Category Archives: Technology

The Mayor of Mount Sinai

I never really thought of myself as being Mayor material, but apparently I was wrong. I’ve been spending so much time at Mount Sinai Hospital of late that I have officially been named its Mayor by FourSquare^!

For those of you who like to roll old school and who shirk all things social media, think of FourSquare as a location-based Twitter. You “check in” when you arrive somewhere, your friends are notified of where you are, or, to which of your friends you’re in closest proximity, and when you accumulate the highest number of visits, you become the “Mayor”. At some places, there are perks to becoming Mayor, like getting a free coffee or 10% off your bill. Because I ‘ve only been named Mayor at a few places, none of which offer these lovely perks, I haven’t yet realized any of these niceties! Also, because of the fact that Canada has universal healthcare, my Mount Sinai visits are free and, therefore, do not come with any perks other than getting well again. Ahem. There are about one billion other places I can think of for which I’d rather be Mayor and can assure you Mount Sinai isn’t one of them. Although, I had a CT Scan there this week and I thought I looked pretty cute in the blue dressing gowns. Formless cotton may just be my thing after all*. 😉
^I really prefer Gowalla, though — the UI is way better and, even though I don’t get to be Mayor, I have both a metal robot and firecrackers in my backpack, which we all know is way better than being Mayor. 😉
* Not!

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Hi Computer, Meet Fritz (Day 12)

Please enjoy this reenactment of me yelling at my laptop ten minutes ago: okay, what? What?! FTL! Work, dammit, work!

My computer has decided to go on the fritz at a most inopportune time, as I’m trying to book airline flights, keep up with NaBloPoMo and generally perv the intertubes. Le sigh. Thank goodness for my being a slave to Steve Jobs, though, as I am so conveniently able to fulfill my NaBloPoMo commitment via my iPhone. Not sure what’s going on with my lappy, but it started yesterday when I was unable to unmute. Computers on mute aren’t any fun, are they? I mean, how am I supposed to watch my beloved Vimeo videos, listen to Ira Glass, or read listen to my book?  Not to mention, I would guess that this rhetorical, but spot-on, question has been asked previously, but how is it possible that we are able to send people rocketing through orbits and space and atmospheres in a piece of metal at 5,298 mph to walk on the moon, but are unable to build a laptop that lasts longer than 2 1/2 years? A laptop that is nary required to enter any orbits or atmospheres other than the one in which it lives? Surely this is some kind of jedi mind trick in motion.

Nevertheless, my very exciting posting (sneak peek: Hell House!) will have to wait until tomorrow when I am at work get home from work and can McGuyver this bad boy up. Stay tuned.

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Cheese Or Font?

Let us take pause for just one moment. I have been introduced (via @Twitter) to what may possibly be the best game ever invented. Better than Scrabble. Better than Cranium. Better than Taboo. Even better than Trivial Pursuit 80’s Edition, a game at which I excel and totally love.

This gem of a website is aptly entitled “Cheese or Font“. “Cheese or Font” provides a word  — a word you probably don’t know unless you are a true cheese geek or font geek like me — and you are to guess whether it is a cheese or a font. Duh, Captain Obvious. Anyway, it immediately tells you whether you are “Correct”, while telling you how many losers got it wrong, or it tells you that you are “Incorrect”, although I don’t know what that page displays since I have, ahem, not yet been classified in that category. 😉  Finally, a game where I win (almost) every. single. time. This is truly like manna from heaven.  Oh, how I heart you, dear interwebs.

In other news, I may or may not have to marry my new pillow (minus, of course, the one that is as ridiculously tall as the bed of the Princess and the Pea, which is being promptly returned), as I may or may not have mercifully slept more than four hours last night for the first time in more than two weeks. Developing…..

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The Day I Joined the iCult

It wasn’t hard to do.  With their familiar white outercases, non-double clicking mice and hefty price tags, it was easy to ignore the iCult thatiPhone 007 is Mac.  

Oh sure, I’ve had my share of iPods.  As a matter of fact, I recently found my first gen iPod while packing up my house and which, incidentally, almost caused a fractured humerus from its heft — those things were ginormous!  Even though I’ve owned several of them, I never considered myself a member of the iCult, as I affectionately call it.  They were just too ubiquitous; too mainstream.  A bona fide member, I was definitely not.  

Until now. 

When I arrived in Canada two years ago, my assignment was originally only for 12 months.  While this may seem like eons to some (like my parents), to the Canadian telecommunications carriers, it was far too brief a time to satisfy their lengthy contractual requirements.  Yes, that’s right — the minimum cell phone contract in Canada is three years!   Three. Long. Years.  Also, no free nationwide long distance.  A-hem.  Moving on… Knowing full well that if I signed a contract, I’d have to pay a very large cancellation penalty when I moved back to the States, my solution was to get — wait for it — a prepaid phone.  

My prepaid phone piece of crap was a cute little red thing that fit in the palm of my hand.  Its best feature was the colour of the case. 😉  It made me feel so Tony Soprano.  So gangsta-like.  So enigma-ish.  I could chunk it into the East River at any time and no one would ever know.   My phone was so super cool and technologically advanced that I was even limited to 160 characters on SMS texts.  I literally had to “type” my chats out old skool style where, for example, I had to push the “8” butiPhone 010ton four times to spell with an “S”. It made for some super fun, and mostly cut off, chats.  If I ever get carpal tunnel, I’ll know why.  My favourite part of my prepaid phone, though, was when it would die mid-conversation from lack of remaining time.  Seriously.  The time had come to do something about it.

Fast Forward.
I started hearing rumblings about a new iPhone a few months ago.  While I was giddy about it, it also presented a dilemma: wait longer to be a big girl with a big girl phone and continue using my prepaid phone piece of crap, or ditch the idea altogether and get a regular ol’ cell phone.  You  know, the ones whose actual intent is to make a phone call? 😉 

I knew a ridiculously smart, way cool person who had an iPhone and I loved all of the available apps, especially the I’m-pretending-to-drink-beer-from-my-phone one.  I realized that I could no longer be impressive with my POC and that I was, admittedly, shallow enough to pay an ungodly amount of money to be quasi-hip.  So that’s exactly what I did.

I woke up bright and early yesterday morning (or 9am, as I like to call it) like I was a seven- year-old on Christmas morning.  I’d been up late the evening prior, but that didn’t matter — nothing would stop me now!  I assumed there would be a line, so I prepared myself with my beloved Diet Coke, reading materials, my current POC and a wad of cash sufficient enough to pay for the goods.  When I walked up to the Fido store, though, there was no one there.  I was the only person in the store.  It was weird.  Had they postponed the launch and I didn’t know?  Had I gotten my days mixed up?  Nope.  They just weren’t busy.  I marched up to the counter, decided on my phone colour — black  😉 — and it was official!  I’m not sure if it was because I’m a wiley American with no Canadian credit (thanks, conservative Canadian banks) or because Fido’s systems were just really slow from the launch, but it took a while.  The guy who helped me was ten kinds of awesome, though, and even though he had to physically fill out an Fido application for me, I was on my way in no time.  Shout out Andrew!  HiPhone 006e didn’t even look at me funny when I giddily asked him to take my picture with my new phone for my blog.  He was like “you have a blog?  What’s it about?”, so I told him it was about a Texas girl’s adventures in Canada, natch.   

Since getting my phone, I’ve basically just been staring at it and caressing it like a new mom.  I even debated whether or not I should take off the plastic outer sticker for fear of scratching it up, but I’ve relented and it’s now been exposed to the elements.  Thus far, I’ve only downloaded two apps — TwitterFon and Stitcher (Public Radio International to satisfy both my Ira Glass and Bob Edwards addictions) — but I’m planning to surf for some good ones this week.  If anyone has any cool apps they love, leave a comment below so I can be hip like you.

I definitely have a giant techno-crush on my new gadget.  I finally feel like a grown up again, not to mention connected to the world.  I don’t know yet if that’s a good thing or not, but if/when you see me with giant black circles under my eyes from all the late night surfing, you’ll know the answer. 🙂  I love that I can walk around and stream my favourite podcasts.  I love that I can send a text and not have to break my fingers doing it.  Most importantly, though, I guess you could say I’m loving being a card carrying member of the iCult.  Just don’t tell anyone.


Filed under Canada, Technology