Getting Better

Impostor snowflake

It’s been a while since I finished writing and publishing something. I would love for this to be because I have an exciting thing to announce that I’ve been painstakingly working on for the last however many months.

But I don’t (at this point at least). I have personally nothing to add to the cesspool. (My wife does, though, and you should go to her new website, yay!)

It’s not like I’ve felt no emotions or accomplished nothing in the past year. I’ve gone through a lot — my family has gone through a lot. I moved twice, settled twice, changed roles at my job, put out an album of music. I’ve felt anxiety, rage, excitement and joy through all of it. But none of it seems worth sharing.

Why is that?

I’ve also noticed my unwillingness to share things on social media platforms. I even had to set up a daily habit reminder (in an app called Streaks) to remind me to post a photo at least a few times a week.

Am I depressed? Maybe I’m depressed. Maybe I’m the old soul my wife keeps telling me I am. Mostly it never feels genuine. Except it is — I have real joy that I feel, but usually it’s in small quirks that my wife and I share. The occasional lyrical idea that comes to mind and gets written down but never gets seen by anyone but myself and Apple’s servers. The most public things I do currently are this obscure blog and my day job work, which is conventionally sexy.

I don’t get off on winning. I get off on originality. Why is it so hard to find that? Am I just too risk-averse to go look for it?

Do people who actually share also exhibit these same feelings? What is the hurdle one must jump over to get past this feeling?

Do I just feel a need to individualize myself? I hate the idea of thinking that I’m a snowflake, but I think I feel awful and not worthy of anyone’s attention because I’m not a snowflake.

Is this ridiculous? Do people feel this?

On Technology

The wonderful future

or, my phone is slowly becoming my wallet

Since Alicia and I moved back into Boston proper, I’ve started to hold cash on me much less frequently. Back in NYC or up in Salem, most of the establishments we frequent only accepted certain credit cards; many were cash-only.

Now, I can use Apple Pay or order online from pretty much anywhere I frequent — cabs & Uber, groceries from Trader Joe’s, Starbucks and most other local chains — for everything else, I’m only really using one of two debit/credit cards. My only actual use for cash, except when I’m not in Boston, is to pay my barber every month. This has been a wonderful way to live, if anything because I have to worry about having less with me at any given time. My only further request is that I could get my driver’s license and MBTA subway pass somehow onto my iPhone — then I could ditch my wallet almost completely.

Having a thinner wallet is kind of amazing, but my iPhone is starting to feel like a single point of failure. What if I drop it and crack the screen or damage the NFC chip or the Touch ID button? The 6s Plus has amazing battery life1, but what if it dies? Do I replace my wallet with my little Anker portable charger in my back pocket? What if I lose or forget that? What if I get mugged? Or worst yet, what if I lose the phone due to my own idiocy? How will I get my goddamn Venti iced coffee?

It gets me thinking about product redundancy — the physical wallet begins to act as backup for my virtual Wallet. But what happens when I have no need for a physical wallet anymore, other than to cover my ass if my phone dies? That’s kind of an annoying prospect? Is that what Apple’s betting on with the Apple Watch, if you ignore the lifestyle play? When does the “all-powerful device” with several obvious Achilles heels require redundancy, especially when you don’t want to also carry your phone in an Otterbox case and with a portable charger constantly?

It’s all really fascinating, is all. It’s interesting to me that we still don’t have a good, trusted, redundant solution here that’s also convenient and cheap. We have it with our digital files thanks to name-your-cloud-storage-and/or-backup solution, but credit cards, identification and other highly physical-world things are still confined in your pocket or purse one way or another.

I get excited for our inevitable Minority Report-like future in which we could have public kiosks where, via a retina or thumbprint scan, you could retrieve a temporary copy of your ID, driver’s license, last credit card used, or whatever you lost while out in the world. Dropped your phone and it’s useless? Scan your finger at a Touch ID kiosk and you can automatically have a temporary ATM card printed instantly for use. Got mugged or lost your phone in an unfamiliar place? A quick scan could get you quick access to emergency response care, your Medical ID and history, and/or automatically wipe your phone and notify a loved one that you’re okay. I don’t know nearly enough about the technical complexity of making this work in practice — the scanners would need to be sanitary, damage-resistant, weather-proof, whatever else — clearly there are a lot of holes to this. It’s almost certainly easily hackable if we’re not careful.

But it’d at least be super cool, right?

Originally published at on August 31, 2016.