Saturday, January 24, 2009

Check Out Them Apples!



25 years. Wow. I can't believe it's been that long. The Macintosh was released in 1984 and I was in the fourth grade. Later on in high school, I attended a Vocational Technical school where I studied Commercial Art. I'll never forget getting Macs and all the fun (and naughty) things we designed with them. The technology was so new in our school that we were literally teaching our instructor how to use it! Aldus Pagemaker was the design and layout application of choice. System 7 was the operating system and After Dark was loaded on the computers as the screen saver application. We used to love watching the flying toasters and the lawnmower man!

In my senior year I took a screen printing course. The teacher had been on a waiting list for a single Mac and finally got one. By that time, I had some experience using a Mac, so I spent most all of my class time showing my teacher all the things you could do on it. By mid semester, I was designing the high school physics teacher's wedding invitations on it. (Interestingly, I married a physics teacher — it was a sign!)

As the course progressed, I fell behind on the projects I was supposed to have been working on and I was very worried I would fail the class and not be able to graduate. I pleaded with my teacher, asking if there was something I could do to bring my grades up. He looked at me over the top of his glasses and told me that he had considered failing me. My heart began to sink. Then he said the reason he'd like to fail me (but couldn't) was just so he could keep me around for another year to teach him how to use the Macintosh!

From that time on, I can't remember a time when the Macintosh was not a part of my life. I was nineteen years old working as a typesetter and production artist for a department store ad agency when I got the sweatshirt you see pictured above. It was a promo that came with one of the Macs our production department had recently purchased and my manager tossed it on a table so I grabbed it. I still have it and dug it out of my closet just for this post! (I think the Macs we used back then were Performa 6300s.)

It's just amazing thinking about how far Apple and the Macintosh has come in twenty five years. I'm happy to have been a Mac user for the majority of this time period and even happier to be using Macs for the years ahead. I really believe the best is yet to come.

A couple of days ago I hung out with the guys from MyMac Magazine to reminisce about Macs for the 25th anniversary of the Macintosh. Check out the podcast and you can hear Tim read some of my comments from the chat room. It's always a good time geeking out with those guys! We talked about classic pranks and troubleshooting. Talking about extensions gave me a twitch and I vaguely miss making cheat sheets for Zaph Dingbats.

They're running a contest, so you might want to check it out soon!

I take Made on a Mac to heart. I met my husband on a Mac.
I'm raising my child on a Mac. I make a living using a Mac.
I manage my life on a Mac.

What do you do with your Mac?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dancing for Hope


LDObamaDance from TheMacMommy on Vimeo.

The hope we had back on August 28th, during The Democratic National Convention, has paid off and we now have Barack Obama as our 44th President of the United States of America. Here is some home video footage from that time. We are overjoyed that Mr. Obama with his lovely wife and daughters are now our new Presidential family.

From our family living room to yours, here is our goofy son expressing his happiness at seeing Obama on TV at the DNC. That time seems so long ago and now the day has finally come to see the first of our hopes already being fulfilled.

Let's keep on giving our children a reason to dance and sing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Life. My blog. My rules.

I'm not taking my blog down, but I admit I had considered it for a few minutes after I got attacked by trolls who posted nasty comments here and other places. I have seen trolls on others' blogs, but never my own! I guess people are getting desperate. I've now received a spiteful email and been sent a friend request on FaceBook (most likely a trick based on the person's profile — much harder to trust anyone associated with this now!) One went as far as to pick on an older entry and the nasty comment was directed at my son.

That's where I draw the line.
______________________________________________

My comments are now moderated because I refuse to take any crap from anyone. Negative comments will be filtered and simply deleted from now on. I never had to do this before now and it's sad that it's come to this, but this is part of digital life so I am learning.

Thankfully, I'm still here.

Know why?

In addition to being supported by my wonderful husband, it's because a community of people I either didn't realize I had — or perhaps even took for granted — spoke up after I posted to twitter, my steam vent at times, that I was considering taking down my blog because a negative comment aimed at my son went over the line.

One friend even called me on the phone to make sure I was alright. Another friend emailed me with kind words and a link to some very thoughtful and motivating insight on the matter. Yet another friend, from across the pond, emailed me with words of inspiration and motivation to push on.

I am truly overwhelmed by the support and I am so grateful for everyone's encouragement!

Nobody puts Baby in the corner.










My microblog, serves as several different things to me. It is, among other things I haven't yet thought of, my: Personal Journal, Mini Baby Journal, Idea Storage, Think Tank, place to share ideas and thoughts, outreach for tech support, place to chat with other parents, Favorite Bar, Research Bank, News Reel, News Source, Macintosh Community, Social Media Community, Steam Vent, Comic Relief, place to help others and give back to the community, and especially tonight, it was a place to send a smoke signal.

I just figured that last one out. I didn't realize what had happened when I posted that and how it would affect others. I thought I was just venting but I realize now, I was really frustrated by a new and negative experience and wanting to pound on a shoulder I didn't think was there. Except, a shoulder WAS there and not one, but several! It's amazing how many people have experienced this same emotion and frustration and they have all found ways to deal with it. Then they turned around and shared their ideas with me through phone calls, emails, replies and direct messages.

So, I just wanted to say Thank You for the encouragement. You have no idea how much it means to me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Get Well Steve

Dear Steve,
I heard you were taking some time off to focus on getting well. I think that's a great idea.

A lot of people are concerned about you. A lot of people are pretending to be concerned about you but they're really worried about their stock portfolios. I guess they just don't get it. Perhaps if those people would focus more on their creative portfolios, they would see the fun and greatness in the many Apple products I've enjoyed for the past nineteen years.

I hope you get to spend some quality time with your family. That new face recognition feature in iPhoto looks pretty sweet. I imagine you'll be spending time playing with that during your time off.

I, for one, am confident you're in good hands. It will all iWork out.

Take care,
Melissa Davis
TheMacMommy

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sam's Club Photo Center - Thumbs Down

Update:
After seeing this post, one of my fellow blogging friends, who was one of the WalMart Moms, pulled some strings for me and got me in contact with upper management and they were able to resolve the problems. They were very good about it. It's just a shame it had to go there. What if I hadn't been a blogger with influential friends?

I'm glad they fixed the problem, were cooperative and apologetic. I'm still wary of using Sam's Club for their services around the holidays, but at least now I know I need to do this type of thing way far in advance. I'll try again sometime and try to provide an updated review if things have improved.

Today, on 1/12/2009, I spoke to Christina in Sam's Club customer service for the online division. She noted a "quality isssue" and "refund" along with investigating the mysterious $6.53 charge as well as why there was a $0.05 discrepancy between the invoiced and actual charged price for greeting cards I ordered for our 2008 holiday cards. Christina tells me she only sees 2 of the 4 online orders under my name in the system currently. These orders were placed shortly before Christmas and the day after. I have asked for a refund and that the mistakes be corrected at no additional charges. I'm currently awaiting a follow up on this call.

Until then, here is what I'd like to share:

Ordering Christmas gifts for my family this past year (2008) from Sams Club proved to be a truly disappointing experience. This was not the first time I have been let down by the Sam's Club Photo Department. In 2005, the Reading, PA location ruined my wedding photos and inconvenienced family members and myself in having to go back to the department to have prints corrected. Despite the negatives and compositions being correct, heads and other body parts were cut off on prints and digital files saved to CDs. Imagine getting a great shot of the Father and Bride dance only to get the photo back and the Father's head is cut off! Or a photo which had been correctly centered by the photographer and the print being returned with the feet cut off and a black bar at the top of the print! The experience was extremely unprofessional and a major disappointment to a new bride.

Now that I live and shop at a different Sam's Club — on the other side of the country, my recent experiences had been more positive. The online photo ordering and 1-hour pick up has been great. Although not perfect, the online uploading interface has been slightly improved from last year. I can use drag and drop directly from iPhoto into the Sam's Club Photo Center website using Safari.

I really enjoyed the experience when I used Sam's Club Photo Center Online for my Holiday Greeting Cards this past year. It was relatively easy and quick and I got them within an hour.

Instant gratification is very popular with me.

I even ordered a second set right away when I realized I was going to run out of cards. I didn't even have to do that part online as I was able to phone the re-order in since they still had my data in the system. The young man on the phone was even pleasant. (Once I could understand what he was saying when he answered the phone!)

In October I had ordered photo gifts in the form or a coffee mug and magnets to send to my Nana and she received them on her birthday and was completely delighted. After those experiences, I had nothing but a positive experience to expect for the holidays when I decided to order photo gifts to send to my family as Christmas presents.

I placed a total of four online orders and over to $150.00. (after taxes and shipping charges were tacked on.) Two of those orders were 1-hour pick ups at my local store to give to family here, and the other two were to be delivered to two different addresses out east in time for the holiday season. These were to be gifts the whole family could enjoy and I was excited to be able to have everything shipped to just 2 locations out east to be divied out among the family members when they were all together celebrating the holidays.

Everything was going smoothly until I went to place the fourth order to be delivered to a different address. I could get all the way through the ordering process but I could no longer get to the part where it would process the order and charge my account. There was no communication from the website that there were any problems or errors. Four times in a row it just sent me into a loop and I'd end up right back at the beginning again. Since I deal with computer "problems" for a living, I checked all of the usual computer/web related issues that could occur such as emptying the cache, reloading the page, logging out and logging back in and even switching web browsers. Nothing would allow me to place an order like I had done the previous three times in a row. So, I waited a day which prolonged the delay in getting these Christmas presents out to my family. This began my frustration and overall disappointment.

I still had no luck after a day, so I called and spoke to a customer service representative who told me that they were aware of the problems the site was having and that Fuji was working to resolve the issues. Huh, nice of them to let the online customer know! (An error message would have been nice.) She said that at the time I called, no photo department service personnel were available but that she would enter an encounter and someone would be calling me back.

I never got a call back. Good thing I didn't hold my breath.

I tried again to process the same order online. The Online Sams Club Photo Center never once communicated any problems or issues with the processing of orders. (Despite being told that "Fuji was on it.") Finally, out of desperation to get the gifts out for Christmas of the currrent year, I processed the order as a local pick up instead of having the items shipped directly to the relative. Even though I asked my family ahead of time, this was a huge inconvenience for my family members to go and have to pick up their own gifts on separate occasions as not all of the items were delivered to their local store at the same time. One of my relatives was even given poor treatment when he went to pick up his gift at the location. Not only was it not his fault that the gift wasn't delivered to him like it was intended, but then on top of it he was treated poorly by the staff!

We all know that the holidays are a stressful time, but shame on Sam's Club for using this as an excuse to dole out shoddy customer service all around.

As you may already know, photo printing and ordering services are big on my list of services and products I use and my product reviews for this have gotten lots of traffic. I was planning on reviewing Sams Club again this year to compare to the review I did last year. I was really hoping to be able to write up a positive review recommending Sam's Club as a reputable photo gift service. I am sad to say that I can not do that this year at this time.

Sam's Club Online Photo Center did not deliver for me this year.

Literally.

The local 1-hour pickup is handy and I will continue to use that service, but I will continue looking for something else to replace it since we are considering switching to COSTCO for our bulk purchasing. Not only might Sam's Club be losing a regular photo department customer, they might also be losing a regular store and vision department customer as well.

If people keep reading my reviews, they might even lose more customers. It could happen.

We'll see what happens and what other services I find this year to compare to theirs and how they stack up.

Of course, if you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment!

Here is a list of things Sam's Club can do to win me back:
If I don't hear back from them soon, this is part of what may go into a letter after discussing most of this on the phone already.

#1
I am disputing a charge on my checking account statement for $6.53 on 12/25 (transaction date) charged on 12/26 listed as "SamsClub.com" I do not have any receipts reflecting this charge and no record of it anywhere. (And I KEEP pretty good records.) I would like an explanation of this charge and a refund if it is found to be an error.


#2
I would like to be refunded $22.56 (the cost of the 6 magnets that were not properly produced.) Each magnet had a white line running down the right side. All, but 2 of the photos were different. The error was consistently reproduced on not only all 6 magnets, but my mother also received an envelope from the "Wal Mart Return Center" containing an additional 6 magnets and they all had the same error as well. I only placed an order for 6 magnets as the confirmation I received below reflects. I do not know why an additional 6 magnets were sent because they were not corrected.

The order needs to be corrected and re-shipped at no charge to the same address as the original order.

Thank you for placing your order with the Sam's Club Online Digital Photo Center. We received your order and will begin processing it soon. Your order information appears below for your review.
Order Number: xxxxxxxxxxxx
Contact Information: xxxxxxxxxxxx
Payment Method: Card Number: Visa xxxxxx Authorization Number: xxxxxxxxxxxxx
12/21/2008
Order Details:
Qty Item Price
1 11 oz Coffee Mug @ $9.87 $9.87
6 Magnet (3x4) @ $3.76 $22.56
59 4x6 @ $0.0834 from complimentary prints $2.00
1 5x7 @ $0.34 $0.34
1 US Mail $20.50
Subtotal: $55.27
US Tax $3.32
Total $58.59
*All prices are in US dollars.
Delivery Information: xxxxxxxxx

Please allow 2-3 weeks to process gift orders and 2-4 days for prints. Shipping time applies after your order has been processed.
We will send you an e-mail when your order has been completed. To check the status of your order, click here.
(NEVER GOT ANY OF THESE EMAILS)


#3
On 12/20/20008 at location #6692 AZxxxxxxxx $11.35 was charged to my checking account on 12/22/2008 but the confirmation I received said the price would be $11.30 so I'm not understanding why the nickel difference. I would like that explained.
Thank you for placing your order with the Sam's Club Online Digital Photo Center. We received your order and will begin processing it soon. Your order information appears below for your review.
Order Number: xxxxxxxxxx
Contact Information: Melissa Davis
520-207-1815
Order Details:
Qty Item Price
1 Wishing you a Joyous Holidays & Happy New Year
pickup after 5:35 PM* on 12/20/2008 @ $10.50 $10.50
Subtotal: $10.50
US Tax $0.80
Total $11.30


#4
Please improve your website! The drag and drop uploader is STILL lacking from last year in both Safari and Firefox for the Mac. (Especially in Firefox 3 for the Mac.)

GET WITH THE PROGRAM!

Two words: iPhoto. Picasa.

Sam's Club really needs to take a look at the sales in Apple's laptop line. People like their photos and they like their photo gifts. I just worked with a client who used Apple's online photo services for ordering his photo gifts. One big reason was because I could not confidently recommend Sam's Club to him. That could have been a few hundred dollars in Sam's Club photo products that was lost due to lack of development for the Mac platform.

I really hope to hear back from Sam's Club — and soon. Right now I'm being nice even though I've taken a lot of crap from them. Finances are much much tighter now and I can literally no longer afford to accept anything less than perfection from services where I spend our ever shrinking budget. I hope Sam's Club as well as other places keep this in mind moving forward this year and in the future of our uncertain financial crisis.

What photo services do YOU enjoy? Drop me a line!

Friday, January 9, 2009

80sphotoday Meme

There is an #80sphotoday meme on twitter at the moment. (probably over by the time you read this.) I'm a sucker for the 80s because I survived it despite how much of my brain was eaten away with hairspray and CFCs. So I thought it might be fun to post it here. If you have a similar blog meme or a link to your twitter meme, link it in the comments for fun!

I thought it would be fun to put my 80s pics here to amuse my son later in life if he decides to read this and see what a dork his mom was.

wait.

still is. ;)

Here is me as part of TV Crew which was infinitely cooler than being part of Motley Crüe. You know — because you didn't get crabs from TV Crew. I've blocked out the girl to my right to protect the innocent. And because I wouldn't want her to google herself some day and discover her photo linked to something with crabs and 80s hair bands. That just wouldn't be kewl.

Yeah. I'm also hoping if my son is reading this, by then, he's old enough to know what crabs are and that you can get them at Joe's in Jersey. (NJ)

Here is me in high school. Just one of the many big, bad-ass hair days. Please do not smoke near this picture. Your computer might ignite.

Hard to believe I actually have even MORE hair than that right now. This time though, it's no longer processed and is completely straight. (although sometimes I swear a pack of racoons sneak into my room and put dreads in it so I look like Bob Marley when I wake up.) I think I way overdid it with the perms and crap back then and I do not miss those days!

Right now my hair is around 37 inches long. One of these days when I can't take the headaches any longer, I'll get some of it cut off and donate it to Locks of Love. I'm just not quite ready, but I'll be sure to let you know when I am. I've already checked with one of my BFFs back east and she said I have enough for two pony tails to donate.

Ugh! I'm so glad I don't do anything with my hair like that anymore! Now I have more time to, um, blog? Maybe.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Geek Engagement Announcement

I am in geek heaven RIGHT NOW! I just saw the coolest thing and I just HAVE to share it with everyone.

I would like to announce
Christina Warren
&
Grant Robertson

are now engaged!

Congratulations!
Here is a picture of Christina's ring. Nice job Grant!

How do I know this? It happened on Twitter just hours ago. I follow them both and I am so very happy for them!

How cool is it to say you got engaged at Macworld!?

@
grobertson said this:














and
@film_girl said this:










You can congratulate the happy couple by tweeting them (click on links above) and digging them here.

Why am I so excited?
1. Because I met my husband online over 4 years ago and we have been very happily married ever since and have a beautiful child together.
2. To witness someone else beginning their new life together online is beautiful to me. (Not sure if they met online – they have been together for some time – but getting engaged online is just as sweet!)
3. I literally have shivers (I think they call it squee.)
4. To geeks like us, this is an extremely romantic proposal!

Congratulations to you Christina and Grant! I wish you all the happiness and joy and a wonderful future together, just like my husband and I! You're going to have a blast!

Christina, have fun planning a wedding! It will be one of the best times in your life. My husband and I eloped and then planned a wedding from 3000 miles away.
Let me know if you ever have any questions!

Monday, January 5, 2009

How To Virtually Attend Macworld 09

I'm attending Macworld 2009!
Sort of. from my couch or dining room table. where I'll be folding laundry. Wanna join me?
Select a few of these links and open them in new tabs across the top of your browser. Happy clicking!

Here is the start of an interactive media list I'm generating. I will try to update this list as I see more. My idea was to make a list of all my favorite hot spots in one place and share it with you. I might even be reinventing the wheel here, but it's been fun making this list for myself. If you have any links you care to share, please feel free to put them in comments and I'll add it to the list and re-link to this post out into the ether.


Live Blogging - Keynote on Tuesday, January 6th at 9:00 am PT

TUAW The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Macgasm

Engadget

Gizmodo

Live Chat
Ning Networks
MyAppleSpace

FriendFeed Rooms - View FriendFeed Rooms in real-time mode and it's like a live chat
Macworld Expo

The Apple Room

VentureBeat's Macworld 2009 Keynote Live Coverage

Microblogging
Twitter
- search using keywords and hashtags and view in real time
#mwsf09

#Macworld

Follow on Twitter
@TUAW_MWSF09

@TUAW

Photos
Flickr
Macworld 2009

Macworld Expo 2009

Videos
Qik
Leo Laporte and TWiT Qik

Liana Lehua's Qik

Websites & Blogs
Macworld Expo

Mac.Alltop.com

TUAW

Macworld Bound

Schedules & Event Planning
Official Macworld Expo Site

http://macworld09.theappleblog.com/

Ilenes Machine

Upcoming
MacWorld Monday Tweetup

Macworld Expo



Steve and Apple Will Be Fine

There is a lot of hoopla surrounding the health of Steve Jobs and whether or not Apple will survive without him should he retire or become too ill to continue as CEO of Apple.

Steve will be just fine. I'm not really that worried since he wrote to me and told me he would be eating his veggies more often. He's been so busy running Apple that he hasn't had as much time as he'd like to spend with his family, so cut the guy some slack. I can certainly relate to that. I'm sure Steve just wants to sit in front of his 32-foot cinema display and crank out some iMovies and slide shows of his kids from the past few years he may have missed out on planning for Macworld.

DM me on twitter Steve, I'll tell you where you can mail to me your latest iDVD projects.

Just for fun, I'm dedicating this song to Steve Jobs. I'm sure he's probably got it in his iPhone already.



I've been a Mac user since 1990 and I don't plan on using anything else no matter who gives the Keynote tomorrow or the next time. I'm sure there will be more Keynotes or some other kinds of love letters to come; they just might not be delivered from a stage in front of a big screen with some dude holding a clicker in his hand. Come on now, Uncle Steve is savvy with the times. He knows he can just email me a link or put up an iTunes feed. I'll click it. The carbon footprint is so much smaller on that anyhow.

Afterall, it is The start of a new era.

Funk 49

What keeps YOU from blogging?

Sleep all day, party all night? Me too. Or, somethin like that. except without the partying part.

Actually, I micro-blog every day almost, but it's not aggregated here on the big blog. I wonder if I should do that so I wouldn't feel like I was neglecting this space so much. I have so many plans for this space but it was really hard to find the time when we had family visiting these past few weeks.

Now, where did I put that To Do list?

Which one?

I've tried implementing Twitter and Tumblr on here, but it makes the blog load so slooooow.

I'll think of something.

Maybe I'll try to put using the F12 blogger widget back into my workflow. Right now, my thoughts are just so random and fleeting and that's not usually my style for my blog. I like my blog posts to be more complete and better thought out. Pretty-looking even.

Maybe it's time for a change?

Sometimes my OCD gets in the way because of having to craft a title for each post? Hmmmm. Maybe I should resort to a Deep Thoughts from Jack Handy format with numbers. Then I'd have to keep track of the numbers. Meh.

Is there some random automatic blog post title generator that makes something nice looking that makes sense? You know, for us lazy people.

Ok, back to finishing the email back to my husband that I started an hour ago. Oh, wait. I already sent that out. What was I doing? Oh yeah. Making a list and clic

so many distractions, so little time.

publish.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and spent it surrounded by people they care about. Despite having the flu on Christmas day, I still managed to enjoy my holiday because I was surrounded by family and friends at all times. Being stuck in bed gave me a chance to take a break and reflect on all the people I'm grateful for in my life and how that number keeps growing.

There have been some setbacks along the way. We don't have a lot of money and I can't always get the things I want. That sucks, but I try to get over it and move on. Lucky for me, I don't need a lot of money to be with the people and get the things I need most in my life.

I don't want a pony, but an iPhone or a BlackBerry sure would be a lot of fun. I don't NEED either, but if I can somehow find a way to be resourceful, maybe my work will be rewarded and I can somehow find a way to justify the expense so it isn't just an additional expense. I believe I could grow my skills with a smart phone, I just have to figure out how to fit it in my lifestyle.

In 2009 my goal is to focus on the skills I have, to keep building on them and to keep being resourceful. I do not want to become obsolete.

How do you plan on keeping yourself from becoming obsolete this year?

I have tons of pictures and movies to comb through. Products and services to review and projects to produce. Content creation is in abundance and backlogged. I just need a clone who will manage my time more wisely than I've been able to.

2009 will be the Year of the Bootstrapping Mamma!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

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