★ iPad review

Australian iPad reviewWell it’s finally arrived, after weeks and weeks of teasing via the iPad page on apple.com.au the iPad is now available in Australia……wait a minute, no it’s not, well not unless you are prepared to import one from the US via eBay.

And that’s exactly what I have done

So this review is going to be in a number of parts, today I will give you my initial impression, then after the weekend I’ll give you another update regarding how useful it is without a wifi connection, and then in another week or two I’ll give you more of a detailed account of my experience with the iPad as I’m planning on making it my daily computer for a couple if weeks.

Let me give you my initial impressions

The iPad is awesome!
After the “ahhhh” unboxing moment, and an initial sync with iTunes it was all systems go. Oh, and for the record I’m writing this blog on the iPad with the WordPress iPad app.
I have a small number of iPad compatible apps already, however when I tried to use my iPad to connect to the App Store I was promptly informed that it wasn’t available in my region yet. Hrmm hello, back to ebay for an iTunes US gift card.
So I’m still waiting for the iTunes gift cards to arrive, but I figure I’ll push ahead with using it with the web apps that I use regularly, namely Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc. plus the couple of compatible apps that I already installed.

Easy setup

Connect it up to an existing computer with iTunes on it, register your iPad, and then get hit the web. Yes it’s really that easy. However there is a small problem with that process, the fact that you cannot register the device any other way could potentially be a problem, specially if you’re looking to use an iPad as a laptop replacement. I’m guessing this might change once the 3G version arrives, but it’s in the wait n see basket for now.
Ok so we’re all registered up, connected to our wifi access point, let’s get surfing.
Mobile Safari on the iPad is actually quite similar to regular Safari, you can sync your bookmarks and pretty much just start surfing the web in your usual manner. It’s quite a fast browser and pretty much every website I’ve been to works without problem, yes I know flash doesn’t work on the iPad but seriously who cares, HTML5 is the future!

And now that I have some US iTunes cards…

App wise I’ve mostly be tooling around with Twitteriffic, Things, WordPress, and a handful of photo editing applications. So far all of them have performed very well, and it’s been a lot like working on a normal desktop which is a big win.

We don’t need no stinking cameras

We all know that the iPad doesn’t have a camera right, well some enterprising app developer out there has made an application that allows the iPad to connect to the camera on your iPhone via Bluetooth and / or wifi which completely gets around the lack of camera in the iPad….assuming you’ve got an iPhone of course. It’s simple to setup, takes pretty decent snaps, and saves them to the iPad. Simple as a dimple.

So will it replace my MacBook?

At this point my MacBook still has a job to do, it’ll be my go to machine for more intensive photo editing, video editing, and for audio recording, but for pretty much everything else I can see me going to the iPad more often than not. That said, ask me again in a week or two when the honeymoon is over.
Welcome to the future of simplified home computing!

★ iPad review

Australian iPad reviewWell it’s finally arrived, after weeks and weeks of teasing via the iPad page on apple.com.au the iPad is now available in Australia……wait a minute, no it’s not, well not unless you are prepared to import one from the US via eBay.

And that’s exactly what I have done

So this review is going to be in a number of parts, today I will give you my initial impression, then after the weekend I’ll give you another update regarding how useful it is without a wifi connection, and then in another week or two I’ll give you more of a detailed account of my experience with the iPad as I’m planning on making it my daily computer for a couple if weeks.

Let me give you my initial impressions

The iPad is awesome!

After the “ahhhh” unboxing moment, and an initial sync with iTunes it was all systems go. Oh, and for the record I’m writing this blog on the iPad with the WordPress iPad app.

I have a small number of iPad compatible apps already, however when I tried to use my iPad to connect to the App Store I was promptly informed that it wasn’t available in my region yet. Hrmm hello, back to ebay for an iTunes US gift card.

So I’m still waiting for the iTunes gift cards to arrive, but I figure I’ll push ahead with using it with the web apps that I use regularly, namely Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc. plus the couple of compatible apps that I already installed.

Easy setup

Connect it up to an existing computer with iTunes on it, register your iPad, and then get hit the web. Yes it’s really that easy. However there is a small problem with that process, the fact that you cannot register the device any other way could potentially be a problem, specially if you’re looking to use an iPad as a laptop replacement. I’m guessing this might change once the 3G version arrives, but it’s in the wait n see basket for now.

Ok so we’re all registered up, connected to our wifi access point, let’s get surfing.

Mobile Safari on the iPad is actually quite similar to regular Safari, you can sync your bookmarks and pretty much just start surfing the web in your usual manner. It’s quite a fast browser and pretty much every website I’ve been to works without problem, yes I know flash doesn’t work on the iPad but seriously who cares, HTML5 is the future!

And now that I have some US iTunes cards…

App wise I’ve mostly be tooling around with Twitteriffic, Things, WordPress, and a handful of photo editing applications. So far all of them have performed very well, and it’s been a lot like working on a normal desktop which is a big win.

We don’t need no stinking cameras

We all know that the iPad doesn’t have a camera right, well some enterprising app developer out there has made an application that allows the iPad to connect to the camera on your iPhone via Bluetooth and / or wifi which completely gets around the lack of camera in the iPad….assuming you’ve got an iPhone of course. It’s simple to setup, takes pretty decent snaps, and saves them to the iPad. Simple as a dimple.

So will it replace my MacBook?

At this point my MacBook still has a job to do, it’ll be my go to machine for more intensive photo editing, video editing, and for audio recording, but for pretty much everything else I can see me going to the iPad more often than not. That said, ask me again in a week or two when the honeymoon is over.

Welcome to the future of simplified home computing!

Grilled Chicken with Oven Roasted Vegetables

Grilled Chicken with Oven Roasted Vegetables

I was in the mood for something quick and easy for dinner tonight so I fell back on an old favourite, Grilled Chicken Breast with Roasted Vegetables.

This is one of those really quick, simple, and tasty recipes that Cath and I cook somewhat regularly as there’s no mucking around. So let’s get started with the what you’ll need to make this.

Ingredients (for the grilled chicken)

  • Chicken Breast fillets (allow around 120–150gm per person)
  • 1 tsb Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsb Wholegrain Mustard
  • 1 tsb BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsb Honey
  • 1/2 tsb Lemon Juice
  • Olive Oil Spray

Let’s marinade
Mix all the above ingredients together in a bowl, if you’re making this for more than 2 people then double the ingredients per extra couple. Marinate the Chicken Breast in the mixture for at least an hour.

Now it’s vegetable time
The vegetable portion of this dish is really quite simple. Take some vegetables suitable for roasting, I normally use a combination of Sweet Potato, Eggplant, Red & Green Capsicum, Zucchini, and Spanish Onion. Chop them all up and place into a bowl with a light splash / spray of Olive Oil and then add the magic ingredient…..Masterfood’s Roast Vegetable Sprinkle. (yeh I like to cheat every now and then)

Pop the vegetables in the oven on a roasting tray for about 15–20 minutes at around 180 degree’s C , or until cooked to your liking.

Back to the chicken
Heat your griddle or frying pan up till it’s quite hot, take the pan off of the heat and give it a quick spray with the Olive Oil then pop it back on the heat and get your marinated Chicken Breast into the pan and cook it till it’s done (I’m guessing we all know when Chicken is cooked).

It’s eating time!
Once everything is cooked it’s time to serve it all up. Depending on whether I’m in the mood or not I’ll stack the vegetables up and then pop the chicken on top, it makes the dish just that little bit fancy….oh la la.

All up this is a pretty quick and easy dinner to make after work, specially on those days when you’ve been flat chat. It’s good to eat something reasonably healthy too instead of resorting to takeaway junk. And hey, it’s also pretty easy on the hip pocket.

Eat and Enjoy!

★ Planning our new kitchen

We need a new kitchen badly, and when I say badly I mean badly. Let me give you a bit of an idea how bad our kitchen is at the moment;
  • the cupboards and under-bench are water damaged and rotting from the inside out
  • the bench top is also delaminating, ie. pulling apart
  • the kitchen sink drainage 'tray' doesn't drain off
  • the laminate on the cupboard doors is long gone
  • the door handles come off from time to time
  • one of the drawers has all but fallen apart
The other problem we have with our kitchen is that it was so poorly designed back in the 50's that there are many cupboards and corners that are unusable as they just cannot be reached, tupperware goes to these corners never to be seen again. We've tried many many times to re-organise where everything is stored, but no matter what it just seems to end up back in this huge mess.....and we actually don't have the much stuff as I've done a few chuckouts recently. Probably the worst of it all is the positioning of the oven / stove, and this has only become apparent since Travis has started crawling. Unfortunately there is no way of changing where our stove currently sits as it's a gas oven and has to be right next to the connection.

Enough is enough!

So I'm now starting to plan our new kitchen out, granted we cannot even remotely afford to renovate right now but I just have to get something happening with it before we just get too frustrated with it and sell the house or something equally rash like take a sledge hammer to the whole kitchen. Bit by bit I'm going to scour the net over the next few, hopefully only few, months and collect photos and ideas on how our kitchen renovation *should* turn out and of course I'll probably open up a new category on the website here and post whatever I find. This is definitely a "wish me luck" moment, so go on....wish me luck!
We need a new kitchen badly, and when I say badly I mean badly. Let me give you a bit of an idea how bad our kitchen is at the moment;

  • the cupboards and under-bench are water damaged and rotting from the inside out
  • the bench top is also delaminating, ie. pulling apart
  • the kitchen sink drainage ‘tray’ doesn’t drain off
  • the laminate on the cupboard doors is long gone
  • the door handles come off from time to time
  • one of the drawers has all but fallen apart

The other problem we have with our kitchen is that it was so poorly designed back in the 50’s that there are many cupboards and corners that are unusable as they just cannot be reached, tupperware goes to these corners never to be seen again. We’ve tried many many times to re-organise where everything is stored, but no matter what it just seems to end up back in this huge mess…..and we actually don’t have the much stuff as I’ve done a few chuckouts recently.

Probably the worst of it all is the positioning of the oven / stove, and this has only become apparent since Travis has started crawling. Unfortunately there is no way of changing where our stove currently sits as it’s a gas oven and has to be right next to the connection.

Enough is enough!

So I’m now starting to plan our new kitchen out, granted we cannot even remotely afford to renovate right now but I just have to get something happening with it before we just get too frustrated with it and sell the house or something equally rash like take a sledge hammer to the whole kitchen.

Bit by bit I’m going to scour the net over the next few, hopefully only few, months and collect photos and ideas on how our kitchen renovation *should* turn out and of course I’ll probably open up a new category on the website here and post whatever I find.

This is definitely a “wish me luck” moment, so go on….wish me luck!

★ Planning our new kitchen

We need a new kitchen badly, and when I say badly I mean badly. Let me give you a bit of an idea how bad our kitchen is at the moment;

  • the cupboards and under-bench are water damaged and rotting from the inside out
  • the bench top is also delaminating, ie. pulling apart
  • the kitchen sink drainage 'tray' doesn't drain off
  • the laminate on the cupboard doors is long gone
  • the door handles come off from time to time
  • one of the drawers has all but fallen apart

The other problem we have with our kitchen is that it was so poorly designed back in the 50's that there are many cupboards and corners that are unusable as they just cannot be reached, tupperware goes to these corners never to be seen again. We've tried many many times to re-organise where everything is stored, but no matter what it just seems to end up back in this huge mess.....and we actually don't have the much stuff as I've done a few chuckouts recently. Probably the worst of it all is the positioning of the oven / stove, and this has only become apparent since Travis has started crawling. Unfortunately there is no way of changing where our stove currently sits as it's a gas oven and has to be right next to the connection.

Enough is enough!

So I'm now starting to plan our new kitchen out, granted we cannot even remotely afford to renovate right now but I just have to get something happening with it before we just get too frustrated with it and sell the house or something equally rash like take a sledge hammer to the whole kitchen. Bit by bit I'm going to scour the net over the next few, hopefully only few, months and collect photos and ideas on how our kitchen renovation *should* turn out and of course I'll probably open up a new category on the website here and post whatever I find. This is definitely a "wish me luck" moment, so go on....wish me luck!

We need a new kitchen badly, and when I say badly I mean badly. Let me give you a bit of an idea how bad our kitchen is at the moment;

  • the cupboards and under-bench are water damaged and rotting from the inside out
  • the bench top is also delaminating, ie. pulling apart
  • the kitchen sink drainage ‘tray’ doesn’t drain off
  • the laminate on the cupboard doors is long gone
  • the door handles come off from time to time
  • one of the drawers has all but fallen apart

The other problem we have with our kitchen is that it was so poorly designed back in the 50’s that there are many cupboards and corners that are unusable as they just cannot be reached, tupperware goes to these corners never to be seen again. We’ve tried many many times to re-organise where everything is stored, but no matter what it just seems to end up back in this huge mess…..and we actually don’t have the much stuff as I’ve done a few chuckouts recently.

Probably the worst of it all is the positioning of the oven / stove, and this has only become apparent since Travis has started crawling. Unfortunately there is no way of changing where our stove currently sits as it’s a gas oven and has to be right next to the connection.

Enough is enough!

So I’m now starting to plan our new kitchen out, granted we cannot even remotely afford to renovate right now but I just have to get something happening with it before we just get too frustrated with it and sell the house or something equally rash like take a sledge hammer to the whole kitchen.

Bit by bit I’m going to scour the net over the next few, hopefully only few, months and collect photos and ideas on how our kitchen renovation *should* turn out and of course I’ll probably open up a new category on the website here and post whatever I find.

This is definitely a “wish me luck” moment, so go on….wish me luck!

★ Cooking up a style guide

R
eferring back to my little battle of last night, one of the things that I think separates this website from some of the websites that I referred to, along with many other sites I regularly visit, is that there's a consistency to their look and feel. A lot of this consistency comes from not only not tinkering with the design / layout too regularly, but also by using a publishing style guide.

What's a style guide?

Basically a style guide is a document, or set of guidelines, of how to publish articles be it on a website or in print. This document tells you things like how the article should be formatted, ie. bold header, italic introduction, image alignment, etc. Typically style guides have been used more regularly in print, though more and more websites are adopting similar article publishing principles. And I think I need to develop a style guide for mathewpacker.com

Isn't all this a bit wanky?

Yes, yes it is.....but maybe it will bring some longer term consistency to my website and the articles I publish. Plus it will also force me give me the opportunity to clean up my older articles and maybe give them a new lease on life, and hopefully they will also attract some more traffic and more subscribers.

And in conclusion

Over the next few days and weeks I'll start formulating the style guide and whilst there may be a few initial changes to the layout here for the most part it will remain unchanged. The End.
Referring back to my little battle of last night, one of the things that I think separates this website from some of the websites that I referred to, along with many other sites I regularly visit, is that there’s a consistency to their look and feel. A lot of this consistency comes from not only not tinkering with the design / layout too regularly, but also by using a publishing style guide.

 

What’s a style guide?

Basically a style guide is a document, or set of guidelines, of how to publish articles be it on a website or in print. This document tells you things like how the article should be formatted, ie. bold header, italic introduction, image alignment, etc. Typically style guides have been used more regularly in print, though more and more websites are adopting similar article publishing principles.

And I think I need to develop a style guide for mathewpacker.com

Isn’t all this a bit wanky?

Yes, yes it is…..but maybe it will bring some longer term consistency to my website and the articles I publish. Plus it will also force me give me the opportunity to clean up my older articles and maybe give them a new lease on life, and hopefully they will also attract some more traffic and more subscribers.

And in conclusion

Over the next few days and weeks I’ll start formulating the style guide and whilst there may be a few initial changes to the layout here for the most part it will remain unchanged.

The End.