New Years Resolution

I’ve been sick all the way through the holidays, and every year I have a cold through winter that lasts pretty much until spring.  I hate winter.  I used to love it.  I’m realizing more each year why older people migrate to a warmer climate.  Not that it’s a requirement, but I can see a lot of advantages.  New Years Resolution: Get better.

Oh, and we have Ty for the weekend, and took pictures last night as he opened his gifts.  I added them to our Christmas 2011 collection.

Christmas is approaching fast, ready or not

Here it comes.  I’m way beyond sick of Christmas music this season, thanks to WMYX starting it up 24/7 the day after Halloween…sheesh.  I’ve already watched some of my must-see annual holiday classics:  Miracle on 34th Street (the original 1947 B&W version), Elf, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and I loved seeing them all again.  I thought I was going to have to pass on Christmas Vacation though–I hadn’t seen it in awhile, and couldn’t find it in the store, but Sandy ran across it last week in a bargain bin for $5.00!  That was an awesome find.

I think we’re ready as we’re going to be this year.  I should say “SHE’s” ready though, not “WE’RE” ready… Sandy’s doing all the work.  She made a nice Cheese, Broccoli, and Rice casserole for the Telecomm Holiday Lunch at my work last week, and it was awesome!  It went over so well, she’s going to make the same thing for our IT Holiday Lunch this week!  Now she’s making cookies for people, buying and wrapping presents, playing the dreadful music, etc. etc….

Socks and I went for a walk today.  In the snow.  It was pretty cold, so we didn’t quite make a mile, but it was nice and he always enjoys a walk.  Plus, I got to listen to some more of the audiobook I’m on–Stephen King’s 11-22-63 while we walked.  I’m in the home stretch now, with just a few hours left, and man, is it good!  Speaking of Stephen King, did anyone else watch the Bag of Bones miniseries last week?  Yikes, was that a mess!  They scrambled and cut up the story really bad and left so much out, I don’t see how anyone who didn’t read the book could really understand much of it.  I assure you, the book was much much better, and well worth reading (or, as I prefer–listening to).  It will definitely straighten out a ton of missing elements in the miniseries and clarify the entire story much more all around.  Mattie didn’t shoot her husband when she caught him trying to drown their daughter!! She didn’t kill him at all–he was electrocuted while working on their outdoor TV antenna on their trailer when he got struck by lightning!  In fact, in the miniseries Mattie lived in a regular house and didn’t even have a trailer. Sheesh.

Alternate Android Launcher

One big advantage Android devices have over Apple is their ability not only to to allow the user to completely customize their  home screens using widgets and icons, but to change the entire “launcher” app itself!  This is the interface delivering the experience which connects the user to their device and apps.  Yesterday, one of Google’s 10-cent paid app sale items was ADW Launcher EX.  I have owned this app for quite some time, and I’ve used it often, but kept running into a “deal-breaking” snag causing me to revert back to the stock Honeycomb Launcher on my Xoom.  So, even though I had already purchased it some time ago for full price, I clicked on it anyway.  Turns out, to my delight, it’s been updated quite a bit!  So once again I switched to it.  The changes are nice, and many of them target Honeycomb devices, and devices with faster speeds and large screens, so it’s a lot better than it used to be.

The main “deal breaker” I hit last time was still there, however:  I would layout one home page with all of the icons and widgets just the way I like them, then save all my settings in ADW’s settings page, then I would reboot.  Every time it came back up, every single widget would be missing, with the message “problem loading widget” in its place.  They would never load, so if I wanted that layout back I’d have to re-create my home page every time I rebooted.  Simply unacceptable.  But, since ADW has come so far, this time I took it a step further and googled the issue.  After a few minutes I found the answer in a Xoom forum.  Turns out that either Android itself or specifically the Xoom have problems when you place widgets on multiple launchers.  Not multiple home pages on the SAME launcher, but on multiple launchers.  My default home screen on both the stock launcher and on ADW were nearly identical, so I went back to the stock launcher and deleted all of my widgets on my home screens.  Then, once more, I re-built my default home screen in ADW.  After a reboot, voila!  My widgets reloaded perfectly!

With this now working, I am once again giving ADW a chance to be my launcher of choice.  So far so good.  It still has its quirks, just as all launchers do (including the stock launcher), but all the additional features and functions in it make it much more desirable and fun to use than the stock launcher, so I’m going with it.  I love having so many options!  I’ll never go back to the “KISS” method Apple uses.  Ever.

ADW is still just 10 cents this morning–if you don’t have it yet, you can’t go wrong, give it a shot.  Just remember to delete all of your widgets from your current launcher’s home screens before you start using it.

10 apps for 10 cents each for 10 days!

Google just hit 10 billion downloads in the Android Market, so to celebrate they have worked with their top developers to offer a huge 10-day sale!  Some of the best (and most expensive) paid apps in the market will be for sale for 10 cents.  There will be 10 apps a day, changed daily, for 10 days, all for 10 cents each!  You can’t lose–hurry up and go shopping!  You can get them all every day and only spent $1.00!  Hurry!  Today was already day 1, so go grab some deals in the Android Market!  Even if you don’t already have your dream Android device, go buy them and they’ll stay on your account until you DO get your new Android.  This is even better than Amazon’s free paid app every day (except it ends in 10 days).

For me, I blew it–Just in today’s ten I had already purchased most of these apps for full price a while ago 🙁  I paid $6.99 for Asphalt 6 HD, and Great Little War Game is also pretty cool.  I did grab Minecraft – Pocket Edition for 10 cents though–this one is normally $6.99 too, so I’m happy.  Kevin has been drooling for it for awhile but I kept telling him he’d have to buy it himself if he gets a tablet for Christmas…  Today he offered me a dime to get it.  I told him to keep the change.

Downtown Walk

Yesterday, Kevin, Socks and I walked through downtown.  Kevin found a new toy store he’s excited to re-visit.  It’s called “Inner Child Collectables and Comics”.  They have a lot of comics, toys, old video games and old magazines.  It’s a nice place the geeks on Big Bang Theory would really treasure.  The own says it’ll only be open on weekends though, probably through next year.  He has a full-time job in addition to this store, so he can’t run it full time.  I’m sure we’ll be stopping in again.  It must be a new store though–I couldn’t find it anywhere on the web, and I had to add it to Foursquare.  It’s on 6th Avenue A, at the red dot on this walking map.  We parked right in front of it at the start of our walk.

At the other end of our walk we visited some new sculptures on the lakefront that we hadn’t seen before.  We found 4 new ones – Allegra, Emergence #11, sea saw, and Water.  Click on the links to check them out.  They’re in my Kenosha Art section.