24 July 2009

Crossing Williamsburg Bridge

I love walking and especially walking over long bridges. It helps to live in a city like New York. Years ago, when I was done with jury duty early I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to eventually catch the L train to get back home in northern area of Brooklyn. It took me 40 minutes. I was not married and life was simpler. When the Manhattan Bridge was opened to pedestrian traffic, I no longer had the spare time to walk across it just for the heck of it. Same thing for the Williamsburg Bridge. Recently, I had the rare opportunity of killing a few hours while my son and his cousins take their swimming lesson. The pool building is in the shadow of the Williamsbug Bridge and the Bridge called my name so off I went. It took half an hour each way. With its protective fence, the Williamsburg Bridge is certainly not a photographer's dream. With the simple camera in my cell phone, I couldn't snap anything better than the ones shown below.

12 July 2009

Computing Life, Simplified

I have a long road to travel to attain a simpler life. My home office is a mess, I started to upload to the attic, the backyard shack is more manageable but can use some more cleaning, the list goes on. But when it comes to a simpler computing life, I recently achieved one point.

For some years now I've been writing software review for ATPM magazine. I would use a template in NeoOffice so that once it's opened I already have a few lines of text entered, like so


Rating: OK/Good/Very Nice/Excellent
Web: http://www.blah.com/bleah
Price: $
Requirements: Mac OS X v. 10.n Universal.

A true template file when launched would have a name like Untitled, not the template name. You do not run the risk of overwriting the template with data. All I would need to do, supposedly, is sort of fill in the blanks and choose one of the rating. The trouble was that there is a noticeable delay between the time NeoOffice is launched and the template is ready for use. NeoOffice, as great as it is, free competitor to M$ Office and all, is no speed king at startup. Writing is a strange process, a few minutes delay can make the difference between non-stop ranting and raving and having writer's block.

I recently discovered that the system built-in TextEdit works just fine for my need. I would create sort of a template file and open that, whether directly or via Open Recent. I would need to name the file properly lest I lose my "template" because TextEdit opens the file as is. Small price to pay for the instantaneous access to the tool. Besides, when using NeoOffice, the final product would need to be saved in RTF anyway, something that TextEdit already does automatically. NeoOffice is definitely useful for typing combined with graphics and tables etc, but for my simple need, less is more and TextEdit suits me perfectly.

09 July 2009

Meet Sharky

My sister made a scrapbook showing the stuffed toy "Benjamin" my son gave her visiting various places. It's a variation on the Flat Stanley Project. My son liked the scrapbook and wanted to make his own, but he is too easily distracted and never got around to putting together the scrapbook. It is up to me to introduce the world to... Sharky!

Sharky was picked up at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island on a school field trip. Here we see him inside the big box that came with the massage chair. Kids throughout the ages love to play in empty big boxes. Son called it his art club, thus he and a cousin drew all over the box. I provide some whiteboard and markers for them to draw while sitting inside.

06 July 2009

The Angst of Internet Oh-Nine

What do you do when you realize you spent hours wasted on Facebook and other social networks? You make the most of the experience by drawing a cartoon about it, of course!

I must say I am not that much into Twitter. While I did start out on Twitter I found the "conversations" there too messy. I don't see how people follow hundreds of people with Twitter. I only followed a handful and had to drop some people who tweeted too often. I still use the web browser instead of some fancy Twitter client so I don't see threaded messages. I prefer to see a variety of tweets, so if one person monopolizes my Twitter page, off he goes.

Plurk, on the other hand, keeps messages threaded so that you see both the original posts and replies to them. How logical! And no need to do @ and #, just address the person's name and it's automatically highlighted. I even use Plurk to update my FB and Twitter status now. You just have to watch your karma, a point system that probably doesn't mean anything, but fun to maintain. Don't plurk for a day or two and it drops fast, whereas climbing back up is measured in units of .01.

I also spent a lot of time on the reunion for my high school class, Newtown High School in Elmhurst, Queens, New York, Class of 1985. I had to sneak the school reference into the cartoon. Hopefully I'll snare a few more alumni.