I Have My Life Back

I have my life back… in the digital sense, that is.

For almost 3/4 of a year, I’ve been without a computer of my own. As mentioned in a previous post, I lost my MacBook in a public library and I’ve borrowed a couple of computers since then. As much as those computers saved my life at times, it wasn’t quite the same. I couldn’t truly use them for photos, for music, or even looking at porn. Well, I really don’t use porn (even if one of the owners wouldn’t have minded), and whether you believe me or not on this issue is up to you. Given that, it is nice to have a personal computer where I can do a lot of private things, unfortunately some of them pretty banal things such as paying bills or looking at bank statements.

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Small Talk is Cheap

3350076131_44a96ba0bc_oNever have I been so disappointed in an Apple product and I haven’t even had the chance to see it in person. For close to a decade, I have been using Macs and related products, and I’ve been very enthusiastic about them. I have owned a G4 tower and Blueberry monitor (beautiful display, but too heavy), an iBook, a MacBook, two iPods, a first generation Shuffle, a second generation Nano, and an iPhone. This latest version of the Shuffle, however, fails to impress me.

The Shuffle and overall surprise of (the lack of) features was a hot topic of discussion on Twitter, which led to some very funny jokes. My blog friend ThePete ripped the latest incarnation of the Shuffle apart in a post, and he’s also self-styled “Mac Head.” Then MacWorld delivered blow with their review, where they comment on the Apple’s war on buttons. It doesn’t bode well for Apple when a product isn’t well received by their core market. If we’re not into it, then how else can they expect the rest of the buying product to be on board?

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Did My Dream Come True?

Just when I felt hot to post today, my Macbook goes on the fritz. I had a dream a few days ago that I dropped my laptop and the monitor was shattered. Might have been an omen, though things have not happened as literally as I dreamed it. For one thing, the MacBook in the dream was one of those new aluminium kind, while the real life version is encased in white plastic. Also, my computer simply isn’t booting up.

I have the iPhone and the WordPress app, so I’m not completely lost. Still, I am not a fan of the iPhone keyboard and I can’t copy and paste. A real keyboard is much more comfortable to type with.

I get to take my MacBook in to see a Genius tomorrow at the University Towne Center Apple Store in La Jolla. It’s much sooner than if I tried to get an appointmet at the Fashion Valley location, which would have been on Friday.

I am frustrated I couldn’t see a Genius today. I miss the early days of the Apple Store Concierge where one could sign in to see one in a few hours, but now it’s a couple of days. I should be happy I’m seeing one tomorrow. But, these problems never happen on a timetable. That would be too convenient.

Here’s to hacking it out on the iPhone,

CameraBag for iPhone

You can’t always say you get what you pay for with iPhone apps. Some of the best ones are free while some of the paid apps are utter FAIL (such as allRadio). Given that, I paid $2.99 for the CameraBag, and I wasn’t disappointed at all.

The iPhone’s default camera application is simply point and click. There isn’t much one can do with the “camera” besides have a steady hand and shoot. With CameraBag, that part is still true, but there are several options to manipulate the image for a “vintage” effect.

Here are some examples of the effects offered by CameraBag:

Jaylen in cardigan
Jaylen in “Lolo.”

Amber and Julie infrared
Amber and Julie in “infrared.”

Amber in vintage photo
Amber in “1974”

Sharon and Brian B&W
Sharon and Brian in “1962”

Casey in “Helga”

iPhone Couture, Part 2

iPhone Couture, Part 2aI iPhone Couture, Part 2c

Sometime ago, I went Project Runway on an old tie and dress shirt. Last week, I lost the darn thing, which then compelled me to create another one. I still have enough remnants of the tie and dress shirt to make a clone, but it was much more fun to make it out of Okinawan textiles this time.

For the shell, I used a bingata fabric. This isn’t the traditionally hand-stenciled textile, but a more commercial one available in Okinawa. I got it from my mother, who in turn got it from a friend of hers who recently traveled to Okinawa.

For the lining, I used an old pair of jinbei shorts. I’ve had too many of these things growing up and even as an adult. I liked the fabric on one of them, a very soft material that looked like Okinawan plantain fabric without the itch.

This project went more quickly than the last, but I didn’t have issues I had with the tie fabric this time. Plus, sewing went much more smoothly and this one is prettier.

iPhone Couture, Part 2aII

My new boyfriend

As you may know, I have a new relationship in my life and it is with my iPhone. A friend mentioned in an e-mail that I have satisfied my Apple fetish for now. He has also said to a mutual friend of ours that this device is my new boyfriend. Oh god, what a high maintenance one it is.

Finally! Got the iPhone!

Yesterday, I finally got the iPhone after waiting for two Fridays and a few days. I’ve downloaded the wordpress app and I’ve written this entry on it. Tapping ok a glass screen takes a little getting use to. Sometime, a bit later, I’ll have to do a proper blog entry with a picture of my blog on my phone. Plus, I started to go Project Runway on one of my ties. I’m making a cover for it. Fun times.

Today, Chris went on this crusade against e-mail priority flags (a God-awful invention if I ever saw one) and I went on some mini-tangent about Office 2007, which I saw as another useless Microsoft invention (Zune is one of those things, but that’s another post altogether).

A lot of my frustration with Microsoft’s finest creation stems from my experience with the software during my first week of school. At the college in the desert/mountains, the composition classes have one hour of computer lab time and they’re in these brand new classrooms with state of the art PC’s. Last semester (before the new building was completed), my class met for their lab in the library, and those computers were polished white iMacs (circa 1999-2002, the cathode ray tube variety). All of my students (and yours truly) hated those antiquated devices (which were updated with Panther, but incredibly slow. The spinning rainbow wheel was a common occurrence). Even though I’m not a PC person, I feel the new computers are a vast improvement. Of course, they come equipped with Office 2007.

Since I teach English, I naturally have them use Microsoft Word for their in-lab writing assignments. I suspect all of them were familiar with some previous version of the word processsing program. Before my encounter with the new Word, my most recent experience was with Office 2004. Two weeks ago, I plunked Office 2008 into my new MacBook, but that did not prepare me for its PC-based sibling.

Unfamiliarity with the program didn’t make the lab an easy one, especially since I had students create writing samples during that first day.

The interface was the thing that confused all of us. Office’s website calls it “Fluent User Interface,” but it was a foreign language for all of us. Certain formatting features (new ones) are laid out in a way for the user to easily click on them to use, but this does very little good if you don’t need them right away. For some simpler functions, they weren’t so readily available like on the older versions. Mac’s Office 2008 retains this older interface and integrates it with the new interface. However, Office 2007 goes for something newer and flashier. It took one of my students to figure this out, and she told me to click the “medallion”* on the upper left hand corner and comes the functions to save, print, and some of the other basic ones we all love.

Once we all understood these things about Office 2007, things are easier. I’m sure there’s some more learning we will all do as the semester comes along. There are a few other computer issues I can think of, but that’s for another time. Sometime down the road, I should call the school’s IT department and arrange for someone to come to the lab as a guest speaker.

As I played around with Word 2007 today, I have to say it grew on me. One of the coolest features I discovered was that files can be published as blog entries. Strangely enough, this feature isn’t available in Mac’s Word 2008. Yes, I am eating some earlier words. Perhaps I’ll say more as I become more and more familiar with the program.

*my little term for the Microsoft crest that adorns the upper left hand corner of the Office 2007 program window.