Posted by: jgurner | April 11, 2010

Various and Sundry

• I finally got my hands on an iPad this past week. I spent about five minutes playing around with it and my first impression is “Extremely cool, but not quite there yet.” I’ve heard complaints about the weight, but it didn’t seem like a problem . A bit heavier than a regular hardback book, but it feels pretty good once you get it in your hands. Safari worked well and it surfed the web quicker than I thought it would. The book reader was great. I loved the page turning. Pages were bright and easy to read. I didn’t get to try it in direct sunlight, which I heard was a pain, but, just what I saw was nice. I played with an app or two. They ran fast. Opened right away. Didn’t play any games, but there were people all around me playing a variety of games and they seemed to be pretty happy with it. The iPad isn’t a “must have” for me right now. The just announced multitasking that’s coming is a step in the right direction. Front and back cameras for video and stills would get it even closer. But I still feel it needs the ability to connect USB. It just screams with the potential of being a perfect controller for guitar FX or a midi keyboard, and well as being a wonderfully handy portable recording studio.

• One of the things Mississippi has done right in the past 20 or so years is the state’s highway system. From Interstates to state roads, we’ve got a pretty good system. It’s in good shape and it makes it easy to get from one place to another. This past week was the first time in a while I’d driven across Alabama. In the past couple of years I’ve driven part of the way across to Huntsville, but I haven’t been from the Mississippi to the Georgia state lines in a long while. No offense to my friends in Alabama, but the highway system there leaves a lot to be desired. The main thin is the inconsistancy in the speed limits. I’m not really sure why the speed limit randomly changes, for no apparent reason, on Interstate 20. First it’s 70, then, five miles later it’s 55, then 65, then 60, then 55 again. Finally I just gave up trying to even figure out what the speed limit was and decided to just make sure there was at least one person around driving faster than me. That was on the east side of Birmingham. On the west side, on the nice, new six-lane I78, you’re at 65 miles an hour. Of course, when coming from Mississippi, it’s 15 miles before there’s a posted speed limit sign. Same coming from Georgia, where the speed limit goes from 70 to 55. Plus, it seems like every road has access to the Interstate rather than the limited access roads are supposed to have. The new I78 wasn’t as bad as the older I20, but, it had its own issues, such as there being nowhere to stop between the Mississippi State Line and Birmingham. If you needed gas, food or a bathroom, there was practically nothing to be found, at least not at the Interstate exit. Now I know why I hear about people going to Atlanta via Nashville. Longer in miles, but much less frustrating and it takes about the same time.

• While looking for the Apple Store in Buckhead, just outside Atlanta, we came across what we thought was the mall where it was located. We parked and then, as we were entering the mall, stopped to look at the directory. No Apple Store. As it happened, a mall cop on a Segue cruised by and asked if we needed any help. We asked him about the Apple Store and he said it was in the mall across the street. And, yes, there was another mall literally right across the street. And these weren’t little malls. No Oxford (S)Mall here. These were big, upscale malls. And both were packed full of people. The economy seemed fine there, anyway.

• And speaking of Apple Stores, this trip marked my ninth different store. So far I’ve been to stores in Memphis, Jackson, Huntsville, Orlando, Chicago, Atlanta and New Orleans. Sadly, I’m still way behind many of my friends.

• And more Apple related stuff. As I’ve done the past almost two years, I relied extensively on my iPhone’s Google maps to get me where I was going. This time, however, I had a lot of problems with it. A few times it put me in the wrong place, at one point just randomly placing me on the map no where near where I actually was. It was very sluggish in tracking my position and, on more than one occassion, it said it couldn’t find a route to get me where I wanted to go. I don’t know what the problem was, but it got me considering actually buying a GPS app. I really don’t want to because they are pricey, but I’m thinking it might actually be a good idea since I’m traveling more. And a turn-by-turn voice app might be just the thing I need as opposed to trying to manipulate Google maps with one hand while trying to drive with the other. Anyone use a GPS app or have any suggestions.



  1. I used to go to those two malls when I lived in Athens…the one that has the Apple store in it we called the “rich people” mall, until we went to the mall across the street, which, at the time, had literally NO store I could afford to shop in.

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