The Why of the  Watch

There is a clear pattern to [the  Watch demoes]:

The bad demos are all activities that are better done on your phone. They are also the activities that make the Watch seem the most like a real computer.

The good demos are all activities that extend your phone in a way that simply wasn’t possible before. They are also activities that make the Watch seem less capable as a self-contained unit.

-Ben Thompson, Apple Watch: Asking Why and Saying No”, stratechery

Ben Thompson has one of the best explanations for why I was moderately uncomfortable during the demoes of the  Watch on Tuesday. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I felt the way I did, especially because, like Ben, I really liked the look of the device itself.

Apple really does have a hit on its hands, but that does not negate the fact that they created a device that looks similar to what was already available on the market. Before anyone crucifies me, I did use the word similar” and not the same”. The  Watch is in a category all its own, especially where fashion is concerned, but as Ben puts it, there are reasons to use a phone, a tablet, a computer, a watch. Why build in functionality that just adds complexity, instead of focusing on those things that the device can do that simply wasn’t possible before”?

It seems to me that Apple spent too much time on stage discussing everything that the  Watch could do and not enough discussing what it should do. Hence, the above-quoted text and hence, the question marks that still exist about the reason for the mere existence of the device. I think it will become more clear with time, but my only hope is that the user can customize the overall functionality (what apps are installed, what apps appear on the home screen) as much as the user will be able to customize the watch face.

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The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.