Sunday, December 20, 2009

Skyping it

Another leap into technology. And pretty cool technology at that.

For Christmas, my mom purchased a new laptop for Erin, Eli, and Elsie, so we can video chat on Christmas morning. Erin already has skype set up on the laptop, and this morning, I hooked up my webcam and mic and got set up on skype, also. This afternoon, I'll head to my mom's and get her set up with the webcam I bought her (might have to go get a cheap mic). Julie's laptop has a camera built in like Erin's, so hers should be fairly simple.

Remarkably, I was also able to install skype on my phone. Which is cool because I have unlimited data but not unlimited minutes. So theoretically, I can bypass minute usage calling skype-to-skype.

Kinda cool.

Anyway, facebook friends can find my skype username on the info page of my facebook profile.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ebook love...

It's the holiday season, and of course Amazon is pushing their Kindle, and B&N is pushing the Nook.

I honestly don't understand the draw of dedicated ebook reading devices like Kindle or Nook (and at least a dozen others). Don't misunderstand: I love ebooks and I love gadgets, but this one just doesn't compute with me. For me, the coolest thing about ebooks is that I carry a library literally in my pocket, on a small device that I'm already carrying with me--first it was my palm pilot, now it's my phone. I can pull out my phone and read anywhere, and I don't have to remember to bring another device with me--that's just like remembering to bring a paperback book (my phone is my MP3 player and PDA, too). And these dedicated reading devices are big and heavy! What's convenient about that?

Here's what I love love love about ebooks on my phone:
--Portability, as mentioned. I carry it in my pocket all the time.
--Convenience. It's already with me, so when I'm bored on the elliptical machine at the gym, or standing in line at the slowest fast food restaurant on Earth (Wendy's on I-20 west of Birmingham, Alabama)... Reading time! (Can you imagine whipping out one of those huge dedicated readers while standing in line at Wendy's? How geeky would that be? :D)
--Price. eReader (my fave) and Mobipocket software are free and available for most smartphone platforms (Android, Palm, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Blackberry, iPhone, etc.). I pay for the books themselves only. (lots of free books available too, check out just one source)
--Adjustable font size. When I'm at the gym, I can increase the font size so I can read and run at the same time, then reduce it to normal size after.
--Tap the screen (or press a button) to turn the page. I can read completely one-handed, or put it on the machine in front of me and just touch it to go to the next page.
--Backlight. Boo-yah!
--Selection of titles. Millions. More than any brick & mortar store could ever hope to carry, and with internet access on the phone, all at my fingertips.
--Conversion software. I can make any digital file with text into an ebook readable on my phone.

Okay, so dedicated devices probably have adjustable font size and backlight. Possibly have one-touch operation, too, but they're too big to operate with the same hand you're holding it with. Probably a similar selection of titles, though I think your sources are limited. No idea about conversion software.

I'm thinking if you want something bigger than a phone, rather than a dedicated reader, you're better off getting a netbook (about the same size and often cheaper). It can serve as an ebook reader, a PDA, AND do lots of other stuff.

As for me, my phone is my (heart) ebook reader.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Praising God for guardian angels

Tonight I am very thankful for Norseman's guardian angels. Without them, today could have been really bad... See, we've got this pull-up bar that fits in the doorway and is held in place by tension. It's intended for pull-ups, wherein your body only gets perhaps twelve inches off the floor if you bend your knees. Despite being told several dozen times not to, monkey-man 'forgets' and hangs upside down from it. Being that just leaning on it can make it suddenly give way, I was VERY adamant that he not hang on it, explaining in horrible detail what could happen if it gave way while he was hanging upside down, if he fell three feet to land on his head. He told me I was being a paranoid mom.

This afternoon I was doing a crossword puzzle in my bedroom when I heard a loud thump, a groan, and a clatter. He moaned "It gave way." I leaped off the bed and into the hall, and found him on the floor, dazed and in pain. If I didn't honestly believe at that moment that I would further paralyze him, I would have smacked him upside the head. Instead I made him lay flat while I assessed.

He's fine, landed on his shoulders (thank you angels for giving him time and sense to tuck his head), though the bar actually landed on his head, so he's got two little cuts over fairly obvious lumps. "I've learned my lesson," he told me. While I successfully refrained from strangling him (though just barely), and went back to my room and cried.

He told me later this evening that he had an 'Oh sh*t' moment--that millisecond that seemed like several seconds between when the bar first started to nudge and when it gave way completely. That moment when he knew he was in a pickle, but could do nothing to prevent it.

Anyway, praise God disaster was averted, and we were able to attend the final night of Crowley High School's production of The Wedding Singer. Very good show with lots of talented kids. On the way home, I asked Sunshine and Norseman if that sort of thing appealed to them at all. They both said, 'Nope.' Which kind of makes me sad. How can I live vicariously through my kids if they have no interest in what I want to live vicariously in? Even now I sit at theater productions and think, "I wish I could still do that." Sunshine says, "You can! Erin did, why can't you?" If only we had a Theatre Tuscaloosa around here.

Now... need to go slip that pull-up bar into the trash without anyone noticing...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I'm missing Mythbusters to share this stuff....

Couple of newsworthy items today...

Sunshine twisted her ankle again. Same one she broke six months ago. Apparently she was running at recess near the end of the day and stepped on a rock, rolled her ankle and went down. The nurse sent her back to class with an ice pack, but she was hobbling by the end of the day. It's now swollen and purple, and very definitely a good sprain. She's begging me not to make her go to school tomorrow (because she doesn't want to use the crutches), but I'm gonna be a meanie. A sprained ankle is not a good enough stay-home excuse. Ace wrap and acetaminophen and she's good for the day.

I uploaded and started running an ad for my photography on Facebook yesterday afternoon with a budget of a paltry $2 a day. I've already gotten two contacts from it; one of those is a small national magazine based in Dallas that wants me to do their editorial head shots. So I'm encouraged.

And Lucy is still alive and well, though she's come thiiiiis close to being strangled several times in the last few days. It's been very cold, so she's been indoors more than usual. So when she's left alone for even three minutes, she finds something to chew on that she's not supposed to chew on (even though she has a very nice selection of sanctioned chew-things). Like Sunshine's camera, Norseman's screwdriver case, my Neanderthal skeleton model, among other things. A dismantled ball of yarn on the couches (plural) when she's not allowed on the furniture. Shredded kleenex on my pillow when she's not allowed on the bed. *sigh*

Friday, December 04, 2009

Clothes are not for dogs

At least not according to Lucy.

While I got the coffee pot going early this morning, I noticed poor ChiChi (the chihuahua) sitting on the floor shivering. The house was quite chilly, even moreso on the floor, so I dug her little green jacket out of the hat and mitten basket and put it on her for the first time this year. She trotted a circle around my feet in thanks, and then went in search of a place to hide her dog biscuit before Lucy (the border collie) came back inside.

Perhaps ten minutes later Lucy was inside--and noticed ChiChi. More specifically, noticed ChiChi's jacket. I happened to be in the kitchen observing as Lucy became very disconcerted, looking at the jacket, sniffing the jacket, even trying to take the jacket off of ChiChi. I had to tell her several times to leave ChiChi alone. I swear she looked at me like I was crazy. That look spoke volumes; it said "She is a dog. Dogs do not wear clothes. Humans wear clothes, dogs do not wear clothes. Capiche?"

Smarty pants.