All posts by michaelestrock

Reflecting on 602 Months

602 months ago yesterday, I was born.

When I was eight years old, all I wanted to be was a dad.

My father is my hero.  I’ve always wanted to be as good a father as he was, and have always wanted to make sure that my parents, especially my father, was proud of me and the things that I did and the person I became.

I didn’t attain that goal.  I’m not nearly the father that my father is, and frequently, I think that I am more of a disappointment to my parents than I am a joy.  It’s OK.  I’ve learned to accept it, and I continue to strive to do the right things.  But I really wish that I could have been more of a joy to them than a disappointment.

My children are a joy to me.  They don’t always do the right things, but I am so thankful to have them in my life.  I just want to be as helpful to them as a father as I can.  But sometimes, I feel like I have even failed them.

I’m human.  I make mistakes.  But I try very hard to do the right thing at least 95% of the time.  Still not good enough.  But I’m not giving up.  I want my children to know that I love them, unconditionally, and will help them however I possibly can moving forward.  Sometimes, I can’t, for whatever reason, but they need to know that they are a priority in my life and I will always be there for them.  Always.

Reflecting on 590 months

590 months ago today, I was born.  It’s been a long haul.  Lots of life to live yet.  Last few months have been full of changes.  Some good, some bad. 

My mom recently had surgery for colon cancer.  After they removed the piece of her small intestine, we received the news today that she is cancer free.  Awesome news.

I’ve been blessed with many blessings in my life.  Looking forward to the future.

I’d like to buy a small piece of land in Eastern Washington and build a small cabin with solar electric power and rain water harvesting capabilities.  I’d like to live there later in life.  I’ve found the piece of land, but need to get the rest of my life in order.  Like I said, it’s been a few months full of change.

Well, as I reflect on these 590 months, I look forward to the future.  I am thankful for the past, as it has helped me learn things I wouldn’t have otherwise learned.  Would I change the things I’ve done in the past?  Would I do them differently?  Sure.  I’d change some of the things I’ve done, but all in all, I find that I’m an OK person.  I have friends.  I have family.  I have a roof over my head.  I have a job.  Lots of things that some other people might not be able to say “I’ve got that too.”

So we push forward.  Small steps at times, big steps at other times.  Hopefully moving forward with more steps than we move backward.  Some days, I wonder.  But today, today is a good day.  Today I can see that the world isn’t all bad things.  It isn’t all unicorns and butterflies, but it isn’t all bad.

The Mobile Landscape

I use a mobile phone, for both home and work.  I use the phone for many things.  I use it for phone calls.  I use it for email (both work and home).  I use it to communicate with my family and friends via texting.  I also use it for navigation, finding places I have to go.  I get lost frequently, and having a GPS built into the phone is indispensable to me.

I’ve tried the three major mobile platforms.  I had an iPhone.  I had a Windows Phone 7 device.  I’ve also had (and still have) an Android device.  Each has it’s benefits and drawbacks.


The iPhone has a great app store.  It also has great support, and it is easy to use.  It allows me to have two email accounts and have independent sounds for each account so I know what email account just received an email (pretty indispensable for my needs).  It also allows you to easily use the phone as a music device, synching with ITunes and you can also use the phone to view movies.

What it doesn’t do well, in my opinion, is navigation.  I haven’t had an iOS6 device, just an older device, but the navigation portion of the phone just isn’t useful enough for my needs to make the phone worthwhile.

The other issue I have, and this is personal preference, is that you are unable to write native applications for the phone unless you are a Mac user.  I’m a Windows guy.  I’m not sure I necessarily want to write iPhone software, but the opportunity is not even available to me because I am a Windows guy.

Windows Phone 7

When Windows Phone 7 was first released, I acquired a Samsung Focus so that I could evaluate the platform.  It’s a nice phone.  It’s small, it’s fast, the battery life is pretty good.  It’s easy to set up, and easy to configure email accounts, Twitter accounts, Facebook, etc.  You cannot have two email accounts on the phone which have unique sounds.  So if you have a work email account and a home email account, they both have the same email alert sound.  For someone like myself who runs two companies, plus a side business, plus having a home email address, it’s pretty important for me to be able to easily distinguish WHICH email account just got an email, especially if I have the sound enabled.  It’s not possible with Windows Phone 7.  Windows Phone 8 has just been released, and much to my amazement, this issue (which cannot be unique to me) is not resolved with this new release of the phone software.  I couldn’t believe it.

Also, navigation on the Focus is abysmal.  Turn by turn navigation is not available on the phone without purchasing a secondary application.  I *need* navigation.


A long long time ago, I had a Samsung Captivate.  I hated it.  The software was horrible, the applications were horrible, I could hardly make the phone work.  I took it back.

A couple years ago, I acquired a Dell Streak.  It was another Android device.  I *loved* this phone.  *LOVED* .  I used it for quite a while, but the screen broke, and then Dell stopped selling and supporting the device.  So I acquired a Samsung Galaxy Note.  With it’s 5.4” screen, it’s a behemoth of a device.  It’s a phablet. It does everything that Android can do, and it does it wonderfully.  It charges using a standard mini-USB plug, and it has Google integration and navigation and everything else necessary.

Best part about the phone,  is the navigation and the syncing with Google, which I use heavily for email.  I love the size of the phone, although most will hate it as too big.  Definitely check it out at your local retailer.