Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Club and My nookColor

Friday night I had book club. Really we are just a bunch of ladies who get together, eat dinner and drink a little wine. Some of us actually read the books. I am included in the "some." In fact, I am the one who is known as "the one who reads the books." I find this awfully funny since I wasn't a reader until I was over 30. I seem to be a late bloomer in a lot of ways. I am sure my teachers would think it is funny that I am the one who is known as the one who always reads the books. My nook has made it even more convenient for me to read the books we choose as well as many more in between our meetings. In fact, I am reading books that I never would have read because of my nook and the Barnes and Noble Free Friday giveaways which gives me the opportunity to download a free nook book every Friday. Of course it is a book of their choosing, but it's free right? A few weeks ago, I actually downloaded Thirteen Envelopes by Maureen Johnson which I didn't realize was adolescent lit until I started reading it. It was actually pretty cute and was a fun read. It was probably a pretty good move on Barnes & Noble's part too because now I want to read the sequel.

Thank goodness, my book club's been choosing books that I can actually download although I have had to pay for them. I am still having issues as many are with the cost of e-books. One would think it would be less expensive to download a book than to to buy a paper copy, but it is awfully convenient and I like that. You can't use coupons either which is a bummer. I guess I should see if the books are on my local library system for download so I can save money.

On Friday we discussed our most recent book, The Necklace, Thirteen Women and the Experiment that Transformed Their Lives by Cheryl Jarvis. It was a good read for a book club because it is a book that you need to discuss. I don't know that I would have read it on my own. It was a story about some women in California who went together and bought a very expensive diamond necklace. It was really about women who come together, social dynamics, sharing, and philanthropy. I don't know that I would recommend it just to read, but I would recommend it to a group of women to read and discuss.

Next month, we are reading The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski What I love about my nook is that I was able to come home and download the next book immediately so you know what I will be reading this week.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Who Should Buy the iPad 2?

If you are thinking about buying the iPad 2, you should read this article. It is short and to the point which is always good. It does a great job of listing who should buy the iPad 2 and why someone may not want purchase one.

Personally, I could get caught up in the hype and fantasize about owning this shiny new "cutting edge" device. I am a gadget girl after all. Who doesn't like to have the latest and greatest as well as have the new challenge of mastering yet another device? There are a number of reasons why I won't own one and a couple of them are in this article. One of the main reasons though is the cost of the device and the cost of the data plans. I am already paying a hefty fee to my carrier for my Droid's data plan. With the iPad I could just tack another $40 onto that bill. My current plan is what they call the "unlimited" data plan which is really 5 gigabytes if you read the fine print. No one who carries any of these new devices really has unlimited data. 5 GB doesn't go very far in the video arena which is one of the key reasons to own an iPad. I can't watch videos on my current device due to the data limitations so how am I going to do it with an iPad? Let's imagine the data overages if I used it for Skype! I don't think people take that all into account especially those who see it as an entertainment device for the kiddos. I know several people who have purchased the original iPad for their kids. My kids know better to think the iPad is in their future unless they plan to pay for it and the data plan. At that point, I think they will be off my mobile phone plan. They would love to have a smart device and that isn't happening in the near future just because I don't want deal with the extra cost or any overages. They don't remember the day we had AOL 15 hour a month limitations so how can we expect them to understand 5 GB limitations? Until we get the bandwidth costs down for mobile devices as well as limitaions, I don't see myself owning an iPad. Plus, I am a bit of an open standard's girl.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Motorola Xoom vs iPad 2: Let the Dueling Begin

I haven't had my hands on either one of these nifty little devices and if someone wanted to give me one, I wouldn't whine about either one. Both the iPad2 and the Xoom look like great devices. They don't replace the laptop, but they seem to be on their way. Personally, if I was planning to buy one, I would probably go with the Xoom just because I am such a big fan of my Droid and the Android platform and the open market. The only drawbacks are right now is the inability to load my iTunes library, view Hulu and watch Netflix. All that really means is that I am carrying two devices so I can listen to music and downloaded videos and if I want to watch streamed content I wait to use my computer or my Roku box. That really doesn't even bother me since I don't want to charge my Droid constantly and if I really want music, I do have Pandora. There are a couple of great blog entries reviewing the iPad2 and the Xoom at Computer World where their finding is that the Xoom is the winner in this duel. Personally, it may just be a matter of taste, but you be the judge.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

How Many Email Addresses Do You Have?

I can answer that one! Toooooo Many!

It started out easy enough. In 1994, I got my first email account with my local ISP. They were bought out by another company so I was ported over to the new ISP's domain name. You can still find remnants of those old addresses out on list serves if you search for them. I left that ISP, but not before I signed up for Yahoo! email so that I could do Yahoo chat and build a webpage for my class reunion. I also wanted web access so I could check my email elsewhere and my ISP didn't offer webmail until later on down the road. By then, I also had a Hotmail/MSN account I used for IMing and it became my Junk Mail account. I use it to sign up for stuff and when I need to have an account to download software. Somewhere in there, I went to work for the university and they gave me an email account. The university didn't have webmail either. That didn't happen until 1998 or 1999. After that, I got my first Gmail account (remember you had to be invited) which was really going to be my crafting and business account for Stampin' Up. As many of you know that new career was short lived, but the email address remains. At about the same time I got my Gmail account, we switched ISPs because we were able to get wireless broadband out in the boonies. This led to another email account, but I also lost one because I ended my contract with my old ISP. Last year, I got my DROID which led to another email account. You had to have a Google account which I had, but I didn't want to use the crafting account because no one would know who I was with such an obscure name. Well, most people wouldn't. I also couldn't get my Yahoo mail on my phone at the time because I am cheap and didn't want to pay for the premium Yahoo! account. Why would I when I could just get another Gmail account? So, I did just that and started changing my email over to that account. Because I am cheap and won't pay for the premium account with Yahoo! I still can't forward so I am still getting some mail to that account. In the end, this makes 6 email accounts. Really, who needs 6 email accounts? Because of this, Inbox Zero will never happen for this lady!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just What is a Victrola?

Two weekends ago, we had a floor full of college students up to our little cabin at 49 Degrees North and we were talking about technology and the changes in technology. Imagine that! So somehow we got on the subject of downloading music and watching videos which then led to how easy it is to copy due to the evolution of technology and how portable technology is today.

I went on to tell them that they didn't invent the mixed CD because I was doing that in the 1970s with my little cassette player plugged into my radio or my stereo output jacks when I was in 7th grade. Not that I invented it either, but like most kids, I used to call Sunshine Shelly on KJRB, request a song and then record it when she played it on the radio. AM by the way! I went on to say that prior to tape players, it was much more difficult because people had record players and you couldn't really record from record to record. This led to my story I share with all of classes every semester about my oldest daughter, who was 12 at the time was asked to dust the victrola one Saturday morning. She replied, "What's the victrola?" I then pointed out her great grandfather's victrola in the corner of the living room which was passed down to her father. Of course she got the family history lesson as well. She then said, "Oh, I thought that was the big CD player."

The students listened to the story because what else are you going to do when you are trapped in a one bedroom cabin with an educator who truly feels the need to educate and who is giving you free room at board near a ski resort? Besides that, these are really polite young adults who still respect their elders. At the end of the story they too asked, "What is a victrola?" Fortunately, I have a smartphone and I could have Googled it to show them, but in the end all I had to do was explain to them that it was an old fashioned record player that you had to crank to play. After which I asked them, "Do you know what a record player is?"

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Finding Grandpa Thanks to Technology

Lately I have been spending a lot of my personal time exploring my family history. In 1919, my grandmother, Virginia Pearl HUGHES CANTRIL SPAIN was adopted into a rather well to do family. Shortly there after her new parents split up leaving her to live with her father. Her father died when she was a young girl which left her to grow up in a Catholic boarding school. Years later, after my grandmother married, she became the mother of an only child. That child was my mother who had two girls. Needless to say, we are a small family and my grandmother always wondered if she had any siblings.

My grandmother died almost 10 years ago. While she was living, I began trying to put her family puzzle together as she had been in an orphanage at 6 months old prior to being adopted. Between that, her family situation, and having been told by a family friend that she had a brother, she desperately wanted to know more about her "real" family. I probably began looking as soon as I had internet access in 1994. I know it was about that time because I run across discussion board posts on local community sites and Rootsweb I put up way back when. Unfortunately the internet was in its infancy and there wasn't much to search and I was busy raising my three girls so I didn't have the time or funds to travel.

It is amazing how times have changed. I am still searching for my great grandpa and grandma, but I seem to have moved closer to my goal. I have a name with the help of an old adoption record and a wonderful woman in Colorado. Our family now knows we are looking for Jerry SMALDINO and Theresa PICCONE Smaldino or maybe Teresa who we know lived in Denver. Thanks to new scans from the Denver Directory at Footnote, I know where they lived the year my grandmother was born and I know that Jerry was a laborer. After 1919, they disappear. Thanks to Google Maps, I can even see the actual street on which they lived. Thanks to Google Street View, I can see the actual house in which they lived with Teresa's family. Thanks to the Denver public records, I can tell it is the actual house because I found out that it was build before 1919. Thanks to progressing technology, I can do this from my big comfy green chair in my warm home.