Correlation Does Not Equal Causation

B&W TextingI just read a blog entry on the extinction of the physical QWERTY keyboard phone, and it bugs me. The main info isn’t surprising of course, but I think what it suggests is misleading.

Even after a year and a half on a full touch Android device, I still only endure it (keyboard-wise). I prefer the physical keyboard regardless of having “gotten used to” typing on glass and the added assistance of the fine SwiftKey keyboard app.

More than that, it seems to me that the manufacture of phones doesn’t match the public’s desires. I saw a survey within the last year (on a general tech site not biased by being BlackBerry-centric) that indicated more than 80% of the respondents actually preferred a physical keyboard. That blew me away. I doubt if replicated the number would be that high consistently, but it certainly raises the question of whether there is a true market share for QWERTY phones still.

Anecdotally, many of the folks I know who have specifically talked about this issue with me seem to be prioritizing other things more highly than actually preferring the touchscreen typing experience (there are no iPhones or Galaxy S#s with a physical keyboard).

What I think has actually happened is twofold.

First, QWERTY king BlackBerry shot itself in the foot time and again with bad decisions, compounded by an inability to meet deadlines or to market well. Those bad decisions were related to its phones specs and the “app gap” much more so than the fact that people really didn’t want a physical keyboard.

Secondly, other manufacturers who have made physical QWERTY phones did a generally crappy job of it. For whatever its other significant shortcomings and failures, BlackBerry perfected the physical keyboard.

Just as phone manufacturers obviously think everyone wants bigger and Bigger and BIGGER phones (we all don’t!), the impression is also that we all prefer typing on glass. I have a pretty strong feeling that simply isn’t true.



My Most Important Job

I have known since I was very young that the most important thing I would ever do, should I be so blessed to have the opportunity, was to be a good father.

Fatherhood, parenthood, is sometimes about hard choices. It’s about consistency and a 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week vigilance. It is the constant push and pull of knowing when to pull close and when to let go. In grand strokes, it’s about striving to make the world better for our kids, while helping them to grow to be a constructive presence in that better world.

Reading an op ed from Sandy Hook dads Mark Barden and David Wheeler this morning, I was reminded again of something David had said in the unthinkable days following the events of December 14, 2012. As a father, they are words that rang deep and true for me. They are words I have tried to push down when they come up, at least to some degree, so as not to be swallowed whole by them.

In talking about the loss of his 6-year-old son Ben, and good intentioned people telling him and wife Francine that they “can’t imagine” the pain the parents were enduring, David said that he wants us all to be able to imagine it. That only in imagining it will we create the will for truly transformational change.

That is the thing that dares not speak its name.

The truth is, I haven’t been very successful at avoiding my own imagination. I am most often aware of how lucky we are, how lucky I am, and of the general fragility of life. Other times, out of nowhere, I am stricken cold by a flash of what could happen.

Yet, we must imagine.

It wasn’t until members of Congress could look in to the already-gone eyes of a dying Robert Kennedy that they broke a deadlock and acted to pass the Gun Control Act of 1968.

I’m sure you have seen the statistic. As I write this, there have been 74 school shootings since December 14, 2012. One thing that the Sandy Hook shootings accomplished was to create a more active and mobilized gun control movement. Organizations like Sandy Hook Promise, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Mom’s Demand Action are acting as centralized points of activism and unified protest.

Even more than the cohesive effort, however, this ongoing battle requires courage.

We have unfortunately seen too often courage from victims’ families in the sheer will of facing another day, and trying to create something good from something so horrible. We must all be courageous. We must, as RFK put it, risk the “disapproval of our fellows.” Most importantly, we must be courageous enough to imagine the unimaginable.

We must change.

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there. May our children live in a safer and more just world.


Remember today.

Remember that we should be grateful to, honor, thank, and take care of our veterans every day.

Remember that we set aside November 11th as a specific holiday to honor all our veterans, but that today is for those who never came back. For their sacrifices of life, and more sadly, what might have been.

Remember that putting yourself in harm’s way in service to your country does not allow you to pick and choose where you go, what you do, who you fight, or for what reason(s).

Remember how lucky you are.

Remember the fallen.

Silence and Respect

How Miley Got Her Name

I originally wrote this last June 23rd. The RailRiders and IL Hall of Fame manager Dave Miley are in town again (though rained out tonight), so I figured I would post it here. Rain threw a monkey wrench in to our hope of saying hi last year. We’ll try again this season.

Miley Andra McClave, June 7, 2008.I’ve never really landed on a quick way to explain how baseball manager Dave Miley “inspired” our daughter Miley’s name. She wasn’t “named after him” in a traditional sense, yet my respect for him certainly played a role in leading us to the name. Because we are taking Miley to see Miley against the Syracuse Chiefs tonight, I figured it would be as good a time as any to explain the connection, for those who care and don’t already know.

I appreciate and respect loyalty and excellence.

As a Cincinnati Reds fan, that means I fully appreciated and respected Dave Miley’s years of service in their system. I thought they’d unfairly passed him over at least once, and maybe twice, before he  finally got the call to the Majors to manage in 2003. I’m a dog with a bone when I find something I respect and like and so I was one of his most vocal supporters back then. When I said hello to him at a Chiefs game earlier in that 2003 season, I even asked him if he wanted a Major League job. That he wasn’t interested was the only reason I could imagine for his not having yet had the chance.

Dave Miley autographI’m sorry it didn’t work out better for him in the long run. As will happen to virtually every manager eventually, Dave was fired by the Reds a couple of years later and has been with the Yankees as their AAA manager ever since. Doing what he does. Winning.

When my wife Jenna got pregnant in 2006, we had a tough time picking a name. We wanted something unique but not weird, paired with a middle name that meant something. At one point, out of ideas and ways to create new ones, we just decided to play free association and started naming things around us…”McDonald’s McClave,” “Toyota McClave…”. It was sort of tongue in cheek.

I jokingly, or so I thought, said “Miley McClave!”

Miley Andra McClave was born on the morning of October 14, 2006.

So, the story goes that while she wasn’t “named after” Dave Miley in the traditional sense, her name was inspired by a loyal and successful man. Paired with the Scottish name “Andra” which means strong and courageous, we feel we picked a name to which we’ll be happy to have her live up. So far, so good.

We’re hoping to say hi to Dave at the railing before the game tonight. While I hate the Yankees, if they give Dave Miley another shot in the Majors, I promise to root for them with all my heart.