Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween (Twitter Long Post)

I went trick-or-treating with my little sister (of @stufftorisays fame), and only one person recognized my #Portal suit. Someone even called me a janitor! Luckily, the person who recognized my Portal suit has a minecraft pumpkin. #nerdhalloween #ifyoudontunderstandignorethis #WhyAmIUsingHashtagsOnMyBlog?

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I have a different kind of meditation. Some people find a calm place, and sit down and try to relax. I meditate with music, outside at recess at Aberdeen Hall. I relax using music that inspires me and makes me think, punctuated by music that I really like and makes me happy. That is my meditation, my relaxation. Sometimes I watch from above and see people sitting, running, and playing below. Other times I go down and walk around with slow, measured steps. I see that world punctuated with a soundtrack of my choosing, like a silent film. It wouldn't be "meditation" any other way. I have started a playlist of the songs that provoke this mood in me, called "Recess". Here are some of the songs that I listen to, along with explanations about why they make me feel that way (in no particular order):

Raise Your Glass by P!nk: Fast-paced for the most part and energetic, one line resonates with me:
"So if you're too school for cool,
And you're treated like a fool,
You can choose to let it go
We can always, we can always,
Party on our own"

Ain't Nothing Wrong With That: This song was used back in 2008 (and again this year) to advertise Discovery Channel's Shark Week. When I first heard it in the ad, I was in Washington, DC, visiting my biological father. Hearing it again makes me remember those times.

Sway by the Cast of Glee: I like the music and the style of singing in this song. It feels like a Tango.

F**kin' Perfect by P!nk: I can relate to this song, and the story within. I have bad times, but that doesn't mean I'm not perfect.

Dream On by the Cast of Glee: I used to wake up to this song. It is slow but fast at the same time. I like the mixture of the drums, guitars, and bass in the music. The lyrics are also energizing.

Hotel California by the Eagles: I like the story in this song, as well as the music.

Bad Day by Daniel Powter: I have had my share of bad days, but I like how this song stays positive even though the unknown person is having a Bad Day.

Nowhere Man by The Beatles: The abstractness of this song lets me guess at what they are actually talking about.

Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson: I like how he realizes that you need to start changing the world by changing yourself. Start small.

American Pie by Don McLean: I first heard this song because someone posted a video to Twitter of the Grand Rapids Libdub. I liked the song, because of the contrast of the upbeat music and singing, despite the sad "Day the Music Died" idea.

Blackbird by The Beatles: A calming song often referring to nature, and the Blackbird's flight in everyone.

Don't Let Go by The Envy

Taking Chances by the Cast of Glee

Keep Holding On by the Cast of Glee: I love the message; don't give in, keep holding on.

I'll Stand by You by the Cast of Glee

Imagine by the Cast of Glee: I like the ideals represented in the song, many of them are very Unitarian values.

Hello by the Cast of Glee: I like the slow, measured piano and the thoughtful lyrics.

Poker Face (Glee Version) by the Cast of Glee: The slow tempo and lyrics contrast with the original very nicely.

Loser Like Me by the Cast of Glee: I'm not very social, and not very cool, but like the song says, "I know one day you'll be screaming my name/and I'll just look away, that's right." Love the line "Push me up against the locker, and all I do is shake it off, I'll get you back when I'm your boss."

Go Your Own Way by the Cast of Glee

Your Song by Elton John

Blackbird by Sarah McLachlan: Cover of "Blackbird" by The Beatles, above.

Boston and St. John's by Great Big Sea: I'm a big fan of Great Big Sea's music, usually for it's energy and the stories in the songs. So I love the sad story in this song.

Sea of No Cares by Great Big Sea

Viva la Vida by Coldplay: Interesting story about a former ruler who was tossed out for some (unmentioned) bad deed. The violins really set the mood for this song. Also heard it performed instrumentally by the school band class.

This playlist is still a work in progress, I may have more songs to add.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I now have a Twitter account for things too small for a blog! My Twitter name is @AspieTweeter,

Thanks to @StoryRoute for the mention of the blog and the How to Act Like a Writer in a Café When You’re Not story!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Replace MobileMe by Syncing with Google and Dropbox

MobileMe is cool. It gives you an email address, 20GB of storage for your emails and iDisk files, syncs contacts and calendars across devices, finds your iDevices, a web gallery for your photos, even a website (for iWeb, naturally). For $99 a year (even more in Canada!). The cool thing is, if you are willing to sacrifice elegance for price, Google and Dropbox can do this for free.

Google's "GoogleMe" replacement tools (icons from Google and Apple, GoogleMe logo mashup by me).

Step 1: iDisk replacement (non-Google)

iDisk is awesome. It gives you 20GB of space to store your files, and a free iPhone App, OS X integration, and to access them. Dropbox can give you 2GB of storage for free, as well as some paid plans for more space. They also support iOS, Linux, Windows, and Macs using the Dropbox app.

To sign up, go to the Dropbox website and click download.

Follow the instructions to install Dropbox and create you're account, and soon you'll be up and running. To sync a file, simply drag it to your Dropbox folder (in My Documents on a PC or your home folder on a Mac by default). Once a green check appears next to it, it has synced. By the way, any files in the Dropbox folder are only copied to the cloud, they can be accessed later, even if you are offline.

Now to get it on your iPhone/iPod/iPad. First download the app from the app store (iTunes Link), and load it on your device of choice. When you launch it, tap I'm already a Dropbox user, and it will ask for your login information. Once you login, you will see the home screen, tap My Dropbox to get to your files. Tap files to view. When viewing, tap the chain on the left to get link options, tap the star to favourite an item to view offline, and tap the rectangle with an arrow to choose to open a document in another app that supports the file type.

For any other computer that doesn't have Dropbox, go to and log in, where you can download and upload files, but not sync them.

The Dropbox for iPhone opening screen

The Dropbox for iPhone Login

The Dropbox for iPhone home screen

And that's it! Repeat the install process on any other devices that you want to sync with, and rock on (for free)!

Step 2: Syncing Contacts

To keep contacts in the cloud, open Address Book, go to Preferences, click Accounts, and under "On My Mac - Local" check Sync with Google. Enter your Google Username and password, and you are set to sync. Unfortunately, syncing is manual (but free is free). To sync, click on iSync in the menubar (the 2 arrows), and click Sync Now. That's it, your contacts will now be available online using your Google account!

The Sync with Google Checkbox

The iSync Menu. Ignore the MobileMe stuff. You have GoogleMe!

Now to get it on your iDevice. If you already sync Contacts with Address Book, no settings need to be changed, Address Book will automatically sync the contacts it has synced with Google. If you want to sync only using the cloud however, add a Microsoft Exchange account in the Settings for Mail, Contacts, and Calendars. Set Email and Username to your Google login email and set password to your Google password. Add a description (my favourite: Pirated GMail Xchange), and click next, and set server to When it goes to a Preferences screen turn on contacts (and calendars, if you have already set up Google Calendars). Choose to delete the already synced contacts, and replace them with the new set. Then, rock on with Google-synced contacts.

Add an Exchange account using Google?

Fill in your Google Info (pic borrowed from Mac|Life, see bottom of page)

Step 3: Sync Calendars

Syncing calendars is a bit tougher. First, export your iCal calendars. To do this, open iCal and choose File>Export>Export. Choose an easy location to find (i used the desktop) and click Export. That will create a file with all your events for the selected calendar in it. Repeat this step for any other calendars you want to sync.

The iCal Export Menu

Now, to get it on Google. First, head to Google Calendars. Now, either create a calendar to act as one of the ones you are using, by clicking add under "My Calendars", or rename the default to suit you. To import the calendar from iCal, click Add under Subscriptions. Choose a calendar to import the events to, and watch as your events sync to Google. Actually, you can't watch, as there's no progress bar for importing. Repeat these steps for all your calendars. You can delete the originals in iCal when you are finished.

Importing a calendar into Google (photo borrowed from Mac|Life, see bottom of page)

Now to import them back into iCal. Open iCal, and enter the Preferences. Click accounts, and click the + button. An add account dialogue will popup, choose Automatic for account type and enter your Google info under username and password. The screen should go away now, to reveal your new account Preferences. Change the refresh interval to what suits you, and don't change the server info unless you know what you're doing. For this step, those of you who don't have multiple calendars, and only use the default, can skip this. Those of you who do use more than one, or don't use the default, read on. To add other calendars, go to Delegations under your account's preferences. After a refresh of your account, it will display all the calendars you have access to, with a checkbox next to each. Check the ones you want to display (Note: I advise you not to try displaying the Weather calendar).

Account Details

Adding "Delegate" Calendars

Now that you have added your Calendars to iCal, it's time to get them on your iDevice. To do this, go back into Mail, Contacts, Calendars in Settings. If you already have Gmail set up, simply use that account, turning on Calendars. If you don't, use the "Exchange" account from the Contacts sync and turn on Calendars as well (you may have to revisit the last step, depending on whether you use iTunes or Google to sync contacts).

Settings for Gmail

Step 3: Free Find my iPhone

Unfortunately, free Find my iPhone is only for iPhone 4, iPod touch 4th generation, and iPad 1 or 2. As well, the WiFi-only iPads and iPod touches can only be located when connected to a WiFi hotspot.

To get free Find my iPhone, go to Mail, Contacts, Calendars in Settings, and tap Add Account. Choose MobileMe, but when asked for your Apple ID and password, put in your non-MobileMe Apple ID. Click next, and you will see the Preferences screen. Turn Find my iPhone on.

To find your device later, go to and log in with the same Apple ID and password. You should be redirected to the Find my iPhone tool. You can also use the Find my iPhone app (iTunes Link) on another iDevice. Find my iPhone locating my iPod. It's more accurate than this but, you know, creepy stalker people.

The Find my iPhone app locating my iPod. It's more accurate than this but, you know, creepy stalker people again.

Step 4: Photo Gallery

You may know of Picasa, Google's photo editing, organizing, and sharing program. You may also know of Picasa web albums, the place where those shared photos go. You may not know, however, that you can use Picasa web albums even without Picasa. First, log into Google and navigate to Picasa Web Albums. If you have a Blogger blog, you already have an album for you blog(s). From Picasa you can upload photos, download the Picasa Uploader for Mac, and share your photos using links and slideshows. I could go into detail about this, but Google already has, in their help pages.

Not Really a Step: Webpage/Blog

There are many web services out there, some free, some cheap, some expensive. For a blog, I recommend Blogger. For a very small website, All Macs come with a built in, IP address based, website. To publish to it, delete everything in the "Sites" folder in your Home folder, then tell iWeb to publish to that folder. To put the site on the internet, go to System Preferences and turn on Web Sharing in "Sharing" (not to be confused with Internet Sharing) on. To navigate to it, find out your computer's IP address, and type that into the address bar. That will take you to a page that only says: "It works!". To get to your page, add ~yourhomefolder/ to the end, replacing yourhomefolder with the name of your home folder.

And That's it for GoogleMe! Now go out there and rock on with your Dropbox and Google back-up and sync system!

This article, and it's title and title picture, was inspired by a Mac|Life article about the same topic (without Dropbox or Find my iPhone) that can be found here. All photos and screenshots not declared otherwise were taken by me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tsunami "Journal"

For my English writing class, I wrote a fictional journal of a survivor of the Tsunami in Japan. It is completely fictional, I have no idea of the atmosphere in Japan right now. The epilogue is set a month from the quake, assuming the waters didn't stop at that point.

March 13th, 2011

After being alerted to the quake, I have started running for my life. I headed for the car, which is packed with enough supplies to last at least a month. That may not be enough however, if I don’t escape the waters, or get poisoned by radiation from a melted-down reactor. The outages have begun, as reactors hastily shut down. I am heading for the hills, literally, before the costal areas are flooded. My family is gone, they were in a skyscraper that was downed by the quake. Where will I go?!

March 14th, 2011

I am still running from the water. The gas is getting lower everyday, and the batteries are draining at an alarming rate. I haven’t seen anyone in at least a day, and I am doomed if I don’t have gas. Not even an athlete could outrun a tsunami. My phone is beginning to die, and has been restricted to emergencies only. Not that it will help if the towers are down. I don’t have anyone to turn to anyway.


A month after the quake, I finally found refuge on mountaintop, with some other survivors. We have pooled our water and supplies, in order to best ration them. About a week ago one of the others went down to see if there was anything left. We haven’t heard from him since them. The water passed recently, and it is unlikely he survived it on foot, with a few day’s worth of supplies.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How to Act Like a Writer in a Café When You’re Not

Dress in your best post-modern hipster clothes.

Bring your laptop to a coffee shop with free Wi-Fi. New, stylish computers work best.

While waiting to order, open web pages for things like Shakespeare and Isaac Newton, for your “research”.

Order your favorite drink, snack item and treat, and sit down, alone, at a table not close to too many people, but close enough for them to see you.

Keeping your “research” close at hand, do whatever you like doing on your computer (like, maybe, writing?). When anyone comes by, open your “research” pages, or type gibberish loudly to look like you’re writing.

Stay for a few hours, ordering more food and snacks every once and a while. When you leave, close the laptop with the pages still open, order some coffee to go, and leave after an exhausting day of “writing”.

Repeat ad nauseum. Who knows, maybe you will actually start writing!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Visiting Tracey

I'm visiting Vancouver this weekend! I'm here for an appointment, but we're taking the time to enjoy ourselves. I got to visit an Apple store for the first time!

But I wanted to talk about a weird thing I do when I'm tired: analyzing fun. I look at why getting something virtual makes me happy, and why I'll give something real to get it. I also analyze why even having something real makes me happy. I always know I should give up, but I can't get my mind off of it. Interesting, isn't it?

Sunday, February 27, 2011


This weekend I have really having family over. We had a pre-Oscars/birthday party. Our winner for best picture was the King's Speech.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Today's Funnies

Today at dinner, Victoria said she didn't like an item of food. She tried it, and said simply, I stand corrected, to a burst of laughter.

Later, I was talking with Mom about the 1, 2, 3, counting strategy. She said I should learn it when I have kids. I simple responded "I know. It works on me."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Voice Plan

Today I was talking to Dad about getting an iPhone. I asked him if he would pay for my voice plan, since he did for my phone already. He said he already had an unlimited voice plan from me. :)

Posted from my iPod touch in a Montana's.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I have news! Today I finished my science experiment and something else happened. . .

Joke 1

What do you call a vampire who's car breaks down 3 blocks from the blood bank?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Joke 2

Why did the boy enjoy getting two cubes for his birthday? Click to find out!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Today at my church, a Unitiarian Fellowship, we were talking about prayer. One of the less traditional prayers spoke to me, but it was about god, and I don't believe in god. So I rewrote it to refer to goodness instead. Here's my version:

May goodness be my programmer. May I not crash. May it install it's software to the hard drive of my heart. It's commands are user friendly , it's directory filled only with goodness and love. I browse the domains of life, knowing the anti-virus of good will prevent anything from harming me. It's help menu is a click away. May my folder contain it's files to aid my operation.

I'm also working on an adaptation of "A Bloggers Prayer" that I will also post when done.

Written from my iPod touch.

Friday, January 7, 2011

MacMode Issue 0.5

This is the "beta" issue of my virtual Mac magazine, MacMode. In this issue: Reviews of Steam, Portal, and Plants vs. Zombies, a time saving maximize button preference, screen zoom and iPaint myMac.


Issue 0.5 (PDF)


How do you blend in with cows? Click to see the answer!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I really had trouble keeping An Aspie's Thoughts updated with new posts. I was always too busy to write posts or simply forgot to. That's why I have revived this blog as a social center for me, with the new name The Apple of My i (the URL is the same)! This will be my personal page now, instead of just a place to post essays. However, if you wish to browse my previous works, they will still be available as archived posts (see the sidebar). Enjoy!