P&P Post 4: Netflix and…


part1

Hey! It’s me, and I’m back with another post in the LDR journal series Pen and Pencil about Anna and I. Today we’re talking about movies and how Anna and I manage to watch them together while being two thousand miles apart. If you’re interested in our last post about how we play games together, you can find it over here, on Anna’s blog. This post we’re going to be covering what we watch, where we watch it, and how we manage to stay synced in spite of the distance.

Believe it or not, early on in our relationship, Anna and I would watch movies together by literally flipping the camera on one of our phones (which we used to video call each other), and point it at the computer screen so that the other could see what was going on. Needless to say, it was not the most clean-cut option, nor was it particularly effective when we ran into issues with poor connection. But it was something we could do together, and that’s all that really mattered.

Eventually I started dragging Anna into watching YouTube videos with me (I was, and still am, a pretty big YouTube buff). On one of these occasions, I came across a website known as synctube that allowed us to play the same YouTube video on our computers and actually remain synced. This was our dream! For a while we’d been looking for a way we could watch things together, and this was it. We used synctube for a really long time, but unfortunately, it was only limited to YouTube videos.

One day, the thought occurred to me that there might be other syncing options out there apart from synctube. (Yep, technology freak over here was a total noob when it came to these syncing options). Turned out there was a lot more things out there than I thought, and we found a plugin for Chrome called showgoers which allowed you to sync Netflix movies. This was another development, as it allowed us to progress from simply watching YouTube videos, which I suspect Anna did not enjoy as much as she let on.

Anyway, showgoers had a relatively short existence with us when compared to synctube, because in an effort to find something that would sync up Hulu (yes, I’m also a big Hulu watcher), I stumbled across Rabb.it. Of all the syncing options which we’d tried (there was another one somewhere along the line, but it really was short-lived and I don’t really recommend it), Rabb.it turned out to be perfect. An option that actually creates a virtual browser multiple computers can share, this allowed us to sync anything we wanted, and even browse the web together (which, for the record, we’ve done).

All in all, while we’ve only been using Rabb.it for a relatively short while, it’s made our movie/show nights a lot easier. For any of those out there looking for an option that allows them to do stuff on the web with a friend who’s not currently in the same location, I highly recommend you try Rabb.it.

And, since I did promise at the beginning of this that I would go over what we watch, well, we’ve seen a number of movies together at this point. I dragged her into watching a couple of martial arts/parkour movies with me XD. Then during our YouTube phase, I pulled her along the route of a whole lot of game playthroughs. (You seeing a pattern yet?) Having come back to Netflix and now Hulu, our most recent phase is a number of anime series which I am once again dragging Anna through. I will say, though, with no small amount of pride, that I convinced her that anime is actually worth watching and enjoyable, and it was over an anime show that she first suggested we watch a second episode after just having finished one. (Success!)

If you’re interested, we saw the first half of Death Note together, and then it got funky and kinda boring ioo (that’s “in our opinion” btw). Before that we watched all of the current Attack on Titan and are anticipating the release of more episodes. We also went through the emotional rollercoaster that is Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and are now working through Angel Beats. (Angel Beats is a really great one by the way. I would highly recommend giving the first three or so episodes a try, and if you don’t like it, well, I can’t give you back your time. Sorry).

Anyway, that’s all I have time for now. Keep an eye out for the next installment on this series which will appear on Anna’s blog. We’re having a blast doing it, and hopefully you guys are enjoying reading these little snapshots of our relationship. And here’s just a bonus picture I found while browsing my phone:

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Anna hugging the tiger I bought for her when we were together in person 🙂

Tours yruly

P&P Post 3: Gaming


Xbox

The journal series about our relationship that Anna and I doing has a new addition. Check it out! Also, I do NOT beat her at every game. Backgammon is my bane, I swear. Either she is wickedly good or the dice are just always stacked against me (rolled against me?). *sigh* And she has improved drastically in League. And she does a lot of it independently. Basically, you should negate any self-deprecating thing she has to say about herself when you read that post.

If you want to know where all of this began, check out the introductory post here and keep an eye out for more of these in the future!

Tours yruly

P&P Post 2: Computer Problems…


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Apple vs. Windows anyone? What have I done…

So, for those of you who’ve seen Pen & Pencil Post 1, you know what this is all about. For those of you who haven’t, this series basically follows the LDR I have with the wonderful Anna who you can find at her blog here. Sorry this didn’t come earlier, but I’ve been really busy with school and getting ready for APs and whatnot.

Anyway, one of the things Anna and I do is play games together. Some of you might wonder how we achieve this. Well, sites such as Pogo.com have helped us in interacting despite being 1,700 miles apart. Beyond that, I — in all my gaming nerdiness — dragged Anna into playing League of Legends with me, which was kind of fun. =P

Unfortunately, tragedy struck.

One day my computer froze up. No problem. Just force shutdown. I did, and that is when it refused to start up again. Needless to say, a couple of hours later, I finally booted it up in recovery mode, found that nothing was wrong with the hard drive, and managed to start it up normally. However, when Anna and I next tried to play a game, my computer crashed. Since then, we haven’t been able to play games together, since my computer can’t support it. So that brings us to the point of this post.

What do we do when technology fails?

Since our relationship is so heavily dependent on technology, it can be quite terrifying when it fails. And with one and a half years of experience, we’ve essentially become veterans at dealing with bad connection, lack of battery power, computer problems, and software issues. So, in case you’re interested, or if you’re in an LDR as well, here’s what we do for each of those problems.

There are many remedies to bad connection. A staple of our relationship is FaceTiming daily, but that does not always go as planned. When connection drops, the first thing we do is check if data has been enabled for FaceTime, because everybody knows how unreliable wifi is. If it gets really bad, we’ve found that restarting the call or even our phones can help. When all else fails, we’ve fallen back to phone calls which usually work with more stability. Texting also works too, but when you’ve been in an LDR a while, you realize very quickly how nice it can be to actually hear each other.

I’m sure everyone with a phone has been out in the middle of nowhere and realized at the worst possible moment that your phone is low on battery. Imagine, now, that you’re in the middle of a crucial texting conversation that has the potential to go on for hours. I’ve lost track of the amount of times this has happened to us.

As a precautionary measure, we first notify the other of the potential low power situation. Then the brightness on the phone gets taken all the way back, every app save the texting one is closed, and the repeated cycle of turning the phone off between texts and keeping texts as short as possible starts. Believe me, it gets interesting. However, it actually does work, and many conversations that would have ended because of a drained battery actually reached their completion.

Computer problems always stink, whether or not you’re in an LDR. Fortunately, I’m an absolute computer nerd, my Dad is a programmer, and my brother is really into technology. See the pattern? Anyway, since the problems that computers can run into are so diverse, I won’t necessarily cover solutions to problems here, but I will tell you an interesting story.

Anna and I were staying up rather late. She’d decided to keep me company while I did a school assignment (I believe). You should also keep in mind that since she’s in Illinois and I’m in good ol’ Cali, she was technically up two hours later than me. Anyway, long story short, she somehow managed to download and install a virus on her computer (we still don’t know how).

When she finally told me, she’d been battling it for long enough that she’d forgotten where she’d downloaded it from, what exactly had happened, and I realized I was in for a big job. We essentially spent the next two hours clearing off any rogue processes on her computer and cleaning up her system files where the virus had decided to nest itself. We still have no idea if any actual permanent damage was done, but seeing as her computer has been running fine since then, and seeing as the antivirus software she downloaded afterwards said her computer was clean, I think we’re fine.

And, finally, software issues. Basically, we have one tip for all you other LDRers (is that even a word?) out there. Make everything replaceable. Have multiple ways of texting, calling, communicating, and engaging with each other. For example, we have email, phone calls, FaceTime, iMessages, Synctube (which we’ll cover in another post), GroupMe, Google Hangouts, Twitter Messages, WhatsApp, the list goes on.

Anyway, those were just a few tips and stories about our relationship with technology. Ha. Get it? ‘Cause we’re in a relationship and it’s a relation— never mind.

Have a good one you guys.

Tours yruly

Pen & Pencil Post 0: Introductions and Stuff


Cutie X)

She’s such a cutie X)

Most of you know by now that I have a girlfriend, Anna (that’s a screenshot of her from one of our FaceTime calls. I blacked myself out because I looked t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e XP), and that her blog is over here. We wrote a couple of posts about our relationship which you can find over here and here. This post is notifying you of a joint series that we’ll be doing together in which we write about our experiences in our Long Distance Relationship (LDR). We’ll cover both the ups and downs, how we deal with things, and simply what it’s like. It’s essentially a joint journal series. You can go ahead and find the introductory post over here. Enjoy!

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