Sunday, September 21, 2008

Getting back to normal

I'm really enjoying my iPhone. I love having one thing to carry around--it's a phone, it's a personal organizer, it's a music player, it's an ebook reader. It's a dessert and a salad topping! It slices, dices, etc. I love being able to get my email while I'm out and about. I subscribe to my boss' calendar, so if I need to set up a meeting I can see when he's available. Google maps are pretty impressive on it, although it's mostly just a parlor trick and not terribly useful, as far as I've seen; I guess the directions are more useful than the actual maps, or would be for me.

One of our local television stations has a bunch of traffic cams online, and those are fun to watch. I've downloaded a few free videos -- a few television pilots and a couple of short films -- but have yet to actually buy a movie or television show, although I'm sure I will at some point. I'm slowing converting all my contact info over.

I've had a few syncing issues with calendar items and contacts being duplicated, so this week I stopped using Microsoft's Entourage for my email and went back to Mail. I'm hoping that by using all Apple products I'll have fewer problems. I guess we'll see.

I gave Bob my iPod, and he's been enjoying that, particularly since there's something wrong with the sound card in his computer (we think), and he can't listen to music on it.

There are screenshots of the rest of my iPhone screens on the Moblog page. (The iPhone screenshot functionality is undocumented: hold down the home button, the depress the power button briefly, then let go. You'll hear a "shutter" sound, and the screenshot will be saved to your Camera Roll.)

I paid for a few applications; mostly things that I had on my Palm that I couldn't do without. I did try to find free or cheaper alternatives, and frankly the ones I got aren't perfect, either, but at least I was familiar with them. I'm sure that subsequent releases will improve. I bought three Splash Data apps: Splash Shopper, Splash Money, and Splash ID. Splash Shopper is basically just a list app -- I can't believe that Apple didn't put a "to do" application on the iPhone! I tried several free ones, and I probably could have made do with one of them, but I like the interface, and since I was buying the other two, I thought I'd just go ahead and get the package.

Splash Money is a checkbook app; I also keep track of various investment accounts there. Splash ID holds all kinds of information, mostly login and password stuff, again mostly work-related. Both Splash Money and Splash ID are password protected.

I also bought Bejeweled, and Shanghai, a mahjongg game. Most of the other stuff I have on there were free downloads from the App Store.

Zenbe Lists is a list application that has a web-based counterpart. You can sync up the two, so you can enter and work with lists either on the website or on your phone, and the two will stay in sync. I use this mostly for work stuff--task lists, client lists, phone calls I need to make, etc.

Most of the social networking sites have an iPhone compoent: Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter are the ones I have (the Twitter one is called Twitterific). There are also clients for PayPal and eBay.

Other fun stuff: If you download eReader for iPhone (it's free), you can access and download any ebooks you may have purchased through Fictionwise or eReader. There's also an ebook reader called Stanza, which comes with access to a HUGE library of free ebooks.

A lot of major websites have iPhone versions; sometimes if you go to a website it will recognize that you're on an iPhone and serve up the correct page. Amazon has a special iPhone page, so does Google (quick access to Google Docs, their newsreader, translations, etc. I haven't found a perfect newsreader, but Newstand isn't bad. It lets you flag articles that you want to go back and read later.

I've also been looking for a good app that lets you store documents, like Word docs and PDFs, for easy access and reading on the iPhone. Google docs does that, but you can't seem to view PDFs on it, which seems strange since you can view PDFs in Safari, or even through Google Mail. Dropbox lets you create a "drive" on your computer, drop files into it, then access them on the iPhone. It's incredibly fast, and you can view PDFs on it.

The only issue I have with the Splash apps is that the syncing is difficult. It's over the air rather than via cable, and it's finicky. I can't get a good wifi signal at home on Apple hardware; I was successful once syncing by setting up an "ad hoc" network, but that doesn't seem to work now. Some of the forums indicate that it stopped working after the most recent firmware update. I wouldn't be surprised. AirSharing is an app that lets you mount the iPhone as a drive over wifi, but again, I haven't been able to get that to work yet.

Anyway, it's all a lot of fun -- and also a distraction that I've needed -- and I'll talk more about good apps that I find.

It's weird not having Pyewacket around, but I guess we'll get used to it. Dinah has been extra-clingy; I think she's probably lonely during the day. I thought that maybe she was acting better lately, but Bob said this afternoon she was sitting on his lap and then suddenly turned around, looked up at him, and hissed, so maybe not. It's hard to know how she'd react to another cat; I'm kind of afraid to find out.

I've felt like we've been in kind of a holding pattern while we dealt with Pye's illness, and now things are slowly starting to get back to normal. I have an appointment on Tuesday with the hand surgeon to discuss options. I'm probably going to have to have surgery, which I'm definitely not looking forward to, but the cortisone injections didn't do anything at all, and I don't think there's anything else to try.

It's apparently not a terribly complicated surgery, and recovery is pretty quick. I guess I'll have more details Tuesday. I need to get back into making jewelry, and I need to get back into knitting; I haven't even really read anything for the past few weeks. I've been collecting ebooks on the iPhone, downloading all my old favorites, so I've got a nice, good backlog. Speaking of which, I'm glad I didn't get a Kindle--not that I would have, realistically--because eReader on the iPhone is so nice. The Kindle has a larger screen, but I don't know if it's enough larger to make a difference.

I got a nice letter from K-State last week saying that our vet had made a "generous donation" in honor of Pyewacket, and that our names and hers would be in a memorial book that they keep there. I thought that was awfully nice. I need to write them a thank you note.

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Monday, September 15, 2008


Pyewacket died this morning at about 1:40 a.m. Bob had gotten up to check on her, and she died on his lap. If any death can be good, I think that was probably the best possible way for her to go. She was with the person she loved most in the world.

She was so much a part of this house that it's almost impossible for me to believe she's gone, especially when I see Bob in his recliner in the office watching television, or playing a game on the computer. It just seems wrong that she's not there with him. She was truly an exceptional cat, and her time here on earth was much too short.

She never met a stranger; she loved everyone, and everyone loved her. She could be a brat sometimes, but she was the sweetest, most loving cat I've ever known, and had the most personality. She'll be entertaining everyone in heaven, I'm sure.

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Friday, September 12, 2008


No bad news so far, or at least no worse news. Just a quick update.

Pyewacket stopped eating three or four days ago, and stopped drinking water maybe a couple of days ago. Up until then Bob had been able to get her to drink a little by carrying her to the water dish and standing there with her. We don't want to keep her alive just for us, of course, but on the other hand, we don't want to be premature. She still has life in her, she'll still purr when Bob pets her (she won't purr when I pet her, but that's nothing new.)

The vet had suggested -- and had given me -- a large syringe that he said could be filled with soft cat food diluted with water and then squirted into her mouth. We just didn't want to do that, though -- Bob said he didn't want to force feed her like a goose. But I read some things on the web that said sometimes when a cat stops eating, just getting some food into them will jump-start them eating again.

It's about the end of the line for her, though, so I didn't know if it would make sense or even be kind to put her through it. Yesterday Bob called me and said he wanted to try giving her some water, at least, so last night he filled the syringe with water and got some into her, and also gave her some milk. She wasn't thrilled with it, but it wasn't too bad, except for the time when Bob squirted the milk right in my eye . . .

We did the same thing this morning, gave her some milk, and some water, then put her up on the table in front of the window next to me while I was working on the laptop. After Bob left for work, she sat there in the window a little while, then suddenly got up and jumped down before I could stop her. She staggered, then started walking away, and I got up to follow her to see where she was going, and to stop her if she headed to the basement.

She walked over to Dinah's "food station" (they each have their own, Dinah's in the dining room and Pye's in the kitchen), and went to the water dish. It was too tall for her to get her head over, though, and she just laid down beside it. I went in and got a shorter dish and filled it with water and sat it down beside her, and she drank. She isn't very efficient -- she's mostly just sticking her tongue in the water rather than truly lapping, but it's a good sign. She drank quite a bit, then rested her head on the side of the bowl. I put a little catfood on a plate, thinking maybe I could get her to eat it, but she wasn't interested.

I picked her up and took her back upstairs, took the water, and made her a little plate of food -- some catfood, some tuna, and a little bit of salmon -- hard to say, but maybe if she's drinking again, she'll eat a little bit. Every night I've been holding her for awhile; last night Bob had brought her down to me and then he left and went back upstairs. I didn't have anything close to hand, no books or my phone or anything, and I didn't want to disturb her by moving around, but I could reach my little iPod Shuffle, so I put on some earphones and turned it on and sat there with her and fell asleep. I hope she gets some comfort from it; I certainly do.

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Friday, September 05, 2008


When I first heard about Twitter, I thought it was kind of stupid -- who needs to update what they're doing or where they are every few minutes, and who would care?

Then yesterday I was reading Misty's blog and noticed Twitter in the sidebar where she said that she didn't have time to make a blog post (she had a baby a couple of weeks ago, after all), but she was posting to Twitter from her cell phone. And I thought, okay, that would be a perfect application for Pyewacket updates -- I know a lot of people are anxious to know how she's doing, but don't want to write and ask.

So I've got kitty updates in my Twitter -- the link is in the lefthand column, if you want to follow along.

She's hanging in there. We have her confined to Bob's office now, so she doesn't try to go downstairs, and so that Dinah doesn't bug her. She's pretty much stopped eating now; Bob said last night he got her to lick a little butter off his finger, and she lapped up some of the liquid from a can of tuna. She's still drinking water, though, and he carries her to the water dish several times a day. He's also washing her with a warm washcloth. She seems to like that.

This morning when I came back upstairs to get ready for work I brought her a little buffet plate with a little bit of cooked chicken, some deli roast beef, and a little bit of tuna, and I also brought the milk from the bottom of my cereal bowl. But I couldn't find her. She wasn't on the nest (a pile of his clothes) that Bob had made for her, and she wasn't under the recliner. I was calling for her softly when Bob called from the bedroom, "She's in here."

He had gotten up and brought her back to bed with him. He said I could take her back in the office and see if she'd eat, but I said no, let her stay with you. H e doesn't go in to work until 2:00 today, so he'll be there until early afternoon, and it won't be long before I get home.

I woke up in the middle of the night Tuesday night not feeling well, and still didn't feel right when I woke up on Wednesday morning, so I ended up staying home and working for about half a day. I don't know if I was really sick or if it was the stress catching up with me. I felt fine yesterday and today, but it's still a struggle.

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