Friday, December 21, 2012

Snow days

Wednesday night winter came to Iowa.  We had been in the 40's or 50's throughout November, abnormally warm and dry.  It was still in the high 30's when it started to snow and drizzle, but dropped quickly.  The ground was still warm enough that the snow melted as fast as it came down.  This was the first snowstorm I have seen with lightning and thunder.  When the lightning struck the whole night sky lit up, reflecting off of the falling snow.  By morning, we had almost 13 inches of heavy snow.  My back is sore from shoveling all of our walks.
The kids wanted to go sledding, but just as we started walking the wind picked up.  Each gust of wind would pick up the sleds like sails and blow them off their feet, so by the time we made it to the bit of a sled hill by the trail everyone was weeping and wailing.  
When we got back home Aleah and Colleen decided to play "Angry Birds".  They made structures with different colored blocks for pigs and birds and then took turns knocking them down.  So much more fun than blizzard sledding.  

Even Kate tried. This game kept them busy for hours.  

Christmas is approaching fast and I am so not ready.  Oh, and the world didn't really end so now I need to do some Christmas shopping.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

IPAD review

My work bought me an iPAD so that I can test it out for new mobile applications. I cannot believe how computers have evolved. I was a bit of a Luddite in high school. I didn't have a computer at home and Mrs. Olic-Hamilton loaned me a typewriter so that I could type my reports and essays. I was a horrible typist and used to handwrite everything and then stay up late at night typing it out one finger at a time.

The first laptop that Leila had when we were married was as big as a briefcase. It had a keyboard that lifted out and a small black and white screen. In 2000 I got a Compaq laptop from the BYU equipment sale that had Windows 97 and Word. I typed my dissertation on it and was amazed by its 128 Megabytes of storage. It had a floppy drive and I don't think that it connected to the Internet. I still have it in a drawer at work.  I loved the rollerball mouse along side the screen.

My current work laptop is a Lenovo Thinkpad and it is a workhorse, buts it has a lot of computing power. At home we have an HP desktop that is used mostly for streaming videos, reading blogs, storing and manipulating photos, and Facebook. We don't use our TV much since we can stream Netflix without any commercials on the computer.

The iPAD is slick and easy to use. It has no keyboard, a simple interface and an almost endless supply of cheap or free applications that can be downloaded wirelessly. It certainly makes my early computers look clunky, but it is an entertainment device first and computer second. The touchscreen is better suited to Angry Birds than typing. The onscreen keyboard is functional, I am using it now, but I wouldn't want to type a dissertation with it. Formatting complicated documents is almost impossible and the autocorrect which is nice for quick emails is obnoxious for programming code or technical jargon. Even here it changed my mispelled "it has" to "itch" in the previous paragraph.

Do you have one of the new tablet computers? Are they more than genius toys? What programs do you use?

Monday, December 03, 2012

Poor Pathetic Kate

 Kate has been hit with double whammy - stomach flu and bronchitis.  Either she has been asleep on the floor, or the couch, or a the kitchen chair since Friday. 
We are trying to get her to drink a lot of fluids, but a few sips at a time is all Kate can manage.  Here she fell asleep at the table after two sips of apple juice mixed with pedialyte.