Posts Tagged ‘technology’

365great Day 179: Canvas

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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365great challenge day 179: canvasIn honor of my first day of work, I had to mention Canvas. The moment I started interviewing for this company, I knew it was what I wanted. I loved the product and service, I connected with the company philosophy and culture, and I enjoyed speaking with everyone I met. I even stopped applying for other jobs and threw myself wholeheartedly into the interview process because I wanted it so much. Luckily, I got the job and now I’m thrilled to join the Canvas team. So what is Canvas and what do we do? Well, we help businesses revamp the way they do business to be more efficient, more accurate, and more green. We do that by providing a mobile app that people use to collect information from their mobile devices. Gone is the need for paperwork like invoices, work orders, checklists, and time sheets. By turning all of that digital, you can update information in our database in real time for access on any internet-connected computer. It eliminates the challenges of paperwork like when they get lost, are illegible, or are incomplete. We can even prevent inaccuracies by providing timestamps, GPS locations, and pictures! I mean, it really is a fabulous solution that brings paperwork to the digital age and I’m so proud to be a part of this company. I love the green and tech components, which are two of my passions, AND I love the start-up culture that I thrive in. I’m pretty stoked about my role too. 🙂 So hey, if you think you know a business that could use Canvas, be sure to let them know! It’s very empowering through its robust solutions. You know what I say: great!

365great Day 175: wifi

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , ,

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365great challenge day 175: wifiOf course the best type is free and I really appreciated The Cloud while traipsing around the UK! They provide free wifi services at a variety of coffee shops, train stations, markets and even drug stores. Every block or so in London, you’ll probably come across some place that has a signal. I spent quite some time standing outside these establishments connecting to the internet and it sure did make my life easier not worrying about data usage and being relatively free to hop online as I pleased. Wifi at home, in lounges, on trains, and throughout buildings has empowered us to get online without being tied down to some socket in the wall. It has truly freed us up and I love it. Wires can be annoying and even worse is the fact that it tethers you to something. With wifi, you’re not bound to those restrictions and that is simply great.

365great Day 167: international roaming

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , ,

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365great challenge day 167: international roamingWhen I left for my trip to the UK, I went into my mobile phone account and added international data to my plan. For $30, I can use 120 MB in most countries around the world – perfect for a medium-length vacation where I’d like the freedom to hop online to get directions or look things up. I don’t feel imprisoned by an inability to use mobile data and that is quite liberating. I am so much more empowered this way and it’s especially useful in a foreign country where you easily get lost and need help finding things. I only turn it on when I need to use it and then I disable it right away to ensure no crazy overages. I did accidentally forget how much data it takes to upload a picture so I used up a large chunk of the allowance early on, but have since learned my lesson. This time I opted just for data because it’s more useful to me, but being able to easily allow roaming for data, text, or voice for a decent price is pretty great.

365great Day 164: Pandora

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , ,

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365great challenge day 164: pandoraPandora offers a fantastic service that has helped me discover a ton of music I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s so hard to filter through all that’s out there and find songs to my taste. Why not take advantage of technology that helps me do that? Pandora has a large library of music and quite a robust system to find the qualities that you like about certain songs and artists. I mean, I never would have been able to break it down like them, but it totally works. Sometimes what I like about a song or artist is not obvious but as I keep rating what I like and don’t like, Pandora can start to hone in on my preferences. I’ve set up a bunch of channels based on my mood and I know I can count on a great mix for whatever I feel like!

365great Day 154: water boilers

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365great challenge day 154: water boilersI think just about every East Asian household has one of these. They’re as ubiquitous as rice cookers for those cultures. Growing up, I often had hot water to drink – yes, plain hot water. No honey, no sugar, no cocoa powder or even tea. It’s pretty normal for Chinese people to do that, but boy was it hard to get it out in restaurants! In recent years, it seems like American establishments are finally catching on and they no longer give me inquisitive looks if I request hot water. Even on a hot day, I’ll drink hot water since I’m very sensitive to cold things and cold water could make my stomach hurt. It’s always nice to have it easily accessible since I can power through half a dozen mugs of hot water in a few hours. Who wants to keep boiling a new pot each time? It’s so much more convenient to have many cups’ worth ready to go whenever I want it. For always giving me hot water when I want it, these are just great.

July Favorites 2013

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let’s do a recap of the things I enjoyed in July!

collage of july 2013 favorites including julep products, alo drinks, mossimo flip flops, juice beauty skin clearing kit, mossimo bikini, pocket planes, closetmaid cubeicals, dr. scholl's for her insoles, and minnie mouse tank top

1. Julep products – Ok, so this is actually a picture of the trade in which I got a bunch of my most recent Julep products. I’ve actually yet to purchase any Julep products since I’ve gotten much of what I want through trades. Still, if they start selling the green tea blotting papers on their site, I might have to spring for it. I’ve yet to find someone willing to trade! At least I’ve gotten to try their gel top coat, multiples shades of polish, and the cool nail polish dispenser shown here. I’ll definitely continue to try to acquire their products and one of these days I might just subscribe.

2. ALO drinks – I first tried these when they came in my March Goodies box. I really enjoy the bits of aloe floating around, as well as the light fruity flavor of the drink. So when I saw them at Whole Foods, I was pretty happy. I waited until they went on sale and took advantage of the cheaper price, plus the box discount that Whole Foods offers, buying a dozen. I got a total of 5 different flavors to determine which ones I like the most. I’ve now narrowed it down to the original watermelon+peach I got from Goodies and the pomelo lemon+pink grapefruit. Depending on if I want a sweeter or more tart taste, I alternate between the two.

3. Mossimo flip flops – I eyed these at Target for just about two weeks before they went on sale! Of course I had to jump on that the moment Panda told me. The gold tips of these flip flops are so nice and the overall look is casual yet fancy. I love simple things that make you look good but don’t require upkeep – that’s why dressed up flip flops, tinted lip balms, and summer dresses are my friend. Each makes you look like you put in a lot more effort, but they’re pretty effortless. 🙂

4. Juice Beauty skin clearing system – I get emails from Juice Beauty since they’re a brand I wanted to try. When I saw an offer for a 30-day skin clearing kit, I couldn’t resist. I mean, my skin needs help, I’ve been wanting to try this brand (especially the green apple peel), and they have a money back guarantee! Might as well try it, right? I’ve got to admit that the bamboo face towel was a big draw too. I can’t get enough of cute little super soft towels! I got the box on the 10th and have been dutifully using the products as directed. I’ll be sharing my experience in another post.

5. Mossimo bikini – The last time I bought a bikini was in Thailand about four years ago and that set was quite worn! I finally decided to get a new set this summer so I could enjoy the pool without oddly droopy swimwear. I had hoped to use our Disney gift cards in Orlando to find a cute Minnie Mouse bikini, but apparently Disney’s adult swimwear consists of boring black and white pieces best fit for older generations. So, where else would I turn but Target? They had a ton of styles to choose from and I’m most picky about the shape of the bottom, so once I picked that out I just found a top that matched. This one was super cute with the little twist in the front. I also got a reversible triangle top that I can pair with the bottoms, since this top is better for lounging and not too much movement.

6. Pocket Planes – Many years ago, I started playing Pocket Frogs, where you grow and breed frogs in an effort to “collect them all.” Every now and then I get back into it and the last time this happened, they showed me an ad for another game from the same company. I decided to give it a try and now I’ve been playing Pocket Planes consistently. I’m not sure what the draw is, but I sure do want to conquer the world and build airplanes at every available location. As you can see I’ve done pretty well in North America, but have yet to venture far from that. And so the flying continues.

7. ClosetMaid Cubeicals organizer – When I “moved” out here to live with Panda last month, it was the first time I knew I’d be staying for a long time. I finally started to feel like I could make this place home, so my first order of business was to get a piece of furniture I’d wanted. I then found this perfect cube shelving solution that I can use to store my stuff and as a pseudo desk when I’m sitting on the bed. We moved it out to the living area when Panda’s dad came to visit and I’ve yet to decide where it will go in our new place, but no matter what it makes my clutter a little less crazy.

8. Dr. Scholl’s For Her – I got not only the high heel insoles pictured, but massaging gel insoles as well! Both were free – the high heel insoles came in my Sunkissed VoxBox from Influenster and the massaging gel insoles came from BzzAgent. I’ve enjoyed trying these out in my shoes and I found the high heel ones particularly helpful in my recent interview, when I wore those shoes. Not only did they make it less painful to walk in the heels, they helped my feet fill them in better. Without the insoles, my feet would have slipped in and out of the shoes as I walked since they’re more spacious than my feet require.

9. Minnie tank top – I found myself wearing this shirt quite a lot in July! It’s the perfect summer shirt – loose, light, soft. I also love the design that is cute without being too over-the-top. It was the very first item I knew I was going to buy with the Disney gift cards we had. As soon as we were down in Orlando, I made sure to track down my size in a store and claim it. I may not be a huge Disney fan, but I do enjoy my sweet tank!

Alright, that wraps up July for me. Have you tried any of these products? What would you have highlighted in your July favorites?

Need for social connection

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

Working from home is hard. Not only do you have to keep yourself motivated and on track despite all the distractions, you get isolated from people. I mean, sure it’s great to connect with people online, but nothing can truly replace sitting across from someone as you chat over cups of tea or share a delicious meal. That’s one of the reasons I’m rejoining the workforce, in addition to seeking greater learning and growth opportunities.

sitting on ground working on laptop

Just me and the laptop…

These days I find myself getting antsy around 4 PM – I’ve done a lot of my work for the day and I’m seeking a break, but nobody’s around. Sometimes I’ll have a snack but sometimes I kind of forget and just wait until dinnertime to eat. I start looking out the window as neighbors begin arriving home from their day of work and wonder when Panda will be pulling in. He’s pretty much the only person I am consistently in touch with and definitely the only one I spend time with in person. Sure, I’ll call my parents or email/text my friends, but I don’t really know anyone out here so there’s nobody to meet up with. When it’s just me and the laptop, I often wish that I had my cats with me – they’re always entertaining! However, they’d be a distraction so I guess I shouldn’t be playing with them. Instead, why not get the interaction I want by doing work together with others??

I’m really looking forward to getting back into an office so I can make new friends, get to know my coworkers, work towards a common goal of growing the company, and get more interaction overall. Nothing can quite replace being in the same physical environment (unless you have some complex video-chatting stream between all users, then maybe). Plus, it’s good to get out every day and move around. There have been days where I didn’t breathe a single breath of fresh air since I just stayed indoors on my laptop the entire time. It’s easy to start to get disconnected from the world.

Of course, I still love my online life and it’s so cool to be making blogger friends. I definitely plan on continuing with that, but it’s something that can easily be a hobby I do at night and on the weekends. I don’t have to work on it for 40 hours a week (though I certainly could) and I think it’d be a nice complement to the work I would do during the day at a workplace. I’d get a nice mix of interacting with people on the phone, in person, and online. I’m ready for that!

365great Day 143: zero gravity chairs

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , ,

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365great challenge day 143: zero gravity chairsHave you ever seen these chairs at Brookstone? Sometimes you might find the massage-equipped one as shown, but they also have a non-massage one as well. The first time I ever tried one was the non-massage one and it was amazing. I couldn’t believe how feather light I felt. It literally did take the weight off me and it was so relaxing that I’ve put this on my wishlist. Today I tried out the massage one and found it to be quite effective for relieving some of my shoulder pain. This time, I did feel some vertigo when I came back upright, so now I know you’ve got to be more careful about getting up after the zero gravity experience. I love both of these versions and would probably get just the plain version since it’s a whole lot cheaper and I quite enjoy massages given by people. I mean, a chair that can make you feel weightless? That’s great in itself, no massage needed.

Site issues

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

Two nights ago I got a 500 error on my site (internal servers down). Last time this happened I kind of freaked out and did a ton of troubleshooting, only to find that if I had just given it an hour or two it would be fine. So, lesson learned! I decided to go to bed and the next morning everything was fine. Buuut this time my site wouldn’t load at all! I gave it some time again before going to my web host’s site to try to contact them.

server timed out error message

screenshot of facebook announcement that justhost's servers were downAs it turns out, all their sites were down. Looks like the entire set of servers they use got messed up somehow. After trying to search for answers, I decided to find them on Facebook and discovered that they’d posted a message about the outage. I’m curious though, what they were doing for the past 8 hours… my best guess is that the maintenance was automated and routine, so they might not have caught the issue until they got to work this morning. Or, maybe it really takes that long for them to fix an issue this large. I mean, even all their sites were down so it looks like every single part of their network was kaput.

This does explain another question I had: why I hadn’t received emails since 4 AM EST. Since I use an email with my domain name, no incoming messages were making it. I wonder if I’ll be able to recover those emails when the servers are back up or if they’ve been lost in web wilderness forever. Hopefully nothing important was supposed to reach me at that time! My site is back up for now, but I’m still not sure if it’s all clear since it was up a little earlier and then wouldn’t load again. I hate this feeling of uncertainty! I should probably look into backing up my site on another server just in case.

Once things look resolved, I’m going to reach out to JustHost to complain if they don’t automatically offer some sort of compensation for this. A ton of people commenting on their Facebook page think similarly and I’m just glad I don’t need my site to make money, or else I’d be much more upset too! This kind of interruption of business is not good.

What would you do if your servers were down for nearly half a day?

365great Day 140: AppleCare

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , ,

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365great challenge day 140: applecareI seem to be unlucky in the luckiest way possible. Ever since I got my first iPhone back in 2010, I’ve had to go in to the Apple Store for Genius Bar appointments no less than a dozen times due to issues with my iPhone or iPad. About 8 or 9 of those visits resulted in me getting a new device or (once) a screen replaced. In fact, I wrote about some of the earlier experiences just so I wouldn’t forget. It’s such a frequent occurrence that all my visits and exchanges have started to blur together. While I’ve had my share of woes with my iPhone and iPad, I am very glad to have Apple Stores readily available to solve all my needs. I can’t imagine the hassle it would be with any other device, where the manufacturer would be far less willing to send you a new device, or it would be a drag to do like Panda’s was when his Android phone had issues. I’m very happy with the 1-year warranty coverage that my iDevices come with and surprisingly, I manage to not break them in the second year.

Just the other day I posted an image on Instagram of my shattered screen. I was holding my phone and a shower pouf, went to put the pouf on the towel rack in the shower, and BAM dropped by phone. The hard impact of the tub was enough to do quite some damage. Strangely, I wasn’t upset like with previous screen shatters. I’m not sure why, but perhaps it’s because I’m far too concerned about larger issues in my life now, like buying a home and getting a job. Ironically, I had been mulling over going into the Apple Store just days before since there was a dust speck in the camera lens that I had ignored since spring. It was in the corner and mostly unobtrusive, but I wanted to get a new device swapped out before my warranty ran out in September. It happened right after I’d gone in on two separate occasion for that same issue so I was sick of trading phones. Then I broke the screen and figured I might as well try to get that new device now! Like I said, I’m unlucky in the luckiest way because whenever I manage to destroy my devices, I’ve almost always had them fixed for free. There was only one time I had to pay a third party to do the repair. How great is that?

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