Tuesday, January 29, 2013

iOS 6.1 Now Available - Jailbreak Soon!



Apple released iOS 6.1 yesterday to very little fanfare.  There are some tweaks and bug fixes, but nothing really exciting.

For most people you can probably install the update and continue on, but I will hold off a bit.  I have been patiently waiting for the iOS 6 jailbreak and one of the things that might have been holding things up was the 6.1 update which was about to be released.

They didn't want to release a jailbreak, only for the 6.1 update to come out a few days later and lock things back down potentially. 

My thinking is that if they do release an untethered jailbreak soon, having update 6.1 MIGHT prevent you from being able to run the jailbreak, so since I don't really have anything that needs to be fixed right now, I'll wait.

** 2/4 Noon Eastern Time Update **  iOS 6 jailbreak now available

To see if iOS 6.1 is available for your phone, navigate to Settings > General > Software Update. The update requires at least 1GB of storage to download and will take about a half hour over Wi-Fi. You can also connect your device to your PC and download via iTunes.

Your device will need to reboot once the update is installed. You will then have to re-enter your Apple ID credentials for iCloud, iMessage, and FaceTime purposes.

Let me know if you do install it and if you experience any improvements or notice anything new and exciting.  Below is the full post from CNET.  

Apple releases iOS 6.1 with additional LTE support

The first point update of iOS 6 brings support for more LTE networks as well as a movie ticket buying feature within Siri.

After five beta test versions, Apple today released iOS 6.1, the first major update to iOS 6 since last September.

The software, which went out this morning as an over the air update, as well as a download through iTunes, brings a few new minor features, along with bug fixes.

Chief among the new features is 4G LTE support for more carriers, along with a feature that lets users purchase movie tickets from Fandango after finding showtimes using Siri.

Apple also returned the option for iTunes Match subscribers to download individual songs from iCloud, something that was quietly removed in a previous software release.

On the privacy side, the update also adds an option to reset Apple's advertising identifier option, the "non-permanent, non-personal, device identifier" feature added as part of iOS 6.

Other, minor changes in iOS 6.1 include new boarding pass behavior in Apple's Passbook software, tweaks to Safari, reworked music playback controls from the lock screen, and a back-end change in Apple's mapping software.

The update comes less than two days after the release of a fifth beta version of iOS 6.1, which Apple oddly put out to developers during the weekend.

Apple's last update to iOS 6 was iOS 6.0.2 in mid-December. That software, which went out to users only on Apple's newest devices, fixed a handful of bugs, including one that kept iPhone 5 users from installing over-the-air software updates. It also fixed an issue with lines appearing on the software keyboard, and a bug that deleted meetings from calendars when accepting an invitation.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Aloha!



We started to plan out a vacation for this year last week and after my sister Michelle graciously offered to come stay at our place and watch our kitties and enjoy some beach time, we're considering a trip to Hawaii. 

We're finding it quite overwhelming picking one particular island out of all the ones available.  Since we would be there for just a week, we feel it's best to stay on one island.  There are a few main things we'd like to do, like a 'Lost' tour to some areas from the TV show, helicopter tour of the area, etc.  Because some of the key activities are on Oahu, we're thinking we'd need to stay on that island, however we do not want to stay in the busy area of Waikiki Beach/Honolulu. 

So right now we're having a hard time trying to strike a balance of a nice quieter place to stay, while still trying to be close to places to venture out to.  We found some beautiful inexpensive condos on Makaha, in West Oahu on a beautiful beach that has great snorkeling and sea turtles, spinner dolphins and monk seals. 

However, it's 45 mins from Waikiki Beach and the Lost Tour and helicopter tours mostly go out of there and from what we've read/heard, you do not want to drive in that area.  And if the tours leave at say 8:30 AM from the busy area, there's no easy way to get into town to do that. 

If we stayed on the West Coast of Oahu we're thinking maybe we could plan out our own Lost tour of a few sites and rent a car and try and do it all on our own.  If we had to go into town once to do a helicopter tour or just to experience the busy area for a day we could possibly.

But we're in the very preliminary stages and the wifey always takes the lead on our trips and we've posted a bunch of questions on the Trip Advisor forums and will see what we come up with.

We've asked my sister Michelle and friend Jen S for some advice and got some good info back to consider, but we're also looking for any additional tips anyone out there might have!  Aloha!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Latest iPhone 5 Jailbreak Update














Well, unfortunately still no publicly available un-tethered iPhone 5 jailbreak at this point, but it appears one exists.  Promising news on that front, but it seems that they may either be waiting for the iOS 6.1 update to be released or they might need to make the exploit less obvious, because in it's current state it could be easy for Apple to quickly fix.  At any rate, if you're into the whole jailbreaking thing like I am, definitely check out the latest article from TechCrunch on the topic. 

And if you're looking for iPhone 5 cases and screen protectors, or car mounts and car chargers, check out my previous posts on the subject.  They all continue to work flawlessly and we're quite happy with those items!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Super Poker!



I'm writing this post Monday night and since today (yesterday) was the first relatively normal, non overly emotional day since we had to put our kitty Poker down, I want to try and avoid bringing all the emotions rushing back.  So let's have a happy fun post about Poker!

Everyone who met Poker knows how great a kitty he was and he will be missed for a long long time.  The emotions are still right at the surface, but having gone through this with my life long kitty Stinky back in May, I know it will get easier over time.  Poker suffered from Cardiomyopathy, which is basically an enlarged heart.  Which I guess explains how he had so much love to give!  :)  We had doubled up his meds at the end at the direction of the vet, but unfortunately nothing was going to help at this late stage. 

Typically pets with that condition are given a 6 month-1 year prognosis and we were warned early on, but our good boy managed to beat the odds and remained mostly healthy throughout a 3+ year period after diagnosis.  There were a few flare ups and 1 or 2 scary brief episodes in between, but overall we were so thankful for the extra time and he was quite a trooper!

The wifey got Poker a year or so prior to when we met and he was 2 at the time, which was in 2001.  I'm sure he could sense I am a big cat person and he welcomed me in with open paws.  I'd go over to her apartment and he'd come right up and cuddle and purr.  He won me over immediately.  I also remember any time we'd leave the apartment he would go into the bathroom window, which opened to the parking area and he would meow and meow through the screen.  He was sad when she would go and so excited when she got home.  The meowing part is so weird, because somewhere along the way he completely lost the ability to meow unless he was getting picked on by one of his brothers later in life. 

And I remember one very scary moment when she called me on the phone and said she couldn't find Poker around the apartment.  The cable guy had come and left her door open while he went to grab something from the truck and she realized later that Poker got outside and she was frantic, with good reason.  I was as well, but there wasn't much I could do except be there for her on the phone while she looked everywhere.  After what seemed like over an hour at the time, she eventually heard Poker meowing but didn't know where he was.  Turns out he had gone out the front door, around a huge apartment building and was sitting on the back step meowing to come back inside.  :o) 

Within the next year or so, we combined living quarters and we combined our individual kitties and Poker and Stinky became brothers and good friends.  We then purchased a home and since we some extra room and our own place, we decided to pick out a kitten of our own to add to the mix and we brought home Monkey. 

Poker could not stand the little guy initially, he was quite the pest, since of course he was only 8 weeks old, FULL of energy and Poker was 3-4 by then.  One of our all time favorite first pictures of the two of them is the one below with Poker and his hand on Monkey's head, basically saying calm the F down and leave me alone!  Kinda like that thing older/bigger kids due to the little kids to keep them at arms length.  Too funny.

Down boy  :o) 


This is the one and only time we've ever caught a picture of Poker showing aggression and we probably snapped the picture just at the right time.  He was not super excited with us bring a new kitten home, ya think?!  ;) 

 But it didn't take long for Poker and little Monkey to get along!

 Such good friends

It was also funny to see them grow up together, because Monkey and Poker grew up to become best buddies.  He really loved Poker and when I say loved him, I mean REALLY loved him.  :o)  Despite the fact that they're both male and both fixed, he would proceed to "love" him in that way on a daily basis and sometimes multiple times on any given day.  Poker was just that lovable!  Haha...

They were all good buddies!

Later came DooDee (his name was Sage initially, but really we NEVER call him Sage so he will now be known as DooDee, Doodles or Doo Doo).  He was a little problem child initially, very scared for quite a while and still the skittish one of the bunch, but of course Poker was always the one he would go to and rub up against when he was scared to be re-assured.  

Then little baby DooDee came along and they played together

 And of course became buddies too

 And just because Buddy and DooDee are way too freakin cute, had to throw in a picture of them.  Glad to see they are best buddies just like Poker and Monkey were. 

Our most recent kitty Buddy or Bud Bud got along with Poker as well and despite the fact that Buddy is much younger, probably around 3-4 and is super playful at times, he didn't mess with Poker.



The only one that messed with Poker was Stinky and I think that was because the two of them were together the longest and Stinky would just have his moments where he liked to latch onto whoever was close by, but in general, Poker was the king of the house.


Lots of great memories and now he won't have to suffer any more and Stinky has someone to play with!!  I've done good so far on the emotion scale, so let's leave it there and celebrate the good times we all had with Poker!  :o)  


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Payroll Tax "Increase"

Image Source: Dave Ramsey










I consider myself to be pretty financially savvy and in tune with most of what's going on out there in the media/press.  However, I was caught by surprise when I heard that all of us would in-effect be receiving a 2% pay decrease this year as a result of the fiscal cliff deal. 

I think that was all done in a very sneaky way.  The headlines were that all tax breaks would be extended for the "middle class" and only "the rich", which they currently define as individuals making over $400,000 annually, would see their taxes increase.

Due to the constant barrage of the "fiscal cliff" talks and deadline right around the holidays, I think many like myself just figured that a deal would get done, none of us will be effected this coming year and life will go on.  So we started to tune things out. 

I'm not quite sure how the end result did not match the headlines and how there wasn't more of an uproar about it, but it is what it is unfortunately. 

Here is a brief synopsis from Dave Ramsey's post yesterday:

"In 2011, Congress temporarily reduced the Social Security payroll tax from 6.2% to 4.2%, which meant extra money in the pockets of the American people and, ultimately, the marketplace. It was designed to help boost the economy.

That tax cut expired on December 31, 2012. The change back to a 6.2% Social Security payroll tax rate took place immediately. If your most recent paycheck seemed lacking, that’s why."

I'm not saying the tax shouldn't have gone back up, it was after all a temporary measure that was meant to be one year and it was extended out to two years.  However, the way this was portrayed in the media and by politicians left a bit to be desired.  But I guess that's my bad for not paying closer attention. 

Just wanted to make you aware of that in case you were wondering why your paycheck went down.  For the average American household earning $50,000 per year, the expired Social Security tax cut is essentially a $1000 pay cut. That works out to roughly $40 every two weeks.

Check out the post from Dave Ramsey for a full breakdown and some suggestions on how to overcome the shortfall.  

Were you aware of the 2% decrease in pay as a result of reverting the tax back to 2011 levels?  Do you have any plans to cut back given the 2% decrease in income?   Curious to hear your take. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Green" Fruit Smoothie














I mentioned that after recently traveling to ATL to visit my family, that Jen was pushing Green Fruit Smoothies when I was there.  I love fruit smoothies, Rockin Raspberry from Tropical Smoothie is my favorite, but I thought it was quite interesting to put in leafy green spinach leaves and other stuff as well.

I love fruit, but even when we buy it pre-cut at Publix, most times it will not get fully eaten.  The green fruit smoothie tasted great and I liked the idea you can just sip it on the go.  So we signed up for a Costco membership to get some less expensive produce and fruits to get started on some of our own. 

You do not have to follow Jen's recipe to a T, feel free to experiment like I have been.  We got the 4lb Three Frozen Berry Mix from Costco, which has Raspberries, Blackberries and Blueberries.  Those are all supposed to be very good for you, high in anti-oxidants and normally I wouldn't eat Blackberries or Blueberries individually, but they work great in the smoothie.  I thought there were Strawberries in there too, but I was wrong.  So I'd suggest getting a bag of those as well.

But here is what I put in, all rough estimates.


















2 cups Costco frozen raspberry/blackberry/blueberry mix blend
1 banana
Handful of spinach leaves
2 TBSP flaxseed meal
Small amount of milk
About 6 cubes of ice and a little water to thin it out

With the 3 dark berry mix, mine doesn't come close to being green and neither did Jen's, but it is still a nice healthy "green" smoothie.  No extra sugar or additives and most importantly it tastes good.

Of course, it will need to be convenient to continue and here's how I accomplished that.  If I had to pull out the blender each time or had a big cleanup effort, the idea would fail.  So I now keep the blender out on the counter and each morning I prepare a smoothie in less than 5 minutes and put it in a big plastic cup and I'm on my way out the door.  I drink it on the drive in to work and then I bring the cup back inside when I get home.  The key for me is rinsing out the blender right after pouring the smoothie.  That way, the mix doesn't get caked to the side, making it difficult to clean.  You just rinse it out right away, clean it out and put it back on the stand.  All ready for the next day! 

And if possible, try to get straws with a large opening to make it easier to slurp down.  Or you can just add a little extra water or let it sit for a minute or two.  But even with a regular bendy straw and drinking it right away, I was able to finish about 24oz on my approx 30 minute drive to work, so no biggie either way.   

I'm not drinking the smoothie as a way to lose weight or anything, more just to get in daily servings of fruit and vegetables in an easy/tasty way.  I plan to possibly add in some Whey protein eventually in my quest to put on 10 lbs this year.  Will see how that works, I'll be looking for a tasteless Whey supplement soon, if you have suggestions let me know. 

Do you have a great tasting smoothie recipe or any specific tips?  Please drop a comment below and share the wealth! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Past Week Update


















It's been a bit quiet here since the visit with my nephew Max and family in ATL, so I wanted to put out a quick update. 

We've been giving extra attention to our kitty Poker who has had Cardiomyopathy for the past few years.  His condition has gotten worse over the last few weeks and after a visit to the vet we up'd his medication in hopes that it will help get him back to his normal self.  So far we haven't had a lot of luck, so I wanted to ask for some positive thoughts and prayers for Poker!  Thank you ahead of time!

On the plus side, the weather has been absolutely beautiful for the last several days, with temps around 80 degrees.  It sure feels like Summer, or at least Spring.  We did the propane tank exchange and fired up the grill for the first time in 2013.  

I've been fighting a cold since my return from ATL, but I've been taking it easy and enjoying a few healthy fruit smoothies.  My sister Jen was into Green Fruit Smoothies when I was there and they were very good and we've been making some of our own.  I've been trying different combinations and so far so good.  We're supposed to get a closing date on the sale of our old house early this week, so that is welcome news. 

But most importantly, we need to get Poker back to health!  Hope everyone has a great week!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Visit With Max!














I was very glad that I had to travel to Atlanta for work right after the holidays because I got to see Max!  And of course Jen, David, Mom, MOLLY and their new home as well!  Just realized I didn't bring a house warming gift, sorry about that...I guess painting Max's closet will have to count.  I was all focused on seeing Max! 

Max is in that fun stage where he's very curious, exploring everything and learning.  And he likes to dance as well, as you'll see in the video at the bottom!  He really shakes his booty!

Max loves to make faces as you can see.  Fish lips!
We got to play a lot with his new toys and the musical table toy that we got him is really amazing.  I would says it is a definite must have item for a child around 10-16 months of age. That thing has so many different variations and sounds/music and he really loves it.  He pulls himself right up and hits all the buttons and starts dancing.

He also enjoys his push car buggy.  He loves to be pushed around and as soon as you strap him in he puts his hands on the wheel and even make noises like either a vroooom or a monster grrr noise, not exactly sure which, but he has a good time.  Thanks to Jen for suggesting those as possible gifts, great choices!

Here are some of the best pictures/video from the trip.  Hope to see him again soon as well as our little niece Hadley!

Such a happy boy, ready for a ride in the push buggy!
He loves Molly and she is so good with him!
Molly!
He's got his own remote control
Fun in the tunnel!
Max helping me replace the batteries.
Disco Fever!

video

Max crawling

video

Max and Molly

video

Fun in the tunnel

video

Dancing Max

Thank you and goodnight!!!!  :o)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Paying it Forward - More Examples














So far I'm super excited about the 2013 Year of Kindness for a few reasons.  For one, it feels good to focus more on being kind and potentially making someone's day.  The second reason is seeing all of you out there doing your own acts of kindness and watching things snowball!

I really enjoy seeing the reports and I think others really do also and it really does inspire others to do more.  For that reason, here is the report from Jen S from her Pay It Forward trip across the country for the holidays.  Jen and her husband Bob decided to forgo their own Xmas gifts to Pay It Forward along the way for their long drive across the country for the holidays.  Great job guys, truly an inspiration!

Also be sure to sure to like our Facebook page to receive updates on individual acts as they occur or are emailed to me.  Keep em coming by either posting them yourself or email me to chris"@"thepathtoriches.com and I can either include your name or just post the act of kindness anonymously.  Thanks and let's keep it rolling, great job everyone!

Pay It Forward Cross Country Trip by Jen S

To condense, here is what we did, and I can't remember which state each recipent was in. I put gift cards inside greeting cards and wrote in each one "Hi random stranger! We just wanted to spread some cheer to folks we don't even know. Merry Christmas to you and yours!"
  • 15 gift card to Burger King to a Navy officer in uniform. He held the door open for me, I handed him the card and thanked him for his service. He politely said "Thank you, Ma'am" and I bolted before he opened the card.
  • $10 Target gift card to a woman as she was walking into a Target store.
  • $15 gift card to McDonalds to an elderly couple sharing coffee at McDonald's. Also, 2 other $10 McDonald's gift cards that I handed to 2 men standing in line waiting to order.
  • $15 Wendy's gift card to a younger couple with a little girl, approximately 4 years old.
  • We give out the gift cards and cash right before we head out the door so we never look back to see reactions but I hope the cards made folks happy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 - Year of Kindness













After being inspired by the kindness exhibited by so many in the wake of the terrible tragedy of the Fallen West Webster Firefighters as well as Ann Curry's 26 Acts of kindness as a result of the Sandy Hook elementary school tragedy, I've decided to dedicate 2013 as the Year of Kindness and hope to inspire others to do the same!   I really think it works best when you see examples of others doing acts of kindness, so I will share a few recent examples from our own lives to get things started.  

Just this past weekend I have seen so many acts of kindness online from folks paying for rooms for firefighters visiting from out of town to attend this weekend's services to people giving food gift cards, donating cases of water, providing hand warmers for those waiting outside in the cold, paying for airfare, driving to neighboring cities to pick up individuals without transportation, monetary donations, people volunteering their time, paying for dinner of first responders out at area restaurants, providing coffee/donuts, etc etc etc.  The list goes on and on.

That is what inspired me to put together a donation challenge, which resulted in over $400 going to a memorial fund to the family and children of one of the fallen firefighters.  Thanks again to all that participated!  It made me feel good to help, but made me feel better to have others join in. 

When you change your attitude to one of kindness and giving, it changes your whole outlook.  For instance, when we went to the mall to return something on Saturday, we were waiting for the spot of someone pulling out and had our signal on.  After he was almost out, someone came around the corner from another aisle and was about to pull in, it was clearly my spot to take and normally I'd slide right in, but that time I waived her on in.  Despite the fact that she had a very angry look on her face when she realized I was already there waiting for the spot, it made me feel good to let her have it and it didn't cost a thing!

And you don't have to go far to get started.  After getting home and having dinner, I was motivated to actually put away the dishes, load them up and store the leftovers.  These may be normal activities for most folks, but the wifey spoils me when it comes to the kitchen.  She's a great cook and since we moved in August and based on the fact that I had to ask her where several items go, I'm pretty sure I haven't loaded/unloaded the dishwasher yet.  I know, I know, bad husband.  But based on the change in attitude and the fact that she had broken her weekend cooking strike to make chili, I was motivated to do an act of kindness at home as well and it was appreciated.  

The wifey mentioned just the other day that two weeks ago when she was ordering a hot dog for lunch, she ordered an extra and gave it to a homeless person close by and he was very appreciative.  She also provided a gift card to a co-worker that is a single mom with 3 children for the holidays.  Additionally she always gets very thoughful gifts for co-workers, contributes towards group gifts for some that cannot afford or choose not to contribute and goes the extra mile to help smooth confrontations in her office to keep the peace. 

Those are just some recent examples from our personal lives.  I also spent a good amount of time on the 26 Acts Facebook page and also looked at a bunch more examples on her NBCnews article explaining the origin of the idea.  I needed some new ideas myself and will include a few more examples below that I liked and could see myself trying out.  

What I'd really like are some more examples from you guys.  I just got an email from my sister Jen that they just returned (yesterday) from delivering a few dozen donuts to the FireStation that a close friend of her husband works at.  Great job and so excited to see more acts of kindness underway!

To get things started I included some picture examples that I liked below from those that Ann Curry posted. 

Since many of us are new to this idea, I'm really looking for fun/creative ideas that you've heard of or participated in.  I know Jen S will have a bunch of ideas, cause she has been participating for quite a while.  On her recent trip across the country for the holidays, her plan was to forgo gifts for herself and her husband and instead pay it forward by paying for meals for others along the way, etc. 

I'm going to utilize the Path To Riches Facebook Page to post all acts of kindness.  So please, if you feel comfortable, share any acts of kindness that you do or witness on that page.  If you would like to remain anonymous, email me to chris"@"thepathtoriches.com or drop an anonymous comment on this post and I'll share them.  And if you can, include pictures.  I think the more we share, the more ideas other will get and it will have a snowball effect.  It's easy to feel generous around the holidays when you have a few extra days off and are in the festive mood, but through our efforts we'll keep it going through 2013 and beyond.  LET'S DO THIS!  




Cleaning the snow off of someone's car

Envelope left in a cart with $ or gift card and/or note




Paying for a meter ahead of time or putting change in an expire meter

 
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