As some of you know, earlier this year I bought one of my dream cars (ultimate is F430, that will have to wait a while!). A space grey BMW M3, 6 speed manual with the competition package. This was the culmination of working hard for 10+ years, foregoing some other luxuries and having an amazing wife that let me spend a good bit of money on something frivolous.

This wasn’t my first German car, in fact my very first car was a 2001 VM Jetta. I bought it from my family and overall it was good. However anytime it had to go into the shop it got expensive quickly! I was not excited to go through this again, but was told BMWs are more reliable and especially the M platform.

After a few months of internet searching, contacting dealers 1500+ miles away and even talking to transporters, I found the car! Oddly enough in my own state, which was very convenient. After the dealing and key retrieval I was ecstatic.. for about 100 miles. Then I heard a weird noise while turning the wheel to full lock. After some time spent on e90post and m3post, I figured out the problem was dirty differential fluid. I took it to the dealer and a few hours later was handed a printout that totaled $700!! However, one thing I didn’t mention was, this car came with the BMW extended warranty.

Since that initial service, the car has been to BMW Sudbury at least 3 times for other minor things (albeit the diff fluid is NOT minor). Let me just say that if you ever do buy a car, any really, opt for the warranty. If its nearing its expiration on the original warranty and you intend to keep the car, extend it. Especially on a higher end car with lots of gadgets that like to break.

Now, as I am sure all of you are wondering, what is my impression of the actual car..? That’s simple to answer. Amazed!!

Before I continue, lets take a break and show off a few photos from delivery to just a few days ago. You’ll notice something special, at least for me, with cars/bikes.

IMG_6145

bmw-m3-front bmw-m3-interior

IMG_7533

Did you see it? I haven’t modified this car at all. Aside from the LED interior bulbs ( I had to do something ). You may remember that 8 days after I got my TSX, 3 years ago it was modded. Days after I got my bike, modded. I am deciding to do something different with this one. I will of course mod it, I have a pretty extensive list in fact, which includes:

  • Tint
  • Wheels
  • Exhaust
  • Headlights
  • Carbon fiber lip and Diffuser
  • Euro bumper (remove US reflectors)
  • Brake kit
  • Spacers
  • ECU Tune
  • Carbon fiber trim pieces
  • Front/rear cameras
  • etc…

 

However, this time around I will slowly mod the car. Adding a piece here/there, hopefully enjoy it a bit more. I intend to keep this car for many years and will take great care of it, so it lasts. It will be driven (hard at times) but never abused. I will post various updates along the way and hope to do much of the work myself, with some exceptions, for safety reasons.

Now back to the car. Another cool element of this purchase was it being my first manual car! Some people thought it was nuts to get a car such as this with a manual if I couldn’t even drive it off the lot. However, with the help of my father-in-law I was able to get it home and every day would drive it a little more. Now about 3 months in, I still have a bunch to learn.. but its never too late to learn. I recommend everyone drive a manual transmission at least once in their life, its amazing.

As far as performance figures/facts. I could spout all the data from BMW, but that is all online. My impressions of this car coming from an i4 (4 cylinder) were it was amazing and can be scary, if not handled properly. I’ve taken it on a few spirited drives on desolate roads and next month i’ll be attending an autocross.

So, hopefully you enjoyed this life update. Key things to take away from this are: Always work for your dreams, never give up. Don’t write off an entire car line/country for one bad experience and buy a BMW. Trust me on that last one, you won’t be disappointed.

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Earlier this morning I was looking for a way to filter explicit/non-explicit content in Spotify, figured I wasn’t the first to ask about this. Sure enough after a quick Google search I found hundreds of listeners asking for the same thing. I then stumbled on an OS developers blog, Jason Singh. He had developed an app Beep which did exactly this! Yes! But wait…

Turns out when he finished the app it was rejected by Spotify for being “too niche” while there are literally hundreds of comments and requests for this sort of functionality. Maybe not everyone would use it, but why should that matter? If we only were allowed to develop apps that EVERYONE would use, there would be no apps. Well, aside from Clash of Clans, Angry Birds and fart apps.

The problem here is Spotify runs a more controlled app pool than Apple themselves. Not only do you need to develop an app, have it approved but apparently appeal to some imaginary list of “useful apps” that of course is not published.

I would recommend developers not waste their time writing apps for Spotify, only to have it rejected.

Alas until this complex app ecosystem is better defined we’ll all have to hear edited songs or worse, lots of F words on a global playlist while the family is listening…

Just like previous years i’ve created a public goals list. This one doesn’t have any long term goals, just things i’d like to accomplish this year. I got some pretty good feedback from this in the past, so lets hear it.

What are your thoughts on public goals lists? Do you think being held accountable helps you achieve your goals?

Well 2013 was certainly packed full of interesting, new, great and sad times. I will touch on the highlights and major events of this year.

From a professional standpoint I was interviewed by VitaminT on mobile and web app development. My company got the opportunity to work on some pretty amazing projects and we recently updated the website to reflect these projects. Some of which included a mobile app for Porsche, an update to the popular Four Stack card game and the beginning of a second screen app for a major broadcaster!

On the personal side of things this year was HUGE! My wife and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary. To think 4 years ago we were at a Dane Cook show on a “non-date” and now this year we bought a house together. So blessed to be able to provide a home for my family and see our son make lots of new friends!

I was also able to check off another one of my dreams this year, which was to purchase a motorcycle and got some good riding time in. I was also able to tinker in the garage and installed HID headlights and an exhaust.

The sad times this year was losing my grandfather Frank, he was the one I had so many meaningful business conversations with. I already miss him so much and don’t expect it to get easier any time soon. I was of course blessed to have such a loving wife that jumped in and helped out during that tough time.

All things considered, 2013 was very interesting. I look forward to growing the company, traveling with the family and anything else 2014 has in store for us.

Happy New Year!!

It all began with me arriving at BOS (Logan airport) about 2 hours early to catch a flight to ORD (O’hare). Upon seeing the massive check-in line I quickly jumped to the kiosk which usually gets you in and off to TSA quite quickly. Except when half the kiosks are offline and then the one I do use says I need to see a Front Desk Attendant. Alright, off to a great start. I go back to the line, plead with the ticket checker to let me skip ahead as I have now wasted 20 minutes at the kiosk and I get the best response ever “Sorry, I can’t help you.. have you tried the kiosk?” .. ummm, yah.. came from there. Okay, anyways I wait in line once again.

Finally about 40 minutes before my flight leaves (not boards, but leaves) I arrive at the longest TSA line ever. I quickly realize AA’s system is slow as dirt today and a few other travelers are stuck in line for the same departure time. We try to flag down a few attendants, but that is pointless as they only tell you they can’t help. After about 15 minutes of slow line moving I ask the other travelers to hold my place in line and i’ll go up to the front and ask around for assistance. Luckily one TSA agent is helpful and tells me to go back and get the others for expedited screening (read: mandatory body scanner) but we are a little closer to the plane at least. After 2 hours of hell, waiting and unhelpful AA staff, I arrive at my plane 5 minutes after it was supposed to leave the gate.. phew, horrible experience with American Airlines is over, or is it?

In something similar to an episode of the twilight zone I arrive to ORD in hopes of quickly getting through check-in, TSA and get some food while I wait for my plane.. and if I flew jetBlue I probably could have. However since AA is destined to make my life hell they once again tell me the ticket is un-linked and in one case, not paid. How is this even possible? Its not like this is Joe’s Airline from the midwest. Well thankfully after trying the kiosk (yes, they made me) and getting a manager I was able to get some quicker assistance. This time it was a bit less eventful, the desk attendant just called corporate, got some override, typed in a bunch of numbers (all the while telling me what it is she’s doing) and I got a ticket. Oh but thanks to all these delays I have 40 minutes to get through TSA onto my flight. Luckily for me this attendant walks me to TSA and gets my priority placement (front of the line) to get through and get some food!

One of the worst flight check-in experiences i’ve ever faced and unlucky for them its the first and last time i’ll fly American Airlines.

Now, how would this have unfolded if it were jetBlue? Well first the kiosk would recognize me, but on the off chance it didn’t, I would find an attendant in blue, explain the issue and they would walk me to the front of the line or close (if others are in the same process) and quickly get me to the plane. Doubt it? Well a while back I had a client book a flight and they misspelled my name, so of course the validation failed upon check-in. After two forms of ID and a couple key presses later I have a boarding pass in hand, no convoluted trouble-codes (VCR, wtf is that?) and unhelpful attendants.

Of course your mileage and experiences may vary, but this traveler will be sticking with jetBlue whenever possible.

So, in closing:

Why jetBlue runs circles around the competition

  • Free drinks (okay, AA had this)
  • Free snacks (not on AA, I got a free cookie since they couldn’t find it in the system)
  • In-flight TV, at your seat and even includes XM radio
  • First bag free

 
What jetBlue could add to be near-perfect

  • In-flight WIFI. AA did have this (for a fee) and it was very useful
  • Offer Passbook support in their mobile app
  • Bring back Munchies mix

 

Update: From jetBlue on my horrible experience.

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