First Generation iPad Love

My family and I love our first generation iPad, and why wouldn’t we?

Another piece of old tech looking for a good home sent by the mysterious benefactor, I felt that making this iPad 1 useful would be quite the challenge. After all, Apple’s known for cutting devices off completely when they determine that backwards compatibility is no longer worth the effort. I didn’t even think it would connect to the app store.

My first step was to charge it. I’m not sure how long it had sat, but the battery charge was still at 25% (or thereabouts) when I got it. I had honestly forgotten about how awesome iPad batteries were. After I’d topped off the charge, I wiped it and started from scratch. I installed any available updates – the newest compatible iOS is 5.1.1. I tested all of the buttons and the touch screen, all working great despite some casing damage near the volume button.

The screens on these things are still freaking beautiful.

I pulled up the app store and entered my Apple ID, and… it worked! Up-to-date listing of all of the available apps, updates, everything. Even search worked! I threw caution to the wind and tried to download a free app. The download started, and then came the error box. Okay, expecting otherwise had been a bit unrealistic. Wait, what was this? “This app requires at least iOS 7.1 or later. Would you like to install an older version that is compatible with your iOS?”


Yes, app store, I most certainly would. And did. It should be noted that a good half of the apps I’ve tried to install haven’t had compatible older versions. BUT, I’ve found more than enough to make the tablet well-loved by the kids (thanks Toca Boca and Netflix), the wife (Diamond Quest), and me (SSH app, Pocket, Facebook).

So, yeah. I didn’t have to jailbreak it or load anything custom on it or jump through obscure hoops to turn an aged tablet into a used-daily family computing device. Now I just need to find a case for it. Who knows how long I can get it to last?

Writing Journal, NSFW

WARNING: This entry contains some adult references, and is Not Safe For Work.  Proceed at your own risk.

What is going through Susan’s mind?

  • Human fear of judgement and reaction from the scars on her arms.
  • Human and vampiric lust. She wants him, and she wants to drink from him.
  • In the back of her mind, she’s pleased with herself at her successful seduction, but worries that it’s another step away from being human.

What next?

  • Leave the shower scene where it is, maybe have her come in covering up her inner arms.
  • Next scene should be the following morning, Adam waking up nude on the couch, no idea where his clothes are.
  • He’ll go over the night before, his exhaustion, her scars, her complete lack of hair, the experience of her cleaning him like it was a holy rite,

WAIT. STOP. This story is told from Susan’s POV, not Adam’s. Let’s flip this around, shall we?

What next?

  • Leave shower scene as it is, maybe have her come in covering up her inner arms.
  • Next scene should be the following sunset, Susan waking up nude and hopeful.
  • She’ll get dressed, going over the night before, his exhaustion, lack of judgement about her scars, his excitement over her complete lack of hair, how he’d seemed to enjoy the cleaning, how they’d ALMOST had sex and/or fed.
  • Find out what Adam had been up to during the day. Made himself at home? Sammy-style research from a laptop that he didn’t have at the end of the last book? Does Susan have a computer in the apartment?
  • What color are Susan’s eyes? Her sister’s? Need to know that for when she meets Adam. What is the sister’s name?
  • The sister has been dreaming about Adam, and will speak to him, but will still be confused. She’ll want to talk about the green cavern and the story writers, not what happened to her compatriots.
  • When they do get her to speak of it, she’ll recount the events haltingly, and she’ll go on a rant about Walter’s eyes, an imbalance of powers, and the demon. It’ll tangent, like conversations do.
  • The sister is on house arrest at her home, and is guarded by several uniformed CPD officers. If they are in the home during this (likely taking notes for the investigation into the murder of three officers), they will certainly react to the strangeness.

What am I trying to accomplish in the next chapter?

  • Continue getting to know Susan.
  • More about her ties to Michigan and John.
  • Introduce Susan’s sister, the woman in Girl Ritual.
  • Expand on the Cavern that showed up in the last book’s epilogue.
  • Reveal to the characters that not only is Walter meddling in this Chicago, but he is physically there searching for the gun.

I’m getting smaller!

Let me first say that I am not on a diet. I am purposefully and willfully still eating what I want to eat. I did not set out to modify my intake in any way whatsoever. Additionally, my only increase in activity is a less-regular-than-I’d-like morning walk. No gym membership, no weights, no exercise machinery or videos.

That said, my Hawaiian shirts are now too big and my tighter pants fit. The previously-comfortable pants now threaten to fall off, even with the belt. Pants that I had no hope of fastening are now snug. My comfortably-loose shirts… I’ve never been able to say that clothes “just hang off of me,” but now I can. I fit into my LiquidWeb polo shirts, which I couldn’t do when I worked there, nor any time between. I’ve dropped about seventeen pounds (I won’t go on my rant about focusing on pounds as a metric of getting healthier… this time).

What’s changed? I’m paying attention to what goes in my mouth, and how much. I’m paying attention to how active I am. As I mentioned before, I’m using MyFitnessPal for the former and FitBit for the latter. Being able to see it and to track it has triggered a change in my behavior.

I’m saying no to seconds, and finding that I dish up less for firsts. When I don’t immediately feel full, instead of getting seconds, I wait a bit to see if I feel satisfied. I drink coffee (black) and water (often with Mio).

None of these choices were conscious. I don’t consider the benefits, weigh the pros and cons, before I make these decisions. Just like when I started tracking my food and added a FitBit to my wish list, these all seem to come from my gut.

I worry, sometimes, that this is a flight of fancy rather than a change in my lifestyle. I really like the results – how I feel, less pain in my knees (noticeable already!), not having the urge to finish the food my kids didn’t eat. If this isn’t a conscious choice, will I backslide as easily as I got into it?

Only time will tell. For now, I really need to get the Hawaiian shirts out of my closet. They look terrible.

Linux and a MacBook Pro

A few months ago, I received a package in the mail from a mysterious benefactor. It contained two pieces of tech that were old, outdated, and abandoned. The first was a 17″ MacBook Pro, part of the first generation released with Intel processors.

It was missing a battery, but otherwise worked. An old (and now known to be insecure) version of Mac OS X booted up and hummed along. The screen, once cleaned, was magnificent, even without being “retina.” I had plenty of uses for this – a computer for Cian, a computer to work on or putz around with when I was in the living room, a school computer for my brother-in-law… in the end, I decided on making it a kid/guest computer for the living room. Aidan had lost the privilege of having a computer in his room, Cian wasn’t ready for his own yet, and many guests have borrowed Nikki’s or my laptop when they were over.

This laptop just missed the compatibility cut-off for OS X Yosemite, and I wasn’t going to leave a known insecure OS on it. The same incompatibility ruled out 64-bit operating systems in general, but its max of 3GB of RAM made that a moot point. So, I installed 32-bit Edubuntu on it, and it ran fairly well, as long as I avoided the Unity desktop. Still sometimes Firefox would chug or Minecraft would stutter – forget trying to play it in full screen.

I still felt like the OS was doing injustice to the machine, so I kept looking. My memory upgrade (to the full 3GB) came in, and improved things, but I was still dissatisfied. I had much better memories of this class of machine. there’s not a whole lot of info out there about old Macs and Linux shacking up together, but I stumbled on two distros that I hadn’t played with in a while: Bodhi and Xubuntu. (Xubuntu is really just XFCE on top of Ubuntu, so not really its own distro, but whatever.)

While I dug Bodhi’s goal and vision, it felt clunky and counter-intuitive. The laptop’s graphics capability seemed ignored, and I just didn’t like it. Xubuntu was the exact opposite. It was smooth, though long to boot, and had a simple and straightforward implementation of XFCE. Things were intuitive; they just worked. Firefox flew when compared to running in Edubuntu, as did Minecraft.

Full screen runs like a dream!

So, I settled on Xubuntu, and I haven’t been sorry. The younger boys play Minecraft on it (and Acelyn is already asking to try), browsing is fully-functional and quick (even on YouTube and Facebook), and it stores nicely under the couch, to be set on the coffee table when in use. No battery needed!

Thanks again to the mysterious benefactor, and wherever/whoever he got this from. It’s got a good home.