Decisions, Decisions–Chromebooks, Apple MacBooks, or Windows Laptops

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Word Count

  • Project Paradise Word Count: 357
  • Project Skye Word Count: 1617
  • Project Independence Word Count: 3041 
  • Project Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel Page Count: 12

So, yesterday I had the best of intentions–I wanted to write, but I didn’t.  I only managed to “think” about writing.  I intend to do better today.  I’m going to at least “outline” page 13 of the Ship of Shadows project.  Based on the high view rates for Monday’s post–“finishing” projects is what I really need to be working towards.

Currently Reading

  • For Fun: Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy Novella)
  • For School: (A Book on the History of Rhetoric)
  • For Research/Personal Development: Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)

I wanted to read Oathbringer over the summer break before classes started again, but BS said that it might be helpful to read a Novella entitled, Edgedancer, before starting on Oathbringer.  I finally found a copy at MTSU’s library and I’m reading it now.  X gives a history of Rhetoric.  Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I’ve had in my collection for sometime–I’ve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover.  Now, with Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Need a New (Wi-Fi) Laptop for the Summer

So, I have summer classes this year as well as a summer “assignment” to work on during my time at the Writing Center.  While there are computers in the Library that I have been using (including Laptops available for check-out), this still leaves me without a Wi-Fi connected computer while I’m in class, which is a major disadvantage because I can’t look up/refer to PDF documents online, or bring up other websites that might be germain to the discussion.  I love my MacBook Pro (even as old as it is), but the lack of Wi-Fi is a major detriment and deterrent to my being able to write (creatively or otherwise) in “spare” moments.

Chromebook

Right now, I’m leaning towards a Chromebook.  I’ve used them before when I was at East Lake Academy and I understand their limitations.  Basically, Chrome OS is just an upgraded browser with some other features added on to it.  As I really only envision using it as I did at East Lake Academy, for accessing Web Apps, the Web, and viewing/showing video, I’m thinking that a Chromebook should fit the bill.  The only downside to a Chromebook is that it has both limited presentation capabilities and its printing service is terrible.  As I have this computer (& the ones at MTSU’s library), I’m not so concerned with this particular limitation, but Google’s Cloud Printing service just doesn’t work for me.  Of course, neither of my printers are “Cloud Printing” compatible, coming out before this was a thing, but I usually have to connect directly to the printer or “sneaker”-net the file to my printer (or DropBox it, or use a similar solution) in order to be able to get it to print.  As someone who is often writing the document right up to the very last minute, that can make for some very stressful deadlines.

Apple MacBook/Pro

So, all things being equal, this is what I would be buying.  My computer is a 2008 MacBook Pro.  However, I’m in money-saving mode at the moment, and Apple’s products, while great from a usability and aesthetic standpoint, are NOT generally good for the cost conscious.  My plan is to get something that will get me through the summer and then upgrade this laptop to a newer model in the fall (hopefully from the WWDC announcement that should have aired by the time this blog post is published–if there is no Macbook/Pro announcement, then I may look into purchasing a *refurbished* 2015 Macbook Pro model as I can’t justify paying the cost of a 3 year old computer at the exorbitant “new” prices that Apple charges).  I love Apple’s products and their software platform (Independent Developers) create software that I like to use, but I simply can’t justify the expense at the moment.  I have too many other things that need to taken care of first and as a student, money is ALWAYS an issue.

Windows Laptops

So, I understand Windows 10 is doing much better than Wiudows 8 and, by all accounts, is a rock solid operating system.  I just do not like Microsoft as a company and so try to give them as little money as possible until they change their corporate ways (during my first draft of this post, I went into a long diatribe about Halo and the acquisition of companies/technologies, to the detriment of all but Microsoft, but suffice to say, I just don’t want to support MS as a company).  Having said that, if I could find a Windows 10 computer with full functionality, but at a price rivaling a Chromebook, I might look into the it, but the feature set would have to be extremely compelling, and it still wouldn’t be my main “driver” as I still would be looking for a MacBook/Pro in the Fall (either new or old, depending on June 4th’s WWDC announcement).

Anyway, I thought I’d detail some of my thoughts on trying to find a new Wi-Fi “laptop” as I head into the summer.  I’ll keep you posted on what I ultimately decide in a future post.

Sidney




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All the World’s a Stage

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A Crowded Apple Store, Image Source: 9to5 Mac

I wasn’t sure of what I was going to write about today, but I thought I’d turn my attention to my experience yesterday of going to the Apple Store and finally getting my phone fixed.  Although, more accurate, I guess would be the fact that they replaced the defective unit with a replacement phone, but irregardless, I now have working phone.  While that is great, what I really want to note was the amazing level of diversity in the store as well as the fact that there were plenty of examples of characters that were in the store during my brief visit.

Characters, Characters, Everywhere
So, unlike most of the customers, I wasn’t in the store to shop, but to get technical assistance.  In doing so, I (and the few who were like me) had to do a lot of waiting on the outskirts and so I got to do something that I rarely do and that’s to actually observe people as they interact with others.  Remember, I don’t necessarily enjoy “people watching,” and perhaps that’s why I don’t write characters as well as I do plots.  Well, yesterday I got to observe, really observe, people and I saw a huge range of emotions, personalities, and personal interactions that I have stored away for future references.  Normally, I consider people watching a useless endeavor, but for some reason, yesterday, I found myself mostly “bemused” as I waited for the technician to diagnose my phone and I actually watched the people.  In particular, I saw (in no order): two typical high school students (boys joshing around with each other), a mother with a stroller, a young boy watching the Apple TV in the store and playing games on it, a husband and wife deciding on a laptop, another husband and wife deciding on phone, an older gentleman with a phone problem much like mine, an early career woman looking for a new phone, and a business man dressed in button shirt, slacks, and a tie, among others.

Character Sketches
So, I remember from watching episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Sisko’s son, Jake, while wanting to be a writer, sat on the ship’s promenade and noted the people who were entering the station and he wrote one or two sentences down as character sketches.  While I was only in the store for a fairly short period of time (50 minutes approximately), I still feel like I got a year’s worth of potential characters just from visit.  For instance, the business man was dressed just as one might expect and he was even checking his watch in manner, that while not completely displaying impatience, did seem to indicate that time was important to him–perhaps he had an important appointment, or perhaps he needed to pick up a child from school.  Whatever the reason, time was important to him and that’s something I could use in a future story somehow.

So, even though losing the phone was an ordinary frustration of life, I now have a more concrete understanding of characterization because of it.  I doubt that I’ll ever come to love the phenomenon of “people watching,” but maybe if I can at least learn to tolerate it over short periods of time, I might yet be the writer I’ve always hoped that I’d become.

Potpourri–A Bunch of Little (& Stranger) Things

This blog post is just a random collection of little things that I’ve been working on over the past week that really don’t deserve a full blog post.

Stranger Things
So I started watching Stranger Things Season 2 over the past weekend.  Right now, I’m really enjoying it.  The first episode is reestablishing the characters and introducing new characters.  I like the vibe of the show, so far, even after only one episode.  It is like getting reacquainted with old familiar friends after a long hiatus.  There’s a lot of 80s nostalgia that is really forefront in this episode and also several new characters seem like a good mix for the show.  I can’t wait to see how it progresses.

iPhone 7
So my iPhone appears to be utterly and truly dead.  After talking with Apple, I’m going to have to take it to a local authorized Apple Dealer and see if they have a phone in stock that I can exchange with it, or if I’m going to have to wait for Apple to send me a replacement.  Ugh, very frustrating.  I’m just grateful that it was in the 1 year warranty period for the phone.  I’ll keep you up-to-date on the phone situation.  I did, by the way, have a great Technical Support experience and the Apple Advisor was very patient with me as we went through the process.  I greatly appreciated that!

Star Trek Next Generation – First Season
I’ve started STNG and the first season is much “rougher” than I remember.   I knew Worf’s prosthetics & makeup underwent a redesign, but it looks worse during the first season than I remember.  Also, many of the trademark elements that made STNG what it was were either still being formed or hadn’t yet been implemented, so the show feels like an “empty shell” rather than the rich, inventive show that I remember.

Well, that’s all for now–this post will have to be short and sweet.  Till next time!

Iphone 7 Bricked

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An example of a completely black iPhone 7 screen (mine looks exactly the same as in this image, by the way), Image Source: YouTube

Well, this sucks.  I was going to write about my experience at the writing center working on my novel, but I’ll have to save it for another time (preview: it went well & was productive, but more in a later blog post).  No, unfortunately, I find that today’s topic is that I woke up this morning to find that my 3 month old iPhone 7 is bricked.  It will not turn on, it will not charge, it will not do anything.  It is essentially a paperweight.

Color me unhappy.  I no longer upgrade the iOS immediately anymore to keep from things like this from happening.  I knew iOS 11 was out, but now I wait until the little update badge appears on the Settings icon of the phone nowadays as that usually happens when there have been one or two bug fix updates applied to the iOS.  In this case it was three: iOS 11.0.3, before it popped up to upgrade last week.

I upgraded and IMMEDIATELY noticed a drop in battery life.  I used to be able to watch YouTube and Netflix periodically throughout the day and the battery would last a day and a half.  I could get through a full day and most of the night before it needed recharging.  After the update, it needed to be charged every 6-8 hours with the same usage model, sometimes dying in the middle of the night even though it started the night on an 75%-80% charge.  I figured that this would be fixed in a future update.

Yesterday, however, battery performance was particularly bad.  I had to charge multiple times during the day, so last night, before going to bed, I plugged in the USB adapter into the wall charger and plugged in the phone hoping for a full charge in the morning (the battery indicator was on 43% and was yellow when I went to bed).  When I awoke this morning, I didn’t remember hearing the alarm, so when I rolled out of bed, I checked the phone.  Dead as a doornail.

I thought, maybe the phone overheated.  Nope.  Maybe it needed to be turned on after shutting itself off.  Nope.  Maybe I just need to reset it. Nope.  On and on, solution after solution via Google and online forums.  Nope. Nope. And Nope.  So now as I type these words I have a black paperweight of glass and plastic staring at me, refusing to even acknowledge its own existence.

And now, I’m probably going to have to miss class to try to take it into a local AT&T store to discover what the problem is and that is not something that I really want (or should have) to do as a Graduate student.  At this level, school should come first.  I buy Apple products because of the “Just works” mantra.  If that’s no longer the case, then I need to start looking around for other products that will suit my needs more capably.

Not happy, Apple.  Not happy, AT&T.  Not happy at all. 😦