Archive for August 15th, 2011

2011/08/15

And here I am…

… composing a really tiny weblog post, from the iPad, using the special wordpress iPad app (“app”), rather than the web page via Safari.

It works better! Which isn’t surprising, but… shouldn’t safari have worked right in the first place?

Back in the old days of (wow what was it even called?) the special quasi-HTML just for cellphones, I opined that it would be short-lived, because cellphones would just get smart enough to do normal HTML; and I was pretty much right.

It’s more complex for “apps” of course, they aren’t just about being lighter weight, but also about being friendlier, better-behaved. But still, why not just have the website work?

Advertisements
Tags: , , ,
2011/08/15

Small arrays of words

It is apparently possible to post here from an iPad! Although not, it seems, to add tags or new categories. Odd little bugs, them.

I got a new telephone in the mail today, because the previous one was literally (by which I mean literally) falling apart.

I got a BlueTooth headset with the new phone, because it was cheaper that way. Apparently. I am still deeply suspicious.

My fancy coffee machine is leaking. Did I mention that M got me a fancy coffee machine the other month/year? Let’s see…

I did! At Solstice 2009, it seems. And now it leaks. These things happen.

Oh, what else, what else? There is so much I have not told you, all of these silent non-posting days weeks months.

I have been in Second Life significantly, I have been in World of Warcraft. I have two level 85 characters (“toons”) in the latter, and my paladin tank is level 74 and rising. Although at the moment I’m bored by WoW again.

Not having cursor movement keys on the iPad is a drag!

I think Google’s silly and inconsistently applied and badly rationalized Real Names policy is ill-thought-out and quite likely evil.

I am distressed or amused by the current Republican front-runners, depending on how detached I feel at the time.

My libertarianness is slipping significantly, as I see the extent that people can gain wealth and power by completely legal means, including means that would be legal even in a libertarian regime, without deserving it in any particularly significant sense. Redistribution doesn’t seem like such an unworthy goal in that context.

(See for instance Warren Buffet on how little taxes he and his extremely rich friends pay.)

The adorable tiny cat, like the adorable tiny children, gets bigger and bigger. (Unlike them she will not be going to college, which is good for the tuition budget.) The little daughter is about to turn 21, which is utterly astounding. (Her New York driver’s license, without the “beware, underage person” banner on it, just came; she is pleased.)

How fast the time passes! An hour every hour, a day every day. At the very least!

Things, all told (not that all has been told), are good…

2011/08/15

this iPad!

I have an iPad! This is not because I am a shiny early-adopter; it is because M is a shiny early-adopter :) and she got an iPad while back, and then I got her an iPad 2 for a recent birthday, so there was this iPad sitting around sort of spare, and so…

I am somewhat gabberflasted by how much I like it, and how much it is changing my relationship to computers and books and the Internet and stuff.

This is not what I expected. I expected that it would be a sort of pointless little computer, with a small screen, no useable keyboard, not much disk space, and an underpowered CPU and GPU.

But what it actually seems to be is a really shiny and smart book, which can get to the Internet when there’s WiFi, let me read various books and maps and play games and things even when there isn’t an Internet, automatically get the latest versions of various periodicals and so on, play music, and really do pretty much everything an actual computer can do except for () World of Warcraft, () Second Life, () Program development, and () Protracted typing of long things.

Which is pretty impressive, for a book! And like a book it has the almost-negligible weight and footprint and ease of use just about anywhere that the big fancy computer most definitely lacks (especially given that carrying around the big fancy computer to use it for the things it’s best at means also carrying around its cooling pad to keep it from overheating).

Over the weekend I took a train to New York City (a very large city in New York), and then walked from Grand Central Station to Pennsylvania Station (the one in New York City, as opposed to the one in Newark, New Jersey, which is confusingly on the same train line as the New York City one), all with my iPad serving as a number of books, and a music player, and various diverting games, as well as (yay free Bryant Park Wifi!) connectivity to the world, and a set of downloaded-on-the-fly maps of the city for use when no longer near Bryant Park.

(Then I took another train to another station, and then a very small train to another station, and helped the little daughter finish packing and put all the stuff in the car, and then I drove the car home again while the little daughter took trains into New York City to see friends, and then another train home the next day to be with us for a bit also yay.)

And the iPad was an extremely convenient and fun and useful thing to have along the whole time.

Of course some of this may be shiny-new-toy effect; we’ll see!

Geekishness: here are some of the “apps” which I have on my “Ipad”:

  • Twitter – ’cause Dale my SL persona likes Twitter; takes all kinds.
  • Netflix – for watching movies (which I haven’t really done yet but it looks kewl).
  • Flickr – which is actually an iPhone app, and when running on an iPad all I can get it to do so far is show random pictures from the site in a little iPhone-shaped window; I mention this one only because I hope is is better eventually (i.e. they have a real iPad app).
  • SomaFM – Listener-supported Commercial-Free Internet Radio! Lots of nice music, again an iPhone app that doesn’t get along perfectly with the iPad, but still, nice music.
  • iBooks and the Kindle app, both with books in them (including both of the little daughter’s amazing Junior Papers snarfed as in PDFs, and also Zittrain’s “The Future of the Internet and How to Stop it” which is basically about why iPads are bad)
  • A great app from the British Library, giving access to entire scanned in books from their 19th Century collection, which is really wonderful because you can see every little blot and grain and British Library stamp, as well as reading the words.
  • A whole mess of little games and puzzles, including Dwindle and The Incredible Machine (now apparently a Disney property!), and Pinball HD (just the free tables), and Unblock Me and sudoku2 and “Swamp Talk”, which is a great little word-forming game that I got free during its free period and I play constantly.
  • TumbleVision – A kaleidoscope; and not just one of those simple modern digital kaleidoscopes that make random eight-way symmetrical patterns, but a fancy simulation of a “glass and wood and strange things” physical kaleidoscope, where the pretty things tumble around in a very physical way and it’s all very mesmerizing. (Additional pretty-things packs cost money, haha.)
  • The Blue Mars iPad app, which seems bafflingly pointless, and “Pocket MV” (“MV” for “Metaverse”), which gives one text-mostly access to Second Life and other compatible virtual worlds, which I’ve played with a little but not quite actually used.
  • Yelp – an app that like tells me about restaurants in places, which is cool in principle but I haven’t used much yet,
  • 700 City Maps – one of those “free” free apps, which gives you maps when you’re attached to the Internet (just like Google Maps, basically, only Open), and also lets you download maps locally, but oh yeah that costs money, haha. Not much money, though; and I downloaded the NYC maps while sitting in Bryant Park, and that was useful.
  • The iPad client for Dropbox, which is a wonderful little thing that cleanly (if perhaps not all that securely, depending who you trust) makes a copy of all of the things that you put into a particular directory tree, appear magically on all of the machines where you have a client installed, and which is a great way to get things onto one’s iPad (although email mostly works too).
  • System Status – the pay-for version, which gives various geeky facts about one’s iPad, like that the battery is 100% charged (for an estimated 10 hours of Internetting time), the drive’s 27.3% in-use, the machine’s been up for over twenty-seven days (I don’t actually know how to turn it off, in that sense, which is fun), there are 28 visible processes running (including the ever-popular usbethernetshari), I am running Darwin 11.0.0 (kernel build 199506), and that something is constantly trying to write to or otherwise modify my iTunes library even though it is read-only (all sortsa interesting groddy stuff in the system log). This app gives me the illusion that I am actually in control of the innards of the machine (whereas in fact Apple is, as Zittrain notes at some length).
  • FileSystem – another iPhone app, that lets me browse and even in some cases look at the files on the hard drive. No idea how much of what’s there it can actually see, but another “pretend to be in control” app.
  • iSSH – so I can log into remote Real Computers from my iPad, which is somehow extremely amusing.

And that’s just the ones that I use or that are otherwise notable; there’s some other ones too not worth mentioning. (And of course there’s Google Maps an’ iTunes an’ a YouTube client an’ the app store an’ stuff that all came with it.)

Whew words, words, words! :) But anyway I have it, and I carry it around with me and listen to music and read words and play games and stuff, and it is fun.

2011/08/15

Come November

One interesting difference here (although it’s a difference of culture or tradition and affordance, not a strictly-speaking necessary difference) is that posts will tend to be smaller, and with titles, rather than, as in the old log where they were perhaps longer, and titled only by date, so that you got “here’s what I’ve thought that I feel is worth recording today” rather than “here’s what I’m thinking right now, about this subject, or at least with this subject sitting there on top”.

(Another difference might be that wordpress might start putting ads onto the pages; if that gets annoying I will consider giving them money to stop doing it. Or moving back to the old site.)

(Also I’m not sure if these pages will validate, HTML/CSS-wise. But somehow I am not as concerned about that as I now and then was, or pretended to be, in the Old Days.)

Anyway! Come November I may be writing another novel. The question will be, what sort of novel this time?

Awhile back, I posted a list of the existing novels, and what each one was sort of subjectively like.

I feel like fiddling with the medium again, at the moment at least, rather than just writing a straightforward story. Not sure just why that is. :)

And of course it may change by November.

But at the moment the playing-with-the-medium that I’m thinking of is using the rather obscure variant of first-person limited in which you get just the narrator’s experiences of the external world, without internal monologue (or dialogue), explanations, or exposition.

I sat up in the bed. A woman in a white uniform brought me food, which I ate.

Another woman came in, and stood at the foot of the bed. She said things. I continued eating, looking at her, but said nothing.

The woman at the foot of the bed said more things, in a louder voice.

Eventually, I said things back.

Could be interesting. Fifty thousand words of interesting? Maybe… :)

2011/08/15

Woot!

So we are going to experiment with a WordPress-type weblog for at least a bit, to see if in fact we post more often and/or get other benefits which more than offset whatever costs (costs?) or disadvantages or downsides (downsides!) there turn out to be.

The original weblog will of course remain there in all of its glory until the heat death of the universe, or other similar event. (If this WordPress thing doesn’t work out, I might go back over there and weblogify over there again; or I might do something else; who knows!)

I will fiddle around with the (what’s the word?) template or whatever here until I like it enough, and then I will put up a post to the original weblog, pointing to this place here.

And then we will see!