Created in Penultimate for the iPad. More about this later.
I just realized I have never written about our iPads on this blog. Yes, I said iPads. Plural.
Last May, I bought two iPads, one for me, and one for Alison. They are the 16 GB 3G + Wifi models. We love them more and more each day we use them.
My love for the iPad grew exponentially this evening when I discovered one of the coolest apps ever. I had never really thought about actually writing on the iPad. Writing by hand, I mean. Not with the on-screen keyboard. But I saw a blurb on another blog I read about a tablet device designed solely for handwritten note taking. It was described as being a lot less expensive than, but not nearly as cool as the iPad.
I realized then that it was likely possible to enter information on the iPad via your own handwriting. So I headed to the App Store and started searching. It turns out there are a lot of note taking apps available, priced from free to five or six dollars.
Since I don't work, and am not in school, I figured I didn't need to buy a full-featured and expensive note-taking app. All I needed was something to enter simple lists, like a to do list.
I think I found the perfect thing. It is called Use Your Handwriting GOLD, and is only 99 cents from the App Store. There is a free version that limits the number of lists you can have at a time, and does not allow you to email your notes. It also does not support cut and paste like the Gold version does. Both versions are universal apps and will install on your iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.
I should mention that you can use a capacitive stylus to input your text in the app, but it is not at all necessary. You can write with your fingertip, and it works great. There is a large editing window that opens, and you write in plain text, click the Done button, and your writing appears just as you wrote it on your list.
And since it supports cut and paste, you can automatically copy anything you write to the clipboard. I can then copy my notes to Evernote, which then sync to my MacBook and my iPod/Touch. Way cool.
There are lots of photos and videos of the app in action on the webite. Check it out.
Disclaimer: I have not been paid to write this enthusiastic review of this app. I am in no way connected with the company that sells it. I just think it is cool as hell, and well worth its 99 cent price.
Even the 21C Museum Hotel penguins were impressed by the University of Kentucky basketball team's win over Arkansas on Saturday. A win that should propel UK into first place in the nation on Monday.
Alison and I spent the weekend at 21C. It was her birthday gift to me. It was an experience I will never forget. It was wonderful to be pampered in luxury. The food at the hotel restaurant, Proof, was amazing.
I really want to do it again some day.
Ali and I bought a new car last Friday. It's a 2007 Honda Civic LX.
We've needed a second car since she moved here, and we finally bought one.
We still have the 2002 Jetta, but plan to trade it in soon for another new car. The Jetta is out of warranty, and is becoming a maintenance nightmare. It spent the week we were in Washington in the shop, and cost me $1200 plus for repairs.
We are still trying to decide what to replace it with. We've talked for some time about buying a pickup truck or small to mid-size SUV for the utility they would provide for hauling things like furniture and garden supplies. The Honda Element seems like a pretty good fit.
But last night, while we were out to dinner with the local Drinking Liberally group, our friend Elle suggested to me that the Civic was now our 'sensible' car, and that the second new car should be something fun. Like a convertible.
She went on to tell me how much fun her Miata convertible is.
And, those of you who read Mike's blog, know how much he loves his new Miata convertible.
What to do? What to do?
This is our new ION USB Turntable. Yes, you read that right. It has a USB port on it, so that it can be connected to a computer.
With the included audio editing software, one can rip music from vinyl records to MP3 files.
I have a collection of several hundred LPs that I have not listened to in a few years. My last decent turntable died after over 20 years of service and I never replaced it. I intended to buy a new one, but never did.
I had CDs and the radio to listen to, and I think in the back of my mind I expected that some day a turntable that could be connected to a computer might exist. And now the technology exists.
And it works great. I've only ripped three tracks from a single LP so far, but Ali and I will be going through my collection to see what else might be worthy of digitizing.
Recently, our local telephone company announced that they had begun offering FIOS, a fiber optic to the premises service, promising very high speed Internet access (up to 12 MB/sec) as well as other features like digital television over phone lines. However, they are only offering it to new residential developments. Old neighborhoods won't be able to get it for now.
But in advance of this announcement, the local cable company, from whom we get our Internet access, announced a system upgrade to provide all Internet users increased throughput. Up to 10 MB/sec downstream and 1 MB/sec upstream.
We've noticed faster downloads of files, and multimedia content for the past couple of months. Today I decided to put it to the test.
These are excellent results considering the load on our home wireless network. We have two computers running multiple browser tabs (some of which reload automatically), and the Roku Soundbridge streaming our favorite radio station at 128kbps.
Yep. Competition is a good thing.
I spent the late afternoon and early evening building this homemade light tent to use as a portable macro studio. Those who know me know I love to do macro work.
The plans for this were published on a photography blog called The Strobist. A friend brought the article to my attention a while back. I finally got off my butt and made the thing.
It took a couple of hours to put together. But I was being very careful in cutting out the windows in the box so as to not destroy it.
I took this shot to show what it looks like. I also took a few test macros, but I haven't processed them yet. I'll post them on my photostream later this evening.
I was using a cheap high intensity desk lamp as my light source, but I plan to buy Nikon SB-800 Flash to use with it.
The cheapest commercial light tent I could find on the web cost about $55. I think this was well worth the effort to save $50.
If you would like to make your own, the plans can be found here.
We do. Now. This is one of the toys we bought at Best Buy today. The other was a zippy Netgear Rangemax Wireless Router to get us up to 802.11G speed.
We had been streaming Internet radio to WinAmp on my laptop since the old computer died. It had served as our music and print server, but the hard drive crapped out about a month ago.
Since then, I have left my newer laptop on the computer desk so we could listen to music. I missed the mobility that the laptop had afforded me. Before, I could sit on the sofa, or take the computer into the bedroom, or even sit outside on the porch. But after the old computer died, if we wanted to listen to tunes, I had to stay at the desk with the powered speakers plugged in.
But the ROKU Soundbridge frees me from those shackles. The speakers are now plugged into it, and it streams music off the Internet via our wireless network.
It was very easy to set up, and has a huge database of Internet radio stations built in. You can also play MP3s through it from any computer on the network.
I wish I had bought one sooner. Now all we need is a wireless print server.
These are what I bought at Michael's a couple of weeks ago solely for the purpose of photographing them.
When I posted the photo on an Internet message board I frequent, I received lots of comments about my fuzzy balls.
The best description I heard of them, though, was that they looked like multi-colored tribbles.
In any case, here they are. I hope they brighten your day as much as they do mine.
We saw this preview while waiting for SoAP to start last Saturday night. We were all rolling on the floor laughing. According to IMDB, the film was written by three of the creators and stars of Comedy Central's series Reno 911.
That's enough to recommend it to me.
So who wants to go see it with us when it is released in November?
After hemming and hawing for almost a year, I finally purchased a satellite radio receiver for the car. Alison, the kids, and I are heading to Pennsylvania tonight.
I decided that the only way I would survive the drive across the radio wasteland that is Ohio, would be to buy the radio and subscribe to Sirius.
We were first introduced to Sirius last summer when I borrowed my sister's Jeep for one of my trips to Pittsburgh. It didn't take me long to fall in love with it, but not in love enough to convince me that I would get my money's worth having it in my own car. With the exception of the occasional road trip, I'm not in the car that much.
But lately we have found ourselves spending way too much time tuning around trying to find anything worth listening to on the Lexington airwaves. That gets tiring and frustrating very quickly.
So with this trip pending, I decided to take the plunge. On Saturday, while Ali and the kids were at a nearby park splashing around in the pool, I headed to Best Buy, where I purchased the nifty radio you see in the photo above. I also made an appointment to have it installed.
While I was out and about, I ran to the mall and purchased a pair of Crocs for Ali and a pair for myself. They are great summer shoes, and will come in handy when we wade through the creek on the property in Pennsylvania where we will be visiting next week.
The appointment for the radio installation was yesterday morning. It only took about 90 minutes to complete, and another 5 minutes for me to call Sirius and start my subscription. It was really nice to have the tunage as I made my way back to the mall to exchange our Crocs for the sizes we needed. Insert eye rolling emoticon here. Yep. The ones I bought on Saturday were a size too small.
Oh well, at least I didn't have to drive all the way across town to exchange them.
I need to wrap this up and start packing. We will be leaving in less than 5 hours. We will take our computers with us, so you will likely hear from us both in the coming days.