Perspective

per·spec·tive The ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations or comparative importance -American Heritage Dictionary

Morris the Cat

Morris the Cat

For those old enough to remember the cat food commercial, Morris was a 70’s TV commercial icon. Although our cat looks nothing like the original, she does come when you call ‘din din, Morris’.

Here’s one of the original commercials.

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More than just a new iPod color

This new color is very interesting because not only is it a cool color, it is part of an initiative to raise money to fight AIDS.  The RED appears to be a standard iPod 4 GB nano, but $10 from every purchase goes toward a global fund to fight AIDS in Africa.  In fact, other high-profile consumer products also produce RED items.  The really interesting part of this initiative is that RED is reaching out to people who buy these products by engaging them as active participants in the initiative.  The joinred.com/you.asp page invites people to produce a short video that may end up on the website.  Very cool!

My Top 5 Free Web Tools

I am a Mac fanatic. My new macbook is really my Swiss Army Knive and here are some of the most indispensible tools on it:

Textwrangler TextWrangler is the free version of BBEdit. Textwrangler is a super text editor with incredible search and replace options, extensive FTP and SFTP support, nice multiple document interface, color-coding for html and other popular programming and scripting languages and so much more. It’s perfect for light scripting and HTML authoring.

Seashore Seashore is a free open source image editor for Cocoa and is based on the popular GIMP. For basic Web Design and image manipulation tasks, it is a fine replacement for Photoshop. I have used it on Panther and Tiger on both a G5 and an Intel Mac and it has always been very stable.

firefox Firefox is THE browser that I use. Now I can’t even imagine surfing the web with IE. In fact, if you are still using IE, you are missing out on the biggest revolution in web browsing since Netscape appeared on the scene! Tabbed browsing and extensions alone have made this the single most valuable tool on my computer. Here are some of the extensions I currently have installed:

RSS Editor

ColorZilla

del.icio.us 1.1

Google Notebook

Regular Expression Tester

WebDeveloper

konfabulator Konfabulator – Yahoo purchased this novel “widget” technology that preceded Apples Dashboard Widgets on Tiger. Widgets are small, configurable applications that perform basic functions in novel interfaces. For example, some widgets display the weather forecast in your city or the latest headlines for cnn.com or search Ebay or whatever you can imagine! I prefer the Konfabulator Widgets over the Apple Widgets because Konfabulator Widgets can be made cross-platform and can reside on the desktop in the background.

My must-have widgets: phone List and To-Do list widgets

google docs Although not technically installed on my mac, my Firefox browser would be lost without Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Since before Google purchased Writely, I have been using this very nifty collaborative document sharing tool. I have found it enormously useful and hope Google continues to develop it into a full-fledged office product. I like the collaborative feature that allows multiple simultaneous edits but the best part is that you can upload existing Word docs for editing, publishing, sharing, etc. I have found some formatting issues, especially with objects created with the Word drawing tools but am willing to overlook these issues for the collaborative ability Google docs provides.

The best thing about all of these products is that they are absolutely free.

Comic Life

comicLife

I recently experimented with ‘Comic Life’ software that came installed on my Mac laptop. It’s a very nifty application written by a company named Plasq. I created a cute 3 page comic within 15 minutes and found it completely intuitive with almost every feature drag and droppable. A really great feature is the instant availability of your iPhoto images right in Comic Life for easy ‘drag-and-drop’ access. My favorite feature is the ‘export to html’. Exporting to html is simple with Comic Life because and it creates a folder with all of the necessary files neatly organized. Comic Life has tight integration with .mac but you can upload your ‘Comic Life’ files to any hosting company web server.

My Favorite places in Tampa Bay

Many of my favorite places in Tampa Bay are actually in St. Petersburg and I think its because St. Petersburg is a really vibrant city with a rich community spirit. Anyway, here’s my top 10 list (not in any particular order):

  1. Mazarro’s : It’s an Italian market and more! This place has become a landmark and is part of the ‘fabric of St. Petersburg’. It’s one of my ‘3rd places’.
  2. Gisella Kopsick Palm Arboretum: A very beautiful park managed by the City of St. Petersburg and a must-see for any palm aficianado.
  3. USF Botanical Gardens: The University of South Florida Botanical Gardens in Tampa has really great plant festivals but its a nice place to visit anytime, especially spring and fall.
  4. Rollin’ Oats: A great whole foods market in St. Petersburg with amazing organic produce.
  5. The 4th St. N. Einstein Bagels in St. Pete: Hard to find parking but a great place to linger over a foccacia and read the paper on a Sunday morning.
  6. The Best kept secret for good coffee in downtown St. Pete is actually at Schakolad, a European-Style Chocolatier on Central Ave. Of course, the chocolate is awesome and Mark and Tess are first-rate!
  7. Green Thumb Festival: The Mother of all Annual Spring Plant festivals and in an incredible location, too!
  8. The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City : There is just something about the historic building and beautiful mosaics that transcends the food and entertainment, which aren’t bad, by the way. Just sip some Sangria or Cafe Con Leche with Cuban Bread and enjoy.
  9. Sunshine Skyway Pier State Park – No, its not fancy and the only activity is fishing, but what a fun time on a cool autumn Saturday night. The place is packed with people of all ages and it’s really exciting when someone catches something really big!
  10. Fantasy of Flight: An impressive airplane museum tucked away in Polk County featuring beautifully restored rare airplanes on display. There is even a kid’s area for making paper airplanes and a hang gliding simulator. The diner was surprisingly nice with tasty food at reasonable prices.
  11. BONUS:The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center – Hosting memorable and fantastic Broadway shows, The Florida Orchestra and much more.
  12. DOUBLE-BONUS!: The St. Pete Grand Prix – Absolutely fantastic racing in beautiful downtown St. Petersburg. Even if you are not a hard-core race fan, the beautiful cars, the thunderous engines and the great festive atmosphere make this annual event worth every penny!

A four-year old perspective

I bought my 4 year old son, Will, a $20 digital camera and set him out on a mission to take pictures of whatever and however he chose. Of course, he immediately started taking pictures of some of his favorite outdoor toys, but he also chose mundane objects like the utility meter and a STOP sign. Interesting perspective!
STOPOur utility meterThe foot powered 'Flinstone-mobile'Quite a collection of bubble toysWheelbarrow full of yard toolsBanana tree

The library is COOL!

A very talented college student, David Ariew uses iMovie and GarageBand on his iMac G5 to create a very entertaining “commercial” for the USF Library. He obviously enjoys his work and is definitely sending a positive message about the Library and education.

His advice “. . . use iMovie for video editing rather than an advanced program . . .. iMovie lets you focus on being creative instead of getting bogged down in navigating a complex setup“.