Saturday morning coffee [December 28 2013]: Year End Edition

Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.” – Goran Persson

So much happens over the course of a year that it’s often hard to remember what you did, where you went, who you met and what you read, watched and ate. Here are some thoughts and reflections on 2013…


2013 was the year that I lost my job as a product manager due to “downsizing”. It was one of the most cold-blooded things I’ve experienced in my short life.

Somehow my beard became a lot grayer.

I gained another 10 pounds. What. The. Heck.

My brother, Robert and I started a podcast called The Garage. We haven’t recorded a new podcast in a couple of weeks, but we’ll fix that shortly.

The NSA decided that spying on Americans was ok in 2013.

2013 was the year when 3D printing got a lot more press, while “big data” seemed to have lost some of its steam.

2013 was the year of the API. Everyone seems to understand the importance of having an API available for their platform. That is, everyone with the exception of pharmacy.

The FDA decided in their infinite wisdom to take a stab at managing the “approval” of mobile health apps. Yeah, it was as effective as you’d expect from an organization like the FDA.

The word “mobile” became obsolete because it’s no longer necessary to describe how people work and play. The new generation is “mobile” by default.

Flexible displays became a popular topic of discussion. Expect to see more devices with that technology in 2014.

The IV room inside pharmacies became infinitely more important in 2013.

Pharmacogenomics were discussed outside bunkers within the hallowed halls of academia during 2013.

I traveled to two countries, 16 states, and 29 different cities in 2013. With that said, I have traveled very little since the end of July.

Favorite place I visited for work in 2013 – Boston gets a nod here as I really enjoyed that city. I also enjoyed Austin, Texas.

Best family trip in 2013 - Victoria, British Columbia. My family and I spent a couple of fun-filled days running around Victoria. I would visit there again in a second.

Least favorite place I visited in 2013 – Philadelphia, PA. Just don’t like that city.

Best airline I flew – Tough call. I try to use United whenever I can, but I think Alaska might be better. They all have their issues.

Worst airline I flew – There are a few that come to mind, but American takes the cake. They suck.

Best hotel chain I stayed in – Marriott.

Best car rental company I used – Hertz, but mileage may vary.

Best BBQ I had while on the road – The Salt Lick in Driftwood, Tx. This place sets that standard for BBQ beef ribs. Just sayin’.

Best coffee when I’m on the road – Dunkin’ Donuts. No joke. It’s hot, it’s got a decent flavor, and it’s consistent no matter where I’m at; if they have Dunkin’ Donuts in the area that is.

Worst coffee when I’m on the road – Starbucks. Really, what do people see in Starbucks coffee? I understand if you want something frou-frou, but their plain black coffee is pretty nasty.

2013 was the year when wearables became more mainstream. With the advent of the smartwatch and things like Google Glass look for it to become more prevalent in 2014.

Electronic cigarettes seem to have gained ground in 2013. Just more evidence that the human race is full of some seriously jacked-up people.  Near Beer anyone?

Nelson Mandela died in 2013, and the world mourned.

James Gan­dolfi­ni, the actor who most famous­ly por­trayed Tony Sopra­no on the series “The Sopranos,” died at the age 51

Paul Walker of Fast and Furious fame died in a horrific car accident in 2013 at the age of 40.

Asiana Airlines pilot’s forgot how to land a plane and crash landed at SFO in 2013.

Target forgot how to keep their credit card information secure. As many as 40 million people were affected, making it one of the biggest breeches in history.

Bombs rocked the Boston Marathon in 2013 and shocked America.

Batkid won the hearts of just about everyone.

The Ravens beat the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. Thank goodness.

Ray Lewis retired as one of the greatest linebackers of all-time, and the Ravens proceeded to dismantle their Super Bowl championship team.

The Miami Heat won the NBA Championship for the 2012-2013. Bummer, I don’t like the Heat.

The Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2013, and nobody cared because it’s baseball.

The Chicago Blackhawks won the 2013 Stanley Cup. Hockey is cool. Hahahahaha!

What people searched for in 2013:

I saw 40 movies in theaters this year. This is way down from previous years. I hope to get back at it in 2014.

Best movie I saw in a theater this year – Iron Man 3, but that’s not saying much. Nothing on my 2013 movie list really jumps out at me.

Worst movie I saw in a theater this year – There were some real doozies this year, but the ones that stand out include Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters, Jack the Giant Slayer, and The World’s End.

Biggest surprise for a movie I saw in theaters this year – Now You See Me. I had zero expectations, and was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, but it’s a movie you can only see once.

Most over-hyped movie in 2013 – Ender’s Game. I read the book several years ago and could never understand the draw. I thought the book was mediocre. The movie wasn’t bad, but it could never have lived up to the hype created by the fan base.

Best site for movie related stats and information – Box Office Mojo, no doubt about it.

The #1 box office movie in the U.S. for 2103 - Iron Man 3, followed closely by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The #1 box office move worldwide for 2013 - Iron Man 3, followed by Despicable Me 2

Biggest box office flops of 2013 – The Fifth Estate with a production budget of $28 million and a global box office of $6 million. I didn’t see The Fifth Estate, but I did see Bullet to the Head, which had a production budget of $25 million and made only $9 million worldwide. Ouch!

TV shows that became unwatchable in 2013 – Sons of Anarchy (SOA) and The Walking Dead. SOA was one of my favorite programs for a while, but then the show’s writers went off the deep end. Now it’s crap. The Walking Dead is just hard to watch. They kill off cool characters and keep characters like “Rick”. Dudes a whinny douche bag.

TV shows that I’ve enjoyed in 2013 – There are only a couple of programs that I’ve come to enjoy outside of football related entertainment, and those are Elementary and Homeland.

Best streaming movie service – Netflix. Amazon Prime gets honorable mention here.

Best movie rental service – Redbox. Use it all the time. Simple and inexpensive.

In 2013 more so than before services like Netflix and Redbox have put “regular TV” in the rear view mirror.

Best gaming console – Xbox One. Actually the Xbox One goes way beyond gaming, which takes me to my next statement.

Best all-in-one media center for the living room – Xbox One. With voice command, gesture control, and the ability to run everything through the console, it’s really hard to imagine anyone not loving this device.

Coolest piece of technology in 2013 – Chromecast. How did I ever live without this little $35 jewel? It’s simple, it’s inexpensive, and it makes my phone and tablet more interesting.

One of my favorite commercials of 2013 – GEICO Hump Day Camel Commercial.

Most overused words in healthcare this year – “big data” and “Obamacare”

One of the biggest stories of the year - The site went live with more problems than anyone could have imagined. Was it a total failure? No, not really. Americans now have access to healthcare. The only problem is that the affordable part of the affordable care act seems to be in question, and the site itself is a mess.

New Cholesterol guidelines finally arrived in 2013. The only problem is that the guidelines stirred up a bunch of controversy.

Best site for technology information – Engadget, but it’s not as good as it used to be. The Verge is pretty good, but their reviews are skewed.

Best site for tablet information – UMPC Portal. Chippy does a fantastic job. I want his job. GottaBeMobile gets honorable mention here.

Best place for technology reviews – MobileTechReview. Lisa Gade is incredibly knowledgeable about the technology that she reviews. She’s thorough and unbiased. When I want the straight scoop on a new piece of technology I jump on the MobileTechReview YouTube channel.

Best healthcare related technology site – Medgadget

Best sports talk radio show – The Heard with Colin Cowherd. According to Cowherd he knows everything and is never wrong. I don’t agree with everything he says, but at least he has an opinion.

Worst sports talk radio show – The Dan Patrick Show. It’s painfully bad. Mike and Mike gets honorable mention here.

Worst thing about sports talk radio – “The tease”. I’ve never stuck around to listen to something the host was teasing. I get in my car, I turn on the radio, and I drive. When I reach my destination I turn off the radio and get out of the car, regardless of what they’re talking about.

Best NFL pregame show – Hmm, I guess I’d have to say Fox.

Worst NFL pregame show – Toss-up between Football Night in America hosted by Bob Costas (NBC) and the NFL network. Awful, simply awful.

The NFL tarnished their brand in 2013 with a host of new rules around illegal contact. The NFL has become a shell of its former self.

I put up 110 blog posts, including this one, at in 2013. That’s way down from previous years. There just isn’t much to say these days.

Total site visits for in 2013 – Right around 68,500.

#1 visited post at for 2013 – Why pharmacy continues to fail.

BlackBerry went down in a giant ball of flames with just about everything they did. The company has been in a tailspin for a couple of years. I hear people say all the time how great their stuff is, but they did such a terrible job getting it into the hands of the consumer. The BlackBerry demise should be a case study for all future businesses in how not to do something.

Technology I bought this year – a Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T, a Surface RT tablet, and a Moto X smartphone. All have performed admirably.

Best mobile technology company of 2013 – Tough call, but I’m going to have to go with Samsung. Just look at the damage they did in the Android smartphone and tablet ecosystem in 2013. Not to mention their new line of Windows 8 laptops, televisions, etc. Impressive.

Coolest new technology concept of the year – Google Glass. “Glass” have been making significant strides throughout the year. Healthcare seems to have embraced the idea, which is all good.

The best desktop operating system of 2013 – Windows 8. I’ve really enjoyed using Windows 8 over the past year. Alternative, Google Chrome.

2013 was the year of Windows 8 tablets, slates, hybrids, convertibles. Microsoft did itself a big favor when it introduced the Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets more than a year ago. That move has forced other Windows tablet makers to step it up a notch, and we’re all benefiting.

The best “complete” operating system on a tablet in 2013 – Windows 8. Since getting a Surface tablet my thoughts on tablets have started to morph. Windows 8 truly offers something different. Want a hybrid device with detachable keyboard? Ok, Windows 8 hybrids are available. Hybrid with fixed keyboard? Sure. Pure slate tablet? No problem. How about a screen size ranging from 8-inches to 15-inches? Why not, just look around. Pen support? Are you kidding me, that’s where Windows 8 shines. Atom or Core? Take your pick, it all depends on whether you want the power and speed, or the battery life.

Best Windows 8 hybrid, detachable keyboard – Asus Transformer Book T100

Best Windows 8 hybrid, fixed keyboard – Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro. A beautiful machine with awesome screen.

Best Windows 8 hybrid, enterprise – Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga, or possibly the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix

Best Windows 8 slate, 8-inch, no pen support – Hard to say as I haven’t had much experience with this class of Windows tablets. Given the current landscape, and based on reviews, I’d have to say either the Lenovo Miix 8 or the Toshiba Encore WT8.

Best Windows 8 slate, 8-inch, pen support – Dell Venue 8 Pro. After some initial bad press, this little tablet seems to have taken off with a certain group of users. The thing that makes me hesitate is the fact that the Dell Venue 8 Pro doesn’t use Wacom for its pen drivers.

Best Windows 8 slate, 10-inch, no pen support – I have no opinion here. However, the Microsoft Surface 2 is a really nice machine. I’ve certainly enjoyed my Surface RT.

Best Windows 8 slate, 10-inch, pen support – Microsoft Surface Pro 2. You simply can’t beat the combination of quality, functionality and inking.

Best Windows 8 slate, bigger than 10-inch – Lenovo ThinkPad Helix if you can afford it. If not the Samsung ATIV 500 series is still a viable alternative

Coolest Windows 8 hybrid design – The Sony VAIO Flip series. This machine is quite innovative in its approach to being a great laptop as well as a solid tablet.

Most indispensable piece of software on a tablet PC – OneNote and/or Evernote

Most beautiful laptop of 2013 – the ASUS Zenbook UX301. This machine is gorgeous.

Best “non-desktop” tablet OS – Android. Lots and lots of options here.

Best pure Android tablet – Nexus 7. Honorable mention goes to LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Addition.

Best media consumption Android tablet – Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9

Best 10-inch Android tablet – Tough call. The Nexus 10 was the king for a while, but it’s starting to feel dated. It’s also a bit of an eyesore. I personally think the best 10-inch Android tablet is the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition). The only thing that would make the Note 10.1  better would be a smaller price tag.

Best smartphone platform – Android, hands down. Just look at all the amazing Android devices that hit the market in 2013; HTC One, Moto X, Moto G, Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy 4, Samsung Note 3, and so on. You can find just about anything you want from a host of manufacturers and quality devices. I’ve heard that the BlackBerry OS is pretty awesome, but I wouldn’t know as I’ve never used a BlackBerry device.

Best all-around smartphone – Moto X. Love that phone. The HTC One gets honorable mention.

Best pure Android smartphone – Nexus 5

Best budget smartphone – Moto G

31 memorable mobile health quotes from 2013 from mobihealthnews.

Best Photos of 2013 [AP Images]

Best synching solution across multiple computers – Dropbox. Honorable mention goes to Google Drive.

Most improved syncing solution – SkyDrive. Works well with Windows 8.

Syncing solution that used to be good, but declined significantly in 2013 – Sugarsync

Best “cloud” based backup solution – Amazon Cloud. It’s not as easy to use as some of the other services, but you can’t argue with the cost per GB.

Best cloud based music service – Google Play. Honorable mention Amazon Music Player

Best place to store music as a backup – Amazon Music Player. Get free storage for up to 250,000 songs with an Amazon Cloud Subscription.

Best browser for Windows desktop – Google Chrome

My favorite plugins for the Chrome browser this year were – Silver Bird, Session Buddy, Buffer, Evernote Clipper, Motorola Connect, and AdBlock. Dude, AdBlock is worth its weight in gold, or at least every penny I paid for it.

Best browser for Windows tablet – Internet Explorer (IE) 11. Seriously, it works quite well within the “Metro” environment on a Windows 8 tablet.

Best browser for Android – Chrome, of course.

Best PDF editor software for Windows – PDF Annotator

Best screen capture utility – FastStone capture. Version 5 remains freeware and is absolutely indispensable.

Beat RSS reader – With Google Reader in the rear view mirror it’s been a tough year for my RSS needs. I’ve been using Feedly. It’s a long way from what I want in an RSS reader, but it’s as good as I’ve found. I fear that I will never get back to my pre-Reader death days.

Best social media outlet – Still Twitter. Google+ is getting better and better, but I still find that I spend most of my time in Twitter.

Worst “social media” – LinkedIn. This service has never gotten me anywhere. The only time people want to connect with me via LinkedIn is when they want something. It’s certainly not helped me land a new job.

Best Twitter client for the desktop – I’ve pretty much tried them all. I like the Silver Bird plugin for the Chrome browser

Best mobile Twitter client – The native Twitter client. Works great for me.

Best desktop office suite – Still Microsoft Office, especially since Office 365 arrived. Google “docs” get honorable mention here.

Best catch in college football – This is always tough and open to one’s personal opinion. But for what it’s worth the catch by UCF receiver J.J. Worton against Temple was crazy.

Biggest surprise in the NFL – The Arizona Cardinals, the Indianapolis Colts and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Biggest surprise in college football - Auburn beating Alabama on a last second missed field goal that turned into a touchdown going the other way.

Thanks for joining me in 2013. Wishing you all the best in the New Year and beyond.

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