Tag Archives: MacBook

iSad

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.

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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!

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!

Snippets From my iPhone

 

my-iphone-notes
When I think of random thoughts I want to remember, I whip out my beloved iPhone and type them into the Notes widget. Some of the following are those snippets from my iPhone, as well as from my Stickies on my iMac and MacBook.
jiminy_140x143• I had to type the word “Mississippi.” Does anyone else still have to spell it out like Miss-iss-ippi? As for “encyclopedia,” I’m a member of the original Mickey Mouse Club generation. So I always have Jiminy Cricket in my head singing “enc-yc-lo-pedia!” I can’t spell it any other way.
• I think I may be on my MacBook too often. We usually eat dinner in our family room, using snack tables. Last night during dinner, the Mister wanted me to google something . . . and pointed to my salad! He just assumed that I was multitasking on my laptop, as I usually do when I’m in the family room watching TV. Lettuce not assume that anymore!
chargers-logo• The #2 son not only plays flag football in the spring and fall, but he also coaches a team of fourth-graders (two of whom are our neighbors). The National Football League sponsors the league, so all the teams wear different NFL jerseys. Sunday was their first game, and I must admit that I had one thought when I saw that they were the Chargers: Is that “iPod Chargers” or “cellphone Chargers?” I momentarily forgot about San Diego!
• The #1 son doesn’t like to speak for himself when he’s in public; he wants us to do it for him. We might have to record some helpful phrases for him when he goes to college. Like “where’s the bathroom?” “Could I have a refill?” It shouldn’t surprise anyone if he walks around campus with his iPod Touch in hand, ready to play one of his situation-saving phrases for professors and other students. Hope they don’t think he’s mute!
sally_forth1• I’m used to having a dictionary by my side when I’m reading. One of my favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver, stretches my vocabulary so much that I keep WeDict, my iPhone dictionary app, ready to be used when I read one of her books. I usually don’t need a dictionary when I read the comics, the sanctuary for simple thinkers. But the Sally Forth comic above had me scrambling to learn the definition of “koan,” a word I had never heard before. In case you’re wondering, it means a paradoxical anecdote or riddle. I might use “koan” in an upcoming blog post, so you’ll be glad you already know its meaning!
• When we saw “Race to Witch Mountain,” I was disturbed by one thing: The bad guys were using Macs. I don’t think that villains really use my favorite computer. When I think of bad guys, I think of viruses, worms, and malware. That’s PC territory; Macs don’t go there.
diet_coke
• I was at Chipotle one day when the unthinkable happened: There was no Diet Coke or even Diet Dr Pepper! I had already paid for my drink; what to do? Another customer told me to try Coke Zero, claiming that it had a great taste. So I did and . . . ewwwww! Gross!! Coke Zero might taste good for anyone used to drinking Coke. But I’ve been drinking diet drinks for years and years. Next time there are no diet drinks to be found, I’m choosing water (a healthier choice, too).
And I’ll probably post a random snippet on my iPhone noting the occasion!

Firefighting at Home

 

office2008macfinweb

One of the many reasons why I fall so far behind in the clutter war is that I find myself constantly putting out fires on the homefront. Too often my perfectly crafted decluttering schedule gets annihilated by last-minute got-to-get-’er-dones by the boys.

Here’s an example: The other day the #1 son asked me to print out a 10-page paper he had written for U.S. History. He typed it in Microsoft Word 2004, e-mailed it to me, I proofed it and fixed his typos in Word 2008, and tried to print it. When I looked at the preview, the pages were blank. I tested it with another Word document that I knew I was able to print with the older version, and, still, nada. Hmmmm . . . what to do.

Because #1 son had to have the paper the next day, I opened it in TextEdit, which comes with every Mac, fixed the breaks that differed from Word, and printed it out. The next day I made it my goal to figure out why Word wouldn’t print. I have Microsoft Office 2008 on my MacBook, so I checked to see if a document would print from it. It could. I knew the problem wasn’t with the printers hooked to my iMac, because the document would print blank from both of them, not just one of them. I tried to print a document in Excel, and that worked, so I figured it was just a Word problem.

I checked Mactopia, Microsoft’s Office for Mac website but didn’t see anyone else with the same problem nor did I read any solutions. Looked like I was on my own, unless I wanted to call for support. Microsoft allows two phone calls before it starts to charge $49 plus tax; I’d rather save my free calls just in case of a dire emergency.

I thought it would be best to just start from scratch, so I uninstalled Office and then reinstalled it. The #1 son had chemistry notes he needed printed, so I opened them in Word, went to print preview, and held my breath. Whew! They appeared!! Printed them out with no problem. I’m not sure what caused the Word glitch on the initial install, but I’m glad it’s fixed. However, the decluttering time that I had previously scheduled was taken up by putting out the Word fire. This always seems to happen with the boys’ projects,  as in, “Mom, I need poster board for tomorrow,” “Mom, please put more staples in the stapler,” and, the ever-favorite, “Mom, I need 30 plastic bowls for chemistry,” which I actually had!

Today’s fire: Troubleshoot the #1 son’s alarm clock, which hasn’t worked right since the time change. Maybe I can multitask and declutter one or two things in his room while I’m at it!

Minor get ’er done

puddingYesterday when I was pulling various snacks for the boys’ lunches from the kitchen cabinet dedicated just to them, I decided to finally take care of something that has been bugging me for months: Pudding disposal. The #2 son used to be a snack pudding fanatic. He loved pudding! He ate four cups of it for breakfast every morning for a couple years. He would switch from two chocolate and two vanilla cups to four chocolate cups, but he never varied from his breakfast choice. Sometimes he’d even eat it for an after-school snack. I tried making the pudding from scratch (I know, hard to believe), but he didn’t like it as well.

There are two basic rules of thumb when it comes to your kids’ eating jags. First, they will come to an end at some point. It may take months, it may take years, but they will end. Second, when they do end, you will be stuck with food that no one else will eat. And it probably will be a lot of food, because you’ve stocked up. The Hunt’s Snack Pack chocolate pudding that #2 liked wasn’t always available, so I often would buy extra when I saw it, especially when it was on sale. No pudding would equal no breakfast would equal one grumpy child.

Of course, I was just setting myself up for a fall. Suddenly and without warning, #2 stopped eating pudding cold turkey. He hasn’t eaten so much as a bite of pudding for a couple years now. And, of course, I had a shelf in the snack cabinet brimming with Snack Packs that I couldn’t bear to part with. At first I tried to fool myself into thinking that the no-pudding phase would end as quickly as it began, and I wanted to have stock on hand.

Yesterday I looked at the pudding cups mocking me and decided to just put an end to the misery. First I checked the expiration date on them . . . 2007 stared back at me. Even if #2 suddenly got that pudding fever again, he couldn’t even eat them. I trashed them and didn’t look back.

Wonder when I’m going to get rid of the several boxes of old Pop-Tarts, which replaced those pudding breakfasts for a year or so, that are still in the snack cabinet? Maybe I’ll get ’er done today!

TV watch

george-clooneyI’ve maybe seen one or two episodes of “ER,” none in years, but I plan to watch it tonight. Why? I’ve read that my second husband, George Clooney, will make a guest appearance! It won’t matter if I have absolutely, positively no clue what’s going on . . . all I want to do is stare at George and listen to him talk.

Sister Shoutout

1962-halloween-fran-susan

If you’re lucky, there are people in your world who you can look up to and who love you unconditionally. For me, one of those is my oldest sister, Fran. Above is a photo of the two of us in 1962 on Halloween. Being three and a half years older than me, she was considerably taller than me back then; now we’re the same height. But I still look up to her! She continues to inspire me and make me think; I just with we lived closer so we could spend more time together.

1963-fran-at-8th-grade-graduation

Fran at her eighth-grade graduation in 1963.

1954-fran8

Fran in 1954.

As the oldest of four kids, Fran was undeniably the leader of our pack as we grew up in Chicago. My mom didn’t know how to drive, so we walked, rode our bikes, or took the bus and/or train everywhere. When we would walk the three miles to the public library, Fran decided we were like an army, and she was our colonel. She dubbed us “Colonel McNutt and his screwball army.” Oh, the adventures that unit had! It’s one of my fondest childhood memories.

The four of us in 1958 (I'm second from the right).

The four of us in 1958 (I'm second from the right).

Even though Fran and I are only three and a half years apart, our kids are exactly 20 years apart—she married young, and I was older when I finally got hitched. This is going to be a big year for my big sis: She turned 59 over the weekend, she’s about to become a first-time grandmother in a week or so, and her older daughter is getting married in July. So, happy birthday, Colonel McNutt! I hope your 59th year is your best year ever!!

And another shoutout to my baby brother, Art, who scanned these photos from my father’s slide collection. Thanks, little bro!

Get ’er dones

I actually enjoyed a productive weekend! It probably helped that the Mister and our #2 son traveled to a disc golf doubles tournament and were gone both days. The Scout CDs have been burned and delivered, my track photos have been uploaded to Smugmug, the family room clutter chair finally is empty (although I do need to work on what I’ve kept). I even got rid of some extra music CDs to a high schooler collecting for the troops.

Today I have a dental checkup, I need to find the Photoshop Elements install disc and reinstall it on the boys’ iMac, and I need to do a Time Machine backup on my MacBook (I only need to back it up monthly). Just enough to keep me out of trouble!

Great Super Bowl, Lousy Commercials

 

holmes-td-catchsuper-bowl-xliii-logo 

Super Bowl XLIII was great, the Boss was boss, but the commercials? Meh! Most of them were stupid, and a few even were offensive. The goal no longer seems to sell products, just to shock. The worst of the worst? Probably the AshleyMadison.com ad. I was surfing the ’net on my MacBook during the game (#1 son was doing the same and working on his iTunes collection on the Powerbook); when the AshleyMadison.com commercial aired, I just had to check out the website. Wish I hadn’t! Its tagline: “Life is short. Have an affair.” Yes, it’s a website for people who want to have affairs! And it has a 100% guarantee! No thanks!

When the Steelers’ Santonio Holmes caught the winning touchdown pass, my first thought was: I hope one of the hundreds of photographers on the sidelines got a great picture! As you can see above, this photo was from the back, but it was nice how it showed that Holmes had both feet inbounds. 

Speaking of Photography

A note about Friday’s blog: If you’ve decided to buy a Nikon dSLR and intend to use it to take indoor action photos, be aware that the D40 and D60 can’t autofocus the 50mm and 85mm lenses. It’s fairly easy to manually focus the lenses (and sometimes it’s preferred so the sensor doesn’t get confused about what you’re focusing on), but if you think manual focus all the time would be a drag, look at the D80, D90, D200, or D300.

Hallelujah! It’s Finally Gone!

Yes, this will be the final time that I write about the entertainment center. The little beast is out of our house for good. The Freecycle gal came by to pick it up around noon Friday; fortunately, my neighbors Shari and T-bird were close by, and the four of us managed to hoist it into her pickup truck.

Even after we had bid the little beast a fond farewell, the Mister for some reason was still lobbying to keep it! I’m not sure what the problem is with the Mister and his reluctance to part with material possessions. I can understand how he felt towards the dresser he had had for 50 years, because it reminded him of his childhood (I Freecycled it to help a gal who had left an abusive situation). But the entertainment center?!? He was still pleading its case, saying we could’ve put it in the extra bedroom we call the playroom. That room is tiny; that’s why we never put a bed in it.

lemmingsized

If the Mister was a lemming, he’d be poised at the cliff for about a year, hemming and hawing, not sure whether to stay or go, hoping and praying that someone will make the decision for him. Eventually, another lemming would have to push him, just like I had to do with the armoire, the old TV, his dresser, and the entertainment center. I finally got a new TV by giving away the old one; I finally got a new car by making sure that #1 got his driver’s license and needed to use my car to drive to school. On the way down to the sea below, the Mister lemming would be saying, “Do you really think this is a good idea? Maybe we needed to stay on top of the cliff a little longer. Do you mind if I bring the entertainment center with me?”

Get ’er dones

I’ve figured out the digital frame, and I don’t like it. Unfortunately, it’s way too late to return it, so I’ll probably have to learn to live with it.

Tomorrow is #1’s 17th birthday. Seventeen years that seem to have flown by in the blink of an eye. I’m just glad that he’s aging, not me! Today really should be his birthday, because it’s when I went into labor (his due date actually was January 24). I remember thinking how 2/2/92 would be a great birthdate to remember; I should’ve realized that him waiting until the next day to be born was a harbinger of how hardheaded he would be!

wipeout-logo

ipod_touch

One of his birthday gifts, an iPod Touch (his third iPod; he seems to outgrow them every couple years), is on my list to buy today. I also need to grocery shop and, of course, work in the master bedroom (which really only needs to be done on days ending in the letter “y”). Hopefully, #1 son will remember to bring home his Verification of Enrollment (VOE), so we can renew his driver’s license after school. Relaxation this evening? “The Big Bang Theory,” of course, and watching the DVRs of “Wipeout,” a game show that was on ABC during the Super Bowl. #1 son and I especially enjoyed watching “Wipeout” last summer, so we’re stoked to see some new episodes.