Evangelism at The Swamp

Over the years, I have been accused of militancy in many areas of my life. It started when my friend Joe told me I was a musical imperialist. This came about on a trip driving from Calgary to Vancouver. We did not have the same taste in music.[1] We decided that we would alternate playing a tape.[2] A problem arose when he would start a tape and asked me if I liked it and I would say no. He would try another one and I would still hate it. Then he gave up. I told him to just play his music and it would be fine but he said he couldn’t enjoy it if I hated it. Clearly this all worked out in my favour![3]

I can be a bit like a dog with a bone when I find something I really love. Of course I think this is a good thing. I like to spread the word so to speak. So here are 5 things I am a bit evangelical about:

  • Raw Feeding– it took me a long time to come around to the idea of feeding our dogs raw meat on bones. I finally agreed to it when one of our Shih Tzus had to have a bladder stone removed at age 5. When I saw the stone it looked exactly like a piece of Iams kibble that she had been eating her entire life. I did a lot of research about what causes these stones to form and I learned that her system needed to be more acidic if we did not any more stones to form. Kibble fed dogs have a higher pH because of the carbs in their food. The only way to get a more acidic environment was to feed raw. Se we jumped in and we have never looked back. Our dogs are happier and healthier and our vet bills are much lower. I have written several posts about raw feeding if anyone is interested: herehere, here, and here.
  • Nasal Rinsing – another friend of mine had been trying to convince me to use a neti pot for years to deal with my allergies. I was really suffering once we moved to Maple Ridge because of all the hay. My doctor referred me to an allergist who did some skin scrapings. Unfortunately, due to my ulcerative colitis I am on immune suppressant drugs and he couldn’t get a reaction. So he told me to rinse my nasal passages daily with a Neil Med bottle. I have not looked back. I do this faithfully every day. I also spread the word whenever someone is having allergy problems.
  • Hopcott’s Meat – we have the best meat store relatively close to us. It is all hormone and antibiotic free and it tastes really good.
  • Crocheting – I have become reacquainted with crocheting. I used to do a lot in my 20s and 30s but had stopped for some reason.[4] I find it much more relaxing than watching TV and being on the computer. I can almost get into a Zen-like phase as I create something. Here are some pictures of projects I have completed recently:

Dragon in filet. Pattern circa 1900

Baby blanket

Realta Afghan

  • Apple – my first computer was a Mac Plus. It had no hard drive and 2mb of RAM. Around 1995, I decided to get a PC as I was discovering I had a knack for computers. I even had my own mobile computer repair business for a little while.[5] I stuck with PCs until about 2009. I had noticed over the years that every PC I had became really slow no matter how much RAM or how fast the CPU was. It was infuriating. I did some research and apparently as Windows degrades the machine slows down.[6] The only answer was to format and re-install windows every year. I was not into doing that. The other answer was to get a Mac. I already had an iPod, iPhone and an iPad so I knew the quality of Apple’s products. So I made the leap back to Apple and I couldn’t be happier. Apple gets a lot of flack for its proprietary ways but really there stuff just works. I live happily in an Apple world.

So, for my 12 readers, what things are you evangelical about?


[1] He likes syrupy female singers and I think I was going through my male rocker/folk phase.

[2] Yes, that would be a cassette tape! I am that old.

[3] We had a passenger with us who threatened to get out and hitchhike if we didn’t stop arguing. My dog Tippy was with us too and she liked to dance on people’s legs in the car!

[4] I suspect the reason was dogs…

[5] I discovered that I really did not like going to people’s houses to fix their computers.

[6] Unfortunately, I cannot find the original article I was referred to.

Review: BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform

What is it?

The BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform holds an Apple Wireless keyboard and Apple Magic Trackpad. Essentially, it gives you the same set up as you find on Macbook Pros and Airs.

How does it work?

Basically you snap in your Magic Trackpad and Wireless keyboard.[1] The two devices then sit in the platform. It allows the user to access the trackpad beneath the keyboard just like a Macbook.

BulletTrain Express with Apple Wireless Keyboard and Apple Magic Trackpad

Why should I care?

It all depends on your approach to computing and your style. Personally, I love how the MBPs are set up. I find I am way more productive with the trackpad beneath the keyboard. I tried using a trackpad in place of a mouse but I found it cumbersome and really not all that effective. I particularly found the trackpad problematic if I was working in a spreadsheet application; I would up reverting to a mouse.

The BulletTrain Express feels very solid. It does not move when you are typing and holds both the keyboard and trackpad level. It also provides some much needed wrist support. After 2 days of using it I have to say I am thrilled.

You could also effectively use the BulletTrain Express as an input device for a computer in the living room or media centre. It is totally lap friendly!

The only thing I don’t like is that the BulletTrain Express does not house a full-size keyboard. I do a lot of work with numbers and I need a keypad. I have purchased an SMK-Link Bluetooth keyboard/calculator.

That’s all great but how much does it cost?

The BulletTrain Express costs $79. However, you also have to purchase an Apple Wireless keyboard and a Magic Trackpad. The total setup cost: $223 and with the Bluetooth keypad is about $300. Not inexpensive. But if you already have the trackpad and keyboard and can live without the number pad then you are just looking at the $79.

So how do I get it?

You can order it here.

Conclusion

I love this product! Quite often I am disappointed in tech products as they are not often as they are described. This product is different. I noticed this right from the beginning. The product was on back order and when I emailed to find out when I would get mine, the product creator called me. We discussed the Express and he was confident that I was going to love. He was right. So, if you have used a MacBook Pro and loved it you will love this set up for your desktop.


[1] These items are not provided.

Review MacBook Air

What is it?

The MacBook Air is Apple’s answer to the netbook. However, where most netbooks failed, the MacBook Air soars. The Air is an ultrathin laptop that is built for portability and function. It sports a full-size MacBook keyboard, including the backlighting as the MacBook Pro. I bought the 13-inch with 256 GB of flash memory.

How does it work?

The MacBook Air works just like other laptops with one major difference. To create a laptop that gives the user a great experience while focusing on portability something had to be sacrificed. In this case, Apple chose to nix the hard drive. Instead, the Air relies on flash memory. At 256 GBs, the Air’s storage is quite small.[1] However, it is not meant for hoarding loads of data. If you need to access or keep lots of data then you can connect a portable hard drive to the thunderbolt port.

Apple has steadily improved the MacBook Air since its inception in 2008. With this new line they appear to have hit upon a winning formula. The Air is light and streamlined and its zippy performance rivals the competition.

Why should I care?

If you attend meetings, make presentations, or need to work in different places you will love the MacBook Air. I was at a meeting last night and 3 of us had new MacBook Airs. We had one projector and sharing it was so easy with the MacBook Airs.

If you hate having your arm pulled down by a heavy laptop or dragging a wheeled bag around. If you ever hesitated to take your laptop because it is too clunky then the Air is the answer for you.

That’s all great but how much does it cost?

The Air is more expensive than other netbooks. However it is comparable to other full-sized laptops. The entry level is $1199 in Canada. It comes with all of the typical Mac software like iPhoto, Garage Band and iMovie. Plus, of course, you get the superior performance of a Mac.

So how do I get it?

You can order it from the online Apple store or go to your closest Apple reseller!


[1] The low end of the line sports 64 GB of flash memory.

Published in: on January 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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