Why I’m voting no on Issue 6

I love the Columbus Zoo. My wife and I buy family membership passes every year, and frequent the park. We love the exhibits, the animals, and enjoying our pleasurable walks through the zoo on warm summer days.

An annual family membership costs us $129 a year. Instead of paying the general admission price, the season pass covers just a bit more than four visits for the two of us. Factor in parking and discounts to other state zoos, and we find this a bargain.

I’m also a property owner and, therefore, a taxpayer. In 2013, I paid $33.26 to support the Columbus Zoo. Issue 6, if passed, would have me paying $68.12, or a 105% increase.

So, if Issue 6 succeeds, on top of the $129 for an annual pass (if I continue to purchase one), I would now be paying nearly $200 a year towards the Columbus Zoo.

For the same zoo.

I’m not even concerned about the satellite rainforest, or any continental upgrades, or the fairness or unfairness of other counties that actually HOST the zoo to contribute some of their own tax dollars. Personally, I could care less about a downtown zoo since I rarely go to that area. I live a whole mile from the main campus, and am just fine with heading there.

I’m concerned for what I’m being asked to give, for nothing that is end-of-earth necessary, to have the exact same experience that I currently enjoy.

The economy absolutely stinks right now. My money is important to me. Every dollar. I’m all for charity and community, but at some point we as a collective citizenry of the city of Columbus need to take stock of what we are being asked to hand over every time some board or official has one of those ideas that they believe are for the greater good. Franklin County has the fifth highest property tax rate in the COUNTRY. I paid $4,010 on my $155,700 home last year. This amount is equivalent to more than three mortgage payments alone, JUST FOR TAX. On a GROSS $50,000/year salary, I would have to work six weeks just to pay the taxes assessed against my property.

Our tax rate is simply outrageous and irresponsible. Moreover, it is outrageous and irresponsible of the citizens of Columbus to have allowed and to continue to allow this to happen. At some point, somewhere, whether at the federal level, the state, or even our own literal back yard, we need to just say “enough, dammit.”

And this is why I stand against Issue 6.

The zoo isn’t going to collapse and fold if Issue 6 doesn’t pass. Animals won’t be running wild in the streets if the majority vote this money grab down. You can still catch Jack Hanna on Letterman if you still watch that show. There’s always another ballot, and another chance for the board of the Columbus Zoo to come up with a more reasonable push to support zoo funding. Like a renewal… hmm…

Voting no means you will be able to keep more of the money you have worked hard to ear in your own pocket.

And maybe you will even have a little more to spend at the Columbus Zoo. Or can afford to bring a guest, for crying out loud.

Stop the monkey business with our taxes.

Vote no on Issue 6.


New apps since my iPad replacement piece

For two months now, I’ve been using my iPad exclusively, replacing my MacBook as my main computing device. Since I’ve started this endeavor, I’ve explored many other apps that have either improved my productivity or improved my iPad experience. I’ll outline them below, again, by category.

I’ve dumped Chrome. Since the release of iOS 7.1, I have experienced the Safari crashing issues that were so prevalent. However, I still wanted the ability to upload attachments, a feature Safari lacks. I found Puffin Browser is wonderful at this. I can upload files from either local storage or via Dropbox, which is my favorite go-to cloud storage drive. Puffin suffers occasional web connectivity hiccups, but all in all it is a great browser for getting around Safari’s limitations.

I also dumped the Dropbox and Google Drive standalone apps for Readdle’s Documents 5, which connects to both cloud drives and also offers local file storage. I LOVE this app. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t yet support Copy, so I need to keep that app at my disposal.

My wife and I like to watch Hell’s Kitchen. Unfortunately for us cable cord cutters, we can only retroactively access the show online, and only on a desktop Mac. So, I installed VNC Viewer to connect to her Mac Mini and stream the show to our Apple TV. The video is extremely choppy but the audio is clear. Hopefully soon we will all be able to access for channels on Apple TV without a cable subscription (though I won’t hold my breath for this to happen anytime soon).

I’ve passed out the apps in this folder to more logical places. I only store apps here that I can’t delete, like Notes and Mail. Reminders and Contacts remain here, probably just to keep my unwanted apps from getting lonely.

I tried to like Office for iPad. Actually, I really did. However, I simply don’t want to join any precedent in buying subscription-based apps, and I can’t justify spending $120/year on Office for what I get for free with iWorks. Those apps (Word, Numbers, and Keynote) are now in this folder, and at the top for easier accessibility.

QuickOffice Pro is now gone, having been purchased by a third-party vendor and destroyed. Office2HD is also gone, since I never really used it and find iWorks to be much more compatible with Microsoft Office files due to Apple’s recent update to the iWorks suite. PDF Reader now handles all of my PDF-related needs. I’m on the fence with keeping GoodReader, but I’m going to stick with the software if I have any weird Office compatibility problems and need a solution to open/convert these files in any way.

The ability to add fonts to the iPad was also a problem for me, as I like custom font solutions and I don’t like opening files that have incompatible fonts from a file created on a desktop. Thankfully, I can now use AnyFont to install TrueType or OpenType fonts. I added Font Preview to view all of the fonts installed on my iPad, and Fontasy to download open-source Google fonts and install them. Characters is also new to my Utilities folder for adding custom fonts that I don’t get from Apple’s native iOS characters.

I wanted to use nested folders to separate my e-readers, music and movie apps. Since iOS 7.1, I can’t use nested folders anymore, but I’ve instead separated these media apps into three panes within the folder.

The first tab has Infuse (for watching all of my DVD rips), Netflix/Crackle for finding movies/TV shows on Apple TV when I’m not near my Apple TV, Trailers, and iMovie.

The second tab has the music apps—iHeartRadio, Spotify (love, love, love Spotify), Pandora, SoundHound, Remote, GarageBand, Podcasts, 5-0 Radio HD and TouchTunes.

The third tab houses Newsstand, Kindle, and iBooks.

Not much has changed here, but I did delete Photoshop Express after discovering how much more robust iPhoto is. I also tossed PhotoBooth into this folder, even though I never really use it since it’s so gimmicky.

Finally, I now use Molto for my Gmail and iCloud email. Molto is a uniquely-designed email app that organizes my messages in a social media-style format, and allows me to read emails without having to open every one every time, allowing me to quickly archive messages and reply with custom backgrounds. It was very important for me to find an email client that will let me access my personal Gmail folders, and Molto does this with ease.

As time progresses, I’ll write more about individual app experiences rather than these long updates on my iPad structure. All in all, I’m still very happy that I can still use my iPad for my everyday needs. I still need an external Mac for reading stored DVD rips (and perform them), but other than that, the iPad is getting quite a workout.

How I’m replacing my MacBook with an iPad

For the last two months, I have attempted to swap out my Macbook for an iPad Mini, exclusively. Although I am about 95% able to do everything I used to traditionally do on my desktop products, I can comfortably say to anyone thinking of going down this route, it can be done.

While your needs may be different than mine, I’d like to point out what I have learned from swapping my OSX apps for iOS apps. I wanted to show my findings with the MacRumors community, and welcome suggestions and comments relating to your experiences and thoughts.

First off, I have tried the iPad 1 and 2, but find the form factors too large for portability (which is a second consideration from having a desktop replacement). I chose an original iPad Mini, white, 32GB. Retina does not necessarily appeal to me at this time, but perhaps in the future. On my desktop, it rests on a silver Sunpak tablestand. I have a wireless speaker from Sharper Image for great sound. I use the Lightning-to-USB cable to power low-powered items such as an additional light or a desktop fan. I also have the camera connection kit for uploading photos.

I have offloaded all of my files to several cloud utilities to save tons of space: (1) Google Drive for personal documents, (2) Copy for work-related documents, (3) Dropbox for any other temporary file storage needs (I also have used AirDrop to pass files between iOS users), (4) Vimeo for videos and (5) Flickr for photos to save drive space.

If I need to print, I wirelessly print (via HP ePrint app) to my 802.11g HP Photosmart C7180 for photos and regular print. I use an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard at my desk for physical typing.

I was also sure to transfer all of my contacts, calendar information, and browser bookmarks.

I like to keep all my files organized to one, single desktop.

• Standalone apps for easy access include—Calendar, Clock, Contacts, Notes, Camera, Messages, FaceTime, StockTracker, Calculator, Videos, Safari.

• Standalone apps in the doc include—Gmail (which I prefer over Apple’s Mail app), Accuweather for iPad, Photos, App Store, Music, and Settings.

There are nine folders for the rest of my apps, depending on their category of need—Web Apps , Apple , Productivity , Utilities , Games , Esperanto , Media , Photo/Video , and Weather☀️. I like using the little icons in the filename so when I open a folder, I just confirm for myself that I opened the right one (it’s a silly thing I like).

My folders include the following apps—

Chrome (since Gmail works better than Safari), Drudge Report, YouTube (better experience than through Safari), eBay, LinkedIn, Twitter, (ESPN) ScoreCenter, Skype, Dropbox, Copy, Google Drive, Google Earth (in case I’m REALLY lost), Media Burner (to watch YouTube vids offline), WebMD, AIM (for non-iOS chatters), Facebook, various banking apps, StarWalk, Waze, Google Maps (still better than Apple’s Maps IMO).

[This is an interesting folder for me, as I could put some of these apps elsewhere but since I just know they are Apple apps, or those I don’t use/can’t delete, they go here.]
Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iPhoto, GarageBand, iMovie, Maps, Airport Utility, Photo Booth, Trailers, iTunes U, iTunes Store, Podcasts, Find iPhone, Reminders (I tend to make reminders via email vs. here), Apple Store, WWDC, Mail

QuickOffice Pro/Office2 HD/GoodReader/GoodDocs (for editing more complex MS files that Apple’s apps can’t handle well), Note Taker HD (with a stylus), Evernote (for note snippets), PDF Reader/Adobe Reader/WEB to PDF/PowerPDF/Page2PDF (for various PDF-related tasks), QuickVoice (to record short meetings), Voice Record (to record long meetings), Go2Meeting/WebEx (for conference calls), (Dragon) Dictation (for narrating emails), SwiftKeys (for TextEdit-like notes), iConverter (PDF and Ringtone converter), iEditor (text and code editor, similar to TextWrangler).

LiveCam Pro (to monitor my home security cameras), AppShopper (love the deals), Compass, Clinometer HD, Bento (for storing passwords), Magic Relax (to help me sleep), Splashtop (I still need to access my Macbook for those 5% of things I can’t do on my iPad yet), Scanlife (to compare prices), Square Register (to accept Craigslist payments by credit card), System Tools/Fing/iNetTools (for system and network monitoring),TurboScan (for scanning pages), HP ePrint, easyFTP Pro (great FTP app), FileApp (for storing attachments that I can post to websites or elsewhere), , iZip (to ZIP/UnZIP files), iTransfer (experimenting with this file upload/download tool), iSafeBox (to password protect imporant files), iTerminal (an SSH tool).

Pandora/iHeart Radio (for radio), 3-0 Radio HD (to track weather spotters and cops), SoundHound, Audible, TouchTunes (my bar has a rocking jukebox), Remote, Kindle/iBooks/NewsStand (for reading), Netflix/Crackle (to see what I can later find on AppleTV), Animal Planet (to keep my dogs entertained when I’m out), Free MP3 (to convert YouTube videos to MP3s), Infuse (to control my movie files).

Flickr/Flickr Studio (for on- and off-line Flickr editing/browsing), Vimeo, Sketches (to replace Adobe Illustrator) and all sorts of various photo taking/editing apps, all with different tasks to replace Adobe Photoshop and supplement the iPad cams in various ways: FlashCamera, ColorSplash, (Panorama) 360, Etchings, Group Shot, Photo Eraser, PhotoStudio HD, Snapseed, MyPics, Slow Shutter, BeFunny, Glaze, PowerPhoto

• WeatherBug—great “spark” and severe weather alerts for approaching storms
• NOAA Hi-Def Radar—best weather radar app
• Fahrenheit—displays live temperatures for your area on the main folder
• Moon—I like to know when it’s safe to go out in the woods

(I’m into learning Esperanto, so this folder contains language-specific learning apps including Anki, Memrise, Flashcards Deluxe, DuoLingo and an EN-ES dictionary. My Games folder is too numerous to list, and everyone’s taste is different anyway.)

This was quite a book I wrote, but again I would love to hear your thoughts and hear of your experiences. I think with this setup, I can honestly say i don’t need the limitations of a desktop machine any longer.