Archive for August, 2010

Book Review – I’m With Fatty

Yesterday morning Hot Momma was watching Today on NBC as I was getting ready for work. An interview with some fat guy who wrote a book about being fat came on and she made sure to get my attention so that I could see the interview also. I was interested but I kind of blew her off because I was running late for work and frankly, she hurt my feelings. I know I’m fat but it is all the more painful to have the fact pointed out to you by your goddess-of-a-wife even when she loves you unconditionally and just wants what is best for you. I bought the book on my Kindle app for my iphone before I left the driveway, read 89% of it last night (on a Kindle so I don’t know how many pages that is) and finished it this morning. The book is I’m With Fatty: Losing Fifty Pounds in Fifty Miserable Weeks by Edward Ugel. You can find the Today show story here.

I started reading the book when I got home from work last night and could absolutely relate. A once athletic male becomes a middle-age overweight father whose love for food and lack of exercise has put him on a path of unhealthiness. The book chronicles Ugel’s year of wins and losses in incredibly honest detail. His description of the thought process and inner struggle that can take hold and allow a compulsive eater to make horrible food choices was eerily familiar. He also discusses starting a new exercise routine, hiring professional help, juice cleansing and colonics.

All things considered, I enjoyed this book. It made me think about my situation and ways I could use this book to further change my life for the better. You will be sorely disappointed if you are looking for a detailed meal plan and exercise routine. There are plenty of nuts and bolts books about eating less and exercising more. But this book gives an honest view of being a fat ass trying to slim down and has some laugh out loud parts too.

Personally, I found it interesting that the impetus for deciding to “get healthy” was Ugel learning from his wife that he snored and then learning from his doctor that he had sleep apnea and needed a CPAP machine. I too have a CPAP machine and I too learned of my condition thanks to my wife. The difference I guess is our reaction to the machine. Ugel was disgusted by the thought of wearing a CPAP mask and said “it was simply asking too much of my wife. Completely fat and the mask? No. She shouldn’t have to suffer through that, not even for me.” I don’t love my CPAP mask but after having it for a few years I have come to accept it. I think Hot Momma prefers me wearing the mask to hearing me snore or not hearing me breathe. But I realize that it keeps us from the kind of snuggling we used to enjoy in college. We have a king size bed and Thing 1 and Thing 2 crowd in often but there are times when it would be nice for Hot Momma and me to meet in the middle of the bed and fall asleep in a loving tangle. The CPAP is not really snuggle-friendly. So I agree with Ugel that my wife should not have to suffer through that, but I appreciate that she never makes me feel self conscious for wearing it.

I need to become the healthy man that Hot Momma and the two Things deserve (and don’t forget Thing 3 on the way). I need to become the healthy man that I deserve. I guess I’ll just have to come up with a different angle for my book chronicling my success since Ugel did a pretty good job of covering this one.

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Dr. Seuss on the iPad

As I have stated before, Dr. Seuss is a big hit at our house. Also, the iPad is a big hit at our house, and office, and on vacation, etc. Well, you can imagine my delight when I learned that these two things could be combined for a super fun reading experience for Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Oceanhouse Media has, at current count, eleven Dr. Seuss books available to download to your iPhone or iPad and I hope they continue to expand their collection. These are just ebooks, they are enhanced ebooks that are truly amazing. You have the option to read the book yourself or have the book read to you. Additionally, you can touch a word or object and the book tells you the word or object you touched.

I love reading books with my girls. The Dr. Seuss apps on my iPad have made the experience really neat and I see a practical advantage as well. Sometimes Hot Momma or I read to them at bedtime. With the iPad we can turn off the lights and dim the screen so that they can start to get ready for sleep sooner while enjoying the book.

Last night, Thing 1 read Green Eggs and Ham all by herself while Thing 2 and I listened. Tonight we are scheduled to read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. It should be fun.

The iPad as a Laptop Replacement

I bought an iPad two weeks ago. I had been considering the purchase since the product was announced and did a fair amount of research on the product so that I would know what I was getting. Plus I already have an iPhone so I am very familiar with the interface, and so are my kids, as I’ll discuss. I have read many articles complaining that the iPad is nothing more than a huge iPhone and cannot replace a laptop for getting work done. I agree to some extent, but the fact that the iPad is like a huge iPhone is appealing to me because I like the touchscreen interface. At this point I would not scrap the laptop completely but I can see myself using my iPad for things that I used to use my netbook or bigger laptop.

I did buy the Apple Wireless Keyboard and find that it greatly improves my ability to draft longer items. The keyboard is very thin and light and is very easy to bring along with you. I find typing on the iPad screen very similar to typing on the iPhone and I have already become fairly comfortable but the wireless keyboard is much faster and allows for touch typing whereas the iPad screen keyboard seems to work better when I use more of a two finger approach.

I recently went on vacation and opted to take my iPad instead of my netbook. Here is a brief list of how I used my iPad on my vacation:

Viewing PDF files

As I have discussed before, my office has digital client files along with the paper files. I was able to load my iPad with files to review on the plane. I also loaded some magazines that I had scanned. Viewing PDF files is a much better experience on the iPad than on a netbook or laptop because of the ability to rotate the screen to read the document in portrait view rather than landscape.

Pictures

We took a lot of pictures on our trip. I used the Apple Camera Connection Kit and we were able to load pictures taken on our digital camera card and our iPhones for viewing on the iPad. The pictures look amazing on the iPad.

TV shows

I bought a season of an HBO series that I had not yet seen. It helped pass the time on the plane (when I was supposed to be viewing those client files, remember) until Thing 1 decided she wanted to watch some of the shows I had loaded on it for her. She is five years old and had no problem navigating the video app to view her shows because she is already a notch below expert at using my iPhone.

Internet Browsing

Once we were at our destination, I used the Safari app extensively to check out restaurants and attractions in addition to keeping track of the goings on with Facebook.

Kindle

The Kindle app is nice. I have a Kindle which I brought with me to use for reading outside. I also have the app on my iPhone. It is nice to be able to pick up wherever I left off on any of the platforms. I had a travel guide-book that I could use on my iPad and iPhone on my trip.

VPN + RDP

This is the thing that for me make this close to a laptop replacement. I was able to set up a VPN tunnel to our server and then use a remote desktop app to log in to my computer and the server from my iPad. There were a few issues that came up while I was out of the office and I was able to log in to the server and fix them without any problem as if  I was physically in the office. The connection is a little slow over the cellular connection but was workable and was even better when connected to Wi-Fi.

Conclusion

I often leave my bigger laptop docked at my office now anyway and would use my netbook to remote connect if needed. I still have my netbook and will probably still use it from time to time but now that I can use my iPad to remote connect I see less of  a need for the netbook. The iPad really provides a much better viewing experience than the netbook, especially for PDF files and pictures. One of the best things about traveling with the iPad was the ease of traveling with an iPad. The charging source is much smaller than with a laptop, the iPad itself is much thinner and lighter than a laptop, and I did not have to take it out of my carry-on bag at security. Unfortunately, I did still have to take off my shoes.