The Simpsons – Mapple

I admit, I’ve always had a thing for The Simpsons. I think it’s the obscure references to pop culture that does it in for me. I found their most recent episode one of the best I’ve seen in a while and it’s probably because they mock Apple for a good portion of the episode. During my random surfing in the 15 minute break I have while finishing up my final projects I found the clip of it and just had to post it here for your viewing pleasure. So enough talk, here it is!

Apple’s Black Friday

I’m pretty sure everyone who reads this blog knows what black Friday is.  The day after Thanksgiving in which retailers have amazing sales to try and push their bottom lines into the positive (black) after being in the negative (red).  Every year Apple holds just such an event and usually drop the price of a certain family of Macs by as much as $100.  This year is rumored to be different though and anyone who is interested in a new iPod or MacBook would do well to read on.

Apple has posted this promotional image and it looks like the rumor that this will be the biggest black Friday yet is going to be true.  The internet’s tubes were full about a month ago with the rumors that several lines of macs as well as iPods and iPhones would be marked down.  I’d say that the image backs up those rumors and this will be a black Friday you don’t wat to miss.

All you have to do is find a credit card, perhaps your rich Uncles credit card that you saw the day before.  Then log on to http://www.store.apple.com/ this Friday and shop until your credit card stops going through.  How easy is that?!

New York – Day 2

Now that it’s been almost a month since visiting New York I figured now would be a good time to finish up my post about it since it is so fresh in my memory.  That’s sarcasm, as in I should have done this the next day but I digress. 

As you may recall we spent our entire first day in New York seeing Conan O’Brien and then eating my birthday dinner in Times Square where we ate “The Best Burger in New York!”  On day two we discovered that everything is the best in New York.  Every menu we saw would have some items that claimed to be the best of New York because at some point some random guy reviewed and it claimed that it was in some obscure NY publication.  Though, to be fair, it was a darn good burger!  

After a long nights sleep in New Jersey we took the bus back across the river and headed for the subway.  There was a guy standing at the payment machine for the bus tickets with his credit card in his hand like he didn’t know what to do.  Since this was my second day in the city I expertly told him to “put your credit card in there” as I pointed at the slot he just put his ticket in.  He just turned and looked at me and said what me and Angi only understood as “I know!  I built this machine!”  To which I just walked away to find another payment machine.  Afterwards we tried to figure out why he had to pay for the bus at all if he built the machine that takes the money.  

Now, we have plenty of experience with subways from living near London so it wasn’t that hard to figure out.  The problem was in London you can buy a day pass and ride wherever you want all day within selected zones.  In NYC it’s a little different.  You pay per trip.  We had no idea how many times we were going to ride the subway so I bought us both the 4 trips for $7 deal.  I think it saved us a buck each but I’m still not sure.  It was so crazy in there we just wanted to get on our way.  I had an app for my iPhone that told us exactly where we needed to go and what transfers to make but even without it subway lines are still easy to figure out what with the color coding and all.  Still, it helped out.

We rode down to the Staten Island ferry where we could see the Statue of Liberty.  We had read that you needed to get tickets in advance to go inside of it and take the tour.  Because of this we decided to view it from where we were which was still pretty cool.  I took some good pictures of it but it is definitely something that is on our list for when we get back to NYC.

Near that area is the Wall Street Bull which had a bunch of people gathered around it.  I got some good pictures of Angi pointing at the bulls balls before working our way up to the front so I could take her picture with it.  The funny thing is I kept thinking people were telling me I was going to see a giant bowl.  I didn’t know what would be so interesting about a big bowl but I figured hey, why not.  Turns out when we got there everyone had actually been saying Bull.  I guess if you’ve ever seen the movie Hitch it was featured in that.

From there we walked towards Wall Street and stopped at Trinity Church.  There was this root structure looking thing just standing up in front of it that was huge.  It turns out it is the root structure for a tree that was knocked over when the towers collapsed.  They decided to have an artist save it and he had painted it an earthy red color.  It was a neat thing to run into and read about.  

This was right around the time of the big bank failure but on that Saturday there were still a metric ton of tourists eager to go see and take pictures in front of the giant flag on Wall Street.  It was fun to walk around and see all the landmarks that you’ve always associated with money and stock trading and wall street.  In that same area was the spot that George Washington accepted the presidency of the United States of America commemorated by a large stature of him.  I believe New York was the capitol of the US at that time which is why he would have been inaugurated on that spot.

We started our walk towards the spot the twin towers stood which was kind of weird.  Every turn we made I kept expecting to see an area of just nothingness.  So far every where we had been we were surrounded by huge skyscrapers on either side of us.  We got to a point where it looked like we might be there but instead it was a small park like area that was not far from the actual spot.  On our way we saw some fire trucks circling the block and talking to people which is when we stumbled upon the site.  It really just looks like a construction site now.  I don’t know exactly what I expected.  I knew there was nothing there but instead of feeling like what I thought I would have I felt about how I would going to any other construction site because you really can’t tell the difference.  What was moving was the FDNY number 10 house which is directly across the street.  A large crowd was gathered talking to the men, shaking their hands, thanking them and what not.

Just afterwards is the point we got lost.  We were wanting to find a nice little spot that had pizza but it also needed to be near the subway.  After getting some directions from a couple of New Yorkers with some heavy accents we found the subway and the pizza place.  The pizza looked just like it did everywhere else we had walked by which also happens to look exactly like Enzo’s Pizza.  That’s exactly what it tasted like too.  It was good, but I was expecting something great!

Since we didn’t get to do the NBC studio tour the night before we headed back to see if we could get in.  Unfortunately the tickets were sold out for the next several hours so instead we walked up fifth avenue.  You know, the one with all the fancy stores.  We saw Trump Tower and the Gucci store and all that.  It wasn’t long before we reached the Apple store.  I don’t think Angi was that excited about going there but once she realized she could sit down for 45 minutes or so I think she started to warm up to the idea.  I, of course, had to play with everything there but ended up only walking away with a new case for my iPhone.

Right behind the big glass cube Apple store is the famous toy store from the movie Big with Tom Hanks.  The one where they play the piano, you remember.  FAO Schwarz is the name of the store and we walked around that place for about an hour.  They have so many different toys in there it’s crazy.  I think my favorite section had to of been the lego part.  They had the characters from Harry Potter all did up in legos.  It was pretty neat and made me want to buy some legos.  I’m pretty sure I still have a gym bag full of them somewhere though.

We were right next to Central Park so we decided to go and check it out.  That’s when we noticed the horse and carriage rides through the park.  We got in line and quickly realized there was no line and people were jumping in front of other people.  There was a designated spot for them to stop but it was about four horse and carriage lengths long so we ended up standing around for about a half hour without a horse stopping in front of us.  Finally I told Angi to stand at the other end and right about that time a horse pulled up and I walked up to it and put my hand on the car so everyone else would know this one is mine.  This is when one of Angi’s favorite stories begin.  We get into the car and the guy is explaining pricing to us which prompts me to tap my butt as I do from time to  time to make sure my wallet is still there.  When I don’t feel my wallet I start to panic and say, “I’ve been picked!”  At first softly as if in disbelief and then angrily to the point of almost yelling.  After what seemed like several minutes but was in fact a few seconds I notice that I was carrying my wallet in my left hand.  How embarrassing.

So we took our 15 minute $50 ride through Central Park with the guy talking to us the whole time but it was still rather neat.  It was just starting to get a little dark so the lights were coming on but you could still see everything just fine.  We saw the building the original Ghost Busters was filmed in from a distance which was cool.  Of course there were lots of people just hanging out, talking, jogging, and riding bikes.  It was pretty much exactly like I expected it to be, really pretty and peaceful.

By the time we got done it was really starting to get dark and we were almost out of time as well as things to do.  We started in the direction of the Empire State building stopping only for some Starbucks.  As we were walking up the street we could see it right in front of us so I started snapping a few pictures.  That’s when I realized I should have charged my battery the night before since my camera died.  Once we got in the building though and waited in line the two hours it took before we could get on the elevator to the top I was able to get the camera on and snap off a few quick shots while we were up there.  It’s a lot of fun up there.  It was night time so it was hard to see exactly what we were looking at but major things like the GE building were easy to spot.  Still I’m looking forward to when we go back so I can go up in the day time.

That about wraps it up.  We had an awesome dinner and then headed back to the hotel for a good nights sleep before the long 12 hour drive the next day.  We had a blast and talked about how we look forward to going back.  It seemed like a lot of people thought we wouldn’t have a good time but it was a blast.  It was a lot like when we lived in England and would take weekend getaways to different spots sometimes just picking up on a Friday after I got off work and driving somewhere to stay for the weekend.  Of course we couldn’t find a hotel when we did that which is why we only took off without any planning that one time but still, it was a lot of fun.

My iPhone Apps

I’ve been asked by some people what iPhone/iPod Touch apps I like to use on a regular basis.  First off, you must understand I’ve jailbroken my iPhone 3g and am happy I did.  The extra non approved Apple apps I get are worth it plus I like the customization. Like being able to have five icons in my dock instead of four.  Very nice.  When there is an app that requires jailbreaking I’ll let you know.  So here it is, my list of my most used iPhone apps (all free of course):

  • Twitterific – I use this all the time on my iPhone as well as on my mac.  Sure I could fire up a browser and go to Twitter.com but were is the fun in that?
  • Facebook/Myspace – If you are on these sites and have an iPhone you already have these installed.  ‘Nuff said.
  • Bible – There are a lot of free bible apps out there but this one hooks up the web so you can have the NIV for free which I like.  This is one of the first ones I grabbed and it gets the job done.  Special Bonus: you can set it for viewing in the dark which changes the background color to black.  Very nice since I’m usually reading in bed before I go to sleep.
  • Macman – You’ll have to be jailbroken for this one but it’s a pretty nice pacman clone that you steer using the accelerometer.  It’s fun and it’s free!
  • Aurora Feint – Another one of those apps that I downloaded on day 1.  It’s a game along the lines of all the other games where you match three like items in a row and they disappear.  It has some cool functionality to it.  I consider this a must have.  It’s easy to get into and it saves your progress so it’s easy to stop and come back to later.  Perfect for when you’re standing in line.
  • MotionX Dice – This isn’t so much a game as it is a way to roll up to 5 dice.  You can use it to play dice games but there is no actual “game” that comes with it.  Still it’s fun and handy if you are into games with dice like “High Five”.
  • Klick – If you use Flickr you should have this app installed.  Even if you are on the touch this is still useful for looking at friends photos and commenting and what not.  With an iPhone you can of course take and upload geotagged photos to your account.  This is one that is not popular on iTunes but I think is the best next to the alternatives like Exposure.
  • Last.fm – For streaming music over the internet Last.fm is the way to go.  I’ve been using it for years and I can go back and tell you what album I listed to the most on a particular day or week 17 months ago.  This is the portable app of that site and it’s awesome.  It’s one hundred times better than Pandora.
  • Remote – How could I wait so long to get to this app?  I love this thing.  Basically it uses my wireless connection to hook into my PC with my iTunes library.  From there I can control what song or playlist to play, volume, etc… I also have an Airport Express with airtunes so I can tell it which speakers to output to.  So my iPhone hooks up to my PC and iTunes which streams music across my house to my sound system.  If that sounds awesome to you then believe me, it is!
  • iPhone Modem – There used to be an app on the app store called Netshare that let you share your iPhone’s data connection with your computer.  After a day or so they took it down.  Probably because it’s against your agreement with AT&T.  Never fear!  Jailbreak your phone and download this app.  It’s tethering bliss.
  • WinterBoard – Like it’s older cousin SummerBoard this is a way to theme your device.  Nothing much to say here other than it changes the look of your interface.  If you are into that then this is the best option but again this requires jailbreaking.
  • WootWatch – This is an app that I actually just started using today.  There is a Woot Off so I needed to be able to keep up on what is being sold.  If you use Woot then this is a handy tool to keep in your pocket.
There you have it.  I have many other apps installed and some of them are pretty cool.  For instance: AIM, Airsharing, Now Playing, and WordPress.  That’s just to name a few.  I don’t use these very often at all though which is why they didn’t make the list.  Do you have a favorite app?  Please share it with us in the comments!