These Are a Few of My Favorite (iPad) Things

ipad apple products

My iPad is always at my side

I’m sick of reading about offensive tweets by 50 Cent, gay bullying and evangelical bigots. So, let’s lighten it up with a review of my five favorite iPad apps. Criteria for my review:

  • Frequency of use
  • Ease of use
  • Interface and design
  • Usefulness
  • Cost

Well, let’s dive in.

1. Flipboard

This app turns your social media (Facebook, Twitter – or any individual Twitter feed) into a readable magazine. It takes full advantage of the touch-screen aspect and high-resolution to highlight photos, provide graphic headlines and retaining the ability to comment, reTweet, like and otherwise share content. It is, in my opinion, an iPad “killer” app – which I believe are apps that integrate social media and web behavior into an app that moves users away from ever using the same app in a web browser again.

You can create a Flipboard magazine for me with my fascinating Twitter account @dannation.

2. Instapaper

Ever want to save a web page until later and didn’t want to bookmark in your browser? Instapaper allows you to click “read later” on a browser or within an app (like Flipboard) to save the content (minus photos and other capabilities) as a book-like file within the iPad app. Better yet, it allows you to read the content offline and delete when finished. It also synchronizes across your computer, iPhone and other gadgets. Now that I have the 3G iPad (as of yesterday), it will be interesting to see if I use this less; when I had the entry-level Wi-Fi iPad, I would read my saved stories while on the train. And, with my faltering eyesight, reading the ibook-like format made my reads easier on my eyes.

3. Dropbox

While this app originated as an external storage service via your computer, the iPad (and iPhone) Dropbox apps make it much easier to view stored files, photos and other goodies that you don’t want taking up limited storage on mobile devices. Instead of syncing all my photos to my iPad, I sync them with Dropbox and they are viewable (and changeable) across all my mobile devices, work laptop and personal computers. Whether or not this app will work on the new Apple TV will cause me to orgasm when I can view a work spreadsheet on my HD at home. I just keep the dirty photos in a “special” folder so they don’t accidently show up on my office computer screensaver.

4. Sketchbook Pro

Wow! I’ve always dabbled with drawing and oil painting – and this app brings it to my iPad. While it works better with my stylus over my fat fingers, I’ve created some amazing drawings and had a bunch of fun in the process. You can see some of my work here.

5. MobileRSS

I’ve been reading blogs regularly since I started DanNation in 2005. With over 150 or so that I read each day, I have relied on Google Reader to keep me up to date. While Google works fine on my laptop, accessing it via iPad Safari seems contrary to the iPad spirit. MobileRSS provides a streamlined interface to get me through the news of the day. This is a rapidly-growing app category, so if anyone has a better alternative that they’ve find, let us know in the comments.

Anyways, back to the other news of the day. Fuck off you shit bag 50 Cent! We need an app to shut the ‘phobes up.

Today’s Trending Gay on Facebook: “You’re a Nazi, but don’t take it personally…”

Chris Armstrong University of Michigan gay bigots

A post from early August when Prop 8 was declared unconstitutional

Andrew Shirvell, who is an assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan, has taken it upon himself to create a blog to maliciously slander openly-gay University of Michigan student body president Chris Armstrong. I’ve been following this story for several weeks and it just gets more bizarre.

An example of the bizarre:

Parents of University of Michigan freshmen beware: the University’s first openly “gay” student body president, Chris Armstrong, is actively recruiting your sons and daughters to join the homosexual “lifestyle.”

At this past Thursday’s “New Student Convocation” at Crisler Arena, Michigan Student Assembly (MSA) President Chris Armstrong told thousands of incoming freshmen “to open up to themselves and others by being true to who they really are,” as reported by the Michigan Daily. See: http://tiny.cc/l1833. In other words, Chris was basically screaming at them to “come out of the closet” and join him in the cult that is homosexuality.

In fact, true to form, Armstrong went on to advise students to be entirely self-absorbed and seek self-gratification at all costs:  Your time here in Ann Arbor is as much about your own self-discovery as it is about your career.

What?!?

It is clear that Armstrong’s remarks constituted nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to cause sexually confused, and perhaps some impressionable, 17-and-18-year-olds to experiment sexually with members of their own gender.

Shirvell also follows Armstrong’s Facebook page constantly and slams Armstrong’s friends in family.

In another twist, Shirvell appeared on Anderson Cooper last night. This clip speaks for itself.

Another example about how closeted gays are our most dangerous foes. I’m not saying Shirvell is gay — but this is usual behavior of many anti-gay characters. That’s all.

The State of Gay Blogs

I did something today I haven’t done in eons — I cleaned up my blog roll. It was a rather sad housecleaning that I had put off for quite some time.

When I started blogging over five years ago, Facebook and Twitter weren’t even on the horizon. I lived in Santa Fe – a small town where my choice of gay friends was small. At the time, I used blogging as a way to connect with other gays in other cities and made some wonderful friends in the process. We traveled to each others’ homes, shared insights and strengthened friendships through commenting and also ran into a number of imposters who presented themselves as people they weren’t. The drama. The drama.

I moved back to San Francisco in 2006 and for the first time found myself surrounded by queers. I made new friends, built new relationships, changed jobs and took on new opportunities. I now mainly converse with people over Facebook and Twitter. My blog is interconnected with these new communication media. Rather quickly, my world became much smaller on the net. I easily reconnected with elementary school pals, college roommates and random hook-ups. Many of my blogger friends have transitioned over to these channels and left their blogs to rust. As I was cleaning up my blog list, it was difficult to remove Adam’s This Boy Elroy, Darin’s All Prep and No H, Atari’s three blogs, The Jimmi Chronicles and many others. We all now connect through Facebook, Twitter or other faster methods where we can update in a few sentences.

A few of us remain: BrettCajun, Spo, Spirit of St. Louis, Homer, Moby and Nathan. But for me (for the most part), the connections and comments are gone. I head to Facebook to see what my gays are up to.

I sat down with my therapist today and interestingly enough, my blogging came up. Over five years, this blog has become a personal journal of experiences and observations that I would be challenged to replicate anywhere else. My readership is almost non-existent than it was in 2005-06, but I have no intention of going anywhere. I told my therapist that when I go back to re-read my blog entries over five years, I can see all my ups and downs, relationships, mistakes, successes — basically, my life on a daily basis. So what if no one comes by DanNation anymore? Maybe this blog will be a testament to my existence if I were hit by a bus tomorrow or a guide to a mid-30something closeted gay coming out of the closet. Who knows?

And I could never had said all this in 140 characters or less…

Today’s Trending Gays on Facebook: Gays Break World Record for Kissing

Bobby and Matty Kiss World Record

Bobby and Matty at the end of their 33-hour kiss

Two gay college students in New Jersey broke the world record for kissing over the weekend – making it almost 33 hours without sitting, eating or going to the bathroom. I don’t think I could do this for 33 minutes, let alone hours. You can check out their Facebook page here.

And, here’s the story I wrote for Tonic:

Pucker Up … For Gay Rights

By Dan Estabrook | Thursday, September 23, 2010 3:59 PM ET

Leave it to New Jersey college students to do social good by simply locking lips.

Kissing has never felt so good.

This past weekend, Matty Daley, 21, and Bobby Canciello, 19, both students at The College of New Jersey, earned the respect of their campus and the Guinness Book of World Records as they possibly set a new world record of continuously kissing for nearly 33 hours. That’s one serious makeout session! The previous record was set by Nicola Matovik and Kristina Reinhart, a German couple.

While the same-sex kiss might have raised some eyebrows, the support the pair received was enormous. Daley told Tonic that they “didn’t want to be just two kids trying to get attention,” so they created the Our Lips Are Sealed campaign to raise awareness for gay rights and to support The Trevor Project, a national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

“I recently finished my six-year coming out process, and wanted to help other youth facing the same issues I did.” Daley explained. “We thought The Trevor Project would be a great recipient of support.”

The College of New Jersey offered campus police to control crowds and provide security. About 300 people witnessed the end of the kiss on Sunday evening. Daley and Canciello stood for the entire 33 hours in a tent located in public on the college campus.

As for the world record for longest continuous kiss, Guinness requires that those who attempt the record stand the entire time, not wear diapers nor sanitary napkins, not eat and, of course, lips must touch the entire time.

“To prepare, we conducted diet and nutrition research. Guinness allows that liquid only be consumed through a straw so we drank Naked Juice over the summer and weened ourselves off solid food for longer periods of time,” Daley said.

The two also spent hours in practice, standing for long periods of time. They even created hand signals to communicate without talking during the entire 33 hours.

“We would knock on each other’s backs to indicate that one of us would need to move around. We would also tap once to rock side to side and twice to stretch arms and legs,” Daley added.

The feat attracted a large Internet viewing audience and more than 500 viewers watched Daley and Canciello live on UStream, and close to 6,500 have visited their channel at the site.

For others wanting to smack lips and break their record, Daley advised, “It’s not a simple task. It took three to four months of preparation, and we still could have done more [to prepare].”

Daley sums up the major driver for his and Canciello’s kiss: “I wanted to show people that two gay men can do anything anyone else can do and show affection and emotion at the same time. I will do all I can to keep fighting for equal rights.”

While Guinness still has to certify the record, the students are about to launch T-shirts to commemorate their accomplishment with proceeds going to The Trevor Project. If Guinness OKs it, they will also be the first same-sex pairing to hold the honors and will appear in the 2012 edition of the book.

If you would like to support The Trevor Project, you can do so at the organization’s site. You can also learn more about the world’s longest kiss at Daley and Canciello’s Facebook page and website.

Lady Gaga Gets Political

I love it when Gaga chats it up on our behalf with out nation’s elected officials. By the way, Senator Gillibrand was a classmate of mine at Dartmouth.

San Bruno Fire: Before and After

It seems like this is my second Debbie Downer post of the day! On Thursday night, we were at the office in San Mateo at about 6:15 pm when I received a newswatch text from KCBS that an explosion had occurred in San Bruno (about 8 miles north). From the deck at the office, we could see smoke filling up the twilight sky. I spoke to one of our employees who lives there and she had thought it was a plane crash (the area is just under the take-off course from SFO). But, it was a large gas line explosion and the NTSB is investigating.

The photos below show before and after. Six people perished and many families’ lives have been uprooted for who knows how long. My thoughts go out to you all in San Bruno.