RIP, Steve Jobs

We’ve never met the man.
And yet, we feel his loss deeply, and keenly.
Because we know how much he has changed our lives and our world.

They call him visionary, the Einstein of our generation.
But I think he is much more.
He is the “crazy one”, a round peg in a square hole, a genius who has reinvented so many of the things that we never knew could be made better, faster, sleeker, more beautiful.
He is the classic and everlasting example of courage, of creativity, of perfection, of passion.

A person like him just isn’t comparable to anyone else.

Unfortunately for us, he’s like the shooting star that blazes brightly and furiously across the dark night sky for that mere millisecond before his life is snuffed out all too quickly.

He was a creative, a virtuoso, a mastermind.
But more importantly, he was also a husband and a father.
If he has left a gaping hole in our world, god only knows how devastated his death must have left his family.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

We will miss his genius.

Apple heaven

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.

Isabella iPhone

Warning: this is a geekoid post.

When August 22 arrived, neither Mr Thick nor I bought the iPhone. Oh, it’s not that we did not want the slick piece of perfection to come into these willing arms. Being StarHub users, we (rather, he) were not keen to let go of our phone-internet-cable TV Hub package and move over to the red camp. To be perfectly honest, I was more than happy to switch operators; afterall, I had deliberately not re-contract with Sparky’s owners just for the iPhone. The other reason was due to the fact that the data plans offered by Singtel were not enticing at all and I was not interested in doubling the cost of my price plans just for that sad 1GB of data.

I was literally dying inside to buy the phone. I grabbed onto Trevor’s Froth every chance I could get, cooing over his Rabbid themes with adoration. Yes, I was that sick. We contemplated buying the phone without a contract but stingy ‘ol me refused to pay $1k for a phone, even though it is the Jesus phone. The answer came to us late last year: his friend, who is a Singtel customer, wanted a HTC phone (??) that was only available on StarHub and was willing to trade. With me! Hurrah! Poor Mr Thick is still under contract so the deal fell onto my all-too-willing lap.

And that’s how Isabella iPhone came into my world last month.

It’s been a wonderful experience and the iPhone is so easy to use that I didn’t have the usual teething problems I had faced when reviewing crap Korean and Finnish phones. Of course, there were some missing functions that I used to get from my trusty Sony Ericsson – 3G video calls, MMS, copy and paste, Bluetooth, message forwarding – but so far, none of these have hindered me greatly. The best thing is, Isabella (she’s in pink!) has become more than a phone to me – I can now write blog posts while on the MRT and email it to myself when I get home, I can watch videos on a larger screen as compared to my StaRPod ver2.0, I can tweet (!) whenever I feel like it, I can take pictures and upload them immediately onto my Flickr account…you get the drift.

Thanks to Popartgirl’s generosity, I was gifted with a US$25 gift card for my birthday and the first purchase of the day was Sally’s Salon, a disgustingly addictive game that kept me up till 3am. With the card, I now have an US account (which is much more comprehensive than the sad local platform offered to us by Apple) and have been buying tunes (Ingrid Michaelson’s live rendition of Creep is pure awesomeness), apps and games with glee. Yums.

Anyway, if you are a girly user like I am, here are the top 12 apps/games that I really like using:

1. Sally’s Salon (US$0.99) – It’s similar to the old Nintendo game that I used to play, where you have to run to each bar aisle and catch the empty beer mugs that patrons discard. Except this time, you are facing a horde of disgruntled customers who want to do their hair, nails and tan and they want it NOW.

2. Saturday Night Fever (free!) – I love the cool graphics and retro music! You tap and glide your fingers according to the beat amid a backdrop featuring a dancing man with a bouffant hairdo that can rival Kim Jong-Il.

3. Polarizer (free!) – Turn the photos that you take into Polaroids. Most of the pictures taken in previous posts have been processed by the Polarizer. I love the effect!

4. NYTimes (free!) – When I am lazy in the morning and refuse to get out of bed, I switch on Isabella’s wifi and read the news with my head on my pillow.

5. Style.com (free!) – Get all the fashion news from Style.com while on the go!

6. Tweetie (US$2.99) – Read everyone’s tweets in a user-friendly format. Posting pictures was a bit of a pain, though, and it took me three tries before it was uploaded successfully.

7. Facebook (free!) – I swear it, I am addicted to Facebook and update my status at least once a day.

8. SG Wireless (free!) – Sign on to the dreadfully temperamental and laggy Wireless@SG with just a tap. That reminds me, I gotta get my password sorted out and stop filching Mr Thick’s account.

9. NetNewsWire (free!) – See NYTimes. I live in my bed.

10. Darkslide (free!) – Take pictures and upload to your Flickr account.

11. Tap Tap Revenge (free!) – Relive your para para days and tap your fingers to the music! The best part is, you can download free tunes to update the playlist.

12. AllRecipes (free!) – I haven’t really tried any of the recipes but I really like the DinnerSpinner feature. The users’ feedback offers different ways of updating and improving the recipes.

(PS: Isabella is named thus because my MacBook, her surrogate mother, is named Ingrid. Go figure.)

Ingrid and TheBund

Hello, MacBook! I am not sure if there has always been a closet geek hiding inside my little body, which was gleefully unlocked out of its sad existence by the boyfriend, or was it a case of his gadgety influences rubbing on me.

Two months ago, I finally caved and ordered myself a MacBook to prepare for the seemingly eventual demise of my beloved Baby-iMac G4 (happy sixth birthday!). Poor Baby has been having a hard time waking up from its sleep mode – it has a penchant of clicking its hard disk in resentment from having to rise from its hibernation. Furthermore, it loves to hang on me upon waking up. Egged on by the boyfriend, who was himself eyeing a MacBook Pro (his Quiksilver is older than Baby), we decided to splash some cash on new machines.

On a bluesy Monday night, the boyf brought Ingrid into my home and what can I say, it was love at first chime. Leopard (OS 10.5) rocks! I wasn’t able to install it on Baby because, well, it would probably fry its 700Mhz processor and puny 786MB RAM. But ooh, on Ingrid’s 2.4Ghz processor and 2GB RAM (it’s going up to 4GB soon, I promise), everything flowed fast and smooth. No more waiting for ages to load a picture in Photoshop. Hurray to shooting and editing in RAW!

I still love Baby though, I haven’t forsaken it completely. It now is my media machine and occasionally when I hanker for a bigger 15-inch screen (don’t talk to me about resolution), I still use it for basic surfing. Ingrid and Baby sit side by side everyday in their pristine whiteness (or as white as Baby can be anyway, after six years) and we have plans to keep it in the east end for use as a photo/music machine.

And let’s not forget TheBund – the boyf’s swanky new MacBook Pro (the backlit keyboard is gorgeous!). He took it over to my house on the day he received it and being the ultimate geek that he is, he decided to make a stop motion video of its unveiling. TheBund and Ingrid got along very well – as you can see in the movie – and it really was a blast unwrapping the sleek machine (check out the video below, it’s awesome!).

We’re going to be such a household of Apple freaks (two laptops, two desktops, five iPods and possibly two iPhones) and gadgety geeks.

(See my flickr set: Unveiling Ingrid)