Music and Words

January 27, 2010

Thoughts on the iPad

Filed under: Words — melomania @ 9:59 pm
Tags: ,
Image from gizmodo.com

Image from gizmodo.com

Like many others in the tech world, I spent the morning obsessively waiting for the Gizmodo live blog to update, getting annoyed when the error on the page prevented it from updating automatically, and muttering to myself. As a completely unqualified not-professional, I am now going to post my response to the product for the rest of the unqualified internet to read.

First, the most obvious:

The Name

“iPad?” Really? That’s the best you could do?

There are already maxi pad jokes flying around the internet, and “iTampon” is what’s currently trending on Twitter, above iPad. Go figure. All I’ve got to say is, some marketing executive should be very concerned about his employment status.

Twitter Trending

The Look

It’s pretty. It’s an Apple product, so of course it is. They make that a priority in their development of both hardware and software. Some are complaining that the bezel on the edges is just too wide, but personally, I’d be glad that I’m not pressing things accidentally while I’m holding the thing. I do that all the time on the iPhone. I look down at it and go, “Why is that doing that? I didn’t…oh wait. I picked it up. Right.”

On that note, the case they showed for it is pretty nice too. It looks attractive, and the stand gives a functional solution to the “how do I hold it” question.

The Software

It’s using the iPhone software, which means it’s something that many, many people in the world are already familiar with. (75 million, according to Steve himself.) It’s also very intuitive right out of the box even if you haven’t used an iPhone before.

The Apps

It’s using the iPhone apps. And the SDK is allowing developers to create new apps that will also sell in the App Store. No new storefront to navigate, no new place to put in a credit card number, no new password to remember.

iWork 2010

I really like the iWork suite already, and the whole concept of creating presentations using multitouch sounds awesome to me. Not that I create presentations…ever…but now I want to try it.

Brushes

Again, I’m not a painter or even remotely close to being an artist, but I want to try it.

eBooks

The iPhone is great for reading eBooks, but the screen is too small. I feel like I’m constantly turning pages, because I’m a fast reader and there’s only about 20 short lines of text on a page. I want a bigger screen if I’m reading on the thing. And the idea that I can view newspapers with the formatting the way it was meant to be – that is cool.

Kindle is now the only eBook reader that adheres to a special proprietary format, and that may get Amazon in trouble. We’ll see. Lots of people love the Kindle, obviously, so you never know.

The Battery Life

10 hours of battery life? While watching video? That’s awesome, right there. My iPhone won’t even get through a whole day if I’ve spent a lot of time using it (like obsessively refreshing webpages, or watching video).

The Price

I was fully expecting this product to be pushing $1000, so the fact that it’s half that means I’m a lot more likely to buy it. Also, the fact that it’s not available for 2 months means that I can save up the $500 and not feel guilty about buying it.

Games

This is going to be so cool. This is going to be awesome. The screen is big enough that you can really get a lot of detail packed into the game, but it’s multitouch, so you can still find new ways to interact with the games. I don’t even play games all that much, and I’m still excited.

The Keyboard

I’m not sure about this. I’ve gotten used to the iPhone keyboard but I can’t touch-type on it, nor do I expect I’ll ever be able to – because there’s nothing to feel. Isn’t that the whole point of touch-typing? I could spend more money and get a keyboard (because I don’t already own a Bluetooth keyboard, just a MacBook) but I’m not sure I want to. Of course, I could just use the thing for a while and see if it makes me crazy.

Actually, what I’m not sure of is whether it still does the iPhone auto-correct thing. I like that and I think it would help the adjustment to the virtual keyboard.

Video

Watching video on this thing is going to drive some people up the wall. There will be huge flame-wars on the internet after it finally comes out about why the aspect ratio is awful and the device is therefore awful, and why the people who hate it should just shut up. My dad, for example, will complain bitterly. (He still complains about our 2-month-old HDTV, which forced him to switch from 4:3 to 16:9.) I can hear it now: “That looks all wrong! Look at all the black around the video! What were they thinking?”

Personally, I really don’t think I’ll care. I don’t have time to watch TV much, so when I do, I don’t spend that time griping about how it looks funny. I zone in and just watch the pretty moving picture on the screen, rather than paying attention to that black space around it.

iTunes Cover Flow

I never got used to Cover Flow. I don’t even use it on the iPhone. I prefer the list view, for some reason. But I’m excited to see the implementation for the iPad. I think the iPhone screen is too small for me to see what album I’m looking at, for one thing, and the 10-inch screen will solve that problem. In fact, it might inspire me to find album art for the songs I downloaded illegally happen to have that don’t already have the covers associated with them. Maybe.

The Overall

This device is designed to do email, web browsing, and cool multitouch stuff, and do it well. I think it hits that mark. It’s also going to do work – the iWork suite isn’t called that for nothing. It looks like it does that well. It doesn’t seem like it’s designed for college students who need to have Pages open to view their notes at the same time they need a browser window open to take a quiz on those notes, although the lack of multitasking abilities isn’t surprising to me. It’s running iPhone software, basically. It even looks like an overgrown iPhone. Sort of like an iPhone in the super-absorbent, overnight variety.

I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist.

The Problem

I want one. I really do. I’ve been thinking that all day.

I don’t need it. I have a laptop, and I don’t even use that nearly so often since I finished college. I have an iPhone (that I use constantly) and I have absolutely no need for another gadget. None whatsoever.

But I want it.

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January 26, 2010

Gas Fireplace

Filed under: Words — melomania @ 9:50 pm

Her: “We should light the fireplace.”

Me: “Ok, sounds good.”

She walks over to the fireplace.

Me: “You need the lighter.”

Her: “Oh, screw it. I thought you just turned the knob and that was it.”

Me: “Well, you can if you want to blow up the house.”

January 24, 2010

Interpretations

Filed under: Words — melomania @ 10:33 pm
Tags:

I need some literary help.

Remember that project I said I was working on – the Harry Potter one?

Well, I’ve managed to run across a line in one of the books that I’m not sure how to interpret. It’s been interesting, of course, rereading the books, because I get to see all these little things that make so much more sense now, or I see how the original assumption was wrong. But there’s one thing that I’m just not getting.

(Actually, let me clarify. I’m no genius, and although very detail-oriented, I do still miss things. There are probably a lot more than just one thing that I’m not getting.)

Also, if you haven’t read the series or seen the movies, don’t read further. I can’t imagine that anyone who hasn’t read the series cares about spoiler alerts, but just in case, I’m warning you now.

At the end of the sixth book, when Dumbledore and Harry return from their Horcrux-hunting journey and the Death Eaters invade the castle, Draco Malfoy breaks into Dumbledore’s office with the intention of killing the professor. After a long discussion of “ways and means,” as Dumbledore puts it, it becomes pretty clear that Draco is not going to be able to go through with his orders to kill the headmaster after all. Of course Draco still doesn’t want to admit to that, and in a moment of terrified bravado, he reminds Dumbledore that he is wandless, and Draco has the power in the situation: Dumbledore is at his mercy.

Professor Dumbledore responds, “No, Draco. It is my mercy, and not yours, that matters now.”

As most of the literate world knows, the Death Eaters storm into Dumbledore’s office, followed by Professor Snape, who turns his wand on the headmaster and kills him.

My problem is that I don’t know what Dumbledore means by this statement.

I have a theory.

Now, if you haven’t read the seventh book and don’t want to know how the whole series ends, stop reading here. The spoilers are about to go beyond what the movies have shown so far.

I’m wondering if it is related to the deal that Dumbledore cut with Snape. Dumbledore’s death was planned between them, which meant that Draco Malfoy would not have to murder anyone after all. In doing so, Draco’s own life and the lives of his parents were saved because he did not fail completely in his task – Dumbledore was dead. They were disgraced in the eyes of Voldemort and his Death Eaters because Draco didn’t do it himself like he was told, but at least they lived. Was Dumbledore referring to this plan as an act of his own mercy toward Draco?

It is clear that Dumbledore would not have wanted this young wizard to do that kind of damage to his soul, and during that scene it also becomes clear that Draco wasn’t really prepared to do it to himself.

This is the only thing I can think of that seems to fit the situation. Actually, the more I think about it, the more it seems logical. Anyone have any insights or other suggestions?

January 21, 2010

Are You Sure?

Filed under: Words — melomania @ 12:52 pm

Yesterday, my coworker walked in to work.

Me: Hey, I need to talk to you about [insert student name here].

Coworker: No, you can’t kill him.

Me: Darn.

January 10, 2010

Writing

Filed under: Words — melomania @ 10:53 pm
Tags: ,

I have a project I’m working on. There’s a whole backstory to it, but the short version is I’m a nerd. And probably a masochistic one. The medium version is that I have decided to do a literary analysis of the Harry Potter books. I’m working with some good points and ideas, but unfortunately I’m a procrastinator at heart.

I thought that after I finished college I would have lots of time to do other stuff (like working on this crazy writing project) because I wouldn’t have homework anymore. I was half right.

When I get home from work, I’m usually tired and I don’t want to think about anything. Generally, I’ve just spent the last 9 hours thinking and would really like to sit in front of the TV and absorb some Bones. Or House. Or Burn Notice, Doctor Who…you get the idea. (Actually that line about absorbing some Bones sounded a little weird, so just ignore that.)

I’m currently working through the 30-day free trial of Scrivener to organize my thoughts and ideas and such, but because I’m a slacker always tired, I don’t exactly have many ideas and such to organize yet. In my defense, however, I’m still working on rereading all the books and pulling out handy quotes. That would be going a lot better if someone-who-shall-not-be-named hadn’t borrowed the fifth one a long time ago and is apparently never home so I can get it back. Moving on…

I’m thinking I should set a goal to write a certain number of words every day. Kind of like what everyone else in the country is doing this time of year, only theirs is related to exercise, not writing. (Which I should be doing too, but instead I’m going to commit to spending MORE time on my butt in front of the computer. Go me.)

Problem is, I don’t have any clue what a reasonable number of words would be for me. So far, this post is over 300. (Really? Already? That’s not so bad.) I suspect it would be good for me to decide on a number for the month of January, and then raise it each month. And then change to an editing goal once I actually have content that I could edit.

Speaking of being tired, look at the time! If I don’t get to sleep soon I’m going to be dead on my feet tomorrow at work. 400 words was pretty easy, actually. Maybe 300 to 500 would be reasonable and I can adjust from there.

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