Archive for January, 2014

Microsoft Store vs Apple Store–a biased review

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

I went to the mall today and while I was there I visited both the Apple Store and the Microsoft store. Of course I admit to being biased toward Microsoft and against Apple.

I loved the Microsoft store. It was fun. It was colorful. I liked the set up of the store. And I really liked some of the computers I saw. Dell is doing some great things with tablets (that Dell Venue 8 Pro looks like sometime I could enjoy), convertibles, and all in ones. I saw a really slick Sony convertible as well. I saw a 4G capable Windows tablet as well. I left wanting several systems that I don’t really need.

Then I went to the Apple store. It struck me as sterile and bland. Mono  chrome rather than colorful. The staff were all wearing the same color t-shirt and there were there in intimidating numbers. The Microsoft store employees wore t-shirts but they were wearing a couple of different color shirts. The Apple store had some areas on the flow that were roped off. Not sure why. I had trouble figuring out what was being sold at various tables in the Apple store. labeling was not so good and they seem to use iPads everywhere. And everything looks alike. The sizes are different but not much else. I found it boring.

There were people playing Xbox One games in front of the Microsoft store as well. All in all the Apple store left me feeling cold while the Microsoft store felt warm and friendly.

Out with the old Year in with the New Year

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

2013 was a year of transition for me. I returned to teaching at Bishop Guertin HS. I interviewed for a university teaching job and was really tempted but decided to stay in New Hampshire.  It took me a bit to adjust to not working at Microsoft anymore. It seems like it is hard to get used to not travelling when you really like to travel. And I do. Plus there is that getting up at 6AM thing that I didn’t used to have to do. On the other hand I had the summer off. Or as a friend of mine calls it “retirement practice.”

I missed a couple of conferences I used to attend regularly. SIGCSE, TCEA and ISTE to name three. I followed the statuses of friends who did attend and that sort of make it harder not to be there.  I’ve already made reservations to attend ISTE this summer. I’ll decide in the next few days if I’ll be going to attend SIGCSE. Time and money are both issues. TCEA is totally out though. First time in several years I didn’t make a single trip to Texas.

I had a few trips during the year. My wife and I went to Disney World. I did get to attend the CSTA annual conference in Quincy MA (a car ride). And the CSTA Board meeting was in Arizona. Did I mention that I was elected to the CSTA board of directors? Very exciting for me.  I also had one last trip with the CS 2013 committee in Las Vegas. Did you know there is a big hotel there without a casino? Yep, we stayed there.  I also trip to Indiana to visit Taylor University to interview and demo teach about possibly teaching there. Seems like a lot but still about half as many trips as I used to make in a year.

I’m enjoying the teaching. The students are especially great. You’d think that getting back to teaching would come back to you right away. In some ways it did. In other ways not so much. I really want to be good at it. Better than I am. I’m working hard at that.

One big milestone that I hit this year was reaching 60 years of age. I used to think that was old but I sure don’t feel old. Not mentally anyway. Well not most of the time. Retirement seems in range for the first time in my life. I’m figuring out how I want to prepare for that. And what I really want to do until then. I expect to stay at BG but I figure there are other things I can and should be doing. That is what I am thinking a lot about this time of year.

All in all 2013 was a pretty good year. 2014 looks like it might be even better. I’m thinking it will be until it proves itself differently. 🙂