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Sparkly things - iPhone

This month's submission to a local newsletter...

This month's winner for sparkliness for me is my iPhone, a fascinating new toy tool. It's Apple's newest (for a while), a recent upgrade from my relatively clunky Palm Treo. Being a Mensoid and also retired, I’m involved in a lot of different things, such as graffiti mural promotion, local politics, tromboning, grandchildren, social activism, and photography. As part of all that I have a need to track and interconnect online with people and events, via Facebook, email, Twitter, photo sites, and online papers and blogs. My old phone sort of did that, but this next generation phone links everything with much improved speed and functionality, yet in a much smaller package. In addition, it adds features like GPS (global positioning system) access and positional sensing - it knows if it's been turned sideways or shaken. Even more possibilities, for example, as I headed out to a recent TGIF, I checked the time of the next bus downtown and found the closest ATM for a quick cash fix, then while on the bus I was able to listen to Lady SOV’s hip-hop tunes, read a Jeeves story by P. G. Wodehouse, and answer a call on my phone. OK – maybe not so much the last part, as I still encounter a fair number of dropped calls due to user malfunction. I had bought a NetBook last year for casual computing while downtown for a coffee or on a train trip - it sits at home now, as I can do most of that work still with this much smaller device.

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Spring blooms in an alley

Some eagerly await the colourful flowers of spring, I await the colourful art in a back alley. I'm in Toronto for the long weekend - for family, friends, and flics. Today was warm and sunny, so I grabbed my camera and headed down to the alleys of Queen west to check out the latest art. I wandered along past the dumpsters, admiring the walls, finding some new work, some old work. Grabbed some detail closeups, and some full shots of the pieces. Also took some wider shots for context, and to remind me just where I am. There are a lot of walls in the alleys from University to Bathurst. Some other people were there too, a bar owner parking his BMW, kitchen staff grabbing a quick smoke in the sun, students taking a shortcut, and a young girl with a camera and eager eye for urban art. Turned out Amanda was doing a paper on graffiti art and youth culture, so I bent her ear for a while and passed on my card. Further on I met Beth, her camera on a tripod, taking closeups of the art. More exchanging of cards and anecdotes. Lots of walking, still lots more alleys to cover this weekend.