Tag Archives: iPhone

iPhone Photo Friday

This unusual sign appeared new the entrance to our community.

This unusual sign appeared near the entrance to our master-planned community.

Thanks for the warning, but we didn’t see any.

Sidebar: I know I should be outraged that bored kids decided to tamper with the “REDUCED SPEED AHEAD” sign, but I have to admit that it makes me laugh every time I go past it.

A Moo-ving Photo Op

Was it something I said?

Was it something I said?

Last Monday my younger son decided to get in some disc golf practice. The Mister and I (and my Nikon dSLR, natch) tagged along.

Next to the course at the River Pointe Church is a large field with cattle and the occasional deer. One calf (pictured above) intrigued the kid.



So he whipped out his iPhone 4S to grab a quick pic.

And immediately got into a staring contest with the furry beast. Maybe it thought the phone was feed . . . or that the kid looked delicious. Either way it seemed mad.

The iPhone evidence

The iPhone evidence (by my #2 son)


Moo-ve away from the calf!!

My Favorite Blog Photos, Part I

This double reflection looks like I used a sepia filter (but I didn’t).

This double reflection looks like I used a sepia filter (but I didn’t). (iPhone)

Obviously, I like sharing . . . or is that oversharing . . . photos. Such is the life of a blogger who also is a photographer. I’ve been looking through my 2012 pics the last week or so for a personal planner that I’m making through Blurb.com (hope I actually finish it before January ends!), and I thought I would share some of my favorites. Today’s post features January (which includes the above reflective photo—love those reflections!) through June. Enjoy!

Sidebar: Unless otherwise noted, photos were snapped with my Nikon D700.


My sons and Tanner enjoy watching their video.

My sons and Tanner enjoy watching their video.


An ibis enjoys the water along the shore. (Nikon S6200)

An ibis walks along the shore. (Nikon S6200)

That’s more like it!

My younger son smiles.


Thistle pollen covers the bee.

Thistle pollen covers a bee.

Loads of bluebonnets . . . love ’em!

Loads of bluebonnets . . . love ’em!


Purple is a popular color for wildflowers.

Purple is a popular color for wildflowers. Even flies like them.

A monarch looks for the perfect horsemint to land on.

A monarch looks for the perfect horsemint to land on.


It’s a bird . . . it’s a plane . . . it’s the super moon!

It’s a bird . . . it’s a plane . . . no, it’s the supermoon! (Nikon D300)

A green dragonfly tries to blend in with his surroundings.

A green dragonfly tries to blend in with his surroundings.


Love those thistles.

More bee-thistle action

I shot these strawflowers during my Chicago trip.

I shot these sensational strawflowers during my Chicago visit.

Look for part two Thursday!

Photographic Addition

I snapped away with my iPhone 5 during my morning walk yesterday.

Cold air plus . . .

The air temperature was a chilly (for Houston) 40 degrees.

A warm lake plus . . .

Wonder what the lake temperature was.

7 a.m. equals . . .

Love our Texas sunrises!

A smoky lake sunrise!

Making Fun of Dear, Old-Fashioned Mom

This was a recent text-versation with my older son.

Last Friday morning, my older son and I were texting about a date he had that night.

(Let’s pause for a moment while that statement sinks in. Yes, my son actually had a date. With a girl he asked out! It’s a rare occurrence despite all his wonderful qualities and brilliant blue eyes. Of course, the Mister and I were doing the happy dance!)

Typical of my thrifty collegian, he was taking her to see UTSA’s free movie, “The Expendables 2” (ugh!). Yes, free. With no dinner before.

So, concerned mom that I am (as in concerned that I’ll never see this child married and giving us grandchildren), I made two simple suggestions that probably never occurred to him: Brush your teeth and go out for a soda after the flick.

You can read his witty response. Ouch!

Perhaps I should’ve suggested frozen yogurt instead?


This was my first Mac, the 512K (aka Fat Mac), which I bought in 1985.

Fittingly, I got the news last night on my iPhone 4 via a text message from my older son, who was using his iPhone 4.

“Looks like Steve Jobs is dead,” it read.

I rushed to my iMac to check it out and then continued to monitor my Twitter feed on my iPad as we watched “Survivor.” What my son had said was true, and everyone was tweeting about it.

Apple.com’s home page was simple (as shown on my iPad).

Steve Jobs’ untimely passing at the too-young age of 56 wasn’t surprising, of course. He was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004 and survived a liver transplant five years later. He had been in failing health this year. When he resigned as Apple’s CEO this past August, it was obvious the end was near.

Still, I was overcome with sadness—the world has lost an amazing visionary who helped create technical products that enhanced our lives.  My life in particular was changed thanks to the Macintosh, which enabled me to properly use and show my creative talents. I’ve earned my living writing, editing, designing, and Photoshopping on the various Macs that I’ve owned since 1985. I’m probably one of the few people my age who has only owned Apple computers. And I expect it to stay that way.

Of course, I’ve loved my iPods (listened to my first one eight years ago), iPhone (the original, 3Gs, and my current 4), and iPad. If Apple makes it, I usually want it.

Jobs had a remarkable sense of the long term, of what consumers really wanted, though they didn’t know it at the time. He made products for everyone, not just the techies who thrived on the DOS challenge. Gosh, he put the darned internet in our pockets! He enabled my octogenarian mother to stay connected with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren throughout the country . . . as well as with her friends . . . via her iMac.

He left a wonderful, inspiring legacy. That’s his greatest gift.

My #1 son loves his MacBook Pro.

I e-mailed my older son some words of wisdom spoken by Jobs:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

I hope my son takes that advice to heart; it will steer him in the right direction.

And . . . one more thing . . .

Rest in peace, Steve Jobs. Thank you for making the world a better place to live in.

Adventures in iPhoning

My ever-grumpy #1 son shows off his new iPhone 4.

Guess what my #1 son and I did this morning? We joined several hundred other Applephiles at our local Apple store. The quest? Score the new iPhone 4.

#1 is protected from the rain.

We left the house at 6:36 a.m. With the Apple store set to open at 7 a.m., I hoped the mall powers-that-be would be nice enough to let us wait inside, especially since it was raining lightly. No such luck. At first, #1 sat on a small chair reading a book while I held a large umbrella. But eventually someone was smart enough to walk to the mall doors and see that there was a separate line for those of us who had been lucky enough to reserve the coveted phone. We were able to move under the overhang.

The reserved line definitely was the one to be in—a guy next to us in the have-nots queue said he had been there since 3 a.m.! In fact, the first person in the non-reserved line had camped out since 2 p.m. yesterday!! Totally crazy!

The Chick-Fil-A guy is popular!

While we were waiting patiently, Apple store employees gave us bottles of water. And then Chick-Fil-A workers came by with tea, coffee, and food.

This CFA guy is a Harlan Coben lookalike!

Everyone loved these guys! Both lines felt uplifted.

#1 enjoys being inside the mall and sitting on a bench while Mom waits in line.

Finally, after we’d been waiting for about three hours, it was our turn to walk inside my favorite store. Were those strings and harps I heard playing? Before long, we had two 16GB iPhone 4 boxes in our hands. My #1 son actually smiled!

#1’s iPhone was a timely graduation present—his regular Samsung phone was dying a slow death and only could text. He was due an upgrade, and I’m sure a smartphone will come in very handy at college.

But what about me? My iPhone 3Gs was still rockin’ after a year of constant use. Did I really need the new iPhone?

I must admit that I wanted the iPhone 4 because of FaceTime: Two iPhone 4s both in hot spots (wifi) can video call one another. I would be able to see my #1 son when he’s at college via our phones! Sure, we can iChat on our Macs, but this will be so much handier.

I know that he might never want to video chat with his dear, old mom. But just in case . . . I’ll be ready!

Hail to the iPad—My MacBook Feels Lonely

I love this guy!

Yep, I got it! I scored the 16GB wifi iPad Saturday morning. The much-wanted electronic device finally was delivered to my house by UPS around 11:22 a.m., and it was an awful wait. I was Photoshopping disc golf pix on my iMac in my home office in the front of our house, getting out of my chair at any and every sound. When I heard a cement mixer go by, the #1 son almost had to scrape me off the ceiling.

The iPad box

Once I held the iPad box, I got all giddy and did a jig while #1 just rolled his eyes. Maybe it was a good thing that I wasn’t at the Apple store—better to embarrass myself in front of my son than a bunch of strangers.

The iPad is home.

Once the iPad had synced with my iMac (tip: If you already sync an iPhone to your computer, have the iPad copy your settings), I was ready to rock ’n roll, because it had almost a full battery. As a devoted iPhone user, I had almost no learning curve with the iPad (plus it helps that there’s a handy-dandy iPad user guide bookmarked in the Safari browser). During the NCAA basketball Final Four Saturday night, I put the iPad through its paces for hours. I browsed the web, bought my first iBook (Harlan Coben’s “Caught“), and added free iPad apps.

The #2 son looks at the “Jim & Me” book I bought for his brother.

The real test of the iPad would come the next day (yesterday) when we took a road trip to my brother-in-law’s house. I bought “Jim & Me” by Dan Gutman from the iBook store for the #1 son to read and purchased a couple “Office” episodes on iTunes for both boys to watch. I had checked out how the TV shows looked by watching a “Modern Family” episode (using the free ABC player), and I loved how great it looked on the almost-10-inch screen (although it’s a little too glossy, producing reflections that make you change your viewing angle).

JellyCar rolls great for #2 on the iPad screen.

My #2 son isn’t into books, but he does love the game apps on his iPod Touch. I have JellyCar on my iPhone for him, so it ported to the iPad with my other iPhone apps. Most of them don’t look as good as the native iPad apps, but #2 really had fun using the bigger screen space to roll his Jelly car.

#2 watches his older brother navigate the iPad.

The iPad was a big hit with the boys and helped keep them entertained. When my #1 son tired of reading “Jim & Me” (he did say he enjoyed reading it on the iPad, but that he missed holding a real book), he plugged his ubiquitous headphones into the device and watched a YouTube video. The boys traded off watching the “Office” episodes in the car on the way home.

The #1 son reads his iBook.

Obviously, the iPad is a great entertainment device. Its screen is gorgeous, the speakers sound good, and videos and books look terrific on it. It’s a multimedia-content workhorse. It’s great for leaving on the ottoman or coffee table in the living room and being picked up by anyone in the family for reading books, watching video, looking at my photos (which you can view as a slideshow using your own iTunes music), and surfing the web. It’s lightning fast with our wifi (and it worked great using a restaurant’s wifi Saturday).

The iPad is so much cooler than my MacBook on my legs (it doesn’t heat up at all). In fact, for possibly the first time since I bought it a year ago, I didn’t use my MacBook at all last weekend, instead opting to browse the Internet and write notes with the iPad while in our family room. I think my MacBook felt very lonely! Even with a lot of use, the iPad’s battery lasted all day.

#1 watches a YouTube video.

So what do I really think of my newest Apple gadget? Apple is inventing the wheel with the iPad; there’s no other device like it yet (but there will be, and competition is a good thing). In the past, Apple improved the mp3 player and cellphone wheels, but this time it’s truly starting from scratch.

I’m an unabashed Apple fanboy, and I do love our iPad. Its almost instant on and easy accessibility makes it so simple for gathering information and communicating. It’s truly a device for the 21st century.

But it’s not a productivity machine for me, because it’s not really a computer. Its niche is in between an iPod Touch and a laptop. I use my iMac for writing and Photoshop. The iPad’s keyboard, even in landscape mode, is too small for extended typing (I would use a wireless keyboard instead). As for photo editing, I have the Photoshop Mobile app, but it’s a lightweight compared to its burly big sibling. I don’t even like to use Photoshop on my MacBook (and definitely not without a mouse).

Will the iPad replace a laptop? It depends on what you use it for. I could see using the iPad more than my MacBook; I think it’ll be great for traveling and while on the go. But I don’t think the iPad is a laptop killer. I think its role is to enhance your lifestyle, much like the iPod and the iPhone.

So is the iPad a necessity? To me, there’s only one device that’s truly essential: My iPhone!

Random Running Snippets & iPhone Apertures

Me pre-race (note Garmin Forerunner 205 GPS watch) complete with my Hero hat

Wondering how I did in yesterday’s Aramco Half-Marathon?

Short version: I finished with a wide smile on my face and tears in my eyes.

Longer version: I finished with a wide smile on my face, tears in my eyes, and with my left arch hurting almost every step of the way. That had plagued me in training. But numb feet had not; unfortunately, I suffered with those from miles three through six, forcing me to walk from time to time until I could feel my toes again.

Thankfully, my tootsies felt fine once I hit mile seven, so after that I only walked through water stops and when I ingested Gu energy gel. Oh, and when I took iPhone 3Gs photos, which I uploaded to Facebook along the way.

I wasn't the only one taking iPhone photos at the start.

I figured I’d try to take iPhone photos and keep updating my Facebook status during the race. In hindsight, it would’ve been much better to have used my Olympus Stylus Tough point-and-shoot camera. It was awkward stopping mid-race to take a photo, typing in a caption (especially considering I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses), and then hoping AT&T would allow me to upload it to Facebook. I missed out on lots of potentially good pix of cute signs and even cuter babies. And that guy at the half-marathon start wearing a Lion King costume. Wonder if he finished still wearing it? It got pretty warm.

Lots of people in front of me as we head towards mile two. Guess I'm not going to win!

We did have perfect running weather—it was about 45 degrees at the start at 7 a.m. and about 60 degrees when I finished around 10 a.m. Which means that probably half the participants overdressed. Those who were wearing tights, jackets, gloves, and beanies looked like the temps were still frozen over from last weekend!

I felt very comfortable in a short-sleeved t-shirt and shorts, complete with my Hero running hat that I earned by raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Oh, and my Garmin Forerunner 205 GPS watch. Why was that important? Because, as in 2008, it showed that I actually ran 13.3 miles instead of 13.1. Oh, that aching extra two-tenths!!

Heading up a hill just past 10K (6.2 miles).

The race starts with the half-marathoners and those running the Chevron Houston Marathon on separate streets. We mesh together around mile two until mile nine where the halfers blissfully turn around (180 degrees) and head for the finish. The organizers like to boast that the course is flat . . . but it is NOT! There are enough hills in the first seven miles to stretch out our legs and tighten our arches (well, my left one).

Cresting the hill over Allen Parkway nearing mile 7. As we're running outbound, faster runners are about to turn near mile 11.

Here were my plans for the race: First goal always is to finish. My second goal was to break three hours. That’s a slow pace and nowhere near my personal best, but my training had been done at snail speed. Mentally, I was going to concentrate on just getting into the swing of things for the first two miles, which includes the much-hated (by me) Elysian Viaduct. At least two people slipped and fell behind me as we approached the first mile on the viaduct. I’ll bet they hate it, too.

Sidebar: Years ago there was talk about getting rid of the viaduct, which is a concrete overpass. I volunteered to be the one pushing the plunger when it came time to dynamite it! But, alas, it still stands if only to torment me every year.

After the Elysian, I was going to think about the six people in whose memory I raised funds for LLS. The first was Dick Jones at mile three, then my dad, my stepdad, my cousin Lisa, Don Queen, and Ron Kalteyer at the subsequent miles. After that I felt like all of them were on my back spurring me along to the finish.

The halfers will turn around in 200 yards!

Two of the best aspects of Houston’s premier marathon/half-marathon event are its volunteers and spectators. We couldn’t have a successful race without thousands of helpers. And those watching make us feel like running gods and goddesses, as well as providing plenty of distractions. I saw so many great signs along the course! Some I remember were “Run like you stole something!” and “So easy a caveman could do it.” There also were live bands and boom boxes providing great music along the way.

No balloons for my pity party at mile 10?

Once I made the turn at mile nine, I focused on one sight: That mile 10 banner. I just couldn’t wait until I was able to have my very own pity party and feel sorry for myself and my aches and pains. Funny thing, though—by mile 10, I was rolling along at a decent clip for me. Sure, my arch was hurting, but it wasn’t slowing down my pace any, and I knew that in a mere mile we would be on Allen Parkway running along with the fast marathoners across the median. Plus I had those six precious souls riding on my shoulders whispering in my ear, “You can do it!” Cancel that pity party!

Mile 11 is a good time for prayer!

Houston’s Christian radio station had several prayer stations set up along the course. What a great idea . . . even for those of us who are Jewish! All runners are grateful for divine intervention late in a race.

My biggest disappointment once we got off Allen Parkway and headed through downtown towards the finish line at the George R. Brown Convention Center? No Elvis sighting! That’s the first time I haven’t seen the supposedly dead rock ’n roller during either the half (now five finishes) or marathon (eight finishes).

Disappointment reigns for those who finished behind me.

Finally, there was the most-spectacular sight of the entire 13.1-mile race: The finish line! Why do we run races? To finish them! As always, when I crossed the line, I looked to the sky to thank my dad for being along with me.

And then I thought of Dick Jones, who I had hoped so much would be there at the finish watching me run for him. He was there in spirit, of course, interrupting his golf game in heaven to ride on my shoulders. I couldn’t help but break into a wide smile and start to cry.

Never-Ending Illness and Text Disabled

Mind if I join you?

Mind if I join you?

Once again, I’m looking out for your best interests! Instead of continuing to merely milk my never-ending lung infection by using my Sick Day sign, I have a new photo that neatly fits in my It Doesn’t Take Much to Amuse Me category. I snapped it yesterday with my iPhone at our local Half-Price Books store. I think “Old & Interesting” is a good description of me! Can I wedge in there between a couple of books?

Blackberry Curve

Blackberry Curve

See this smartphone? It’s the Blackberry Curve, the same phone I urged the Mister to buy.

Sidebar: Because the Mister’s cellphone plan at work is Sprint, he couldn’t get an iPhone. And, really, is the man cool enough to own the same smartphone as me? Think about it.

So, of course, he bought the Curve. I wanted him to be able to check his e-mail away from his office and, most important, to be able to text. To say the man is text-disabled is like calling Yao Ming tall. He visibly starts sweating and quaking as he eyes the phone’s keys, reluctant to even start typing. He even has others text for him, especially the #2 son. So I figured the Curve’s keyboard would be easier for him than that of his old flip phone.

Yeah, right. Why didn’t I just ask the man to learn Italian in a week? That might be easier for him!


As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the Mister and the #2 son are in Kansas City, Missouri, for the Disc Golf World Championships.

Sidebar: After two rounds, #2 is tied for tenth out of 25 players in the age 16 and under division.

The Mister was supposed to let me know how #2 was doing during both rounds yesterday. I know that there’s not supposed to be a lot of noise on the course while play is going on. Disc golfers can be like regular ball golfers in being sensitive to cell phones ringing when they’re about to putt. But how noisy is it to text if your phone is on vibrate? Or even if it isn’t?

Do you want to know how many times the Mister texted me during 36 holes of disc golf, knowing I was anxiously awaiting any morsel of news? Any crumb of information?

Do you really have to ask? A big, fat zero.

Yeah, we had a little talk about that last night over the phone. I told him at the very least all he has to do is type “b” for birdie, “p” for par, and “bo” for bogey. How hard is that for someone who has fingers and/or thumbs that work? He agreed to do that.

And you know what? He just texted me and used more than one letter! He even typed several words at once!!

Sigh! I’m so proud of him.