BabyPhone

So, when we travel, Andy and I usually bring our baby monitor with us. Seems a little excessive, perhaps, but it gives us ultimate freedom to go out and sit on a patio, or retire to the basement for a movie, etc, after the baby’s gone down for the night.

On our trip to Illinois this past weekend, we forgot our baby monitor, much to our chagrin. We contemplated buying a cheap one at Walmart, but a “cheap” one was $30. Not worth the expense, in our collective opinion, given we could probably just get by listening for the baby.

Come Sunday night, however, we all wanted to watch a movie. In the basement. I hemmed and hawed, but decided I’d probably be able to hear Graham if he cried.

As we started to get the DVD cued up, I progressively got more nervous. So, I did what any neurotic mother with a monthly data package would do… I dug out my iPhone and hit up the App Store. You see, I’d suddenly remembered that I’d seen an app that would be perfect for this very occasion. So I typed a couple of words into the search function and, within seconds, I found what I needed.

And that, folks, is when I was formally introduced to the BabyPhone. BabyPhone is an app that, when activated, is a sound-activated baby monitor. Wondering how it works? Easy. You turn on the app, set it next to the crib, and – if the baby wakes up and starts fussing – your phone places an outbound call to the number of your choice. That, of course, means that you have to have another phone in your vicinity, but, in our case, we just had it call the house phone.

That night we were able to put my iPhone next to the crib two floors away and know that Graham would drop us a line if he woke up!

It begs the question: How did people raise babies before iPhones?

Note the Irony

The latest object of my desire is none other than the iPhone. I’m already an AT&T customer, my contract is up, and the more and more I find myself pinned in one location (thanks, darling G) with nothing to do but stare at the nits on the carpet, the more and more I wish I had something at my disposal to occupy my time. There are a myriad of reasons other than this for the switch including but not limited to:

  • Not having to rely on Andy being available when I’m driving somewhere and needing somebody’s phone number/address and/or directions to some remote location.
  • Having a point-and-shoot camera at my disposal. Hey, I LOVE my DSLR, but sometimes having a compact camera handy can serve a purpose.
  • Being able to check my work calendar to see what day lies ahead when G and I are running late in the morning.
  • Now that I’ve made the decision to switch to a smart phone, I’m finding myself less and less tolerant of not having one. So inpatient. Inconvenienced, even.

So what’s the holdup, you ask? Why haven’t I just gone out and gotten one? No, not The Penance. (But good guess!) Actually, it was a conversation that I had with an otherwise completely unhelpful AT&T customer service representative at my local AT&T store. He told me that I should probably wait to purchase my beloved iPhone until the WWDC conference, where Steve Jobs typically announces the latest and greatest Apple offerings for the coming year. AT&T Guy told me that it’s heavily rumored that there will be a new iPhone announced this year.

“I mean… even if you’re not into getting the latest piece of hardware, it’ll probably mean that the prices on the other phones will drop.”

Good advice, AT&T Guy. Good advice.

So I’ve waited about three weeks now for Steve-o’s keynote speech which happens today. At Noon (central time).

I told Andy this in an excited email this morning, including the fact that I would be taking Graham to his four-month doctor’s appointment over lunch at that exact same time. To which he responded by sending me a link to a website where I could watch the action go down live.

Did that sink in?

I’ve been waiting weeks for this keynote speech, so that I can finally catch up with the rest of the hustling bustling business world – and my peers to boot – and get myself a smart phone. I will be away from all electronics, in a doctor’s office, at the time the speech airs. Andy sends me a link to watch it live. Not to his discredit, of course. I would actually have bitten HAD I HAD ANY WAY TO WATCH IT. I need a smartphone to watch the speech. I’ve been waiting on the speech to get a smart phone. Not exactly a Catch-22, but ironic at the very least.

Don’t ya think?

WordPress

I’m sorry that these recent posts have been a little dry and geeky. This post is no better, but I do solemnly swear to try and limit these types of posts and only pepper them in randomly. Deal?

Now that I have this Mac, I’ve been figuring out what I can and can’t do with it, right? I’ve written a couple entries on this very topic. Yesterday I figured out that publishing my website from the Mac is harder than it was on the PC. Not the blog part, the photo album part.

For all this next part to make sense, I need to give a bit of background. Our website was created from scratch code. All the graphics I have made myself in Photoshop, and all the code was written by Andy in Dreamweaver. If you remember my orange-and-green themed site, you realize that we’ve learned A LOT in the process.

There have been improvements that Andy has made over the years to make the blog and the photo albums easier to use, easier to update. But, as I’m sure you’ve all noticed, it shows that we write this thing ourselves. I give us a good hearty pat on the back for our work, and I love this little site of mine, but sometimes the layout goes all wonky or my timestamps indicate that I’m up at 2:15 am pondering about silverware patterns. It’s the little things, but for the most part, we fix them and go our merry way.

Enter the Mac. This dude has website-publishing software, called iWeb, built in. I realized very early on that the Mac is at its best when you just don’t fight the system. Don’t try and control it too much, just let it work for you. I suggested that I might be able to drop my code into iWeb and use that software to publish from now on. Andy counseled me not to. One thing to use a pre-fab website from iWeb, quite another to try and tailor yours back to the Apple way of doing things.

“You use a lot of hi-res pictures on your site, I don’t want your code to get all bloated and slow SomethingFischy down to a snail’s pace.”

Isn’t it cute how protective we are of our code? It’s not fancy, but it sure runs lean.

Anyway, to publish a photo album on this site, I am forced to work through the inner-workings of the computer and it is not as easy as it was with a PC. They don’t make navigating through folders easy on a Mac, because quite frankly, that’s not what the computer was intended for. This, predictably is a step backward, as I had enough trouble summoning the wherewithal to publish a photo album on the PC.

In sum, for the Mac to shine in all it’s apple-y glory, you’ve got to work with the software, right? We don’t want to go full-on iWeb (although, admittedly, we still need to explore this option, even if it’s just to rule it out), but we still need some software intervention to help me work with this iMac.

Our solution: WordPress. This idea just came up last night. I used to think that WordPress was a blogging forum, like Blogger, Blogspot, LiveJournal or Vox. Nope, it’s a blogging interface software. Basically, if it does what we think it does, it should let the rest of our site stay the same (i.e. look the same) and only make blog entries and photo album additions more streamlined. Plus, who knows? Maybe we can add some more content while we’re at it.

If I had to wager a guess, Andy’s at home on his day off trying to figure this WordPress thing out as I type this. Gotta love him for that. We’ll keep you posted on progress. Keep your fingers crossed!

How Do You Like Them Apples?

Our recent iMac purchase has made me a bit ruminant on apples. I was thinking about my long-and-distant ancestor, Eve. Popular culture talks about her eating an apple [instead of the Biblical ‘forbidden fruit’], and life ever after for her and her mate was never the same. So, if I wanted to be all dramatic like most Mac fans tend to be (Mac friends and family, I’ll let you decide if you apply to this category) I would say that, yes, my life is forever changed for the better and owning a Mac makes me want to halt the Tivo and laugh along with the Mac/PC commercials, put an Apple logo on the rear window of my car and shun the PC forever and ever, amen.

That’s not what you’re going to see out of me, I’m afraid. In fact, it was these die hard Mac-is-the-ONLY-way-to-go people that actually held me off of the brand for so long. I am simply not wired to believe completely one-sided arguments. I’m like Hugo in that I’ve got this reflex that when I’m pushed hard in one direction, I push harder in the other. The Devil’s Advocate gene, if you will. I prefer to gather data and draw my own conclusions.

That said, :::deep breath::: ohmigosh, Andy and I are having so much fun with this iMac. No joke. It is a blast figuring out an entirely new system. It’s like reading a really amazing story for the first time. It’s sort of hard for me to put my thumb on what it is that I so enjoy about working on this thing.

Part of it is a glitz factor. It’s so pretty, it makes cute noises, and there are little personalizations like widgets and such that you can add that aren’t technologically difficult to execute, but they’re sure fun to have. Want to know how many inches are in a furlong? There’s a widget for that. Want a one-stop shop for all the blogs you read on a regular basis? There’s a way to do that too. Really, this baby has a bunch of really cool parlor tricks, but you do have a sense that someone at Apple is listening when their consumers speak. That, or they actually make their R&D execute against the pipe dreams of the Apple marketing team. In which case, my deepest sympathies to the Apple R&D team, but keep on keepin’ on.

The other part of it is that the whole system feels very streamlined. Since Apple makes both the hardware and the software, there are fewer steps that need to be taken to do practially everything. The programs ‘talk’ to each other very well. This has got to be what it feels like to be a new manager to a team of people that has worked together for over 20 years. Things just work together. It is no longer a chore to take pictures off my camera. My music collection has never been so organized. And so on and so forth.

Of course, this last point comes at the expense of knowing exactly how things work on your computer. You don’t actually alter files when you edit photos, and you don’t really know where those files are stored. The software basically acts as a proxy to the real innards of the thing. This, predictably, was a more intriguing issue for Andy, who has since begun to figure out where stuff actually goes when you save it. For me? Ignorance is bliss. It felt a little funny at first, but then I realized that I just. don’t. care.

Every night, now, I’ve been working on this new computer. My January project is going to be getting albums from this year updated and uploaded onto the site. Because a whole lot more has gone on in 2009 than the pictures I’ve included in the Photographs section.

I also have to mention two things pertaining to Christmas: Andy and I got a new video camera for this little dude who will be arriving in February sometime. That + iMovie on the Mac = video content for this website. I am very excited about this, as you might imagine. Also – it has less to do with the site, but – Andy got a new iPod Touch for Christmas. And so, ladies and gentlemen, we have an official convert on our hands. He spent a good 45 minutes quiet on the couch yesterday figuring out all the bells and whistles – and he has yet to listen to a song!

And so, you see, we are having too much fun with this new toy of ours. More to come in the future, you can be sure of that.

Hell Froze

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In the time it took for me to make Mac and Cheese, Andy took the dog out and installed our new computer.

I’m pretty clumsy with this thing. And I find myself having to unthink just about everything I know. But I adore him. I think he’s a righteous dude.