LoriB.me

Rambling On…

Work, Weariness, and Warcrack — 11/27/2006

Work, Weariness, and Warcrack

Work has been very busy lately. I have one very big job, and possibly several other smaller jobs coming up. I am hoping to be able to partner with d. We will try a test run with one of the smaller jobs. We have almost completely opposite skills and completely opposite ways of working. I think that is a good thing. She is very organized about the initial process of signing up a client, including managing expectations, writing contracts, and charging realistic prices based on actual time worked, rather than pulling some random number out of the air like I tend to do. She is also skilled at graphic design and has experience making web sites. If I had my way, I would stick to the (x)html/css and back end coding for the site and do technical support for the client after the site is complete. I would leave the business stuff, front end design, and client management to someone else. Could be a match made in heaven if we can somehow merge our oppositeness into a working business.

It is getting harder to keep up with school. The ‘side-effect’ of feeling better lately is that I have lost the super-focus that I was having when I was undermedicated. I have also been very twitchy and shaky which is quite annoying. It is a strange balance. It is still hard for me to get out, but not as hard as before. The main difference is that I am not completely exhausted like before. I can do a wider range of things, but am back to having a one second attention span. Going to see the doc on wednesday, but not sure if I am ready to continue experimenting with new meds and/or doses and timing of meds.

I am tired of waiting and waiting to find the right combination of drugs and going through long periods of terrible side-effects until the next drug or dose kicks in. I will probably keep experimenting, but am thinking of taking a break for a while and going back to figuring out ways to make myself feel better even when things aren’t so good. It has been very hard to do that while continuously messing with my meds, and I am hoping that taking a break will help, at least in the way of keeping things stable for a while. One of my best skills is adapting to life under less than ideal circumstances. It is impossible to adapt to something that keeps changing.
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Mac Freeware — 09/26/2006

Mac Freeware

Some of my favorite mac freeware *

  • Adium – multi-protocol instant messaging client
  • Butler – application launcher with many other handy features
  • Camino – mac-like gecko browser. not as many features as firefox, but faster.
  • ClamAV – Antivirus program, because you just never know…
  • ColloquyGUI IRC client
  • ColorTagGen – Use the eyedropper to get fast hex color codes. This little app rocks!
  • Dashboard KickStart – brings up the dashboard for a second at startup so that you don’t have to wait for it to load the first time you use it.
  • Firefox – I heart Firefox
  • MAMP – Mac, Apache, MySQL, PHP server environment in an easy to install, easy to use package. Includes Apache v2.0.x, phpMyAdmin, MySQL v5.0.x, PHP v4.4.x and v5.1.x, and more.
  • NeoOffice – Mac version of OpenOffice (OO also works on a mac). No need for X11 with Neo. Prettier than OO.
  • Onyx – tweaking, maintenance, etc.
  • Quicksilver – similar to Butler, only geekier. I use it on my powerbook. I find Butler’s interface a little more intuitive.
  • Smell-O-Mints – Periodic table with some nice features
  • TextWrangler – I actually use BBedit, but TextWrangler is an excellent free text editor that does much of what BBedit does so I have to mention it here.
  • Transmission – BitTorrent Client

Widgets:

  • Image Shackle – fast easy way to resize images. Just drag the image to the widget, set a size, and click ‘shackle’ for a copy of your image at the specified size. I love this widget!
  • Panda Cam – live feed from the San Diego Zoo’s Panda Cam
  • PHP function reference (PHPfr) – comprehensive PHP reference
  • iStat Pro – system monitoring widget

There is a great list which includes many of the programs mentioned above (and many that aren’t) at xfreeware.com.

Anyone else have any favorite mac freeware? Please share…

*I am using the word freeware because payment is not required to use these apps with all features enabled and without a time limit. Many of the programmers accept donations to compensate them for their time and effort. If you can afford it and use the program regularly, please consider donating 🙂

Review: iWeb 1.0 — 02/01/2006

Review: iWeb 1.0

I have read the mixed reviews. I have looked at the insanely redundant (yet CSS based) code. I have pointed and clicked my way to a pretty cool website! It is definitely worth the $79 price tag, especially considering that the price includes the entire iLife ’06 suite! (iLife also includes iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and Garage Band)

This is not a professional web design/development application, and anyone who is looking for that will not be happy with it. Design options are limited in many ways. Programming options are limited to what is built in. Generated source code is mostly lots of divs with tons of repetitive inline styling and NO semantic markup. If you need a pro wysiwyg web app, Dreamweaver 8 is the way to go.
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imac core duo — 01/25/2006

imac core duo

It got here yesterday. 20″ imac 2.0GHz intel core duo. 1GB PC2-5300 (667MHz) DDR2 memory. It’s fast! The screen is huge! Almost all programs are running fine and in most cases way faster than on my 1.33GHz/768MB G4 12″ powerbook. Firefox is running slow. Safari is crazy fast! Only problems so far are with unsanity haxies, and some mail rules confusion.

I transferred my user accounts from my pb, but am doing the rest manually. I made a web page with pix of the big exciting transfer, complete with slideshow, in about 5 minutes with iWeb. Drag, drop, type, publish.

I made a much better slideshow with transitions (the obligatory ken burns effect) and music in iPhoto in about 10 minutes. Syncing w/.mac is working really well to keep mail, calendar, contacts, bookmarks, etc. up to date on both macs. It is automatic. I don’t even have to think about it at all. Life is good. I am very lucky : )

 imac box
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Macworld 2006 :: Day 5 | The End — 01/13/2006

Macworld 2006 :: Day 5 | The End

Macworld is over. I am sad even though I really don’t think I have enough energy for another day there. Maybe another half day…

The last day of the expo is cool because everyone is trying to get rid of their stuff so they don’t have to lug it back with them, so there are lots of great deals.

I got a good deal on a wacom graphire tablet. The demo guy gave me a 20 minute lesson on using it. It rocked. The demo model was larger and twice as touch sensitive as the entry level play tablet that I got, but it has still got to be better than photoshopping with a mouse!

I also got 2 php5 tutorial DVDs for $10. Those were my only macworld purchases besides from granola bars, coffee, apples, and one soggy vegetarian sandwich.

I am still imac free. But probably not for long.


The imac is in the mail 🙂

I met up with Root and Green at the expo. That was nice. It is Root’s birthday today. Me and K just got back from her birthday party at the Pyramid brewery. It was fun and nice to see so many people that I haven’t seen for a while. I think life will return to ‘normal’ now. I will geek out in solitude. Makes me happy. And sad.

Macworld 2006 :: Day 4 | The Temptation — 01/12/2006

Macworld 2006 :: Day 4 | The Temptation

I don’t know how much longer I can hold out. The big bright shiny iMac is calling my name. The screen is so big and bright. I can picture it filled with photoshop and firefox and textWrangler ALL ON THE SCREEN AT THE SAME TIME! I can imagine testing a website on 4 different browsers at once. It is not the 12″ screen I know and usually love. Just one more day of being surrounded by hundreds of them. I will miss that.

Big bright shiny new iMac

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Widget of the Day :: Panda Cam —

Widget of the Day :: Panda Cam

I have a new favorite widget. Panda Cam is a widget from the San Diego Zoo. It is a live camera feed to the pandas, with options to switch to elephants, polar bears, and orangutans. When the pandas are around, the camera sometimes follows them. At night it is dark, and day or night, it is not very exciting if the animals aren’t around. When they are in front of the camera, it is way cool! This morning I got to watch a zoo employee change a garbage bag. Not very exciting, but about an hour later, I got to watch two pandas playing. It is an excellent diversion if you suddenly need a moment to clear your brain.

panda cam widget

Macworld 2006 :: Day 3 | The Expo — 01/11/2006

Macworld 2006 :: Day 3 | The Expo

My brain is fried. Deep crispy fried. But I will do it again tomorrow and probably Friday. Macworld is a combination of my best dream and my worst nightmare. Techies and geeks everywhere. State of the art computers. Endless cool hardware and software. Some of the best product design that there is. And… Wall to wall crowds. Sounds from every direction. Colors. Lights. Stuff. People. People people people people people. And so many sounds! Everywhere. There was more good than bad by a long shot, but it drains my energy completely.

Root picked me up and we took BART into SF. A relatively quick stop at the apple store. No new macs yet. We played with iLife ’06 on a new 20″ iMac at the expo for at least an hour. I saw the future. It was the future as it looked in my past happening in the present. It was the Jetsons. Video conferencing made easy. Excellent quality even at full screen. Click on the little video icon and you are talking to someone on another continent like they were in the same room.

The new iApps are fun! Just like Steve Jobs did in the demo, me and root made a cool dvd in minutes and a web site in another few minutes, complete with blog, podcast page, rss feed, and photo gallery with a subscription link for photocasts. Click a button to see all of your media; photos, movies, audio. Drag it into your movie, dvd, web page. Type. One click publishing if you use .mac. Done. I swear that apple isn’t paying me for this. It all really IS that cool! It is creative computing for the masses. It is easy and fun. I am still not sure how some things work if you don’t have a .mac account.

So much stuff. Endless. Overwhelming. I can’t wait until tomorrow 🙂

Macworld 2006 :: Day 3 | The Morning —

Macworld 2006 :: Day 3 | The Morning

This morning I woke up at 5am because I was too excited to sleep. The rest of the dreamweaver power tools was better than I could have even imagined. I learned ALL of the things that I have never been able to understand about using PHP and accessing MySQL databases in dreamweaver.

Today, I will finally get to see the expo. I am still resisting the iMac, but it is not easy. I will get to play with them and the MacBooks at the expo. There are all kinds of fun things going on for the next few days. Lots of free workshops and demonstrations.

My brain keeps compiling a list of mostly ridiculous reasons why it would be good to get an iMac. There are many. There is only one reason not to, but since that reason is money, it is a hard list to balance. Thanks to the magic of credit cards, there is a pretty good chance (80%) that the iMac will win.

The list so far:

  • Larger screen – this is the main reason. While I can do almost everything I need to on my 12″ powerbook screen, there are pretty severe limitations when working with any kind of graphics program or trying to compare multiple files at once.
  • Speed/Performance – I am a computer geek and tend to overload any computer that I have. Any boost helps.
  • Games – not an actual reason, especially considering that I have an xbox with a bunch of games that are not even completed yet, but still impossible to ignore.
  • It’s Pretty – also not a reason
  • It is shiny – see above
  • Did I mention the big screen?

Steve Jobs is a marketing genius, and I am an easy target. Time to go the expo now.

Macworld 2006 :: Day 2 | Keynote — 01/10/2006

Macworld 2006 :: Day 2 | Keynote

No doubt that Steve Jobs is an excellent speaker who can make people excited about something even if they don’t even want it. I have very little interest in having an ipod, but was completely captivated by the ipod video demo. Of course watching the video on a very magnified ipod on a giant screen looks much more impressive than if had been on an actual ipod. It just kept getting better after that…
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