Geek Dad: Things My Father Never Had To Worry About, The iPod Edtion

When I was 7 probably the worst thing I ever did was drive my little sister insane and by extension my parents. Sure as I grew up I broke stuff around the house by accident with or because of my little sister but that was expected. Kids had getting into trouble like that for literally ever.

Welcome to the 21st century.

Two (very unaware how really lucky they are) 7 & 5 year boys got 8GB iPod Touches from Santa this year in our house hold. While Santa gets all the praise and adulation, geek dad gets all the work.

While Apple stuff “just works” exceptionally well for 20 something hipsters with lots of money and no kids. I have discovered that so much of iOS was really not meant to “just work” with a family sharing only one Apple ID. Sorry I’m on a budget and I’m not buying Angry Birds 5 times.

Facetime & iMessage

Like any geek dad I have created respectable gmail accounts for my children so that when they are older it will help them get into the right schools, get the right jobs and marry European supermodels. You are welcome boys. In the meantime I’ll be associating them with the two different iPods so that both Facetime and iMessage will work. I was not impressed the first time I sent a test iMessage to my iPhone from my son’s iPod and it appeared on every iOS device and it looked like I was having a conversation with myself.

Game Center

As Facetime & iMessage was fun to setup, getting Game Center up and running nearly had me sacrificing live stock on the alter of Apple to get things up and running.

Since I had used the first email with Facetime and iMessage I was foolish enough to think I could use it again to create a Game Center account for each iPod. Game Center said that those email addresses were already associated with accounts and could not be used. So I had to then create two more gmail accounts to associate with Game Center. That’s when I realized that I had to create one for my wife as she had been playing on my Game Center account for the pass year on her iPhone.


What could be cooler for little kids than to have a secret password that only they know. It’s normal and probably natural in their psychological development to grow up to be self sufficient adults and marry those European supermodels. The downside? Geek dads getting a call at work saying that one of the kids figured out how to enable a pass code on his iPod Touch and to just as quickly to completely and utterly forget it. After following a few steps I was able to wipe the iPod Touch, restore it to factory settings and use the iCloud backup.


But it’s not all night Google searches for iOS help and sobbing children. iCloud has already been a god send in having a recent backup of the passcoded iPod Touch. I knew that I would not be able to back up the kid’s iPod Touches and my wife’s iPhone on a regular schedule so knowing that iCloud is backing them up almost daily has at least taken one burden off my back.

Free Comic Book Day is May 7th 2011

May 7th 2011 is Free Comic Book Day and it’s 10th anniversary. Check out the list of comics that are up for grabs this year and the previews for almost each one.

The two issues that I’m looking at getting this year are The Mouse Guard / Dark Crystal Flip Book and the Misadventures of Adam West for the obvious man child reasons. Also maybe I could get Adam West to autograph it this September at the Montreal Comic Convention?

I know my son’s eyes lit up when I told him Geronimo Stilton was going to be one of the titles available (as we are currently reading the books).

Remember that your local independently owned and operated comic shop forks out the money for these books so if they seem stingy with handing out the comics willy nilly they are  just trying to make sure everyone gets one.

Data Breaches For Services I Don’t Use, Thanks Epsilon

Should I tell them that I don’t even use the BestBuy Reward Zone since I signed up for it years ago?

BestBuy Canada’s reward zone email provider Epsilon has a data breach and I received this email letting me know that “the only information that has been exposed was your name and email address”. My name and email address? Just the thing that companies covet and the life blood of the spammer. Thanks Epsilon.

They do give you some sound email security advice about not on clicking links or attachments. BestBuy or any other reputable company / bank will never ask for credit card or any other information in an email.

Here I was thinking that email spam was a thing of the past since Facebook has replaced the internet and all subsequent messaging tools. Oh well.

My iPhone Telephoto Lens Review

Rarely do I buy completely completely frivolous things for myself but when all the tech/ apple  blogs posted about the iPhone Telephoto Lens on Photojojo I had to give it a try. Thanks to Billy @ Photojojo customer service  for answering my questions about photo and video quality I clicked buy. They even posted a video so I could see it in action. At 35 dollars USD plus shipping to Canada I felt there was very little to lose on this purchase.

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First off this will not replace your DSLR with a real telephoto lens or a high end point and shoot (or even a low end point and shoot). I know it’s the iPhone but it’s still just a cell phone camera people.

For the most part the photos are quite good considering you’re using a $35 attachment but with no image stabilization in the lens you really have to keep still over you’re all over the place.

In a well lit area and keeping still you can really get some clear photos but you are still held back by the cell phone camera limitations of the iPhone. Great for people standing still, not so good filming kids playing sports.

Video is pretty good but  there are a few limitations. The video seems a little under exposed, not a major problem. Also around the edges of the frame the video can at times look slightly distorted or out of focus.

Even with all the short coming the iPhone Telephoto Lens works pretty good for the price. It has certainly saved me a couple of hundred dollars this year that I was planning to spend on a HD video camera and best of all I got a little dinosaur in the box.

Doctor Who 2011 Series Ramps Up

If you have even a passing interest in Doctor Who you might want to know that our time traveling Time Lord is returning to earth in time for Easter with “The Impossible Astronaut & Day of the Moon” (See who many times I slipped in time? Oh there’s two more). For us Canadian’s that means April 23rd @ 8pm on Space.

Less than a month away to air and the BBC has been releasing quite a few videos and photos that they hope obsessive fan boys will post and tweet to build up some hype (d’oh!).

I’m not going to break all this stuff down as others have a full time job doing that and do it well. Let’s just say I’m excited and looking forward to watching a new series of Doctor Who with the kids. To bad I don’t have a totally awesome Doctor Who t-shirt to do it in. 😦


Netflix Canada Offers Video Quailty Management

You might have heard stories of people with low internet data caps incurring overages due to the 1 to 2 GB of data used by Netflix per hour. It is unlikely that Bell and other internet providers will increase their caps, Netflix now offers the ability to manage streaming quality to reduce the amount of data consumed.
This might make the difference to some Canadians who are looking at Netflix Canada as a valid way to consume content online in HD. But if you have a 2GB a month cap, forget it and keep renting the DVDs.

Since I refuse to give up my unlimited (that’s real unlimited with no data cap) Bell DSL account this doesn’t affect me personally but it’s nice to know they are thinking of us clients. Or at the very least trying to build out their market share in a country that has limited data caps in place.

During the past 5 months using Netflix I have doubled my internet usage from 30 GB a month to between 60GB and 90 GB. My first month of Netflix I used a wopping 140 GB which I haven’t reached since my bittorrenting days. If Netflix keeps adding a-list content I can only see my usage increasing.

Now if only Zip (who I use their DVD rental service extensively) will hurry up and enter the streaming game in Canada we would have some competition.

Sloan: The Double Cross

The Double Cross, Sloan's 10th Studio Album

Mark those calendars Sloan fans as Canada’s favorite fab four from Halifax are releasing their 10th studio album The Double Cross May 10th 2011 from Yep Roc Records, distributed by the Outside Music Label in Canada.

As the post on their site goes on to tell, 2011 being the band’s 20th anniversary they plan to spend it touring North America.

They are offering a song off the forth coming album called Follow The Leader. If you don’t mind handing over your email to get the confirmation link it’s free. I’ve listened to it a few times and while it seems off the top classic Sloan, they have managed to weave even more classic rock vibes into their musical arsenal. That’s why we love them.

Humandoids are Back

This is what six months of comics looks like.

It’s been a busy 6 months. Four of my ongoing titles have ended (The Authority: The Lost Year, Star Wars Legacy, Air & Doctor Who Vol. 1) and I’ve started two new series (Scarlet & Lady Mechanika). I’ll have to see how those two shape up over the next year.

Elephantmen and King City are still going strong as my two favorite titles (and not because Marian Churchland does art in both… okay maybe a little).

Meanwhile The Authority ongoing has devolved into a crap fest JLA-esque super team with derivative characters and plot. When compared to the excellent 12 issue Authority The Lost Year series it shows the how bad it has become.

And having buried the lead long enough… My new happy place is Humanoids releasing books again in North America (Flywires & Metal).

I was hooked on Humanoids their first time around back in the late 1990’s with their reprinting  of classics like Incal & Metabarons and new content like Metal Hurlant. I was greatly saddened when they disappeared from the market and their site going silent.

My love and interest in their books had me pick-up Flywires and Metal sight unseen. I was not disappointed.


Flywires is your basic out of work down on his luck cop, Dyson sphere colony space ship traveling through space and mystery of a kid’s missing mother. All the while being chased by the criminal underworld in flying cars.

The art’s line has a slight sketch quality to it that worked for me but at times I found it varying in thickness and a little distracting at times.

Chuck Austen has created an fully formed sci-fi world that I only saw a small glimpse of, which is unfortunate. I can’t wait to see how the movie (that’s in development) turns out as Flywires channels the Fifth Element a tad.


Metal reminds me of Metabarons meets Dune with it’s galactic empire, noble houses and classic betrayal. Plus is a hard cover with a dust jacket so I feel elitist reading it.

In Metal, nobles project their consciousness into metal mechanized bodies for battle with no fear of death as long as their physical self is safe in the projection machine. Everything is fine until the Emperor’s physical body is murdered, betrayed and his consciousness is trapped in his metal body where is should be rejected after a set time and he dies. Except he doesn’t and the real story of an Emperor regaining his throne begins. That’s the condensed plot, just feel lucky that I didn’t ramble on. The story leaves things very open ended and odiously there will be a second book but I haven’t heard anything about it.

I can’t wait for the next trip to the comic shop as I have ordered both Weapons of the Metabarons and Legend of the Scarlet Blades from Humanoids. This is how comics should be done.

Weapons of the Metabaron
Legend of the Scarlet Blades


kids, blog, status update, repeat…