Trying To Find The Right Backpack For Me

I am relatively picky about what type of day pack I am going to need for my stuff. All right, all right, it’s always my sweet iPad that I’m thinking about with these bags. What else am I going to watch my reality shows on? My iPhone isn’t going to cut it. I take that baby everywhere, so of course I need something that is going to get the job done, for sure. It needs to be protected and easy to reach.

But most importantly, I need it somewhere that isn’t obvious. I want to feel comfortable leaving this bag in a spot for a moment without someone knowing exactly where my precious iPad is residing. Compact is good but I also need something discreet.

What about your iPhone, you ask me? Of course I am considering that. Are you mad? A pouch to place that in would be amazing. I need something that will allow me to store away my phone safely but allow me access to it immediately. That can’t be too much to ask for.

I also want something that is relatively lightweight and comfortable. I’m carrying around some important electronics and paperwork, but I don’t need something that is a bit excessive on the weight side for what I am doing. If I am going to be walking around and about as much as I do, lighter is significantly better. I’m not going to be young forever, you know.

Now, amongst everything else I have mentioned, affordability is one of my biggest priorities here. Considering how low my needs are with this day pack, something relatively simple with an affordable price with room for additional things would be up my alley. When it comes time to buy something, I always research online first to read reviews – so that was what I did. I did a search for cool backpacks to see if I could find which ones would be the best for what I needed.

This was when I discovered the Osprey Porter 46 and went searching for reviews like this one on YouTube. The first thing that drew me in to this back is the variation between backpack and daypack. It’s a bit versatile with needs which is what I really want right now. When I am not using the back, I can conveniently wrap it up into a small ultra pouch and carry that around everywhere.

I fell in love with it right away. It’s a reasonably sized bag and doesn’t seem like it weighs that much. It comes in five different colors: black, new black, red, new red, and pink. It even has a sweet little design on the front. I really liked that, the different options for appearance. I can get a little creative with that.

There’s even a pack in pocket that is perfect for my iPad. It was just calling for my precious tablet. In the front, there’s a zipped pouch that I could put my iPhone when I am not using it. The entire backpack is well cushioned to protect my electronics. But it doesn’t stop there, it’s even waterproof. There are plenty of places I walk by that have fountains and water features, so avoiding that is a plus.

Lastly, because of convenience, bottle holders. This entire backpack will be both comfortable and convenient.

Online privacy & security

Internet-SecurityI mentioned in an earlier post about the whole thing to stay anonymous on the Internet. I had to learn a lot along the way, and sometimes I think I know more than I care to about the whole subject. But it is what it is.

I did decide to make this post about online privacy and security because I know that a lot of my friends don’t have the time or the patience to find out about it. So maybe this will help them some.

I think back about 5 years and while there were the creeps that showed up on posts and comments, the average poster wasn’t too worried about the hackers and data thieves because that was for corporations and government agencies to worry about. I think it’s hilarious that someone was spying on the American government and corporations while they were spying on us. Maybe they should take care of their own affairs first before sticking their faces in our business.

Anyway, now everyone has to worry about everyone else when trying to keep their identity safe. If you are going down this road, then you want to do it as cheap as possible because you might be wasting your money getting protection or buying anonymity that you don’t need.

I think history shows that when it comes to basic security, Apple has a much better record than Windows. But if you’re stuck with Windows, you need to get some good quality anti-virus software. Before you go out and buy anything, check with your Internet provider because they might supply it as a free download and it is just as good as what you buy off the shelf. Just make sure to keep it up to date.

It doesn’t matter if you are an Apple or Windows user; a VPN is well worth the price. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and what it does is to run your location through 100 other servers, making it really hard to find out your connection address or IP address as the techies call it.

Not all the threats to invade your anonymity and privacy come from those we think of as bad guys. If you have a Gmail account or use Google+ there is a lot of information being collected about you through cookies. Google cookies are everywhere on your computer. Check it out and find out for yourself. From what I read, the email messages and attachments become the property of Google after 6 months, so they can sell the information to whoever is willing to pay for it. That personal message you went to your mom has your email address, her email address, and the subject matter of whatever you discussed. You don’t get a free email address and gigabytes of storage for free. It’s an illusion.

Google is an easy target, but many of the free email boxes such as Yahoo are also collecting your personal information.

The answer I found is to see if there are email boxes you can get that will guarantee the privacy of your information because you are paying for it. Just because you pay for an email box does not mean your privacy is guaranteed, so check it out first. Paying for a web hosting service that has email boxes available is another route you may want to take to ensure your privacy.

Before I end this post, I want you to know that many browsers have what they call “private browsing” which is a special browser window that does not store cookies or your browsing history on your computer. But your Internet service provider still keeps a record, so the reality is the private browser window only makes you feel safe and secure.

I know, it’s a pain. Who can you trust anymore to give you an anonymous presence on the Internet?

Why I luv reality TV

imagesOK, I really like reality TV. Really. Truth is, I luv it.

It seems it’s OK for a woman to admit they are into reality TV more than a guy. I have guy friends who prefer it to football. Really, I’m not so sure I believe them. But I guess women are stereotyped to liking these reality shows much like they were stereotyped to liking soap operas in the retro days. Time has moved forward but it seems we are still stuck with the stereotypes.

Anyway, seeing how so many people think it’s stupid and for the mindless, it is a risk admitting it publicly. I am neither stupid nor mindless but still luv my reality shows. Every generation has their fads, and some still hang around. There is something positive about going retro and I guess I look at reality TV as being a more modern version of the daytime soap operas. By the way, those daytime retro soaps are now seen in the afternoon and at nighttime on certain able channels. So there is hope!

Why do I love reality TV so much? I guess I see myself as kind of introspective. You know, where you look at yourself and wonder why you did certain things or why you are the way you are. So when I see these people from all over doing crazy things, and a lot of them seem to be doing it for the money, I wonder if I would be as daring and expose myself to public ridicule. I mean, that is what they’re doing, right? But I also put myself in their place and think that most people will forget who I am and what I did anyway, so where really is the risk.

The thing is, I’m not really shy but then I am not an extrovert. Laughing at yourself and your human weaknesses is not an easy thing to do. But I think that’s what a lot of these reality TV show people do when the camera is off of them. It is hard for me to believe that these people take the whole thing seriously. Think about the most embarrassing moments in your life. Who was around? Family? Friends? Enemies? Now do you think they will let you forget those moments? They may even have pictures or videos of them. Look at Facebook.

I look at myself and think if embarrassing yourself is the worst thing that can happen in your life. Yeah, people can make your life miserable, but only for a while. Then it’s back to normalcy. I can laugh at myself because everyone makes mistakes, and realizing you embarrassed yourself is just one of those things. I will get over it, and so will everyone else.

Which is the reason reality shows are reality – because in the end it’s all about having fun and knowing you are capable of doing the same stupid things. Just with fewer people around. Yeah, everyone seems to want their name on TV or the Internet (in a good way) for all their friends to see, so if you can laugh at yourself then it’s all good I guess.

There’s something I should have mentioned about my luv for reality shows. I admit I am a drama queen. OK? Deal with it. That said, what reality shows do for me is help take me away from the misery I see so often on the news. Life is hard enough with bills to pay and problems to solve. I can go to bed at night knowing there is no such thing as normal.

Anonymous expression online

anonymous computerBefore this whole NSA thing, the Target data breach, and now I find out that there are hackers who can lock down your computer with a password only they know, I was happy going online. I am a poster girl. Not that kind if poster girl. I like to post on the major news sites like Yahoo!, CNN, and MSN. Now I am rethinking putting my identity out there for all to see.

I also like my anonymity and privacy. Think of it as a dressing room. Whatever I am doing in there is my business, no one else’s. When it comes to my online activity, privacy is number one. People hacking into my computer or tracing me through cookies or add-ons is just creepy. But the thing is, I still like to post online. It’s just that I have to be extra careful. It’s a girl thing, you know? I am a woman. I want my voice to be heard as a woman. Just because the government is being creepy doesn’t mean I have to give up my gender identity or my First Amendment rights.

Truth is, I am sick of it. So I decided to start this blog and express my opinions whether anyone likes it or not. I’m independent that way. I can hide my virtual self in a number of ways, limiting any crap from the government and avoid being targeted by any number of special interest or advocacy groups. I think these advocacy groups target women to join more than men. Don’t ask me why I feel that way. I have very strong opinions about some things and realize what I say isn’t going to sit well with everyone.

You have to realize that this approach also has its downside. I have been virtually spayed. Instead of “I am woman” I now have become “I am anyman.” There is a good possibility that any good ideas I have will be lost in virtual reality. And considering the hackers and data thieves out there, all doing it for money, there is a better chance that someone will use my ideas to “generate income.” Yeah, right.
Off my ideas. That thought gets me PO’d at times, but personally I don’t think it’s worth the risk of exposing myself to these same people.

I thought about changing my mind and putting my real identity out there. If I do that, and obviously a lot of people do that if you look at Facebook, Twitter, and a lot of others, then my personal info is out there for potential employers to look at. I have read the horror stories. No thanks. Add them to the government who is always trying to look up my dress and it just doesn’t seem right. Or safe.

Then there are those “Instacheck” database services that you pay to get the dirt on your friends or potential boyfriend. Of course, if they’re popular you can always go to TMZ. But the information they provide is neither guaranteed to be accurate nor up to date. If they put something out there about me that is false, I can’t undo it in the minds of whoever reads it. The damage to your image is done and possibly your reputation as well.

At the beginning of this I mentioned the newest fad among the creeps who lockdown your computer with a password they only know. What I didn’t mention is they hold your computer for a ransom payment. Pay up and you get your computer back. Maybe. Who’s to say they can’t get at the contents of your computer? If you pay the ransom by credit card, they have your credit card number. It seems like a lose-lost situation.

My number one goal is to be financially successful. These lazy, international losers who decide they want to live off my hard work don’t deserve one dollar of my hard earned money. This is very important to me right now, and in the big picture I think there is too much risk to put my face out there.

OK. I agree. There are trade-offs I am making. I have thought about it too much. The more I think about it, the more I think I worry too much. If that’s possible. For now, I am willing to make the trade-offs to keep my name off the grid. Right now it seems to be well worth it.

Why I luv Apple

Apple-logo

I used to be a Windows fan girl. I know that sounds weird since Windows is more for techies. But with the million programs available and the better graphics, it was cheaper to own. Besides, most of my friends had it and trying to share files with a Mac user sometimes was hard. Add to this that if you decided to go to college, most of the classes expected you to use Word or PowerPoint for your projects. Even better was you could go to the campus bookstore and get discounts on Windows products. Shopping and saving money is the best.

Then iPads came along. They were light and looked cool, plus even corporations started buying them for their traveling executives. The thing is, a lot of Windows gurus were mocking Steve Jobs for developing the iPad, saying it really didn’t have a place in the computer market. I think I remember people saying the same thing about the iPhone. So it seems that it’s really not about what the best product is, but whose side you are on. I went against the crowd and bought the iPad. Turns out Jobs has a pretty good sense of what people wanted, while Microsoft was telling people what they needed.

I like Steve Jobs for a lot of reasons. He is kind of an underdog in the computer world despite the fact that he happens to be a genius. Anyway, after the iPad came the iPad Mini – and people said that wouldn’t find a place in the tablet market. Wrong again. My friends give me grief for being an Apple fan girl, but who cares! I like my decision and it has opened up a new world to me. I can do a lot of the simple computer maintenance stuff with OSX that took me hours to learn with Windows. A lot of it is intuitive. Jobs made things simple for non-techie people by giving them what they needed instead of telling them what they needed. I said goodbye to Microsoft a few years ago and realized I was the one who was limiting myself.

Uh oh. I just saw that Microsoft is now marketing Office for the iPad. They are like a bad ex-boyfriend who just keeps coming back.

Let me say straight out what the truth is about Apple products. The cost a lot more. They are built to a higher standard of quality. They are proprietary with a lot of their technical stuff. Upgrading them can be a real pain in the ass as I found out after buying my first Mac Mini. With all that said, they last a long time and are more than dependable. I haven’t has a problem with any of my Apple purchases in all the years I have had them, which include the iPhone, iPad, and Mac Mini.

The last thing I want to say on this issue of me being an Apple fan girl is that I am not an Apple addict. I haven’t seen a good reason to upgrade my iPhone 4 because there isn’t much that impresses me about their latest models. The same can be said for the Mac Mini and the iPad. I think the reason for this is there is simply more competition – and Steve Jobs died. His loss is our loss. Since his death, Apple has been pretty mediocre. I’m not sure about the future of the company. They are starting to buy innovation from other companies, like they just did with Beats by Dre. What will I do if Apple goes under? What if Apple products start looking like Microsoft products?