Tag Archives: technology

First thoughts on the iPad

I didn’t watch Steve Job’s keynote address yesterday, but like everyone else in the universe, I did catch some news of Apple’s new iPad. Despite being a big fan of Apple products, I wasn’t overly impressed. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Useful for note-taking, so I imagine it will be useful in classrooms (including colleges) and conferences.  Maybe for salespeople, too.
  • Overkill as an ereader.  In my opinion, an ereader should be focused on one things only: imitating a book..
  • Missing a front-facing camera.  No video-conference, I guess.
  • Bevel seems bigger than it needs to be.

This is the first generations and I’m sure there will be improvements.  But for now, I’m happy with my Kindle and my iPhone.

eReader, take 2

I checked out Journey to the Center of the Earth from the library and haven’t gotten around to it yet. The other day, I renewed it.  This morning, after talking to John, it occurred to me that maybe this is anopportunity for me to give eReader on my iPhone another shot.  Turns out the book was available from Project Gutenberg for free, so I downloaded it to my phone.  We are heading up to NJ this weekend and that means roughly 8 hours in the car over the course of the weekend.  I’ll see how it goes…

(Oh, and if you are a fan of eBooks and iPhones and didn’t already know, Kindle has now come out with free Kindle reader app for the iPhone.)

Originally published at From the Desk of Jamie Todd Rubin. You can comment here or there.

Short break (4 hours into my day)

I took at short break at 11 am after wrapping up the Day 2 slide deck (209 slides!) finally! 

I headed over to the Apple store because after nearly 2 years, I’ve been having some problems with my iPhone (which I never bought Apple Care for).  Turns out the problems were caused by a small crack in glass on the front of the phone and moisture getting in.  (The touch screen, for instance, wasn’t detecting touches throughout the middle.)  As the cost of repairs was pretty high, I opted to get a new phone.  So I now have an iPhone 3G (16 GB), identical to Kelly’s phone except that mine is black and hers is white.  I got a screen glare protector for it as well, and had the Apple rep put it on the phone for me.  And of course, this time, I also bought Apple Care.  The phone is working and I’ve got it synced with my Google mail, contacts and calendars, but I’ll have to resync it when i get home to get everything else on it.

Okay, short break over.  Back to work on the Day 3 slide deck.

Consolidating my online presence

I’ve mentioned over the last few days that I am in the process of consolidating my on-line presence. Let me describe the why and how of this for folks who might be interested.

Read about my on-line consolidation…

Consolidation

I am in the process of consolidating my online presence.  I’ll have more to say about what this entails once it’s all finished.  The key thing for now is that my main email address is going to change.  I’ll be notifying folks of the change over the next few days.  If you haven’t heard from yet and expect to hear from me, be patient.  My old email address will still work for a while, and the mail will be forwarded to the new address.  If you don’t have the new address yet, you can still send to the old one.

More on this once the bulk of the process has been completed. 

Warm Sunday

It was near 70 degrees here in the Metro DC area today–unusual for late December, to say the least.  It was almost like we were back in Florida.  I slept in until about 8:30 or so.  But we still managed to get an early start on our day.  First, we headed over to the Apple store to get Kelly her Christmas present, a new MacBook!  (Her old PowerBook was on its dying breath.)  We were in-and-out in 10 minutes.  I also picked up a 1 TB external hard disk for our desktop computer (iMac) so that we can consolidate out entire iTunes media library and have it centralized in one place.

Next, we headed to the grocery store to buy food, very little of which we had in the house.  We stocked up and headed home.  I ran down to the concierge and picked up the two packages that were waiting for me.  One package was a gift from Mom and Dad:  Mario Cart for the Wii, with the steering wheel attachment included.  We can’t wait to play.

The other package was my copy of mabfan ‘s first book, I Remember the Future, which he signed for me.  I was very excited to get it.  When I finish The Hard SF Renaissance, it will be the next book that I read, making it book #401 or 402 on my list.  (Yes, I’ve read just about all of the stories already, but they are that good.  I’ll have more to say on the subject when I am done re-reading them.)  Humble though I am, I can’t help but mention the fact that my name appears in thebook twice.  I mention this only as a point of fact:  it is the first time someone has ever mentioned me in the "Afterward" of a story, and it was Michael that did me the honor.  The book looks great, incidentally, and as I have said before, the stories are a perfect introduction to what science fiction is all about (for those who don’t know); and they are great examples of solid science fiction for those who do read in the genre.  Buy the book!

There were some additional chores to do:  cleaning out the cat litter; taking out a bunch of trash and recycling; vacuum the house (Kelly did upstairs, I did the downstairs).

Spoke to Mom and then e took a long walk in the afternoon.  We didn’t need jackets; it was warm and windy.

I spent the rest of the day setting up our consolidated media library.  It was a little complicated, but mostly time consuming, copying data over the wireless network.  But it’s working the way I want it to work now, so all is good.

Domain renewal

When I woke up this morning, I had an email telling me that my domain (jamierubin.net) was set to expire in 90 days.  Many, three years goes by fast!  I went ahead and renewed the domain name for 4 more years.  The expiration date is now March of 2013, which seems very far off.  I wonder how fast it will seem to go by? 

Kelly made pancakes for breakfast this morning.  They really hit the spot!

Thursday

Still no NEW SCIENTIST.

Rainy day today.  As planned, Karl, Todd and I headed to the house during lunch.  They helped me bring the grill up from the landing and into the living room (where I can more easily maneuver it toward the kitchen) and then we spent an hour or so playing Wii.  It was a lot of fun.  They wanted to see what Wii Fit was like, so we played some of that, too.

I’m trying to reduce the amount of paper I use and so today, I downloaded a demo copy of DevonThink to see if it will work better for me than paper in collecting notes from reading and other things.  It is supposed to be very good at collecting and organizing this type of information.  How well it actually works depends on how well you can hierarchically organize your information, and last night I got started playing around with it a bit.  If it turns out to be a useful way of capturing and finding information, I’ll end up buying a license for it.  It only works on Macs, but I could end up using it at work also, since I have a Mac there, too (on which I run Parallels).

Last night was TV night.  We lazed around when wegot home.  I watched new episodes of Smallville, The Office, and Life on Mars.

Today’s reading: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (through page 88.

Fouled up my data on GoodReads

I was trying to be clever and managed to delete most of my data on Good Reads. It’ll be sometime this weekend before I get it all re-imported.

Twitter!

I’ve now got a twitter account. All you Digital Natives out there know what I’m talking about. For everyone else, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

eReader for the iPhone

Since I mentioned upgrading my iPhone to the 2.0 software today, I should also mention that I downloaded the eReader application for the phone. I have always been on the fence about eBooks, not for any particular reason other than I like turning pages and having the book in my hand. But even with all of the space in the new house, I am out of shelf room. I got to thinking I should at least give the eReader a try.

So I bought 2 books and 1 story today. First, I bought Charlie Stross’ latest novel, Saturn’s Children. I also bought the book that I’m currently reading, The Count of Monte Cristo (the Fictionwise version was $3*). And I bought mabfan‘s story, “Cosmic Corkscrew”, just so I could taunt him and tell him that I can read his stories on my iPhone. 🙂

I’ll let you know how it goes. The interface is simply and intuitive and the text is clear and readable.

*One thing I’d mention: eReader did not, in the case of The Count of Monte Cristo distinguish between abridged and full version. The first version I bought turned out to be abridged. Because it was so cheap, I’m willing to overlook it this time, but I hope someone over there gets a clue and corrects this.

Now you see it, and now you don’t

We were up pretty early this morning. Kelly had to go into work, but I stayed home because I needed to be here for the cable guy. I made good use of the time. I got my books unpacked. There are 36 boxes of books and I managed to get most of them unpacked and on shelves. Not in proper order, you understand, but in rough alphabetical order. I will need to go back through and do some rearranging, but it’s good enough for now.

The cable guy arrived at 9 AM. He got everything setup. HD cable downstairs, regular cable upstairs in the guest room/office. High-speed Internet (yeah! we have Internet again), phone service. I got the wireless working, and even have an extended WDS network going so that we can do remote wireless printing. When the cable was set up, I saw HD on my TV for the first time. I watched a portion of Sunrise Earth, and a portion on some show about Dracula on the History Channel. It was pretty cool!

I turned in our move-in checklist, noting all of the damaged items when we took possession of the townhouse. I was careful to note everything, not matter how small. The most significant things were (1) the ice maker does not seem to be working and (2) there is a loose tile in the kitchen floor. Once that was turned in, we got our mailbox keys and I emptied our accumulated mail. My replacement pilot certificate was there from the FAA. Way fancier than my original!

I headed into work at about 11:25 and was in my office at 11:35. Not too bad. It was a busy, hectic workday, despite it being only a half-day, mainly because of some software problems I’m dealing with.

After work, I went home (6 minutes) and did more unpacking. Kelly got home from work and wanted to rest for a while. She napped and I continued to do some unpacking. Later, I showed her the new HD stuff from cable.

We headed out to Target in the evening to do a bunch of shopping. When we got home, we decided to take it easy and relax in front of our new HDTV. And that’s when we discovered that the cable wasn’t working. Turns out that the box was bad, and to make a long story short, after talking with the cable company, and getting a $5 credit for the lost day, we have to swap out the box tomorrow. I was annoyed to no end, but what can you do?

I got the book I’d ordered for the writing workshop, James Gunn’s The Science of Writing Science Fiction.