The coolest thing happened yesterday. I had to get an oil change, and recently I have been in the position that I can not be without my car for the day. Since I get free oil changes where I bought the car, [Webber Dodge] I had to bring it there. I decided that I would get the oil change while I waited, but this meant that I had to sit and wait in the boring waiting room. Now here is where a little tip I read online came in oh so handy. I had read an article about “downtime.” In this article it was recommended that you make a list of things that you could do when presented with a little downtime. This includes things such as making that phone call you’ve been putting off, deleting those old contacts out of your cellphone that you haven’t spoken to in years & many other things (many of which made significantly easier having a Treo with Internet access.) In my case I decided that since I also had my camera with me I would take it out and repeatedly view the video that my friend had taken of me snowboarding. No I wasn’t being narcissistic, I have this thing that I “supposedly” do with my shoulders while making a turn. Well, after sitting and watching this video over and over, I finally found it, and even started to think of what I could do to eliminate it.

I can honestly say that without finding this free time while I sat there waiting for my car, I would have just continued to push this off more and more. Being forced to sit around in this case however helped me to finally accomplish a task that always seems to sit too low on the list to get accomplished, even though I have been wanting to get to it for a very long time. So that’s it, I strongly recommend taking that little note program in your cell phone and writing yourself a list of things you could accomplish the next time you find yourself waiting for that oil change or your doctor’s appointment that never seems to be when you appointment is actually scheduled.

Now, I’m out of college, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t still remember the sour taste that each new semester left in my mouth from buying new books. Preying on poor college students and letting them get further into debt. I recall once buying a book that had been published 15 years earlier, for $40.00 and then finding a receipt inside from another store 2 years earlier when the book was sold for $10.00 less. Enter Xerox and my sales slip, I’ll take my $40.00 back, thank you very much. That was a good way to save money, but boy was it wasteful, it took a bunch of paper. So here’s a better idea.

Thank you Web2.0. Chegg lets students with university email addresses buy or sell their goods through “personal, face-to-face interactions–eliminating the hassle and costs of shipping and other fees that plague most used textbook-finding services.” Watch out evil campus bookstore.—MEGHANN MARCO

Greed, say it out loud. GREED. It kind of sounds funny. It’s almost a taboo word in our culture. Why? I guess because we all are somewhat greedy in the United States. It’s ok, I don’t blame you, the average citizen. It’s large companies that portray materialism as happiness. One company that I have really seen as stepping up to the plate and hitting a real “Greed-Slam” is Apple. Today I am going to talk about them a little bit.

Apple is really no different then most tech companies. In our culture we crave the latest and greatest technology. I’m no exception (*brief pause to check this incoming email on my Treo 700w.*) The thing that I feel really separates Apple from the the rest of the pack however is how they like to keep their new products a complete secret until the day they release. I could go out today and buy a new iPod and tomorrow it could be yesterday’s big thing, and I consider myself somewhat on the pulse of new technology.

The thing which really possessed me to make this post however was this. Last night, while trying to set up my girlfriend’s new iPod, I ran into the following string of events:

-When Trying to hook up her iPod nano, I was told to update to iTunes 7.0.2.
-After downloading iTunes 7.0.2, I was told it couldn’t be installed without upgrading to mac OS x 10.3.9
-After downloading 10.3.9 I was told that I could not update unless I upgraded OS X from 10.2.8 to 10.3.x

Now, I’ve run into this before, and here’s the issue. Let’s say I bite the bullet and get this upgrade, it is often the case that after upgrading, some other program doesn’t work and you are forced to upgrade that. You find yourself stuck in this spiral, and the biggest spiral is the money spiraling out of your bank account.

So I guess my final thought is this. When it comes to those Apple ads with the 2 guys standing in front of the white wall (a PC guy & a mac guy,) don’t necessarily think that it comes down to good, and bad. Think of it rather as bad and worse, and I am not even going to say which is which.

Fox decided to have a 4 hour premier event for their hit show 24. At face value this seemed like a great idea. I must say though that it was terribly excited because I really enjoy 24. But there were a couple of problems. First off, Fox decided to put the premier of 24 up against playoff football, and to start it an hour earlier then usual. Since the show was also being aired on a Sunday (during a holiday weekend) my schedule was different, and I was not home to catch it. No problem, it’s 2007, and if you are enough into a show into a show that you can’t miss an episode, there are a few options open to you. You either watch the episode with commercials on the fox website, or download it from iTunes (usually for around $3.) When I returned from New Hampshire, I had every intention of buying & downloading the first 2 episodes I had missed from iTunes. But leave it to Fox to try and get more money out of it’s viewers. Fox had decided to sell the first 4 episodes on DVD starting the day after the premier event. Because of this the episodes weren’t available anywhere on theInternet (legally anyways.) Sure there were plenty of opportunities to download this episode from other fans who record it and are sharing it online with other fans, but this starts to enter into a bit of an ethical/legal debacle.

I guess my big issue is that Fox’s greed to make a few more dollars by selling a DVD of the first 4 episodes forces a fan who wanted to catch the 2nd night’s 2 episodes, to either download the episodes illegally, or to read an online synopsis of the content they missed. Since the whole concept of 24 is time, you CAN’T miss an hour, and this was a major oversight. I guess it’s not such a big deal, because it will all probably become available on iTunes in a few days, but I definitely feel like I was/am being taken for a ride on this one.

Lately I’ve been noticing that people are flying the American Flag at half mast for way too long. I understand that it is perfectly acceptable to fly the flag at half staff to mourn & honor a passing president. Don’t get me wrong from what I know of Gerald Ford, he was a great president, however this is the second time in a short while that I am seeing flags flown at half mast for the better part of a month. Our Flag is supposed to be flown proudly, waving from the tops of flag poles, it seems to me that flying it any other way seems week and shameful. This is all just my opinion, but for what it’s worth even on Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half staff only until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.

Here’s a quick tip for people who might be experiencing the same problem as me. I have a 20gb iPod. I have had it for about a year and a half. There is definitely a point at which you want to do a project maintaining your iPod and its play lists. This project, at least for me includes a few different items. I want to “trim the fat” and get rid of any music that makes me hit the skip button. I also want to recreate my play lists, since there have been many additions to my iPod since their initial creation. So here’s how I recommend going about this.

First off. We all paid good money (or should have) for our music, so we don’t want to just delete it. We are left with two options, un-checking the box to the far left of the track in iTunes. or removing it from our system entirely to conserve room there as well. If the tracks are downloaded, consider burning a CD. This CD can either be an audio CD for playback in other devices, or a data CD (or DVD) for archival purposes. In the case of burning an archival CD or DVD you can fit many more tracks onto your chosen media, so try and use that space wisely. Make sure you make yourself a handy track guide so you don’t have to spend a lot of time searching discs for the files you want. Screenshots can be very handy for this.

When I first created my playlists, they were great, and they still are, but they are incomplete. I want to add to them, but also subtract. Let me preface my tips on playlist management by explaining that when I say playlists I can be referring to a list of songs which could encompass even 50% of all the songs on my iPod. Ho I chose to solve this problem is to rename my current playlist (i.e. “snowboarding” to “snowboarding1”) Then I can use “snowboarding” as a guide for what I had before or just start from scratch. Keep adding all the songs, or even albums, or artists, until you are happy, then add the new content you have accumulated since the playlist’s initial creation.

Once you get your iPod all set up like this you will be able to bring your iPod to any situation and be able to choose music which best fits that group of people. I tend to be around many different people ranging in many different tastes in music, having the proper playlist set up allows my eclectic tastes to fit with the rest of the rooms and we can enjoy some great tunes together.

So, Did you attend any good barbeques over the weekend, What great July weather we had, nearly 70° outside. Wait, what’s that you say? I have the wrong month? Oh, it’s January, not July. Sorry, my mistake. I guess the either just had me confused. I ask this of my fellow Bostonians; “Why are people celebrating this.” Hey, newsflash!! Your house is going to be underwater if this type of weather keeps up.

By the way, If you’ve never read any of my other blogs from past years, I complain about this topic like every post. The truth of the mater is this. We live in New England, like it or not, it gets cold and warm here. The problem is that, this usually happens seasonally, not weekly. This poses a small problem that perhaps you have seen in the news. Trees only have so many “Blooms.” Most have around 4. This means that if we keep getting these long strings of days, trees will bloom, and we’ve wasted 1. It is common to waste a few blooms as temps stabilize in springtime, but if we waste too many now, we will have a summer that feels like summer and looks like winter, doesn’t that sound fun? I was in New Hampshire over the weekend; “NEW HAMPSHIRE!!” & I saw trees blooming. Problematic.

It seems that old man winter is back now however, and the ski areas are getting snow & cold temps again, at least in ski country. Not to say anything for Blue Hills down here in Canton, MA, where I was supposed to teach one night a week.

My request to you is this, please embrace the wintertime. It’s really not so uncomfortable; you just have to prepare for it. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer. I love Baseball, Barbeques, Biking, Fishing, Sailing, Swimming, & all the other things that come with summer, but there better when you can really value them, by having both “a summer” & “a winter,” “…Because without the bitter baby, the sweet just aint’ as sweet” -Vanilla Sky