cool stuff

Ramblings on the iPad

English: Apple iPad Event

I’ve had my iPad2 for a few months now and have deleted all my half written musings on it.  I’ve come to realise they were written far too soon after it’s acquisition.  Now, a couple of months on I have become a better iPad user and have learnt some tricks and found the pure joy that an iPad can bring.  I am that woman who will play Pyramid HD for days on end.  In fact I have even discovered the joy and pain when a game gives you ‘iPad finger’ from stabbing those little Egpytians to get them to move faster to build their pyramid in a bid to get a golden scarab, I know it’s sad but there it is!  iPad finger can occur when you are playing Find It games, time management games or enjoying the coolness of Zinio or Fliboard.  The reason I bought the iPad was for reading.  I wanted a piece of the reading action on an e-device which also did all kinds of other stuff.  I already had a dedicated e-reader (a Kobo) which I’d had great reading experiences on, but I wanted all the rest of the functionality, a laptop without having to drag a laptop around, to be able to read on the plane but also to search the web, answer my email, listen to my music and use to take notes in meetings.  The iPad does all that and plenty more.  So, here is what I think so far.

The Pros

It is lovely to hold, it isn’t uncomfortable to read on in bed at night.  Slightly more awkward than the Kobo just because it is bigger and heavier, but the reading experience itself is great.  I use the Kobo app or the Kindle app both are pretty much the same.  I can share my library with my partner, we can both read the same books and each buy books on my account (well, actually it is me buying the books on there but that’s fine.)  I like the night reading setting for when the light is out and you want to read in the dark.

Great for games.  In our place the games are all about finding stuff, building stuff, and Bejewelled and matching games of that type.  We are not hard core games.  But last week I clocked a solve the mystery game in two days, just because it was so easy to play it on the iPad wherever I was – on the couch, at the table, in bed.  Terrible.

Flipboard, this is just wonderful, tailored to your interests you get fed articles you are interested from all over the internet.  For me that is stuff on reading, libraries, books, education and publishing.  But you could be interested in anything from bumbebees to surfing and tailor it to your interests.  Zinio, Zite, Pulse, all these will be your news and magazine friends.

Games, try em, buy em and become an addict.  I’m hopeful this addiction problem will wear off but that is part of the reason that posts on this blog have been infrequent!  Majong Towers, Pyramid HD, anything from Big Fish Games,

There are so many great apps, tools and Bridget’s little helpers online, with new ones coming along every day that a girl could be forgiven for getting lost for long periods of time just in the App Store!

The speaker is decent.  Not awesome, but decent.  I use my iPad all the time at work to listen to TED talks while I’m covering books, to listen to conference presentations, podcasts (Nancy Pearl and BBC Books) and it works really well.


It is hard to share a book you’ve loved when you only have an electronic copy of it sitting on your Amazon or Kobo account.  We don’t have access to iBooks here in NZ!

It is not always 100% reliable at hooking up with the work wifi, not sure why but it doesn’t really matter because I am mostly using it offline at work, it is a slight pain though.

Um Um.  Trying to think of cons.  My fingers are too big to type on the tablet keyboard…. it isn’t much is it?


There you go.  Some not very coherent musings and really just an advertisement for my lovely iPads cool factor.  It is the toy which is a tool but which still feels like a tool.  I belong to the iPad group at school, and remain unconvinced that learning happens any quicker, better or deeper with an iPad, but I do think that they are user friendly and a nice way to integrate really fast technology into school if you can afford to buy em and sort out the management of them in your school in a way that works for everyone.  As a personal tool they are just awesome and I’ve only just begun to dip my toe into these deep rippling waters!  What lies beneath?

Enhanced by Zemanta

This video is very interesting, see the description below.  Turn your sound up and put it on full screen.

This is a year-long time-lapse study of the sky. A camera installed on the roof of the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco captured an image of the sky every 10 seconds. From these images, I created a mosaic of time-lapse movies, each showing a single day. The days are arranged in chronological order. My intent was to reveal the patterns of light and weather over the course of a year.

This video is designed to be viewed in a large format, so it’s best viewed in full-screen mode at 1080p.

Tessa Aitchison – Artist

This is the website of my daughter, the artist Tessa Aitchison.  Her work is beautiful and minimalistic.  Shades of grey, subtle and moody.  Amazing that Tessa with the bright red hair, the black clothes and fabulous taste in shoes would be producing work which is white and shades of pale.  The work is beautiful and if you live in Wellington you should go to the Academy of Fine Arts Gallery on the waterfront and have a look at the Collideoscope Exhibition.  (These works are available for sale, contact her here!)

Best simple idea – and recycling too

This is just the most simple, and practical and why the heck didn’t I think of this idea I’ve seen in ages.  Those little bread holder things drive me crazy, all those plugs plugged into all those multiboards – oh yes I know the safety thing, don’t lecture me cos I know.  The fact of the matter is that there are four plugs plugged into the multibox behind my tv.  One for the tv, one for the dvd player, one for the stereo radio thing and one for the elderly video player which should go to the place that you send elderly video players, and would, only I don’t know where that is.  Anyway I pull out a plug and then wait to see which thing turns off, cos I can’t figure out which plug is which.  Those days are over.  I will now have to go and buy bread just for the taggs.  I’m very impressed with this idea.  It came to me via the Core Education Facebook page but they got it from here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The adventures of a cardboard box

This is really cute.  A little boy and his sister find lots of wonderful things to do with a cardboard box.  Reminded me of when my kids were little and the fun they had with moving boxes and the like.

“Filmed entirely on a cell phone, this short film relates the adventures a child can find from just a cardboard box and an imagination. Filmed in Bergen, Norway by Temujin Doran. (via Laughing Squid)”


Enhanced by Zemanta

Bach it’s good for the soul

Bach gets funked up and put onto a course of steroids in this vid.  These guys have just won the YouTube ‘On the rise’ competition, musicians who are going in new directions and using new cool tools.  I’ve played this over and over since it came up today, helping contribute to the huge number of hits it’s had – and is going to have when anybody who sees this watches it.

Turn your sound up and fall a little bit in love with cellos.

Life in a day – I can’t wait to see it

“On July 24, 2010, thousands of people around the world uploaded videos of their lives to YouTube to take part in Life in a Day, a historic cinematic experiment to create a documentary film about a single day on earth.

Now, it’s time to watch their story unfold on the big screen.”

I’m really excited about this one.  I watched lots of the little clips as they were submitted some were just wonderful, obviously others were not so much, but it is a lovely record of what the world was like on one day in 2010.  Remember those books that we used to do where the photographers all went out and took photos all on one day, well this is the YouTube experience.  There is plenty more to see on the YouTube channel for the film and the project.

Here is hoping it is in our Film Festival this year, I for one will be there to watch it on the big screen.

In the meantime … Enjoy Dot!

I am currently getting a new kitchen.  My house is in disarray, it will be wonderful when it is finished but at the moment it is a bit of a wilderness in here.  In the meantime I think you should watch Dot.  This is a very cool video by Nokia shot with a microscope camera.  Details on the YouTube site.  I love all the details in this and think it most clever and entertaining.

The zeitgeist 2010 (or the world according to google)

Periodically it is worth checking out the Google Zeitgeist page to see what people in the world or in your country are searching for on Google.  This year Google have made a video to show what was trending in 2010.  Makes interesting, and if you are me slightly cynical viewing.  Great product placement guys.  We are being shown all the cool google toys, with the exception of android, which is Google’s product.  Android not trending in 2010, well no it wasn’t.

Head over to the page to check the trends (Chatroullette. was the number one fastest rising this year)  but watch the video below for the most popular.

What did New Zealanders search for?  “Kiwis had a broad range of interests this year, focusing on sport, with searches for FIFA; music, with Justin Bieber and YouTube music; and entertainment, with Chatroulette and Avatar. A more sombre and focus, too, took over in September, with searches on the devastating Christchurch earthquake.” from the NZ trends page.

Penguin Dilemmas

Via Neatorama

This is very cute.  Two Cute, funny penguin couple overcome an obstacle in the rainy, windy elements. Shot near Volunteer Point in the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean by Carole Anne (babers201) and Ron.

Penguin: Ooh, look, the ground is gone here!
Penguin: It’s water.
Penguin: But not deep enough to swim in.
Penguin: What will we ever do?
Penguin: I’ll have to think about that a bit.
Penguin: Look, maybe we could …walk through it!
Penguin: I don’t know, that doesn’t look right.
Penguin: Give it a try!
Penguin: I believe I will …jump!
Penguin: Now you’re just showing off.
Penguin: Well, your idea of walking through it may be for the best.
Penguin: Hey look! Mud! Whee!


The student flats of Dunedin immortalised

A flatters paradise (from the set) by Sarah Gallagher

If you have ever been a student in Dunedin you will recognise some of the photos in the links below.   They are from a Flickr collection called My Flat Your Flat Our Place and I think they are a cool collection they are from SteveandSarah (Sarah Gallagher, ex-Scarfie, librarian, web junkie, flat names archivist as she states about herself on the site). Sarah is writing a book about the flats and how they got their names.  Great idea, it is very cool

Here is the blurb that goes with them and there is more on Flickr if you want to check them out.  There is even a Facebook page.

“The creation of identity and a sense of place was not at the forefront of my mind in 1991 when my flatmates and I named our flat Mouse House. It was because we wanted to name it something, and our flat was infested with mice.

Nine years later, an exploration into the history of print culture in New Zealand while studying through library school provided a lens through which to view the ephemeral nature of the student flat names, names that colourfully dotted my then community of North Dunedin. Some names endured but many instances of this print phenomenon were fleeting. I was intrigued, and continue to be, by the names, the materials used to build the signs, and the stories behind them. The creation of identity and a sense of place was not at the forefront of my mind in 1991 when my flatmates and I named our flat Mouse House. It was because we wanted to name it something, and our flat was infested with mice”.

Go check it out, it is really cool, and there will be some great stories from the flats of both the past and the present.

Maybe the most famous flat's front door. Photo by Sarah Gallagher

Are you happy?

I found this fabulous graphic on the ALA Learning Round Table blog.  I think it is a doozy!  Showed it to a couple of folks at work and we all agreed this is pretty damn good.  So using the flow chart above:  Am I happy?  Pretty much!  So I have to follow the Yes line.  Better keep doing what I am doing.  Things can change though, and the next time I have to make a big decision, or if I am in the depths of misery I’m going to get out the chart and figure things out using it.  I think often times in an organisation it is possible to get very influenced by those around you.  If your work buddies are a bit flat it can be infectious and you can get dragged into the mire of putting things down and bearing a bit of bitterness and resentment which isn’t actually yours to own.  Next year I am going to be much better at trying not to do this.

I also think that while the chart above is good, there are lots of grey areas.  You can be happyish for instance or miserableish.  Lucky for me mostly the miserableish times are considerably fewer than the others, and wallowing in misery is not my style, I’m far more likely to get shitty and explode and then it will be all over and I’m back to normal again, but it is the situations that drag on for a long time which you can’t do anything about which are the hardest to deal with.  While the chart tells you to change something if you want to be happy this is not as simple as it might seem.  Sometimes the thing that does your head in is something that you cannot change.

I have a situation like this every year at this time of the year when the year is nearly over.  Frankly it is a pain!  It is a small but not insignificant thing, and I can’t change it, because even though it affects me directly I am not consulted, and even if I am, my opinion is not considered.  So, what to do?  I have decided to let it go!  Eventually someone will see that several staff members are adversely affected by the situation, that it costs my employer lots of money because of how it is currently done and that it could be managed much better.  I have grown tired of trying to change the things I cannot change, and battling against forces that are stronger than me.  In the meantime I am doing a something about a situation I can do something about, and which will, when it is sorted, make me much happier at work at this time of year.  Sorting it out!  Making me happier!  OMG I’m finally growing up!

Does owning an Android make you cleverer?

Correct answer:  Maybe!

My pretty android!

For my birthday I got an LG Android phone.  I am very excited, I have never owned a phone that was remotely cool and therefore gave me reflected coolness.  I have been considering all the options in the smartphone arena for some time and have been determined that eventually I would be the proud owner of one.  They have so much to offer and frankly have almost as much functionality as the lovely MacBook that I am typing this on.  I can take high definition video, it has a 5mp camera, and I can download an app from The Android market to do just about anything from helping manage my money (I am never going to do that it appears) to Skype, and all manner of social networking gizmos, games, toys, and such a lot more.  You name it there is an app to do it.

Why the Android option.  It is free, it is open and it is sharey.  I like sharey! (yes there are ads attached to many of the free apps but if I really like them I will purchase an add free app!)  So far I have not managed to remember the password for my router so I am just using the phone to access the app market rather than go on my wifi.  Have set up my new google account for email and have poked and prodded it a lot.  Managed to get the SD card to have a conniption and present a fault, have watched videos on YouTube to learn more tricks and features of the phone which is an LG by the way.

Apps I’ve installed so far:

  • Tomcat – a cute little cat that purrs and repeats back what you say.  It is silly and I like it.
  • Apps killer – cos you have to have one or your account will be sucked dry – the phone is always ‘on’
  • Games – Classic tetris, LineUp5, Bejewelled, Classic Bubbleblast,
  • Little treasures – Flashlight
  • Ringtones – Zedge and RingTone
  • Social Media Apps:  Twitter and Facebook

Some of the above will be deleted – games particularly.  It is a hit and miss process, it doesn’t matter how many sites you visit with recommended apps lists for Africa you are never going to love them all.

My big disappointment so far is that the radio is rubbish.  I am going to find a better application for radio which gives some options, the one installed has no functionality at all.  But that is no biggie, as the man at Dick Smith today said wisely “there is an app for everything!”  I shall eventually find one with a loudspeaker setting on it.

Anybody out there with great suggestions of Apps that I completely must have feel free to tell me.

Outrageous Fortune – farewell old friend

I came late to Outrageous.  I only really began to watch in a serious manner two years ago, and then only because of firm pressure applied by my daughter.  She had been telling me for years that I would love it, I had bought her every series when it came out on DVD for xmas and she was, frankly, horrified that I had never been keen.  One show in and I was hooked, had to go and buy series one for myself,  do a quick swot and then Tuesday nights became All About Outrageous Tuesdays.  Tonight it is all over.  The West family will be done and dusted and Tuesdays will be mine again.  Here is the bugger though, I am going to be out.  I will be at a Quiz Night Fundraiser for The Purple Passions, raising funds to get them to The Outgames in Wellington in March.  Tormented – yes I am, conflicted – I’m that too!  It will be TV3 on demand for me not quite as good, but adequate.

I will miss Loretta the most, and Van, couldn’t they have a spin-off?  No, it wouldn’t be great would it?

So farewell to Outrageous and thanks for the laughs, the outrage, the fortunes you’ve made because of it.  Off you go and head out and make us some more fantastic NZ drama please.  You will be missed.

Outrageous Fortunes top ten moments via Stuff