My POV on being an American

My point of view on what it is to be an American. Just a little warning that this is my own thoughts, not based on any text or resource, but rather based on my experiences over the past 36 years.

I’ll start by quoting a post one of my friends on Facebook posted today that really got me choked up. I normally don’t get choked up at anything and am generally even tempered and have a decent control on my outward display of emotion. This one got to me, not sure why.

This Marine deserves a medal!

“Cody Green was a 12-year old kid in Indiana who was diagnosed with leukemia at 22 months old. He loved the Marines, and his parents said he drew strength and courage from the Marine Corps as he bravely fought the battle into remission three times. Although he was cancer-free at the time, the chemotherapy had lowered his immune system and he developed a fungus infection that attacked his brain. Two weeks ago, as he struggled to fend off that infection in the hospital, the Marines wanted to show how much they respected his will to live, his strength, honor and courage. They presented Cody with Marine navigator wings and named him an honorary member of the United States Marine Corps. For one Marine, that wasn’t enough … so that night, before cody Green passed away, he took it upon himself to stand guard at Cody’s hospital door all night long, 8 hours straight. No where on the face of this planet is there a country so blessed as we to have men and women such as this. I wish I could personally tell this Marine how proud he makes me to be an American. God … I do so love this country” –Lori Boxer for The Blacksphere

That pretty much says it all. Having compassion for a person you don’t know because its the right thing to do. Doing the right thing because it feels right regardless of the personal sacrifice it may cause you or people around you. THAT is what is means to be an American in my opinion, and so few of us give anything close to this a seconds thought during our days. Days lived taking this country for granted not realizing what we have, how lucky we are, and the rights we are BORN with that so many people in other parts of the world never have their entire lives.

Just recently, one of my neighbors installed a flag pole with the American Flag on it. I was proud that they were showing their patriotism openly for others to see. Upon arriving home later that night, their flag was still out but wasn’t illuminated. At first I was “WTF?” then I had a brilliant idea that would get my point across without saying a word to them. I pulled out a 50ft extension cord, plugged it into my outside outlet, ran it across to their yard, and plugged in a spot light I staked into the ground and pointed it onto their flag and went back in the house. About 30 mins later my neighbor came over and knocked on my door asking me why I put the light on his yard lighting up his flag. I told him “It was the right thing to do” and pointed to my flag that I light every night with landscape spotlights. The next evening he came back over returning my light to me and said “Thanks. I just installed my own light.”

What grinds me the most is complaining!

  • I don’t like what the President is doing / Did you vote?
  • I can’t believe the government hasn’t done more to help? / Representation for the people, by the people.
  • I hate taxes! / Price you pay to live in a free and civilized society.
  • I can’t believe how much we spend on military / They’re protecting your freedom.

I could go on, but I won’t. It’s too subjective and personal and that isn’t the main point I’m trying to make. What I’m trying to get across is that we should all be more aware of what sacrifices are made for the good of the country we live in. They’re sacrifices are our sacrifices albeit indirectly. I personally can’t serve in the military for various reasons but that doesn’t mean I don’t thank every person I see in uniform for their service and MY freedom. I put my flag out and display my love for this country every day I can with exception to rainy days as much as I can help it. I have never missed a voting opportunity since I turned 18. I donate to our local military drives with time, food, clothing, and anything else needed to the best of my ability.

Being an American is giving a damn and making the sacrifices required to protect your freedom.

The best line I ever heard, which came from a former college professor of mine: “If you don’t like the United States, get the fuck out!” I couldn’t agree more.

New Smartphones Everywhere!

The new iPhone was announced today to an underwhelming amount of fan fare and new innovations.  As much as I put down Apple products, the iPhone more than anything, I was disappointed on many counts.  I expect more from Apple this far into the game and with so much more to lose now than ever before.  It’s a smaller version of the iPhone 4Gs basically.  Yes, it has an upgraded camera, slightly larger retina display, larger screen resolution, and a brand new energy sipping processor.  But come on Apple, other than the size it looks pretty darn close to a 4Gs!

Nokia on the other hand, announced their new Lumia line of phones: 920 and 820 so far.  The screen is 4.3″ to Apple’s 4″ screen, the resolution is higher, display is brighter, better camera, more storage that expandable, and a complete metal construction with Gorilla Glass 2 on the front.  It certainly won’t be anywhere near $199 for the top model with a 2-year contract either.  Nokia sold their first gen Lumia 900 for $49 when it came out.

Samsung announced their Ativ phone and HTC announced the 8X.  Nokia, Samsung, and HTC are all releasing these phones with Windows Phone 8 and probably won’t be available until early November.  I’d commend on the Android market, but its exploded past the point of making sense of what is being sold so I don’t bring them into the picture.  I’m less of a fan of Android than I am of Apple, so that is also one of the main reasons.  My wife is fed up with her Android phone, her third, and is ready to jump ship.  Being a tech guy of over 15 years, I even have trouble trying to figure out why certain things don’t work on her phone as well.  Very frustrating when tech usually come so easily to me most times.

Call me a Windows Phone fan boy if you want, but I use my phone as a tool, not a toy.  My bias is based on actually using these phones and has nothing to do with what is more popular or cooler.  I’ve found in my years working with geek-ware that the underdog usually innovates and comes out on top in the end.  For instance, the days when WordPerfect was king, I was puttering along with Microsoft Word.  A horribly designed program back in the day, but I saw the potential and put a lot of effort into making it work for me at the time.  Now that I’m sitting on an Office 2012 release candidate, I throw my middle fingers up in the air to every person that said “WordPerfect just works and I’ll never switch.”  I’ve never taken anything for granted because things just change so fast.

I’m excited to see what the smartphone industry is going to be like in a years time or even in 2 years time.  Just think back to 2007 when the first iPhone came out…..  we had Blackberry, Palm, and Windows Mobile 5 or 6.  That’s it.  The term “smartphone” hadn’t even been invented yet as they were called PDA’s.  They were electronic rolodex’s that just happened to also make phone calls.  I personally had a flip phone.  Now, more than 50% of all mobile devices in the United States are smartphones.  The percentage is higher in a lot of emerging markets where land line service was NEVER reliable.

I’m up for a new phone in January 2013 and I’ve decided that I’m going back to Nokia and getting a Lumia 920.  I might change my mind between now and then, but if any other devices are as underwhelming as the iPhone 5, I doubt that I’m going to change my mind. Nokia has all their skin in the Windows Phone 8 game and has everything to lose.  They’re pushing hard to be “different” and create a smartphone that users actually like using and look different from every other black slab out there.  There will always be the iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries of the world, and I don’t think any less of the people that get those devices.  What works for them is their choice, not mine.  But I’ll be damned if I’m going to help someone try to get their phone to do something it wasn’t designed to do when my phone does it already without hassle.  Take the time and learn how to use your phone, I did.