Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Travel App

When packing for a trip, one essential thing to take is a good, multi-purpose travel app. At a minimum, it should be able to find and book a hotel room, make flight arrangements and track your flight status, find car rentals, and be easy to use. All the travel sites have apps. There very well could be better ones, but Kayak does a very nice job.

Revamped Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 has been improved in several ways: brighter screen; lighter; and a rear-facing camera. It costs $30 more than the original Nexus 7 ($229 with 16GB; $269 with 32 GB; and $349 with 32GB and LTE connectivity).  It beats the iPad mini on screen brightness, lightness and cost. The iPad mini has an 8" screen though. Katherine Boehret calls the Nexus 7 "small, but mighty" and the "budget tablet to beat."  

Pausing Gmail

If you use Gmail with Chrome or Firefox, and you want to stop being interrupted by new incoming email, you can pause your incoming email with Inbox Pause.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Adding Search to E-Books

One neat thing about e-books is that, as long as you have a dictionary downloaded to your reader, you look up the definition of any word just by highlighting it (pressing on it). It would be really neat for places, events, etc. that have no definition as such if pressing on the item would bring up a Google (or Bing) search. Despite a concerted effort, I could find no way to bring this suggestion to Google's attention. But Amazon/Kindle has an easy way by which to make suggestions, just send an email to As you can see, Amazon takes all suggestions seriously and you can be assured they will be passed on to the Kindle team.


Message From Customer Service

Thank you for writing to with your valuable suggestions.

I’ve forwarded your concern and suggestions to our development team and we'll consider your feedback as we plan further improvements. We're regularly working on improvements to your Kindle experience. I've let the Kindle team know you're interested in this feature.

It is always important for us to hear how customers react to all aspects. Your valuable feedback will help us to improve the selection and service we provide and we're glad you took time to write to us.

We do value the feedback of our customers and make every attempt to integrate their comments or suggestions into our stores and procedures.

As always, please feel free to contact us should you have future suggestions, questions or comments. We have team of experts who takes into consideration each and every feedback of our customers and brings them into practice.

Thank you for using Kindle.

Best regards,
Logeshwaran S.
Did I solve your problem?
Yes  No
Your feedback is helping us build Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company.
Thank you.
Original Message
It is really neat that one can highlight a word in a Kindle book and it
brings up the definition. It would be even better if, in addition to
allowing a dictionary search for words, one could highlight a word (e.g.,
places, events, concepts etc. that have no definitions as such) that would
bring up a Google or Bing search. Thank you for your attention to this

Eugene D Cohen 


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Recommended Wireless Mouse/Keyboard Combo

Of all the mouse/keyboards I've used, the Inland Pro Wireless 2.4 GHz Optical Mouse Keyboard Combo Set (70119) has been the most reliable and the easiest to set up and use, and it costs under $20 (with free shipping from is no software and it will begin working immediately upon insertion of the batteries (included) in the mouse and keyboard and insertion of the USB receiver into a USB port of the computer. For those who are using a laptop, you can take the mouse with you when you travel given that the USB receiver is already there. The mouse turns on or off to prolong battery life and goes into sleep mode when not used for a while which also prolongs battery life. The keyboard used to have a small backspace key which is why I hesitated recommending it until now although it is the keyboard I've been using for the past couple of years--the present version has a generous backspace key.

Getting Cash for Your No Longer Needed Cellphones and Tablets will pay you for the cell phones, tablets, Macs and other Apple devices you no longer need – helping you upgrade faster or just putting a little extra cash in your pocket. Getting an offer is quick, easy and free. Shipping is free – Gazelle will even send you a box in most cases. If your offer ultimately changes based on its inspection of your item and you’re not happy with the new price, Gazelle will return it to you for free. And Gazelle will remove all personal data from every item it receives to protect your personal security.


Sunday, July 28, 2013


Is it possible for Hugh Laurie to turn in a bad acting job? If the script is bad enough, apparently so. And it surely is. It's so bad that every actor turns in a bad job. The movie is stupid beyond words I have to describe it. Even as a Christmas story, it likely would not be aired by Lifetime for failure to come up to Lifetime's standards. But all that said, if you do not turn it off in the first 20 minutes, then it is worth your while to hold on for the Christmas card scene, the one bright 1.5 second part of the movie.

IMDb Link:

Securing Your Browser

Here is an excellent and thorough article outlining easy steps to be taken to protect your browser against malware and intrusion on your privacy:


Google has come out with a free app for Android and Apple devices, called Goggles, that is nothing short amazing and very useful. Point your mobile phone camera at a painting, a famous landmark, a barcode or QR code, a product, or a popular image, and if Goggles finds it in its database, it will provide you with everything you want to know about that thing. Goggles can read text in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Turkish, and translate it into other languages. Goggles also works as a barcode / QR code scanner.

Here are just some of its features:

- Scan barcodes using Goggles to get product information
- Scan QR codes using Goggles to extract information
- Recognize famous landmarks
- Translate by taking a picture of foreign language text
- Add Contacts by scanning business cards or QR codes
- Scan text using Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
- Recognize paintings, books, DVDs, CDs, and just about any 2D image
- Solve Sudoku puzzles
- Find similar products

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Big Picture

If you like a good morality tale woven into a near contemporary setting (albeit with a reference to cassettes and in world where car phones were corded and cellphones had yet to become prolific--reminding us how fast technology moves), and are fascinated by the creative world of Hollywood, you will like The Big Picture. But throw in a stellar cast and you'll be delighted as each new character makes an appearance. But wait, there's more: Martin Short might not steal this movie as he did Father of the Bride, but he runs a close second on that front. And wait again, there's even more: It's all put together by Christopher Guest (Best 'N Show).  The only shortcoming: Fred Willard is not in it.

IMDb Link:

Note: There are other movies by the same name. Be sure to select the 1989 one starring Kevin Bacon.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Kirsten Dunst taught us all so very much about Cheer-Loyalty, Cheer-Honor, Cheer-Levity, Cheer-Delight, and so much more in Bring It On. Yet somehow, with the passing of time, the lessons she taught have been forsaken by the teacher in the making of Bachelorette. It's terrible--or at least the first 45-55 minutes of it are., and who knows what happened after that and likely no one cares. Some people are starting to think that some roles are taken principally because of the money and without regard to artistic merit. This movie is strong evidence in support of that view.

IMDb Link:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Speeding Boot-Up Time and Everything Else

If your computer has a HDD and is taking more than 27 seconds to boot-up or has a SSD and is taking more than 17 seconds to boot-up, consider taking a serious look at your installed programs to see what might be installed that can be removed safely, which will speed-up your boot-time and will speed-up many other functions (e.g., the time it takes for a virus scan to run) and generally improve the functioning of your computer. Here is a good approach:

1. Create a restore point before adding or removing anything.

2. Install Revo Uninstaller (the free version):    

3. Install Should I Remove It:

4. Run Revo Uninstaller and sort first by installation date (click on that column), clicking twice to see programs in reverse chronological order. Review list for programs you did not install. Before uninstalling them, you can check with Should I Remove It to see what it is and if it is safe to remove.

5. Next sort by program size (click on Size twice), and start looking for programs that you have never used or not used since the day you set up the computer. Some will be obvious candidates for removal and others likely candidates. Again, check with Should I Remove It.

Here are some huge programs that you might have no need for that safely can be removed: Games; Documentation (everything in the so-called manual is accessible online); the web-cam; the Set-Up Manager 


Google has released a device called Chromecast for $35. You plug it into an HCMI port on your HDTV and then you can easily enjoy your favorite online entertainment on your HDTV—movies, TV shows, music, and more from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and Chrome. No more huddling around small screens and tiny speakers. Chromecast automatically updates to work with a growing number of apps. It works with both Apple and Android devices and is available from stores (e.g., Best Buy) and online. 

Explanatory Link:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Defaulting to Full-Screen Compose in Gmail

On Friday Google decided it was time to give Gmail users their full-screen compose window back.
(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET)
As the rollout of the "new" feature continues, you'll eventually see the icon to expand pop-up compose window. Clicking on it will reveal the full-screen compose window.
(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET)
Now for the best part: you can set the full-screen window to appear by default going forward. To do just that, click on the More Options arrow in the lower-right corner of the compose window.
From here click on the "Default to full-screen" option, placing a check mark next to the listing.
You're still able to launch a compose screen in a new tab, or window by holding Shift and clicking on Compose, or the expand icon.
Of course, if you decide the smaller compose window is better for your needs, you can simply replicate the steps above and remove the default setting.

Automatically Remove Tracking Tokens in Chrome

Urchin Tracking Modules, or UTMs, are tracking tokens added to URLs. They are a tool used by Google Analytics to help calculate the unique number of clicks on a specific link, navigation choices on a Web site, and how much time is spent looking at it. The namesake comes from Urchin Software, a company Google acquired in 2005. Google Analytics borrows a great deal of its structure and features from Urchin 6.
To get started, you'll just need to install a copy of the respective add-on for your Web browser. Head to the Chrome Web Store entry for Tracking Token Stripper. Just as the name says, the UTM tokens will disappear from URLs you click on. After clicking Add to Chrome and pressing OK, make sure to open a new tab and close the old one to ensure that the extension is working.
Firefox has a similar extension.

Boons for the Hypochondriac (and for Everyone)

iTriage is a free app for Apple and Android devices that analyzes your symptoms, gives possible causes and allows you to check waiting times and register in advance at some emergency rooms.

Isabel is a website gives you access to a highly sophisticated medical diagnosis tool that is much more powerful than previously available symptom checkers. Using the latest searching technologies, the system can take a pattern of symptoms in everyday language and instantly compute from our vast database of 6,000 diseases, the most likely ones. It is used by doctors but also can be used by patients. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cheerful Weather for the Wedding

As cheerful as the weather was, the story, the script, the characters, and the point ("time and tide wait for no one") could not be more dreary or more boring (perhaps even as boring as the mining described by Peter Cook in Beyond the Fringe). No clue how or even if it ends and it is doubtful anyone would care. Some producers must think that, if it involves British gentry, and the dialogue has even a smidge of quirkiness, the audience will be fooled into thinking that Oscar Wilde had a hand in it. No one will be fooled by this movie.

IMDb Link:


HealthTap is a handy new free app for Apple and Android devices that can connect you to more than 40,000 trusted doctors in 128 different areas of concentration. Simply ask a question, and you will get a real medical opinion from a real doctor, within minutes. You can even get second, or third, or fourth opinions. What's more, if you find yourself needing to make an appointment, HealthTap has a database of 1.2 million doctors for you to choose from. Or, you can make an appointment with the doctor who gave you advice, right from the app!

Free Excellent PDF Reader

I like the PDF file concept a lot, but I am constantly amazed at how large and bloated the readers have become.  The latest version of Adobe's reader is 48 MB, and pretty resource-hungry once installed. So imagine my delight when I recently discovered a PDF reader called Sumatra. It's available for Windows, and it's free.  It's only 2.5 MB to download, it's lightning fast to start up, and it's portable so there's nothing to install.  Just double-click the single .EXE file once you've unzipped the download, and away you go. It'll even read .djvu files (created by Deja Vu, which is a format that competes with PDF).

Saturday, July 20, 2013


A year before President Truman issued an order ending segregation in the armed forces, seven years before the Supreme Court ended segregation in public education, and twenty years before it ended the ban on interracial marriage, Branch Rickey brought Jackie Robinson into what was then all-White major league baseball. While 42 is unfair to the Philadelphia Phillies, and Detective Stabler should have known better than to have acted the way he did if he wanted to break out of his SVU role, and the guy who played the Wiz in Seinfeld ("no one beats the Wiz") might not be recognized by all viewers, and Max Gail has his finest role since leaving Barney Miller, and the Red Barber character will be familiar to all, Jackie Robinson, Branch Rickey and Pee Wee Reese are so wonderfully portrayed, and portray such wonderful spirits, and the story is so uplifting and enlightening, this is an absolutely MUST SEE movie.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Turn Your Smartphone Into a Breathalyzer

Alcohoot will enable you to see breathalyzer results on your smartphone. It's not free. But it could be well worth it.

Website Link:

YouTube Explanation:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Google Maps

Google Maps has been dramatically over-hauled with multiple new features and stunning new views for Android and Apple tablets and phones. Be sure to update the latest version and watch for additional updates in the coming days and weeks.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Union Square

Wonderful cast ... and wonderful and, actually, real characters ... all it lacked was a script that made some sense ... PS: It takes place in NYC not in SF.

Link to IMDb:

Things Your iPad Can Do That You Likely Did Not Know It Could

There has never been a "handier" computer than the iPad. Yes, that's a bold statement. Here are seven tips that back it up.
Use your thumbs to type letters that have no keys
When it comes to entering text on an iPad, many of us are all thumbs. The device's split keyboard lets you type characters with your thumbs while holding the iPad with both hands. To activate the split keyboard, press and hold the small horizontal lines to the right of the minimize-keyboard button in the bottom-right corner, and then choose Split.
iPad split-keyboard option
Split and shrink the iPad's onscreen keyboard by pressing and holding to the right of the hide-keyboard button.
(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)
The keyboard shrinks, undocks from the bottom of the screen, and splits into two halves appearing on the left and right sides of the screen. When you hold the iPad in two hands, you can use your thumbs to tap keys as you enter text.
If you favor one thumb over another, you can tap the split keyboard's invisible keys to enter in the vertical row to the right of the left edge and to the left of the right edge, as shown in the screen below.
iPad split keyboard's invisible keys
Press to the right of the left edge and to the left of the right edge of the iPad's split keyboard to enter the "invisible" characters (shown in small boxes I've added to the image).
(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)
The "keys" on the iPad's split keyboard are even smaller than those on the standard keyboard that is docked in the bottom of the screen. Data entry using the onscreen keyboard is challenging to say the least. The thumbs-only approach using the two-hand grip isn't any easier, but two-thumb tapping is faster than the single-digit approach.
If you go the thumbs route, you might as well use all the keys available -- visible and invisible.
One emoticon is worth a thousand words
One way to reduce your reliance on the iPad's onscreen keyboard is to express yourself using emoticons. OK, I admit I feel like I'm back in junior high school whenever I see an emoticon embedded in a message, but the goofy characters certainly do help you make your point.
To add emoticons to the iPad keyboard, press Settings > General > Keyboard > International Keyboards > Add New Keyboard > Emoji. The first time you activate the onscreen keyboard after enabling a second keyboard layout, a message pops up instructing you to tap the Globe key to switch keyboard layouts.
iPad message about switching between keyboard layouts
After you enable a second iPad keyboard layout, a message appears instructing you to press the globe button to switch keyboards.
(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)
The Emoji keyboard lists hundreds of colorful emoticons in six categories: those you've used recently; smilies, hand gestures, and hearts; animals and plants; common items; transportation and flags; and common symbols (such as clock faces, astrological signs, and Japanese Kanji characters).
iPad Emoji keyboard transportation and travel symbols
Among the hundreds of symbols on the iPad's Emoji keyboard are transportation icons and flags.
(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)
Save key taps by creating keyboard shortcuts for repeated text
I wish I had a nickel for every time I've typed "I wish I had a nickel" on my iPad. (I have a thing for nickels.) Now I just tap "nkl" and a space to add my nickel aspiration in a note or document.
To create a keyboard shortcut that enters frequently used text automatically, tap Settings > General > Keyboard > Add New Shortcut.... Enter the phrase, press your preferred shortcut keys, and press Save. The entry is added to your Shortcuts list, which is shown just above the Add New Shortcut option.
Thereafter when you enter the shortcut, the phrase appears below the shortcut. Press the space bar to enter the phrase or press the X to the right of the text to retain the shortcut letters.
iPad custom keyboard shortcuts
Enter repeated text more quickly on an iPad by creating custom keyboard shortcuts.
(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)
Set the iPad to recite selected text
If you'd like your iPad to read to you, press Settings > General > Accessibility, and in the Vision section, toggle Speak Selection to On. Use the slider control to set the speaking rate; the default setting is a couple of clicks to the slow side of the median.
iPad Speaking Rate slider control
Set the iPad reader's playback speed via the slider control, which is set by default a bit to the slow side of middle.
(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)
After you enable selection speaking, a Speak option appears when you select text. Press it to hear a Siri-like voice read the selection. At the default reading speed the voice seems hurried, although the pauses at punctuation are unnaturally long. But like the dancing dog, it's not that the iPad reads text well, it's that the machine reads it at all.
Select an entire paragraph with four taps
Selecting text on an iPad is crazy-making: tap the screen to select a single word (or press Select to highlight the word you tapped), and then grab and slide one of the little blue dots that appear in the top-left and bottom-left corners of the selection.
The fast way to select an entire paragraph is to tap it four times. Just like that, your paragraph is ready to be copied or read to you (if you've used the above tip to enable the iPad's text reader).
Swipe the screen to switch among open apps
Most people move from one iPad app to another by pressing the Home button and then pressing the new app's icon, which may entail a lot of screen swiping or folder opening.

Double-tap to zoom the screen
A faster way to go from one open app to another is to swipe the screen left or right using four or five fingers. Alternatively, you can swipe up with four or five fingers to open the multitasking bar at the bottom of the screen, which shows all the apps currently open on the machine.
You probably know that you can stretch the iPad screen with two fingers to zoom in and pinch with two fingers to zoom out. To get more control over screen zooms, tap the screen twice with three fingers. Repeat the three-finger double-tap to zoom out.
To control the zoom magnification, double-tap with three fingers and hold, then scroll up to zoom in and down to zoom out. Once you've got your preferred zoom level, navigate around the screen by swiping left, right, up, and down with three fingers.
To enable zoom, press Settings > General > Accessibility and toggle the Zoom setting in the Vision section to On.


It is usually "safer" in renting vacation homes/apartments etc. to go through a rental agency instead of doing it privately through services such as vrbo or airbnb because, if something goes wrong with the place while you're there (e.g., the air conditioning went out, the TV did not get CBS which was needed to watch the British Open, and the master bedroom--the only room with an ocean view--was locked off), there's someone available to fix or otherwise remedy the problem. That said, between vrbo and airbnb, airbnb has a MUCH BETTER system and is MUCH EASIER to deal with than vrbo. The airbnb website has user-friendliness and ease-of-use down pat. And it spells out everything clearly, including the amenities, reviews, pictures, cancellation policy, owner's name, email and phone number, for each place. And it covers not just great cities around the world, but even tropical nooks such as Hanalei, Kauai.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Comparing Medical Procedure Prices

Healthcare Blue Book is an app that helps you gather all the information you need regarding fair prices in the medical world. Whether you're having major surgery or a common procedure like an MRI, this app will tell you what you should pay. The app takes your insurance information into account and breaks down the procedure by cost in an easy-to-read chart. There are also resources on how to negotiate prices, save money and other quality information about your procedure. With Healthcare Blue Book, you will know a fair price for your treatment and have peace of mind. It is free and available for both Apple and Android devices.

Reducing Size of Image Files

If you have large images that you'd like to shrink for storage and transfer purposes, and if you want to keep those images in jpg format rather than zipping them (perhaps so that they still work with your favorite image viewer or slideshow utility), JpegMini  is a free program and web site (choose either - personally I find the web site easiest) to reduce the size of images.  In the example shown in the screen shot below, the site managed to reduce this photo from 3.1 MB to 0.7 MB.  Which makes the file much quicker to email or print, and smaller to store.
The web site works well and is free to use.  And if you sign up, you can upload and shrink multiple files at a time.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Two Movies: Minority Report and The Art of Getting By

Minority Report: The issue posed by the movie is an important one, and will become more important as surveillance technology improves. Unfortunately, Mr. Spielberg decided more money could be made by special effects and action stuff than by grappling with the issue. As a result, some viewers stopped watching an hour into the movie.

The Art of Getting By: If you grew up somewhat angry and not quite fitting in, you just might love this movie. If you want to live in a world where Alicia Silverstone never grows old, you might want to skip it.

Safeway Discounts

Safeway has a program where many items are discounted to $5 or $5/lb, especially on $5-Fridays. You can learn about the program on your computer and it works via computer or through the Safeway app. Unfortunately, it's so clunky and complicated that I am going to wait to use it, but if you can master it, as the Deli person and the customer next to me tried to explain, you save a lot of money even if it is not an easy system.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Bridge

The Bridge is a new original series on FX. It's not always understandable, but it is engrossing at every point. It is refreshingly poignant, principally because of the fabulous acting and tight script. If you liked Monk's supervisor, you might wish he hadn't gone bald, but you will love his reprisal role. And if you thought the actress who played Marie Antoinette in Farewell, My Queen was good, you will be stunned by her range in this series, and how a lead detective with Aspergers can steal every scene. As if that's not enough, Demian Bichir lights up every scene he is in with his wit and his smile.

First Fixes for Cable on Tablet Problems

Now most cable shows are available in real-time on your tablet. If you experience frequent stoppages or 163 error codes or other problems, before calling tech support try the following: reboot your modem, reboot your router, reboot all your cable boxes (the tablet works with a signal from the cable box but you won't know which one), uninstall and re-install your TV Connect app, and reboot your tablet. If that does not solve the problem, then call the tech support that is given with the 163 error code and they can do some off-site trouble shooting.

5 Tips for the New Google Maps

Tip 1: When you look up a destination, you can slide the information card up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the call, save, and share buttons (borrows the Google Now card appearance). You'll also see the street view of the location, ratings, and reviews. No more trying to tap on the tiny map pin to open the information page!
Personal map data and recent searches in the new Google Maps on Android, old vs. new.
(Credit: Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET)
Tip 2: Tap the silhouette icon at the far right-hand side of the search bar to gain quick access to your map data. This data includes reviews, saved addresses for home and work, nearby offers, saved places, and even recent searches.
Google Maps old vs. new layer selection.
(Credit: Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET)
Tip 3: Traffic and satellite layers have been relocated to a general menu. Simply tap on the gray tab along the bottom left-hand side of the app and the menu will slide open, allowing you to enable your desired layers.
Google Maps Local (old) vs. Google Maps Explore (new).
(Credit: Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET)
Tip 4: The Local feature has been replaced by Explore. Press the search box at the top and then scroll down the page to find the Explore banner, where you can choose from eat, drink, shop, play, and sleep. There's even a menu with categories so you can find places around you without knowing the business names.
Confirmation that a map is saved for offline use in the new Google Maps on Android.
(Credit: Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET)
Tip 5: If you want to save Google Maps so you can access them while offline, just say or type "OK Maps" (Google Glass, anyone?) in the search box. You'll see a message that says the onscreen map area has been cached.

Cut, Copy, and Paste on an Android Phone or Tablet

You can cut, copy, and paste on an Android phone or tablet much like on a computer. This can be very useful for entering passwords into apps for example.
After selecting a chunk of text — or all text — on the screen, you can then cut or copy the text and paste it elsewhere. Copying or cutting and then pasting text works just like it does on your computer.
Follow these steps to cut or copy text on your phone:
  1. Select the text you want to cut or copy.
  2. Long-press the selected text.
    Touch the highlighted text on the touchscreen, and keep your finger pressed down. You see the Edit Text menu with three items: Cut, Copy, and Paste.
  3. Choose Cut or Copy from the menu to cut or copy the text.
    When you choose Cut, the text is removed; the cut-and-paste operation moves text.
  4. If necessary, start the app into which you want to paste text.
  5. Touch the text box or text area where you want to paste the copied or cut text.
  6. Position the cursor at the exact spot where the text will be pasted.
  7. Long-press the text box or area.
  8. Choose the Paste command or touch the Paste icon.
    The text you cut or copied appears in the spot where the cursor was blinking.
The text you paste can be pasted again and again. Until you cut or copy additional text, you can use the Paste command to your heart’s content.
The process might or might not be similar on Apple devices, but I'm sure there is a way.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Property Envy

If you grew up with the Bill Cullen on the Price Is Right (coming closest to guessing without going over the actual retail price), and reveled with Robin Leach on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (with their caviar wishes and champagne dreams), and were charmed by Tanya Memme on Sell This House and Kendra Todd on My House Is Worth What?, and can't get enough of the over-the-top homes and How-to-Spend-It magazines in the weekend editions of the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, and find 21st Century reality-TV hosts tastes' to be the opposite of yours, then, Property Envy, the new original series on Bravo, is for you.

New Free Password Manager

PasswordBox, has just announced the official release of PasswordBox and introduced some new features as well as the mobile app releases for iOS and AndroidPasswordBox lets you perform one-click log-in to all of your favorite sites from previously stored accounts. Just download the client, which is available as an add-on/extension for IE, Firefox,Chrome, and Safari. Create a account and Master Password and you're ready to go. You can either manually input your log-in information or just surf the Web normally and the add-on will automatically save your account info. Note that the free version stores up to 25 passwords. The paid version at $1/month stores unlimited passwords.

With the launch, PasswordBox announced some new features, along with some crowd favorites.
  • Time-saving One-click log-in -- PasswordBox offers a secure one-click log-in to your favorite Web sites on all devices.
  • Instant StartPage -- The first and only stop to access all of your favorite and bookmarked sites with one-click log-in, directly from your browser's new tab.
  • Legacy Vault -- PasswordBox offers users the ability to protect their digital assets with the Legacy Vault.
  • Encrypted social account sharing -- PasswordBox provides easy social sharing to anyone you trust.
  • Strong password generator -- Weak passwords and unsafe password habits, like using your dog's name or "12345" are things of the past with the Strong Password Generator.
  • One-tap log-in for Web sites and apps -- With a single tap, mobile users can log in to their favorite Web sites and mobile apps on their devices.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Saving on Your Cable Bill and More

Take a look at your next cable bill with some care. If you see an included feature that you do not use (e.g., Sports & Info for $8.50 per month), call your cable company to double-check what channels you would lose if you dropped that package. Once it is confirmed that you don't watch any of those channels anyhow, say you want to cancel that package. The rep then will see if there are any "promotions" that might be offered, and likely there will be a $10-off per month "promotion in lieu of cancellation" for a year and you can keep that package. So, you will end up with no change to your channels and a bill that is $10 lower per month and not just $8.50 lower per month. The same process seems to apply to the New York Times if, for example, you change from the Weekender to Sunday-only delivery.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Could be an excellent quirky movie if you can understand Australian. If you don't, you might leave the viewing room long before it's over.

IMDb Link:

A Great Summer Read

Freud's Mistress, the latest book by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman, is released on Tuesday, July 9. It's available everywhere including through Amazon Kindle.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Side Effects and Jeff Who Lives at Home

I am tired of panning movies and fear being painted as negative on the cinema. So, I will say nothing bad about Side Effects (which I stopped watching about half way through) or Jeff Who Lives at Home (which I wish I had stopped watching even sooner).

IMDb Link:

IMDb Link:

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Yard (Culinary Drop Out)

The food at this latest of Sam Fox's place is okay, but the noise level of the music being piped is unbearable to the point of making it a place of no return.  But perhaps more upsetting was that the parking lot held 100+ cars and was less than a tenth full and yet there is no alternative to valet parking. Also, if there is a problem with the bill, it can be difficult to straighten out because there is no itemization on the slip you're given to sign. That said, the service staff is very efficient and courteous, and perhaps as a result of their relatively young ages, you will be comforted to learn that each item you choose from the menu will be complimented as an "awesome" choice and, if you enjoyed your meal, your stated enjoyment likewise will be rewarded as "awesome." Lastly, be very careful driving out because one of the place's signs on 7th Avenue blocks your view of South-bound traffic in the curb lane. The sign likely will be removed after the first accident happens and lawsuit is filed. 

Great Lakes Aviation

If you never heard of Great Lakes Aviation, be sure to check on it for your next travel to many small airports (as well as big airports). For example, assume you're going to Santa Fe from Phoenix, a Phoenix/Santa Fe/Phoenix ticket on GLA can turn out less expensive and certainly competitive with Southwest and America West Phoenix/Albuquerque/Phoenix.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Free Automatic Smartphone Storage and Safe-Keeping of Photos, Videos, Music and More

AT&T Locker is AT&T's app that gives you 5GB of online storage free for photos, videos, music, documents and more. Once setup, the app will automatically upload your stuff to and safely store it in the cloud and your stuff then can be synced and (other than the music) shared easily with others. I'm sure Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have similar services.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Setting Wi-Fi to Work When Phone Is Asleep

If you want to be sure that your Android phone's wi-fi is working while the phone is asleep (dark), check the following setting: Settings/Wi-Fi/Menu-Advanced and select Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep. iPhones do not have this option.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Onavo Extend: Stretching Your Data Plan

Onavo Extend is a free app that lets you get up to five times more out of your data plan without changing the way you use your phone. With Onavo Extend, engage in more app activities, photo sharing, web browsing and more on 3/4G without breaking your data cap. The app lets you compress your mobile data so that you can do more with your Android’s mobile data month after month. And, if you travel abroad, Onavo Extend helps you stay within your roaming plan and saves you money while helping you do more with your data plan.
Onavo Extend is now even more powerful with its revolutionary universal data caching tool that uses your SD card to minimize data consumption of 3G/4G traffic without risking the freshness of your cached data. You can easily control the percent of your SD card allocated to the creation of your universal cache for a personalized Onavo Extend experience. The app also lets you optimize pictures when you share over 3G/4G, giving you control of how much data you use when you share photos. The Onavo Extend Widget helps you easily monitor how much data Onavo Extend saves you by app for increased app transparency!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Promised Land

It's almost impossible that a movie starring Matt Damon, Francis McDormand, and John Krasinski, with a realistic contemporary theme, some unexpected twists, excellent cinematography, and crisp dialogue could fail. But Promised Land does. It's just boring. Alas, even if Jenna Fischer had been in it, she would not have saved it.

IMDb Link: