Category: gadgetry
living in the patriarchy
chris. | 3 April 2012 | 7:08 pm | (deconstructing) sexism, gadgetry | 2 Comments

I continue to live within patriarchal systems, tho’ some have tried to persuade me patriarchy is long dead.

One of the effects of patriarchy that i live with on a regular basis is the condescension of men who are convinced of my complete insignificance and of their absolute rightness — even in the face of evidence to the contrary.  An example:

Me:  It sure is lovely outside.

Your average middle-aged middle class white dude:  Yes, the forecast said it should get up as high as 57F today!

Me:  Oh, it’s much warmer than that already.  The thermometer i keep on my purse said it was almost 70F when i was out at lunch.

Yamamcwd:  Oh, i don’t believe that!  I was out just 45 minutes ago and i was so cold i still felt chilly inside my winter jacket.

Me:  All i’m saying is the thermometer i keep on my purse said it was over 65F right before i walked in the building from lunch.

Because, yes yes, his ability to gauge the ambient temperature with his human skin is far more accurate than a device regularly used for the purpose by scientists and laypeople alike.

On the other hand, occasionally i am pleasantly surprised.  I bought a ridiculously swanky microphone today.  As i made my way to the counter, i braced for some comment from the clerk along the lines of, “Oh, buying a gift for you boyfriend, eh?”  I was genuinely startled when another employee said as he walked past me, “That is a great microphone.  Really, really excellent!  Good choice!”

Granted, i was at the University Bookstore and not your random-ass Radio Shack.  Still.  The years upon years upon decades where i’ve been treated like an incompetent, bumbling fool every time i try to buy something even remotely techy — and, yes, the dudebros at Radio Shack have always been the worst offenders in this regard — have given me ingrained reflexes.

So thank you, middle aged guy working in the University Bookstore tech department, for being better than the average i’ve come to expect.

In other news:  I have apparently bought a ridiculously swanky microphone!  What should i record with it?  Aside from pronunciations for Wordnik?  If you could hear me read something to you, what would it be?

looks like i’m getting an Android phone after all — talk to me about apps
chris. | 3 February 2012 | 11:29 am | gadgetry | 11 Comments

I have an enormous rant to make about what an awful process it’s been to switch cell phones, but i’ll make that its own post.  I didn’t even want to stop using my old cell phone, but it is a nearly-5-year-old smartphone and she’s starting to slow down a bit.  Rest well, mighty Pigwidgeon!

So Andy and i switched back to Credo Mobile1, which means we’re both going to be using Android phones now because apparently smartphones don’t actually come in “we’ll leave you alone to do your thing without making you live in ‘the cloud'” varieties anymore.  [sob]  Andy got his last week; mine will be here next week2.

Now i have to figure out how to replicate my beloved Pigwidgeon on this weird new gadget.  Let’s talk apps!  My phone will be the HTC EVO Shift™ 4G.  The apps i’m already planning to get (because i’ve been using the old Windows Mobile version on Pigwidgeon and i love/need them) are:

  • Evernote
  • OneBusAway
  • Seattle Public Library

I’m also going to try:

  • Remember the Milk (I’m a subscriber, but there wasn’t an app for Windows Mobile.)
  • Happy Cow (Because i want to eat more vegetarian, and it’s hard when you’re in unfamiliar territory.)
  • Winamp (Because it really whips the llama’s ass.)  [And if Winamp doesn’t work, i’ll try the Android version of MortPlayer Music, because i’ve been pretty happy using the Windows Mobile version on Pigwidgeon.]
  • WordPress (Because you all want me to be able to update this blog from the bathroom, right??)

And then there’s everything else, which is where i have questions — not least of which because some of my absolute favorite Pigwidgeon apps do not all have Android verions.


I need a Twitter app, because Twitter is where so many of my friends live.  On Pigwidgeon i’ve been using moTweets, which has been pretty great over the years (i’d almost stick with this awful, irritating Windows Phone 7 just to keep moTweets).  What do you like for Twitter on your Android?

app monitor

I need something that will show me what apps are running and will allow me to turn them off.  I know Android has some functionality like that (i’ve been poking around at Andy’s phone), but i’ve read varying reports on its usefulness.  I want to be able to fully shut down an app, not just send it to the background.  Pigwidgeon’s Windows Mobile had a built-in system monitor where i could shut down any app, and it’s been baffling me that Windows Phone 7 doesn’t have anything like that.

Outlook syncing

I maintain both my calendar and my contacts in Outlook.  Suggestions for syncing to Android?  Keeping in mind i want to keep maintaining my calendar and contacts in Outlook.  Ay, there’s the rub, because, no, i don’t want to maintain this shit in Google.  Yeah, i get that Android is probably going to put this stuff into Google whether i like it or not, but i don’t want to muck about with using Google as the method for maintaining the data.  So, yes, i’ll want to be syncing my Outlook data with my phone once or twice a week.  Suggestions?  I’ve been reviewing PC Magazine’s article for ideas.

office suite

I use Windows Office for documents and spreadsheets, and i’m a pretty skilled user who doesn’t want to switch from Office right now — thus, any documents that i might want to put on my phone to read/edit later are going to be Word and Excel docs.  Andy’s already warned me that he hates Android’s built-in document editors, so i’m sure to hate them even more.  Any suggestions for apps that have good Word/Excel reading/editing functions?  I need to be able to carry my zine library list on my phone so i don’t wind up with duplicates, and it’s an Excel spreadsheet.


I’ve been using SPB Time for timing functions, and it’s been absolutely brilliant.  It’s not just a stopwatch function, but also has 5 pre-set countdown timers.  I use the stopwatch function, and it’s been useful, but having pre-set countdown timers is what i really need.  My 5 are: 3 for teas, 1 for 20-minute bursts of productivity (tidying the house, writing emails, &c.), and 1 for my office lunch break (because if i don’t come back in time, the office manager becomes enraged).  It looks like there’s an Android version of SPB Time, so i’ll probably try that, but for one thing, it doesn’t look like it comes with a free trial (booo!!), and for another it looks like a version i tried on Pigwidgeon the other year and didn’t really like, so if you have a time app you like that has both robust pre-set countdown timers and a stopwatch, let me know!  I don’t need something fancy, i just need to time my tea.


It’s hard to fully express my love for SPB Traveler (which, alas, they don’t seem to have ported over to the Android yet).  It combines things i’ve seen individual apps for — clocks and weather for cities around the world3, conversions for clothing sizes and currency, a calculator for figuring tips.  Plus the travel function itself, where you can enter all the niggling details of your trip — flight/plane times, hotel check-in/check-out — and it both keeps track of it in the app (with a handy count-down function so i know exactly how many days until WisCon) and also adds the details to the system calendar.  And, i know, there are probably apps out there that do one or more of these things, but i’ve loved having an app that manages them all in one integrated package.


I’m an astronomy nerd, so keeping track of the stars on my phone is fun.  I’ve been using Pocket Stars, and i like it well enough but i’m not quite as married to it as i am moTweets.  Any suggestions for Android?

Your suggestion here….

Anything cool you really like and want to recommend?

  1. ‘Cause we’re hippies with decent paychecks. []
  2. See above re: “awful process”. []
  3. I know, the Android phone i’m getting has a built-in weather function.  But it cannot find any of the towns local to where my mother lives, whereas SPB Traveler can.  Suck it, Android. []
in which Pigwidgeon suffers a case of Redmond Bloat
chris. | 6 January 2011 | 9:59 am | glosses, Pigwidgeon | Comments closed

I’ve been getting “storage memory is critically low” error messages on my phone the past day.  Pigwidgeon is a refurbished HTC TyTN (i.e., AT&T 8525), so while i’ve had her 3+ years by this point she’s actually a bit older than that.  She doesn’t have much program or storage memory to begin with and it’s true that i’ve packed her with various programs over the years, so i know she’s probably reaching the end of her lifespan even tho’ she still works pretty well.

I poked around a bit to see what i could delete to get her out of the red zone.  Hmmm, i’ve already trimmed my files down to just the barest necessities and cleaning out my old emails doesn’t seem to help.

Oh wait.  I haven’t dumped Internet Explorer’s files for awhile.  Let’s try that.  Zap!! I get 7 megs of storage memory back!

It just amazes me that someone would design a web browser for a mobile phone such that it hogs so much freakin’ memory.

Riiiiight, this is Microsoft.  Almost forgot who i was talking about for a second.

this shit could get dangerous
chris. | 21 November 2010 | 8:42 am | Pigwidgeon, | Comments closed

I’ve downloaded a WordPress app for my (antique Windows Mobile) phone. This post is a test to make sure i’ve set it up properly.

If this works, i predict you all are going to get very tired of me in very short order.

Oooh, i can even add pics to my posts with this thing?? [plots]

Edit from desktop computer: Yes, i think this will work nicely.  I’m using moBlog by Sampath.  It’s pretty basic (it has no support for tags, for one thing — least not that i’ve been able to find so far), but the sort of things i have in mind to post when i have the urge to post from my phone about are not going to require elaborate posts with lots of links and pics and whatnot.  So, yes, moBlog should work well for my purposes.

Am also happy that updating my WordPress install plus my Twitter Tools plugin seems to have restored’s ability to ping Twitter when a new post goes up.  The RSS feed on Dreamwidth seems to be working out well, too.

I love it when a plan comes together. [/A-Team]

learning — chore or game?
chris. | 22 June 2009 | 5:55 pm | learnin', Pigwidgeon | Comments closed

I’ve been searching for games for my beloved cell phone1 because sometimes i want a way to pass the time that’s a little more brain-intensive than Solitaire but slightly less concentration-focused than writing a zine article.  Ideally i’d like some sort of educational games2 — perhaps a math game, since my goal this summer is returning my math skills to a respectable level.

Do you know how hard it is to find educational games geared toward adult learners?  Apparently i get chess or sudoku.  All the educational games are for kids.  Which is fine, and i don’t mind playing a kids game, except the math games i’ve been looking at so far sort of peak right below the level i need.  Basic algebra?  You get study guides.  No educational games.

Which got me to wondering.  At what point in our lives does learning go from being a game to being a chore?  Or is learning always a chore that we need to turn into a game to trick the kids into doing by choice?

1)  Yes, i really did write beloved “cell phone.”  And, yeah, i do kinda mean it.  It’s amazing how this little device has transformed my life.  In the 1st place, my purse has gotten a lot smaller.  I used to carry a calendar/journal/address book plus a digital camera plus a phone, in addition to all the usual crap one carries around every day (wallet, lip gloss, keys).  When i started seriously thinking about getting an MP3 player, eventually i came around to thinking, “Bugger this ‘i don’t like all-in-one gadgets.’ Gimme an all-in-one gadget!!”  It was the perfect decision.

2)  It’s hopelessly geeky, i know, but i love educational games.  It’s my mother’s fault for giving me hopeful, aspirational toys when i was a kid.  To this day i figure if i’m sitting around waiting (at the airport, doctors’s offices), i might as well do something useful (read, play a brain game).  If you catch me sitting around seemingly staring into space, chances are i’m either trying to compose a zine article in my head or i’m falling asleep.

a poor player that struts & frets
chris. | 22 January 2009 | 8:09 pm | (words) & their artistry, everyday poetry, Pigwidgeon | Comments closed

I’ve been having a slight … disagreement lately with my cell phone service provider over just what service, exactly, is specified in my (so-called) “service” plan.  Thus, no cell phone photos lately over on my Flickr, which has been making me sad for the past week or so.

Today i realized that more than making me sad, this sudden lack of an outlet for my (crappy cell phone) photos has also kept me from really feeling like taking photos.  Something extraordinarily cool came across my desk at work, and my 1st instinct was to take a photo.

Then i remembered, Oh, right, my phone can’t send photos to Flickr anymore.

Then i realized, Hey, stupid, that doesn’t mean you can’t still take a picture.

I was a little stunned to realize how integral Flickr photo-sharing has become to my phototaking.  But, then again, i think that i do actually write a little more now that i’ve been funneling my output into zines.  And i always write more poetry when i’m surrounded by poet friends who share their work with me and are eager to read and comment upon my work.

Maybe i actually do need an audience, a support group, a community.  Maybe, as introverted as i am, i’m just not good solo.  Maybe i’m not the hermit-artist i thought.