Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reality TV and iLife

I don't know what happened to me this year, but I have been sucked into more reality shows this year than normal. I have found the shows are very cleverly produced and make sure you get attached to at least one person or story line, which hooks you in for weeks to come. For example, I accidentally tuned in to The Bachelor and before long I was wondering if Megan would really make it through the first night and if he would really let Shannon move to the next round. Of course they both made it through two more weeks before getting eliminated, unfortunately I didn't get eliminated and now wonder if Holly will make it to the end. You see what a vicious cycle it can be. Thankfully I have shed a least a little bit of weight by dropping "The Biggest Loser". Of course I am curious as to how much weight the 500 lb teenager is going to lose, but there are some other shows which take precedence over that dramatic mess.

On a separate note, I bought the latest edition of iLife and after playing around with it for a few hours there I am mostly happy with it, although there are a couple of disappointment. I was most excited for the iPhoto changes because it is the application I use most often and the features they added were things I had been wanting in the app for a while.

I was most excited for the Faces functionality which adds facial recognition to all of your photos. Basically, you let it analyze your photos, in my case it took about three minutes to do 100 photos (I start my library over each year). Once the analysis is complete you can go to any photo with a face and put a name to the face. The person will now appear in the faces view where by double clicking on them you can see suggestions of other faces that may be theirs. The faces are nicely laid out at the bottom and only requires a single mouse click to confirm their identity. After labeling a couple people you can quickly label 90% of the faces in your library.

Now for my complaints, after you have tagged several people and start going through photos you see a couple things, first you are reminded the feature is called Faces and not People. A bunch of photos with people standing at an angle or slightly obscured didn't register as faces and so a bunch of people didn't get tagged. I decided to look beyond this deficiency and accept that by clicking on Kaleb's card in the Faces view I won't necessarily get every photo with him in it.

The second issue I had was with unknown faces and how difficult it is to see a summary of them and to tag them. I added myself, Kaleb and Jennifer and then confirmed the faces suggested to be ours. Again I went through some more photos and there were several faces with the unknown name tag. What would be nice would be a roll up of all the "Unknown Name" tags and the quick ability to add the names to them. It just seems like a more efficient process and would prevent some photos from falling between the cracks.

The next feature I really liked was the Loation view. It is a way of viewing where your photos were taken on a map and it also provides a great way of searching by location, similar to the way you can search for music in iTunes. If you are an iPhone owner your photos are automatically tagged with the location so you will see results right away. However, when it comes to your average digital camera they don't geotag your photos and so you are forced to manually set the location where the photos were taken. Setting the location is pretty easy and can be done as high as the event level or as low as the individual photo level. The location functionality also is tightly integrated with google maps so searching for addresses or landmarks is quick and painless.

Overall the features are cool going forward, but it is going to be quite tedious to go back and update all of the photos from the last ten years. I found a couple months ago that the built in features such as ratings and smart albums are actually really useful later on when trying to find diamonds in the rough. I am hoping the Faces and Locations will also pay off in a similar way.

Maybe I will do an iMovie review another time.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

So Much To Say

I was feeling guilty today for not posting anything about Kaleb and what he has actually been doing behind the photos, so I figured I would take this opportunity to put some information on this here blog.

First of all Kaleb is now talking SO MUCH!! He still has problems pronouncing various sounds, such as the letter "s" and only recently has actually said "Yes", rather than his typically boisterous "Okay". He has become a little repeating machine, just a single time hearing a word and he will immediately repeat it back with relatively accurate pronunciation.

While the talking has been pretty amazing we are mostly impressed, by his memory. Today we were watching TV and President Obama came on and I asked him who it was and he quickly returned, "Obama." We informed him that Obama was now the president and he repeated president. A few hours later in Portland, we again saw a photo of Obama and he pointed and said, "Obama President." Needless to say we were quite shocked. He is currently in love with the song "Yellow Submarine", after it was performed at a holiday performance at Jennifer's school. While in the kitchen the other morning I vaguely hummed about a second of the song and he quickly switched gear from what he was doing and started singing various parts of the verse of the song. He was singing some of the last words on the lines of the verse and even did the "HaHa" part at the end of the second verse before the chorus. I was floored.

Besides that we definitely have some favorite phrases of his including:
"Hold you!" which means "Hold Me!"
"Howdy Ho!"
"Kaleb can do it"
"Bunny Milk" which means chocolate milk the bunny comes from the NesQuik bottle
"Crying" which he says when he would typically be crying. I certainly prefer it to actual crying.
The emphatic "Okay" and "Okey-Dokey"

Portland Children's Museum

Today we went up to Portland and visited the Children's Museum. Kaleb loved almost everything there, from the giant play fire truck to the indoor stream.

Portland Children's Museum

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More Snow

We had another snow storm, which dropped about 8 more inches on us. The good news is that the temperature actually reached above freezing for the first time in several days. Kaleb really enjoyed being outside for the first time in a week. He has become a great shoveler and also is starting to get the hang of his new skis. Here are some photos.

More January Snow

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another Test

I have downloaded this app but never really used it. Now I am going to give it another shot.

Kaleb loves shoveling

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