Archive for September, 2009

Feelings

As a man I can, with resounding verve, say that feelings are hard. While I won’t go so far as some other men and claim the frontal lobe to be a complete waste and as such should be devolved, I do recognize the difficulty it has put us as a race, and men in particular, in.

Women seem to complain that men do not understand their feelings, and guys, we don’t. We have no way of really understanding why several pairs of what to us essentially looks like the same damn shoe seems like a good idea. However, this does not detract from the fact that the ladies do feel this.

“Oh”, I hear you say, “he is just going to write a post where he is facetious and makes fun of women! I won’t read another word.” Well, that is your choice, but hang in there. I am just pointing out that there are differences as to what we feel. Men feel passionate about stuff most women, and some men (my self included) will never even begin to fathom. Like football. Why is it fun to watch men who undoubtedly have nice physical genes, although I’m less sure about the more brain-related ones, kick a leather-bound ball around on a nice lawn?

The question here is: Does it matter?

Both sexes feel, in spite many mens assurance that they certainly have never felt anything. Although they did cry that one time, but their team had lost and their dog had died. And anyway all the beer was gone… And the fact that we all feel, young or old, black or white, man or woman makes this an integral part of who we are. (Now please don’t start saying “Well animals feel too!” I know they do, but this article is about us, so f@ck ’em)

Now, in the best pseudo-scientific tradition, I have concluded that both men and women feel. So let me ask the followup: Why does it seem so damn hard for me to handle feelings? (I’ve left the world of generalizations behind here and I am now venturing into my own murky depths.) One example here is when my ex-wife told me she wanted a divorce. Right there and then I reacted with slight anger, then by being quiet. The day after, when alone in the flat, I cried. I cried for a whole day, so much so that the cat’s started to look worried. But during that whole thing, through the numbing pain and sticky tears, I couldn’t shake the feeling of looking like an idiot and sounding even worse. “What if someone heard me?” Now I’m asking my self, so what? Everyone is sad from time to time, and I’m raised to be “soft”. But still, in the whole male “culture” (or what ever you want to call it…) there is a feeling of “you can’t cry, ’cause only women and people of deviant sexual orientations (from a writing point of view, the days before political correctness were definitely more frugal) cry”.

But why the hell shouldn’t I cry. It was one of the most heart wrenching moments of my young life. What should I’ve done? Laughed? Swallowed and stored it away in the container marked “psycho” and take it out a rainy day when I’m fifty? No, crying is good. Crying is cathartic. But still shameful. I don’t know about other men, but to me it’s almost, if not more, shameful than masturbation. (I don’t masturbate, but I’ve heard it’s popular…). Why is that? Most of my female friends have cried with friends, strangers, me etc. around. I don’t think I’ve cried even once with them around. Not because I want to be macho, but because I just feel like I can’t. I cry during movies, but do I show that to anyone? Hell no!

At the other end of the spectrum is dating and falling in love. I recently signed up for a dating service. Have I used it? No, not really. The recommendations written for me by some of my friends made me blush, and there are plenty of good looking women my age on the site. So why have I not been on a date? Well, frankly, flirting on-line fells like just another sure-fire way of getting rejected. How do you approach women? I’ve got plenty of female friends. I think most of them love me in that platonic-boring-we’re-just-friends kind of way. Approaching women and hanging out with them in the sense of being friends have never been difficult to me. In many ways I prefer their company to that of guys. They look better (generally), they have wider spectrums of interests (again, generally) and I just like it.

In a way that is wonderful. But, how should I put this, it lacks romance. Do I want to be romantic with any of my friends? No, not with most of them anyway. But I am stuck in the male-friend category! I seem incapable to forge any other kind of relationship with a woman. Why is that? Do I only have “friend pheromones”?

Somewhere I heard that it’s supposed to be cool and hip to be single. Let me tell you right now: that is a blatant lie on par with saying that Josef Stalin was a slight nuisance in his day. Being single, in a word, sucks. So this is what all this text has lead up to. Me simply asking the egocentric question of how you go from “that-nice-guy-who-is-fun-friend” to a date or even better, lover? It is a tricky question, and I pose it at the risk of diminishing all my female friends, which is something I do not at all mean to do. I love my friends, male and female. But at the end of the day, I do not have any “friends-with-bennifits” relations, nor is this all about sex (though it is undeniably a big part of it). I want someone to talk to when I wake up, someone to have a picnic with in the afternoon, someone to argue about what movie to watch with. And then yes, someone to have wild and crazy sex with all night long. We don’t have to do all those things everyday, that would be a bit too much, I think. But every so often. That would be nice.

Thobias

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Smarter phones and the need for convergence

So, once again I’m coming up on buying a new gadget and I turn to you, the fantastic blogosphere. My thinking is getting a new phone, a smartphone.

Newton and Pilot

Now, let me first give you some background. I am an old Newton fan, Palm user and I’ve been sporting mobile phones since somewhere around 1997. I’ve tested several systems over the years, and currently use an iPod touch as my game device and PDA.

So, let’s first take a quick look at what I will not get: An S60 phone, or (gods forbid), a Windows Mobile phone. Sorry Nokia, I’ve used S60 and quite frankly I feel it would have been fantastic five years ago… I have a friend who just got a Nokia 5800, an I was not as impressed as I had hoped I would be. Windows Mobile? I just can’t stand it.

Blackberry was a contender ’til I had the displeasure to try one. I just can’t get my head around it, and the apps seems wicked expensive. So no, thank you.

What does that leave? Well, iPhone, Android and webOS. And here the questions starts to pop-up.

I have a relatively good grip on the iPhone, being a heavy iPod touch user. I like the OS, I like the apps, I’m drinking the Apple kool-aid and like it. But, I still want some apps to multi-task. Like web-radio, chat etc. I want to consolidate my messaging, mail, sms etc. I want it to integrate better with Facebook, Twitter etc. Though the Facebook app for iPhone is very nice. This leads me to consider other alternatives.

Android

Let’s start with Google Android. I am drinking tons of Google juice already. I love Gmail, Google Calendar, GTalk, Google Reader, Google Notes etc. I love Google and the kind of University type fun the often prove to have in droves.

The downside is Google is a very engineer-driven company. That makes it very cutting edge, but design is lagging in many ways. I mean, come on, very few Google services would win any beauty contest. Clean and simple, yes. Beautiful? Not really…

Android has suffered a little from this too. Enter HTC Sense. HTC seems to have made a great job with beautifying Android. However, this probably means you get a less consistent OS? It is, according to test on Engadget and Gizmodo also slowing things down. BUT, it is open, always connected and looks more fun. It is also much more customizable and I don’t care what Steve says (I know, the gods might smite me…) but some things on a phone SHOULD multi-task!

webOS

Palm is an old love affair with me. I’ve always loved their stuff, bar their Windows Mobile phones. webOS seems to be an awesome platform. Sort of mating Android with the iPhone and getting only the good genes! However, I’m still to test this in reality. They are not sold in Sweden yet, and it seems the Swedish operators have a very stand-offish position to Palm. It seems I could probably buy one from the UK, but still. It kind’a sucks.

Another thing with the Palm, is that both the Pre and the Pixi are using hardware keyboards. As a resident of a country with umlaut characters in the local alphabet, I’ve hated hardware keyboards for a long time. Software keyboards are a little tricky sometime, but at least I don’t need to press anything extra to get åäö!

Downsides?

The downside to both these platforms is I like using iTunes and only the iPhone syncs. Does this matter? Well, no. It seems Songbird has actually reached a level of maturity where I could live with it as my main jukebox. Calendar? Syncing via CalDAV and Google Calendar would solve that. Thank’s to open source and the cloud it would seem I could live with either.

But there is still the undeniable fact that the iPhone is very much more mature than the other two.

What is it I do not like about the iPhone. People go on and on about it not being open, in my opinion that is a non-issue in the long run. Phones and Apple have mostly been rather closed, and both are doing well. No, my gripes are of a different flavor. I am a self-confessed web 2.0 aficionado, and as such I am naturally a joiner…  This is where the iPhone lucks-out big time. It does not support convergence in any way. Ah, but it does, you might say. It supports MobileMe Sync and Microsoft Exchange. Ehh, yeah. One is something like $100 per annum and the other is distinctly corporate news. No, I mean I want on place to handle chat, sms, mms, email. Where I can see all my contacts no matter if they are on Facebook, Gmail, AIM etc., in one place. Palm understands this, and HTC seems to also be aware of this. Apple? As much as it saddens me, no. They don’t even include a flippin’ chat client! Also, more and more I am dependent on Google Calendar, and have to sync that with iCal for it to get on my iPod touch. Not convenient.

What to do?

The iPhone is a fantastic product, don’t misunderstand me. But I feel Apple is a little bit in their own world, and unlike when it concerns computers, their vision is not quite the same as mine. I guess I may be a fringe case, and I am painfully aware of the greatness of the iTunes App Store. But I do still have a very nice iPod touch. Arguably I could go with an HTC or Palm device and still have the best of both worlds?

What do you think? Where would you go, especially with these factors in mind:

  • The Android phones available in Sweden are priced the same as an iPhone 3G, and frankly I want the 3GS.
  • I have a very nice 8GB iPod touch.
  • Increasingly, I live in the cloud, not on my laptop.

Thobias Vemmenby