Ikea

On the spur of the moment yesterday Robin convinced me to take a trip to the Ikea store in Montreal to get some end tables for each side of the bed. We’ve never been to Ikea, but we like what’s in the catalog and have heard a lot of good things about it. Montreal is only two hours north of us, but the idea of driving to a big city in another country is always exciting (we’re so provincial). The only snag was that Calvin had been invited to go to the movies later on, and we wouldn’t be back in time to drive him. Gage’s family was going to be at a game so he was in the same boat. We decided to have a cab pick them up at the appointed time, and Gage’s family would bring them home later. With that plan in place, we set out to points north.

Just outside of Montreal traffic ground to a standstill, and the last five miles took about an hour. But we finally made it to Ikea, which turned out to be a great place after all. The idea is that most of the store (which is very large) is showroom space, where you can check out items, see them in different styles and get your questions answered. If you like something, you write down the aisle and bin number on its tag. When you’re ready to go, you head downstairs to a large warehouse, where you find your items with the aisle and bin numbers you wrote down earlier. I’ve never seen a warehouse store that was so smooth.

We ended up getting two wood end tables (tall with slatted shelves), and two small globe lamps to go on top of them.

We had dinner at a great little Szechuan restaurant downtown, then proceeded to get lost trying to find the right highway out of the city. After a frustrating hour we finally got back on track, and got home tired and pretty much just flopped into bed.

We set up the end tables this morning and they do look great. Mission, as they say, accomplished.

Kids

An interesting and wonderful day for the kids. Kate’s job interviews at Enterprise went amazingly well (in typical Kate fashion), and she’s looking forward to her third interview; she just left for play rehearsal. Julie and Dan got the apartment in Maine they applied for, and they move in tomorrow. And Calvin, Gage and Chris are going to the seventh grade dance (his first).

Meanwhile, Rob and I are staying home and watching the Lost In Translation DVD.

Sweet spots and tipping points

The big news in the Apple world this week is the new iPod shuffle and the iMac mini. This is big news because Apple has always been perceived as having innovative but expensive products, and these two new products are positioned in the mass-market sweet spot. There’s a great illustration of that here.

Lots of people lust after an iPod, but $250 can be tough to justify. The $99 “iPod shuffle” is nearly an impulse buy. After it was announced, one Apple Store sold out of 2,000 Shuffles in just four hours — a lot of people bought one for themselves plus one (or more!) for friends. I think Apple has a hit here.

The iMac mini is going to be hot also (it doesn’t ship until Jan 22). So many people are sick of dealing with Windows issues, viruses, spyware, etc, that they’re looking for reasons to use something else. And I think more than a few of them will be thinking seriously about getting a $500 Mac, since they already have a monitor, keyboard and mouse. It comes with a lot of software, and they can always buy Microsoft Office for the Mac if they need it.

I’m happy with my iPod and PowerBook, so these announcements won’t affect me, but I have preordered iLife 05 for the new and improved GarageBand so I can make more music!

Back to normal

…or at least a convincing imitation :)

The PowerBook has been up and running for a few days now, and Barry and I had a productive day at House-Mouse yesterday.

I’m realizing that networks helped save a lot of my important files. My client sites were backups for me (just as I am a backup for them). And all the songs I bought over the past two years from the iTunes Music Store were backed up on the music server and the iPod.

Those backups weren’t created consciously, they just happened as part of what I normally do. But because the network is there (both our house network and the internet), it would be easy to make backup copies of important files, I just need to remember to do that.

I haven’t totally realized yet that my computer extends far beyond the physical box I carry around with me; Its reach extends to the other computers in the house, and elsewhere on the internet.

A hard crash

On Monday the hard disk crashed on my PowerBook. Since this machine contains my life, things were a little tense for a while. A trip to Small Dog to get a replacement drive, then a geeky half hour or so to install it. Got it pretty much all back together before I realized I’d missed a step (omitted in the instructions on pbfixit.com) and had to take it back apart again.

Then I began the hours-long process of reinstalling Panther, running System Update, and reinstalling my applications (BBEdit, Photoshop, InDesign, etc). Restored what I could from my most recent backup, which unfortunately was three months old. FTP’d down my client sites (the sites themselves are my backup!). By the time I went to bed (after midnight), I had enough restored to be productive.

I wrote a quick note to my clients telling them what happened, and reminding them to backup often!

Since then I’ve been downloading the various little things that make cyber life more pleasant, the utilities and contextual menus and so on.

An now I’m just about back to where I was.

What was lost? Some recent photos, a couple songs from the iTunes Music Store that I hadn’t yet copied to the music server or my iPod. Lots of geeky notes, like how to get various perl modules working on OS X. Some lyrics, downloaded movies, bookmarks. Three months worth of emails. Sigh.