Kyle Gray

Where's Winter

One of the weirdest things about Winter is what it does to you emotionally. The days are blatantly shorter, and they almost seem to just slip away from you. You’ll take a mid afternoon nap, and suddenly it’s 10:00 PM outside and you haven’t even eaten dinner.

As I’ve said in many different forms, this is my first real winter. I’ve never lived in the snow, other than going on cabin trips or passing the occasional patch of snow on the way to California. Utah is a whole different complexity when it comes to Winter. When it snows, it snows, (so I’ve been told).

Meanwhile I’m the kid from Arizona that finds a good deal on some nice boots on black Friday, wears them to work, and show them off to others. To which I get the instant reply of:

Oh… those won’t last at all once it actually snows.

Great.

Either way, despite the lateness of the winter up here, I’m excited in a really weird way for the actual snow. I live next to once of the best ski resorts ever, and there are a ton of places around to go just play in the snow, go snowmobiling up in the canyon, or playing with my sister’s dog.

Airline Technology

Traveling is one of the best parts about the holidays. Airports, train stations, and highways are packed with people going to visit their families or just getting away from the city they live in. It’s always interesting to take notice of the technology seen and used by “normals” when you’re traveling. New tablets, a ton of Apple products, and maybe a product you didn’t think was so popular are things that I regularly see.

What’s weird though, is seeing how far behind travel companies, namely airlines are, when it comes modern technology.

This came to light recently after a trip to California with my family. After the trip, my and my sister were flying back to Utah out of Los Angeles Airport. And from start to finish there seemed to be strange things that just show how inefficient travel can be.

One of the main parts where you can see this is just the planes themselves. For a 20 year old, I’ve flown a lot. I’ve mainly flown with Southwest, and a few times Allegiant Airlines since they have great deals between Utah and Arizona. But this time we were flying back on Delta. So instead of having flight attendants reciting us the regular safety thing, which I think would’ve been way more efficient, they instead had a video playing. Which they couldn’t get to work properly.

First: the video starts out, and it plays an ad for Delta Airlines, saying how awesome they are and showing random “positions” within the company. Pans to office cubicles, pans to conference room, pans to important guy in a suit with a stapled on smile. “Welcome to our plane, we’re glad you’re on our plane, our plane is great because of all these people!”

Delta. I’m on your flight. You don’t need to advertise your flight to me. I’m not going anywhere, I promise.

But, somehow, their video playback system decided to start without any audio playing over the PA. So they stop it. And wait.

They’re rewinding it?! A VHS tape? for a brand new safety video?

Ok.

So they finally get it to play again, which makes us watch the you’re-on-a-Delta-Airlines-flight-watch-our-awesome-video-again-about-how-great-we-are video. Which was not really a nuisance, but still: can someone tell me why they’re marketing to people already on their plane? Sure, yes, you want us to come again. But this makes me want to go back to the “ancient” pre-flight check of just having people in the airplane demonstrating the safety features of this flight.

Finally the video gets to the safety part. Which, appropriately, is Christmas themed. Santa and his elves are happily showing me how to buckle my seatbelt and how to use the oxygen masks. So exciting!! And of course, during the video the flight attendants on board show the vests, oxygen masks, etc that they would’ve shown anyways if they demonstrated it themselves.

I think it’s slightly weird to have an advertisement and promo video about flying Delta Airlines when you’re on the flight. It seems a little redundant. Making us watch that, along with a safety video that took way too long to start playing is inefficient in my opinion. Take me back to a Southwest Airlines flight, then I don’t need a video screen and some weird 90’s movie that I can’t even remember. Everyone already has devices to play with and watch movies these days.

#2: Punk Rock from Middle School

Garrulous Episode 2.

After some Serial follow-up, Kyle and Brian reminisce about their favorite guilty-pleasure music and wax poetic about the golden era of the N64 and pre-Internet video game culture.

This episode took a little bit longer because we decided to start a podcast right before a holiday break. After a lot of Garagageband struggles and a few things with Squarespace, here it is.

I also ordered a Blue Yeti over the weekend to use, so hopefully on the next episode I will sound better. I've tried the Yeti already, and it's pretty solid.


We're looking for different ways to manage it in the future, but this solution is what we have for now. If there's ever any issues with the show, or suggestions, feel free to let either of know on Twitter: @kylesethgray or @_brianhamilton. We're hoping to improve in multiple ways with each new show.

Kyle Seth Gray’s sweet setup

I had the amazing opportunity to interview with The Sweet Setup featuring my home 'desk', and the homescreen on my iPhone. It was a fun piece to write, and I was able to highlight apps that I use every day as a college student and web developer.

You can read it here.


One thing I did forget to mention in this post is a great applet for OS X called ClipMenu. ClipMenu is great when you're dealing with text all day, be it snippets of code, links, or typing out prose and blog posts. Having the ability to copy multiple things and have a running history of everything you copy and cut is a priceless tool that I can't believe is free.

Push Her? I Hardly Know Her...

Owen Williams wrote a great post today about Push Notifications in the always connected world we live in:

When you install a new app, the first thing it’ll do is ask you to allow push notifications even though you have no idea what to expect! We just met! Why are app makers making such a big request, like it’s no big deal? How will I know what you are going to send me?

Push notifications are one of the best things about our phones. The instant someone mentions us on Twitter, we know. Our phones light up the instant a earthquake happens, the president is elected, or someone likes our photo on Instagram.

It's turned into one of those situations where you ask yourself "What do you want to do with this power?" Owen makes a great point in saying how you should limit your notifications:

When trimming down your notifications, ask yourself these questions:

Am I willing to let this interrupt me at any given moment during my day? Is this information critical to my life?
If the answer is no, kill it. Turn it off entirely.

This encouraged me to just go through and turn off notifications for apps that don't need notifications, or even some that never used them at all.

I’ve never personally seen the need to have Instagram notifications on except for getting a message on there, (which I never do) or someone tagging me in a photo. Thankfully Instagram allows this type of notification control inside the app, but a lot of apps don’t. But there are a slew of other apps that'll notify you about some sale or bug you to play their game again. Not only is it exhaustive and annoying, but it interrupts your day, whatever you may be doing, and kills your battery life.

There are a lot of apps that don’t need our constant attention. Check them when you need to, not when the app wants you to.


As a side note, this is something I also do with Background App Refresh. Introduced in iOS 7, this is a simple thing that allows apps to fetch information in the background so you don’t have to wait for it to load. But do you really need Instagram, Vine, or every single weather app to update in the background? I’ve turned off the majority of apps that seem to request this, and I like to think it’s helped my battery a lot more than having all 33 apps that requested it turned on.