, but in JavaScript I solve interesting technical problems."

Spend your time learning to get stuff done instead.
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Mike Pike

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Surface 2 impressions, after two weeks of use.

I used a Surface RT every day all day since the first day it went on sale, over a year ago.  It was the first device I ever loved.  But it had a cracked screen and everyone was saying the Surface 2 was so much better so I bought one and gave the RT to my sister who is now using it in her nursing job.  All the specs are better than for the Surface RT, but honestly the only things I notice day to day is that the screen is a bit brighter, and the dual position kickstand is more useful than I thought it would be.  So I am glad I made the upgrade, but not by much.  And I actually liked the Type 1 keyboard a bit better than the Type 2, because the Type 1 had mechanical buttons on the trackpad. 
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Looking at and 8 and 10" tablets with an open mind.

I keep looking for Office and nothing but Surface has it.  I keep looking for integrated keyboard, and nothing but Surface does that well.  Pretty much there is no competition right now. 

Having said that, I did really like the newest Nexus 7, and actually liked the home screen better than Windows 8.x.  If I had customers who do not use Office, I'd get that.  But what customers do not use Office?  Even customers who use Google Office still primarily use Microsoft Office for serious documentation.  And BTW, much as I like Gmail, using it in the office is not very convenient.  First it interferes with your personal Gmail account, and second it is just not as convenient to use as Outlook for work, even though I honestly can't say why, it could just be that I'm used to Outlook.
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Update:  I like using Gmail and shared Google Docs for work a lot more now than I did, I think they are absolutely useful and just as good as Office products. 
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I do not like the new backlit Type 2 keyboard.  The original Type keyboard works better.

Alas, I lost the 'a' and 's' key of my Type 1 keyboard somewhere on a California beach, so I have little choice right now.
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Mike Pike

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Disappointed by the #BreakingBad finale. 

It was a little too tidy, unrealistic, predictable, and simplistic.  I'll admit that the image of Walt dead on the floor of a meth lab was quite a dramatic shot and good ending, but during the whole rest of the episode I was aware of time passing, and often found myself thinking..."no way" or "how corny/unrealistic".  Walt should have died unsatisfied, lonely, and with none of his important loose ends tied.  That would have been a proper, believable, thoughtful closure.  It was never going to end in any way but sad.
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Mike Pike

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LMAO watching "To Rome with Love".

It got terrible reviews, but it is cracking me up.  Putting a shower on stage because everyone sings better in the shower?  Hilarious. Throw in some intellectual pretension.  A little of today's hero worship of people with no talent.  Some pretty good opera singing, and scenes of Italy thrown in as well.  What's not to like?
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Mike Pike

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#SurfaceRT  and Southwest Wifi have ruined flying for me.

Flying used to be glorious.  I would get tons of work done, and/or lose myself in books.  But on my last two cross country flights I wasted the whole time surfing the internet.  A total waste of time.  No more in-flight wifi for me.  Today was the last time.

The Surface RT is fantastic for travel, I've had it since the day they came out and it just keeps getting better and more useful.  But there is such as thing as too much of anything.  We all must learn to be disciplined and use technology intelligently. 

Interestingly I am seeing lots of Surfaces in the air, and lots of people are asking me about it on-the-job.  Having spent the last couple of years working from home, I was not aware how popular it was among business travelers.  And most people are quite clear about the differences between RT and Pro.  I'm probably seeing more Pros than RTs, but I could not live with less than 8 hours of battery time, and also I do serious mountain hiking with my Surface (I'm taking lots of photos and videos) so the weight difference real  matters. 

My main device is a super heavy 17" Dell laptop, but I don't care how heavy a device is if I am only carrying it back and forth to work.  Power and screen size are way more important than weight when it come to serious on-the-job work.  I actually have both powered up when at work, and carry the tablet to meetings and the cafe.  People look at me funny when I am video Skyping with my boss in the café.  :) 

What I have learned is that we need two devices, a portable tablet and a boss laptop. Smartphones are a dead end, we need to be able to take calls on our tablets.  I have Skype of course and it is great, but not yet quite good enough to ditch my cell.
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Mike Pike

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I seem to have skipped right past the smartphone era.

I've been planning to get a smart phone for years, as soon as one appealed to me.  I kept expecting that to happen, but it never did.  But all the while, I've been carrying a tablet around with me, everywhere, around the house, across the country, at work, on hikes, you name it.  I live with it, and even take it to bed with me at night.

Last night it finally occured to me that a smart phone will never be able to replace my tablet.  I will always be carrying a tablet around with me, everywhere, because the form factor is so much better for me than a smart phone.  Some of this is due to the larger screen size, but most if it is the civilized keyboard.  "Civlized" is the exact word that popped into my brain last night. I've never been, and apparently never will be, a thumb monkey.  And I also do not enjoy receiving texts from thumb monkeys.  At least, not for work.  Because there are always so many grammar errors and ambiguities when people attempt to type important emails so unnaturally.  It is unprofessional and I do not enjoy receiving them and trying to figure out exactly what was meant.  

A normal sized keyboard is just so nice.  And it pairs perfectly with a 10" screen, ala the Surfaces, which I've owned (first the RT and now the 2) since they first came out 1.5 years ago.  

At some point these things will start taking calls as well and as comfortably as any smartphone (and BTW I'm already using Skype) and this day will come soon.
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Update:  My company bought me a nice smart phone (Lumia Icon WP8) a few months ago.  The things I like about it better than my tablet are that it takes amazing pictures and videos, can be carried around in a pocket so it is truly portable, and has GPS and thus can be used for navigation in the car.  Otherwise, I still LOVE my Surface above all other devices, two years later.

Strange thing is, people keep telling me this phone is huge, even though it easily fits in my hand and all my pockets, and IMHO it is only barely big enough.  If I had a smart phone any smaller than the Lumia Icon I'd toss it as useless.  The Lumia Icon could be 50% bigger and still fit in all my pockets.  But a phone does have to fit in a pocket, otherwise, it might as well be a 10" tablet.
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Mike Pike

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What I learned from creating spreadsheets and writing SQL queries on the #SurfaceRT during a cross country flight yesterday.

1.  It is doable.

2.  I do not want to work on any screen less than 13" and would never again buy a device with anything less, other than a mostly play device.

3.  Surface RT lasted the whole trip (just barely, I was hitting it hard, and this was a super long Southwest "tour the whole country" starvation flight), but the Pro would have been useless after a few hours. 

4.  The Pro would have been nice because I could have used the database I was writing queries against, instead of doing it from memory.  But again, the Pro would have been a boat anchor after a few hours, so that's a FAIL.

Conclusion:  Just keep using the RT for emails, Skype, light work, reading, and fun.  It is so light and compact that it's a no-brainer to just take it everywhere, which I do.  And start looking for a nice 13" Windows 8.1 machine.
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Mike Pike

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Nuthatch
by Kirsten Dierking
What if a sleek, grey-feathered nuthatch
flew from a tree and offered to perch
on your left shoulder, accompany you

on all your journeys? Nowhere fancy,
just the brief everyday walks, from garage
to house, from house to mailbox, from
the store to your car in the parking lot.

The slight pressure of small claws
clasping your skin, a flutter of wings
every so often at the edge of vision.

And what if he never asked you to be
anything? Wouldn't that be so much
nicer than being alone? So much easier
than trying to think of something to say?
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Mike Pike

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You do NOT want an #iPhone if you live or vacation in Northern California.

The maps are horrible.  I was lucky enough to have local knowledge, but I was very close to throwing someone's iPhone out the window all week.  Seriously, how do people live with that piece of crap?
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Mike Pike

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I love that Bernstein is willing to take a nap onstage.

The silence is more dramatic and unresolved than the "Tristan chord" itself.

Leonard Bernstein: Tristan und Isolde, Vorspiel Act 1
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Southeastern Virginia - Northern Virginia - Northern California - The Big Easy
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