Sunday, July 24, 2011

The newest residents of iLand...

Last week our Education Tax Return and Family Tax Benefits supplements A and B arrived. Each year those monies are invested into various larger purchases that we've needed throughout the year - topping up utilities account, white goods, or padding out the children's wardrobes - things to tide us over for another year. In the past couple of years this has been a particularly important time for us because the rest of each year has been so lean - living week to week.

This year, the money has gone into technologies. Specifically Apple MacIntosh technologies. In the past three years, I've had three computers die on my, and one come very close to death but is revived enough to keep limping along. This made for a very stressful period of uncertainty while I was finishing my Master degree, and led to me simply not being able to face the prospect of undertaking a PhD under these circumstances.

Late last month, after two viral close encounters in just three weeks, I decided to give us on the world of PC and give Macs a go!

I've had an iPhone since April 2009 and it has served me very well. I've heard that Macs are less affected by viruses because they are harder to write viruses for, and the ratio of Macs to PCs is still small enough to make it not worth a hackers while to spend extra time learning how to write a virus for a Mac. I really hope this is all true because I've just spent three times as much on a new Mac desktop as I spent on my last PC desktop.

iMac and iPad2

As well as this, I've bought an iPad2. First and foremost, I've wanted an iPad since they first came out. Being legally blind, I find the phone hard to read, but can access all the same portability with the iPad without straining my eyes as much. With the iPad, I can multi-task in a way that suits me - particularly with my writing (I love to write in front of the television - I know, bad, bad, very bad, but geez, it really helps me to focus so much better!)...

With the iPad2, I can finally take and make movies of my boys to send to my family overseas - and when I visit mum I can send them videos of mum and Lester, too!

I'll be able to take notes for my research while out - do research whenever I have a spare moment (on public transport springs to mind), and do it all without having to peer at a time little screen!

Lama and Blue enjoying a play on an art-pad app on the iPad2 - perfect
for little hands!

Last of all, I've put three iPod touches on lay-by for the three bigger boys (Ari can 'borrow' my iPad2). This may seem very extravagant, and I have to admit I've wavered back and forth on this one for a while, but the specific point of these devices is to keep the boys occupied quietly in the car after the Grumpy Old Man gets his licence. At least to begin with, the boys won't actually have access to the iPods out side of the car - at least until I can see how they handle the new technology, I am not at all keen for them to become obsessed and will withdraw access to them if they seem to want to do nothing but play with their iPods (I'm no fan of children occupying their time with technology - not while their brains are still developing understanding of their 3D world in any case).

I was expecting the iLearning Curve to be pretty steep, but I've been pleasantly surprised! The true plug and play interactions is just so simple (so simple, in fact, that I'm thinking I want my boys to learn how to use PCs before they become too comfortable with Macs and then find the PC learning curve incredibly steep!). Macs seem to do all your thinking for you (which is both good and for this seriously paranoid person, a little scary!)...

So far, so good! I am really enjoying this change over and learning how best to use these technologies personally and to the benefit of my family!

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Good Job!