LoriB.me

Rambling On…

if $brain >= $fried ? ramble : $code; — 12/01/2007

if $brain >= $fried ? ramble : $code;

I am too busy. I suck at being busy. It is my worst thing and it always ends badly. I am not sure how to not be busy. It is a vicious cycle. As soon as I start feeling better, I want to do things. All the things that I can’t do when I am sick. I want to work. I want to play. Sometimes, I even want to see people.

I was sick for so long. First a year of bad meds and then cat scratch fever. I was lucky that the meds thing got straightened out before the CSF, but it is only very recently that I can enjoy it. Suddenly, I find myself feeling great! I still get tired and confused, but that is ok. It is part of how I am. After such a long time of not being able to do things that I wanted to, I feel like it is a race for time to do them now that I am feeling good. I would love to think it will always be like this, but the truth is that it is not and never has been.

The thing is, I think it could be like this most of the time if I didn’t have stress. I know that is impossible, but it would be possible to have much less stress. Only problem with that is I would be stuck not doing anything I want to do again. I am stressed by working. I am stressed by traveling. I am stressed by being around people. My brain gets overloaded and bad things happen. I get sick. The screaming in my head that is kept in the background by the meds gets louder. My brain shuts down. I twitch like crazy. I become miserable and useless.

I have no idea what to do about this. I want to work so badly. I love what I do. It is like being paid for doing puzzles and arts and crafts. When I code, my brain is in a happy place. Everything makes sense. It has to. As an added bonus, I get to take that code and turn it into a (hopefully) beautiful thing to look at. I am not a graphic artist by any means, so even the art part is like a puzzle. I combine graphic art made by actual artists, with photoshop skills and an eye for detail, and create an entirely new thing that never existed before. What’s not to love?

I was wanting to go to Florida to see my niece Hannah and the rest of my family for a whole year, but couldn’t because of being too sick. Then all of a sudden, I was okay to travel. It is a rare and beautiful thing. There was no way I wasn’t going to Florida. The trip (airplane, etc.) went pretty well thanks to Dramamine and, as always, being with Karen made everything better and more fun. Being in Florida was even okay. I love my family, but I hate Florida. I can’t deal with the hot and humid weather. We completely lucked out with that. Not insanely hot or humid. Last time I was there, I couldn’t even stand to be outside for more than a minute. Got instantly exhausted and dizzy.

It was really great to see my family. Hannah is beyond the legal limits of cute. It was so nice to get to know her better and see her sweet smile. I really loved getting to see her with my brother, sister-in-law, and parents too. They are a family. I am so glad they live so close to each other. Sometimes it is hard living so far away. Sometimes I wish Florida was in Nevada. My cousin Eric was there too. It is always nice to see him and my aunt Wilma and uncle Pat too. Sarah’s (sister-in-law) family was there too. It was nice to see them too. So nice, that we brought her sister Sam back with us. She will be going to acupuncture school in Berkeley starting in January and has been staying with us this past week. She magically found a great place to live in Berkeley on her fist try and will be moving in today.

Bad Apples

Haven’t had enough rambling yet? Then on to the saga of the bad imacs. Me, my dad, and my brother all got new aluminum imacs last month. 2 out of 3 of them were duds. There was a problem with the ATI graphics cards. The whole computer was unstable because of it. Black screens, blue screens, strange graphics, freezing, etc. Windows X 10.5? There has been a firmware update for the graphics cards released that appears to fix the problem for most, if not all, people. Thankfully, my brother’s was fine from the start. Both me and my dad returned our computers and got brand new replacements. All is good now.

The new imac came with Leopard and now that it works, I have been loving it! The screen is huge! Not only is it 24″, but I have been using Spaces, a new feature of Leopard where you can have several “desktops” and easily switch between them. For example I can have photoshop open in one desktop, giving it the entire screen to itself, mail and safari open in another, Firefox and BBedit in another, etc.

Time Machine is totally cool too. I can’t even believe how easy it is to back up. You plug in the external drive and the mac asks if you want to use it for Time Machine. You click ‘yes’. That is it. Your hard drive is being backed up every hour and saving daily, weekly, and monthly backups for as far back in time as the drive will allow. When it gets full, it asks if you would like it to delete the oldest backups to make room. Unbelievable! I will still make daily clones as soon as super duper is Leopard ready, but Time Machine offers a different kind of backup that is easier to use, automatic, and frequent.

Just a few more things to ramble about before I go…

K – I am so very proud of K! She has been saving the world as always. In recognition of her hard work, she has gotten a promotion at work and is now a supervisor, which is the direction she has been wanting to go. Congratulations K! It makes me happy to know that people will have an opportunity to learn from her and benefit from her years of experience.

WarcrackShikibee has joined a new guild and is about to ding level 50.

Rehab – I am meeting with someone once a week who will help me research if there are jobs available where I can do contract work from home or with a very flexible schedule. I would really like that. Freelancing is great because I set my own hours and don’t have to answer to anyone except my clients, but I work all the time and barely make any money.

If I did contracted work instead, someone else would be dealing with the clients, setting the prices, and all of the other business related things that I can not do. Even splitting the money with an agency or other company, it is very likely that I would make more money than I do now. I hope something like that could work out. I was hoping that I could keep my current clients and stop taking new freelance jobs if there were contract jobs available instead.

WordPress 2.3 Update – This one went much more smoothly than the last two. I wish there was a way to manage tags, but from what I understand, the dev team is waiting to find out what people want rather than starting with a ton of features that people may or may not use and then having to change them later. I am looking forward to 2.4 and the new admin changes.

Joomla 1.5 – I am working on a new client site with Joomla 1.5 RC3. It has been very stable and the code is MUCH cleaner than before. I love the new templating system and look forward to its final release and the updated extensions that will follow. If you are planning to integrate any kind of forums into your site, stay with 1.0.x for now.

phpBB3 – Love it! Tons of improvements over phpBB2. Current release is RC8. This update has been a long time in the making. I am hoping that converting from older version will not be total hell.

I have finally run out of things to ramble about for now 🙂

OS X Keyboard Shortcuts — 11/06/2007

OS X Keyboard Shortcuts

cmd: Command Key key | shift: Shift Key key | opt: Option Key key | ctrl: Control Key key

ShortcutDescription
 General
cmd-WClose Window (does not quit program)
cmd-QQuit Program
cmd-CCopy
cmd-XCut
cmd-VPaste
cmd-NNew Document / New Window
cmd-OOpen File
cmd-SSave
shift-cmd-SSave As…
cmd-PPrint
cmd-ZUndo
shift-cmd-ZRedo
cmd-ASelect All
cmd-FFind
cmd-GFind Next
shift-cmd-GFind Previous
cmd-, (cmd-comma)Preferences
cmd-HHide – hides current program
shift-cmd-HHide Others – hides all other programs
cmd-+Make Text Bigger
cmd–Make Text Smaller
cmd-0 (cmd-zero)Revert to original text size
cmd-?Help
cmd-MMinimize Window to the Dock
ctrl-opt-cmd-8Reverse Window Colors
  
 For Text Editing (i.e. Pages, Word)
cmd-BBold
cmd-UUnderline
cmd-IItalic
cmd-TShow Fonts Panel
shift-cmd-CShow Colors Panel
  
 Finder (Including Desktop)
cmd-IGet Info
shift-cmd-NCreate New Folder
  
 Browsers
cmd-RReload Page in Safari or Firefox
F5Reload Page in Firefox
cmd-[ or cmd- ←Back in Browser
cmd-] or cmd- →Forward in Browser
cmd-DAdd bookmark in browser
cmd-TNew Tab in Safari or Firefox

Does anyone else have any favorite mac keyboard shortcuts?

New iMacs — 08/07/2007

New iMacs

iMac 2007

Before I start, I have to say that I hate the ad slogan for the new iMacs, which is “You can’t be too thin. Or too powerful.” I felt like puking the moment I saw it.

At Apple headquarters in Cupertino today, Steve Jobs announced a new line of iMacs, or at least differently designed imacs of the same line. They are made of aluminum and glass. Interesting looking. I am generally a fan of shiny things, but I really love the look of the white imacs. Why did they have to put that huge black border around the new displays? I’m not too fond of the big black apple logo either.

There does not appear to be a 17″ offering this time around. There are two 20-inch configurations and one 24-inch configuration. The new iMacs will still run on Intel Core 2 Duo processors and will now hold up to 4GB of RAM. There are still only two RAM slots, so prior planning of RAM needs should done if you don’t want to end up with an unused 1GB SO-DIMM or two.

Prices run from $1,199 to $1,799 for the 2GHz and 2.4GHz models. There is a 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme processor available on configure-to-order imacs. Hard drives sizes are 250GB for the 2.0GHz imac and 320GB for the 2.4GHz 20 and 24-inch models. 500GB, 750GB, and 1TB drives are available on configure-to-order models.

The new displays are glossy widescreen TFT active-matrix LCDs. The keyboard has been redesigned to match the new look and has a few special function keys added for convenience. The new version of iLife (iLife ’08) was also announced today and a copy is included with all new imacs.

Review: iPhone 1.0 — 07/09/2007

Review: iPhone 1.0

I cracked. Didn’t even last a week. I tried to resist, but every day I went to the apple store to play with an iPhone. The 8GB models were continuously out of stock. Usually the 4G models were too. It compelled me. Like the iMac did nearly 2 years ago, and like another mac most likely will at macworld 2008.
iPhone 1.0
I checked the apple store iphone availability link every morning. Finally, on saturday, the dot was green. it was still only 8am and apple store opened at 9. We got there around 8:30 and there was already a line outside. I got on line while k parked the car.

About 5 minutes after we got there, an apple store employee walked down the line handing iphone shaped tickets to everyone. The ticket was a guarantee of 8GB iphone availability if purchased by 10am. We didn’t even have to stay on line, but stayed anyway. Less than half an hour later, me and K walked out of the store with a pretty iphone bag containing a beautiful well designed iphone box. I was kind of in shock.

We went across the street to the cingular store to add the iphone data plan ($20/month for unlimited data and visual voicemail). They let me log in to my itunes account from there and activate the phone so they could make sure the att account end of things went correctly. It did. Before we left the store, my iphone was working and my motorola was dead.

When I opened the box, there was a beautiful shiny iphone packaged in a very neat and elegant way like most apple products are. On the way home, I took photos, called my folks, and surfed the web. Don’t worry, Karen was driving 😉

The screen is beautiful. The video quality is amazing. The sound is clear. The screen gets lots of fingerprints on it, but you can’t notice them unless the phone is off or sleeping. A small cloth was included to wipe it. The cloth did an okay job, but the one that came with my case was much better and wiped off every smudge.

I could open a Word doc in email with no problem. The wifi speed is relatively fast. The edge network connection is more like dialup, but definitely usable. It is amazing to be able to look stuff up from anywhere that a cell phone signal can be had. This is something I think will come in very handy. I can look up directions from google maps when I get lost. I get lost a lot.

The touchscreen is fun, especially the pinchy thing where you can zoom in or out. I started out slow on the keyboard, but can type much faster now. Still using one finger, but I have read that typing with 2 thumbs can be much faster. There is a good video on the apple site about the keyboard.

One very cool thing that the video mentions is that the iphone will dynamically resize the letter tap zones for the most likely letter, and make the adjacent letter’s tap zones smaller.

Something that is essential to know is that you can zoom in on the text and cursor on the screen by holding your finger down in the area you want to magnify and moving the cursor. This makes it MUCH easier to move the cursor to where you want it to be.

Word prediction is much better than it seems at first. The trick is not to doubt it and refrain from backspacing to fix your own errors. Sometimes that is necessary, but most often, the keyboard will guess what the misspelled word was supposed to be, even though the guesses it makes while you are typing are not even close.

Word auto-complete sucks. While the late guessing of correct words works okay for typos and spelling errors, it is terrible for completing words. Sometimes it doesn’t guess the word until the last letter, making it useless, or even worse, guesses the wrong word on the last letter. In that case, you have to cancel the suggested word or it will replace your correct word. Easy to miss this if you are looking at the keyboard instead of the message. To auto-complete a guessed word, tap the spacebar on the keyboard. To get rid of it, tap the word on the screen.

I am loving the Notes app. For the non-mac people, an app is the same thing as a program. Usually, I have about 10 random scraps of paper in my back pocket, and another 100 or so on my desk, all containing information that I want to remember, but will most likely never see again. The iphone offers a very easy way to keep notes in one place.

This past week, I have been taking notes about things I have been noticing and learning about the iphone. For the most part, I think this is the coolest phone I have ever had or ever seen. I am very lucky and happy to have it. Even still, there is definitely room for improvement.

I knew going in that this is a version 1.0 product, so was expecting things to be missing or broken. I don’t think anything is broken. Some of the things that are missing surprise me very much and I am guessing (and hoping) that at least some of them will be added in a software update.

Some things that are glaringly missing:

  • Text select – This is so basic. It is hard to believe it is not possible. I have checked, and it really is not.
  • Cut/Copy/Paste – See text select.
  • MMS (multimedia messaging – text messages with pictures) – Basic mobile phone feature.
  • Notes do not sync with anything on the computer. Very strange. I should note — haha, note. that’s funny 🙂 — that you can email a note easily, so it is not that hard to get it on your computer, but syncing seems pretty basic.
  • You can not add attachments to email. I think it would be better to include the ability to email pictures, notes, and other attachments directly from the mail app, while still keeping the option to email them from the pix and notes apps.
  • No Select All option for email messages (or anything else). There is no way to delete a bunch of mail at a time. Why?

Not glaring, but still missing:

  • Voice memo – probably glaring to anyone who was used to using it on their old phone. It is kind of weird since there is an included recorder for setting voicemail greeting.
  • There is no video recorder.
  • No included games.

Other random gripes:

  • Some things take too many clicks. Navigating through different email accounts really needs to be streamlined. It would also be nice to have a period and comma key available on the same keyboard as the letters for text apps.

    Keyboards for some apps are specialized and smart. For example, the safari keyboard includes period, slash, and ‘.com’ keys.

  • No way to choose which widgets appear on the main screen.
  • Safari does not remember the zoomed screen size so I have to rezoom on every page.
  • The screen does not always rotate from portrait to landscape view on the first try.

3rd party apps!

The way Apple has set up the iPhone to work with 3rd party apps is to run them in safari. To use an app, just go to the app’s url. If you like it, you can bookmark it for easy access.

There are also a few launcher type apps that act as a main bookmark page that is only for your third party apps and prettier to look at than regular bookmarks.

There is a big list of iphone apps here: iPhone Application List and another here: appleopolis.com. You can skip the login on the second one. No login for first one.

I am currently trying out mojits.com, which is a launcher type thing for iphone apps that you access through safari. Hard to tell if I like it because I only tried using it for 5 minutes.

I was pretty impressed with a shopping list app called OneTrip. OneTrip makes it easy to make a shopping list by offering prewritten selections that are organized by category. There is an option to add your own things to each category.

I also added a bejeweled type game, a movie time finder, and an app called iActu that brings the content of 6 popular newspapers in a cool looking newsstand style. When you click on a paper, the newsstand goes away and the news is displayed in an easy to read way.

WordPress iPhone Theme and Plugin by Content.Robot – automatically reformats your site’s content for optimized viewing on an iPhone. Thank you content.robot! I am using it on LBnuke, with the only modification being changing the blue to red to match the site.

Other interesting tips and factoids gathered from around the web:

From iPhone Central at Macworld.com:

“When browsing a web page in Safari on an iPhone, one tap of the top status bar (signal strength, time, etc.) brings you back to the top of the page, complete with the URL field visible.”
–Dan Moren

Airplane Mode … disables all wireless functionality (phone, EDGE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) but lets you use the iPhone’s non-Internet applications.
–Dan Frakes

If your iPhone freezes…
Reset: Apple’s first reset tip, which is pressing and holding the Home button for about six seconds. This quits any application that may have locked up the iPhone.
Reboot: Press and hold the Home and On/Off for about 10 seconds until the Apple logo appears.
–Christopher Breen (edited by LB for length)

In Safari on the iPhone, holding your finger down on a link pops up a balloon displaying the underlying URL. Also works on HTML messages in Mail. Holding your finger on a link shows you where the URL is really going to take you.
–Dan Frakes

There is a great tip from David Pogue on the The Missing Manual website about how to type punctuation without having to switch back and forth between the letters and the number/symbols keyboard. Basically, you hold down the “.?123” key when you are switching to the numbers keyboard and rather than letting it go, you slide your finger to the punctuation that you want to type and then release it. After release, the letters keyboard returns. Click here to read the full keyboard punctuation tip at the Missing Manual site.

That is all I have for now. Maybe I will write again if I notice more things, find some cool apps, or if Apple releases software updates that adds new features.

Pod People — 06/05/2007

Pod People

iPod nanoI am now one of them. I have resisted getting an ipod for years, mostly because I find it kind of crazy that there is no way to input data without transferring files from a computer.

I have been tempted repeatedly, mostly by the shiny black video ipods and nanos. The screen size of the video ipods seem a little small for watching videos. Better to wait for the iPhone. 🙂 The nanos are harder to resist. I don’t need one. I have a palm pilot that does everything a nano can do and more. Still, I see them in the store and want one every time. Marketing genius.

It is likely that I will eventually get an iPhone. I will try to wait for version 2.0 when the initial bugs and annoyances have been worked out. The iPhone screen is a better size for video, not to mention the million other things it does. But it is crazy expensive, not even including whatever monthly fee there will be to use all of its features.
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Macworld 2007 | Last Day — 01/12/2007

Macworld 2007 | Last Day

I am back in the microsoft blogger lounge for the last time. I got to the show a couple of hours ago and have been wandering the expo floor to see all of the things that I hadn’t seen yet and the things that I wanted to see again. Curiosity drove me to purchase a $10 copy of OmniWeb. I have been curious for so long why people would pay for a browser when there is Firefox for free. And Safari. And Opera. Etc. The convincing feature was the ease of specifying per site settings, including custom stylesheets. There are some other nice features too.

I am glad I got back here today. Yesterday didn’t turn out so well. I never made it to the final session of the user’s conference. I wasn’t feeling well and ended up walking around outside for a long time until I felt well enough to get on BART. I couldn’t drive or take the bus when I got back to Oakland. Everything was wrong. I felt very strange in my brain and body. Sick and still in that freakin’ cotton ball. I walked home and fell asleep almost instantly and didn’t wake up until night time. Today is not so great either, but way better than yesterday.

I will look around some more, but I think I have finally had my fix. Still, it is hard to leave so much geekiness behind. There is a lot of cool stuff here but I am very tired and I don’t want to get stuck here like I did yesterday.

Day 4 | Microsoft Blogger Lounge — 01/11/2007

Day 4 | Microsoft Blogger Lounge

I can’t resist. i am in the ‘microsoft blogger lounge’, blogging. Here is something that microsoft has truly done right. A small oasis smack in the middle of macworld chaos. Round tables with back to back 17″ imacs. Groupings of comfortable soft black chairs and couches arranged around matching oversized ottoman tables. Powerstrips. Ethernet cables. Free drinks. I love it here. The noise fades into the background. Not fades exactly. More like becomes a blanket of white noise.
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Macworld 2007 :: Day 3 | Insomniac — 01/10/2007

Macworld 2007 :: Day 3 | Insomniac

A funny thing happened to me on the way to macworld today… actually, it wasn’t very funny, but it turned out okay. I couldn’t get any parking at BART and ended up driving to the city. Got to Moscone Center with 1 minute to spare before the first conference session started; Mac OS X Hints. I parked in a garage on 3rd st. and was in such a rush, i didn’t even see what the prices were. I hope they take credit cards! The session was too full and i couldn’t get in. I tried a couple of others, but wasn’t really into it. Luckily, tons of other people didn’t get in either, so they are repeating it before the next round starts. I am in the hallway waiting for that now.
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The Keynote | Macworld 2007 — 01/09/2007

The Keynote | Macworld 2007

iPhonenote: raw notes scribbled during the keynote. these will be edited and reposted at some point in the near future.

update: changed my mind. too tired to edit. i will just add the photo and the ‘read more’ link, fix the typos, and leave the ramble as is. To skip the ramble and view the actual keynote, click here.

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Macworld 2007 :: Day 1 | It Begins — 01/08/2007

Macworld 2007 :: Day 1 | It Begins

I am at Moscone Center. Just got my badge for macworld. No lines today. Exept for food! There are endless lines at the 2 food stands. The power tools conferences must have just broken for lunch when I got here and the food stands were just opening. It is a good time not to be hungry. Nothing going on here today besides from registration and the first round of power tools conferences. Even though I am not signed up for any of those, I thought i would take advantage of the free wireless while I am here.
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