Names are so important in our culture where first impressions often shape all future interactions. In this society, where signs of accomplishment are so important, sometimes moreso than the accomplishments themselves, I feel like many of us try to grasp at the images of success that we hold, and try to choose a new name to try to encapsulate the identity that they want.

So many places, we need a new handle. Email address, chat names, nicknames, rave names, pup names, looking to try to encapsulate our personality and our intent somehow perfectly in a little package. Companies hire name and brand consultants because names really are important. How will you be referred to in this space, and what will it both communicate about you and, in turn, shape you by shaping the communications of others toward you?

I’ve considered and tried several pseudonyms over the past twenty years, and none of them have stuck with any force. With the consideration of time, they felt ill-fitting or ill-considered, not really reflective of the whole that I so desperately wanted to reflect, rather than a compartmentalized slice. And so many times, even with name dictionaries and all sorts of fun, edgy stuff, I often sigh and say, “Well, just ‘Jason’ it is, then.”

And, my name, “Jason,” is just so generic and plain. It was meant to make me plain, not sparklingly stand out, not look stupid, just look solid and concrete. And Jason it was.

Over the past twenty years, I’ve considered and tried several pseudonums, and none of them have really stuck. With the consideration of time, they felt ill-fitting or ill-considered, not really reflective of the whole that I so desperately wanted to refelect, rather than a compartmentalized slice. And so many times, even with name dictionaries and all sorts of fun, edgy stuff, I often sigh and say, “Well, just ‘Jason’ it is, then.”

At various times during my marriage, especially when I considered beginning an academic career, I thought about taking my late husband’s last name. It was short and easily spelled. It sounded great with Jason. And I think that it subconsciously separated me from my father’s side of the family. I often, and I think unfairly, viewed them as brilliant Appalachian Foothill white trash disasters, too involved in internecine drama to progress. And while that may or may not be true, it is true that they are brilliant minds who are exceedingly capable and exceedingly determined. My own father had quite a reverse-engineering scientist’s mind, and I think that, had he not been profoundly dyslexic, depressed, and traumatized, he could have accomplished much. In this, there is a lot to be ashamed of, but much to be celebrated, as well.

And Jason works well enough, too. When I was young, I wanted to heal people. I want to heal people now. I’ve gone through a lot of terrifying quests and difficult familial relationships, as well. There was also this being akin to Medea. And I think that, even moreso, with its commonness, my life is anything but. I am the resolution of a lot of very oddly-opposing dialectics, and so my name is, I suppose, a fitting juxtaposition. My life is my life, plain name or not.

So even after a few name trials, a few thoughts on things that might be cool or edgy, we are right back around to, “Jason.”

The Page Title

I chose this name two years ago, Focused Convergence, feeling it very significant at the time. Now more than ever, alone and focused on growth and healing, I am the point where my life comes together, as are we all. It’s just our responsibility to harmonize it in the way we want, using our unique sets of skills and challenges. And to be honest about our wants and needs, and honest in the pursuit of them

A few years ago, I went through a lot. There was a lot of physical and psychological trauma. It became very difficult to function, to solve even the smallest problem, and initially solutions were hard to come by. But eventually I found that, if I just focused enough to be able to ask the question, enough to write it down, to concretize it, then the answer usually came to me. I just had to focus. And if I held multiple foci together and with the right attitude, then goals began to interweave and come together, to converge. And it just sort of made sense that all of the things that I value, all of the goals, all of the systems of holding information and tasks together, is the union of a lot of foci, harmonized. In a way, we are harmonized union, the convergence of the disparate foci that we choose to hold, choose to give energy to.

Before all the trauma, before all the brain damage, I was very good at hyperfocusing, but really not great at linear management, like tasks and time, for which I have always heavily relied upon tools, like lists and calendars. Now, as I find some of these issues magnified, I find myself leaning into these tools, and learning to use them in new ways to help me to build anew.

I use tools, lots of them. Paper, pen, tablets, styli, network-attached storages. I feel like I’ve awakened in a brave, new era of technology that, while fraught with dangers, also has the realization of so many childhood technological fantasies. These tools allow me to function almost magically sometimes, and the integration of their functions has been a subject of much thought over my life. And because I find myself writing out nearly everything as a way of processing thought and creating solutions, because I feel like I’m not the only one with a lot of these issues, and because I really do enjoy writing, I decided to start sharing these observations about life and technology and how I try to fit them together.

I tried to dissuade myself from this at first, thinking it would have terrible readership or little appeal, and maybe I should just start a tech integration blog, but I think of the obscure YouTubers who salvaged my mental health last year, just by existing, and it occurs that you never know the positive ripples you send out in the world that could save a life or at least some quantifiable levels of sanity. And it feels just right to do this.

In this way, I hope that some of my experiences, in whatever sphere of life, can bring ease and joy back into the lives of at least one or two people.

Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7/S8 Note View Case

So perhaps I was dazzled by the Samsung Experience Store at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California, but one of the things that I find about Samsung devices is that they are very well done for the most part, with occasional and insubstantial flash added on, and a few very serious oversights. Take this particular case. It has a few standard features, but its advertised special features, which theoretically set it apart from lower price point cases, are frankly, poorly executed.


Let’s start with a positive. While the case feels flimsy out of the box, once the tablet magnetically snaps, and snaps firmly it does, the case feels very firm and smooth in the hand. It is, as one would expect, tailored to this device, exposing the sides and fitting perfectly, including the camera stub and stylus hole cutouts. The nub directly on the spine of the case is a nice touch, as it allows a slightly tilted writing surface.


But that’s really where the positive ends. If you’re looking to prevent scratches and retain some sort of shower-door view of the screen, then this is your tablet case. If you are wanting it for any of the practical functions of a tablet case, specifically one with a “more natural” writing surface, then this is probably completely the wrong choice for you.


Upon first pulling it out of the box, I had the impression of one of those project proposal binders one used to buy in bulk from Office Depot before the advent of this thing that I have replaced it with. I’m not sure if this is some sort of cool retro nod, or if it speaks to the aspirations of cheap, flimsy construction and monotony, neither of which I find endearing, but I really didn’t love it. It was at least redeemably rigid when snapped to the case, but there is no side coverage at all, and the thinness of the back doesn’t provide any cushion, and doesn’t really do a lot more than preventing the incredibly slippery S8 from falling off of things.


“But this is a Note View Case! All of those things are secondary to the whole Note Viewing Process!” Alas, this is also not helpful. The theoretically natural feel writing surface is much like the texture of one of those high-quality edge binders, with the transparency of a frosted shower door. And much like the shower door, the door has to be plastered to the surface of whatever to is to be exposed for one to see it. Thusly, when writing, the Note View Surface needs to consistently be pressed down, and the feeling of writing through it with the stylus and standard nib feels like writing with a ballpoint in sand.


I wanted to like to really because of the name, because I like sleek and cool features for Ink users. But the hype was really the end of it. And so really other than a wraparound screen protector that also protects the oddly-designed camera stub, and the greatly-reduced coefficient of friction of the tablet’s back, I can’t see a point in buying this over a much less expensive and more functionally-appropriate case.

Galaxy Tab S8+ 5G: Performance

I multi-task. Like a lot. And I think that, when examined, so does everyone else. Flip over to Outlook to grab that meeting link as you try to bark directions to Google Maps through Google Assistant, then flip back to your task list to check a thing and then back over to the grocery list to see if you may or may not be able to get away with not dealing with Safeway this evening., then smash the fast forward button on your headphones cause this song sucks. And it’s fast. I have had phones that lagged between each step, and I noticed that, as it became increasingly molasses-y, the rhythm of my thinking slowed to accommodate it.

So performance is a pretty key piece for me, but what I need isn’t liquid graphics, what I need is a lot of RAM. Right now, I’m using a Galaxy Note 10 4G Comcast/Verizon with 8gb of RAM, and it functions beautifully. Its performance has been the standard by which I have judged many things in the two years since we have been together, and I am very grateful for its acquisition one week before the San Francisco Bay Area COVID-19 lockdowns.

I’m pleased with increasing RAM in recent tablets, which speaks to the commonality of both multi-tasking and of memory hog applications. Even then, budget tablets still have 2-4 GB of RAM, and in my old Tab S3 with 4 GB of RAM, OneNote chokes on pages with a lot of handwriting, and the launcher is routinely forced to unload the widgets. That simply won’t do. 

And I’m not really sure how processor bandwidth factors into these calculations, because, from what I’ve seen, the processors aren’t the limiting factor. This phone is spec-wise capable of running everything that I need, except perhaps a faster WWAN connection. Except the screen is tiny. And drawing and reference sketches on it are great, but it is very hard to write on. And so you can see the desire for a similar tablet. The usage performance of Galaxy Tab S8+ 5G is quite amazing, but weighing in at only 6 GB of RAM, 2 GB less than my Note 10 2019, which concerns me about its future-proofing as pixel densities scale up and we continue to build memory-hungry applications. 

Loaded up, though, I’m continuing to be impressed by the nimble agility of this tablet, and look forward to continuing to test its capabilities.



Galaxy Tab S8+ 5G: First Thoughts

From the moment that I set eyes on my new Galaxy Tab S8+ 5G, preordered from Verizon, I knew that it was almost the tablet of my dreams. Almost. The screen is so beautiful and it looks gorgeous sitting on my small wooden-cabinet-turned-standing-desk. The stylus is so crisp and precise, and has great support in both Infinite Painter and OneNote. And with Good Lock MultiStar, windows work like some sort of real *NIX window manager! (Isn’t that what this ultimately is?) And it tasks switches without hiccup, which is ultimately why I decided to replace my very dated Tab S3 in the first place. It was truly the tablet of my dreams!


Or so I thought. Hefting the thing, I had déjà vu of my old Galaxy Note 12 [Tablet], also a Verizon model, from several years before. Regardless of specs or performance, it felt huge. The screen real estate could be so helpful for complex tasks, but the sheer size of it meant that I, for small tasks, often left it behind. This defeated the purpose of it as a go-to notepad for my ideas, which broke the habit, which wasn’t helpful for its otherwise productive influence in my life.


I wanted to love it. This tablet has been exceptional. For aforesaid reasons, I found this tablet to tick a great many of the boxes that I have been looking for. I’ve had this tablet for about fifteen days, now, and have made a great many observations about it. What I’m pretty sure about it is that it’s completely the wrong size, and will probably be returned in favor of a Galaxy Tab S8 Wifi Edition, as no LTE edition of the Tab S8 exists at the time of writing. But we still have a minute or two before it needs to be returned, so in the next few posts, I will be exploring some of the unique quirks of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ 5G for Verizon Wireless.