How to be a better man through blogging (your results may vary)

It's been a while since I posted something here, at least something that isn't technology or Apple related. When this blog launched in 2011, I imagined it to be something dynamic that would ebb and flow with my whims. I've had a website in one form or another since 1995, and my style has evolved considerably since then. But I'm known for taking on too many projects at any one time. When you add on my tendency to procrastinate, one or all of those projects wind up suffering. (Note to self: Remember that book you said you were going to write.)

I told myself that I would not let blogging be a casualty of my personality, but an extension of it. I wanted to blog more than just a hobby or providing periodic updates on Shannon's health status (she's doing well by the way – more on that later). But throwing the occasional app or technology review on this blog didn't quite mesh with the goals I laid out, and the terms of WordPress's free blogs limited my ability to transition to a more business-like model. Apple's transition away from MobileMe also meant I would be losing my current web servers, and I needed to find a new one. So I purchased a few domain names, partnered with a friend to help me with web hosting, and BisManApps.com was born. In the spring, I launched TheMobileLens.com as a subset of that blog to be a showcase for iPhone photography.

I expanded my use of social media to include new accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Managing multiple social personalities isn't easy, but I've slowly gotten accustomed to it. It's fun to meet and share ideas with new and interesting people. Even though I blog less than I want to or probably should, the daily interaction I have with my friends and followers through these networks drive me to keep at it.

This brings me full circle. It has been two years since Shannon was diagnosed with breast cancer. That gut punch took most of the air out of my sails, and frightened me to no end. Fears of losing the love of my life. Fears of being a single father. Fears of my son growing up without his mother. Those fears were compounded by being an Air Force Brat with no real hometown. My support network was vast, but with family and friends spread throughout the country, I feared that even the fantastic friends I had in Bismarck would never be enough to fully help me through this. Social media provided me an outlet to express those fears. Blogging our experiences gave me a voice I thought I had lost years ago. Suddenly, distances didn't matter. Strangers became friends, and my support network grew.

Thankfully, Shannon's cancer was completely treatable. We still had to deal with the ups and downs of surgery, chemotherapy, nausea, radiation, more surgery, drepression, and anxiety. Adding a toddler to the mix caused a significant strain, but we were together. My fears still remain, but they are tempered with the knowledge that Shannon isn’t going anywhere. We have our jobs, our home, and each other. Every day, I tell myself we will get through this. And every day, I try to do something to help ease the burdens that Shannon carries and help alleviate her fears. I’m not a perfect husband by any means, and I often stumble in that effort, but I’m trying. What matters is we are a family, and that is only support network one really needs.

Posted in Blog Bits, Shannon's Journey Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Welcome to BisManApps 2.0

Gremlins invaded and decided to muck around, so this site is in the process of being restored. We will soon return you to your irregularly scheduled blog posts.

Posted in BisManApps, BlogBits

It’s not all about the Pentiums – Intro to Mac class now available

dcmacnutGreetings fellow Internet citizens. I’ll be teaching a class through the BSC Community Enrichment program designed to give new Mac users an introduction to the OS X operating system. The classes will be held 6 pm to 9 pm on September 11 and October 2 at the Bismarck Public School Career Academy. Both classes will have the same information, so sign up for the one that is most convent for you. You can learn more and register below.

View the other classes I’m teaching at BSC this fall

The Mac vs PC debate has raged on for decades. I am the first to admit I am what some would call an Apple Fanboy, but I’m not here to evangelize Apple over Microsoft. What I do have is more than 20 years of experience with Apple and Mac computers, and more than a decade using OS X. Having been in your shoes myself once, I know what pitfalls to avoid and the tips and tricks to make your Mac experience seamless and (relatively) stress free.

The class is for anyone of any skill level. Whether you’re moving from a Windows-based PC or this is your first computer, this class is for you. Even seasoned users who want to get more out of their desktop or laptop will benefit. Register soon to reserve your space.

Topics covered in the class will include the most recent versions of OS X, Lion and Mountain Lion, and a brief preview of OS X Mavericks which Apple will release this fall.

  • Setting up and using iCloud and e-mail
  • Using iPhoto to organize, edit and share photos
  • Managing your schedule with Calendar and Contacts
  • Browsing the Web with Safari
  • Chatting with friends and family over FaceTime
  • Using your iPad or iPhone with your Mac
  • Purchasing new apps from the Mac App Store
  • Opening and editing documents
  • Navigating OS X using multi-touch gestures
  • And other tips and tricks


Register for the September 11 class

Class ID: 6455
Wednesday, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm; 1 session starting September 11, 2013, ending September 11, 2013
Fee: $39.00
Instructor: Chris Vandeventer
Location: BPS Career Academy , Room 328
Registration Closes On: September 11, 2013 11:59 AM

Register for the October 2 class

Class ID: 6464
Wednesday, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm; 1 session starting October 2, 2013, ending October 2, 2013
Fee: $39.00
Instructor: Chris Vandeventer
Location: BPS Career Academy , Room 328
Registration Closes On: October 2, 2013 11:59 AM

Video break:

Posted in BisManApps

Come with me to the Cape – iPhoneography with Jack Hollingsworth

It’s been nearly a year since my last post. In that time events in my families life took priority over blogging, but I never strayed too far from Twitter and my other social media accounts (you are following me, right). I have made some valuable connections. Visit ChrisVandeVenter.com for all of my latest info.

I’m pleased to say that things seem to be settling down (knocks on wood). Through it all, my passion for iPhoneography continues to grow. I started teaching a class in April at Bismarck State College as part of the community enrichment program, and will kick off another round in the fall. And I’m meeting some really fantastic artists and photographers from around the world.

This weekend, I’m in Cape Cod with renowned iPhone photographer Jack Hollingsworth and several other iPhoneographers for a workshop. Jack grew up here and is going to take us to his favorite spots. We will learn from each other and share our own tips and tricks on how to take great photos with an iPhone.

Follow me on Instagram at @dcmacnut and on Twitter @TheMobileLens for photos from the weekend. Or you can search for the hash tag #CapeCodiPhone to follow the group. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.

On Twitter #CapeCodiPhone
On Facebook #CapeCodiPhone

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Main St,West Dennis,United States

Posted in The Mobile Lens Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

News: Learn the ABCs of iPhoneograpy at BSC

I’m excited to announce I will be teaching North Dakota’s first class on iPhoneography this fall at Bismarck State College. The class is conducted through the college’s Continuing Education, Training, and Innovation Program. The class will be from 6 pm to 9 pm on Tuesdays starting October 2 and running through October 23. If you’re from the Bismarck-Mandan area and have an iPhone, head on over to the BSC Community Enrichment site to register and enter “iphone” in the search box. Be sure to check out some of the other photography classes being offered. Space is limited, so act now.

I want to give a special thanks to Richard Gray of iphoggy.com for being a trailblazer in creating his iPhoneography class at Kensington and Chelsea College in London this year. That class was hugely popular, and I hope that Bismarck will live up to the expectation.

iPhoneography: Taking pictures with your iPhone

The best camera is the one you always have with you is a cliché that has been repeated so often no one remembers who originally coined the phrase. Geared toward amateur and professional photographers alike, in this class you’ll learn how to take better pictures with your iPhone. Examine apps, accessories, and traditional photographic techniques scaled to the mobile phone platform. Discuss the limitations of iPhone photography compared to traditional cameras, and how to turn those limitations into advantages. Take photos every week in and out of class, and participate in critiques. By the end of the class you’ll start to view your iPhone as more than a phone that also takes pictures; you’ll also see it as a camera that also makes phone calls. You must bring your iPhone (any model) or even your iPad (as long as it has a camera) and make sure it’s fully charged. Students will also need to sign up for a free Instagram account in order to share and comment on photos taken by the class. The class also requires an Apple App Store account and the purchase of approximately $25 worth of photography apps. A list of apps will be provided on the first night of class along with an iTunes gift card to cover the purchases.

Posted in The Mobile Lens Tagged with: , , ,

Review: Go back in time with Pitfall! for iOS

Screenshot of Pitfall! intro

Activision just released the 1982 video game Pitfall! for iOS, in recognition of the game's 30th Anniversary. Pitfall Was the second biggest selling game for the Atari 2600 when it was released, and was one of the first games I bought. I've played it more times than I can remember. In fact, I still have the original game and console. So when I saw this in the App Store I grabbed it immediately, and set about reliving my childhood.

When I launched the app, the first things to greet me were the classic 8-bit graphics and the original games soundtrack. I'm not ashamed to admit that I peed my pants a little. Then the game suddenly shifted, and Pitfall Harry transformed into a 3D adventurer being taunted by a tiny monkey while running away from a volcano. My next reaction was just like that many of you probably had. This game looks an awful lot like Temple Run.

I've played Temple Run, and I like it. Some bloggers are saying Pitfall isn't original due to the similarities between the two games. But this is nothing like the numerous clones trading off Temple Run's popularity. It's trading off Temple Run's popularity and 1980s' nostalgia. Completely different. Ultimately, similarities aside, the big question is whether the app is any good.

In my assessment, the answer is yes. There's enough variety and subtle differences from similar games to make it interesting. The app has multi-perspective viewing, which constantly shifts, and the a ability to earn checkpoints like the original, so you don't have to start over from the beginning every time. The vines, pits, snakes, and scorpions are also back. I could play it for hours, and I probably will. The app is 99 cents in the App Store and is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The Verge questions the apps reliance on in app purchases to speed up game play, so that is something to be aware of. For example, those checkpoints you earn require in-game currency to use them. You can collect “treasure” in the game to buy them, or skip that step and pay real money. In this respect it's like real money to get them, or just collect “treasure” use them. You can play without them, but the game does nag you after a while. In my opinion, Pitfall is a pretty cheap time machine. Now if you'll excuse me, Benson is on.

I've posted some screen shots of Harry in action below. The guys over at Touch Arcade also have a great review showing off some of the game play.

TA Plays: 'Pitfall!' – A New Endless Runner Based on The 1982 Classic 'Temple Run' …Wait

 

Posted in BisManApps, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

You’re Still The Best: Dcmacnut’s Top 10 Essential Apps for the iPad Revisited

This post originally appeared on my Random Facts of Life blog as You're the Best Around, January 11, 2012.

In January, I offered my suggestions for the essential apps for any iPad user. Many were focused on features that the iPhone had, but the iPad did not. Since then, Apple has released its 3rd generation iPad and annouced iOS 6, both which provide much needed upgrades in some of these areas. But not all iPads will benefit from these additions, with the first generation iPad not being able to run iOS 6 at all. So here, again, is my list of essential apps – version 2.0.

  1. When the iPad was released in 2010 it was missing a feature: a clock app. Developers stepped up to fill the void. One of my favorites is Nightstand Central. It comes in paid and free versions, and is worth a look. Even though iOS 6 will finally add a clock app to the iPad, these third-party apps will continue to deliver. Get it from the Nightstand Central for iPad - Music Alarm Clock with Weather and Photos - Thomas Huntington.
  2. The iPad's bigger screen is perfect for a calculator, but the iPad doesn't come with one. The third-party app I use on a daily basis is Calculator HD for iPad. It gives you four calculators, including a scientific calculator, in a stylish interface. Get it from the Calculator HD for iPad - CrowdCafé.
  3. The new iPad has built in speech to text capabilities, and will support Siri as part of iOS 6. But Nuance, the company behind the popular Dragon Natural Speaking also makes Dragon Dictation for iOS, and has announced a new virtual assistant called Nina that other developers can incorporate into their mobile apps. Get it from the Dragon Dictation - Nuance Communications.
  4. Are you sensing a theme? The iPad is also missing a stand-alone weather app, meaning you need to turn to the App Store. The Weather Channel® app is great for casual users. If you need more robust apps, read my intereview with Erin Huntimer of Hannoverskies.com to find out what she recommends. Get it from the The Weather Channel® for iPad - The Weather Channel Interactive.
  5. The iOS calendar app is great, but it's not for everyone. Agenda Calendar by App Savy is a powerful calendar manager with a minimalist design. The interface gets out of your way so you never have to worry about your meetings. Until you're late for one. Get it from the Agenda Calendar - App Savvy.
  6. New York Times tech columnist David Pogue recently had his iPhone stolen, and this free app helped him track it down. It works great on the iPad, especially when your toddler hides it behind the couch cushions. Get it from the Find My iPhone - Apple.
  7. The iPad is designed for reading, and GoodReader is one of the most popular document managers out there. It will store and let you view PDF and Word documents, as well as PowerPoint presentations, photos, and video. It syncs with iCloud and many popular could services, like Dropbox, Box, and SugarSync. Get it from the GoodReader for iPad - Good.iWare Ltd..
  8. Evernote is more than just an app. It's an entire ecosystem that could fill it's own review. This free service connects with multiple other apps, letting you store photos, business cards, photos, audio, and more. With apps available for every major deskop and mobile platform, you're information will never be out of sync. Get it from the Evernote - Evernote.
  9. Flipboard is a social magazine that took the iPad by storm. There are many other apps that will aggregate the news for you, but Flipboard has the best viewing experience of them all. The company is constantly improving and expanding the apps capabilities, and it deserves a spot on your iPhone home screen. Get it from the Flipboard: Your Social News Magazine - Flipboard Inc..
  10. Snapseed by Nik Software is a simple yet powerful editor that was named Apple's iPad App of the Year in 2011. The new iPad has a camera on par with the iPhone, but where it really shines is in viewing and editing photos. The bigger screen is better suited to this task, whether your editing photos taken with the iPad, iPhone, or transferred to the iPad from your point and shoot camera. Get it from the Snapseed - Nik Software, Inc..

 

Posted in BisManApps Tagged with: , , ,

Blogger Spotlight: It’s Raining Erin – Chatting about the weather and apps with a ND weather geek

Today on BisManApps.com, we are launching a new semi-regular feature highlighting notable bloggers, their hobbies, passions, and most of all, their favorite apps. In this premier post, we are talking to my co-worker and fellow Apple geek, Erin Huntimer, who blogs at hannoverskies.com. She’s a certified weather spotter in North Dakota.

Screenshot of HannoverSkies.com

Read more ›

Posted in BlogBits Tagged with: , , , , ,

Rolling down the river

Uploaded August 04, 2012 at 02:02PM to Instagram http://instagr.am/p/N6s1ubGnjR/
Posted in Instagram Tagged with: , ,

Come and get it

Uploaded August 03, 2012 at 06:40PM to Instagram http://instagr.am/p/N4n2QjGnkw/
Posted in Instagram Tagged with: , ,