★iPhone 7

I got the iPhone 7 last Friday. Some thoughts:

  • I went from the 6S Plus to the regular size 7. I wanted the Plus more for the larger battery than the larger screen. I found out that the larger battery still wasn't enough for my typical usage. This time around I went with the regular size 7 and got Apple's Smart Battery Case. I liked checking the case's charge from within the OS. And I actually like the "hump". With my normal usage on the 6S Plus, I would make it to around 1pm until I would have to charge. With the 7 and the battery case, I got the 20% Low Battery warning at 10pm this evening. I start my days between 6am and 7am normally.
  • I did the iPhone upgrade program last year and was interested to see how they would handle those of us upgrading. Unlike others, I was able to get the model that I wanted. After about 20 minutes in line and about 30 minutes in store doing "paperwork", I walked out with my phone. No complaints.
  • The new Home button is weird for the first few minutes. That's it.
  • I got the matte black version. In my opinion it looks damn good. The Jet Black is crazy supply constrained. The person helping me said that they did not even have one on display in the store.
  • The speakers are way louder. One nice side effect of using Apple's battery case: because of the way the case is designed, it takes the output of the bottom speaker and reroutes it towards you. That, along with the new speaker in the ear piece, gives me even better stereo separation.
  • No headphone jack. It's a bummer but not that big of a deal. I prefer no wires (who doesn't). I have a Bluetooth speaker and headphones. I added Bluetooth in my car via an adapter a few years ago. My wife's car supports CarPlay. So there's never a point where I need to use the headphone jack anymore.

San Jose

Last week, my family moved into a new apartment in San Jose. While we were excited to move into this new place, I could not help but get emotional leaving the old place. It was the first apartment my then girlfriend, now wife, could call our own. I proposed to her in that apartment. It was my son's first home.

While I'm sad to leave that place, our new apartment is part of a much nicer complex. There is a huge pool, gym, business center and club house. We are almost fully settled and are starting to enjoy our new place.

Baby Equipment

My son was born almost 10 months ago and in the months leading up to his arrival, my wife and I spent hours figuring out the best stuff that we would need. There are many types of lists out there, but here are the things that worked out well for us.

Britax B-Agile

This was the one purchase my wife let me have total say on. After reading reviews, the Britax B-Agile was the best solution in terms of cost and quality. You will want the full system as it comes with the stroller, carrier and base. The base is the most important piece of this. While you can use a seat belt to strap the carrier in, it is MUCH easier to drop it into the base, which stays in your car at all times. If you can, buy more bases and keep one in each car. The stroller itself is easy to maneuver, even with one hand. And you can fold the stroller quickly, also with one hand.

Britax Stroller Organizer

Unfortunately, the stroller doesn't come with this. We bought it mostly because of the cup holders.

Motorola Baby Monitor

A baby monitor is nice to have. It gives you piece of mind to be able to glance at your baby. This one is a little expensive. There are options if you have a spare iPhone with apps that turn it into a streaming WiFi cam but having to open an app just to check on your baby is not as convenient as having a dedicated viewer.

Ollie Swaddle

Newborns love to be swaddled. The problem is that with the blankets most people use, they're made of cotton which is not very strechable and unless you're a master at swaddling, your baby can wiggle out of the blanket. The Ollie swaddle is great in helping keeping your babies arms tight against their bodies but the fabric is stretchable enough to let them wiggle.

Earmuffs for Babies

Babies don't like loud noises. This can make it difficult to go out to noisy restaurants or keep baby sleeping on a plane. These things are awesome for blocking out noise. If you put them over your own ears, you can see for yourself how much noise they block out.

Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail

There are two types of diaper trash cans; ones where you use the manufacturer's own bags and ones where you can use any trashbag. I'm all for using your own trashbags. I hate companies that charge a high price to use their own proprietary bags. Go with this one. You can use your own trashbags and it prevents your baby's room from smelling like dirty diapers.

Udder Covers

I'm all for things that help you, your wife, and your baby have as close to a normal life as you had before. For moms that breastfeed, these are awesome for having your baby feed while you are out in public. My wife says the plastic "V" at the top of the cover is key for helping keep a "tent" open for your baby to breathe and for mom to keep an eye on him/her.

Joovy Hook On High Chair

Once your baby can sit up on their own, these are pretty cool. Most restaurant's high chairs are dirty and who knows how old. This thing hooks on to a table and you plop your baby in.

Eco Gemini

Pushing a stroller can get cumbersome, especially for short trips to the grocery store. If you want to carry your baby around, this is the best way to do it. It is capable of forward and rear facing your baby. Easily adjustable and easy to put on. Also available in different prints.

4Moms Playard

Once you are up for it, this thing is the best playard, sleeper for traveling. Once our baby outgrew his co-sleeper, we upgraded to this. The co-sleeper was a pain in the butt to assemble and disassemble. When I saw the video for how this worked, I was sold. Literally one button push to set up, one strap to fold and store. As an engineer, this gets my approval.

Breville Immersion Blender

If you want to have total control of what your baby eats, you need to make your own baby food. To puree his food, we used this immersion blender. The advantage of an immersion blender over a standard blender is that you can take this to any pot and blend food in the pot. No need to have to pour contents into a blender. It's very time consuming and intensive but making your own baby's food is very satisfying.

OXO block set

Once you've made your own baby food, this is the best way to store it. Comes with trays that help keep them organized in your fridge or freezer.

Honest Company

For diapers and baby wipes, we signed up with The Honest Company. They pride themselves in using sustainable components and are free from chemicals, fragrances and allergens. They do a subscription service and my wife gets a kick out of picking the prints his diapers come in.

Having a newborn is very overwhelming but as cliche as it sounds, it's the best thing ever. I can't describe the feeling you get when your child smiles at you after you come home from work. Hopefully some of these items will help you with your child. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

Apple Watch Points to the Future

Like the original iPhone, the watch also feels like a physical compromise. The case is bigger and bulkier than the ideal device you would want to strap to your wrist. And while battery life is amazing for a device this small — routinely almost 24 hours on a single charge — it still requires that I remember to pop the watch onto a charger every night.

And yet, after almost eight months, the Apple Watch feels like the future to me.

Probably the best description of the usefulness of the Apple Watch that a non-technical person could understand.

★Year In Review 2015

When I look back at 2015, two things immediately stand out: my new job and the birth of my son.

Back in March, my former coworker called me and asked if I was looking for a new job. She'd recently left her job and joined Daikin. Her position was vacant in the Northern California area and she knew I was living up here. While I was certainly content with my job, I wasn't satisfied. I'd been doing the same type of work for 10+ years and I was yearning for a change and a challenge. I went through an initial phone interview in March but it wasn't until a 2nd interview in July that finalized everything.

When I got my first job in the industry, I always admired the factory reps who would visit our office. Not only because they got me answers that I needed quickly, but they were always ready to pay when it came to the lunch or bar tab. I always looked up to the better factory reps I dealt with and I can't believe that I ended up with the position I have now. Working on this side of the business is definitely different from my previous sales positions but I can't deny the benefits: I only have to be knowledgable with one product and I get to work remotely. I constantly remind myself of the situation I'm in and look forward to 2016 to do great at my job.

While a new position is a high point for many in one year, nothing beats the birth of your first child. Clyde Jaymeson was born on May 19, 2015. He's already 7 months old. Seven months is not a long time but so much has happened since he completed our family.

As soon as I found out my wife was pregnant, I was always looking ahead. What's next. At first, I wondered, is it a boy or a girl? Once we knew that, it was, what will he look like? Now all I wonder is, what will his first word be? When will he start walking? Will he be creative like his mom or technical like his dad. And on and on.

I'm pretty sure every parent can relate to this: All you want to do is create the best life for your child and whatever they want to do or take interest in, you will do everything you can to help them achieve it. I have high hopes for my son. I never knew I'd love or care for anything more than my child. It's cliche but it's so true.

I've always reviewed the previous year in these reviews, but I rarely set goals for the upcoming year. Looking back a few years, I've knocked down a few life goals. In 2013, I proposed and we got engaged. In 2014, we got married. This year, we welcomed our son. For 2016, I hope to have my family in our own home. Here's to 2016.

★ Jack Of All Trades

Aziz Ansari released his new Netflix show, Master of None, last Friday. It's gotten great reviews.

In a New York Times piece, Aziz talks about the issue of race in Hollywood. He criticizes the lack of diversity in leading roles. His last point is excellent:

And to anyone worried that it may be “weird” to cast someone who looks a certain way to play a certain part, because it’s not what people are used to, I say: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It’s true. Arnold Schwarzenegger is an unsung pioneer for minority actors. Look at “The Terminator”: There had to be someone who heard his name tossed around for the role and thought: Wait, why would the robot have an Austrian accent? No one’s gonna buy that! We gotta get a robot that has an American accent! Just get a white guy from the States. Audiences will be confused. Nope. They weren’t. Because, you know what? No one really cares.

We are only a few episodes in and I like it so far. The episode that a lot of people are talking about is episode 2: Parents. Aziz cast his own parents to play the parents of his character, Dev. It’s a thoughtful episode, especially to those of us who are 1st generation children of immigrant parents.

On his own Tumblr site, Aziz has some follow up to share about his father.

Tonight after we did Colbert together he said: “This is all fun and I liked acting in the show, but I really just did it so I could spend more time with you.” I almost instantly collapsed into tears at the thought of how much this person cares about me and took care of me and gave me everything to give me the amazing life I have. I felt like a total piece of garbage for all the times I haven’t visited my parents and told them I wanted to stay in New York cause I’d get bored in SC. I’m an incredibly lucky person and many of you are as well. Not to beat a dead horse here and sorry if this is cheesy or too sentimental but if your parents are good to you too, just go do something nice for them. I bet they care and love you more than you realize.

With Thanksgiving coming up, now would be as good of a time as ever to thank our parents for everything that they've done for us.

★ On Friendships

Wait But Why on the friendships you make as you grow up:

When you’re a kid, or in high school, or in college, you don’t really work too hard on your friend situation. Friends just kind of happen.

For a bunch of years, you’re in a certain life your parents chose for you, and so are other people, and none of you have that much on your plates, so friendships inevitably form. Then in college, you’re in the perfect friend-making environment, one that hits all three ingredients sociologists consider necessary for close friendships to develop: “proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other.” More friendships happen.

Maybe they’re the right friends, maybe they’re not really, but you don’t put that much thought into any of it—you’re more of a passive observer.

Once student life ends, the people in your life start to shake themselves into more distinct tiers.

If you ever wonder why your number of friends gets smaller the further away you get from college, this article nails it.

It’s not that easy to make friends anymore.

Sure, you’ll make new friends in the future—at work, through your spouse, through your kids—but you won’t get to that Tier 1 brothers level, or even to Tier 2, with very many of them, because people who meet as adults don’t tend to get through the 100+ long, lazy hangouts needed to reach a bond of that strength. As time goes on, you start to realize that the 20-year frenzy of not-especially-thought-through haphazard friend-making you just did was the critical process of you making most of your lifelong friends.

The History of the Sidekick

The Sidekick succeeded because it showed consumers how cool technology could be, that they could personalize a chunk of plastic and chips to make it their own, and ushered in an era of mobile computing for the masses. Say what you will about how fast its rising star burnt out, but the Sidekick is an important element in the link between cell phone and smartphone, technology and style.

No other phone got me as excited as the release of the Sidekick 3. It may be surprising that it wasn't the iPhone. I remember seeing friends with the Sidekick 2 and being amazed. Seeing them chat with friends over AOL Instant Messenger with a cellphone blew my mind. Without knowing it at the time, I saw the future of communication and mobile computing.

So many of us wanted an iPhone before we knew we wanted one because we saw the future of connectivity in the Sidekick.

Indeed.

The Coldest Story Ever Told

Still reeling from the death of his mother as well as a breakup with his fiancée, he explained how “808s came from suffering multitude losses at the same time—it’s like losing an arm and a leg and having to find a way to keep walking through it.” When a reporter asked what he planned to see during his visit to New Zealand, he replied dryly: “The back of my eyelids.”

Out of all the albums in Kanye's discography, 808s and Heartbreaks stands out. Aside from My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy and College Dropout, 808s is one of my favorites.

Appreciating the Power Mac G5

Christopher Phin on the design of the Power Mac G5:

And when you wanted to fit Wi-Fi—2003 was well before it was standard in a new computer—you could just slide the AirPort card in through this retaining bracket, slot it into the connection on the motherboard, and then attach the antenna which was helpfully held in the right position for you with a small clip.

I remember this was my favorite Mac to install RAM and/or an AirPort card. One, because we sold so few of them relative to PowerBooks and iBooks. And two, experiencing the thoughtfulness of the AirPort card's antenna connector delighted me every time.

Why Women Cheat

With the leak of user information from the adultery website, AshleyMadison.com, I thought it'd be appropriate to post this story from May 2014. Charles Orlando decided to create an account to figure out why women join the site.

But all were clear that they were not leaving their current relationship. These weren’t monkeys getting a grip on the next branch before letting go of the first. They just wanted to feel what they used to feel from the man in their life.

House Hunters

Chris Gayomali shares his love of HGTV's House Hunters.

Which isn't to say the convoluted decision-making tree the couples follow isn't fun. Seriously: If you want to get a bunch of GQ editors fired up on a Friday afternoon, simply put on House Hunters. Shit is like the Super Bowl.

“YOU GOTTA GIVE UP ON THE VINTAGE CHARM, GIRL!” said one editor who was most definitely not me. “GO FOR HOUSE #1.”

“They always hate the carpet,” muttered another House Hunters die-hard. “They always want an open floor plan. And they're always expecting a fucking en-suite every single time.”

When I want my mind to turn to goo and be entertained at the same time, House Hunters does the trick.

★ Career Moves

Last Friday was my last day at DMG North. On Monday, I start my new job as Commercial Sales Manager for Daikin. The decision to take the new job was easy, but the decision to leave was difficult. When I first joined DMG, they were very understanding and flexible as I was deciding whether to continue engineering or pursue a career in the restaurant business. When I decided to move, they were absolutely accommodating by allowing me to transfer to the Bay Area office.

It was tough to tell my boss I took a new job. They've been accommodating with my initial move and with Malia's schedule during the school year. They are a small company with owners that truly care about their employees. Their Christmas parties are also the best ones I've ever been a part of. But looking at the big picture, I couldn't say no to Daikin. They were offering me a step up in position and salary. But the real lure was the ability to work from home. With Baby Clyde now here, being present for my family is the most important thing.

Lava

The work paid off: Lava is a home run. The camera swoops and floats around the two volcanoes as they attempt to connect, and we in turn connect with them. "Volcanoes are misunderstood for being destructive -- and they are, I don't want to disrespect that," he says. "But so much of what we sit on, the land that we love and all of our cultures, is because of volcanoes."

I've never felt so affected by a Pixar short. Ever.