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Me and my Apple

Before I met Mr Thick in 1998, I had no idea that anything existed beyond the Microsoft-PC realm. We had a HP desktop at home, shared by Sista and I, and it was enough for us to surf the net, chat on ICQ (I feel so ancient saying this!) and work on Word documents.

And then along came this man, who was all Apple is the greatest! even though those machines cost an arm and a leg. I mostly ignored his fanboy and geeky antics because I was NOT. INTERESTED. I just want to surf the net and chat on ICQ, okay?

In 2002 though, something turned me into a fruit-loving maniac: my baby, the iMac G4. Remember that cute little computer that didn’t look like a computer?

Happy birthday, iMac!

The HP was falling apart after four long years and I was looking for a replacement. The machead was all, BUY AN APPLE, WOMAN! Conveniently, Apple had just launched the iMac G4 and luckily for him, it was love at first sight. I loved, LOVED it.

I had never loved a gadget before.

And so it became mine and I called it my baby. I loved how adorable it looked, loved that the screen can swivel, loved the cutie patootie speakers, loved the way the OS was so easy to master, loved how the desktop images could change every five minutes.

And that began my love affair with Apple.

For six long years, my baby was everything that I needed in a computer. Despite all the newer MacBooks and iMacs that were launched, I held on to it. It was whimsical, gorgeous, reliable and it was mine.

Since that moment when I picked up my iMac G4, we’ve accumulated a fair number of Apple gadgets. Between the two of us, we have: a MacBook, a MacBook Pro, two iPhones, two iPads (1 and 2), an iPod 5G, a iPod shuffle, two iPods 1G, a iBook 3G and that humungous desktop of the man’s (whose generation and name I have forgotten).

This was what I had for a period in time

We loved each and every gadget.

There are a number of reasons why we have been such Apple fans and I think a lot has to do with the fact that we are both very aesthetic people. We love clean, minimalist designs that combine form and function effortlessly, and Apple gadgets are truly the most beautiful electronic gadgets in the market. Their software are intuitive and I’ve never had any problems adapting to the apps, whether it’s iOS 5 or iMovie.

Also, we have both been very lucky in that ALL our Apple gadgets have worked beautifully and have had long and fruitful lives (couldn’t resist the pun, hee hee). My iMac, for instance, was my primary machine for six long years and I only gave it up after I picked up a camera and needed a machine that had the power to edit RAW photos.

(Don’t worry, my baby is still with me, she’s sitting prettily at east end as decoration.)

I suppose I am waxing lyrical about Apple because I am feeling a tad sad that Steve Jobs has resigned from the company. For many years, his keynotes have been the stuff that husband stayed up till the wee hours for and his outfit of black turtleneck top and jeans are as familiar to us as, oh, I don’t know, our computers. We’ve looked forward to each and every launch.

Will Apple still be Apple sans Jobs? Heck, yes. Will we still love Apple? But of course! Will husband name his daughter Apple or Lisa? No, but nice try.

Right now, however, I am thankful that Jobs went back to Apple in 1997 and went on to create those amazingly innovative products that we love and, most importantly, use.

(Wow, I just realised that I have been an Apple user for almost 10 years! And that I’ve only had two computers during that time. Wow.)

Why I would buy the iPad 2

So the next incarnation of the iPad will be launched next week and already husband and I are fighting over it. Theoretically, there is no fight because a) I win, and b) the product isn’t even out yet, and c) there is a possibility that we will not buy it. But just for the record, here’s how the conversation usually goes.

He: iPad 2 is coming out!
Me: Yeah, I know. It’s going to be lighter, right?
He: Yeah. Who’s going to use it, you or me?
Me: Me.
He: (aggrieved) But why?!
Me: Because it’s going to be lighter! Surely you wouldn’t want me to lug around the heavier iPad when you are holding on to the lighter one?
He: …

(Aside: He’s actually been very nice to me, submitting our current iPad to my overall dominion. I bring it to work, I read during the commute, I use it when I am cooking, I surf the net in bed before I go to sleep…and he uses it during those other times when I am not.)

Jokes aside, I have a feeling that a second iPad will be joining our very large and very happy Apple family. Call it my sixth sense. Ever since we were gifted with the Paddy (very original, I know), it’s really changed the way I use the computer.

Back in the pre-Paddy days, I would automatically gravitate to my computer immediately after dinner. I subscribe to quite a healthy list of blogs and my evenings are spent reading these. These days, my poor Ingrid (yes, I name my gadgets!) has been sadly neglected. I now only use it if I want to edit my photos or blog. Most times, I’ll surf on the iPad or read one of my many e-books.

One of the reasons could also be the change in my reading habits. I’ve stopped following the blogs on my RSS feed religiously and have gone back to books. I don’t know which came first, it’s like the chicken and egg debate: did I buy the iPad and renew my love for books (thanks to the e-books husband got for me) or did my tastes change and I naturally gravitate towards the iPad?

Whatever the reason, the iPad hardly leaves my hands these days. A lighter iPad would be handy because, come on, holding it up to read on the train can definitely build some serious arm muscles. We’ve been tossing back and forth on the idea of selling our laptops and realigning our techie stuff (SO BUSINESS!) so we’ll see.

Watch this space.

Epiphanie Lola

After three months of drama and immense frustration at Borderlinx, the Epiphanie Lola camera bag that I had ordered finally arrived!

I had placed an order for it in early September but it was backordered all the way till end October. Which was perfectly fine with me because I wasn’t looking to getting a new camera anytime soon. I had it arranged to be shipped via Borderlinx and what ensued was a whole month of drama that made me tear my hair out and swear off Borderlinx.

(If you want the story, let me know and I will share it with you.)

Anyway, thanks to Joel’s recommendation, I managed to get the package re-directed to the very sweet and helpful Rachel, who promptly shipped it to me with much less fanfare and stress. Phew. She even kindly waived her service charges for shipping the Lola to me after hearing about my harrowing Borderlinx experience.

Oh, did I forget to mention that I had gotten me a new Canon 60D? I got it at a sweet price, thanks to a well-connected friend and it’s been a smooth ride so far. Loving it!

This was delivered to my doorstep one afternoon as I was working from home:

Fished this out from the dusty box:

They have this in black and turquoise but I couldn’t resist the fire engine red:

The interior of the bag:

The bag is padded on the inside, ensuring that my precious camera is safe and snug. It also comes with velcro inserts that allow you to configure the compartments for your personal stuff, the body as well as the different lenses that you are bringing along.

The icing on the cake for a vainpot like me? Why, it’s this cute little bag charm:

I took it out on Christmas day and it was fab. There was space for the 60D with the Tammy 17-50mm lens attached, the 50mm prime lens, as well as my own things. It doesn’t hurt that the Lola in no way resembles a camera bag. I know, I could have gotten a Crumpler or something similar at a lower price but come on, isn’t this bag a thing of beauty?

Think I’m going to be bringing out the camera a whole lot more often!

Mastery or tools?

I’ve been thinking about upgrading to a new camera body for a long, long time now. It’s not that my current Canon 400D is not working fine – on the contrary, it’s been a great road warrior for the past three years. Ever since I switched to my Tammy lens, I’ve seen a great improvement on the quality of the pictures.

And yet the one thing that is holding me back is my self-perceived lack of skills.

I don’t think I am a great photographer and I keep wondering if I deserve to splurge $2K a high-end camera like the 7D (husband is convinced that the 50D is not worth the money). It always boils down to the question of skills versus tools. Undoubtedly, a good tool can only be fully utilised if the hand holding it is skillful. Otherwise, it will never achieve its full potential. Do I have the necessary skills or knowledge to handle such a solid piece of equipment?

On the other hand, can a tool help to improve the owner’s skillset? Will I become a better photographer with a good camera in my hands? I had the same conversation with my photographer friend Alwyn and his take is that with a good camera, even if your pictures turn out to be crap, at least they are good looking crap. Well, that’s one way of looking at it, I guess.

I have never thought that my so-called good pictures were due to skills or technique; they were simply borne out of luck. One of my favourite pictures taken at Haji Lane, for instance, was taken when we were leaving the place. I turned around, stuck a camera up and snapped without thinking. I didn’t think about lighting or angle or composition. I just clicked the shutter. For every nice picture like that, there are probably 15 duds that I never bothered to process.

I’ve asked myself several times: did I become a better baker after we got the KitchenAid? I’m not sure – but I do know that I started to bake more and I became a more efficient baker.

I highly suspect I will continue to be stuck in this dilemma for a while longer. Come back here in another six months and I will probably be still hemming and hawing over it. Well, blame it on my Feeling preferences. It’s been proven that I decide with my heart, not my brains!

Irreplaceable

Hipstamatic

Ever since Mr Thick bought the Hipstamatic app for the iPhone, we have been having loads of fun taking pictures.

This clever little app mimics the unpredictability and effects of those cheap toy cameras that I love so much – light leaks, desaturation, graininess etc. And the developers are clever enough to come up with different film, lens and flash packages for suckers like us to buy so that we can come up with different effects depending on our permutations.

And guess what, it worked! Because Mr Thick bought every single “supply” up for sale at the Hipstamart. Ka-chink! And I wondered why the credits of his iTunes account dropped so drastically. But it’s okay since I get to enjoy the frivolity of Hipstamatic too.

My photographer friend Al The Awesome (yes, he really calls himself that and yes, I do have friends like that) says, YOUR PICTURE IS STILL SHIT EVEN WITH THE HIPSTAMATIC EFFECT. Obviously, he wasn’t referring to me. At least, I don’t think so. But I politely disagree, I think all pictures look super cool with Hipstamatic.

I mean, look at mine, I think they are fabulous! But I may just be biased and a little narcissistic. They may look like crap after all. Oh well.

Macha latte at MOF - looks good, tasted bad

Sunset over the Pinnacle@Duxton

Mango gelato at Frigidarium - Gelateria Italiana (#01-40 Market Street Car Park)

Stylebook app giveaway

Just a little “advertising” here: I’ve done a little post over at my geeky husband’s site, I Heart Apple.

While the boys are focused on the techy details, you can see that I have stayed true to my roots and written up something fun and frivolous – fashion apps. What’s more, there is a giveaway at the end of the post! So go on over and poke around the site.

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