Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm gonna miss these guys....

I learned today that the PC versus MAC ad campaign is over...and Consumerist suggests that its partly because the PC  'family/office' guy was just too charming to make their 'with-it' Cool Dude come off as favorably as they would have liked.  Too "Smug" was how they described 'Mac.'  Maybe their personal experiences  with some Apple fans or Steve Job's rep have colored their thinking. I didn't see MAC actor as all that smug. He seemed to have some friendly feeling toward the other fella, even a little embarrassed when he knew the answers he had to give would make the other fella feel bad. That's what made the series of ads soooo cute.

This is not to say the series of ads didn't have some flaws. What I saw was a failure to communicate several major truths...the Apple isn't just about 20's-40's yuppies / techies creatively playing with their machine.

1) Apple machines have been GREAT for kids and educating generally. Didn't they have the first grade school programs?

2) Apple had the first big business software on a small computer - VisiCalc- and can still hold its own

3) Many techies have said they loved their fruity machines because of their reliability and robust performance in rendering data and images.

4) Apple's focus on making their products work intuitively 'right out of the box' makes them a fantastic computer for older people too.

5) The non-techie conservative middle-aged office guys I've known would have appreciated an Apple just fine, given the chance to run one, as long as they were also given the impression that their custom would be appreciated...

Also - many of the 'points' they make have obvious answers:

1)  PCs are all over the map with performance and reliability, because every machine is a different configuration. What Mac was calling a "PC" apparently meant "Windows" OEM package  experience w/ HP/Dell/Gateway etc  ...because...

2) You can add all varieties of boot-up abilities out of the box with a custom-built pc. You can also have webcams, zip drives, &; other handy stuff setup for you. You don't have to have a bunch of stupid trials on it either. All options are open to those who build their own...

3) Many of the other brags (resistance to viruses and spyware) could also apply to computers running Linux, something Apple never addressed.

4) PCs can be built up or down, meaning that some are bound to be better than 'pre-set' Apples at certain tasks, including video editing....and didn't I hear that

5) ...the other big difference, the Mac OS, is now often being put on regular computers? Apple hasn't okayed this as yet, but many people are hoping they will finally relent and make the OS generally available to other types of computers. I do too.

IMHO  'Cancel or Allow' was definitely about  Vista versus Leopard...not every style of computer in the world except for hardware Macs. Everyone knew it. It was one of their most amusing ads, but its mislabeled.

I personally believe that Apple's Leopard could still be a real rival for 'World's Favorite OS' - but if they do it will probably be as a result of allowing big name providers to ship with it, and this is likely to hurt some of that iron-clad reliability rep they enjoy. Then again, they are already getting a taste of shoe-from -the-other-foot...and I am sure it tastes as much like dirt as when Microsoft first got one upside the head.  I am referring to the fact that Apple is now big enough to be getting some of the security attack flak from the real bad guys out in the world, especially stuff aimed at iPods, iPads, & iPhones...but also Apple computers. You still don't have as much risk as you do with the world's most common OS, but there is reason now to get security upgrades. Not everything Microsoft OS machines fight with is all their fault. There are always more security hazards when you are the biggest potentially profitable target. It would have looked better if the Mac ads had granted this point more graciously, because everybody already knows this. Besides, it could be Apple's turn one day.

I kinda hope they bring these guys back after a bit. maybe once Apple has rethought a few things.

You know...a lot of people think of themselves as both Apple & PC. Everyone loves the iPods and iPhones. Many households/offices have both Macs & Windows machines. Many more people would like to be Apple people but lack the moola or can't find a Mac port of their favorite programs. [The increasing ability of the Macs to run Windows programs has improved this situation, but more is needed.]

I started my computing life with AppleIIe  and AppleIIc. Like many of my generation, I still have HUGE warm fuzzies for the Apple brand, but I could never afford a good one...which is why I am still a PC, however reluctantly. In all honesty, however, a number of my PCs have been very good to me, very reliable, especially the HP packages. They've earned some appreciation in our household too [though not enough to make us buy a Vista machine :P]

Remember Hewlett-Packard, Apple? The guys the great Woz started out working with? The company that gave Steve Jobs some of his first breaks as a kid?

When you come down to it both guys in the ads could have worked for HP, Microsoft, Apple, Dell, or about anybody... The actors didn't really define the average users of either machine. I suspect both the capable IT guy and the charming business manager would be very popular in their own departments. They seem like real nice guys. ;-)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Russian Border Guards Protect....Mt. Ranier?

DH's contribution. He found this extremely amusing. Thinking about it, a gaffe like this was inevitable some day, given the way people randomly use stock photos for layouts.

In other news, DD has shared (on her blog) some pics of her lovely roses and a few thoughts about them.

Portal (Puzzler game) free until May 24th!

I received this message from a friend recently, read it yesterday, and after getting set up I spent quite awhile playing it last night. Haven't seen anything family unfriendly as yet (and I am on level 15 of 19). You have to download the Steam browser to get it, but this is also free AND they have some other free games once you do. Steam has an excellent rep on the net, so that part doesn't concern me. btw Portal isn't really a shooter. You only 'shoot' where your portal goes on the wall or floor, and knock over a robot or two. This video explains, though its a lot more hectic-looking than anything I have seen in Portal yet ;-)

EDIT:: Got to level 16 (finally) and it suddenly got rougher. You have to avoid these robots..and when you don't you see your character's blood splattered on the walls :( level 15 its pretty much kid safe.

The other free games are listed here:  There's a racing game and a real-time strategy thingy, and a version of the casual classic, Peggle. Please note that while the usual versions of Peggle are safe for all ages, the free 'Extreme Peggle' Steam offers has 'scary monster' graphics added. IMHO the worst is the opening scene with something apparently trying to eat the unicorn's head. Gave me an extra grin given my recent blog post....


You will notice a mention of Nvidia & ATI card games on the post...both get the same freebies aside from Portal...which used to give half of the game only to Nvidia people.


If you have an NVidia graphics card, you might want to pick up your Nvidia special first if you care about the Half Life 2 episodes. The current free Portal promotion seems to be making things a little more complicated for some folks.

First impressions are that most of Steam's free games are PG-ish, and/or guy-centric...but I felt Portal was worth the trouble. It really is a fun thinking game.  :-D

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

(Cool quotes Gwabbled.)

All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother. -Abraham Lincoln

My mother is probably the wisest person I’ve ever known. She’s not schooled, she’s not well read. But she has a philosophy of life that makes well-read people seem like morons. -Gene Simmons

The older I get the more of my mother I see in myself. -Nancy Friday

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. -Honore de Balzac

A mother’s love is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking, it never fails or falters, even though the heart is breaking. – Helen Rice

The love she has deep in her heart, Always gives me a good jump start, She is the one who’s love is true. Thank u Mom for being u – Anonymous

Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn, Hundreds of bees in the purple clover, Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn, But only one mother the wide world over. – George Cooper

Mommy, I Love You For all that you do. I’ll kiss you and hug you Cause you love me, too. –Anonymous

A man’s work is from sun to sun, but a mother’s work is never done. – Author Unknown

Mom’s smiles can brighten any moment, Mom’s hugs put joy in all our days, Mom’s love will stay with us ever and touch our lives in precious ways… – Anonymous

A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. – Tenneva Jordan

If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden. – Attributed to Claudia Ghandi

My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. – Graycie Harmon

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs… since the payment is pure love. – Mildred B. Vermont

My Mother, my friend so dear, Throughout my life you’re always near, A tender smile to guide my way, You’re the sunshine to light my day. – Anonymous

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. – Sophia Loren

An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest. – Spanish Proverb

Saturday, May 08, 2010

And this week's word is...


Unwittingly, I have chosen one book after another that focuses on gatherings. The current mystery, Murder Makes a Pilgrimage, is set at a religious 'Holy Year' gathering...which turns out to be a lot like a con. Steve Jobs' bio before that discussed conventions too. The author used the special announcements for the Apple faithful at their yearly gatherings to highlight the changes at Apple & Pixar as the years went by. The mystery before that one, Stitch in Crime, was set at an 'arts & crafts retreat' (sure played out like a regular convention). Now the mystery before that one (Bimbos of the Death Sun) I knew was set at a sci-fi con....and it inspired me to finally dig Uhura's bio out of the TBR pile, but the others were a surprise. I am not sure whether or not I should count Auntie Mayhem, because the psychologists convention in London isn't where the major events take place. Its the English family reunion the cousins attend afterward that turns out to be dangerous. heh.

Since the complaining & social politics are faithfully recorded AND because somebody croakers in each of the mysteries, it doesn't make me feel bad not to be there. Just the long arm of coincidence, I suppose. This is the time of year I would have been creating crafts, firming and finalizing details with the planning committee to prepare goodies for my fellow fans, though sadly this included a mouthy clique of ingrates who (even if catered to) wouldn't appreciate anything unless they took it over. Some of my best creations didn't even get shown in the last years. I didn't feel very appreciated by then, especially since I did a lot of the work in the Fall and someone always used it and took credit for it in the Spring. The final straw was when we took up the hat to buy special souvenir golf discs one year and I not only didn't get paid back, but I didn't even get credit for my generosity on the list of donors. I was finally given one disc by another planning committee a Christmas present. Not missing THAT scene....but the fun ones I used to attend as a fan... yeah, maybe a little ;-)

Actually, even if it hadn't gone stupid, I wouldn't have been able to keep up working for free on 'fun' committees. Tom's health problems got serious in Fall 2004...and have only lightened up in recent months. I thought we were done completely the other day, but that one last spot opened up again so...saline bandages for another week I guess.... I am going to get him back on his Unjury protein powder, I think.

Last summer's hernia surgery turned out to be a lot bigger a deal than we expected...and after healing up from 7 major surgeries (and a dozens of other minor procedures), his endocrine system had already crashed (the previous year) which majorly slowed up his healing capacity. More months on the Wound-Vac followed his release last summer. There's just so much a body can take, and he was a miracle on legs even when it began. His insides have made medical history. His survival says awesome things about the power of God (and many good things about Dr. Shah) Yes, I have had 6 years of changing bandages, overseeing medicines, transporting Tom to and waiting with him through doctor's visits, check-up tests, and otherwise acting as primary care nurse. I just didn't have the mental concentration or physical energy to focus seriously on projects outside my family's needs...nor were the funds really there with DH in the hospital over and over. We did qualify for assistance but I have had to scale back a lot of things. At least he got a hospital bed out of the deal. Everyone still wants to play with it. ;)

& I did pick up my crochet, starting with a blanket made for Tom's hospital beds (I added a band around the outside afterward). (Yes, I know it looks like knitting. What can I say? I was a bit tense...)

I am still not nearly as good as my mother, but i have made major progress. These are the first 'craft-intensive' blankets I have made for the family since the 90's. (I had also made a few simple ones for friends and family from pre-printed fabrics.) Since finishing Tom's single crocheted blanket , I have made double-crocheted ponchos for the family & double-crocheted blankets. Crochet is great stuff. Its relaxing to do and relaxing to use.. Just ask our cat Louis...

We couldn't have made the 'fun' trips to these big cons either, though there are tons of get togethers in our area. Hardly a month goes by that there isn't a festival, Colonial re-enactment, Civil War demo, or a gaythering o' lords & ladies fayre ;-) Even Tom has been able to wander by several & play of an afternoon, so we haven't missed out completely..

Hard to say when we will be up for anything more again. Right now we are back to re-planning with the disability people. Its been good news lately. Looks like he qualifies now for retraining..and while he is doing that I can pick up my projects and see how that goes.

Got Any Recipes for....?

Should I worry that I find this very funny?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Letter E

An email treasure shared by Darlene...


It has been said that the letter "E" is the most unfortunate character!

It is always out of case, forever in debt, never out of danger, and in trouble all the time. But it can be considered in another way

"E" is never in war, but always in peace. Moreover, it's the very center of honesty, and ease begins and ends with it. Best of all, God's love, mercy, and grace all contain it. It is in the name
that is above every other name, Jesus and is found in the gospel of our eternal redemption, Eternal life, begins and ends with it; and who could write about heaven without it. It has a place in hear, believe, repent, confess and be baptized, arise, newness of life, prayer, learn, practice, death, resurrection and reward!