Tag Archives: technology

Dear List Makers, Don’t Forget Your List!

“List maker, list maker, make me a list…” (sung to Matchmaker from Fiddler On The Roof, loudly and badly with a bit of odd dancing). No, I am serious, make me a list I cannot refuse. Make me a list I can never lose. Or, at the very least, forget on the kitchen counter. List me! Who needs beer? List me! List me! Get thee to a list. I love my lists.

OK, I got that whole, list-lover, manic singing, cultural reference fest out of my system so I can get down to business here. I am reviewing an app today. An app called “Don’t Forget Your List” which is perfect for me. I was contacted on Facebook by someone cryptically named “Tracey Meyers Friend” which made me trust her immediately because Tracey Meyers is really awesome, right? Except, a couple of days later I realized I had no idea who Tracey was either. At first I thought I was just really bad with names, which turns out to be true, but also I don’t know anyone named Tracey Meyers even though I probably should. So, I sort of felt like I was on a secret mission. A mission with code names and other fun stuff going on, and besides, I couldn’t resist an app that helps you make a list and reminds you that you already have a list, you forgetful, mom, you. It’s a genius idea. I mean, I make lists all the time and then forget to bring them when I leave the house. I thought maybe Tracey Meyers Friend just read my blog and noticed that I make lists and talk about lists more than any ordinary person should. Maybe she knew I was an easy mark for List-App-Love. Together, Tracey Meyers Friend and her sister Kim, invented this app, which is pretty amazing to me considering I can barely use Facebook and Twitter appropriately. I am always super excited about supporting women who do tech things, especially when they promise to make my Living La Vida Loco a little less loco. Their company is called Zenware, Inc. and I have a feeling they are going places. Anyway, in full disclosure, I got a secret code to use in iTunes and got the app for free in exchange for reviewing it.

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Don’t Forget Your List Screen Shot.

So, “Don’t Forget Your List” is pretty cool. You make your lists and then choose the store you plan to purchase your items at. Then, when you get near the store an alarm goes off reminding you that you have things to buy in that store. You can set the alarm to go off in the parking lot or even a mile away. This is the power of GPS! Just make sure you have the GPS turned on in your privacy setting or the alarm will not go off. I found this out the hard way a few times. I’m a slow learner. Have I mentioned I am technology challenged? The alerts you can choose from are really funny too, at least Tiny-Small thought so. My favorite alert is, “Don’t forget you have a list,” spoken by a woman with Type-A personality (at least that is how I imagine her). It’s my favorite because every time that alert goes off Tiny-Small starts cheering and saying, “You got you list, Mom? Is dat you list? Did you foget you list?” My second favorite is the one that announces (with applause in the background), “It’s tiiiiimmmmeeeee tooooooo spennnnnnnd some money!” This one makes me laugh because Tiny-Small always says, “That not for you, Mom. That for me! I spend da money!” Then she claps like we just won the lottery or a shopping spree on the Prices Right.

When you first get the app and turn on your GPS, it will find your location and list all of the stores you can find in your area. Then, you can choose the stores you shop in and start making lists. If your store does not show up, you can go to the store and add it to the app. Since I live in rural land, I had to add most of the stores. It just takes a few seconds and you can do it on a regularly scheduled shopping trip. It probably took me a little longer to get the app set up and ready to use than it would someone living in a more populated area. Another cool feature is you can send your list to other people. So, if your spouse is at the store and you need things, you can share the list with him or her. I didn’t get to try that feature because my husband refuses to own a smart phone. He likes to keep things simple, but I could see how this feature would be incredibly helpful, especially to busy parents. It almost makes me want to force my husband to join the modern world of electronic gadgets just so I can try it. Unfortunately, I don’t have those kind of Super Powers.

There were a few times when I went to a store and my alert didn’t go off. I haven’t figured out why. There may be a glitch in the app or it might be user error. It could even be a cell phone tower issue, which happens frequently here. Either way, It takes me a while to figure out all of the bells and whistles with new gadgets and we don’t go to the store on a daily basis (because it takes scheduling and driving and planning…that’s the deal with country living). I am looking forward to taking the app to El Paso and Albuquerque and plugging in stores like Home Depot and Trader Joe’s so I can make lists for them (from home) as I need things. This will be really helpful since we only make the trip to shop at those stores a few times a year and I often forget my list or lose it by the time we go. I can’t tell you how many times I have needed to purchase a tool to fix something and only remembered once I got home and saw the thing I needed to repair. I am hoping this app will help me reduce those incidents of forgetfulness. Anything to streamline life is greatly appreciated. It gets hectic and chaotic around here most days. So, If I can figure out how to make the alert go off every time, I will be golden.

I would recommend this app, especially if you are a list maker, living in the city, and have a spouse with a smart phone. It’s got some excellent benefits. It also makes you look important because, there you are, in the store, staring at your cell phone, with a serious look on your face. That is way more classy than carrying around a wrinkled piece of slightly sweaty paper that your child eventually rips up and “accidentally” throws on the ground in aisle ten. Which, by the way, is the story of my life, at least it used to be. Now, I am writing a new story, one where I save the day by not forgetting the milk, or to buy that specific screw driver needed to put that easel I just bought together. No more second trips or having to wait several months to get that one thing I need to complete a project. That’s a little bit of awesome right there, isn’t it?

 

If you are interested in learning more about Don’t Forget Your List you can check out their website. <—Click the blue, My Little List Maker!

Or, just go purchase it from iTunes for $1.99.

 

 

 

I Attempt To Install My Mustache Antenna

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My mom gave me an antenna for Christmas so I can watch PBS from inside the house. It’s shaped like a mustache. It comes in a box and you have to put it together yourself. I was pretty excited to get it since we have to go to the studio to watch Sesame Street every morning and the studio has questionable heat. Actually, It’s freezing in there. The real question is, “Where the heck is the heat?” There is no heat. We live in New Mexico, we aren’t supposed to need it. Thanks a lot climate change and climate change deniers.

So, I took the antenna out of the box. Looked at it. Though about it. I looked at it some more and, then, I quickly remembered that our TV is ancient and so we would need one of those converter boxes the government handed out a few years ago. Remember those? Free with a coupon or some such nonsense? As luck would have it we actually own one of those converter boxes. Unfortunately it was in my old house, the one we have been trying to sell FOREVER. Thanks a lot, crappy housing market.

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Anyway, fast forward a week later, and I had the converter box. Yay! So, I got the antenna out again. I looked at it. I read the directions. I looked at it again.

It only took me three tries to assemble it. Not bad for someone who is as technology challenged as I am. I did have to look for a screwdriver. That took a while. Actually, that took FOREVER. Thanks a lot husband who keeps all of the tools hidden in some magic room called the basement. Luckily, my in-laws sent me this handy little screw driver on a key chain that I have vowed to never let another living soul use, borrow or touch. Thanks a lot, Super Awesome In-Laws!

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Finally, there was a big mustache antenna, correctly assembled by little old me, hanging on our wall. But, wait. There is more.

I went to attach the antenna to the TV, but when I turned the TV around it didn’t even have a place to attach an antenna. The TV had plugs for VCR players and DVD players and Nintendo players, but nothing for an antenna. I was forced to go into the other room that we have a TV in. The one we watch DVD’s of Sesame St. on when we are too cold to hang out in the studio. The TV that makes Jim exclaim, “For people who don’t watch TV, we sure have a lot of them around here.” As luck would have it, that TV had a spot for an antenna!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the TV on the appropriate setting for the converter box because I couldn’t find the remote. The proper setting could only be accessed by the remote. Thanks a lot bad TV design team.

I searched high. I searched low. I searched in toy boxes, under blankets, and in fake, pink kitchens. I finally found it, but alas, the batteries were dead. I then went on a search for batteries. I searched high. I searched low. I found them in the cabinet next to the cake mixes (don’t even ask). Unfortunately, the batteries wouldn’t fit into the remote. More accurately, they would not stay in the remote. That little curly, springy wire thingy was all squished up so no connection was being made. I had to find another screw driver. A tiny, who makes screws this small and why kind of screw driver. I searched high. I searched low. You get the picture. Once I got the remote apart, I stretched out the spring and put it all back together again. At last, the remote worked. Cheers! Applause! Congratulatory pats on the back.

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We now have ten channels to watch in our house, where it is warm. Big Bird, Elmo, and Bert can all be viewed from the comfort of our guest room bed. I even watched a random, middle of some season episode of Downtown Abbey. That show is pretty good. Maybe someday, in the near future, I will get to see it from the beginning.

For now, at least, I can take comfort in the fact that I have an antenna on my wall that looks just like a giant mustache. It’s actually kind of awesome. I know you are jealous because all you have is cable, satellite and unlimited video streaming capabilities. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you updated on the shenanigans going on over there on Sesame Street.

 

I Dreamt of Stolen Identities, Apple and My iPhone

I was up half the night having nightmares about stolen identities, Apple and my iPhone. I mean the tossing, turning, waking up with the night terrors, screaming for my long, lost iPhone and the people who stole it via iCloud kind of nightmares. It was like a junior league technology club night of unrest with unsettling movie trailer horror because I don’t know enough about this stuff to have dreams that actually make any sense.

Yesterday was one of those days where I was bombarded with information. First, I read about how Mat Honan had all of his daughter’s baby pictures stolen off of his computer, had his Twitter account taken over, his Gmail account taken over and his iPhone wiped clean. It actually made me cry which is weird because articles from Wired Magazine online don’t usually do that. Usually they just put me into a staring into space kind of I don’t know what they are talking about coma. If you use any of these products or are online at all…YES YOU…than you might want to read this article: How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking. Also, back up your computer. I am getting one of those exterior hard drive things TODAY. Also, be prepared to lose a little sleep over this article. I certainly did.

Yesterday I also read several blog post about people who either just got (or really want) the new iPhone and how they either hate it or love it. Yep, the iPhone was firmly planted in my brain. I also thought I had lost my phone for a while yesterday which sort of put me into a panic because it is my only phone when my husband is not home. When I lose my phone for a while during the day I always get scared that my daughter will choke, cut off a limb or go into random convulsions and I won’t be able to call 911 without driving to the neighbor’s house first. Yes, I sometimes live in a constant state of paranoia, but bad things happen sometimes. I know this from first hand experiences. Maybe we need a landline after all, even if it is just for peace of mind. At least a landline would prevent me from exercising my imagination with unlikely scenarios, maybe.

The thing is iPhone has some app that can track your phone for you if you lose it which kept showing up in my dreams last night too. Usually this would occur right before I would wake up in a cold sweat so I remember the frustration and anxiety I felt, in my dream, over not having installed this app on my phone. I kept dreaming that I lost my iPhone at the playground and so all night long I was searching slides, and benches, and grassy areas for my phone, but I just kept finding other people’s phones that looked like mine. Those hackers used Mat Honan’s phone finder app to find his phone and wipe it clean through iCloud so now I am not so sure I want to do that either. I was up half the night trapped in a technological iPhone Bermuda triangle of sorts. This is where the solutions seem to just make things worse and I don’t really know what to do with myself except fidget and check my Gmail account every 30 seconds to make sure it hasn’t been hacked to pieces yet. It’s unlikely I will be hacked. I am small fry potatoes in the Internet world, but still, people do some insane things just for fun…especially on the Internet.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I didn’t sleep well last night because I was worrying. I was worrying about stuff that maybe you should worry about too. Mat Honan is a senior writer at Wired.com so he knows what he is doing and HE got hacked. This isn’t a comforting thing to read. He says he is lucky the hackers didn’t get into his bank account. He says he is heart-broken over losing all of the pictures of his daughter during the first year of her life. This is scary stuff. Make sure you are taking all of the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe online. I know I will be. I’m making some changes today. I hope you do too. I hope you take this as seriously as I am.