Conversations with my Mother

As I can’t blog about what I really want to blog about (I am working on a fix for that), I decided instead to bring you the conversation I had with mother tonight. She and my sister, apparently, have decided that my mother should join She needs to upload a picture, which my sister sent to her already. This picture is a picture of another picture. Which is very bizarre as both of them own scanners and my sister has a kick-ass one. I guess she has not yet figured out how to use it. Here goes the conversation:

Mom: I need to get the picture of a picture of a picture that Kathy sent me. It is on my iPad.

Me: You need to do it from your computer.

Mom: But it is all on my iPad not on my computer.

Me: Mom, just because you used your iPad to set it up doesn’t mean it is only on your iPad. is on the Internet. Go to your computer and open up the email. (I will save you the play by play of this activity)

Mom: Ok.

Me: Download the picture to your desktop so you know where it is.

Mom: How do I do that?

Me: Open the picture

Mom: (lots of fumbling and muttering) I have it open. It is called DSC … Bmp.

Me: (I start to open up Parallels and Windows as I fear I will have to remote in). What is the name of the program that opened the picture? Maybe MS Paint?

Mom: Google Chrome?

Me: Let’s connect the computers ok? Open up MS Live Messenger.

Mom: Is that in the control panel?

Me: No. You need to press the start button and go to all programs. Scroll down until you see the Windows Live folder and open Windows live messenger.

Mom: Ok, I see it. Should I open it?

Me: Yes, open it and sign in.

Mom: It’s wrong?

Me: What’s wrong?

Mom: It has my

Me: That is just the address you used to set it up. It is now like your user name.

Mom: Ok, I have it opened.

Me: Hang on. I am trying to get into windows. It is very slow.

Mom: Are you in yet?

Me: Yes, I have sent a message. Do you see it flashing at the bottom of your screen?

Mom: Yes.

Me: Good. Now, look at the top right-hand corner for the drop down arrow that lets you select Actions and then Request Remote Assistance.

Mom: Do you want me to hit the X?

Me: No! Look underneath for the drop down arrow under the X. We just did this on the weekend.

Mom: It’s not there. Let me open it again. I need to sign in again.

Me: No you don’t. You are already signed in.

Mom: No I’m not.

Me: I can see you. I just sent you another message. Can you see it?

Mom: It says ‘I can see you.’

Me: Right. Now go to the upper right hand corner and hit the drop-down arrow.

Mom: It’s not there…

We went through this loop several more times with no success.

Me: Send me the picture and your login and password for

Mom: I can’t it is on my iPad …

Me: *head*desk*head*desk*head*desk

I think computer companies should reward adult children of seniors for assisting their senior parents adopt technology! Being tech support for my 75-year old mother is getting to be very, very, very trying! She does love her iPad though!

Angry Birds

Ok, I have to say, Angry Birds is completely addictive. I am playing it every time I have a spare moment. We are also watching So, I do not have much to blog about. Check back tomorrow.


Today is the day that Civilization V is released. While my iPad is updating to iOS 4.2, I am going to be downloading and playing Civilization V. I have played every version since the beginning. It has always been one of my favourite games! Catch you all tomorrow!

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘cold and windy’ edition

  • I love my job but I have to say that I hate board meetings. They are getting better but still leave a lot to be desired. The only good thing is that they happen only once per month.
  • It is too freaking cold out there. I know that no one really listens to us Lower Mainlanders when we complain about the cold. personally, I don’t care. Minus 3 is damn cold here because it is so damp. The good news is that our drainage is working quite well. We still get some flooded areas in the heavy rain but it resolves quite quickly. This is a very good development. While me may live with mud for the winter, it does bode well for the spring and summer.
  • I am still amazed at how much I use my iPad. It is constantly with me. I no longer dread an hour long wait in doctor’s office anymore because I can play silly games like Ranch Rush 2. I read books on it, I read blogs, and, most importantly, I play Qrank everyday!


Some Tech and Software Updates from the Swamp

iPad – I am completely and utterly in love with my iPad. It goes everywhere I go including different places in the house. I had thought I would not use it for meetings to take notes or work in a different place but I was wrong. I have now purchased the small Apple Bluetooth keyboard. I decided against the one with the dock as I prefer the iPad landscape and you had to take the case off in order to use iPad. That seemed like a pain in the ass to me. Instead, I purchased a stand that is amazing compact. The other day, I had an hour to kill so I went somewhere with wifi and worked there with my iPad and the keyboard. It was great. The small Apple keyboard is so light you don’t even notice it in your bag. I love, love, love my iPad!

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 – I wasn’t going to buy this but I changed my mind. I really liked Apple’s Pages but Numbers really did not work for me (Apple iWork’s answer to Excel). Plus there was some familiarity of working with Office that I missed. It is quite difficult to switch word processing programs after many years. Office 2011 seems much more stable than office 2004. The templates in both Word and Excel are professional looking. Having used MS Office since I purchased my first computer in 1990 it feels familiar to me. I having to do a little re-training as I have been using for Pages for months. It also seems like they have put back some features that have been missing in Word for some time. The ability to pick up and move text boxes and graphics is back. I am not sure why they stopped including that feature but I really hated it when it was gone. I have noticed that the Mac version of Word does not offer the ability to format text (bold, underline, italic etc.) via the right-click. I liked this feature wish it were in this version of Word. Excel for the Mac 2011 has put back the formula entry bar (or whatever it is called). I have no idea why this was removed (you could turn it on but it was a floating bar) from the default look of the program. I really do not like editing in cells. I just finished using it for my budgets and it was great. It also looks like charts and graphs would be easy to create. The one thing I really missed in Pages was the format painter. That tool is so great when you are trying to correct formatting but it just won’t work. So far, I think Office 2011 for the Mac is pretty good.

Civilization V – will be out on November 23, 2010!! Need I say more?

Dispatches from the Swamp – the dry hacking cough edition

I took Molly to the vet today. She has always had a coughing issue. Sometimes it will get worse but it always resolves and goes back to a baseline level after a while. Perhaps it is because I am home this week but her coughing seems really bad. So, wanting to give her some relief I took her to the vet. At 21 she is healthy. Her coughing issue is due to a collapsing trachea. The vet also said that the more she coughs the more irritated her throat gets and the more she coughs. So we will try a hydrocodone cough syrup. Dosing is difficult because Molly weighs just under 8 pounds. We had to get a liquid because it is too hard to get a pill in sixths. Liquid medications and Molly are not a great mix. Oh and she has yeasty ears. Not bad for a 21-year old dog!

I have to say that I am completely and utterly in love with my iPad. I cannot believe how long the battery lasts. It does not seem to lose much of a charge when it is idle. Reading blogs and books is definitely a low-intensity activity. I am still playing some Plants vs Zombies. I have not found another game to replace it yet. I really enjoy having it at my finger tips whether it is to check email, read blogs, check the weather etc. It is also extremely versatile, for example, it will play my the .wav files that Shaw sends me every time we get a voice mail. I really enjoy playing Qrank in the morning to engage my competitive nature. We have a household competition going!

It has been a year since we made the big switch here. You know, the from PCs to Macs. I have to say it has been a great year in the Apple world. Both my iMac and my MacBook Pro are as zippy today as this time last year. I still have my PC knowledge and can fix them when necessary like my mother’s computer or the ones at work. However I have to say that I much prefer the Mac OS. It wasn’t until I bought a Mac for work that it really sunk in. Now every time I sit down at a PC to do something it seems to take a very long time. Plus the seamless integration with so many other Apple devices along with the superior hardware enhances the Mac experience in a way that Microsoft can only dream about.

I cannot believe how freaking cute our dogs are! See the evidence below:

Beautiful Madison at 18 - she gets more beautiful as she ages
He is so proud of his little bad self
Doing the pug slouch - she is the expert!
The adorable Miz Molly!
Very handsome
Sawyer all flaked out.

A month with the iPad

The beautiful iPad

I read an article in the September issue of Macworld (another good article here). The article had several people discuss how the iPad had changed their lives. Like me, many of them could not see a use for the iPad, that is until they had one. At first pass if you have an iMac, a laptop and an iPhone what on earth could you do with an iPad that you can’t already do with those other devices. I also wondered how I would fit the iPad into my day when I was already using so many other devices. Within a month the iPad has become completely ensconced in my life – I don’t leave home without it.

First off I use the iPad as my calendar. It has an awesome, almost beautiful interface. In landscape mode it looks like a typical agenda. With push notifications turned on, anything I enter into my iPad is quickly synced to my computers. I find that I use it first thing in the morning to check my email. Sometimes I get emails that I need to act on or that my impact my day. Having access to them as soon as I get up is great. I could have used the iPhone for this but the battery drains so quickly I would be constantly charging it. The iPad, on the other hand, has a great battery that lasts for a long time.

To me, the iPad shines as a media delivery tool. Creating media is definitely not its strong point. I have been reading the blogs to which I subscribe. I am not much of commenter so reading them on the iPad works really well for me. It has taken me a while to find a reader that I like. Some of them emulate google reader. One, Reeder, uses stacks and takes advantage the pinch in and out features of the iPad.

Whenever we go away I take my laptop. The next time we go somewhere I don’t think I will need it. As long as there is wireless internet at the hotel there is no reason. If we were staying in a place where the internet was wired I would need the laptop and my extra router to set up a network. Even though I had my laptop with me last weekend and set up, I still blogged on the iPad. This was a surprise to me.

I love reading books on it too! The nice thing is that you don’t need a light on. The iPad may settle many marriage bed battles when one wants to go to sleep and the other wants to read. You can adjust the font and the point size. You can also make the background sepia. You can also download other readers so you are not stuck with Apple’s iBooks. I have the Kindle reader which I like too. It is great to be able to carry books with you to read especially when you are stuck waiting.

The great thing about the iPad is its portability. It seems to go everywhere with me. I now play Qrank every morning in the bathroom after checking my email.

My favourite thing about the iPad is the games. I have been completely addicted to Plants vs Zombies. I have also spread the addiction. There are also iPad versions of perennial favourites such as Civilization and SimCity. The iPad versions don’t really offer anything more than the computer versions that I have seen. It seems to me that games designed for the iPad are the best.

In a very short amount of time the iPad has completely taken over my life. It goes with me everywhere I go. I take it to work and to other places where I might have to wait. For me, the iPad is primarily a media consumption tool. I don’t think I would use it for anything much more intense than replying to an email or writing the odd blog. I do think that the iPad is the beginning of computers being so portable and accessible that they will change our lives. It is an exciting time indeed.

Do you have an iPad? If so how is it fitting into your life? If you are into it I would love to have more people to play Qrank with everyday! You can play on an iPhone, iPad or through facebook! Let me know if you want to play!

Review of iPad and the Apple Magic Trackpad

Regular readers (all 8 of you) know that I purchased an iPad a couple of weeks ago. While I was pretty sure I was going to like it and find lots of uses for it I was not prepared to love the iPad.

I decided that I was not going to take it to work with me. I didn’t see the need to lug it back and forth until I saw the calendar application. It is one of the most beautiful computer applications I have ever seen. I now use the iPad exclusively for scheduling. I love all the different views and the ease of entering appointments. It is a much nicer application than the one for the iPhone.

I love reading books on it. Making the page sepia and making the font bigger makes it really nice to read on. I am a little disappointed with the selection of books in the app store but I am sure that will change over time. I went looking for vintage John Irving but there was none. I also love the fact that you can download a sample of a book. I don’t know how many times I have bought a book only to discover that I can’t stand the author’s style or the story is boring. This feature is an excellent way to find books you actually want to read.

Games on the iPad are an amazing experience as well. I love the tapping actions of games like Plants vs Zombies. I am now playing Sally’s Salon and I downloaded Farm Frenzy – I can’t wait! I have also played some word games like Text Twist as well.

Hands down my favourite app though is Qrank. It is a daily quiz of 15 questions. It has become an addiction at my house. Some of the questions are based on current events which, makes it much more interesting.

Now onto the Magic Trackpad. I ordered it as soon as it came out. I love the trackpad on my MacBook Pro. I find it very intuitive and fast. I could not wait to attach the trackpad to my iMac at work. As soon as I started using it hated it. I found it slow. It turns out that I am much faster with a mouse than I am with a trackpad. I tried it for 2 days until I realized that I was avoiding using the computer because of the trackpad.

I have to say that I am shocked by this realization. I thought for sure I would completely love it. I am not sure why I like the trackpad on the MBP but not the Magic Trackpad. The only thing I can come up with is that the trackpad is small on the MBP and the proximity is close. Deb is now trying out the Trackpad to see if it works for her.


When a minority group has struggled for acceptance for a very long time it is so surreal when you see yourself reflected in popular media. Integration is defined as: “the intermixing of people or groups previously segregated.”* I have known that I was lesbian since I knew what the word meant. I also knew that being lesbian would not be acceptable in my family let alone society. In my lifetime, I never dreamed that homosexuals would achieve any measure of acceptance within society let alone any level of integration. I am sure you are all wondering what has led to my discussions of integration. Sometimes it is in very simple and strange ways that integration presents itself. I recently purchased an iPad. I enjoy playing games and I had played “Sally’s Salon” on the computer. When I saw “Sally’s Spa” I immediately downloaded it. “Sally’s Spa,” like a lot of these games, uses customer profiles. As I was playing, I came across a customer type called the “lovebirds.” For gameplay, they are inseparable and so they must be served together. When I first saw them I did a double-take as they looked like 2 women. I wasn’t sure so I decided to wait until I saw a close-up of their faces. Sure enough, they were 2 women. I am sure the significance will be lost on a lot people. For us queers, seeing ourselves represented in a computer game is very significant. It means that we our presence is no longer deemed so abhorrent that we should be kept in our closets. I do believe that the fact that the characters are women is because lesbians are not as much of a flash point as gay men. This of course speaks to the invisibility of women and their sexuality but that is an argument for another day. Seeing representation of lesbians in moderately popular iPad game in no way means that things are all rosy for us lesbians. One only needs to look at what has happened to Tory Inglis of New Westminster, BC. She has been told by her church that she is “promoting a sexual lifestyle.” Clearly, there is a long way to go. Not only for gay, lesbian and bisexual people but also trans and gender-variant folk. It is, however, nice to see that we are making some progress. *Definition came from the Apple dictionary on my MacBook Pro