• Living the Dream – 25. Sugar & Spice

    Spice Girls in the cage

    Sugar & Spice, and all things nice, that’s what little girls are made of…

    Quite apart from being a gender stereotype, our “Working Titles” for the newest additions to the Lennon household are quickly turning out to be misnomers.

    Background

    Some monster abandoned the litter of eight at the gates of the pound. Two didn’t make it, and a UK-based family has adopted the boy. Mags met the remaining five girls. (I avoid dog rescue centres, as I am a sucker for sad eyes. We would end up with ALL the dogs at home.) Four were black and white and one was brown and white. The brown one had a twinkle in her eye and a nose for mischief. One of her sisters had a speckled snout, a piercing stare and a fondness for kisses. Sugar & Spice fits the bill.

    First Days

    Sugar & Spice are cute, loving, and stink. Kennel life is not the Ritz and the vet gave us strict instructions not to give the girls a bath until they get their second jabs. They fight as only siblings do, but will not sleep unless they are touching each other. I can sit for hours watching them sleep; in fact I do. Winter storms are crashing across the island, but the girls are only mildly curious. Mostly, they sleep through them. House training is ongoing and both dogs are as smart as tacks. I daresay we will have our hands full. Seconds ago, we discovered that one or other of them , or possibly both, possess weapon-grade flatulence.

    Litter-Mate Syndrome

    Who knew? LMS is a thing.

    It seems that litter-mates homed together can form an unnatural relationship. Mutually dependent, yet overly aggressive. Sugar & Spice go at it, hammer and tongs, with a ferocity that belies their stature. Mags and I were on tenterhooks, desperately keeping the combatants apart. Research and advice from friends was unanimous. The best thing for the girls and for us was to split them up. The risk is that the dogs will become an unhappy, aggressive double-act.

    Therefore, it was, with regret, and a dusty eye, that Sugar returned to her sisters in the kennel, waiting for a new home. While Mags and I steeled ourselves to be strong and stoic, Sugar ran into the kennel, delighted to be back in her pack. Without a second look, she dropped back into routine.

    Our Spice Girl

    Conversely, Spice is proving to be a bit of a Princess. As the only canine in the house, she is agitating for her own spot on the couch, and is less than impressed with puppy kibble. Tinned tuna or freshly roasted chicken on the other hand, she is eager to consume. House training is going OK, I didn’t really like sleeping anyway…

    Job Role

    As with all canines at Nero’s Notes, Spice will, in the fullness of time, be expected to pull her weight, work-wise. Just as with her name, the role will evolve as her character is revealed. For the moment though, she will be featuring heavily in social media. Thankfully, nobody can smell her across the internet…

  • Working Tools – 3. OSX v IOS

    OSX v IOS

    OSX v IOS. Before we start, let’s establish my credentials. I have none. I don’t code and my only expertise in computing is gained from listening to lots of podcasts and struggling along day to day, trying to get stuff done.

    In the first of this series, I outlined that I have both a MacBook Pro (2017 15 inch) and an iPad Pro (10.5)

    IOS Only

    The truth is, I would dearly like to only have one device. I have made a conscious effort to do as much as possible on my iPad Pro with an eye to being ‘IOS only.’

    Why?

    A great strength, and paradoxically, a weakness of IOS is focus. One can multi-task on iOS. Split screens, app pairs and all sorts of good stuff. However, I find it more powerful for single tasking. One app open, doing one thing. I can turn off notifications and focus on doing one thing properly. This is especially true for writing with Ulysses, which I explained here, is one of my most-used apps.

    Judging by twitter and podcasts, this can be a somewhat contentious area. People get very aerated about it, making categoric statements transposing their preferences to proclamations of fact.

    Terrace Setup for IOS

    My mini-desktop

    I would like to be IOS only, but I struggle.

    That is not to say one can’t be IOS only, just that I struggle to be. I find backup in an IOS-only world difficult. I find managing data stores (filing systems) in IOS, awkward. Working through one port means all sorts of dongles and complications, that frankly, I can’t be bothered with.

    OSX

    For certain tasks, I seek out OSX. Podcasting for example. I have a microphone connected and I want to have multiple apps and windows open at the same time. That said, I have recorded on iPad, and it works fine. It’s just a preference.

    Desktop for OSX

    My desktop setup

    (The MacBook Pro is next to the printer, under the standing desk.)

    OSX v IOS is a myth. There is no need for me to work on one platform. I have the hardware and the software for both.

    If I had to work on one, could I? Absolutely. Yes I could. I would have to look at what I do and how I do it, but I have no doubt that both platforms can support my work.

    Convergence

    Will the two platforms merge? Oh, I don’t know. I would suspect, yes.

    Not because of high-powered thinking or philosophy. First and foremost, Apple is a money-making machine. Producing a single engine, which powers all interaction, is efficient. Efficient is profitable. So – is there a time when all of our devices are extensions of one engine? Probably.

    However, the last thing that Apple will do is merge hardware. They want people like me, buying multiple devices – all the time.

    In the meantime, I leave the last word to developer and Apple commentator Steve Troughton-Smith who tweeted;

    “Every time I hold the iPad in my hands it fills me with childlike wonder at how much technology we’ve distilled into a magic pane of glass, with instant access to the world’s shared knowledge. That feeling never goes away for me, and it’s why I feel sad for those who don’t get it”