Damaged my iPad 2 :(

Boo on Sunday I fell asleep on my couch and I accidentally pushed my iPad 2 off the couch and it fell to the floor. Most of the time this isn’t a big deal since I normally fall asleep upstairs where it’s carpeted. This time I fell asleep downstairs where there is a tile floor. Add to this that my iPad 2 doesn’t have a full cover like my original iPad does so its not nearly as well protected. It is however much lighter and better to hold but that means little when it hits the floor. The damage really isn’t that bad. I dented the corner of the case by the screen and rubbed off some paint. Now the edge near the top right corer doesn’t flow with the rest of therefore which kind of stinks and it is noticeable which stinks even more but there’s little one can do to fix it.

What I am glad about is that the screen didn’t crack. That would have been a total failure on my part and would have resulted in a $700 mistake. As it is, the functionality of my iPad 2 hasn’t been affected in any way. I just have to actively not stare at the corner that has the dent so wont be mad at myself for being so careless. Here’s hoping that when the iPad 4 (yes 4 not 3 because I’m going to skip a generation this time since both of my iPads work just fine for now and meet my needs) comes out there will be a decent protective case from Apple that will provide better protection from falls and the like. I guess ill need to start being more careful when I fall asleep on the couch and make sure that I put the iPad away on a table or something before dozing off.

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Saving Money on Baby Crap

I have definitely come to value the time and money that I’ve spent going to the various classes at my local hospital before I become a father. Not only am I learning hints that will make sure I don’t hurt my future baby but I’m also learning what a scam most of the baby crap they sell in places like Babies R Us is. I think after each class me and my wife have gone back to Babies R Us or some other baby store and have returned something that we previously registered for or have rethought what we really needed.

Prime example are those kits for the crib. Those suckers cost hundreds of dollars because of the sheets, quilts, bumpers, etc. We learned in class that almost all of that is stuff we’ll never use especially since we live in South Florida. Not to mention it reduces the risk of the baby getting SIDS some there are less things for them to roll into and cut off their air supply. So all we did was get a mattress and a sheet and that was it. Mucho money saved! I think on average we are returning things after each class and getting at least $50 back that we can spend on other stuff that we might need. We’re eyeing a Bob Jogging Stroller so that we can exercise and take the baby with us. I’m not a runner so I’m going to be on my bike while my wife runs since that’s her thing. I’m also eyeing my totally wireless baby monitor that has video and audio as well as movement sensors. I can even view it while I’m away for work, now that’s worth the money right there.

I’m sure I’ll find ways to spend the money I saved on my new baby but at least I was able to return things I don’t need or are dangerous. Only 2 weeks to go give or take!

Insanity!


I’ll freely admit that I’m a real sucker for infomercials. Sunday mornings is when I watch these damn infomercials because there is nothing else to watch except for music videos on MTV or VH1. I just happened to be watching one Sunday morning and I saw the Insanity work out videos. I’ve been home for a really long time and the gym in my community is being redone so it had been quite a while since I had done any exercise of any type. I do have 10 Minute Trainer and used it on and off for a year but really wasn’t into it. I guess the thing I didn’t like was that I needed equipment for some of the exercises. I decided to buy Insanity and received it in a few days in the mail but I didn’t get e recovery formula.

I’ve been doing Insanity for about 3 weeks now and I have to say that it thoroughly kicks your butt except for the days that you have off. The program is for approximately 60 days and is split into two different modules. Module one kind of sets you up but by no means is it easy. I was huffing and puffing just doing the fit test which is what you use to measure your progress. All the exercises are about cardio and it really pushes you. I would like to say I’ve gotten better over the past three weeks but its still a struggle to get through the workouts. There is always a warm up and cool down and since it’s interval training, you start slow and once you know the routines for the set you increase the speed of the routine by doing it two more times. By the time I’m doing it for the third time I’m dying but I can tell that I’m getting better since I can complete more reps in the time allotted.

I haven’t seen much of a change in my slovenly body shape yet but then again I’m not really following the prescribed meal plan either. I am starting to control my portions though so I’m not eating so much at every meal. My wife says she sees some subtle differences already but I also have quite a few more weeks to go. I think in two weeks I start the second phase of Insanity where they make it all the more harder. I’m glad I haven’t quit yet and hopefully I can keep on going. Just to make sure I am doing my work outs, I have my own tracking spreadsheet so I can do the workouts if I’m ever away from home and I signed up for Team Beach Bodies web site too. What’s neat is that they gave me a free coach that I email every once in a while to ask about the different aches and pains I feel after doing these crazy workouts.

Once the 60 days are over, I’ll take a slight break maybe but I intend to start the Insanity all over again to make sure I stay in shape and keep active. So far I recommend doing it but go at your own pace, I take a lot more breaks than what is in the video just to catch my breath or if I feels my heart is going too fast. Overall though, I gotta say I’m glad I watched that infomercial.

Still loving Anime

I’ve been watching anime for some time and to me it still never gets old. What’s really great is that the amount of anime available these days in increasing as more cartoons from Japan are being imported and dubbed in English. Some of the earliest anime I recall watching was Robotech. I have all the episodes that were aired on TV and some that weren’t that were released later. I have the books too but they’re a little frayed after years of me adding them. What I like about most of the anime I watch is that it’s big robots kicking each others butt. Most of the ones I watch seem to be that way lately although the comedy ones are pretty good too.

Netflix has been very helpful in keeping my instant library stocked with great anime to watch. I’ve been watching Gundam again lately since they keep on releasing new episodes or new story lines. What I really want to see are some new Macross episodes (it’s called Robotech here). Unlike most other companies, Harmony Gold who has the rights to Macross distribution in US, hasn’t released any of the follow up Macross sagas like Macross 7, Macross Zero, or Macross Frontier. I’ve been able to find them online in Japanese but it would be great to see them in English.

While Netflix doesn’t have the selection of a service like Rent Anime, it has most of the main stream stuff which is what I’m interested in. As long as they keep it coming, I’ll be watching anime for a long time.

Windows XP Stinks

I’ve been a Windows 7 user since the first release candidate and I have to say that it is leaps and bounds over Windows XP. Some of the programs that I use for work still require Windows XP or some of my clients still have Windows XP because they haven’t upgraded yet. Windows 8 is already on the horizon, I remember installing Windows XP on computers back in 2002, in computer terms that’s a really long time ago. I still have Windows XP as a virtual machine on my home computer and it was for testing stuff but it’s become more and more irrelevant to me so I loaded a Windows Vista VM instead for my testing.

The problem that I have currently is that Windows XP is so slow and doesn’t take advantage of any of the newer technologies in computers because it’s so dated by any standard. Under the hood, XP is just Windows NT with some nice window dressing put on top of it. I struggle with it for work but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. Thankfully they are rolling out Windows 7 soon and you can bet I’ll be one the first people in line fore getting that upgrade. What makes me laugh is that they just announced Windows 8, if it’s a game changer you can bet most companies will stay away because it would require a whole revamping of applications so it will work right unless you install it and use the older interface that is just under the covers.

I’ve avoided it for years but maybe it’s time to give OSX a try again. I remember my first computer being an Apple IIC, then I moved on to Windows 3.0 and from there I’ve been a Windows person until I encountered OS9 and hated the living crap out of it. I’ve seen the promo videos for OSX and it might be the time to jump into apple again. I have enough apple products at home already and I’m due for a new computer too since its been almost 5 years since my last one 🙂 the trick is convincing my wife that I need one hehe!

SkyDrive, Microsoft’s Hidden Cloud

I’ve been trying out different cloud services over the past year in search of the perfect service for my lifestyle. So far I have tried Box.net and Dropbox. Both of them serve a specific purpose so far, I’ve divided the services into work and personal areas. Due to restrictions at my current job, Dropbox is blocked so I no longer could use it for work stuff like storing copies of my expense receipts. Hence I decided to get Box.net since that service isn’t blocked. Each has it’s own strengths and weaknesses to be sure but both are decent enough at storing my crap.

I decided to go to my Hotmail account one night and since it had been a while, there were plenty of new buttons to click on. One of the services that I saw that was new was SkDdrive which is Microsoft’s cloud service offering. Just like Dropbox or Box.net, it provides a place to store all your crap and it gives you 25 gigs to boot! That’s way more storage than any of the other service providers by far. I think the reason that not that many people have seen it is because it’s part of Windows Live and it’s really buried in there, it’s not even prominent on the front page of Windows Live or appears at the top of the navigator of services offered.

I’ll admit that I haven’t really tested out the service yet because I already use two, using one more wouldn’t make sense. Not to mention a big thing that’s missing is an app for iPhone or iPad. With Box.net and Dropbox I can see my documents on my iPad easily which is a big thing for me and probably a lot of other people. A lot of apps that I use to edit my cloud files also don’t connect to SkyDrive as far as I know which is also another minus. I guess on the plus side it is a cloud storage service for the masses but it needs to be advertised way better so people actually KNOW it’s out there and can be used to store crap on there. There also needs to be apps for Android, Apple, and webOS devices so that it is more universal. I don’t know how MS will make money from it but I’m sure they’ll figure something out. I hope MS doesn’t mess this up like they have the rest of their online strategy. They need to do some major advertising like they did with Bing to get the word out and maybe do a rebrand of their services or something or at least re-launch their online products to make people aware of their existence.

Even though I have been a loyal Hotmail and Microsoft user for over 15 years, that may not continue if MS doesn’t do something to reach out to the consumer and give us products that WOW is like the Connect did for Xbox360. I saw how iCloud is going to change how Apple interacts with it’s customers data and music and I gotta say I was impressed. Sorry SkyDrive, when you finally get integration with my iDevices and other apps maybe I’ll give you another look but for now I’m sticking with Dropbox and Box.net.

100 Camera’s in 1 is super sweet

I recently came across a great app while I was reading my news feeds in Flipboard on my iPad. It’s called 100 Cameras in 1 which is a photo filter application. The application takes an original photo and adds 100 filters on top of the picture to make some really amazing looking photos. This app isn’t free like most of the other apps that I’ve used in the past. I did quite a bit of research on the app and read lots of reviews and decided to put down the $3 for the app.

I have literally thousands of pictures on my home computer that I’m eager to put filters on. One of the coolest things is that you can layer filters on top of each other making for an infinite amount of filters that can be added to a photo. There are even some controls that can be adjusted so that the picture itself or the filter can be adjusted to change the effect on the picture further. I’ve tried using the app with a few photos that I’ve imported onto my iPad using Photo Transfer (which is way better than syncing my iPads folders) to move pictures from my computer.

Another really excellent option is how you can publish the photos that have been created. It supports export to twitter, Flickr, email, and instagram to name a few. I have been exporting my photos to Flickr for the time being since it seems like a good place to put them so I can link them to my blog posts. I only have an upload limit per month in terms of bandwidth and not an actual limit on how much I can upload. I’ll insert some of my creations into this post just for fun and to showcase some of the filters I’ve used.

The first picture is of a sun set I took in Key West this year.  I added some filters to it and it looks pretty cool, not too far off from the original but just different enough to add a little bit of color and neat effects to the whole thing.  The second picture is of one of my cats that I used to have.  She was just sitting on the couch and I took a picture of her.  I added a lot of layered filters to this one and this old style photo is what I came up with.  I like how the effect was centered on her and then kind of made into one of those old time black and white photo’s.  I might try this with other cat photo’s that I have or I might start doing it with people shots too.  With my camera kit for my iPad, Photo Transfer for iPhone and iPad, I can move photo’s to my iPad for easy digital re-touching.  I will still keep some photo editing software on my iPhone but I think I’ll only be using it for Instagram really because they have cool built in filters that also add borders which is something that 100 Camera’s in 1 doesn’t do.  If they have more control over where the center of the effect is, that would be a great improvement as well as adding borders to the picture but I can do that using other apps after I’ve added all the filters and stuff to get the picture to how I want it to look.  I’ll be sure to be playing with this app for quite a while, at least until my iPad’s don’t work anymore.