April in a nutshell.

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Things have been, well, pretty close to the ‘normal’ baseline here at casa positively atlanta georgia through the month of April. I looked up and noticed that I hadn’t added to this fine collection of journal entries since the getting an iPad and enjoying it in the backyard post. So what’s been happening? Okay, in 10 seconds: Convivial meals with family and friends. Birthday fun. Hike in the north Georgia mountains with neighbors. Wandering through the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. Opening up and adding new RAM and storage to a Mac Mini from Seattle. Lots of rendering animation at 1920×1080 (that’d be HD 1080i to you.) helping a friend get a new water pump so she could return safely to Lexington, KY. And…more settling in with that semi-magical iPad device.

Writing amidst birds on a glare-y morning.

Monday, April 5th, 2010

I decided to start the morning out in the back yard with a cup of coffee and that device that I’ve been, well, anticipating seems like such an insufficiency…shall we say salivating over? Really, really wanting to get my hands on? That’s more in the ballpark.

As a specialized device, as opposed to a “replacement” for a laptop or netbook or phone, the iPad is wonderful and indeed gives me that same sense I had after I dragged the first Macintosh home. This is new, different, and it may not have all the answers now, but it certainly can serve as the container for those answers when placed out there in a healthy stream of developer creativity, a modern marketplace for digital ideas. And as you may have read, there’s some question as to whether the Apple-controlled system of app development and approval—give them $99 a year to be allowed to put stuff out there, and then only distribute your apps as approved chunks of binary through Apple’s own store, interface, and forbearance—is open enough, and for me, the jury is less out on that than it is on the question of being able to get your stuff in and out of the machine with (as the modern dev kids like to say) as little friction as possible. It took quite a while for my desktop machine to manipulate the thousand or so JPEGs i wanted in our photo library before it was willing to slide them over…and that felt like a lot of friction to me.

And then there’s the whole question of this fine, high-resolution led-backlit screen and whether this is indeed superior to, say, the Kindle’s approach that uses something fancily called ‘e-ink’ but basically is just a low power display that can be read out in glorious black and white in the bright glare of sunlight.

Which brings me back to this beautiful Atlanta spring morning, out in our back yard.

Serenaded by every bird sound effect on our yard’s library, invigorated by the smell of morning coffee mixed with flowers in bloom, I was able to read the morning’s news with the tablet perched in my lap, but when the time came to bat out these few paragraphs painlessly on this new device, well, the batting was painless (the onscreen keyboard supports my high speed hunting and pecking well), but the visual it presented was less than crystal clear. In order to type comfortably, I have to put the device down on our backyard table, and as the angle of pad surface to sky becomes more perpendicular, it becomes more problematic. As I type to you now, looking down at the table, I am also simultaneously looking up at the large budding tree that looms over me…because I can see its reflection quite clearly in the iPad’s very glossy screen. This certainly contributes to a feeling of being one with nature, but it does make it a tiny bit hard to read what I’m writing. Indoors, the screen is plenty bright to blot out that effect, but out here, Our Friend The Sun seems to have other ideas.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an impossible task. And it’s way readable enough for me to, say, walk around the yard and catalog our weeds into a comprehensive database, but when the primary concern becomes angle of typing vs angle of seeing, then you get this kinda superimposition effect that as I sit here, I’m bemused to say I’m getting used to, a bit. Boy, we humans can be adaptable when we have a new thing to mess with.

Hmm…what are these..hey, little dots of pollen are falling on the iPad! Ah, springtime in Atlanta, when nature conspires to cover up all of man’s technological folly in a fine coating of yellow.

I came back inside and Sammy, looking at this very page, said “you may want to proof that a bit,” and sure enough, when I looked at this post on my large desktop screen, I saw a few ‘deVices’ and ‘i’s and other corrections to be made—and I should point out that I had to come in here to add the photos—taken with our iPhone—to the post. Would have been great to be able to just poke the phone and send them to the pad and from there drop them in, but I guess that breakthrough is for another day.