Tag Archives: iPod Touch

Three Little Words About Apple’s iPad

I think I'm in love!

When Steve Jobs, the co-founder and CEO of Apple, unveiled a new product—the iPad—last week, three little words ran through my mind over and over and over: I want this!

I immediately e-mailed my little brother, the big-shot Chicago lawyer, to see what he thought about it. He pretty much used those same three little words. We both love electronic gadgets, and we both adore Apple products. We can’t wait to own the iPad!

Impossibly slim!

Impossibly slim!

I’ve been using a Mac since 1985 (yep, almost since its inception), and I’ve loved every Apple product I’ve owned. Right now we have five Mac computers (two iMacs, a MacBook, a G5, and a PowerBook), as well as several iPods (including two iPod Touches) and my iPhone. Another iProduct sounds great!

I’ve read a lot about the iPad, which won’t be in our hands until at least late March (for the wifi version). And I’ve been very amused that people are so sure about what it will and won’t be able to do without even seeing it up close and personal.

Here’s my take on it: I think the iPad will be a revolutionary device. The iPod, iPhone, and Mac were evolutionary—they took established devices (the mp3 player, smart phone, and personal computer) in a different, more user-friendly, cool lifestyle-oriented direction.

Spock calls the iPad logical!

But there’s nothing like the iPad right now. Someone wrote that it was a grown-up iPod. It’s positioned between an iPod and a netbook. It’s an eBook reader on steroids: I think it’ll be a great entertainment and web device. The Mister will love it for watching YouTube videos. The #2 son will want it for surfing the web and checking his Facebook page and his PDGA (Professional Disc Golfers of America) rating. #1 will use it to read eBooks, browse the Internet (he’s a Wiki fanatic), and watch his YouTube videos, all while listening to its iPod.

Hope the accessories don't cost too much!

And then there’s me. What won’t I be able to do on my iPad? I love my iPhone, but it’s hard to write much text on, and the screen is usually too small for my 56-year-old eyes. The iPad will be the perfect size for reading blogs, articles, and books; watching videos; writing e-mails; boring everyone with my photos; travel; and maybe even e-penning the next great American novel.

It will be the handiest of devices. And I want it in my hands as soon as possible!

I’ll still use my iMac, especially for Photoshopping, and MacBook. But I’ll really enjoy having the ultimate mobile multimedia device ready to use in my house and when I’m out and about.

The iPad haters talk about what the iPad isn’t, as if any electronic gadget can be all things to all potential users. But I love the haters—it means that they won’t be standing in line with us, waiting to get their grubby hands on our iPads!

Speaking my language!

Guess who signed up to be notified!

At the Halfway Mark

The Chanukah candles come into focus.

In case you’re wondering how Chanukah is going in our family as we pass the halfway mark, here’s an update:

The #1 son checks out the book he received the first night.

The #1 son has gotten one book so far (“The Best of the Best of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader”); the #2 son, much to his relief, is bookless. So far!

#2 scores his iPod Touch!

#2 was over the moon at receiving the iPod Touch and immediately downloaded the addictive Jelly Car app on it.

Sad to say (for him), #2 missed out on his present for night #3, because he was rude to me and showed not one speck of remorse. If I had had a big book for him in my gift stash, that’s what he would’ve gotten! I realize that his poor behavior was a direct reaction to the amount of studying he had to do for this week’s finals, but he knows that momma don’t like being yelled at.

#1 struggles with getting the shamash candle back in its holder.

Every year the #1 son has had trouble getting the shamash (helper) candle back in its holder, because he’s afraid the dripping wax will burn his fingers. He struggles with it for a minute or so until I come to the rescue and place the glowing candle safe and sound where it belongs. All while his younger brother laughs at him. This year has been no different.

Both boys light their candles.

The boys have been lighting their own menorahs since they were about seven or eight years old. This year I was entranced with how deep their voices were as they chanted the blessings over the candles. I’ve watched them grow from little boys to men every Chanukah!

Unevenly lit boys (ISO 800)

As I’m taking photos of my patient (because of waiting presents) boys using the natural light from the candles, I can see such promise in their eyes. Sometimes it’s hard to focus when tears start to flow a bit!

Ah-ha!

#1’s goal each year is not to smile, but I finally caught him last night (after 850 attempts)! #2 knows to just get it over with right away. He knows that I’ll keep snapping until I get what I want!

#2 mugs for the camera.

Notice something different in this photo? I turned the menorahs around, so that it looks like they were lit properly from the readers’ vantage point. Candles are placed in the holders from right to left (like reading Hebrew), but they’re lit left to right (newest night first). The boys do light the candles properly, but then the menorahs look improperly lit in the previous photos. Just thought I’d show a different view for all of you!

So now we have four nights left before we chip off the wax and store the menorahs for another year. Will I capture one more reluctant smile from #1? Will #2 get a book as an unwanted gift? And will I stop to think that next year only #2 will be lighting the menorah here while #1 uses an electric one in his college dorm room?

If I think about that last question, I’m going to have trouble keeping the boys in focus when I take photos the next four nights.

Random Snippets and Apertures

Nailed it!

Nailed it!

Or should that be Apertures & Random Snippets?

This is a bonus shot from Monday’s roofing blog post (where “bonus shot” means I liked it, but it didn’t seem to fit with the other photos). It was snapped after the original shingles and detritus were tossed off the roof. Shot wide open (f/2.8) with my Nikon 17-55mm lens on my Nikon D300 for a bit of lovely bokeh blur.

Sidebar: I’ve seen the word “detritus,” which means waste or debris, several times lately, both online and in the newspaper. Trend follower that I am, I felt compelled to use it. Originally I had typed “what-not.” Not very trendy. But actually somewhat descriptive!

Moving on . . . random snippets fill my mind

Aly Michalka, Vanessa Hudgens, and Gaelan Connell star in "Bandslam"

Aly Michalka, Vanessa Hudgens, and Gaelan Connell star in "Bandslam"

The Mister and I dragged the #2 son with us to see “Bandslam” recently, and we all really liked it. The actors are talented and cute, and even the music is good.

Sidebar: When it comes to music, I believe the best songs were produced between 1964 and 1972 or so. Almost anything else isn’t worth listening to, as I like to tell the #1 son, who loves music so much he practically considers his iPod Touch to be as essential as his aorta. Oddly enough, he doesn’t agree with my astute assessment.

The movie’s title, “Bandslam,” comes from an annual music competition. Will, played soulfully by Gaelan Connell, remakes a band fronted by Aly Michalka (who plays Keely on “Phil of the Future”; love that Disney Channel!). Will falls for the characters played by Aly and Vanessa “High School Musical” Hudgens, followed by a fair quantity of the kind of teenaged angst that the 17-year-old #1 son is going through. Lisa Kudrow does a wonderful turn as Will’s mother.

The song I liked best in the movie was a remake of Bread’s “Everything I Own,” sung by Hudgens. When was that song released? 1972. So no surprise that it’s great.

Middle-aged PDA

Be thankful that I don’t have a photo of this!

I was in the express checkout lane at my local HEB grocery store the other day. In front of me was a couple that had to at least be in their 40s. They were all over each other, kissing and hugging, right in front of me and my Banyan Foods’ Original Tofu Egg Rolls (they’re so good!). Gag me, peeps!

It’s bad enough when the teens have their public displays of affection, but people close to my age?!? Wait until you get in your car!

Fruit for Thought

I was chatting with the boys about the movie “X-Men Origins.” I looked over at my 14-year-old #2 son and noticed he had a quizzical look on his face.

“I thought you said ‘sex and an orange,’ ” he explained.

High School Exhaustion

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

My two sons are very different.

Physically, #1 has dark brown hair and blue eyes. #2 has blondish-brown hair and green eyes. #1 has worn corrective lenses since fourth grade; #2 inherited the Mister’s good vision. #1 loves reading so much that he almost devours books; #2 hates to read (sad for me!). If you see #1 without his headphones and iPod Touch, you know he’s sleeping. #2 likes his iPod Nano, but he goes through life with unfettered hearing.

Zzzzzzzzz!

Zzzzzzzzz!

And one more thing . . . #2 is undeniably not a morning person! He has to be up by 6:30 a.m. for high school (when we almost have to pry him out of bed). That early rising took its toll on the little guy yesterday. He crashed on the couch at about 4 p.m., and we finally were able to rouse him to eat dinner and finish his homework at 6:30 p.m. It took a lot of work to get him up!

#2 eats his boneless buffalo wings and watches TV.

#2 eats dinner and watches TV.

Meanwhile, his big brother almost always easily gets out of bed when he hears his alarm in the morning. He’s able to get through the day just fine and is ready to eat dinner on time. No naps are necessary.

So while his brother is sound asleep, #2 can watch one of his favorite TV shows:

Criss Angel

Criss Angel

Criss Angel’s “MindFreak.” Criss is an amazing magician whose services we might need to obtain—maybe he could levitate the sound-sleeping #2 son out of bed in the morning and off the couch in the afternoon!

Need a new challenge, Criss?

eBookin’ It

iphone-kindle-app

Oh, oh . . . I could be in trouble! BIG eTrouble!

I learned via Brad’s Reader that this is Read an eBook Week. I have the eReader app on my iPhone, but I have yet to finish reading a book using it. Maybe it was the choice of novel, maybe it was the app, maybe I’m just not the kind of gal who digs that kind of commitment to electronic media. But when I saw that Amazon.com had released a Kindle app for the iPhone and iPod Touch followed hard on its heels by Read an eBook Week, I knew I had to see what this Kindle/eBook mania was all about.

kindle-frontMy baby brother, the big shot Chicago lawyer, was an early eReader adapter. He started with Sony’s eReader and then moved on to the original Kindle. Little bro is a big reader on trains, planes, but probably not in automobiles, and he loved the idea of yet another electronic gadget. He’s told me how much he enjoys his Kindle. I’d probably love one, too (as would the #1 son, who has been reading since he was three years old), but I’m a bit put off by the price tag: $359. Ouch! I am one of those types who likes feeling a book in her hands, smoothing out the pages as I turn them. But I also think it would be cool to wirelessly download books and have them on the Kindle in a matter of minutes. And think of the clutter one would be without! No books all over the house . . . not that that describes anyone’s house we know.

Of course, that “got to have it NOW” mindset can get one in major eTrouble! Amazon.com, which is one of my favorite eMerchants, makes the buying process so darned easy that getting carried away would be a natural for yours truly. I put the whole process to the test last night.

humorous-short-storiesFirst, I found the Kindle store on Amazon.com. Next I tried to buy the cheapest book I could, because I didn’t want to make a big investment in something I couldn’t share with others (I probably can with the #1 son, though, once he downloads the Kindle app to his iPod Touch). I opted for “The Best American Humorous Short Stories” for 80 cents. The purchase is made via computer or by mobile Safari on the iPhone with Amazon’s notorious 1-Click Ordering (that’s where that eTrouble can happen! It’s too easy!) and is virtually instantaneously sent to your iPhone. I touched the Kindle app on my iPhone, and there was one of the worst books ever to be published in the world! Not even worth 80 cents!!

dear-neighbor-drop-deadKind of frustrated me! So I tried again, realizing that I had to spend more to get more. This time I bought “Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead” by Saralee Rosenberg for $8.76. It looks like my kind of novel—a humorous take on the suburbs. I’ve already started reading it, and the process doesn’t seem too limiting. It is a lot of swiping to turn the pages, and you can only read in portrait mode, not landscape (unlike the eReader app). What’s nice about having reading material on an iPhone is that it’s so handy! If you’re stuck in a line at the grocery store or bank, take out your iPhone, touch the Kindle app, and start reading. It remembers where you left off! I might even be able to get more reading done, as long as the iPhone’s battery doesn’t go dead.

Rosenberg’s book is 352 pages; I’m going to try to finish it this week, so I can have a full report by Monday. I probably won’t read it when I’m eating, though, so I don’t get food stuff all over my iPhone (I feel sorry for my books sometimes; so many guacamole spots from reading while eating at Chipotle!). I think my main get ’er done for today will be reading on my iPhone . . . got to take one for the blog!

Ten-Minute Tasking Tuesday

 

family room clutter chair

One of the websites I enjoy reading is Lazy Moms. Last Friday on the Lazy Mom website, Amanda and Leslie set out the idea of doing manageable 10-minute tasks. I actually think that even I, someone with severe stay-at-home-mom ADD, could stay focused for that long. So here’s my first 10-minute task: the clutter chair in the family room. I cringe every time I pass that darned chair, not that it makes me jump right in and clear the clutter. Much better to do my best Scarlett O’Hara imitation . . . “I’ll think about that tomorrow!”

I’m hoping to have a good “after” photo to show tomorrow. And I’ll try my best NOT to just move all the clutter to the matching chair next to it. And I’ll do my best to put away, recycle, donate, or toss everything on the chair. Scout’s honor!

Receipts stack update

5108-receipt-stack

Here’s what the receipts stack looked like yesterday before I pulled out the receipts I need to look through (and if you’re wondering if I’ve completed this particular task yet, then you really don’t know me at all). The blue accordion folder? That’s for the 2009 receipts, as recommended by my ridiculously well-organized neighbor, JJ. I don’t pretend that actually using the folder all year will put me anywhere close to the same organizational atmosphere as her (as we’ve learned in science, the “JJsphere” is smack dab between the stratosphere and mesosphere), but it might allow me to revolve around her sun and make it easier to get information to Romeo, our tax accountant, earlier than April. My nonorganizational atmosphere that I reside in, the “cluttersphere,” means that it’s totally unlikely that every receipt actually will be found in the accordion folder this time next year. Time will tell!

A footnote: Half of the stack of receipts pictured is from 2007—they’re the ones we needed for that tax return and to keep for reference purposes. Just haven’t filed them yet. Sound like yet another future get ’er done . . . must add it to the growing stack of them!

Venting machine

tiger-woodsHere’s something that really chaps me: Every time I’ve read a story about Tiger and Elin Woods’ new son, it almost always proclaims that Tiger has become a father again. Excuse me?!? Once a parent, always a parent! There’s no expiration date, well, until we actually expire for good. Can’t the journalists just write that Tiger added to his family?

iPod Touch update

Speaking of family, it looks like the #1 son finally has made his new Touch his main iPod . . . and it hasn’t even been an entire week! Now to see how long it will take him to add his second app.

baranski-parsons1

TV watch

Last night’s “The Big Bang Theory” was hilarious and worth waiting for (it was delayed by the presidential address). Christine Baranski (shown above with Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon) played Leonard’s mother, and she was brilliant! Kind of like a female Sheldon. We just love all the quirkiness surrounding the show; makes Monday nights just a little bit brighter.

the-biggest-loserTonight we’ll probably watch “American Idol” first and then “The Biggest Loser” as it’s being DVRed; that way we can fast-forward through all the commercials and maybe even avoid the product-placement pitches during the show. “AI” is still on its dreaded Hollywood Week where breakdowns and meltdowns are part of the daily menu. The question isn’t so much if the contestants can sing but rather whether or not they can take the pressure. Almost makes losing a hundred or so pounds a breeze!

Photo Friday

#33's backno face5102-8ga-goof

 When I’m not shaking my head at my ineptness and/or slow reflexes, I must admit that I get a chuckle at some of my photo goofs. Of course, I might not think they were so funny if I wasn’t getting some decent photos along the way.

Since I had already turned in my middle school basketball photos to the yearbook staff, I mainly wanted to concentrate on taking good photos of two players whose moms have bought pictures from me in the past. Those two eighth-graders are pictured above . . . in photos that will never sell. Faces, got to see faces! What’s especially amusing about the middle photo is that both boys are pictured, not that you really can tell.

#33 back

Here’s another favorite from last night . . . no faces shown on either player! The photo is in focus and well-composed, but its only purpose is to show how not to take a good action shot. Fortunately, I’m through with indoor sports photography for the middle school; track is so much easier. And that will start in a couple weeks!

Daily iPod Touch update

pandoraThe news is good! #1 son finished putting all his songs on the Touch and actually ejected it from the iMac and used it. The news is mixed! What he was listening to was Pandora.com, his favorite internet radio station that’s a free application. I reminded him that he can only listen to it in a hot spot; otherwise, he’s “stuck” with his mere collection of a couple thousand songs. That kind of disappointed him.

I have a hard time listening to music and working at the computer. This inability to multitask must be part of my masculine side. Like most women, I’m used to multitasking in order to stay on top of things. I can watch TV and prepare meals and/or do laundry and/or read and/or surf the internet. The Mister’s idea of multitasking is watching TV and eating and/or using the remote (and he’s not all that savvy with the remote).

MacBook antiglare film update

nushield-logoI went to the Apple store and checked out the antiglare screen protector that they have. It’s $34.95! I wasn’t planning on spending more than $20, so I said no thank you to the helpful salesperson and went home to see what other MacBook users recommended. The one that was mentioned most in a positive way was NuShield. The cost was $17.99 plus $4.99 for shipping. I’ll give it a full review once it arrives and is applied.

Get ’er dones

As I’ve typed, I’ve burned a disk for my friend Ann, who I’m having lunch with. I had Photoshopped some iPhone photos of her son for her, and she wanted them on a CD. Mission accomplished!

My other major task today is to go through all my receipts and figure out what my expenses have been for my photography and graphic design mini-businesses last year. Romeo, our accountant who is responsible for handling our personal taxes as well as those for our business, called and said he’d like me to get on task sooner than later. He knows as well as I do that I’m an April 10th kind of gal (does this come as any surprise?), but I’m going to get cracking on this task. Of course, the receipts aren’t in any organized fashion, but the good news is I know where they all are (in a neat stack). I tell myself every April that I need to use something like Quick Books to organize my receipts, but 12 months later I’m back looking through the big stack.

Could be a get ’er done for the future!