Thursday, July 28, 2011

I would like an invite to Spotify:

I'd appreciate it if any of you can give me a Spotify invitation. I'm already to go, with the Spotify app on my iPad.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

iA Writer: Terrific for writing on an iPad:

If you want to draft some writing, or edit what you’ve written, one writing program is far better than all the others: iA Writer, by Information architects. Their program adds one more line to the keyboard, and these keys make all the difference:
Move one word forward or back
- ; :
apostrophe, and smart quote signs
open/close parentheses
cursor keys to move one CHARACTER right or left.

These keys make it so much more easy to use a soft keyboard. All Apple apps should have the option of adding this line of keys. The keyboard keys are still large (leaving relatively small space for the text itself when the keyboard is up), but if you’re at all serious about writing, you know that seeing less text can be a benefit, not a hindrance.

This is the program that turns the iPad into a producer, not just a consumer!

Please note that you’ll find many reviews online complaining that this program does not support smart quotes. Well it does now, unless you’re British.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NFL Madness:

The wild free-agent week for the newly unlocked-out NFL is generating the best preseason publicity the league has ever had. But time is short, and there has been understandable confusion. During a raucous, hastily-called press briefing, the general manager of the Greedbay Packers shamefacedly owned up to his hasty signing of Carlos Beltran to a free agent contract. Taking sharp questions from the press, he insisted that Beltran could still help the team.

In a possibly related story, rumor has it that owners are responding favorably to an unusual proposal for a change in the rules that govern field goals.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Major League Ballplayers are different from You and Me:

I heard the Yankee's play-by-play announcer say: "Granderson's had a perfect day. Two singles, and hit by a pitch."

If a major league pitcher hit me with a hard, ninety-mile-per-hour ball, it would not be a perfect day. Ouch.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cardamom Water:

Add a pinch of cardamom powder to ice water and mix well. delicious!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Camry:

I play a license plate anagram game. I apply a rule for generating six letters from license plates with four letters and two digits, and then I try to form a six-letter word from those letters. Recently, I saw a plate that I could not make into a six-letter word, but I was able to form this:
A Camry
Of course, I checked out what kind of car it was:

A Honda Civic.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chip, Chip, ... (the Mets):

The Mets have dealt their closer to the Brewers, which has the happy result of saving the Mets from having to pay him another $17 million. I heard a lot of analysis about this move today, and the focus was on all that money, but I think that this trade signals something more important.

The Mets brass have given up on winning in the playoffs this year, and they are planning for the future. Here’s how we know that: the Mets have played way above themselves for a long time. On paper, they are barely a .500 team, yet they are holding their own, and better, against some pennant contenders. What this “no name” team has going for them is chemistry. The players have bonded somehow, and they are a self-supporting group. If you want to win, you do not mess with the chemistry.

Trading your closer, when you are not sure how you are going to replace him, definitely messes with the chemistry. So we know that management has given up on this year. And I agree! I’ve seen too many seasons where the Mets played really well till past the trade date, then collapsed. They are not a good team this year. It’s more important to get some help for the future.

The tricky thing for management is to give away some of their players without raising the ire of their fans. So they will make the next deal after the Mets lose enough games to suggest that this years’ bubble is over. If by some miracle the Mets keep winning, I suspect management will sigh and ride the increase in rabid attendance to the end of the season.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Please Invite me to Google+

Please Invite me to Google+ . I'd like to start using it.

And by the way: if you spill your coffee, it's okay to cry over it. Perhaps that's because it has less nutritional value than milk.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Forget about whether the Mets should make an offer to Jose Reyes:

Mets fans and the announcers and columnists who follow the team are having a field day deciding what sort of offer the Mets should make to Reyes. One announcer, using rather colorful language, said the Mets should offer the full $150 million or so for seven years, even though Reyes would not be worth it after about four years, because the first few years would be so exciting.

Forget this speculation. Here’s the bottom line: I’m sure Reyes does not want to re-sign with the Mets. He can play for a much better team next year, and on a better team, he will be a more potent player. Reyes’ current contract with the Mets is a poor one for him, and the Mets’ failure to greatly sweeten it must make Reyes want to play elsewhere, anyway. Trying to keep Reyes is futile.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Harry Potter Filibuster:

What a strange name, but that’s what Princeton Public Library called its public reading of the first Harry Potter book. They scheduled it for 9:30 a.m. To 7:30 p.m., today, but I believe they finished before six. Many of the readers were children, avid Potter fans themselves, and I shall call this a memorable occasion.

I signed up to read out loud and got the second slot, 9:45 to 10. I dropped by later to see how they were doing, and they asked me to read the 5 p.m. slot, very near the climactic battle of the book. I had to come up with nine voices, and I must confess that I did not distinguish Ron and Harry very well. My voices were:

Harry, Ron, Hermione, Narrator, Snape, McGonagall, Peeves, Neville, and Harry imitating the Bloody Baron.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

My first experience with Applecare:

I got a surprising look at the depth of thought that Steve Jobs put into the iPad this week.

When I got my iPad, I was spellbound by the care that went into its design. It is so much prettier than any other computer I have used. Even the packaging was pleasant, and I saved some of the package inserts because I liked their looks. The ease of setting the iPad up and the consistency in its interface have made me a Mac fan.

When I bought the iPad, I decided not to buy another 32GB, in order to buy the Applecare support package. I thought I was buying insurance against some weird hardware problem that Apple would not want to fix for everybody, some strange mistake in the iPad 2 design for which I would want favorable correction terms. I had no idea.

I made my first call to Applecare support because the “Pages” iPad app refused to email a document to me. Pages told me that I needed to specify an email address in “Settings,” and I had done that.

My problem was diagnosed for a while by a support person, and then I was passed to a supervisor. It turned out that the Pages program was telling me the wrong thing. (If you’re curious, Pages gets its email address from the iPad “Mail” program, where at least one address must be defined and turned on.)

The supervisor thanked me for my patience, gave me his phone number, and encouraged me to call him for any kind of problem. In talking to my two Applecare guys, I never had the feeling that they wanted to get me off the phone as soon as they could. And that’s when it hit me:

We know that the iPad has succeeded where all of the previous tablet products failed, because the iPad was conceived as a Media device, something more advanced than a TV set, something that ought to be easy to use like a TV set. There’s a lot of software on iPads, making them somewhat complicated beasts. Apple (make that Steve Jobs) knows that keeping the iPad simple to use requires providing excellent support. And the kind of support I experienced keeps the potential customer base as large as possible, easing the way for many users who are not computer experts.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

I knew it would fit:

My mother-in-law firmly believed that they never made anything as good as they used to. I wonder what she would think about my current PDA/Phone carrying case.

When I travel on the NJ turnpike, I always check out those vending sites that sell small leatherette cases. I’m very particular about how I carry my cellphone and my PDA. I want to put them in a double case. The small outside pocket (some say a phone should not be carried too close to your body) is for the phone. The inner pocket has to be large enough for my PDA, and most double cases are not large enough. I also require the case to have a sewn belt loop; not a velcro-closed loop that can fall open and cause me to lose hundreds of dollars-worth of electronics.

My previous case was large enough for my PDA, but it was ostentatiously large. So I was happy to find a much smaller case that looked just the right size. After I bought it, I realized that I had not, as is my usual custom, actually put the PDA in it to make sure it was large enough. Well, I had already bought it. I slung it on my belt and tried to squeeze the PDA in.

I could barely get the zipper over it. It was an incredibly tough fit. “No problem,” I told myself. (I’m an optimist.) “The case will stretch.”

Wow, did it stretch. A few weeks later, I can’t imagine having any trouble with that zipper.

If the case stretched that fast, how long will it last?