The Apple iPad is one of the toughest pieces of technology to find right now. I resisted the itch for a good two months, largely because I didn’t have a job where I could afford to drop money on anything, let alone technology. I consoled myself by relegating it to would-be hipsters, Apple freaks, and fanboys, while secretly fostering a burning desire to expand my collection of things that beep. And then, thanks to the Viking, I got a new job and a great first paycheck.

Here’s a quick rundown of what the iPad is not, for those of you thinking about buying one. The iPad is not a true computer. It isn’t a netbook, it isn’t a tablet. It doesn’t have open development, and you can’t really hook any peripherals up to it directly. It doesn’t have a camera, not even a little cheap Skype camera or 1.3MP sensor like the first iPhones and pretty much all camera phones have.

The iPad is not an iPod. It shares a lot of functionality with these devices, and it uses the same core OS as both the iPod Touch and iPhone, but it’s definitely not the same thing.

So what is the iPad? It’s a niche device. Not everyone has this niche. For me, it’s an all-inclusive mobile wonder. If you can get your hands on the 3G unit and are willing to pay the data rates, you suddenly have a world of possibilities you won’t get on the iPod or iPhone. The first thing I did was use it as a GPS on my passenger seat in my car. Google Maps is awesome when you can see it like a normal, printed map.

Obviously most of the iPhone games play on the iPad, and there’s a lot of fun free games you can download to it. I admit I’m addicted to the classic Windows games you can get (Reversi, Free Cell, Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, Minesweeper), and importing over my contacts and calendar was pretty simple by just restoring from an iPhone backup and hitting “Sync.”

A few technical details about the iPad:
While it supports Wireless-N technology, it doesn’t have a true Wireless-N radio. It’s actually customized and doesn’t use double-wide channels or MIMO. It has lower data rates than even the crappy netbooks do if you just get the Wifi model.

The unit with the 3G radio has more internal antennae. In fact, it runs better and faster on 3G than the iPhone does because it has a faster processor. The A4 chip is very nice, and I haven’t seen the iPad stall between app switches yet.

The battery life on the iPad is amazing. My first few days I’ve been on from pretty much the time I get up in the morning until I go to bed. When Apple was boasting a 7-to-10-hour battery they weren’t kidding.

The one minor grievance I have about the iPad is that it is being limited by the iPhone 3.2 OS. The processor can handle background processes without slowing down, it has enough memory to handle numerous apps, but iPhone 3 suspends applications when you switch. This is in general a very minor annoyance, but for some applications it’s a killer; for example, Pandora Internet Radio, or third-party chat addons. Missing messages in chat because you switched to read an email becomes irritating quickly. Also, it didn’t come with iChat or a Jabber application built-in. That should have been a given as Apple’s solution to a tablet PC. I begrudgingly spent the extra $3 to install Jabba, which integrates with Jabber, Facebook, and LiveJournal. I really only care about Jabber and Facebook chat. And within two weeks iPhone 4 OS should be available for download, so many of my multitasking needs will be met.

If you were thinking about getting one, make sure it fits the niche you want it to fill. The iPad is definitely versatile, but it’s not nearly as customizable as a Windows-7-equipped netbook. If you find it annoying to see the ads where it works “by magic,” it’s probably not your toy. But if you want a really big iPod that doubles as a full Safari terminal with built-in GPS navigation and unlimited internet radio streaming, it’s definitely worth looking. You can get Pages, Numbers, and Keynote from the AppStore, and even export to Word and PDF formats. At the very least it’s a very cool toy. With apps like PhotoGene that integrate with Facebook and Mail, and a Camera Connection Kit, you can take the iPad with you for mobile editing and photo uploading.

Last week I went running every day for an hour. I got a good four-mile route in every day, Sunday through Friday, and felt incredible the rest of every day. My day started with a quick ten-minute shower, bowl of Special K raisin bran (that I found this morning lamentably crawling with ants…), protein shake, ten minutes of stretching, ten minutes of walking, and then out I went into the world.

Today was different. After some planning with Viking, I decided to try my hands on some high-intensity interval training. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started out this morning. I did my usual warm-up of a brisk walk going into a sustained jog of a few minutes, and then I hit the gas. My plan was called “Four Minutes of Hell” from the “How to do cardio if you must” article on Wannabebig. It’s a set of 30-second intervals you repeat for four minutes:

10 seconds sprinting, 20 seconds recovery (jog or brisk walk)

I’ll be honest. It hurt. I ended up doing 9 sets of those for a total of 4.5 minutes, spread out over about 12 minutes of intermixed jogging because I’m not much of a runner. It was exhausting. At the end of the first set (which I completed at my 15 minute mark) I felt like I’d been out for twice as long as I was.

The goal is to do my normal run tomorrow, another bout of HIIT on Wednesday, take Thursday as a recovery day, and ease into another normal run on Friday. But here as I’m writing this, roughly two hours after finishing the run, I feel as I normally do after a four-mile run, and I only went about half my normal route. Definitely worth giving it a shot if you’re looking for something to break your normal routine.

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday from my eating the day before. Just because I’m hungry and don’t feel like I have time to make something decent to eat doesn’t mean I have an excuse to go through the Burger King drive through.

By the time I got home I was already regretting the decision. I make a promise to my body: I will not compromise good food for bad food just because I don’t have time to cook it right now. My body will thank me later.

This drove me absolutely crazy. It took me almost fifteen minutes to figure out how to add a new blog post. I go to my blogs on the dashboard and there’s no “New” button for a post. Finally I scroll to the veeery bottom of the page, and under the Blogs heading I see the lovely words “Publish an Article.” Le sigh…

So being a retail slave still sucks. I’ve been rejected for a number of job postings through Sallie Mae and Adesa, never heard anything back from Google and Eli Lilly (it’s been five months…I’ve given up), and I’m still grinding away at Best Buy. That makes me very unhappy. I don’t like feeling like I’m living from one paycheck to the next; that is unfortunately almost the condition I find myself in now. Budgeting keeps me afloat. Yay for numbers! Math is useful.

As JP said…it’s like a disappearing act and your wallet is the girl. Curtain goes down and she doesn’t come back.

Recent Mojo events have been fun. I’m enjoying the unsponsored unofficial Monday Night Mojo at the Spot. A few hours of watching other people play beer pong or pool (I get drunk too fast and have to drive myself home) takes the edge off mediocrity.

I get paid this week…which means I have just enough money to pay my student loans the following week, and a few dollars for Frequency on Friday. I’m a little stoked. I love good house music. I’ve been listening to VNV Nation and Neuroticfish to get me in the mood.

My endeavors into the kitchen produced a cornucopia of wonderful foods this week. Okay, just the one big giant pan of lasagna. Which apparently needed more cheese. I thought it was delicious! Get off my back! You want more cheese, you cook it next time! I like mine nice and meaty! Then of course there were the three giant helpings of Mac’n’Cheese I had between yesterday and today. Crap I’m running out of milk and I still want to make some hamburger helper for the weekend.

I learned an important lesson this week: don’t get on Viking’s hate list. He’s a lurking barracuda waiting for someone to trip the red wire instead of the blue one, and he doesn’t take crap from anybody. Viking…if I piss you off, make mine a swift death? Thanks.

In the personal achievements category, I got my room clean (again). It’s an uphill battle sometimes. I hate having to keep this house in show condition. It’s so much work to vacuum every week, and mop every week, and clean the bathrooms every week. I already have to do laundry every three days and dishes every day. It’s just a lot of work.

I set up my comp as a media server. I’ve been meaning to get around to it, and it’s not like it actually took a great deal of effort. Win7 takes all the black-hat mystery out of network sharing. I did have to figure out how to mount and share my external hard drive so I could stream to my PS3, but that didn’t take more than 2-3 minutes of setting up permissions. Mental note: reset and reprogram wireless sometime in the next sixty days.

I’ve been trying to get my head back into the swing of programming with c# and Java. It’s just so hard to get motivated. Working retail and dealing with shitty customers takes a lot out of you. I’m convinced it’s eating away at my soul, and that Best Buy, in conjunction with Wal-Mart, Costco, and the drug patents office at Eli Lilly, is responsible for the downfall of western civilization. I’m also convinced there isn’t a single articulate layman within a hundred miles. I swear to God I want to take out a cartoon Uzi and start shooting at the sky when people say the magic words, “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout computers, but…”

I’m not a very violent person, but those words just eat me alive. I understand you don’t know a damn thing about buying a computer. That’s why you’re in my store. Let’s skip the formalities and the pleasantries and get you a new facebook computer, because that’s all you’re really going to use it for anyway.

I just want to curl up in my blankets again and sleep until next June. This is just a depressing and upsetting week for me.

Hello fellow Mojo (assonance for the win). So I’m new around here (duh).

The hundredth Wild Wednesday was awesome. I think. Okay I’ll admit I was drunk off my ass and don’t remember anything. But I remember it in a fun way, so I had fun. And I remembered to join Mojo, so there’s a plus.

Would that I had more to say, but sometimes terse is better. I don’t want to ramble this early…it’s not even 10pm yet.