Thursday, October 31, 2013

Saving on Prescription Drugs

If there is a co-pay with the prescription, unless the matter is explicitly raised with the pharmacist, the pharmacist will always charge the co-pay even when the co-pay is greater than the actual cost of the medicine. But, if you ask the pharmacist what the medicine cost, and it costs less than the co-pay (which happens more often than one thinks), you then choose to pay for the medicine out-of-pocket instead of through your insurance and it will cost you less.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Download Accelerator and More

EagleGet can accelerate downloads, pause and resume downloads, and enable one-click downloads. As you've guessed, it's a download manager, but one that not only works but also actually works well.  In a word, EagleGet is VERY fast. I searched for and found a 26-minute animated feature on YouTube that serves us as a sort of benchmark. EagleGet downloaded and saved it with a single click in about seven seconds. I've been ambivalent about download managers and accelerators in the past because so many of them just don't work, I we think EagleGet rocks. And it's free.

Download Link:

Math Apps for Kids

From Sue Shellenbarger in October 29 Wall Street Journal:

Game designers are offering some promising new options for elementary and middle-school students. An app called Motion Math: Fractions, is available for Apple and Android devices. Players tilt their devices to direct a falling star to the correct place on a number line, which displays a fraction, percent, decimal or pie shape. Wrong answers generate helpful hints and instruction. Playing the game 20 minutes a day for five days increased fractions knowledge by 15% among 120 elementary-school children, according to a controlled, peer-reviewed study published by GameDesk, Los Angeles, a nonprofit that studies and develops educational games and simulations. Motion Math also offers a fractions game called Motion Math Zoom.
GameDesk has several free games on its site, including Slice It, Math Doodles, and Math Snacks—Gate. Another game at, Pearl Diver, rewards players for using fraction and decimal cues to direct a diver to search for pearls along a number line, or to slice a cartoon eel into pieces. Three other games, available through a Web search for the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington, are Treefrog Treasure for younger students; Refraction, which includes addition and multiplication of fractions for older students; and Creature Capture for pairs or groups to play together.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sisters & Brothers (2011)

In addition to winning awards, Sisters & Brothers undoubtedly got good reviews. Sometimes awards are mis-given and good reviews are mis-placed. That certainly is the case here. Except for including the F-word multiple times in each sentence, there is nothing insightful or illuminating in any of the dialogue and the people fundamentally are all less than 2-dimensional. But capping off what tries to be an in-depth serious looks at siblings, the ending would have doomed the movie even if it had been worth sitting through.

IMDb Link:

Southwest Airlines Possibly Charging for Checked Bags

It has been reported in the past several days that Southwest might start charging for checked bags. This is very upsetting to some people, not because it is unfair or bad policy, but because it is seen as Southwest missing a better opportunity, which has been brought to Southwest's attention. According to documents we have obtained, one email to Southwest read as follows:

"Southwest usually is ahead of its competitors, which its loyal customer base appreciates. So, it is surprising that Southwest might follow its competitors down a misguided aisle in charging for checked-bags (“Will Bags Always Fly Free?” Fri., Oct. 25). The painful consequence of charging for checked bags is to provide a powerful stimulus for passengers to try to carry on-board as much luggage as possible, which lengthens the boarding and deplaning process and, worse, creates undue messes as passengers push and scramble and struggle to cram bags into overhead bins before the bins fill up. The irony is that, whatever Southwest might seek to achieve by this reversal of policy on charging for luggage, it could achieve in a far more rational and efficient way by charging not for checked-bags but for carry-on bags. That way, passengers would be encouraged to carry on fewer bags, the boarding and deplaning processes would accelerate, the crammed-overhead-bin problems would evaporate, the “a la carte approach” noted by the Southwest CEO would be realized, and Southwest likely would make as much or more in added fees as charging for checked-bags. In short, by going back to being an innovator rather than being a follower, Southwest can do better for its passengers and better for itself."

Lest anyone thinks Southwest does not care about customer feedback, the documents further reflect that the author of this email received a responsive call from a Southwest official in Dallas. And as she candidly explained, Southwest pays serious attention to customer comments, assessing both the merits of any suggestion and the number of comments making the same point. In short, then, numbers matter.

Save on Ink, Paper, and Money

CleanPrint is a free add-in, available for most major web browsers, that changes the way you print a web page.  Instead of clicking the normal Print button, click the CleanPrint button in your browser's toolbar instead, if you want a simpler and cheaper printing option. With CleanPrint you see a simplified version of the web page you're printing, with minimal graphics and a straightforward layout.  Each section of text can be individually hidden or shown, so that you get only the information you want.  You can even add annotations.  When you're happy with how the content looks, hit the Print button and your chosen items will be printed.  CleanPrint saves you money on ink, toner and paper, as you never have to print those unnecessary items from the page that you always end up throwing away. Although CleanPrint is free to use, it's funded by advertising.  So be aware that ads may be displayed (but not printed) alongside the web page content that you are in the process of preparing to print.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sending an Humongous File

Many free sites are available to send files that might be too large for your email service to handle. MailBigFile though will allow the sending of huge files, up to 2GB, which likely is larger than any sender or recipient's email will allow.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

No Need to Wait for the Restaurant Check

The bother of waiting around for a check, or struggling to figure out how much everyone owes, is a thing of the past. With mobile-payment apps, you can now pay your dinner bill (or, even more conveniently, bar tab) and calculate tip, all from your smartphone. Tabbedout (free, iOS and Android) currently works in 5,000 restaurants in major markets all over the country

PS: Even if paying the traditional way by credit card, one need not wait for the check to arrive before submitting one's card. Time can be saved by handing the server the card before the check arrives, which saves the server a trip and saves the diners time. Nor is there any worry about any errors in the check because you can look at the check for accuracy before signing the receipt. While this time-saving approach might save just a minute or two for any one meal, over a lifetime, the time savings can be huge.


Shazam is a must-have free app for music lovers, available for both Apple and Android devices. Instead of asking friends, or typing in easily misunderstood lyrics to Google, simply hold your phone up to the music source and tap Tag. Shazam will then identify the name of the song, its artist and the name of the album. But that's not all Shazam does. You can buy that song via iTunes and Amazon, view streaming lyrics, listen to your tagged music on Spotify, share with Facebook and Twitter, watch music videos of the tagged artists on YouTube, and find out the artist's touring schedules - all directly from the app! There's also a good chance that you've seen the Shazam logo on TV before during commercials. Just Tag content you're watching on TV with Shazam, and you can learn more about certain TV shows or movies.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Remotely Programming Your DVR

You do not need to be sitting in front of your television with your remote in hand to program a cable show on your cable box's DVR. For Cox customers, the Cox Mobile Direct app is available for free for Android and Apple devices, from which you can set your DVR to record any show(s) from wherever in the world you are. Equivalent apps are available for other cable providers.

New Daily Data Plans for Tablets

AT&T is set to introduce a new $5 daily 250MB data plan for tablet users who want to use cellular data occasionally. Along with $5 day passes, the company also plans to introduce a $25 plan that provides 1GB of data that can be used over a three month period. Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint likely will be launching new similar offerings. So, if you have a cellular-capable tablet, the options for limited-time data plans look to be growing.

Shrinking a PDF File

This website really does only one thing, though it does it very well. It makes a PDF file smaller.  This can be useful if, say, you have a large PDF file that you need to email to someone, or perhaps you have a large collection of files which you don't want to get rid of but which is taking up a lot of space on your hard disk.  The system is entirely web-based, so there's nothing to install. Just visit the site and drag a file from your desktop to the browser. Once the file is uploaded, it'll be converted straight away, and you can then download the new version.

Shrink Link:

Setting Multiple Home Pages in Chrome

If you want to have multiple tabs open when you open Chrome, all you need to do is set multiple home pages. Go to Settings/On Startup/Open a specific page or set of pages  and then click on Set Pages and put in the URL under Add Pages. This might be possible in other browsers as well.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Opting Out of Junk Mail

PaperKarma is a free app, available for Apple and Android devices, that will opt you out of junk mail. Just snap a photo of the junk mail you don't want and you're done. PaperKarma will contact the mailer and remove you from its distribution list. You don't need to do anything else. Remember that junk mail often is sent out long in advance, so it may take awhile to see results. But just wait and you'll see that flood of junk slow to a trickle.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fame High (2012)

Fame High is a documentary set in Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA). Heart-warming in parts, heart-wrenching in others, but real in all respects. Fundamentally, it tells the story that success (fame) does not just happen. It is an arduous struggle over a very long road. Be sure not to stop it before you see what happens to the kids the film focuses on. And when it's over, you might want to hug your parents for not being some of the parents in the film.

IMDb Link:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Wireless Phone Voice Mail Setting

In general, voice mail settings for wireless phones (as for land lines) are set in the voice mail administrative system and not on the phone's settings. For some unknown reasons, many wireless voice mail set ups default to not tell you the date and time a voice mail message was left. As a result, voice mails when the phone are off will show as the date/time the phone was next turned on. If you want to know the actual date/time of when voice mails were left when the phone was off, go into the administrative voice mail settings and you will easily find the option to do just that. PS: Your carrier's tech people likely do not know this so do not believe them if they tell you that there is no way to know the actual date/time of voice mails left when the phone is off.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Selling on eBay ... Way Easier Than One Might Think

Let's say you bought the blu-ray disk sets of Homeland's first and second seasons. You're never going to watch them again. You can put the disks in a closet or drawer or give them away, or in a matter of a few minutes, you can list them on the eBay to sell. There's virtually nothing to it--the eBay makes it very simple. Just go to the eBay and click on "Sell" at the top of the page, and the eBay will walk you through the few steps to list. It takes under 5 minutes. There's no cost unless the item sells, and then there is a very small charge. And you might just recoup 75% or more of your purchase price.

Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012)

A most enjoyable movie. Terrific cast. Very well acted. Fairly tightly written. Wonderful sound track. Smart dialogue. Not predictable. Although, perhaps it is. Rashida Jones not only stars in it, she is the executive producer and she wrote the screenplay, so you might have to like Rashida Jones to like the movie. But the thing is, nobody cannot not like Rashida Jones. At the very least, for those who are no longer young and hip, the movie gives a glimpse of what Hollywood would have you believe is the world of the young and hip.

IMDb Link:

PS: Those who think of themselves as very observant might try to catch the mis-buttoned sweater Celeste is wearing in the back half of the movie. Perhaps it was unintentional or perhaps it was her signature (a la Alfred Hitchcock's "signing" his movies).

If You Need a Time-Out Laugh

If you're feeling blue, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee might just hit the right spot:

Download Link:

WordPad Far Improved and Portable

Ever since version 1.0, Windows has always been supplied with a basic text editor. At first it was Notepad, which is still much-loved today for simple tasks. More recent versions of Windows have included WordPad, which can be seen either as a cut-down version of Word or a souped-up version of Notepad. It's a word processor, though not a terribly full-featured one. It does, though, have a fairly decent editing engine built in, and the ability for other apps to harness that engine if they wish to do so.  This is where Jarte comes in. It uses the WordPad engine to turn WordPad into something that's now a pretty acceptable WP product. You can save files in either RTF or DOC format, there's a spelling check in about 10 different languages, and much more besides. And because the underlying editor is still WordPad, you know it'll produce files that are properly compatible with MS Office. There's even a portable version available, if you wish, which can run from a USB drive or even your Dropbox.
Download Link:

Neat Dictionary and Thesaurus for Windows

WordWeb is a really neat, free program for Windows.  It adds a pop-up dictionary and thesaurus to just about any application, and it's both quick and easy to use.  It's brilliant if you're writing any form of document, and especially good to help the kids with their homework too.  It can be used to look up words from almost any program, showing definitions, synonyms and related words. It includes pronunciations and usage examples, and has helpful spelling and sounds-like links.

Download Link:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Recovering a Router's Lost Security Key

If you have LastPass or some other password manager, losing or forgetting the security key to your wireless router is not a problem (nor losing or forgetting any password). But if not, and you do lose or forget the security key, you will not be able to add any devices to your wireless network. No need to panic. Just go The Google and put in "How to Recover a Lost Network Key for a [Brand] Router" (putting in the brand helps because different routers have different solutions). You will then find step-by-step instructions for recovering the security key or, in the alternative, how to re-set the router to its initial factory settings and then you can re-setup the network with a new security key.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Perfect Commentary on What's Wrong With New Restaurants

How to Get Flash Player on iPads

One of the many quirks about the iPad is its inability to play Flash videos. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs wrote that Flash wasn't supported because it lacked full support for touch screens, it created security and performance issues, it ate into battery life and it created an extra layer between the developer and the operating system. Luckily, there are a few alternative web browsers for the iPad that support Flash, the best of which are Photon Flash Player for iPad and Puffin, both of which are available in iTunes for a small charge.
Puffin 3.0 Download Link:
Photon Flashplayer Download Link:

Embrace Setting Changes

For virtually every icon, app, widget, and screen, there are settings and settings within setting and settings within the within settings. While sometimes opaque and non-obvious, playing with these settings will let you customize your device in many many ways which will make the device easier and more fun to use than staying with the device's default setting. For example, some devices default the app icons by segregating them between factory installed and downloaded, but a simple setting change will put them all together in alphabetic order. Also, if something is displaying wrong, like the date and time for the accuweather widget, it might be necessary to change the date/time  in the widget itself as well as in the time zone settings under the general date/time settings because the default settings do not actually set all the date/times for the device. Further, if you run into a dead-end trying to find the right setting, putting the problem into the Google (e.g., "accuweather date/time shows wrong in Samsung Tab 3") usually will give you the clue to the hidden setting that needs changing. Finally, rather than cower with fear in tinkering with settings, it almost never hurts to embrace setting-tinkering with gusto because you can always undo an undesired setting.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kings of Summer

The best movie of the genre is Steven King's Stand by Me. But the second best, by far, is Kings of Summer. If you had trouble with your parents growing up, this is a MUST movie. If not, you still mike like it even though the language and such can be a bit raunchy.

IMDb Link for Kings of Summer:

IMDb Link for Stand by Be:

How to Watch Your DVDs on Any Device

You can convert all your physical DVDs into a digital collection and store them in the cloud. Once so stored, you'll be able to instantly watch your films anytime, anywhere on any device. It's not free, and there surely are other services that do this, but one is Vudu, which also happens to be a terrific pay-per-movie/show streaming service.

Vudu Disc to Digital Link:

Vudu Streaming Link:

Removing Unwanted Toolbars and More

Smart Toolbar Remover, which is free, dispatches toolbars from your browser in no time, and it does it without bogging down your processor or installing its own nasty toolbars, as well. If your browser or home page has been hijacked by an add-on program, this program will get rid of it for you. Smart Toolbar Remover is geared toward eliminating toolbars that inject themselves into your browser during another program's install. It scans for nasty add-ons right when you activate the program and it did return results in our test scans. It finds any program that it believes is a toolbar in any browser, so be aware that it may find toolbars you actually want. It may find toolbars in browsers you don't use often, as well. Once you've picked the toolbars you want to get rid of, Smart Toolbar Remover does the rest. If your browser is plagued with toolbars and other junkware, this download is a great addition to your toolkit. Smart Toolbar Remover lives up to its name and stops toolbars from constantly bugging you. It requires a stern eye to make sure you don't delete anything you want, but it's definitely worth it.

How to Turn Windows Media Player Into a Universal Player

Media Player Codec Pack, which is free, supercharges your Windows Media Player by adding support for dozens of new video and audio formats. If you'd rather not download a universal player to play all of your favorite songs and movies, this will be an essential boost to your built-in media player. If you're happy with Windows Media Player but just want it to play more file types, then Media Player Codec Pack is for you. It saves you the trouble of downloading a new media player just to play the files you couldn't otherwise play using your standard media player.

Download Link:

Printing From Smart Devices

Printing from smartphones and tablets has come a long way. Some people continue to cling to myth that one needs a network-enabled or wireless printer to print from a smart device. Not true. For $1.99, Print (Print to All Printers) will enable Apple devices to print not only to any networked enabled computer, but also to any printer connected to a computer by USB. Android devices do not yet seem to have one such app, but if you put "print app" into the Play search box, you will find a print app that will work with your set up, including Printer Share that works with Chrome and the Google Cloud along with apps from HP, Brother and Samsung geared to their respective printers. Newer devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 have factory-installed printer apps.

Apple Link:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sending Money Checkless and Free

Online banking is one way to send money to someone without mailing a check. Many banks also have online options to send money to anyone with an email address. But there are two other services that have apps which will work on and from your phone or tablet (Android or Apple) as well as from your computer: PayPal and Google Wallet, each of allow you to send money for free to anyone who has an email address. One word of caution with Google Wallet: You probably want to go into its Settings and un-check the box that lets Google Wallet notify you of deals near you.

Play Links:  (PayPal) and (Google Wallet)

Apple Links: (PayPal) and (Google Wallet)

White Noise

Your Android phone or tablet is a white noise machine screaming to get out. With White Noise Lite which is free, you can turn on 10 sounds to perk you up, distract you from annoying ambient noise, or help you sleep: Airplane Travel, Beach Waves Crashing, Chimes Chiming, Crickets Chirping, Extreme Rain Pouring, Grandfather Clock, Oscillating Fan, Thunder Storm, Train Ride, White Noise (the upgraded version will give you 30 more sounds). But wait, there's more:

• Create new soundscapes by mixing multiple noises together like a DJ with support for adjusting volume, balance, and pitch of each individual sound in the mix
• Full screen digital clock with multiple colors and brightness controls makes it the perfect companion for any nightstand
• Advanced alarm and timer system that slowly fades audio in and out so you awake naturally feeling more refreshed
• On-screen media player and volume controls with swipe gesture support for navigating sound collection
• Star favorite sounds and mixes in the sound catalog for quick access using the Favorite view
• Designed to work on all Android-based phones and tablets
• Advanced Settings let you prevent interruptions such as notifications, tweak buffer size for optimal playback, adjust sound volume, balance, pitch, custom alarm snooze times, and more

Download Link:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Life Is Sweet

This 1990 movie was showered with award after award. And perhaps the second half of the movie, which I did not see, warranted those awards. And the opening scene/credits were delightful, and how the director got so many children not to smile is a stroke of artistic genius. If you like really annoying people though, and especially people who have grating laughs and laugh all the time, you might even like the first half of the movie, at least up to the chocolate scene that took me to the stop button in favor of a shower. While Jim Broadbent turns in a creditable performance in the male lead, Randy Quaid might have been a better choice because he looks more like Jim Broadbent than Jim Broadbent does and has a wryer approach to a part that called for a wry approach.

IMDb Link:

Don't Forget to Check the eBay

For many items (including Apple accessories), it is always smart to check the eBay before buying from name retail outlets. Just by way of example, the iPad cover shown below can run you over $40 plus shipping from BestBuy but will cost you under $10 including shipping from the eBay.

Apple® - Smart Cover for Apple iPad® mini - Blue - Larger Front

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Best Free Clipboard Managers

Ditto is the best clipboard freeware out there and is the only one that fully met my specifications. It's simple yet powerful, extremely fast, light on resources, it stores unlimited clips in a sqlite database and it has hundreds of settings to play with. To name a few of its features: it has a search box that enables you to find a 3-day-old clipboard within seconds; 3 different virtual clipboards that you can access through dedicated shortcuts; and it has unique network capabilities, making clipboard sharing a reality. Ditto is actively developed, it is more robust, efficient and flexible than most of its competitors. It will fit the needs of both beginners and advanced users, no matter how the use their computer. Ditto has been my main clipboard replacement utility for almost two years, and it has never crashed yet.
CLCL is a simple and consistent clipboard manager that works particularly well with older windows versions, and is very easy to use with either keyboard or mouse. Its development stopped in 2005, and you have to install it manually, but CLCL's strong supporters are proof that it is worth the trouble.
ClipX is a clean and simple clipboard manager. Plugins are available to bring some interesting features like a color picker to copy the code of a color, stickies (permanent clips), "search in google" feature... It is not developed anymore (the latest beta was released in 2008), but it remains a very good clipboard manager.
Clipboard Help+Spell is a promising clipboard manager, full of features. You can add notes quickly, timestamps, there are powerful text edit features and a spell checker... It is actively developed but it has one major flaw: it does not handle anything else than text.
ArsClip is a good option for those looking for a portable clipboard manager. In the zip file, you'll find the portable version, the setup.exe and the source code.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Best Wireless Carrier for International Traveling and Other Benefits

If you do any significant amount of international traveling, you might want to consider T-Mobile as your carrier. It was the first company to do away with 2-year plans, as well as the 15-second voice-mail greeting, and now it's the first and only company to get rid of international roaming charges which can cost a fortune. Here is a full article on these matters:

Article Link:

New Great Cleanup Tool

The Disk Cleanup utility which is built into Windows just got a major upgrade, so the new Disk Cleanup utility is no longer your father's Disk Cleanup utility. The big change is that, with the free upgrade, it now will remove old, unneeded updates that likely are taking up 3-4 GB or more of storage on your drive. So, their removal is a big deal. The upgrade process is simple and explained here:

Explanatory and Download Link:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Other Uses for Your Phone's Camera

1. Google Goggles: Take a picture of anything and, if it's in Google's data base, you will get extensive information about it.

2. Walk or Sky Guide for iOS or Star Chart for Android: Take a picture of stars and constellations and these apps take over to teach you.

3. Visual Measure for iOS or Advanced Ruler Pro for Android: Take a picture of anything and the app will tell you the dimensions. They measure anything.

4. Instant Heart Rate:  Tells anyone's heart rate.

5. Google Translate:  Snap a picture of any foreign language text and it will translate it for you.

6. CamScanner: Scan documents and even convert them to PDF. 

Musopen provides free recordings, sheet music and other detailed information about classical music throughout the ages. You will find all the famous composers you've grown to love, as well as discover new favorites. The website is well-indexed for both recordings and sheet music. You can search by composer, performer, instrument, period and form. You can stream most of the music files online. You'll also be able to download to your choice of MP3 or the higher-quality, lossless FLAC file. (FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec.)
FLAC files take up more space than MP3s, but have much better sound. Another downside is that iTunes won't know how to play the file. However, you can download a free program noted below under FLAC File link to get around this iTunes glitch.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


If you like doing food on your bbq, but hate the mess, and the carcinogenic dangers of open-flame cooking, the bbq mat is for you. You can see it here on the Amazon, although it's available all over. It's not expensive. It's fabulous!

Buy Link:

Best Bluetooth Portable Speaker

Not surprisingly, it's from Bose, but it's an absolutely amazing speaker. It's 6" x 2" so you can take it anywhere easily, but it's sound is so fantastic you can also use it for your own pleasure or to wow people at home. It connects by Bluetooth to your phone or tablet or computer so you can play your own library or just connect to Pandora or IHeartRadio or such. It's not free but, at about $200, it's actually a fabulous deal.

Descriptive Link:

This is what it looks like:

SoundLink® Mini Bluetooth® speaker

Stunning and Free Online Publishing System

If you've ever tried to produce a "designed" document such as an advert, flyer, invitation, brochure and so on, you probably looked at desktop publishing packages and then gave up.  They're all either incredibly complicated or incredibly expensive.  Or both. Which is why I'm hugely impressed by the launch of something called LucidPress, which is neither complex nor expensive.  In fact it couldn't be simpler to use, and it's free.

Testing Your Internet Speed is very helpful to test and troubleshoot your computer's internet speed. The same help is available for your Apple or Android tablet or phone. Use Ookla Speedtest for easy, one-tap connection testing in under 30 seconds—accurate anywhere thanks to our global network. Millions of users have made Ookla Speedtest the #1 app for testing Internet speeds, and it’s trusted daily by professionals throughout the industry:

- Discover your Download, Upload and Ping
- Real-time graphs show connection consistency
- Troubleshoot or verify the speed you were promised
- Track past tests with detailed reporting 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Your Airlines Want to Hear From You

There is a hot issue in airline travel, which the airlines would like to hear from you about. Here is what one thoughtful passenger wrote:

Airlines have had and continue to have their cabins sectionalized. For example, there is first class, business class, and economy class, and there used to be smoking and non-smoking sections. The benefit of such sectionalizations is that, for a price, it allows travelers to have greater comfort in accordance with their preferences and budget (although in the smoking days price was not an issue). Unfortunately, there is no sectionalization at any price to sit in an infant/child-free zone. While not a matter of undue importance on shorter flights, on long-haul flights such as from Mumbai to Entebbe (or for that matter from Honolulu to Phoenix) surrounded by hyperactive youngsters and screaming babies and sounds that no one has heard since uttered by Gerald McBoing Boing the Noise-Maker Boy can turn a difficult journey in the best of circumstances into a flying nightmare. It can even cause an otherwise water-off-a-duck’s-back un-ruffleable senior citizen who has never written a letter like this before to do so as a plea to airlines. They might even find such a sectionalized alternative to be the source of another profit-enhancing fee.  

PS: If you complain to American Airlines about the inefficient system it has for transferring passengers from its commuter terminal to its actual terminal, by buses, without regard to your valid connection time, you might not find that its promise to look into the matter and make appropriate changes will be kept, but you just might get a couple of hundred bucks of travel vouchers.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How to Stop Cursor From Jumping Around When Typing on a Laptop

Go to Control Panel and do two things: Un-check box that says Hide Cursor When Typing and check box that says Disable Click Pad When External Pointing Device Is Attached.

Automating Your Android Life for Free With Mini Tasker

Getting started

Mini Tasker is designed to automate different Android actions, for example if you do X, then Y will happen. The first time you open the app you will be greeted with a blank page that contains two icons, a plus symbol and a cloud icon, located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
(Credit: Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET)
To add a new action simply click the plus icon and choose an option from the three different sections: apps and music actions; calls, sms, and notifications actions; and battery- and screen-related actions.
There are hundreds of tasks to choose from, which we will talk about in more detail later, but Mini Tasker also includes stock tasks that can be quickly added to your device.
These include things like silencing unrecognized numbers, changing the brightness when the battery is low, and setting the phone to vibrate during late night and early morning hours, among other things.
To access these, click the cloud icon and choose the action you wish to implement.


Everyone is different and each person uses their devices for different things. I, for one, cannot live without music on my commute to and from work each day. That's the reason I use Mini Tasker to automatically launch Pandora and start playing once I plug in my headphones. I also have it set to reduce my brightness when my battery is low, in addition to silencing my phone and turning Wi-Fi on when I arrive to work each morning.
These are just a few of the things this powerful app can do.
Mini Tasker can launch and close apps, schedule a text to be sent at a later time, enable or disable system settings like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or brightness, and even silence calls and notifications from private numbers. The app can be set up to do these different tasks at a specific time or place, if the battery is running low, or if you perform a specific action with your phone.
Setting up automated tasks based on a specific location can be very helpful. Your phone will constantly check your coordinates, however, which could affect battery life.

Popular tasks

Say you want your phone to launch a specific app when you plug in your headphones. This isn't a problem for Mini Tasker. To do this, click the plus icon and select the "Launch an App" option. Next, choose the the app you wish to launch (for me it's Pandora), scroll down, and click on Headset Connected. From here you will be given three options to choose from: a headset with a mic, without a mic, or either.
Another useful automation is to have your display dim when your battery is low. This can be done by selecting Screen Brightness, setting the desired dim level, and scrolling down to the Low Battery option.
These are just some of the commands that can be utilized with Mini Tasker
(Credit: Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET)
We previously told you how iPhone owners can now block people from contacting them with iOS 7. For Android, unfortunately, it isn't as simple; but with Mini Tasker you can set up your phone to automatically silence numbers you don't recognize.
Selecting the "Silence Incoming Calls" option will give you the ability to silence specific numbers, private numbers, and calls from people not in your contacts list.
The actions you have created should now be displayed on the Mini Tasker launch page. Toggling the on/off switch on the right-hand side will allow you to quickly disable or enable the action, while a long press will give you the option to edit, share, or delete the specific task.
There is much more that Mini Tasker can do, I recommend you play with it and set it up to fit your own needs.
It is worth noting that automating GPS and in some cases Airplane mode require a rooted device. The other actions, however, can be done on all devices running Android 4.0 or higher.


The iPhone 5S tracks your daily step count, but doesn't have the option to display totals built into it. You'll need to use an app for that. The link below discusses apps that will do that and more.

Emailing More Than 5 Photos on Apple Devices

Kicksend is a free app that allows one to  email more than 5 photos on Apple devices that limit emails to 5.

Old Versions of Software

Sometimes the newest version of software is not as good as an earlier version, but the software's website has only the newest version. OldApps might have the older version.

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