Friday, August 26, 2011

Allergy Diet Update:

Yes, I do have another post I'm working on and hope to post that soon, but I wanted to follow-up on the allergy diet post I made a few months back.

This new fangled diet has been pretty extreme.  The grocery bill has gone up, to be sure.  I consume lots of protein (eggs, almonds, chicken, fish, beef, etc.) and fruits and veggies and very little grains and no refined sugars.  This has been most difficult at family dinners and social events where food is served, as I often have to eat before going as I never know what's going to be served.

Nevertheless, I'm feeling great!  I have energy throughout the day without the need for afternoon tea/coke and many of my sinus and other allergy symptoms continue to fade away.  I've also shed about 20 pounds (and may still lose some more).

This is a completely different lifestyle and it's taken a long time to adapt.  But so far, I'm really lovin' the results!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

ipad 2!!!

Yes!!  Just a few days ago UPS delivered to my door to first Apple product.  I've always kind of a silent protest against Apple for some of their business practices, but after doing a lot of research, talking with people who know me and my needs, I decided to purchase an ipad.  Below are some of the facts of the purchase as well as some thoughts I have after just 3 days of use.

Ipad Size: 64gb - wifi only
Main uses: Music, Apps (productivity and games)

Initial Thoughts:
itunes sucks.  It really does.  I've been using the Zune software for 4 straight years and there's seriously no comparison.  ALL of my music has correct metadata in place, yet the itunes software continues to show some artists in multiple ways (Example: Sleeping at Last and Sleeping At Last both appear as separate artists).  Even after the painstaking task of changing some of them within the software, the problem continues.  I'll continue working on a solution for now, but call me slightly frustrated that version 10.x itunes still doesn't work well on a PC.

Outside of the music files, some things don't want to sync well to the ipad.  For example, today I tried to sync some PDF files to my app through the itunes software via a PDF reader app I purchased.  Within itunes it provides a list of apps that allow me to sync files/resources to the ipad.  I select the PDF reader app and it provides a pane for me to place files in.  Click on the icon within the pane and windows explorer opens up for me to choose what files I want to sync. I Click on the file(s) you want to sync, itunes locks up.  Hard.  Hmmm...drag and drop the files to the pane, and they sync immediately.  For Apple's bread-and-butter software that syncs with everything they have, itunes needs serious help.  (I've been told by many Mac users that it works flawlessly on a Mac.  I believe it.  And I'm wondering if Apple does it on purpose to get people to convert.)  But I digress...

Outside of itunes, the ipad itself is slick.  I've taken a few short videos of my kiddos with the built in camera.  I've created folders to combine apps in certain areas.  But in the end, there really are apps for just about anything under the sun...and I've discovered some that are just outstanding for my personal needs.

Some of my favorite apps for now include:

Productivity & Reading:

Informant HD: This is a calendar/task app (the most expensive of them all).  I'm still learning how all the features on it work.  But once I get it all figured out I'm certain I'll be keeping my full life calendar and to-do list synced with this program from within my gmail account.

Evernote: One of the highest-rated free apps you'll find on just about any list.

Epicurious: A food/recipe app.  There's a great recipe for just about anything you put in here.  And if you tell it what you have on hand, it'll give you some options of what you can make.  Pretty amazing.

Logos: Logos is a bible software I use on a PC on a regular basis.  The app allows you to use most of your library on the go.  Wifi gives you access to just about every resource, and you can download ones you want to take with you on the go.  I'll be using this one a lot.

ibooks/Kindle/Kobo/ICDL - Many free books are available from all of these.  Children's books, classic literature, all must have's in my opinion.

News: CNN, FoxNews, Reuters News Pro, AP News, etc.  These are all pretty handy, but aren't needed much due to the next two.

Zite: I played around with this app last night for a while and it's quite incredible.  Basically, it's a magazine/newspaper layout built just for you.  You tell the program what kind of articles you're interested in reading and it scours the web and gives you daily news in those areas.  I've found some fascinating articles from far outside the mainstream news outlets that were just what I was looking for.  Not only that, but you click on whether you like the article you open or not, and the app continues to learn what you like/don't like to improve on the results.  It's pretty incredible.

Flipboard: Very similar to zite but has some differences. Both are worth using on a regular basis.

Discover Music and Pocket Hipster - Two Apps I'll be using a great deal to find new music.  Not free, but probably worth the cheap cost for them both.

While the ipad isn't the greatest gaming device, I've found some pretty great games to play.  Many of these you'll find on lists everywhere, but perhaps there's a gem in here you've not heard of yet.
Super Stickman Golf - I've probably played this brilliant 99cent game more than any other so far.  Amazing game for the cost.  I would've easily paid more.  And there are more courses coming in a future update.  Great, great game.

Air Attack HD - The Atari App doesn't have River Raid in any of their catalogs.  But this is probably better anyway, and it's cheap as well.

Pinball HD - Picked it up for 99cents too. 

Real Racing 2 HD - best racing game on the ipad, hands down.

Supersonic HD - another semi-racing game.  Picked it up when it was free for a day.  A future update will allow users to create tracks based on songs from their library (like audiosurf), which is why I snagged it up as quickly as I could when it was free.

Shredder Chess - best chess app out there.  Tchess is good as well, but the Shredder team has been around for a long time, and reviews tipped the hat slightly to them, too.

World of Goo - What can I say about World of Goo?  And it's perfect for the ipad!

Cut the Rope - It's been around a while, but I had to add it in there.

Feed Me Oil - This is very much like World of Goo.  The imagery, music, etc. all has that same feel to it.  Brilliant game for $1.99

Angry Birds - had to throw it in there...

Labyrinth Lite - One of the better free games available out there

Harbor Master - another free one

10 Pin Lite HD - ...and another

Scrabble - OK this one wasn't free.  It goes on sale from time to time but I went ahead and grabbed it.  For those who enjoy word games, it's a must have.  Word Chaos and WordsMine are 2 freebies out there for those who like the genre.  Words with Friends is kind of a given for those who use it...

OK, that's all for now!

Anybody else have any app/game suggestions for an ipad user?

Next Post: Thoughts on Naturalism, Atheism, and Christianity.