On cheating...

Bought Wii Fit Plus even though we don't have the money, so I'm hoping I'll actually use it (as I mostly kinda did with the Wii Fit) and start really losing some weight. Also bought Fable 2, unrelated except that my justification was that it was (used) 26 bucks and Wii Fit Plus (which we *need*) was 20, so we really only spent 6 dollars.

The great part is that I managed to convince hubby of this. :)

But lo, we started playing Fable last night (Eugene started a character anyway) and a friend came online. Fable 2 has these orb things that really take you out of the game if you're playing on xbox live, which we were. I think they're creepy looking and ruin the atmosphere, but I guess if you're a hardcore multiplayer everything-must-be-with-a-party player it's ok. Anyway, the friend came on and gave Eugene 700,000 gold. Considering he was struggling to get a few hundred at that point in the game, this was a huge amount.

My first thought is, "Hey! That's cheating!" But when I voiced that thought Eugene gave me the "kinda agree with you but going to do it anyway" and was soon happily buying stores and houses, not to mention reaping the benefits of giving away 50,000 gold to a nearby beggar (yeah your "good" value shoots right up there).

I have problems with this for the same reason that I have problems with watching a movie in fullscreen ("crap") mode or reading the last page of a book first. It doesn't seem to be what the creater of the entertainment intended. You don't get to see the full movie, feel the suspense of a book, or experience gameplay where there is actual struggle. Now, maybe the designers expected players to do this...but if so, then gameplay must be skewed towards multiplayer in what is really, let's face it, a single player game at heart. That would feel artificial and harsh towards those who prefer a more role-play experience, which is what Fable is supposedly all about, right? With the whole choices and consequences thing?

Anyway, all that to say that when I start playing, if you see me online, please don't be offended that I've turned off the orb things and won't accept gifts. And I guess I shouldn't expect anything better from someone who knows all the cheat codes for Sims by heart.
  • Current Mood
    bored bored

A quick rant...

I'm pretty frustrated. Why does buying a house have to be such a pain? I should be able to say, hey, this is a house I would like to buy, how much is it? And then the seller should tell me the actual price that they need to sell it for, not some made up number that they wish some sucker would fall for. And I'd say, ok, here's some money or sorry, that's too much...and that's it.

Why oh why is that not it??

Why do people feel that they need to play games with buying a house? My FiL keeps telling us to "never offer a round number, that way it sounds bigger". My mom informs me that "inspectors never find everything, make sure you find out what the seller isn't telling you that's wrong with the house." And when we finally did put in an official offer the seller's agent who before had said the seller was "super motivated and needs to get out of the house soon" changed her mind. She rejected the offer (which was reasonable) without even an official counter and told us that "the seller doesn't really need to sell the house, and we won't even look at an offer under" a crazy price that is way more than the house is worth.

Why not just counter offer if you're wanting to negotiate? Why play games???

Grrrr.....

I'm just stressed about it because we're on a pretty tight timeline here, as we need to be out of the apartment in August. I just don't want to deal with a month to month rent or worse, moving in with parents for a bit. I just want to buy a house. Come on people.
  • Current Mood
    frustrated frustrated

Being social...

I've had way too many periods of being bored online lately. I can tell because I appear to have signed up for a number of things I'm not really sure I'll actually use. Troubled by this thought, I took a look at what all I'm actually supposedly *doing* online, and after finding 6 or 7 blogs, a ton of random "social" sites, lots of picture sites and almost no content on any of these, I've decided to consolidate.

Here are the sites I'm actually going to attempt to keep up with...on some level.
  • LiveJournal. Mostly just so I can keep up with people when they want to write slightly more than 140 characters.
  • Twitter. Because I tend to only write 140 characters, and it's fun.
  • LibraryThing. I just put in all the books that I have unpacked at my apartment. Not sure how much I have left, but I love the idea of having my whole library available via iPhone whenever I need it. I just wish the site was a little less cluttered.
  • lifeasgeek.com This is now my only "real blog" site, and all future "real posts" will go here. (ie non-LJ) Nothing much there atm.
  • Ravelry. I just love the idea of a social knitting site, and I really want to organize all my stash/needles/patterns here and post updates and pictures of knitting etc...I just haven't yet.
  • FanFiction.net Because all writers need to blow off steam and write something silly and fun at least once in a while. Granted, I really haven't been on here much since college, but I think I will yet.
  • Flickr.  Just to support Ravelry really.  (hence no link)
I think that's it as far as social sites go.  Of course, I can't give up my list sites (Remember the Milk and LifeTick) or any of my podcasts, but still I think this'll help...some...

::starts looking for life, wondering where she put it::

Useful Apps -- General Purpose

There's actually a ton of useful apps out there, but most of them are for a pretty specific group of people ( the BoardGameGeek app, for example) and many are just a ported web page. So here's a few I use tons that almost anyone would have a use for:

Useful Tools:

Evernote

Yes, the external brain is present on the iPhone as well. The app is free as well as a decent sized account online, unless you find this to be an indispensable tool, in which case you can buy more space online. I use it to keep track of wines I've tried (which is, as I found out later, actually one of the suggested uses) and it's super convenient with the camera right there to take a photo. The regular note taking is just ok, but it certainly replaces the crappy no-sync notes app that comes with the iPhone. The voice notes are also handy – and did I mention this was free? If you've never checked this out, do yourself a favor and go watch the intro movie on their web site. Well worth it.

Balance

There are a ton of finance/budget apps on the store, but this is what I use for two reasons. 1) it's free and 2) it's easy to use. You will not find any fancy features here, or even more than one account. I don't use it for my actual, day-to-day finances and don't recommend it for that because hey, life and finances are complicated, and you need a decently powerful tool to deal with it. (I like Wesabe myself, and it has a great iPhone web site.) What this app is good at is vacation budgets and other “I have this much money to spend, must make sure I don't over draw before I can check my account” situations. Put in how much you have to spend, and there you go. It takes two seconds to put in a withdrawal, and no internet connection required. A great help, easier than trying to fiddle with notes and receipts.

Grand Dialer

If you use Grand Central to consolidate your phone numbers (and if you don't, why not? It's free.) this is a simple, easy to use free app that lets you dial out using your Grand Central number. So now you can keep people who only know your GC number from getting confused by caller ID, or calling you back using the wrong number. It makes sense if you have an account, if not, don't bother.

Twittelator

Yes, you can pay money for Twitter apps on iPhone, but why? Twittelator is free and in my opinion the best app out there to boot. It's easy to use, syncs with no problem, and makes adding pics and maps a breeze. If you use Twitter, this is your new app, and if you don't, this might make you try it.

Grocery IQ


There are about 5 zillion grocery apps on the store, not counting the todo list apps which can double as a grocery list. Heck, even Notes will do in a pinch. But there's a certain amount of awesomeness that comes from having a list generated from a few quick key strokes and then using it to find everything you need sorted by aisle, and then checking things off with a happy little glow inside you. Well, maybe that last part is just me (see below soapbox on Remember the Milk), but still this is a great little app and well worth the 3 buck price tag.

Amazon Mobile

The official Amazon app makes it almost too easy to buy things. I periodically uninstall it just to save money. But if you need to buy anything from Amazon, this app makes it blinding simple with very little setup. Perfect for Christmas time -- I found myself reaching for this instead of heading to my computer for the main site.

SnapTell

You've probably heard about this one, so I'll spare you the hype -- you take a picture, it finds the item (book, music, movie, game) and tells you where to find it for how much. Simple, and yes it works, and quite quickly. Note - you take a pic of the actual whole product, not the bar code for this, as the iPhone camera can't quite read bar codes on its own. (Although some cases add a lens that changes that.)


That's it for official apps for right now (like I said, I'm trying to stay away from things that most people just won't care about). I'll put up a quick jailbroken must-haves post next, and then maybe a "these are the apps I love but no one else cares" if I get bored. :)

Oops?

That link in the below post screwed up and LJ says I can't edit it -- I think my posting software has a bug, or several. Sorry, here's the actual link:

Remember The Milk
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed

A Side Rant...

(Sorry I've been wrapped up in holidays and haven't had time for a full post...this is something I started working on for the Useful Apps part, but it got long and rant-y so I'm putting it up separately. )

Remember the Milk

The world's best to-do list app (perfect for New Year's Resolutions). While the app is free, the account online is free, and you get to use both together for two weeks (actually right now it's 30 days) for free, after the two weeks you have to upgrade to a pro account to keep using it.

A little history on this app – first, RTM is the world's best online todo list system, hands down. For free, you can have as many lists as you want, tag them, set locations (with map links), have repeating tasks, set due dates, set priorities, add urls, setup “smart” lists based on search terms (such as a list with all items tagged “next action” that are due in the next two weeks, unless it's located at “work”) and lots more. You have no limits on the size of your lists, quantity of your lists or frankly anything else. You can “send” tasks back and forth between people you know, share a list with a few contacts or make a list totally public. You can then sync your list with basically everything, including any computer with any operating system (yes, windows mac and Linux), Gmail, Google Calendar, Outlook and just about anything else – and if there's something that you can't sync with yet, they have an open API so if you can program you can write an application to sync with it. You can update it and get updates through email, the web site, various widgets, Twitter, sms texting and more. It's the most amazing, useful, free thing ever, and I'm totally serious about this. Don't make me geek out more.

We love this program. We love this program so much that we want the people responsible to work on the site full time. Did I mention the site has no ads? The site has no ads.

So the people who run the site also want to work on it pretty much full time, but they don't want to put ads up. But there's a whole group of fans who want to help, so they set up a pro account, which is 25 dollars a year so people who want to can support the site, and the programmers can buy food, as long as it's ramen. The RTM people wanted to make the pro account worth it, so they spent more time and money – that's extra time and money from what they already did – to create apps for the Blackberry and now, the iPhone. Their reasoning was that if you have money to spend on a free online list, you probably have a job and could use a Blackberry/iPhone app to help with said job. And us pro accounters were amazingly happy.

But there are some people who believe that everything they want should always be free, and no one should have to get paid for awesome work they did. Now, I'm not saying that all the people who gave the RTM app on the app store one star are communists, but they are fricken' freeloaders who probably also pirate music and movies and the RIAA should subpoena Apple for their identities. Also they kick puppies. And their mom is fat.

All that aside (did I say a little history? Ok I lied), the app is free for 2 weeks and great to try even without a pro account, as it includes such neat features as using the gps to pull up your nearby tasks, very easy iPhone navigation/task entry/task completion, and a nice quick search feature. It also doesn't require an internet connection to use, just syncs when you have one. It costs you nothing to try, and if you don't like it you can always use the regular web interface (not the optimized iPhone version) for free still after your trial runs out. Obviously, I think this app is worth money – it's my favorite app on my iPhone, no contest. But then, I'm a little odd and “I do so love checklists!” so give it a try for yourself. :) (bonus points if you recognize the quote)

Remember The Milk

iPhone Games

Apps:

I have nine pages of apps and have to switch them out on a pretty regular basis. (yes I'm obsessed, I know this) So rather than talk about all of them, I thought I'd just hit my favorites in each category, and then you can feel free to mock as you will.

Official App Store Apps:

Everything in this section is available without jailbreaking your iPhone.

Games:

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Next: Official Apps: Useful Tools

iPhone, part 1

Note: I started this post a week ago. It's now six pages long and I'm nowhere near done, so I'm posting it in parts over several days. Sorry for those who are tired of hearing about iPhones. What can I say, it's a disease, and I'm very, very sick...


I've had a lot of people ask me lately if it's worth getting an iPhone (yes) and, once they get one, how to get the most out of it. So, since I kept repeating some information and always leave something out, and since a lot of this makes more sense when you can read it, I thought I'd go ahead and post about my iPhone and how I use it, and what apps make me happy. :) Note that I am not an Apple fan, being more of an open source Linux type of gal, so this post...well, it really says something about how great this gadget can really be, I think.

I've split this into categories and made it clear when things require a jailbroken phone. I'm not going to repeat how to jailbreak an iPhone here as it's all over the place – if you want it done, just google “jailbreak iPhone 2.2” (2.2 is the current firmware). Lifehacker has a good tutorial up, but really it's just downloading the app and following the instructions pretty much nowdays. It's really not hard, and if you really mess it up you can always restore from iTunes.

Basics:
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Next:  Official App Store Apps:  Games

Twitter added!

Thanks to cecilegrey, I now have a twitter badge in my sidebar. Word is that it takes a while to work, but eventually it does. Also my widget to post from desktop works! Communications are restored.