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Sunday, January 31, 2010

A New Washer and Dryer! 

very exciting!!

Pretty new Washer & Dryer

At last! We bought a new washer and dryer yesterday, and it was delivered (amazingly enough) this morning!

The old washer and dryer were probably well over 25 years. They were here when I bought my condo from Andrew in 1998, and they were here when he bought the condo in 1988. They were still both working fine, so I figured I'd wait until one of broke before we bought a new one.

I mentioned this to my Mom a few weeks ago, and she reminded me how much more energy and water efficient the new models are.


I mentioned the same thing to Andrew, and he cautioned me, warning that I may not want to wait until one of them breaks. What if one of them broke, and it went terribly wrong? Worst case scenario: Our washer and dryer are on the top floor. What if the washer broke, and caused a leak (or flood). Bad news.

So, suddenly, I was on a quest for a new washer and dryer.

I asked my friends on Facebook for recommendations, and got a lot of good advice.

We ended up getting the Samsung 4.5 cu. ft. front load steam washer and dryer. I think we got the Mother of All Washing Machines. ;) It's HUGE (my old washer had a 3.2 cu. ft. capacity, I think) and the controls and functionality are all so cool. Washer and Dryer technology sure has come a long way over the past 25+ years!

We decided on getting white machines, versus the stainless steel. I generally prefer stainless steel for appliances, but decided on white for these because a) stainless steel is harder than traditional paint, and is hard to clean and accumulates lots of finger prints, and b) it was about $100 more expensive per machine. We had also looked at and considered the LG models, which had some fabulous colors that I really loved (candy red, colbalt blue) but since we went with the Samsung, it was only white or stainless steel.

We got a really great deal at Sears. Dick and I really enjoy buying large appliances from Sears - their sales people are always so knowledgeable and friendly, and their prices are hard to beat. I did some online research last week and saw that they were having a 10-20% off sale on all major appliances through this weekend, so I really wanted to make sure that we went this weekend to check it out. We went yesterday morning. As it turns out, they were having a One-day only sale yesterday which gave us an additional 10% off! Score!

Another nice surprise was that they were in stock, and were available for delivery as early as today! Nice! They were delivered this morning at 10:00am, which gave me an entire day to wash everything I could think of to test 'em out!

The delivery guys were pretty amazing. First they took the old washer and dryer out, then brought the new ones in and set them up. All within 30-40 minutes! They had these very clever straps that wrapped over their shoulders, and underneath the machines, which they just lifted and carried down the stairs and out the door. Very impressive.

Out with the old, and in with the new!

What amazes me most (so far) about the new washer and dryer are how very quiet they are. With the old machines, I could hear them from my office (same floor, but on the other side of the house) and even worse: the entire room/house would shake/vibrate whenever the washer was going through the spin cycle. With the new washer and dryer, I don't hear a thing, and I can be in the same room and not feel the spin cycle. Amazing!

So, clearly, I'm a fan so far, and super happy with my new washer an dryer. We'll see how it all continues to go...

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"The iPad" - Really? That's the best name you could come up with? 

worst. product. name. ever...



This just goes to show that sometimes all of those brilliant engineers and marketing specialists just don't see the whole picture.

I'm pretty sure you could ask any woman on the street what the first thing she would think of when hearing about a product named "iPad", and she would say: feminine hygiene product.

I can guarantee you that (at least before Apple's announcement this morning) no woman who hears of a product called "iPad" would think, "Fantastic, computer gadget! I must get one now!"

No. that's not how it works.

Just say the word "pad" and our minds go elsewhere - somewhere much less fun and exciting.

I haven't even looked into the new iPad yet. I still can't get past the name.

But I'll tell you this, seeing the headline that Steve Jobs calls the iPad “truly magical” and a “revolutionary device” has a whole new set of connotations for me now. :)

Note to Apple: make sure you include smart women into those important meetings when you name those new "must-have devices"!

It just may stop you from sounding like an imbecile.

"The New iPad! Now with wings!"

No surprise: the net has been buzzing with iPad jokes all day.

Here's just one article about Apple's big goof:

Apple's iPad becomes big fat ‘intimate’ joke

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gift Exchange Name Generator 

At last! I've been looking for something like this for the last couple of years.

I believe that both my family as well as Dick's family plan on drawing names for our Christmas gift exchange this year.

In the past, we drawn names out of a hat, but that doesn't always work because sometimes someone draws the name of an immediate family member that they were already planning to buy a gift for.

Today, I did a search on Bing, and came up with this:

Free Name Drawing Utility

It's fantastic, and very easy:

Step 1: type in all of the names of the people involved

Step 2: Add Constraints (you can lay out rules or constraints for individuals who shouldn't buy for each other)

Step 3: the list is generated!

Handy Dandy!

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Monday, June 01, 2009

My Cabana: the Recording Studio 

My Cousin, Reverend Bruce Reyes-Chow, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), sent me an email last night asking if he could come over early this morning. He had a meeting at his girls' school (close to my house) early this morning, and needed a quiet place nearby where he could connect to the internet to do his weekly blog/radio podcast.

I figured the best place to put him would be my cabana/studio/shed out in the backyard. It's quiet, separate from the house, and has WiFi.

He came over at 8:30 this morning, and we got him all set up in the cabana for his show.
It starts at 9:00am.

You can listen to it here.

...streaming to you live, from the cabana...

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is this because I said that I wouldn't drink the Kook-Aid? 

Oh, come on! How many Mac problems am I supposed to have in one week?


Has anyone else had this problem?


Well, that wasn't so bad.

found this article online, and tried the following fix:

I opened iSync in the Applications folder. (You can find that by clicking on the Finder, usually to the far left of the dock/toolbar at the bottom of the screen.) Then I went to the top of the screen and clicked "iSync", then "Preferences" then Reset Sync History. This totally solved the problem.

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"Hi, I'm a Mac, but here's one of the things that Apple doesn't tell you about..." 

So, yes, I am a Mac. I've been using the Mac since 1984, and I've never owned a PC.

I'm a huge fan of Apple products in general.

With that said, I love my Mac, but I refuse to drink the Kool-Aid.

Over the years, I've learned that not all things Apple vs. PC are black and white. This probably has a lot to do with me becoming a little more open-minded and educated about the world of PCs from my hubby, who used to work at Apple, worked on Mac products for several years, is still a fan, but (gasp) has been using a PC for several years now.

Let's set the record straight:

Not all Macs/Apple products are fail safe, and without problems
PCs are not the evil entities that they are sometimes made out to be.

It's just not that simple.

Case in point: I'm on my third Mac laptop. I had a Powerbook (Wallstreet) that I bought in 1999, G3 Powerbook that I bought in 2003, and my current MacBook Pro that I've had since June 2007.

This last MacBook Pro has had it's fair share of problems (which have all been documented on this blog). I've had to bring it in twice to have the hard drive restored, had the battery replaced, and needed two new logic boards.

I just got it back two days ago with the newest logic board.

Good news: it seems to be much faster now, which is fantastic, and the monitor issues have been fixed.

Bad news: (and here's what Apple doesn't tell you...)

When you've been using Apple's Time Machine to back up your computer routinely, but you need to send you computer in for a new logic board, when you get your computer back, it doesn't recognize your old Time Machine files.

Not that this is a huge deal. The easy solution is that you just wipe out your old Time Machine back ups, and start fresh. Meh.

But, isn't that what Apple and Time Machine are all about? Ease of use.

The problem with Time Machine is that it's so simple that it's very limited on what you're actually able to control. Basically, you can turn it off or on, and you can specify the location of the external drive that you want to back up to. Pretty limited.

Anyhow, I called Apple Support to see if there was some way that they could help me find some hidden settings somewhere in my preferences to link my computer back to my old Time Machine Files.

The first person I spoke to was very nice, and helpful in the sense that she passed me along to another person who was more of an expert in such things. He admitted that this is an ongoing problem, and that in all of the cases that he's had, he's never been able to successfully walk a person through the process over the phone. It's just too complicated. Why? because it involves opening a terminal window, and doing a bunch of UNIX programming to sort things out.

Many moons ago, I worked at Sun Microsystems and learned the very basics of UNIX. Probably not enough to get me through this, though.

He offered to find a computer repair store in my city where I could bring my computer and my external drive, and they could fix it relatively quickly for a small fee. Hmmm.. I asked why I couldn't go to the Genius Bar at an Apple store, and he said that I could, but that it would take a lot longer to get in, and the people helping me may or may not be able to complete this successfully.

Now, luckily, I just happen to live with one of the most brilliant computer scientists I've ever met, and he has plenty of experience in many computer languages, including UNIX. I told the Apple Care rep this, and he suggested that Dick do a google search to find some instructions on how to solve this problem using UNIX.

So, we did just that. Dick found this helpful site:
10.5: Repair Time Machine after logic board changes, read the instructions, took many notes, typed in a lot of code, and eventually got it all up and running.

For the record, I took a screen shot of the UNIX code that he wrote. Not that I expect anyone to read or understand it, but I wanted to point out how incredibly difficult this would be for the average Joe Mac User to be able to pull this off.

UNIX gobbily gook

If Apple/Mac is always tooting about how simple their products are supposed to be, how is it that this is the second time I've had this problem in just over a year? And, even if it's a complete fluke that I had to have a logic board replaced, why is it so difficult to point my computer back to my Time Machine files so that I can have access to my back up files again?

Don't believe the hype.

No computer brand is trouble free.
There are no perfect computers manufacturers.
There are no evil computer manufacturers.

Companies make computers, and they all have issues.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Good Grief.

This is what a diagnosis test result looks like when you have a bad video chip, and you have to replace the entire logic board, which had already been replaced a year ago.

I have AppleCare, but it's still going to take 3-6 days to be repaired.

I am just about ready to toss this computer out the window.

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Well, Frack. This can't be good 

Got an appt at the Genius Bar tomorrow afternoon. MacDreamy, indeed.


WGI Finals, and NCAA Final Four!! All in the same night! 

It was quite the evening here in His 'n Her Condos.
Quite busy, and exciting, actually - especially considering that we didn't leave the house, and didn't have anyone over!

It's a double whammy kind of evening. Tonight two big events (at least big events in our world) and they happened to coincide on the same night - at the same time!

What on Earth am I talking about?

Well, for starters, it was the Final Four games for the NCAA Tournament. Dick's beloved UNC Tar Heels were one of the 4 teams playing, and happily, won their game, and will be advancing to the Final game Monday evening. The first game (Michigan State vs. U. Conn) started at 3:00. The second game, UNC vs. Villanova started around 6:00pm.

Okay, keep that in mind...

Also on tap for this evening: WGI World Class Finals!
Yes - that crazy color guard event that I usually travel to Dayton, OH to attend. For various reasons, I decided not to go this year. It turns out that it's only the third time since I first went in 1986 that I haven't gone. Crazy, huh?

Anyhow, one thing that makes not attending much easier is that I was able to sign up and pay for an online live webcast of the event! Very cool!

Here's the funny part: The Scholastic World Class Finals started at.... 3:00pm.
The Independent World Finals started at... 6:00pm.

So, yes.... lots of exciting stuff happening.

Dick watched his games via our Xbox (Media Center Extender) in the upstairs front room. (We still don't have a TV in our main TV room where the media center lives).

Dick, watching the Final Four

I watched WGI from the TV in our bedroom. Dick and I hooked up his laptop to our TV so that I'd be more comfortable than in the office, and could watch it on a larger screen.

Trina watching WGI!

The part that I think is especially funny is that these two televisions are on opposite sides of one wall, with a pocket door seperating the two rooms. This means that inbetween guard shows (there was about 5 minutes between each guard for tear down/set up) I could just open the pocket door and watch the basketball games with Dick. Occassionally, Dick would pause his game (really, only the first game, when his team wasn't playing) and he would watch a guard show with me.

Another fantastic part of the evening: I was able to send SMS messages via my mobile phone to various friends who were also watching the show. I had friends who were actually in the arena, watching the guards in person, and also friends in Chicago and San Jose. We were all sending texts to each other during the shows, making comments, etc., Very fun, and almost as good as being there! :)

What a fun evening it was. I love technology!

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

It doesn't get much better than this... 

The Roomba is vacuuming my Cabana.
Go, little Robot, Go!

Oh - and Dick installed a wireless router in the cabana last night, so now we have WI-FI in the backyard to boot! I'm using my laptop out on the patio now. It's awesome.

It's all a little Jane Jetson-y.

I think I'll name my Roomba "Rosie". :)

Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons


Thursday, January 15, 2009


One of the things on my wishlist for the holidays was the Polaroid PoGo. I used to have a Polaroid iZone camera, which I used to call my "sticker camera". It would take tiny instant pictures (1-1/2" x 1") that had a backing that would peel off so that they could be used as stickers. I used the photos in travel journals, but most often in our guest book, especially for Halloween. I used to have our guests take a quick photo with the iZone, then would stick the photo on the page in our guest book next to where they signed their name. We did this for several years of Halloween parties, and it's a lot of fun to look at the crazy costumes that people wore.

The film for the iZone was pretty expensive, and Polaroid eventually stopped producing it. I haven't had any sticker pictures in our guest book for at least two years.

I first heard about the PoGo when it was released last summer. It sounded like a cool product, and the perfect replacement to my beloved old iZone.

Here's the deal: It's a portable Bluetooth device that can be wirelessly connected to a bluetooth enabled cell phone, or connected via USB cable to a camera.

It prints 2"x3" borderless photos in under a minute. It also has a removable backing so that it can be used as a sticker! There is no ink involved - the PoGo works with ZINK technology (zero ink), which makes it water-resistant, tear-proof and smudge-proof. Extra sheets cost $12.99 for a pack of 30. Not bad.

Sounds great, right?

Here's the rub:
It's not compatible with the iPhone

Yep. That's a bummer.

I vaguely remember reading that when I was first looking into the product, but I think I conveniently forgot that fact, hoping that it would become compatible eventually.

Happily, my parents bought me the PoGo for Christmas. We charged it up, and tried it out Christmas morning. We first tried to pair it with my iPhone (because I had forgotten that it wasn't compatible) and it obviously didn't work. What a bummer. I love the idea of printing wirelessly through bluetooth.

We eventually got it to work by connecting a USB cable to my camera. Okay, that's cool. The picture quality is fine, certainly not great, but good enough. Very polaroid-ish. Actually, better than the traditional polaroid prints.

I also was able to pair it with my computer via bluetooth, but, while still kind of cool, kind of defeats the purpose of it being quick, convenient and mobile.

Today, my sister and Graham came over. They both recently got new cell phones. I suggested that we try using my PoGo with their phones. It worked like a charm, and was super cool.

Really made me wish that it would work with my iPhone.

Looking at the list of which cell phones it is and is not compatible with, it's really hard to believe that it's not compatible with the iPhone. Seriously, out of a list of about 48 phones sold at AT&T, only 4 models weren't supported.

It seems that the problem lies with the iPhone, rather than with Polaroid. Just did some research on the web, and found this:

The Polaroid POGO uses the bluetooth OBEX profile. The iPhone does not support this profile at this time.

Here's hoping that Apple eventually releases some sort of firmware update eventually that will enable printing from the iPhone.

Until then, I'll make due by printing PoGo photos from my camera and computer, and other people's cell phones.


Friday, November 21, 2008

I heart Kindle 

Okay, The Kindle totally rocks.

A friend of mine loaned me the first two books of the Twilight Series. I read them both within the last week, and just finished the second one this morning.

First of all, I totally get what all the hype is about these books now. I'll admit, after I read the first one, I thought it was a good, fast read, but didn't totally love it. I certainly enjoyed it enough to go right to the second book, though! After I started to read the second one, I totally fell into it, and became somewhat addicted, just like half of the adolescent tween girls in our country. Yes, I'm feeling a little odd about clumping myself into that mix, but hey, I love Harry Potter, too, so there you go...

Actually, I had a funny conversation this afternoon about the series with my 60-year-old mother, and my 12-year-old niece. Pretty funny!

But, I digress....

This post is about my new found love for the Kindle!

Dick bought the Kindle the week before we left for our Alaskan cruise in August. He really loved it - everything from the ease of buying books, the cost of each title (cheaper than buying a physical paper back) and the form factor (about the size and weight of an average paper back).

I've been in a bit of a book slump lately, so there weren't any titles I was dying to purchase and download to the Kindle.

Until now....

I was out all day, and just came home. Dick has an evening of Gears of War 2 planned for the evening. I might play a bit (because I love it!) but can't play too long because I have developed tendinitis in both of my arms. (originated with golf several months ago, exasperated by a couple games of bowling, and has been on the mend for 2 months now). But more on that later.

Anyhow, I was anxious to get started on book 3 of the Twilight series, so I picked up the Kindle, did a search for the book title, and purchased it for $10.00. Within seconds (literally) I had the book downloaded, and ready for me to read!

That's so cool.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TV Sadness 

Less than two weeks ago, our LCD TV decided to kerbust overnight.

At first, it didn't seem too bad. With the symptoms that it was showing (what looked like snow/interference lines) we just assumed that the video card in our old Media Center was finally calling it quits. Our Media Center is almost 5 years old, and we've been planning to get a new one soon, anyway.

But then, we turned on the Xbox, which uses a whole separate input from the Media Center. Same thing. Uh-oh.

Well then, that means that the trouble isn't with the 5-year old Media Center. It's with the less-than-two-years-old, but no-longer-under-warranty television!


I called Samsung a couple of days ago. They stated the obvious "you are no longer under warranty", and gave the the name and phone number of a couple of different authorized service centers in SF.

The guy came out this afternoon to have a look at our set, and decided that he'd have to bring it back to his shop before he could fully diagnose it.

Best case scenario: it needs a new logic board (around a couple of hundred bucks)

Worst case scenario: it needs a new display. (upwards of a couple of thousand bucks!)


He should get back to us within the next day or so with the final diagnosis.
If it's the latter, then we'll just have to get a new TV, as it would be cheaper than the cost of repair.



Friday, March 14, 2008

Quickbooks on the Mac vs. Quickbooks on the PC 

I've been using Quickbooks Pro for the PC to do all of my business accounting since 2002. I only use it for writing invoices, and receiving payments. I really don't use it for much, but these two functions are very important for me to keep track of things.

A couple of months ago, I made the switch to Quickbooks Pro 2007 for the Mac.

My assessment so far:
Quickbooks for the Mac totally blows.
(how's that for a professional assessment?)

I just spent about 2 hours sending out invoices. It should have taken me about 45 minutes.

It's amazing to me how different the two iterations of the program are. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I know how these things go: each iteration is written by a completely different group: like Office for the Mac versus the PC.

But really, this is really brain-damaged.

Sending out invoices was always very easy and fast of the PC version. I'd write out the invoices, and send them out in batches. I could even have a standard "email body" that went onto each email, with correct customer name placed in the appropriate field. It was all very fast and simple. After writing the invoices out, sending as a batch took less than a couple of minutes.

Not on the Mac.

I have to send out each invoice individually, and send it as a large monster-sized PDF file. The PDF file is 1.7 MB, versus the size of the PDF files that I sent on the PC, which was 35 K. That's a HUGE difference. If I were a client of mine, I'd be wondering why the file has to be so large. That's ridiculous, and I look like a Lame-O.

There are a bunch of other features that don't exist in the Mac version. There are a bunch of things that just don't "work". There are so many things that I've come across that just take so much more time than they should.

Considering I only use this program to generate and send out invoices, and to record payments, I'm really amazed at how much I'm missing from the PC version. I feel lucky that I don't rely on this program for more. I'm so very unimpressed.

Boo on you, Intuit.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008


This is really cool.

Mapjack.com showcases a new level of mapping technology. What others have done with NASA budgets and Star Wars-like equipment, we've done on a shoestring budget, along with a few trips to Radio Shack. Specifically, we developed an array of proprietary electronics, hardware and software tools that enable us to capture an entire city’s streets with relative ease and excellent image quality. We have a complete low-cost scalable system encompassing the entire work-flow process needed for Immersive Street-Side Imagery, from picture gathering to post-processing to assembling on a Website.
Jack’s on a mission, on foot, by car, and by boat. Our coverage area doesn’t stop street-side, we also include walking areas such as Parks, Universities and famous walking streets. San Francisco is only our starting point, more coverage and more cities coming soon.

The picture quality, and even the ease of use seem much better to me than google maps.


This is wild. I just went through my neighborhood, and can tell from the marquis at the Castro theater that they took these photos in June of 2007.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

MacDreamy is MacHappy! 

A happy Mac makes webTrina happy. :)

Repaced: 1 logic board, and 1 hard drive cable. Actual harddrive is
alive and well - all data intact!

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

I see an iPhone in Dick's future... 

Dick has been waiting a long time for this announcement:

Apple tweaks iPhone for business uses
Next software update will enable device to work with Microsoft’s Exchange

Looks like the full version won't be available 'til June.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

A week without my MacDreamy 

I brought my Mac to the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store yesterday. The "genius" tried everything that Dick and I had tried the day before: connecting it to an external monitor, removing the RAM, etc., He didn't have any luck either.

He told me that I was probably right in thinking it was the logic board. He said the quickest way for him to have it repaired was to send it out to their repair facility (rather than in-store - not sure why). He sent it out today, and hopes to get it back to the store by Friday or Saturday.

Poor MacDreamy.

I'm kind of surprising myself that I'm not more freaked-out about this than I am.

The truth is, it could be a lot worse! I'm very lucky in that:

I completed several projects in the last 4 weeks, and this week should be slower than last month. Good timing!

Dick and I have an extra PowerBook (there's a story in there somewhere). It's about 4 years old, but still works well. I was able to install my important apps to it, so I can continue working.

Here's the biggie: I was able to access my MacDreamy's hard drive via our network. This means that not only is my drive probably okay, but I was also able to copy all of my important files onto my temporary laptop so I still have access to all my work.

I do have my entire hard drive backed up on an external drive, in case the worst-case scenario happens. (knock wood)

I'm really counting my lucky stars here. This week could've been completely unproductive work-wise, and probably would've driven me bonkers.

I might invest in some extra RAM for this old PowerBook. It has 512MB. I think it has the capacity for 1GB, maybe 2GB. MacDreamy runs on 4GB, so I'm really noticing a speed issue here, but still - no complaints!

Here's hoping MacDreamy comes back at the end of the week, files intact, and good as new!

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

My Mac: Sleeping Beauty 

stop the drama!

I usually put my computer to sleep whenever I'm away for any length of time.

Yesterday, I left the house right before 4:00, and went out for the evening. (Happy Birthday, Jud!)
When we came home late last night, I went to my computer to check my email. (no, I'm not addicted) Much to my chagrin, it wouldn't wake up! It didn't seem to respond at all.

So, I did what any good trouble-shooter would do: I restarted my computer (hard restart by keeping the power button down, then pressing it again to start).

Again - nothing.

Although, it sounded like it was restarting. I could hear the disc spin, but nothing came up on the screen at all - just a blank, black screen.

Then I did the next step that any good trouble-shooter would do: try starting it with the system disk. Still nothing. (though I could hear the drive reading the CD, and it sure sounded like it was booting from the CD!)

When I work at home, I always connect my laptop to an external monitor, and even that was completely black. Tried unplugging it, replugging, unplugging.... (I had also since removed all other peripheral, so I was working on my laptop alone.)

I hoped that this meant that it was a monitor problem, or a board problem, and hopefully NOT a drive problem.

...and then I went to play golf....

Came back, did some research, and eventually, found this: Topic : Blank Screen - even when booted from the CD - Weird Sleep Cycle perhaps?

No good answers here: sounds like it's a logic board problem.


I've made an appt. with The Genius Bar at the Apple Store for tomorrow. Let's see what they say.

So, how come it doesn't sound like I'm completely freaking out?!

Oh, I am, believe me, but I've also realized that it could be much worse.

Here's the good news:

I have a backup: I'm using Time Machine, and haven't had to use it for anything big yet, but it has been backing up my hard drive for the past few months. I trust it's doing something good for me.

I also keep full backups of my most important files in full on my external drive.

But that's certainly not enough to keep me calm.

The real reason I'm not totally freaking out is because I just figured out that I can access my computer's drive through our network. I'm copying over all of my super-important files to our extra PowerBook right now. At least I know I have access to it! (and I know that my drive is okay, even if I can see anything on my computer right now.)

I'm installing all of my regular apps onto our second laptop so I can use it as a backup computer in case mine needs to go into the shop for a while. Certainly not ideal, but much, much better than the alternative.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Handy iPhone App 

Thanks to Mike for sending this to me:


This handy little app checks SF MUNI arrival times for you via your iPhones.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Geeky McGeekster 

When Geeky Worlds Collide...

Dick and I just bought a new toy. It's a Garmin NUVI 760 GPS device. It's pretty cool. We honestly don't drive outside of SF very often, so we haven't had a chance to really use it yet, but we've had fun taking it around the town, and testing out what it can do.

The Garmin web site has a few 3D vehicles that you can download to show up as your vehicle on the screen. I was really hoping to find a MINI Cooper, but no luck.

Last night, I was surfing around some MINI forums to get some opinions on a GPS mounting option for my car, and I came across some MINI icons for the Garmin! Imagine my excitement!

This morning, as I was riding with Dick to the CalTrain station, I decided to take a picture of the GPS screen with my little MINI Cooper, tootling along the Streets of San Francisco. Pretty cute, huh?

Unfortunately, it only has the option for a checkered roof and bonnet strips, but it's still a Chili Red MINI Cooper, none-the-less. I may play with it a bit to see if I can make some digital modifications. :)

BTW: here's the mounting system I'm thinking about getting for my MINI (the second option down). Has anyone used the Kuda products before? Thoughts?

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dear Apple: "Good on ya!" 

..as Christopher would say...

So, yeah, Apple made the big announcement yesterday about the new line of iPods. No surprise there, and they look very, very cool. (said the girl with a nearly 4-year old iPod.)

They also announced that they're dropping the price of the 8GB iPhone from the whopping $599 original price to $399.00. Two hundred bucks off - that's a big difference!

Surprisingly, I was okay with this. I mean, I wasn't shocked. I knew it was coming, I just figured it had a few more months until the price dropped. But honestly, I've been so overwhelmingly happy with my iPhone, which I've had now for 8 weeks. I feel like I've already gotten my money out of it. I know it's only been 8 weeks, but the amount of time that I've used this phone already (vacation in NC, overnight hospital stay) is actually worth the 200 bucks to me. (and that's a big statement, since I'm generally such a budget-minded shopper!)

I just saw this Letter from Steve Jobs to all iPhone owners on Apple's site. Basically, there's been some anger among the early adopters that we, the faithful, paid $200 more than the new price. This letter states that all iPhone owners who are not receiving a rebate (who's getting a rebate?!) will get a $100 store credit towards the purchase of any product online, or at any Apple Retail Store. Details are still being worked out, and they will post it on their site next week.

Kudos to you, Apple. You're doing the right thing, and keeping your loyal fans happy.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007


...as opposed to "free-hands", which is a color guard term...

I love technology!

Dick has a Motorola wireless bluetooth headset that he bought last year, but hardly uses. I've had a heck of a time over the years finding a good hands-free device for my cell phone while I'm driving. My old cell phone didn't support bluetooth.

...but of course, my fantabulous iPhone does!

I tried it out this weekend, and it worked great! Today, I drove to Pleasanton to meet my Mom, and decided to call my sister on my drive home. It was wonderful. Really good clarity (on both ends) and finally, a earpiece device that fits in/around my ear, and stays put!

I realize that this isn't new technology by any means, but it's new to me!
I LOVE it!

So, there I was, driving comfortably hands free, and approaching the Bay Bridge. That's when I realized that I was having a double-hands-free day! I drove Dick's car today (mine in in the shop, getting the key scratch repaired) and his car has not yet had it's first initiation over the bridge with our new FasTrack device!

Woo Hoo!

It's a non-stop, hands-free day!

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Friday, July 13, 2007

All Your Butts Are Belong to Us 

one of these days, I'll stop talking about our toilet...

My sister just forwarded this article from sfgate.

It's hard to believe, but Dick and I are not the only ones talking zealously about our Toto Toilet Washlet!

Even the article title/headline sounds like something we might say:

All Your Butts Belong To Us
Forget the iPhone. What you need is a deluxe heated high-tech butt-rinsing toilet seat.

I'm pretty sure I don't have a white happy face painted on the underside of my butt.

Although, admittingly, I haven't checked lately....

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Sunday, July 08, 2007


Saturday, July 7th. 2:10pm

Okay, I admit it: iCaved.

About two weeks ago, my Mom and I had a discussion about the soon-to-be-released iPhone. My Mom had mentioned that my Dad was trying to talk her into switching cell phone service providers so that she could get an iPhone.

My response?

Something along the lines of:

"Oh, the iPhone....overpriced.....over hyped....really, I just need a phone...will probably have a lot of bugs....blah, blah, blah...."

However, I specifically remember that I also added:

"But, I probably said the same thing about the iPod, so what do I know?"

Later that day, Dick came home and asked if I'd watched the 20-minute guided-tour online at apple.com about the iPhone. No, I had not.

A couple of days later, as Dick was out playing golf, I watched it....

When he came home, I told Dick I had watched it, and that I got it.

I had a newfound desire to own an iPhone.

Luckily, this was a mere 1 week before the release of the phone.

Even with all of the release hype, we decided that I should probably wait a few months for Apple to shake out the bugs, etc., Well, the iPhone was released, the reviews were (for the most part) really positive, and Dick had a chance to play with a few of them at work. The verdict: it really was as cool and amazing as we were led to believe.

So, I should add my disclaimer here:
I've had my last cell phone since December, 2003. I loved my little Samsung flip-phone, but I've always wanted to be able to sync my contact and calendar to it. Having email would be a huge bonus.

I decided to wait to get a new phone until I got a new computer with Bluetooth. Enter my new MacBook Pro - that I got about 3 weeks ago. Now, I felt ready to start looking for a phone. I was actually looking at Razrs the day my Mom mentioned the soon-to-be-released iPhone to me, and I decided that it would be wise of me to wait until they came out and to assess all of my options.

So, yeah, I watched the online guided tour, and I was pretty much hooked. The reviews that I had read by early adopters were pretty favorable, and Dick's friends who had them at work were really happy with them. There was only one thing left to do: I had to try to out for myself.

I went to visit Rob and Sharon on Friday, and Rob gave me a demo of his phone. Five minutes later, and my mind was set. It would just be a matter of time.

I was fully ready to place an order online and wait the 2-4 weeks until delivery. On a whim, I called the Apple store at the Stonestown Mall on Saturday around 1:00pm. I asked, if by chance, they had any 8GB iPhones in stock. To my surprise, they said they had a few left, and that if I came in soon, I should be able to get one. Dick and I ran out the door, and flew to the mall. We waited in line behind 2 other people, and happily, were able to buy an iPhone.

I'll write about the set-up process, and my initial review in another post. I think this one is getting long enough.

More later...

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Microsoft steps up... 

Remember my problem from a couple of months ago when two of our Xbox 360s experienced the dreaded "ring of death"? Yo may recall that one of the boxes was still under warranty, but the other was no longer covered. In order to get them repaired, I had to call to have a shipping box sent so I could send them both to the repair center. The Xbox that is still under warranty would be repaired for free, but the other would cost $139.90. That's an awfully steep price for a repair that (as I found out) was a common problem with the hardware.

Reeves (who experienced the ring of death syndrome with his own Xbox 360 just a few weeks ago) sent me an email yesterday. Microsoft put out a press release on Thursday announcing that they would extend the warranty of the Xbox 360s to 3 years (up from 1 year, which is actually up from the original 90 days). The press release also stated that Microsoft will reimburse all customers who had already paid the repair fee. Another article stated that the company says it is planning to spend at least $1 billion to repair serious problems with its Xbox 360 video game console.

I gotta say: I'm impressed. I was really upset that this was such an obvious problem, causing many customers (including myself) to be very upset, and I was hoping that Microsoft would somehow step up to the plate someday and do the right thing. I'm really happy to see that they are.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Running my Roomba Ragged 

GO, little robot, GO!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I got a new Dyson vacuum cleaner, and that I'm completely in love with it. I mentioned in that same post that I also got a Roomba, but at the time of that post, it was still charging, and I hadn't tried it out yet.

I've been looking at the Roomba for several years now, and just recently had a couple of friends who bought them, and raved about them. I noticed that Costco.com was having a $50 off sale, so I bit the bullet, and ordered one.

1.5 weeks later, and after many uses already, I can safely say: I love my Roomba. It's fantastic. I've run the poor thing ragged already. Monday morning, I had it clean the upstairs of the house, and by the time it was finishing up the office, (the last room, and more than 2 hours after it started) it was out of juice, and simply couldn't sweep up one more particle of dust. I had to bring it back to it's home base to charge.

This is a fantastic little device: it's a robot that will vacuum your house!

In theory, you're supposed to be able to turn it on, leave it alone, and get on with your day. I have to admit that I often find myself oddly mystified by this robotic creature cleaning my house. I've found myself following it and watching it for several minutes at a time. I assume my fascination will wear off, and hopefully, I'll get back to having a life eventually.

Just like the Dyson, I'm simultaneously amazed and grossed-out whenever I finish using it, and empty its dust bin. I can't believe how much dust/dirt/cat hair/trina hair/etc., it's picking up.

I can't believe I'm so excited about my two new vacuuming devices.
I think I have a problem.

At least my house is clean.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

My new MacBook Pro: The most amazing plug-and-play experience EVER! 

Greetings from my brand-spankin'-new MacBook Pro! (I'm having a hard time not calling it "PowerBook" still!)

I've been waiting since October for Apple to release their newest version. Last time I ordered a laptop, I bought it and a newer version was announced within the next 2 months or so. Lesson learned. Wasn't going to let that happen again!

Apple made the announcement about 2 weeks ago. I ordered it last week, and FedEx delivered my beautiful new baby this morning.

Can you believe it's been 4 years since I got my last laptop? I'd say that's pretty darn good in the ever-changing world of Technology-land. I had a 60GB drive, and have been down to my last GB or so for several months now. I haven't ripped any new CDs onto iTunes, and I don't have any photos on my computer. All in an effort to save precious disk space.

Okay, I have to rave about the new Apple Setup Assistant. It's new to me, at least. They didn't have this 4 years ago when I had to transfer all of my files/applications/preferences via ethernet or network.

I turned on my new shiny mac, and the first thing that popped up was the Setup Assistant.

I said, "Okay, I'll play along."

I figured it would ask for the norm: language, country, time-zone, registration, etc.,

The first thing it asked (after language and country) was if I had another Mac with FireWire.

"Um... Well, Yes! I do!"

Then it says it'll sync all my data from my old computer to my new computer.


I figured it would sync stuff that was Apple application or system things like security passwords, my iTunes library, Safari bookmarks, etc.,

I assumed I'd still have to transfer most of my files over, and reinstall most of my Applications.

I was SO wrong!

I clicked the button, and there it went - syncing all of my files, folders, applications, preferences, etc.,

We went out to dinner, and then to a bookstore, and came back about 2 hours later.

My entire computer had been synced!


I didn't have to do a thing!
It was completely plug-and-play!

Amazing! I'm still stunned!
The only thing I had to do was Authorize this computer for my iTunes songs that I've purchased from the iTunes store. That was it.

Everything else just....worked.

I'm still amazed. Those guys at Apple... Kudos to you!
This was definitely the least painful experience I've ever had to switching to a new computer.

Last time, I was switching from my OLD Powerbook Wallstreet Edition,which I had bought in 1999, (and was all SCSI) to a 2003 PowerBook G4 with USB. (I bought it right before USB2 came out). Because I had to make the switch from SCSI to USB, I had to buy all new peripherals (scanner, printer, keyboard, mouse, etc.,) I also made the switch from Mac OS 09 to OS X. A whole new operating system! It took several days (weeks?) to get everything straightened out.

This time: a whole new story. It took less than 2 hours, and I wasn't even home having to watch. I came back, and voila! everything was done.

Only this time, I'm running quadruple the amount of RAM (from 1GB to 4GB!) and have more than double the storage capacity (from 60GB to 160GB!).

The transition was so seamless that I barely notice that I'm using a different computer. (in a good way) I'm sure I'll notice it more once I use it for work tomorrow.

I LOVE my new Mac!!

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

...of course they did. 

My Mom called me today telling me, "You know, if you had waited an extra week, you could have gotten your shuffle in a color!" Apparently, Apple just came out with a new version of the iPod Shuffle - now available in 5 colors!

My response, "Of course they did!"

As you may remember, I just got my new shuffle last week.

I figured I was safe. The new shuffles just came out at the end of last year, I went to MacWorld, there was no mention of anything new... Why would I think that I should wait an extra 2 weeks to order my shuffle in case they happen to come out with something new!

This always happens, of course. You buy it one day, and the next week (or day) it's outdated.

I've been planning to buy a new MacBook Pro (which I still call a Powerbook) but this time, I'm holding off until they announce the next upgrade/model. I just know that if I bought one today, they'll have something new next week.

Sheesh. As if it isn't hard enough trying to keep up with the Shahines!

Who needs a lime-green shuffle anyway? bah.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Naming my new iPod 

On my way home from Pilates this morning, I had a sudden a-ha! moment, and came up with a name for my new iPod Shuffle:


Now, I think this is very clever, but I'm wondering if anyone else will get it?

clue #1: Pod People

I also love that my Shuffle has a capacity of 1 gigabyte, and that its new name has the word "gig" in it! :)

How big is my iPod? Why, it's a FizzGig!

I am such a geek.

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Do the "Shuffle"! 

FedEx just knocked at my door and delivered my new iPod Shuffle to me! One of my sister-in-laws sent me a gift card for the Apple Store as a Christmas gift, so I used it towards the purchase of the new fabulously small shuffle. I love my regular iPod, but I've been wanting a smaller iPod that I can workout with, or take on walks with me. The Shuffle is perfect for this.

I haven't even plugged it in yet, (It was literally delivered just 10 minutes ago) but I had to comment on the packaging.

Say what you will about Apple, but they sure do know how to package a product. Seriously, I almost don't want to take the shuffle out of its case, because it just looks so pretty! (I'll get over it)

More later... (after I finally decide to take it out of its packaging!)

My (now seemingly monstrous) 40GB iPod with my new (teeny-tiny) iPod Shuffle.

(that was quick)

Cutest little dock ever

So far, I love this little thing!

Little iPod Shuffle Dock sitting on my PowerBook

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

So long, SBC.... Hello Comcast! 

We made the switch.

After months of considering switching from our SBC phone service to Vonage, we got an offer we couldn't refuse from Comcast, and made the switch!

We had a flat-rate plan on SBC that included unlimited long-distance, call waiting, caller-ID and the message center for $49.95. After all was said and done with taxes, it was around $65/month.

We knew there were cheaper alternatives out there....

We considered switching to Vonage (cue Christopher, singing the Vonage jingle) but never made the call.

Last week, Dick placed a call to Comcast to inquire about his extra sports package, and heard about Comcast's new Digital Voice service.

Comcast now offers all of the same features that we had with SBC, for a lower price, PLUS we get to keep our phone number. Even better, we signed up for a special that offered one year of the phone service for free.

Extra bonus: our high speed internet connection is now even FASTER!

We had the new equipment installed last Friday, and it all seems to work quite well. I even get a cool new feature where I can check my messages online, and have phone message notifications emailed to me. (this will come in handy when I'm working away from my office)


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