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Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Comings and Goings of an Absent-minded Blogger

Published October 31, 2012 - 0 Comments

I’m scatter-brained.  I’ll admit it.  I’m all over the map sometimes when it comes to focusing on topics for this blog… or pretty much anything else for that matter.  I’d try one of those Brain Age games, except that I’m afraid of what it would say… “You have the brain of a 93 year old!  Zzzzzzzzzzzzz”

As I go through my day to day activities I’m always thinking of new things that I could write about.  Hurricane Sandy would be topical.  Or maybe Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilms for a whopping $4B and promising more Star Wars movies.  Surely I could write a Jar Jar Binks inspired piece about that.  Meesa say George sold out.  But that’s fine.

I went to see Argo the other night.  I’d tell you what it’s about… except that I’m not writing a blog post about that either.  Just go see it.  It’s really good, and Ben Affleck rocks that beard.   Seriously.  I’m not even going to bother getting into the whole “They glossed over Canada’s role almost entirely”…  I saw more Canadian flags in that movie than I’ve ever seen on front lawns.  These things are based on true stories.  They’re not documentaries.  Deal with it.

Maybe I could write about going to see Huey Lewis and the News on Sunday.  That’s definitely worthy of its own post… Huey is amazing… so nice to see true artists actually sing and be genuine… I had a fantastic time, and was so glad to be able to share that with Jess…  but again… scatter-brained.. so I don’t foresee a post on Huey either.

So many topics… yet so little creative juice flowing…  Once upon a time I was really looking forward to hitting that 1000th blog post before the end of the year… now I’m reluctant to say that it will even be 2013…

Time will tell.

Can a Brotha Get a Little “Like” Love in Da House?

Published October 23, 2012 - 1 Comment

Blogging is a form of social media.  It’s kinda like my own little social network that I’ve created, and invited you to join with me.  And over the years I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they like a particular post, or that something was really well written.

But I laugh because when I decided to integrate social media sharing into the blog… It doesn’t get used.  If I go onto Facebook and upload a picture of cute kittens, chances are I’ll get a bunch of “likes”… which will then be broadcast to other people.  But if I sit down and write an epic post… virtually nothing.  I might tweet my own post, or guilt someone into liking it for me… but other than that… nope.  Let’s be real…this blog doesn’t have too many epic posts.  My most popular one is still the How to Configure Bell Sympatico Email on an iPhone, which regularly get multiple hits every day.  (Apparently there are a lot of people out there with iPhones and Sympatico email)  As of this writing, a single person has “liked” it on Facebook.  There are 6 tweets.  21 comments.  (half of those would be mine, replying to other people)  The vast majority of posts have nothing.. unless I’ve tweeted them myself.  Does this mean that no one is reading?  Not at all.  Does it mean that readers don’t like the posts?  I don’t think so.

Unless you are a blogging machine chances are that you rely heavily on word of mouth to spread your message.  What’s the easiest way to do that?  Leave a comment!  Link to an article from your own blog.  Click the “like” button at the top of the post.  (Just pretend that it’s a picture of kittens)  Tweet to your followers.  It’s great to let the author know that they’ve written something well.  I love getting those emails or message “I just read your latest post.. love it!” … that gives me the warm fuzzy feeling… but it doesn’t do anything to help promote the blog.  And I’m not talking strictly about this one… any blogger would feel the same way…

As always… thanks for reading!

/end rant

Pippi

Published October 21, 2012 - 1 Comment

This was my weekend to have the children.  I was informed that there would be an additional visitor accompanying them.  Pippi.

Apparently my daughter was student of the week, and as such, was rewarded by being allowed to take the class hamster home for the weekend… or in this case… bring it to my place.  Wonderful.

I thought that the whole nocturnal thing might be a problem, but apparently Pippi is pretty quiet at night.  She played in her wheel for a bit but didn’t make much of a racket.

I think that the highlight of Pippi’s visit was the crazy ball that she gets to run around in.  My hardwood floors were an excellent surface for her in that ball… and I sooooo wish that we could have borrowed a cat for the weekend… Just imagine that green ball scooting down the hall with a cat in hot pursuit…  I was tempted to just let her drive down the stairs  🙂

Ah well… we survived the weekend… or more aptly.. Pippi survived the weekend.  Here’s hoping that’s the end of any furry four legged visitor sleepovers!

 

 

One Year and Counting…

Published October 18, 2012 - 3 Comments

I remember it like it was yesterday.  We had been chatting on Twitter for a little while, and since we both worked uptown, we thought that it might be fun to meet for lunch.  It wasn’t a date.  I was still waist deep in the pond, otherwise known as Plenty of Fish.  But that wasn’t really going well. No, this was simply a face to face meeting with someone I had been bantering back and forth with online.  Not much different than countless other online back and forths that I’d had over the years.  Or so I thought.

As soon as She saw me, the biggest smile spread over Her face… and Her arms opened to hug me.  I froze.  We’ve joked about it plenty of times since that initial meeting… “He’s not a hugger”, She naturally told Herself…  No, that isn’t quite accurate.  I am.  But, as I explained at a later date… I had met someone from PoF a week prior and that meeting had gone extremely flat.  In that case, our seemingly compatible online personalities had found zero spark when the computer screens were taken away.  That pointless meeting was still heavily on my mind.  I had actually considered cancelling my Twitter lunch, but because it wasn’t a date, I figured there was no pressure.  And then She hugged me…

If ever there was an award for awkward body language, I was most certainly in the lead.

But I managed to pull myself together.  We ordered our lunches and sat down.  We talked.  We laughed.  I discovered things about Her that completely took me by surprise.  Then it was over.  I had to get back to work.  We agreed that we should do it again sometime… and we went our separate ways.

As I walked back to work I texted a mutual Twitter acquaintance.  “Your friend is really pretty”…

It’s amazing what can happen over the course of a year.  If either of us had ever suggested then that we’d be where we are in our lives now, I know the other would have laughed in their face.  It would never happen like that.  It couldn’t.  Not a chance.

Yet somehow it did.

And here we are.

Together.

Can’t wait to see what the next year brings…

 

Amanda Todd

Published October 14, 2012 - 3 Comments

I’ve decided to interrupt my blogging break to post my thoughts on something that I’m sure everyone is very much aware of by now…  The suicide of a young British Columbian girl after being subjected to years of online and offline bullying, tormenting, and cruelty.  By now, everyone’s heard of Amanda Todd and her story.  I’m not going to re-hash it here, although I encourage all of you to watch her YouTube video, made only weeks before taking her own life.  It’s not easy to watch, but it’s such an important message, and whatever you’re feeling by the end of it pales in comparison to what that young girl must have felt.

What saddens… disgusts… infuriates me more than anything is that Amanda Todd’s bullying has not slowed down one bit since her tragic death.  If anything, it’s increased.  A Facebook memorial page set up in her memory has been defaced by people both claiming to have known Amanda, and strangers from all over.  People expressing happiness that she’s gone.  People posting pictures of her with horrible comments.  Pictures of bleach with Amanda’s face…  Even her YouTube video has comments that make me want to hit something.  It’s disgusting and it needs to stop.

Regardless of any mistakes that girl may have made in her short life, she did not deserve what happened to her.  None of us live mistake-free lives.  And the people who claim that she got what she deserved need to take a good long look in a mirror.  Amanda Todd was someone’s daughter.  She could have been my daughter.  Or your daughter.  She could have been the girl next door.  She was absolutely no different than many young teenagers growing up today.  And the people who ridiculed her then, and the masses who continue to now, deserve to have their heads given a shake.  I’ve read posts on Twitter from girls who look no different than Amanda, but say the most vile things.  I have to wonder where their parents are, but that’s another post for another day.

The bottom line is this… Amanda Todd was not the first young person to take her own life after being subjected to bullies, and feeling that she had no other way out.  And she will not be the last.  This isn’t about her death being any more or less important than any one else’s, and the people who continue to hammer on that are completely missing the point.  But in her final act of desperation, she gave us something… the opportunity to once again get this conversation out in the open where it belongs… We must not squander that opportunity… We owe it to Amanda… and to everyone who has been left isolated and alone by bullying…  This has to stop.

When Your Computer is Stolen You’ll be Happy You Have Prey Installed

Published October 6, 2012 - 0 Comments

I’ve never had a computer stolen.  I once had a couple of old Cisco routers stolen from the trunk of my car, but never anything like a computer, cell phone, or iPad.  When I think of those Cisco routers, I would love to have seen

the look on the thief’s face as he tried to figure out what the hell they were.  I was using them to study for a Cisco certification and even *I* wasn’t sure how to get them to work!  Good luck to any common thief trying to convince a pawn shop that they were worth anything.  I picture them rotting in a landfill somewhere.

But what if I did lose a laptop?  Or my iPhone?  Or one of the kids left their iPod somewhere and someone swiped it?  It happens all the time.   A thief can walk off with a couple of thousand of dollars worth of tech in one armful.  Leave the TV… it’s too heavy.  Stereo?  No way.  Oh… nice shiny iPad?  That’s worth $500-600 easily.  Same thing for a smart phone.  Macbook Air is $1100.  And it’s not just Apple products… a decent Windows laptop or desktop is still hundreds of dollars or more.  Your new Android phone is going to set you back $500 or more to replace.  These items are particularly attractive to thieves because of their high monetary value, small size, and ease of dumping… and the chances of the police recovering your stolen tech is slim to none.  By the time you’ve even filed a police report, your iPhone is packaged and on its way to an unsuspecting EBay buyer anywhere in the world.

So what can you do to dramatically increase your chances of recovering your stolen property?

Let me introduce you to a neat little program called Prey.  Before I go any farther, I’ll tell you that Prey comes in a free and a paid version.  Even if you don’t feel like spending a single penny to help protect yourself from thieving paws, I highly suggest that you consider installing the free version!  It’s not nearly as feature-rich as the paid version, but it’s still awesome, and you can install it on up to 3 devices.  And when I say devices, I mean any Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPod, iPad, or Android piece of tech that you own.  But forget about the free version for a minute, and let’s talk about the paid one.  I bought it.  Yup.  Yesterday.  So this isn’t me just looking around for things to promote… this is something I should have bought ages ago, and it’s only a fluke that I haven’t had to use it yet.  Trust me… every time one of my children says “I lost my iPod” I feel my skin crawl.  So far “lost” means that they forgot it at their grandmother’s house… or it’s under the bed… but it’s only a matter of time before one of them truly loses it.  And that’s where Prey comes in.

 

Installing the Prey client on your device takes less than a minute.  Once you log in with your Prey account, you’re all set.  From that point you can decide to never touch it again, or if you’re like me, you’ll probably want to log into the Prey website and simulate a “stolen” device.

You can see from the screenshots that you have a lot of different actions that you can take.  Simply move the selection bar from OK to MISSING, and you will start to receive reports from your stolen device as soon as it connects to the internet.  You’ll get a map of its current location, detailed information about the network that its connecting to, and even screenshots of what the thief is doing.  And my favourite?  Activate the webcam and have it email you a picture of the thief.  Say cheese!  You can also do standard stuff like lock the computer, have it display a message, sound an alarm, even speak a message in an eerie computer generated voice… “Hey shithead!  I want my computer back!”  Or whatever you feel like saying…

And even if your device hasn’t been stolen, it’s comforting to know that you can activate the siren for the times when you can’t remember where you set your iPhone.  Or when calling the children to the supper table is too boring, why not have their iPod talk to them in a robotic voice… “Supper.  Now!  That’s right.  You heard me.  Now!”   Oh… I can’t wait to get Prey installed on their iPods.

As I mentioned above, you can install the free version of Prey on up to 3 devices, and I think that it’s a great idea to do that.  The program will automatically capture your serial numbers, which are critical in recovering stolen goods, and most of us do not have these written down.  So at the very least, you will have that, and the ability to track your stuff should it wander away from you.  But I fully believe that this program is insurance for my electronics (Did I mention that the paid version can protect up to 10 devices? No?  Well I just did!), and more than willing to pay for it, especially given the amazing deal that the fine folks at AppSumo were able to offer.  If you’re not familiar with AppSumo, they are an awesome company that works to secure amazing discounts on software and training from other internet companies.  They’re primarily focussed on internet entrepreneurs but occasionally a deal comes along for the masses… like this one!

A one year subscription to Prey would normally cost $162, but if you buy it through AppSumo, you get it for a whopping $49. 

Will this change?  Probably.  Many of the AppSumo deals are time limited, but I don’t see a timer associated with this one.  Still, it’s unrealistic to think that this offer will be available forever… so at the time of this writing $49 is a pretty sweet deal for something that normally costs $162.

And like I said earlier… even if you don’t want to spend the money to protect your hard-earned tech… do yourself a favour and install the free version.  The Prey website has a section with customer testimonials… and these look to be 100% legit.

I wish that I had Prey installed on those Cisco routers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Nemo 3D

Published October 4, 2012 - 0 Comments

I haven’t been back to the theatre since my rant about Empire Theatres’ new reserved seating garbage.  Not that I’ve really been avoiding it.  There just haven’t been too many new releases that I’ve wanted to pay to go see.

So last night Jess and I were out, and noticed that Finding Nemo 3D was still playing.  It’s been something that she’s wanted to see, and we didn’t think that we’d get the chance because of my pneumonia and the fact that the movie is only in theatres for 2 weeks.  Well… I figured that I could probably hold myself together for an hour and a half, especially if I had a drink with me that I could enjoy when the coughing started.  So into the theatre we went… to make select our reserved seats.

Ever been the only person in a movie theatre?  Me neither… until last night.  Apparently $14/ticket to see a 10 year old movie where everyone already knows how it ends (yeah… they found the little squirt) was too much for most people… even in 3D!

I still maintain that 3D is mainly a gimmick , and that most people simply don’t care about it.  The empty theatre last night did nothing to dispel that feeling.  Was it fun to watch?  Absolutely!  There were scenes that looked fantastic in 3D.  If anything, animated movies are far better equipped to take full effect of 3D technology, and Finding Nemo certainly benefited from this.  But did it impact my life differently than seeing the original in 2D?  No… Finding Nemo 3D is still Finding Nemo, no matter how you dress it up.  It’s cute.  It’s funny.  It’s touching.  It’s all the things that we’ve come to expect from a Disney Pixar film.  2D?  3D?  It doesn’t change much.

But we can now cross “Have an entire movie theatre to ourselves” off our bucket lists…

What’s on YOUR iPod? – Sep 2012

Published October 1, 2012 - 2 Comments

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a post about my listening habits. I wonder if they’ve changed at all? Let’s take a look at the Top 25 most played songs on my iPod.

Get It Right (Glee Cast Version) – Glee Cast
Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye
I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz
Your Arms Feel Like Home – 3 Doors Down
I Saw It – Barenaked Ladies
Faithfully – Glee Cast
Sweater Song – Hedley
Faithfully – Journey
Outro – M83
Beside You – Marianas Trench
Someone Like You – Adele
What Kind Of Man Would I Be – Chicago
Long Long Way To Go (acoustic) – Def Leppard
Fix You (Glee Cast Version) – Glee Cast
21 Guns – Green Day
Goodbye – Hootie And The Blowfish
I Tried – The Jeff Healey Band
Angel Eyes – The Jeff Healey Band
When You Look Me in the Eyes – Jonas Brothers
Open Arms – Journey
Good To You – Marianas Trench
Happy Ending – Mika
Angel – Aerosmith
Why – Annie Lennox
Truth in Lies – Frozen Ghost

Apparently not. In fact, I’d say that I probably fell asleep with my “Thinking” playlist running a few times. Since I’ve been sick the last couple of weeks, I sometimes put that music to help me fall asleep at night. I think almost all (if not all) those songs are from that playlist. Outro by M83 is a new addition, though!

Time to wipe the play counts and see if October isn’t a little less depressing than September obviously was. 🙂