During the dot-com nuclear winter of 2001 I found a job at one of the then brand-spanking-new Apple Stores as a Mac Genius. I learned there are people who thrive in a retail environment, people who genuinely think it’s great to come in to work and spend their days trying to sell things to strangers.
(That was not me—for me, retail was a nightmare.)
One of our sales people was a really slick guy, handsome and hip, the kind of guy who would give a sales spiel about one of the Macs on the floor to a customer while I was standing nearby and I—one of the Mac Geniuses who knew all the specs on the thing—would think to myself, “Hey, I should buy one of those!” He was damn good at his job, and one of those people who naturally likes people.
As you’d expect from a sales person, he knew just enough about technology to be able to sell the machines, which was as it should be.
Remember this took place in 2002 right after the Apple Stores opened up and unhinged people considered visiting them something of a religious experience. For most people it was just a nice store, but for the faithful at that time, the backlit Apples flanking the front door was something oh so much more.
(Buy one of the grizzled original Geniuses a beer sometime and you’ll hear some stories.)
One day the store was really busy and this sales rep sidled up to me, pointed at a customer, leaned in real close, and whispered in my ear, “I f**ing hate that guy.”
This was the kind of guy who got along with everybody. What was going on?
The guy my sales guy was pointing at was an annoying nerd right out of central casting—hyperthyroid-scrawny in a faded t-shirt, coke-bottle glasses and an obvious-from-across-the-room superior attitude.
“What’s happening?” I asked the sales rep.
“That f**ing guy.” He was almost hyperventilating. “He walked up to me and asked me some kind of question about the kernel or something.”
“So I said I didn’t know. And he looked down his nose at me and sneered, ‘Hmmm. And you work for Apple.’”
It was good to know we all have our limits and though our buttons may be in different places, we all have them.
Nic provides some basic not-too-paranoid tips for securing your digital life.
It’s not how much you have to do, it’s how many things you’re doing at the same time.
Did you know the U.S. government is planning to invade Texas? Well, it’s not. Nic attempts to explain.
Installing Jekyll on an EC2 Amazon Linux AMI is easy. Here are the steps.
After wearing the watch for over a month, Nic has thoughts on its future. Spoiler: Depends on how you define success.
Lots of fantasy and sci-fi in this installment plus a book about sports! Includes Boy on Ice, Difficult Men, Restaurant Man, The Red Line, Cunning Plans, Seveneves, Nemesis Games, Bitter Seeds, The Mechanical, Angles of Attack, and City of Stairs.
Turns out “it's just a big iPhone” is a stroke of genius.
Some technical terms still confuse people who should know better, like journalists.
Nic is sad about Terry Pratchett's passing. Includes No Land’s Man, Idiot America, Something Coming Through, The Burning Room, Foxglove Summer, and The Dark Defiles.
Bluetooth headsets are maturing rapidly and these are both good in their own ways and for different purposes.