My Review of Jobs, Starring Ashton Kutcher

JobsmovieNo, I’m not “that guy” who goes out and sees a movie when it is released at midnight or anything … but yes, I did see the movie Jobs on the first day it was released. But it was mostly that the timing was right for me to take in an afternoon matinee. And besides, as a technology consultant and technology historian, I wanted to make sure to see the movie before I started getting a lot of questions – at least that is my story and I’m sticking to it!

Obviously I’m not a professional movie critic, but I know what I like, so you’re going to get my take on the movie from my personal perspective and that of someone who knows the history of the personal computer era.

The first scene was telling – I knew immediately what was going to happen simply from the introductory title scene – “Apple Town Hall Meeting 2001″. I knew this was going to be the iPod introduction. What else could it be? I am very familiar with the actual event, which I remember mostly because looking back now the event was very small and relatively low-key as compared to later Apple events. Given its historical significance, the event is now larger than life, but the reality is that the actual stage and auditorium was pretty tiny. When I saw the scene develop, I wasn’t sure at times if I was watching the movie or some of the actual footage from the event. It looked that accurate. I hoped the rest of the movie would be as historically accurate, and for the most part, I believe it was.

I’ve already read some reviews that criticize some of the details of the film as being inaccurate. But for the most part, those details are very minor, and probably only noticeable to serious geeks. And sure, some of the scenes were dramatized, but by and large I felt the movie gave a very accurate high-level portrayal of the events that shaped the life of Steve Jobs, the history of Apple Computer during his tenures, and to a lesser degree the early history of the personal computer era. Ashton Kutcher did an amazing job of nailing the mannerisms, voice, and general persona of Steve Jobs. At times I completely lost myself in the movie, not recognizing that the person I was watching on screen wasn’t Jobs himself.

For me personally, I really appreciated the scene at the first annual West Coast Computer Faire of 1977, where the Apple II was introduced. Many historians call this event the birth of the personal computer industry, as the Apple II is credited with igniting the personal computer revolution. But the scene also showed the Commodore PET computer, which was one of the three significant personal computers that were introduced in 1977. Along with the Radio Shack TRS-80 computer,  Apple and Commodore defined personal computing during the earliest stages of the era, before IBM and then Microsoft rose to dominance.

The only fault I could find with the movie was that there simply wasn’t enough of it. My wife is a technology layperson, relatively speaking, and wasn’t very familiar with the details of Steve Jobs’ life or the history of the personal computer era. After watching the movie, she said that she wanted to know more about how Steve Jobs matured, especially in the time where Steve Jobs wasn’t at Apple. I couldn’t agree more. The film literally spends 30 seconds bridging those twelve years, never mentioning Pixar, and only mentioning NeXT to segue Jobs’ return to Apple. This time period in Jobs’ life is absolutely critical, as he matures both as a person and a business leader. But it’s hard to fault the film for this. It was already a two-hour movie and I know that most movie audiences get squeamish at anything longer that 90 minutes. My wife mentioned that it would have needed to be a mini-series to cover his entire life. Perhaps, but I would not have minded a three-hour movie that filled in some more gaps and gave a more complete picture.

Overall, even if the movie feels like a “cliff notes” version of Steve Jobs’ life, I still think it is a worthwhile movie. For most people who know very little about Apple prior to 2001, I think this is a great introductory look at the man that made Apple and quite literally changed the world. Sure, it’s not 100% accurate and it is a little thin on details at times, but it serves its purpose, at least from my viewpoint. I hope it helps more people understand the passion and drive that Steve Jobs had and how his influence shaped our technology, no matter if it is an Apple product or not. Ultimately the technology industry that he helped define and drive forward has influenced our society so greatly, that we all would do well to study his life as we study the life of other great people in history.

A Different Way to Think About Freemium

free-managed-services.jpgOftentimes, I find that entrepreneurship and liberty are inexorably intertwined. Sometimes, even the terminology used seems to hint at this unalienable truth. A shout out to Amanda at amandabillyrock.com for bringing up a discussion about the freemium business model. I’ve recently discovered her online and I must say her writing reads as if they are thoughts coming from my own mind. Check her out if you haven’t already.

I won’t go into too much detail about the freemium model or argue the merits. Lots of other people have done that. But core to the model is the idea that information is given away for free, in order to develop a following and establish oneself as a category authority.

Of course, “free” as in pricing is different than “free” as in liberty. Yet for many, the belief that information should be free covers both cost and availability. This is one place where entrepreneurship and liberty intersect.

Certainly I believe that the free flow of information is the greatest gift the Internet has given us. The decision to get paid for information I leave up to each individual. But in the age of the Internet, consider the following. Those who set information free are viewed in higher regard. Perhaps one day we will look at the liberation of information as a turning point in human history.

Mission Accomplished! Day Ten of My Juicing Adventure

Pineapple Juice Recipe

1 pineapple, 2 oranges, 1 mango, 1 lemon, 1 lime = Yum!

Day ten of my ten day juice fast was unlike any of the others before it. Whereas most days I juiced several times per day, today I had pre-juiced the night before and brought it all with me. Only at dinner did I actually make juice. While preparing to make juice, I was talking to my wife and explaining how it felt weird knowing that this was the last time I would prepare juice for my juice fast. It was strange feeling of accomplishment mixed with sadness. While I felt relief knowing that I no longer needed to be on a strict juice diet, I sort of felt sad that this journey was ending. I wonder if other people juice fasting have this feeling at the end of their journeys as well?

Regardless, I completed my juice fast and now I am free to eat whatever I want. So the day after my juice fast what did I have for breakfast? My wife made juice so I had some! That and a boiled egg. For lunch I had some leftover juice from the night before. I also snacked on almonds and raisins through the afternoon. For dinner I plan to not drink juice for the first time in 11 days! As I write this, I’m waiting for my wife to come home so we can go eat sushi!

So for those of you who are curious, here are the vital stats from my juice fast:

  • I started the first day of my juice fast at 188 pounds. I weighed myself this morning at 175 pounds: 13 pounds lost.
  • My belly measured at 37 1/2 inches on day one: it measured at 35 1/2 inches this morning: 2 inches lost off my abdomen.
  • I went from a 16 1/4 inch neck to 15 inches: 1 1/4 inches lost off my neck.
  • My pants feel baggier and I am also able to tighten my belt one notch tighter.

As I gather my thoughts over the next few days, I will write more about my thoughts on the juice fast experience. But for now, off I go to get some sushi!

The Final Countdown! Day Nine of My Juicing Adventure

The Final CountdownI was an interesting mix of excited and calm today. Excited that I only had two days left on my juice fast, but calm because I was totally confident that having gone this far, I would complete the entire ten day fast with no problems. It almost felt like day nine was the final day, knowing that I only had one day left. The biggest complication for day nine was knowing that the next day I would be out of the house almost the entire day and that I would need to prep a lot of juice to bring with me. So I had to do a lot of juicing at the end of day nine to prepare for day 10. The last day is next! Bring it on!

Down the Home Stretch! Day Eight of My Juicing Adventure

Breville BJE510XL

FYI, in case you’d like to know, our juicer is a Breville BJE510XL.

After the crazy weekend, day 8 being a Monday was pretty much no sweat, although I almost decided to cheat on my juice fast. Let me explain.

My wife and I bid on and won a charity auction item several weeks ago. The auction item was a package of Cardinals baseball prizes and events. We weren’t completely sure of all the details to the package, as some of the events take place later this spring. So we didn’t realize that as part of the package we were given tickets to a Cardinals opening game party at Union Station in St. Louis. We found out Sunday that we could go. Because a Cardinals home opener is a big deal around here and I would have liked the opportunity take some time off with my wife to a fun event, I was prepared to cheat on my juice fast at the party. I made this decision ahead of time, not because I was craving food and couldn’t handle juicing anymore, but because I didn’t want my juice fast to be a downer at a party. As fate would have it, a client emergency precluded us from going, so I didn’t end up cheating on my juice fast. This juice fast has made me realize a lot about food, our bodies, and our culture. I will expound upon more in a later posting.

I was asked a question about which juicer we own. It is a Breville BJE510XL, also known as the Breville Ikon Multi-Speed Juice Fountain, which we bought from Bed Bath & Beyond last year. I’ll share a quick tip regarding buying juicers from Bed Bath & Beyond. Before buying last year, we had settled on this particular juicer after much research and recommendations. We found that Bed Bath & Beyond had them on their web site. We got excited because we had a whole bunch of 20% off coupons (if you’ve ever shopped there, you know what I’m talking about). In my excitement, I read the fine print and discovered that you can only use these coupons in-store, not for shopping on their web store. Unfortunately, they didn’t carry this juicer in our local store. However, I discovered a way that you can use their 20% off coupons to order items from their web site. What you must do is bring the coupon to a Bed Bath & Beyond store and order the item from there. A customer service person will help you with the order. It’s not exactly convenient, but I knew I was going to be in the area and it was saving us about $40. If you’re going to order a big-ticket item like a juicer from Bed Bath & Beyond and all you have are 20% off in-store coupons, this could save you a bunch of money, so keep it in mind.

Exhaustion! Day Seven of My Juicing Adventure

rollerhockeyForgive me for posting this the day after! Sunday was a little hectic. My main concern this day was how my body would react to two hours of roller hockey. I’ve been playing hockey on Sunday morning for about 14 years now. I am pretty dedicated so I play nearly every single Sunday, which is approximately 700 games in that timespan. I’ve learned a lot about my body from all this experience, and I’ve gotten a routine down. Since I play early (7-9 AM), I can’t really eat prior to the game. Therefore I must make sure I eat well the night before, in addition to staying hydrated throughout the day, and getting good sleep (which is sometimes tough on a Saturday night). Many years ago my wife and I tried the South Beach diet, which restricts carbohydrate intake. We lost some weight, but I could tell that it really affected my hockey playing. I simply didn’t have any energy. Experiences like that helped shape my hockey routine. So how would my juice fast affect my play?

To stay true to the juice fast, I also was avoiding drinking my usual pre-game drink (a Gatorade “1″ or Emergen-C), plus only drinking water during the game instead of my usual Gatorade. I’m trying to avoid any processed food or sugars. The night before I made some citrus juice of lemons, limes, and oranges to try to get some extra carbs in my body for the night. Sunday morning before I left to play I drank 8 oz of the fruit juice I made the night before, plus probably 12 oz more of water. When I got to the rink and started skating, I felt a little weaker than usual and I thought I might be in trouble. But after a little while of playing, I actually felt good. This lasted for about an hour. Then I suddenly realized I was getting fatigued.

I recognized it pretty quickly. I simply didn’t have the energy I am accustomed to. I pride myself on having good stamina and being able to outlast most of the other players in the later stages of the game so I’m pretty familiar with how my body feels during hockey. This was not a good sign. I still had an hour to go and I body was telling me that it was exhausted. But there was no way I was stopping, so I played on. The strange thing was that even though I felt exhausted, I still felt good. As I substituted in and out, the short breaks allowed me to quickly recharge and get back out there. I was even able to score a tough goal toward the end of the two hours. But make no mistake, I was drained when we were done. For one of the only times I can remember, I was actually watching the clock, looking forward to the end of the game. Usually, I feel like I can still play longer, and in fact I have played additional 2 hour sessions before.

In the past when I’ve been exhausted after playing hockey, I’m totally beat all the way through getting back home, taking a shower, and getting something to eat. But this time, something interesting happened. As I did while I was playing, once I took a break, I seemed to perk back up quickly. Sure enough after I got changed and was packing up to go home, I actually felt really good. Yes, my muscles were tired and a bit sore as usual, but my fatigue seemed to be gone. I actually felt a little hyper. Driving home, I was no longer exhausted, but rather felt energized. I can only attribute this to the fact that my body is operating very efficiently because of all the nutrients in the juices.

The rest of the day I drank some extra juice throughout and only once did I have a very slight headache, which was very brief as I quickly drank a juice and it was gone. I often fall asleep on Sundays after playing hockey. However, I did not this time. I wonder if juicing had anything to do with it.

So I’ve now completed one full week on juicing and have survived the temptations of the weekend as well as the exhaustion of my hockey Sunday. I’ve only got three more days to go and I’m looking forward to finishing the full 10 days. My body feels good, I don’t really have any cravings anymore, and I can’t imagine that the next three days could be harder than any I’ve done so far.

I Survived! Day Six of My Juicing Adventure

My wife's juice recipe: 1 bag spinach, 1 zucchini, 1 cucumber, 2 carrots, 1 orange, 2 apples

My wife’s juice recipe: 1 bag spinach, 1 zucchini, 1 cucumber, 2 carrots, 1 orange, 2 apples, 1 stalk celery

For those of you wondering if I was able to make it last night with all the food temptation – yes, I did survive! But wow, was it tough! The whole room smelled like food and there was so much yummy stuff within easy reach. At this point, I believe if I could stay on course last night, I can handle anything!

I wanted to share my wife’s “standard” juice recipe with everyone. It makes a nice mild juice that’s easy to drink and makes enough for 2 servings, which is great if you want to share with your lovely spouse, or just making a second serving for later. She uses 1 bag of spinach, 1 zucchini, 1 cucumber, 2 carrots, 1 orange, 2 apples, and 1 stalk celery. Actually, she says that she usually does 2 oranges and 1 apple. Also, you can substitute a squash for the zucchini, or simply add it to the recipe. As for me, I like adding a lemon and lime as well.

Tomorrow should be a very interesting day. I play hockey every Sunday morning, which is a very intensive workout. It will be interesting to see if I have enough energy to play well, and how I hold up afterwards. I plan to drink some extra juice through the day to try to give myself some extra calories. If I can make it through tomorrow, I think I should be able to finish out the final 3 days!

Oh Sweet Temptation! Day Five of My Juicing Adventure

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Yes, that’s chicken wing dip! Oh the humanity!

Day five of my juicing adventure has been status quo for the most part. But now I’m at a trivia night fundraiser and there is so much food! This will almost certainly be my toughest test so far. Will I stay faithful? Check back in to find out!

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Why god!?

Use a Bag. Day Four of My Juicing Adventure

Use a Bag

Use a produce bag in your pulp basket for easy cleanup!

As far as my juice fast goes, today was about as uneventful as it gets. I was busy enough to not be thinking about food most of the day and I wasn’t really hungry or craving much at all. At this point, I must believe my body has gotten used to its new diet. One thing I thought that I would be craving a lot more is alcohol. But so far I haven’t really missed it. Although today I did crave a margarita after work.

I’d thought I’d share a good juicing tip. I had read earlier this week that using a plastic bag in the pulp basket would help with cleanup. I told my wife about it but we kept forgetting to try it. However, today she decided to use a plastic produce bag from the grocery store. Genius! If you’re juicing, you’re certain to have a bunch of these otherwise useless bags from all the produce you’re buying. So might as well use them to catch the pulp so you don’t need to clean the pulp basket. Like I said previously, I would certainly be having a much harder time without my wife’s help!

Tomorrow starts the weekend, so let’s see how I hold up!

So THAT’S What Hungry Feels Like! Day Three of My Juicing Adventure

Today I woke up hungry hungry!

Today I woke up hungry hungry!

Thinking back to day two of my ten-day juice fast, I realized I only had 4 juices instead of five. So it made some sense that I was a little hungry when I went to bed last night. But wow, when I woke up, I felt hunger like I don’t remember feeling in a long time! I had to go to an early morning meeting, so I took a shower, got ready, and grabbed a juice I had made the day before to take along with me. Oddly, while I was driving, I realized that my hunger had subsided quite a bit. What is it with me and not being hungry in the morning?

That being said, the rest of the day was fairly non-eventful. I wasn’t really craving much at all, until dinner time. Darn my sense of smell! But I’m still here, juice-faithful for day three. I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to share.

I’m recognizing the difference between real hunger and cravings. Like I mentioned above, real hunger is something I don’t remember feeling in a long time. What I’ve thought of as hunger I think have simply been strong cravings. Cravings can come on by seeing food, smelling food, or even just thinking about food. The worst is thinking about food. So far I simply need to keep myself busy and I can keep my mind off food.

I juiced some ginger tonight. If you’ve never done that before, be prepared to get a strong whiff of ginger! I probably put a little too much ginger in tonight’s juice, but now I’m excited to try making my own ginger ale!