It’s almost 2011, right?

No I won’t go into the lamenting of the lack of jet-pack and flying cars. This is more of “What happened to the stuff we should have now?”. Not the unexpected advances in technology, but the things that should actually be making our lives easier.

Example 1:
Current technology in the personal, portable storage that can communicate with an insane number of other devices, is not good enough. Why is car insurance only valid if current and printed on a specific piece of paper?! Not just any PAPER – oddly-sized and PINK paper… Ok well it doesn’t have to be pink because I can use a photocopy, right? Actually, no. At least here in Ontario you must have an original insurance slip unless it is a temporary one that the insurance company has emailed you until your little pink pieces of deforestation arrive sometime in the future by mail. And yes, even though you have only one car, they are going to send you 12 little pieces of paper because clearly you are stupid. But can you have an incredibly hi-res image showing proof of insurance on a device which is back-lit and easier to read (eg. zoom in as necessary) for the cop who is on the final hours of his shift and just wants to go home because it’s been a long night, all the caffeine has worn off, and if someone hands him another photocopy of a pink piece of paper he just might drag them from their car and pistol-whip them for stupidity… Can you have an image on your phone? Nope – better have that special piece of paper.

Example2:

Life Technologies has announced a $7 million dollar competition to improve its new Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM) sequencer, which reads DNA using semiconductor technology. At $50,000, it costs about a tenth of other sequencing machines. – “Life Technologies $7 million competition for improved DNA sequencing“,  kurzweilai.net

Yet we are constantly hammered over the head to buy reusable coffee containers because it’s 2011 and we still can’t recycle a cardboard cup, some wax, and a plastic lid. The fact that a huge percentage of consumer packaging is STILL not recyclable is a bit disturbing. Yes there is the argument that is shouldn’t be produced in the first place and I get it, however there is a certain level of common sense in that not everything can travel or be stocked in a hemp bag…. We have been producing packaging products since before I was born, yet in 2011 not everything is recyclable, and not all regions will recycle it. Insane.

Example 3:
Your portable technology is still only as good as the life of your batteries. When you think about it, battery technology hasn’t really changed a whole lot over the years. Yes, packaging has improved, size has improved, and you can now actually recycle the little suckers, but really, it is still a chemical reaction happening to provide you with juice to power whatever you need and that juice only lasts a little while compared to the length of time you actually need. Sure, thinking back to the original cell phones where the battery would last 1-2 hours, and now your iphone lasts maybe 4h we’re talking at least a 100% improvement there, but that was more advancements in power-sucking technology than improvements to the actual power cell… Walking into a store tomorrow, you have roughly the same choices of batteries you did 10 years ago and if you’re buying Alkaline batteries – that technology has been around since 1950 when Canadian engineer Lewis Urry figured it out for the Eveready Battery company. It’s 2011 and I have to go plug in my iphone before I lose this post.

51 Days Later…

Ok, so what happens exactly when one unpluggs from just about all things internet for about 51 days? Well, everything, yet nothing. See, for the past 8ish weeks, I’ve essentially been unplugged from my computer thanks to an opportunity to help a friend move, and setup, his new business.

Doing a bunch of site development and implementations as a freelancer has provided me with some great time flexibility, and when my good friend Dean (and his business partners) decided to buy an existing SCUBA diving retail store, and move it to a new location, I was in a great position to lend a hand.. some blood.. some brains.. some muscles… some 16h days.. and really, about 8 weeks of pure mayhem.

Float n\' Flag Dive Centre, Burlington, Ontario

The shop they purchased was the Float n’ Flag Dive Centre located in Burlington, Ontario. The shop has been around for over 30 years and the original owner decided it was time to retire. Dean, recognizing a great opportunity, seized the chance with two other business partners and the mayhem began.

So what happens when you buy a dive business and decide to move it? Well, just about everything. Dive shops are unlike any other retail businesses in that they combine a full retail store, a warehouse for inventory and rental equipment, offices and a classroom, a full service lab for testing and repairing equipment, as well as a gas supply factory for filling SCUBA tanks…

When we finally got the retail space finished and open for business:

Float n\' Flag Dive Centre, Burlington Ontario

the initial thought was “Great! We’re half way there!”, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The retail space has been open for just over 4 weeks now, the gas supply part has been functioning for 3 weeks, the warehouse has barely been functional for 2 weeks, the lab is 75% finished, and the drywall in the office just got it’s final sanding and priming on Thursday morning… The carpet for the office has arrived, the computers have arrived (no accounting software yet), the racking for the rental gear wash bay has arrived, the stainless steel counter-tops for the lab are being picked up tomorrow, Transport Canada is due to arrive once the hydrostatic testing system is finished being hooked up, and then it is simply a matter of getting all our tools out and finishing up the little bits like doors, trim, and well, figuring out office furniture and tool organization for the lab…. Did I mention that there is a fully operational retail store going on at the same time with an unbelievable amount of traffic?

Needless to say, it’s been one hell of a ride!

Moving two 400lb air compressors, twenty eight 100lb cylinders our of a basement, and installing a 300lb I-beam 12 feet in the air, test your physical abilities. Designing and building retail space, classroom space, office space, a lab, a warehouse, and a gas supply factory on the fly tests your mental abilities. Running on little sleep for weeks on end, dealing with customers, suppliers, and business partners definitely tests your emotional stability to say the least.

Much has been learned already, and much has yet to be learned – I can assure you of that.

The weird part in all of this is that somehow I have managed to land full-time employment in the technology sector, and I start on Wednesday… Talk about culture shock! I go from freelance web-bum, to retail construction guy, and now I’m throwing myself in to a corporate environment complete with suits, meetings, benefits packages, and limited vacation days…. Weird, I know! The plus side to this move is that I was sought out and recruited for my skills, and the job appears to be challenging, exciting, and right up my alley when it comes to technology – I can’t wait.

Am I going to miss the dive shop? You bet! The two passions in my life are: my wife, and SCUBA diving. The great thing is that I was able to help lay the foundation for a friend’s ultimate success. This is his opportunity to make his mark, use his years of experience, and apply it to something he is truly passionate about – I wish him all the success in the world.

So what does all this mean for LOGICal eMOTIONs, right? Well, with somewhat ‘normal’ hours in the very near future I will actually have time (and the mental capacity) to keep adding to this blog. I’ve felt bad that I essentially vanished from this blog for the last while and had every intention of posting a quick update – except 2am blog posts of unintelligible gibberish isn’t really good for anyone. I knew there would be an end to the intensity at some point, and I’m glad you’re still here now that I’ve found it.

To sum up: after a blurry and fuzzy 51 days – we’re back!