Thursday, June 24, 2010

Technologists Anonymous

I might have mentioned that I am a bit of a technology junkie. I always hesitate to talk about this because in certain of life's stages (as in theater, not growth spurt), one finds oneself in a bit of a quandary. Will my enthusiastic spouting about all of my cool gadgets and how awesome they make life be perceived as "Look at me?" or bragging? Not that I really care about what I come off, considering that my best known traits at work are getting the job done and saying what needs to be said even when nobody wants to hear it.

The truth is, I have almost as many unpublished posts as I have published posts because I start down the path to share these wonders with you, and then pause. Those long dry spells of non-posts doesn't mean that I am not writing. Nay, it means I am writing on one of my unlisted blogs or that I determined that diplomacy should override my need to be frank and spout forth my love of technology. That being said, today I thought that maybe this means you are missing out on some really neato stuff, so I have decided to start doing occasional technical reviews it chewable proportions:

Cool thing - Vlingo
It's this little personal assistant program. It's available for your Android, iPhone, Nokia, or Blackberry smart phones. It works like this:

I ask it to e-mail someone, tell it the subject line and body of the text, and it types it all out for me, and I push "send" when I am done. If I need to add more text, I hit record, and it continues to dictate. For example, "E-mail John Brown. Subject, Food for Party. Message: Hey, John, just following up on the food assignments for the party. How is that going? Thanks, A." Voila.

Cons: At freeway speeds sometimes the black noise from the vehicle vibrations interfere with the accuracy of the voice recognition. Of course, if I drove a Mercedes Benz, this would not be a problem.

Pros: It doesn't just e-mail, it also allows you to verbally text, ask for directions, call someone, or do Internet searches verbally. To get directions, say, "Find grocery store nearby." It uses your location and shows you the closest grocery store. To do an Internet search, say "Search phone number Illinois Tax Commission" and it finds it. Accuracy is reasonably good. It also does Twitter and Facebook updates! The best part is, it's free!

Movie Review: Toy Story 3
On Monday we did see Toy Story 3. The Pixar crew studied every great escape story available to create the most gripping and intense story line ever. I was SO impressed. This was not a cheap trilogy. They included a very sentimental ending which also provided a bit of personal satisfaction with where it could end, but also left a possible opening for another movie. I HOPE they don't try to do a Saturday morning TV show out of it. I'd much rather see another movie. Who could get tired of Toy Story?

They brought in some outstanding humor and adventure that wasn't inappropriate for children, although C felt that at times it could be scary for children. I explained that our perception and children's perceptions of certain situations can be very different based upon emotional maturity. The subtleties that we pick up on, they miss because their emotional maturity doesn't allow for them to pick up on certain cues. He agreed. Pixar just does a great job of providing a sweet movie for kids while still being entertaining for adults without being adult, and that's what I love. I hate kids movies that have sexual innuendos and garbage like that in them, or Disney's very scary villains. Pixar maintains an innocent element that isn't present in other Disney movies. Sorry, Disney. I hope you don't ruin Pixar someday like you ruined Disney.

Things that made me smile today:
forming a writer's initiative club to help me meet goals for writing a book by the end of the year | the Japanese tourist who attached his camera to his belt loop with a very long lanyard so that it hung just inches from the ground beside his leg | watching a group of tourists learn how to use the new visitor kiosk near my work | getting a really sexy text message from C | setting a dinner appointment in mid-July with one of our software developers and his wife | speaking with a friend about the possibility of a new job | driving down the freeway to pick C up while Kawi chattered and bee-bopped in my ear. It ALMOST made up for the fact that he chewed up my iPhone adapter when I wasn't looking (see photo above)

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