Archive for September, 2005

Am I technofickle? Do I fall in love too easily with new toys? Or am I just all thumbs? Ask my boss or my husband…and you will get a resounding “YES”! But really, what do they know?

I’ve had in my possession a Seimans SX66 for 6 hours now. And I swear I’ve only been playing with it for the past 4 hours! What took me so long? Had to charge the damn battery and I was in a meeting. (For the record, the SX66 doesn’t belong to me. It is a loaner for testing/review purposes. Yes, yes…I told them they would have to pry it out of my cold dead hands.)

Initial impressions: I’ve been resistent to merging my mobile phone with my PDA because I don’t want anyone telling me what type of PDA I can buy. But…this sweet little Seimans SX66 almost has all the features I crave.

  • 400 Mhz XScale Processor
  • 128 MB RAM
  • Windows Mobile 2004
  • SDIO memory card slot
  • VGA Resolution
  • GPRS
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • Infrared
  • USB
  • Slide-out QWERTY keyboard
  • Reasonable form factor

Geez, what more could a girl possibly want? Well…the SX66 that I have in my hot little hands doesn’t have a camera. There is a model that does have a camera, so I can quickly solve that problem.

But the big question is, after the first 4 hours with the SX66, am I in love? Am I smitten? Can I see straight? And what do I think of my Dell Axim x50v and ancient Sony Ericsson T616?

Well…the SX66 has been super simple to start using. No bigger or heavier than the Axim I always have on me. I do like the QWERTY keyboard. But I’m not sure about the location of the keyboard. It slides out of the bottom, forcing me into portrait mode. I’m surprised to realize that over the past 6 months I’ve become a landscape mode girl. So I want my keyboard to come out the side of my device, not the bottom.

Now, I definately need to work on my thumb typing skills. Tonight was my first experience with a thumb keyboard (virgin!). And while typing with my thumbs came almost naturally (except when I tried to type numbers the first time). I will admit, that my thumbs are out of shape! Anyone have a good thumb excercise regime to get me up to speed?

Sweetest moment was when the sync software properly recognized my Axim, then the SX66, then the Axim again. I’ve had my laptop get mighty confused as I’ve flipped between multiple mobile devices. Forcing me to reinstall sync software just to get the communications going again. It was a pleasant surprise to have the sync work effortlessly.

So…is my Dell Axim x50v destined to become another casuality after less than a year? Not quite yet. Unless of course, my brilliant boss wants to buy it for me. Otherwise, I’ll just have to wait for my birthday!

Lucky for Texas and Lousiana, Rita downgraded herself to a Category 3. She still caused plenty of damage and heartache. But Houston faired well. And Austin hasn’t even had rain!

Austin is hosting over 17,000 people who were able to evacuate. The tales of people just trying to get out of Houston will make your stomache ache. None of my friends ever made it out of the Houston area.

You can read a first hand account of trying to evacuate Houston from one of my best friends on her blog “news from outside the asylum

Now I just pray that when the next category 5 hurricane comes barreling our way that we learned enough from Rita and Katrina to keep everyone as safe as possible. Kudos to all the amazing folks who have helped people get to safety and out of the path of this storm.

Friends still stuck in Houston, but at least Lindsey is out of the Emergency Room. They’ve been trying to get out of town for over 12 hours now. Text messaging on phones proves to be an effective way to communicate. My text messaging skills are definately improving today.

How I wish our mobile phones already had GPS tracking. Even in weather disasters like hurricanes, satellites could still communicate with our GPS devices as soon as the cloud cover clears. Once the satellites sees you, they could relay your location to a central tracking map. Why is this important? Friends and family want to know where you are! Okay, so your loved ones would know where your phone is…but at least that is better than not having any clues. Yes, yes, yes, you would have the ability to “cloak” your location whenever you wanted.

Time to get back to the maps. My mapmaker/navigator husband is mapping alternate routes for my friends to find a way out of Houston. Lookin’ for country roads to bring my friends home.

A monster of a hurricane is headed for my hometown, Houston, Texas. My Austin home has turned into Hotel Sims and I’ve already reserved all my pillows for friends and even Duchess the Dog. Anyone showing up on my door is welcome. No prior reservation required. Now I sit, patiently waiting.

Text messages arrive from friends who have been sitting on a freeway for 7 hours and still haven’t made it out of Houston. Phone calls strategizing how to get out of a city with over 3 million people. Highways being made one way…to double the capacity out of town.

Dealing with a temperature of 99 degrees plus humidity, stuck on a freeway. Can’t keep the car on or you will run out of gas before you even go 10 miles. One friend is already on her way to the hospital suffering from severe dehydration.

At the moment, it looks like Austin will be spared the brunt of the storm. Forecasts have the storming curving east as it hits. I’ve weathered up to Category 3 during my Houston days, sitting in a hallway with a radio and flashlight trying to pass the time. Never did I have to evacuate.

If you want to see the current path of the storm and get a sense of the damage it will cause based on realtime data, head to TAOS/Mapserver interactive mapping system for Rita. Austin is in Travis county. Houston is in Harris county.

If I had one magic wish for today…I would be Frozone and I’d zap the gulf of Mexico just enough to lower the temperature of the ocean, and turn Rita into a Frozen Marga-Rita. Nothin’ like some ice and tequila to cool down a woman who is dangerously hot and bothered.

Have you ever heard of an art exhibit where you are allowed to use your hands as much as your eyes? My recent trek to see Shade: Art Beyond Sight elevated the sense of touch above vision, and was specifically designed from an “eyes closed” perspective. Tactile drawings, touchable objects, braille labels and audio descriptions created a multi-sensory experience.

Outfitted with my audio guide and headphones, I enjoyed exploring the materials used to create the works of art. The feeling of paint on canvas, the texture of bent wood, the fragile liquid slip fired onto cheesecloth gave my fingers a way to explore the samples of the materials used to create the works without getting in trouble! Although, I will admit, after the introductory tactile adventure…my brain was set to “touch mode” and I had to remind myself not to touch the real works of art.

My favorite piece in the exhibit was Expel by Katalin Hausel.

A miniature module of Expel was available to touch and explore.

If you were standing next to me with your eyes closed I would describe Expel to you like this:

There is a black pole 6″ in diameter running from floor to ceiling. The black pole appears to be covered in a velvety material. Four slender strips of wood peel away from the pole like a long petals of a flower. Each strip of wood curves up and down like an irregular wave. Black velvety words are visible in reverse on the wood. Closer inspection reveals the same words printed forwards on the tall black pole. The words appear to be the Ten Commandments.

Here are two small excerpts from the audio transcript for Expel:

Hausel explores her fascination with bodily forms and their echoes in the shapes of words and letters on a page, and draws parallels between built forms and language’s deep structure.

…curves of plywood peel off a structural element of the building, forcing the viewer to move around and through them. Her chosen text, the Ten Commandments, refers to a cultural moment in which the texts around us are being erased or elided in certain contexts.

My personal interpretation: The pole and the words on it represent basic truths. The fragile wood peeling away is merely a representation of these truths. You could remove the wood completely. The truth would still be standing firm, tall and silent.

I left the exhibit with this quote from the Little Prince ringing in my ears, “It is only with the heart that one sees rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye”.

I’ve joined the Mint Party and even added a little extra Pepper.

Shaun is a genius! And his peppermint is worth every penny!

Why should you shell out $30 for a Mint? Well, how often do you get software created by a blogger/designer/developer extraordinaire. Talk about someone who knows what information we crave! And…I’ve never seen a more beautiful stats interface.

Best of all, it is a cinch to install if you follow the simple instructions. (word to the wise…when Shaun tells you to name the directory “mint”, do what he says…this isn’t like a recipe where you can substitute “spearmint” or “peppermint” for “mint”).

Now, all we’re missing is the minty fresh t-shirt.

I wanted to share this inspirational piece with whoever happens on this blog. It was given to me on a day I truly needed to hear it. Now I pass it on, hoping it will touch at least one heart.

*Warning* the following content is of spiritual nature…continue reading at your own risk! I greatly respect everyone’s right to their own beliefs…and share this as a means of inspiration only.

St. Theresea Prayer

May today there be peace within
May you trust your highest power that you
are exactly where you are meant to be…
May you not forget the infinite possibilities
that are born of faith
May you use those gifts that you have
received, and pass on the love that has been
given to you…
May you be content knowing you are a child of
God…
Let this presence settle into our bones,
and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance,
It is there for each and every one of you…

Take a step back in time to 10am Sunday, March 13, 2005. You are in Austin, Texas attending SXSW – Interactive. You’re still feeling the effects of partying into the wee hours of the morning, but you’ve dragged yourself over to the convention center to see what James Craig, Derek Featherstone, Ian Lloyd and Glenda Sims have to say about Accessibility: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?.

So curl up, turn the volume up and browse to our Transcript Plus…and listen to the MP3 of our session. Read the transcript. And enjoy the well crafted design (thanks James).

And don’t forget to register for SXSW-2006. I’ve got a few new places I’m dyin’ to show ya!