#319 - Limited Choices

5 minute read

Motto: Let the Chips Fall Where They May

I have ecosystem anxiety. 

A long time ago, I jumped into the Google ecosystem with both feet. I even went so far as to install Linux instead of Windows on my main computer. After a year or so, though, I decided my new desktop should run a Windows OS. For this one thing, I decided, I couldn't "Go Google". When Google Plus first came out, I thought "YES! FINALLY! I can ditch Facebook!" Eventually it became clear that nobody I know wanted to use or care in the least about Google Plus. The Amazon Echo came out and I thought "Google will have a competitor to this someday," so I waited and was eventually one of the first buyers of the Google Home.

On Amazon's "Prime Day" I picked up a $35 Echo Dot, just to see what the other side of the fence was like. I gotta say, I like this little thing. Makes me think about how Google's had this Google Home out for 9+ months and I can't even use it to ring my Google smartphone or add items to the Google-based shopping list I actually used. Then I started thinking about all the products they've killed off. Google Reader I used. Google Glass I did not, and thank God cause it's basically dead as far as its development for the regular consumer. Then there' Google Hangouts - the one messaging platform that I was successful in getting most of the people I talk with to get on... and it's largely fallen by the wayside. I'm certainly not going to jump to "Allo". That whole thing makes me look at iMessage and say "ahh man...."

I bought into the GoPro ecosystem really hard, but they took a weird turn a while back where they wanted you to upload all your stuff to their cloud and pay them an ongoing fee. The other week I saw a DJI Phantom drone and thought "this is so much cooler than anything I could ever do with a GoPro". I sold off one of my two cameras, and my remaining one is reaching End of Life in terms of software support. Their new ones look sick, but history has forced me to hesitate more than I previously would.

I just want stuff to fulfill all the functions I want fulfilled, and I wanted that stuff to all play nicely with one another. I guess no one company can be the best at all the things. There's no a solution to my problem, other than just deciding it isn't a problem anymore.

I like things to be neat, organized, and consistent, but my life and my preferences evolve over time. I wish I had a dozen journals that were all the same that were full of my writing over the years. I wish I had one continuous blog that dated back to when I first started. I wish the account on my computer and the account on my phone were the same account.

Then again, I wish I had the same workout I'd been doing for years. I wish my daily routine were so finely tuned that I had complete control over every minute of every day. Maybe I'm moving onto a different issue altogether, though. My engineer brain is chanting "optimize. optimize. optimize." underneath my normal internal monologue.

On a semi-related note - I had a bit of a thought experiment come to me the other day. The gist of it was to boil down all business with which you interact to a core set. To weed out which things were superfluous and to decide "if I were to have a simpler life, these are things I'm sure I'd want in it."

To be a little more specific, the idea was "who would I pick if I could only have economic transactions with 10 businesses". I stipulated that hospitals, healthcare, and insurances shouldn't count, but everything else was fair game. Subsequently I've decided that banks shouldn't be on the list either. Also no circumventing the exercise by going to a place for Gift Cards and using those, or picking Amazon, who's really just a middle man for you to get to other businesses. For my list, see my Top 5 10.

I'm thinking about all this because that's what I"m doing tonight. Thinking. I've already worked out. It's storming outside. I just finished all the Rick and Morty episodes I have access to. I don't have a book I'm reading. I don't feel like drawing, or really writing any more, for that matter - so now I'm just... considering.

How should I change my workout plan?
How should I change my diet?
What should the song for this year's "Second-a-Day" video be?
Should I do anything new with next year's video?
What should I do tomorrow?

I've been wanting to use this picture in a Column for years

Top 10: Places I'd Choose if I Could Only Spend Money at 5 Businesses
10. Royal Caribbean - cruises are a one-stop-shop for vacations, in my (limited) experience, Royal Caribbean is an awesome cruise line, and you can cruise from the Americas to Europe and Asia.
9. Sheels - they tend to carry clothes in my size (sometimes), and I get the bonus "they sell all sorts of sports stuff" too.
8. Hendricks car dealerships - they sell cars, the fix cars. Now all I need is gas.
7. QuikTrip - pretty widespread and among the nicer gas station franchises.
6. Chipotle - all over, always delicious
5. Taco Bell - I hate to include a second burrito place on here, but I love burritos and sometimes I want them handed to me through my car window.
4. Texas Roadhouse - a widespread, quality, non-burrito place to get food.
3. Target - for anything not covered elsewhere on this list
2. Home Depot - cause I want to be able to buy wood and stuff
1. CostCo - for everything from food to furniture

- Rick -