Sunday, June 26, 2011

Phones, phones, phones

I've been watching as the new phones start coming out for Q3. With the new crop, devices will have more processor speed, a higher performance camera and a new OS version but do I want to upgrade? Luckily I've had some time to think about it while I talk to other people who are thinking of upgrading their phones.

I was golfing with a co-worker and he said that his carrier was trying to get him into a smartphone, what did I think. I asked what he used his phone for and he said calls and texting. I asked if he wanted to do more and he said no. No brainer, resist the smartphone pitches. Maybe look at a feature phone.

My SIL is thinking of upgrading although she's in a tough spot. She has SaskTel as the only available service provider and it, in spite of being a provincial utility, has decided that her ranch isn't really part of Saskatchewan, even though they pay Sask taxes, so they aren't going to have service there. She can use her phone most other places though. Smart phone or feature phone. She would like a large font so she can read texts without having to use her glasses. You can do that with a Blackberry, I can do that using Handcent, couldn't find the option in WP7 although I'm sure the feature is there sometime (or will be). Again, I think a feature phone would be the best for her, just one with adjustable text.

Friends come over with their kids who have iPods, she has Torch and iPad, he has iPhone. Kids start to get bored so, like many instances, we pull out our smart phones. The LG has nice hand feel, slide out keyboard and WP7. Big tiles that  are appealing to new users. The Galaxy S has beautiful screen and Android 2.2. but for this I actually pulled out my GTab as personal stuff is not on screen as widgets. Kids like to message and stuff so we played with LiveProfile.

This is where WP7 really falls down. No multi-tasking, not a big deal if the task swapping is well managed but out of the cross platform app loop is a deal breaker. I want more than a feature phone and to me WP7 is currently a feature phone with ties to Xbox and Zune. None of the stuff I do is supported by WP7. I haven't found a cross platform IM app, no reading/store apps - although overdrive (public libraries) has one, no Slingbox. Pretty games and expensive apps is all I see on a system that is no easier than any other if you want to do more than what's on the surface.

I got WP7 as a tester to see if I would want to upgrade to one. While it's great for a new user, it has failed on it's promise to upgrade frequently and OTA and still doesn't have platform support. In the end, even though I am one of the 2 people who liked the features of WM6.5 and was somewhat interested in WP7, it's not for me. Google tools are easy to use once you get over the initial learning bump. tiles are nice enough, widgets are awesome. Most of the stuff out there for Apple has a Android equivalent. From now on, when I'm asked about a smart phone suggestion, one of my questions will be whether anyone else they know has a WP7. It's way too easy to get left out of the loop with one.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dogs and gods

Was reading Dispatches from the Culture Wars and he was blogging about a rabbi who things that caring for pets leads people away from the bible. Bahahah how nuts I thought at first, but then I thought further about how could sharing your house with a dog lead you away from needing a god in your life.

Disclaimer - I have 2 dogs. They are super cute even when they need a good brush. They sleep on the bed at night and don't have a job other than to be companions. Milo guards us from the wind while he dreams, under a tree at the far end of the fence, of long walks outside the yard while Duffy can barely stand to be away from his humans, flopping down close by whenever possible. When I talk about a companion animal I can only reference dogs (and fish) because that's mostly what we've had.

One thing having a pet shows you is that we are not the only species that has an emotional life. It may not be *our* kind of emotion but if animals "work" by instinctual response then we do too. Pets are generally responsive to each other and humans. Even if we are anthropomorphizing, that wouldn't be possible if we didn't recognize some basis for that, not many people get as attached to even their cars the same way. 

Another is unconditional love. Unlike the unconditional love that God is suppose to have for you if you accept him and his son and the contradictory rules set out in his book, dogs are there to greet you happily no matter when you get home or what you treat them like when you get there. If you are sad they can provide warm body to hug and ears to whisper your loss into. You don't have to do anything special and they won't blab.

All pets teach you about death and how to be humane. Most dogs have a shorter life span than humans so if you have one, you are likely to have to deal with  loss. Our first dog died while on a walk; my first brush with sudden death. Carrying him home was indescribably and I don't know that I would have been more affected by the sudden death of an acquaintance. He carried a lot of pain for me in his life and taught me to grieve publicly. Our second dog had a rough go. When he was 2 he developed autoimmune disease and liver failure. We got him back to health but then he got kidney disease. By the time we realized what was going on it was too late. We took him to the vet to be put to sleep because it was more merciful than having him lethargic and vomiting blood for the short time more he was likely to live. I wanted so badly for the vet to provide a miracle cure but it was not to be. He taught me to make hard decisions.

When you live with a house animal companion, you see that personalities aren't restricted to humans which leads away from the idea that we're super special and thus away from a need for a god. So I guess I agree with the rabbi; we just disagree about whether this is a good thing.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


A co-worker's daughter is marrying her high school fella and since I was invited, I thought I would attend. They've been together for a long time (around 7 years) so I've heard how first she thought he was ok then they moved together away from town, then moved back, then got engaged and she was so excited.

On Tuesday I will have been married to the same guy for 25 years. I will have spent exactly half my life as a married person with this last name. We met, were friends for a few months then dated, got engaged right away and married a year later. Good things about being married for a so long:

  • a shared history so you can laugh at and with each other
  • having another viewpoint at hand
  • seeing change in yourself and your partner
I think this couple has learned a lot of this already. I hope they continue to have a happy life together.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Summer is a tough time to watch your weight and our summer is short enough that I would rather just spend it having fun than fretting about food. I don't really do exercise classes, I just target one activity a day. Most of the time I walk to work or golf or try a class that I enjoy but don't do regularly.

I just looked at the NRG4Life summer schedule and, darn, Thursday night is pretty well perfect for a double class, something I never do in the summer. Dare I hope the double will stick through the next year? I love doing advanced step and to follow it up with Yoga -perfection. Almost as good would be Zumba followed by Yoga.

I guess we'll see. I really struggled with weight maintenance this spring. I was out of town a lot so I ate more and missed a lot of my classes. And the classes at the time I could go were fun but I felt I didn't work as hard as I could have. I did do more Yoga and I'm sticking with that for sure over summer.