Archive for July, 2011

July 16, 2011


We made the plunge and bought an iPad this weekend. We also bought a nifty keyboard case for an additional $100, which basically turns our iPad into a $600 (+ tax) computer. That’s more expensive than the laptop I’m currently typing on, with less functionality, that we’ll only use occasionally. I think I’ve lost my marbles.

We decided to get the tablet for travel. Between the two of us, we travel a fair amount for work and visiting family. In a few weeks we’re off to China and Las Vegas, and the following month it’s off to the east coast for my family reunion. Confession time, I really don’t like the iPhone or android phones. I find the menus cluttered and it annoys me that I can’t find what I’m looking for. I guess in this respect I’m a bit of a phone luddite. I also don’t like the price. But with travel coming up, we couldn’t wait around for a good deal, and we wanted to go with the brand that already had an extensive collection of apps and games to keep us entertained on 10 hours plane flights.

I hate having to take the laptop out of the my carry-on. I’m always worried someone will walk off with it by mistake, or (more likely) I’ll leave it somewhere by mistake. It’s not like the laptop is expensive, but the data is irreplaceable. Photos from our honeymoon, the source files for flash videos, my research code – they are all irreplaceable. While I try to remember to back it up before ever trip, I’m inevitably running ten minutes late to catch my flight, pleading with the computer to finish the data transfer. I’m always pulling the plug and hoping I got all the important stuff. One of these days I’ll discover the hard way that the back up wasn’t complete.

The other reason we decided to go with the iPad as a travel device is for added internet security. A rouge wireless access point is an excellent place for a man-in-the middle attack. When traveling, we tend to plug into a many different wifi points, and it only takes one compromised point to put a virus on a computer. It’s not a bad idea to wipe a computer and give it a fresh install when returning home from travel. However, that’s much less practical if you haven’t backed up your hard drive. The iPad will never be a primary device, and so it will never have important data. We can wipe it before and after each trip without a second thought.

At least that’s how we justified the purchase. I still look at that price tag. Here’s hoping I still think it’s worth it in a month…

July 9, 2011

Sweeter Than Sugar

One of the first healthy living eating choices I made was to eliminating soda from my diet. I used to drink 2 diet sodas a day, and even though diet soda no longer has the salt content, water is still much healthier. I used to never think I could get used to the non-taste of water, but I found that keeping it properly filtered and particularly chilled helped a lot.

Our current goal is to greatly reduce the carbs, particularly high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or corn sugar – really all processed sugars, natural sugars like those from fruit is okay – and the amount of white bread we consume.

We recently switched to Welch’s reduced sugar grape jelly. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy. They’re currently the only grape jelly on the market without HFCS and less sugar. Clearly no easy feat or there would be competitors. It took some getting used to, sugar is tasty after all, but now I am quite happy with it. The only drawback is only comes in the dorky kid-centric squeeze bottle, and the squeeze bottle costs a lot more than a regular jar. The alternative is to switch to a non-grape jelly, but what can I say, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to my peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches.

We’ve also been transitioning to wheat bread. We’ve been enjoying Wonderlight Smart Wheat bread, reduce fat Ego whole wheat waffles, and whole wheat buns for hot dogs. We even get whole wheat French bread, when our grocery store has it. One could argue that these aren’t necessarily the best choices, but they are better choices than pure white bread. Just like the reduced sugar grape jelly, it takes time to transition fully to the healthy choice.

The biggest issue for me is protein. I’m not a big lunch meet person, heck I’m not a big meat person in general. (If it flies or comes from the sea, I love it, but I rarely eat land dwellers.) My primary pre-dinner protein sources come from nuts. But I’m prone to headaches, which seem to come when I don’t eat enough protein. I’ve been trying protein bars, but unfortunately those come with a lot of extra sugar.

Is it working? Well, since the reduction of sugar in take and the switch to more whole wheat and whole grains, I’ve lost another 5 lbs, brining my total just shy of 10 by only dietary changes. I’ll take that.