Category Archives: Ruby Reviews

Getting Your Hands Dirty – Adventures on the Emerald Isle

jessCheaper Than Rubies is honoured to have former Sky News journalist, and now globe trotter, Jess as our guest contributor. Jess is a CSU Communications graduate and has worked in the media in Tamworth and Sydney. This year, Jess ditched the workforce and ventured overseas. Here she shares her latest adventure with us.

Ireland had always been at the top of my list of countries to visit, so I feel very fortunate to actually be in the land of Irish luck, leprechauns and Guinness. After a whirlwind three day tour of Southern Ireland, I found myself volunteering on an organic farm just north of Dublin in the hope it would help me experience the real Ireland.

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Filed under Itchy Feet, Mind, Body and Soul, Ruby Reviews

Dubbo’s One Night Stand – A Local’s Perspective

Noni, our main music writer and sub-editor, was in Dubbo for triple j’s One Night Stand last week, covering the weekend’s events for her local music blog, Gigs Out West. This piece was first published there, and has been reproduced with Noni’s permission.

This is my town. She is tidy, quiet, and restrained. To this would-be free spirit, she has never truly felt like home. She can be hot and dry and barren, occasionally exploding into short bursts of colour that remind me of all the potential she has.

We have a complicated relationship, my town and I. When she is raised in conversation, I often blush and avoid the speaker’s gaze, stuck on the fence between the disdain dealt out by strangers and the almost excessive praise heaped upon her by her most devoted residents. I want to fall somewhere in the middle, recognising her strengths without whitewashing her shortcomings. I rarely feel at peace in her embrace; I have often found my adventures elsewhere.

But for better or for worse, she is my town. Seventeen years of residence mean that I can never shake that fact. She is mine, and I am hers.

Dubbo is my town.

And yet, for almost 48 hours, I barely recognised her.

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Filed under Music Matters, Ruby Reviews

Derek; m’names Derek: the genius of Ricky Gervais

Everyone has heard of the health benefits of laughter. The average child laughs over 700 times a day, yet the average adult only laughs 7 times a day. With 5 minutes of hearty laughter being worth 20 minutes on a rowing machine, why would you pick the gym over time with friends? So never hold back sharing that funny video at work, it’s exercise!

Comedy isn’t without its controversy though, and Ricky Gervais is a prime example. He is regularly criticised for his work, especially his treatment of good friend Karl Pilkington. But I have always liked Ricky Gervais and I couldn’t understand why until a couple of months ago. I would watch, listen or read his work, feel anxious about his words and wave it off as “not my kind of comedy”. It would then be a day or two later that his point would hit me and I’d go back for more like a drug, insisting that I won’t give up until I understood his intention.

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Filed under Ruby Reviews, Square Eyes

Social Media Supremacy: The Battle of Facebook and Google+

fbvsgplusI think the oldest internet service I use is Hotmail. It is for no reason other than that my email address is like my home address; I just can’t be bothered to change it. Through Hotmail though, I learned that good ol’ MSN Messenger had been ditched by Microsoft in favour of Skype. Which I think is a smart move, Skype is the number one VOIP service.

It made me a little nostalgic, thinking back to nights wasted chatting to friends, so proud that I knew all the emoticon shortcuts by heart. It then led to recalling MySpace and the realisation that, yes, I’ve been using Facebook now for 5 years. Five whole years!

Facebook first fell into my lap in December of 2007. Having just digitised my parents wedding photos from Kodak slides, my sister insisted I join to share them. Once the pictures were up, there was only one last thing left to do: update my status for the first time. After much personal deliberation, I settled on: “(Penelope) is wondering where the ants in her room are coming from!”

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In retrospect, perhaps I should have waited and begun with a simple “Merry Christmas!” on Christmas morning.

Facebook has held the trophy for some years now. Eclipsing MySpace in what felt like a matter of months, Facebook is now a social machine. Many have tried to take a slice of the pie, Google the most notable. And it got me thinking: what is the difference between Google+ and Facebook anyway? A social networking site is a social networking site… aren’t they the same? Continue reading

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Filed under Buttons & Screens, Ruby Reviews

Ruby Review: Exploring Adobe’s Creative Cloud

I had a gym membership once. I used for about two weeks before I gave up. I’m not gym material for one, but the other reason I cancelled my membership was to direct my funds to something else that I love even more: the new Adobe Creative Cloud.

My Photoshop skills are entirely self-taught. As a teen, I would spend hours scouring Google for Photoshop tutorials that ranged from learning how to use filters to create lightning, to professional photo touch-up tips. I was unstoppable.

Then I started working and I felt guilty that, now that I could actually afford to buy the software, I didn’t have to… well, “borrow” it from other people.

So when I caught wind of a possible subscription service to some Adobe products I waited…

And waited…

And waited…

Until finally, Adobe released their new subscription service for their new CS6 range. For what used to be about $1,000+ outright, I can now pay AU$62.99 a month to access all of my Adobe products and receive any updates to the programs for free. So when they finally fix that bug that annoys you?¹ You get it for free and you get it straight away.

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Filed under Buttons & Screens, Ruby Reviews