a droid named darryl

Not to be confused with D.A.R.Y.L.

As a girl who went through 3 generations of Apple Newtons (including the limited edition clear MessagePad 110), I’ve been pretty skeptical of smartphones for the past few years. As a student, I loved having a PDA. It made keeping track of classes easier, and the MP2000 with the keyboard accessory was actually pretty good for taking notes.

I wasn’t purely an Apple fangirl either, I dabbled with Palms (the m500 was so very sleek), and even made the jump to Windows Mobile (WinCE, at the time) with my beloved Cassiopeia (colour! compact flash! it was like the future). But by the time I started working full time, I realized that having a separation between work-life and actual life was very important to me, and having my office synced up to a device that I had with me 24/7 was not good for that separation.  In addition, most of the devices and the available apps for them were very business/calendar focused, and I didn’t need something so complicated to manage my personal life.

Fast-forward to the release of the iPhone. It was pretty, no doubt. And Apple was definitely targeting it more for “home” use, having ceded the business end of that market to RIM and Microsoft for a while.  I’ll admit, as I heard about the apps available for it, I considered taking the plunge — my phone service was already with AT&T, though I was sans-data plan.  But the way that Apple chose to lock down developer freedoms with the App Store gave me pause.  The fact that the iPhone wasn’t open probably wouldn’t really affect my use of it at all, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. And I couldn’t shake the feeling that the Personal Digital Assistant paradigm was still fundamentally flawed.

But why all this talk about dead platforms and obsolete devices? I’ve had Darryl the Droid (blame Nerd 2 for the name) for a couple of days now (Costco has a deal on, if you’re interested), and of all the devices and all the phones I’ve had over the years, this is the first one I’ve used that has felt like what the Newton Messagepad wanted to be (but couldn’t, because this was the nineties, people). I wonder if Steve Jobs will ever be humble enough to call up John Sculley and admit: “Hey… you were right.” The PDA is back, baby.

perhaps a good sign?

HedoCorp got hit hard by the #McAfail (is that trending yet?) today.  I was in a meeting at 9 when the announcement came over the PA system to please unplug our computers from the network.

By the time the meeting ended at 10, my machine was already in an endless loop of rebooting. So I cleaned my cube. Then went to lunch. Then had another meeting about stuff that it would be great to add to a slide deck if only we could use our computers.  Then came home.  That was the first issue.

Once home, I decided to take care of some business at the local Driver and Vehicle Services office.  Some of you may be aware that the state of Minnesota believes that somehow it can better secure its assets (the Mall of America?) from the terrorists by putting information about legal immigrants current status on their driver’s licenses — it’s called a “Status Check” date.  I wouldn’t be totally against it, if they would get this information from the feds themselves, but no, the best way to implement this is obviously to inconvenience the license holder.  Which for me, given my current slot in the queue, means going in about once a year.

These trips annoy me, so today I tried to game things a little by presenting the document that pretty much gives me the right to hang out here indefinitely, instead of my passport as they expected, hoping that I could save myself future visits.  Big mistake.  Apparently giving low-level bureaucrats forms that they don’t recognize means that you may (or may not) get your license reissued at all. Even if you also give them your passport and promise to just come back next year.

I tried to take the nonconforming form back from her and she nearly took my hand off: “NOW THAT YOU’VE SHOWN IT TO ME I HAVE TO SEND IT IN!”.  So we’ll see how that goes… that was the second issue.

The third issue was also DVS related, though less involved.  Some bastard already has 101010 as their vanity plate in the state of MN.  I hope they use it wisely — Beauty and I are back to the drawing board W.R.T. her tramp-stamp.

Lastly — it turns out that paper drop cloths, Rust-o-leum Dry Erase Paint, and stained pine kegerator collars don’t mix well at all.  The “fiddly cosmetic issues”that I had to fix with The Beer Machine are now fairly major: involving bits of paper stuck to the fridge lid, and white paint spots on my pretty mahogony collar.  I’m hoping that Nerd 2 will come home and suggest something magic having to do with sand paper or mineral spirits that will make it all better, but I’m pretty sure that another coat of stain is in my future.

I might hate stain almost as much as I do paint.

The one thing that did go well today? Well, since I came home so early, I decided to put in the final push of effort required to get my application to school finish.  So it’s done and sent out (though I need to mail them one photocopy tomorrow.   I try not to believe in omens, but with everything else against me today… maybe the admissions gods will smile down upon me in the next week or so?

i wish the answer was yes

When I was shopping around for the domicile that would eventually become Chez Hedo way back in 2004, one of the features on the “nice to have” list that I ended up forgoing was a backyard deck.

Sure, it’s got a patio, and the Great Window Adventure of Aught-Six provided me with a door that leads directly to the backyard.  But to be honest, that patio is small and too shaded.  And the door is 3 feet off the ground.

Fast forward to now(ish): Nerd 2 is back, I have one more summer of relative freedom before I (hopefully) sell my soul and my sanity for a few more letters to put after my name, and it’s time to build that deck, dammit.

I’ve read lots of books. We’re taking a Deck Building 101 course this week.  I’m hoping to have plans ready to submit for a permit by May 1st.  So it’s time to call Gopher One Call (or, at least hit their website) so that my plans don’t involve digging a 4″ footing through a gas line or something.

The website is pretty easy to use (even if it’s _very_ obvious that it’s a contractor built front-end around a circa 1983 mainframe system — I swear I can smell the COBOL), but the best part of the application was the question where it asks whether or not your excavation would be performed using explosives.

This deck would be far more awesome if it was.

maybe i am getting the hang of thursdays

We were just wrapping up our 1pm meeting when I realized the true extent to which I didn’t want to be at work anymore yesterday.  So I took the rest of the afternoon off.

It’s not like the morning had been overly productive.  I’d spent most of it thinking about what I’d do when I got home since Thursday was really my first unscheduled evening in quite a while. I’d like to think I used my truancy well:

  • I brewed a cream ale with yeast that had been patiently waiting in the fridge for the past couple of week’s
  • I did some light gardening (how are there already weeds)?
  • I continued to marvel at the wonder that is having your own beer, on tap, in your own house.
  • Knitting happened, in preparation for the Yarnover conference this weekend.  I’m taking a class from Meg Swansen, who is Kind of A Big Deal, in the right circles.

So yeah, not regretting that decision at all.

miss me yet?

In honour of Don’t Believe Anything you Read on the Internet Day, I figured I’d see what I can do about reviving this old rag.

Yesterday, I checked out the 1st Annual Minnesota Beard-Off because my buddy Willis was competing.  There would be pictures, but Sauce was too packed (fire marshall anyone?) for me to even consider reaching into my purse for my camera.  Sadly, Willis did not emerge victorious, but I’d say the actual winner probably deserved it, no?

In new restaurant news, in the past 48 hours I’ve tried a new (to me) brew pub, “gastro-pub”, and $6 Indian Buffet.  I’ll definitely be going back to Barley John’s for the patio and the Belgian Tripel this summer, and India House is worth the drive to Fridley from TPHCorp.  The Lyndale Taphouse was pretty nice, and I did enjoy the food, but there is so much else going on in that area that I feel like I need to test out the other options before heading back.

Why the fancy drop cap? Because dailydropcap.com says I can. That’s why.