Love a new solution

I’ve been wandering around for months, since the summer really, trying to understand how I was going to get the RSS feeds I like to read showing up seamlessly between my Mac and my iPad.

During the summer, when I was away at the cabin, I had my personal Mac with me and I easily kept up with all the news that I deem worthy of reading. But when I travel for work, which is a lot, I can’t really be lugging around 2 laptops. (My company prefers all personal software applications not be installed on work issued hardware.)

Enter my personal iPad. It is entertainment at your fingertips. I take it everywhere with me. But, the program I was using to read RSS feeds was not synching at all, (let alone seamlessly as advertised), between my Mac and my iPad. I became so hopelessly behind on my reading, I didn’t dare open up the program for fear that the unread number would be 5 or 6 digits long.

All the while I kept thinking, there has to be a better way. Now I should clarify for all you “google everything” people out there – I know. Meaning I know you guys have the perfect solution already bundled up in your google account. But way back when, I started on yahoo email and I am not going to have another account just to have sync services work properly.

So today, I had the morning to myself and I was determined to conquer this problem. And I did. Welcome to PULP. For $15, ($10 for my Mac and $5 for my iPad) and not even 10 minutes of my time – presto! All my problems are completely solved. And the best part is that I really, really love the look of this program. The way you navigate, particularly on the iPad is amazing, pictures for everything, it is down right sexy. Can you say that about a computer program?

But seriously, it is really the simple things in life that are the best. I had a problem, (albeit took months to find the time and it was nagging at me always), and I solved it without anyone else having to help me. And now I can say that I really do love the solution.

Old friends

It is what I like most about social networking. Finding, (or them finding you), old friends.

It was not that long ago, that the effort required in keeping up a long distance friendship involved quite a bit more effort. For those who are my age, you remember the time it took to painstakingly write the letter, post it and wait for the response.

Now we are keeping up so instantly, that when I get my sister’s emails that summarize a week of her life, it is almost “old news“. Except that she doesn’t social network, so there is no way of knowing what is going on with her unless I get her email updates. Darn, she has me there. She will not join in and play with us, not matter how hard we try. My husband even started a FB page dedicated to the people who wanted her to join. No amount of pressure can make that woman change her mind!

But I digress…

What I like about all the different avenues of interaction over the web, is the opportunity to connect and communicate on so many different levels, at your own discretion. With a few words you can let someone know you are thinking about them. That can really make my day.

So for me, technology has made it far easier to revive and enrich my friendships, and that is some pretty good stuff.

Feel Good Radio

Ever since I decided to create this blog and focus on “the good life”, I am noticing good things everywhere I look. The latest is 97.7 on the FM dial in Calgary. It is called “Up”, (as in turn it up), Calgary’s feel good radio.

On my latest car trip in and out of Calgary, I had 3 hours or about 300km to kill. The really nice thing about the prairies is that the land is so flat that you can get radio signals from very far away. (You thought I was going to say the best thing was that you can see your dog run away for a week!) I lose radio about 3 blocks from my house as I descend the hillside to the beach away from the signals in Vancouver.

This radio station is a pleasant surprise. The song choices are really feel good music, they made me smile. And I did find myself turning it up, so the marketing is more than hype. (That in itself is a treat!) When I leave Calgary, I am going to try to get this on my iPad/iPhone app Tune-in Radio where, through wi-fi, I can get radio signals from around the world.

Life on the light side

That is the light colour case with the little glowing apple missing a small bite.

How did we go from not owning a single device just a mere 20 years ago, to now having:

  • 2 iPhones
  • 2 nanos
  • 1 iTouch
  • 1 iPad
  • 2 MacBook Pros
  • 2 other black cased laptops
  • 1 windows desktop that we call “Blaze”

Only 27% of these devices are not made by Apple, not sure why that happened. Other than to say, we have completely bought into the genius of the Apple marketing machine. And if it is that simple, then I am fine with it. There is not a day goes by when I am using one of my devices and I gladly express how much I like it. It makes my life easier and more fun in so many different ways.

It should be noted that although the list of devices does seem excessive for 4 people, (2 of them children), I can explain. One of the iPhones was provided by my work and they may want it back at some point, but I’ll gladly buy it, (I LOVE it). One of the nanos is AWOL and the other is so hopelessly 1st generation it sits in a drawer. The iTouch is closely guarded by my son as “his” but it did start out as mine. But I didn’t need it once I came into ownership of the iPad, (which I love beyond words to explain fully). Then I needed a “home” computer just for me, so the first MacBook Pro entered our life this Spring, (I am not even counting in this list the MacBook Pro I use for work). MacBook Pro #2 came into our lives on the weekend….it is running the Beta version of OS X Lion and will be for my son’s use this fall to and from school, (Grade 5 – can you believe it?)

I wouldn’t say we are dependent on these things, I remember very clearly what it was like to work without them. But I would never have dreamed of sitting here tonight typing out a post for my own blog using my own portable computer. I used my iPad for recipes/menus tonight while cooking dinner. My phone is on the go from morning to night, (it never rests poor thing).

When you take all these things together, it is pretty good stuff as far as I am concerned.

WhatsApp?

The only real criticism that I had once heard of an iPhone was the lack of chatting ability like Blackberry Messenger. Valid concern, but not a real one. Enter WhatsApp, a cross-platform application that allows everyone to chat using “a data plan” no matter which smart phone device you are using, brilliant! Whats more is the push technology that allows instant messages, from anywhere in the world.

On a recent trip through Asia, I linked my phone to the free wireless in my hotel and then downloaded videos of my kids getting their MMA belt promotion. Added to the fact that I can be in contact with my husband without paying per text message. (On Canadian plans it can be very spendy.)

To all my family and friends, please get this app for your smart phone so we can start chatting!

http://www.whatsapp.com/

Too organized?

The other day I was getting pretty frustrated by having to organize 4 people in my house. Just me, no problem – I can do that with ridiculous jet lag, in a foreign language, pretty much with my eyes closed. When my husband travels, I can manage the kids on top of my schedule with relative ease. But when my husband comes home and decides that my son needs another sport, on top of everything else, I’m tapped out.

So in desperation the other day, I started searching for an app. Someone else must have had this problem before me. Sure enough, there is an app called “cozi” that drives off a website where all your family appointments are kept. Brilliant! You can send emails or texts to remind family members of appointments and even send out a week at a glance. Shopping lists, to do’s and notes to post pictures, as well as a whole website of ideas about organizing a family!

It is the miracle of the internet that I was able to connect with people, (or the fruits of their labour), that are just like me. It is a lonely road being the one running around trying to keep everyone going in the right direction. I feel like a herding dog.

This morning our first grocery list was created. My son opted out of laundry and with iPad in hand he checked off everything and made sure we got all the list items at the store. He thanked me for letting him come grocery shopping. I’m sure the novelty will wear off, but for today it made for a very nice experience.