January 2010

Thoughts on the iPad

I like the iPad. A few friends and acquaintances accuse me of being stupid and easily fascinated by sparkly objects. Rather than have the same argument over and over again, I'm writing all my thoughts and predictions here. I will speak no further on the subject until I actually own an iPad.


Another year older. I'm solidly in my forties now. It's not too bad.

We've had a few additions to the family in the past year: we bought two more Yorkshire Terriers, named Boo and Tweezer. About a week and half ago, Boo gave birth to a puppy whom we've named Sparky. He hasn't opened his eyes yet, but he's growing fast. So we now have four dogs, which is more than we really want, but I doubt we'll be able to part with any of them.

I've lost thirty pounds this year. I'd like to lose another twenty, but I'm glad I haven't regained what I've lost. As a result of the weight loss and diet, I no longer need medication to control hypertension or cholesterol. So I'm healthier than I was last year, and I hope that trend continues.

My wife decided to put a patio in the backyard this summer. The project grew a little beyond its initial scope, but the result is that we have a really nice backyard now. I like to go out there and read on weekends. It makes our little house feel a little bigger. I still really like it in Dahlonega.

I notice in my "42" entry that I said my career was in a rut, and it still is. However, I will have some opportunity to learn new things at work this year, so while it's still not what I want, at least it won't be completely boring.

Usually when I write my birthday blog post, I can review the last year's worth of blog postings to remind me of the things I did during the year. Unfortunately, this year I decided to limit my blog postings to programming- and technology-related topics, so I don't have a record of the really interesting things that have happened. But I do know that I'm happy, and that's all that really matters.

Objectified: Great Documentary

I just finished watching Objectified, and can wholeheartedly recommend it to audiences of all ages.

Objectified is about industrial designers. Those are the people who design all the stuff we buy. Look around you: that desk you're sitting at was designed by somebody. The mouse and keyboard were designed by somebody. That lamp was designed by somebody. The chair you're sitting in was designed by somebody.

We often think that consumerism and mass production takes the human element out of life, but Objectified will make you look at all those little works of art that surround us. Sure, there may be ten million copies of each thing, made by people in sweatshops, but somewhere there was a person who thought about it and made a lot of decisions. What shape should it be? What color should it be? What texture should it have? Should the edges be sharp or rounded? What should it be made of? How will it be manufactured? How much will people pay for it? What should the packaging look like? How can it be disposed of?

Objectified presents interviews with the people who do that. It may be a little geeky (how many people really care?), but it will give you a new appreciation for all that stuff you buy.

I rented it from iTunes. Next I'm going to watch Helvetica, which was directed by the same guy.

JacksOrBetter as a Web App

A little over a year ago, I created my first iPhone app, JacksOrBetter. As an exercise in learning CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery, I've created a web-based version of JacksOrBetter.