Thursday, March 27, 2008

MAC ATTACK - A New Ongoing Series

By no means, will I promise our new ongoing series (similiar to Random Tid Bits) to be weekly, because I would just be digging myself a huge hole. However, I bought my third Apple Computer a little over a month ago. This is the third Apple Computer, I have had. So, the point of this little weekly series is to showcase some of the functions and applications of a computer that many critics are praising for its reliability, innovation, and operating system. And I want to talk about these things.

Let me give you a brief history of my relationship with Apple. 1995, I enroll as a freshman at Azusa Pacific University. I received a check from my grand parents for a new computer. So, I purchase my first Apple computer from the school's in house Mac Store for $1,400.00. It was the biggest purchase of my life. I had the computer for about 3 years, and it was pretty reliable. However, by my senior year, I had decided (not militantly) to switch over to a PC. I purchased my first custom desktop from a small I.T. firm, and basically it crashed and burned every time I turned it on. Numerous software re-installs and a full year later, I tossed it in the garbage for my first Gate way desktop. I had this computer for about a year and a half before it started to degrade as well, then I moved to another gateway, which I had for another year or so, AdWare and SpyWare purchases and numerous gunk and virus later, and I had had it. Around 2004, after battling bad PC's for about five years, I was looking for a solution, a secure solution. Around this time the IPOD was exploding. Everyone was buying up the 3G Ipods, and I of course wanted one. As I looked at the Ipod, I started looking back at my old friends at Apple. I fell in love with the Titanium PowerBook G4, so in 2004 with a little help from a tax return, I purchased the 12 inch Powerbook G4. It served me well for four years, and I had a total of 1 system crash while using it, which I simply fixed by pulling the battery out. So, let's review, in a five years pan with the PC Platform, I burned through three computers, cashing out once the computers became unusable. In a seven year span, with Apple, I only switched out to upgrade equipment, and went through two computers. So, what would my next purchase be? Of course the Mac Book Pro 15" with Multi Touch Screen. So, far I have loved the computer, and I am finding new little tricks every day. So, stay tuned. I'll let you know more about MAC and what they come up with, or I dig out of a Utility Folder.

Update - Inbox Zero

Hey, all you email crazy whacky folks.
Here on Art of Function, I posted a little article about Merlin Mann's method for managing email, called ZERO INBOX. Well, I am happy to report, that after a 30 day trial of the technique (give or take) I give it a glowing and positive review. My entire life is less cluttered, and I feel less stress about my dirty and sometimes over flowing inbox. It is really something all of your readers should try.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

We have Fire!

Out here in Beautiful California the weather has turned, and Spring has Sprung! This means warm dusky nights where you want to just sit outside and throw a few pieces of meat on the grill and drink a cold beer. That's what I did last night, but alas, I have no BBQ... well, I didn't have a BBQ until I saw this handy dandy little grill that Crate and Barrell is selling called THE SMOKEY JOE GRILL. This little hibachi grill is perfect for those of you who really love the taste of good grilled food, but lack space and a secured back yard for a big expensive grill. First off, let me just say, without a bunch of grill tech tricks, you cannot get the right taste of good grilled food from a gas powered grill. You just can't. You do not get that great smokey taste from clean burning propane. You get it from Charcoal, which is what you use with this little guy. And I do mean little. So, if you have a small back patio at your condo or apartment, or you are looking for the perfect travel grill for camping trips, give this grill a look. If you have a phobia about making fire with the little charcoal brickets, I'm right there with you. I have been the guy staring at the grill while someone stands over my shoulder saying... "Just use some newspaper!" But apparently the Charcoal industry has come a long way, or I'm just better at it, but I had a great fire up and burning within 15 minutes. And there is something a little zen about staring at the fire waiting for it to heat up, it's calming and relaxing which is what grilling should feel like. It should not feel like your a short order cook trying to turn out oodles of meat. Also, this little guy has a great nostalgic look to it, and it comes in a great olive green finish. Now all you need is a matching apron in the same color... maybe even grill mits.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Queen Equals Air Bag Deployment

You know, Air Bags are tricky. They are meant to save your life, but in most cases when deployed they shear half the skin off of your face, break your hands, and can in general make for a bad bad day... especially if all you want to do is rock out in your car in the parking garage at work to a little Bohemian Rhapsody...Like... the gentlemen in the security camera video below.

You know, Air Bags are tricky. They are meant to save your life, but in most cases when deployed they shear half the skin off of your face, break your hands, and can in general make for a bad bad day... especially if all you want to do is rock out in your car in the parking garage at work to a little Bohemian Rhapsody...Like... the gentlemen in the security camera video below.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Alert: YouTube, Watch Your Back!

Well it was bound to happen. Remember around WGA Strike time, there was all this talk about the television companies complaining that the internet was the wild west, and it was undeveloped fiscal territory. And no one was making any money, we are so poor... blah, blah, blah.

Well, NBC Universal finally unveiled their proverbial toe dipped into the pond of online video services with So, today, I went over and checked out a few videos... Mostly old SNL clips. And I have to say, all cynicism aside, if you want to watch television shows online (and you limit your selection to Fox and NBC shows) and you do not mind all the commericals... yes, there are commercials... then you will like this website. Yes, there are commercials, but the clarity of the videos is really quite fantastic, and the navigation around the site is pretty swift and user friendly. So, only time will tell, if this service makes an impact to YouTube, but it is a very good start.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Legos Ain't for Sissy's Anymore!


So, we all know about LEGOS. The lovable brick based toy system, that allows you to build pretty much anything from a simple fire truck to the Millenium Falcon. However, if you are a fan of legos you know they are a little squeamish when it comes to making... guns. I remember most of the Space Lego guns resembled bull horns and video cameras rather than weapons.

Well, the folks over at BRICK ARMS apparently decided to allow all you lego geeks to get your Agro on! The folks @ Brick Arms make custom guns for lego figures inspired by true military designs and pop culture movies like the above picture Colonial Marines Pulse Rifle from the movie ALIENS. They also have custom mini figures like their James Bond figure. So, if you want to spice up your cast of characters in the Lego world, check these folks out. It's a fun website to surf for nostalgia sake.

My Library Is Bloated!

Are you an avid reader of books?If they answer is yes, I have two things to say to you. First, you need to go to our sister blog! Second, you probably have a bloat of books that you would like to get rid of, but have not been able to. True, you could pay it forward, give the books away, which is great. However, what if your taste in books does not match up with your friends? Okay, have you tried selling them in a garage sale? Do you really want to take on that project just to get rid of some books? Have you ever sold them on ebay? We all know that only yields pennies on the dollar after you end up shipping them and the like. Worse yet, have you tried going down to the local used book store to unload some books? They look at you as if you are trying to give them toxic waste cake with bubonic plague frosting.

Well, surfing on another GTD website, I found an article about the website Powell's
Apparently, this web service has a link called Sell Us Your Books. You simply type into a little text box the ISBN number of your book (it's the barcode number right above the barcode on your book and they all have one). Then you click submit, and then Powell's gives you store credit for your books. I sold about 9 paperbacks for $12.00 dollars of store credit. Then they send you a pre-paid shipping label. You box up the books, and send them on their way. Pretty Cool! I tried this out recently (yesterday), and it was a snap. Now I can go surf their own used and new books.

Listen, the book industry will hate me for saying it, but we're at a point we're the books we read on paper are becoming a huge burden on our environment. Please, consider recycling your books as it is a great way to save money and cut back on waste.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Jack LaLane ain't got nothing on this Guy!

So, today as I was perusing DIGG as I am want to do when I cannot seem to focus my thoughts very well, I found a story on that I felt was absolutely inspiring, funny, but ultimately a little convicting.

"Buster Martin is an unlikely candidate to set a marathon record. He drinks beer, smokes cigarettes and stays out late. And he's 101. But Martin expects to shatter, or at least ease past, the record next month when he runs London's marathon. And he is counting on having a beer at the finish line. He smokes, drinks, stays out late, which is probably why he is still alive," said Charlie Mullins, the managing director of the plumbing company where Martin cleans vans. When not working three days a week for Mullins, Martin can be found in a nearby boxing gym working with a pair of trainers in preparation for April's run. He refuses to be impressed by the fact that he is still running.I am not doing anything unusual. I am just running a marathon," he told ABC News."

So, I thought, WOW, how amazing. This old man (and I MEAN OLD) is out there running... then I realized he is trying to run a marathon... then I realized he tried to do it in under 8 hours.... and then halfway through he stops off to have a beer and a cigarette. Outside of checking this guy for HGH, we should probably enter him into some kind of Scientific Study, because clearly he is an alien or some other mythic creature.

However, seriously, I have been thinking about training for a marathon for about three years now... if this guy could do it... couldn't I?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Would you listent to our Podcast?

Founder of Art of Function, Mick Montgomery (me) is considering starting up a bi-weekly podcast sometime this Spring! I have mentioned a few podcasts here on the blog, and really love them. However, I've held off doing my own until I knew what I wanted it to be... So, the real question we have to you our readers is... would you listen to a Podcast done by the ART OF FUNCTION creative team? Would you care if it was bi-weekly instead of weekly? Oh, and how long would you prefer it to be? Comment away!