Sexy new model bares all in iMac campaign

Sorry for the unnecessarily titillating title, but look at this machine! The new model iMac is now available, and it’s a beauty!

new iMac

You have to admit, it’s easy on the eyes

I love my current iMac (now “old”), and I don’t really need a new computer, but I want this one anyway. It has the same slim, all-in-one design as the previous iMac. All of the guts of the machine are hidden behind the beautiful screen, and there’s no external box to deal with.

Plus, it has brains

The iMac comes pre-installed with the iLife suite of applications, including photo organization and editing software, movie-making and DVD-creating software, and a music composition program. It also has a built-in iSight camera for capturing photo booth style funny faces, making video blog entries, and video conferencing with friends and family.

And a great personality

The thing I love most about the iMac is that it’s so easy to use. It works right out of the box, and it recognizes and plays with most of my peripherals without any extra setup or drivers. That goes for my printer, scanner, USB piano keyboard, bluetooth phone, digital camera, etc. I haven’t had that kind of experience with any of the Windows PCs I’ve used.

Want to see more?

See the official site for more iMac photos and technical information. And hey, stop drooling. πŸ™‚

Will ChaCha Stomp on Google Search?

I heard about this local company on the evening news last week, and I thought I’d mention it. It’s called ChaCha®, and the Carmel, Indiana-based online search service is winning awards and fans while it’s still in beta.

How does it work? Unlike the big G, which uses computers to perform searches, ChaCha uses real people. Users can call (1-800-2CHA-CHA) to voice their questions, or text queries (242242 or CHACHA), for free from just about any cell phone. You can even use ChaCha on Twitter (@chacha).

Each question is routed to the appropriate ChaCha Guide, depending on the subject, and answers are returned within minutes. There are over 30,000 active guides throughout the United States, with hundreds online at any given time, and the service is available 24×7.

This sounds pretty cool, and it’s backed by some big investors. I can see ChaCha becoming a huge mobile app, once word gets around! It’s more interactive than Google, accessible without a browser, and seems especially suited to the Twitter/text generation of on-the-go users. Of course, the human touch will also appeal to people who are weary or leery of computerized services, and just want to connect with a real person!

Have you tried ChaCha? What do you think?

In case of zombie invasion, shoot the lawyers?

Sorry, honey (my husband is an attorney). I’ve taken a couple of those “Would you survive a zombie invasion” quizzes, and it doesn’t look good for me. I’m not a runner, don’t have any guns, and would have my kids slowing down my escape. Yep, I’m pretty much zombie food.

One of the brains over at PrawfsBlawg has written about the legal implications of executing your zombie escape and survival plan. Author Geoffrey Rapp explains the importance of being…

… conscious of potential legal ramifications of shooting zombies in the head, breaking and entering stores to gather canned goods, and otherwise engaging in all manner of batteries, trespasses and conversions.

Of course, it won’t matter to me… But if you’re in good shape, know how to score a headshot, and can hole up safely until the invasion is over, you might have to think about what will happen post-zombie-apocalypse. Good luck!

GeekMom’s MOTO Qβ„’ Gadget Review (hey, that rhymes)

MOTO QI love gadgets, and I was excited to have the opportunity to use a Motorola MOTO Q™ music 9m recently. Never heard of the MOTO Q? Neither had I, but now that I’ve had it in my hands for a week, I don’t want to let it go!

In a nutshell, the MOTO Q (I just call it “the Q,” now that we’ve become so close) is a handheld mobile device for communication, productivity, and entertainment. It’s a combination phone, mp3 player, camera, web browser, word processor, and more. Let me switch into Vanna mode while I give you a quick rundown of the Q’s best features, along with some notes on how it performed as I put it through its paces…

  • Full QWERTY keyboard, and the ergonomically “barrel-shaped” keys are amazingly easy to press — one at a time! — even though they are very small, and close together. For me, this is the most important feature, because the keyboard enables me to actually work on the device. It’s not just a cell phone.
  • Long battery life. I’ve tried using the online functions of my regular cell phone, but it’s pointless, because the battery runs down too quickly. The Q held up through phone conversations, Twittering, internet browsing, taking photos and video of my kids, and never ran out of juice.
  • Fun multimedia functions, including music, photos, video, and games. Download, shoot your own with the built-in camera, or import by SD card.
  • Productivity tools, including e-mail, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. Seriously, you can view, edit, or create your own documents on the go.
  • Easy setup and out of the box use. I know this sounds snobby, but I didn’t think a non-Mac product would be so easy to figure out. After five minutes, my e-mail was configured and in sync.
  • Plenty of memory for all your games and videos — I mean, important work files — including 128 GB internal, and up to 32 GB SD card (you can’t get a 32 GB card yet, but the Q is ready for when it happens).

I’m not going to list all the details here, so if you want to read the full specs, go to the Motorola site.

My overall impression of the Q? It’s awesome! I’ve never had a QWERTY mobile device before, and this was so much fun that I didn’t want to give it back! (No, I did not get to keep the Q, nor did I receive any other compensation for this review.**)

One more cool feature that I didn’t have a chance to try, is that you can use the Q as a wireless modem. For example, if you’re traveling with a laptop, you don’t have to find a wi-fi hot spot to get connected. If your Q has service, you have your own hot spot. That could come in handy.

The only thing I didn’t like about the Q was the size of the screen, when it came to web browsing. Sites that were mobile-optimized were fine, but regular sites were somewhat difficult to navigate. I’m used to my widescreen desktop monitor, and sideways scrolling takes some getting used to.

If you’re looking to upgrade your mobile phone, or you’re saving up for a laptop computer, this MOTO Q might be just what you need. It does more than a phone, and is less expensive than a laptop, and wonderfully portable.

** A day after posting this review, I was contacted by a representative of Motorola, and they are giving me a free Q, for keeps! This was not part of any “deal,” explicit or implied, for the review. I am completely surprised and so excited! I just wanted to let you know, in the interest of transparency. πŸ™‚

I have pre-ordered my Wii Fit!

About a week ago, I got an e-mail from Amazon’s notification system that the Wii Fit is available for pre-order. So I bought it! I can hardly wait to try it out.

If you aren’t familiar with the Wi Fit, you can see a video demo at the official Nintendo site. The games and activities work with a sensor balance board. You stand on it, dance, do yoga poses, practice balancing, and lots of other stuff. It looks like a good way to get moving and practice using your core muscles. I’m excited because I love games, and I hate exercise. If this is exercise disguised as a game, I’m all over it!

I can hardly wait until the Man in Brown delivers it to my home (estimated arrival date: May 23, 2008). You can bet I’ll be telling you all about it!

Stuff you don’t know about me

Hello, friends. First, I must thank you for your patience and support while I dealt with my hosting problem this weekend. As you can see, the problem has been solved, at least for now. I strive to keep my site clean, safe, and fast-loading, and am continually making improvements toward those goals (like the new theme?). I won’t bore you with additional details right now. πŸ™‚

In other news, I’ve been tagged by Jolene, for the Seven Weird or Unique Things About Me meme. Here we go!

  1. I love to put peanut butter, applesauce, and maple syrup, on my pancakes and waffles.
  2. I’m terribly afraid of heights. I freeze up and can’t move. For this reason, I don’t like stairs with spaces between the steps. Yikes!
  3. I used to be allergic to red food dye, which would cause me to break out in hives. No cherry Kool-Aid, popsicles, or Twizzlers for me.
  4. I am a darn good pianist.
  5. As long as I’m bragging, I was also valedictorian of my high school class.
  6. I’m just 5 feet tall. I can only touch the ground with my toes when I sit in this chair.
  7. I went to Space Camp in junior high, and loved every minute of it. But you already know I’m nerdy like that.

Now I’ll pass this on to five lucky people, so we can learn how fascinating they are behind their blogs! techfun, mumsgotta, tipidmeals, fiveblondes, lisa365 Gotcha!

GeekMom’s Memory Lane: Smells of Springtime in the Heartland

flowering pear treeI live in the midwestern United States, in a suburban area. Although I wouldn’t consider this a rural community, you don’t have to drive far to be “out in the country.”

I consider myself a country girl at heart. I grew up on a wooded lot in rural Wisconsin, and loved playing outside without worrying about traffic. It was nice to sleep with the windows open, and not hear the noise of the neighbors’ televisions. We had room for a big garden (although we hated it when Dad made us pull weeds), and lots of space to explore and play. The ditches along our road were full of berry bushes, and we picked and ate all we wanted in the summer. I think I’d like to move to a nice, quiet piece of land again someday. But for now, we’re stuck in the ‘burbs, conveniently close to shopping and schools, and a little too close to a few obnoxious neighbors…

However, there are a couple of times each year when the country seems very near, and I am taken back to my childhood in my mind. Today, I opened the windows to let in the fresh breeze, and clear out the last of winter’s stale air. The weather is perfect today. The pear trees are in bloom, the daffodils have finally opened, and my purple and yellow pansies are smiling at the sky.

As the gentle current of air swirls through my house, I take a deep breath. Ahhhh.

Wait. What’s that smell? Oh, I know.

Even though I can’t see any fields from my window, I can smell the aroma of agriculture. Somewhere, some farmer is working today. Perhaps he is turning the soil or spraying on some kind of organic fertilizer (manure?). The odor is faint and dilute, but unmistakably earthy, and somewhat sour.

Should I close my windows? No. I will leave them open. Let in the air. Let in the smell of agriculture; the smell of good, honest, dirty work. It may not be an entirely pleasant smell, but the memories it brings are sweet, indeed. πŸ™‚

My guest post is up at 21st Century Dad!

Elliott, the 21st Century Dad himself, and pioneer of the 50-50-50 Plan for balancing work and family life, asked me to do a guest post on his blog. I gave it a try, and here is the resulting article, “Happy to be a Hapa Girl.” It’s a little bit about my experiences growing up half-Japanese in the midwestern United States, so if that sounds interesting to you, go read it. πŸ™‚ Thank you!

Top Eleven essential items for Mother, in the RPG of life

Warcraft dwarf warriorFile this post under “whimsical,” folks. I’ve been a mother for a little over nine years now. My youngest child has just turned three, and I’m still in that “Mommy, carry me” phase, at times. My purse is bursting at the seams (but not with money), my memory is fuzzy, my feet are tired, and my body is jiggly, but I’m pretty happy with life. πŸ™‚

Over the years, I have spent more hours than I care to admit playing role-playing games (RPG), such as Neverwinter Nights, Baldur’s Gate, and some others I can’t remember right now. One of the things I enjoy about those games is the magical items a character can equip, to modify her natural abilities.

So, I got to thinking, what if I could create a new class of character? In addition to Mage, Ranger, Rogue, Warrior, etc., there should be a Mother class! A Mother would have a special combination of powerful abilities, including some borrowed from the other classes.

Given the qualities and attributes that I now possess (brain fog, stretch marks, etc.), I would be very interested in obtaining certain pieces of special equipment. These would magically boost my strengths and minimize my weaknesses.

Here are the mythical, magical items that would be on my Top Eleven list, if I were a Mother in the RPG of life:

  1. Handbag of Infinite Holding. No more overstuffed purse or diaper bag. Everything fits inside, without the wearer becoming over-encumbered by the weight.
  2. Gloves of Dexterity. Maintains softness of touch, but gives the wearer manual dexterity equal to having a third hand.
  3. Boots of Lightness. Reduces weight upon the feet of the wearer, especially when standing on a scale.
  4. Girdle of Constitution. Provides the wearer ample strength to bear any physical burden, and causes stretch marks and cellulite to disappear.
  5. Helm of Mental Acuity. Dispels brain fog, improves wisdom with age, and prevents wearer from being deceived.
  6. Bow of Justice + Arrows of Mercy. Enables precise, appropriate defensive attacks or punishments, as needed.
  7. Cloak of Patience. Casts a spell of calm and inner peace upon the wearer, in even the most chaotic environment.
  8. Breastplate of Love. Warms the hearts of the wearer and those in her midst.
  9. Amulet of Healing. Empowers the wearer with magical hugs and kisses, which can be used to heal others.
  10. Ring of Rest. When activated, allows the wearer to continue adventuring without sleep.
  11. Shovel of Clearing. Essential equipment for any Mother, this shovel digs through any pile of literal or figurative crap, leaving a clean, clear path to tread.