Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Congratulations Wifey!


It has been a long, hard fought battle, but the wifey has completed her Bachelors degree in Health Sciences, from the University of West Florida!

So proud and excited!  It seems like she's been at it for a long time, because she has, but at the same time it seems like the end has come up quickly!

Due to some credits from her prior AA degree not transferring and some FL rules, she actually had to take a bunch of classes to get a FL AA degree first, so she actually now has two AA degrees and her Bachelors degree.

She started in the Summer of 2010 to get the new AA degree, then started at UWF in the Spring of 2012 and she took her last final!  Woot woot!

She did such a great job, she will be graduating with honors!

I was so impressed at how well she was able to focus and juggle her full time job and somewhere between 2-4 classes each semester, while still managing to find time to feed me and the kitties and not go insane!  :o)  We are all very grateful!

When I started to write this post a week ago, I originally said that now it's time to put that degree to good use and move on up in the world...Well, in the last week she has taken the world by storm and managed to interview for and land a new position as a medical office manager for a different office, within the same company she's been with the last 5+ years. 

That is the role that she has been preparing for over the last few years.  It is that next level up and one of the main reasons she was pursing her degree in the first place.   So excited, mostly because I know how hard she has worked and because it shows that all her hard work paid off!

The position sounds like a great fit, the doctors and director all really liked her (of course) and she did a great job at the interview, since they offered her the job the next day. She starts the new job sometime within the next 30 days.

Great job!!  So proud and glad to see she's being recognized for her efforts!  Yay wifey!  Here's to a great new start, for the upcoming New Year!

We're going to celebrate this coming weekend with a getaway to Universal Studios and she picked Emeril's Tchoup Chop restaurant for her celebratory dinner!  Can't wait!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Zombie Catchers - New iOS Game



Zombie Catchers is my favorite new game!  I noticed it was very popular and had great reviews for graphics and it's uniqueness in the App Store.  Unfortunately for all you Android folks out there, it is iOS only at the moment.

It is a game created by a new company called Two Men and a Dog and the company is made up of some former members of the Rovio team, creators of Angry Birds.

I can confirm that the graphics look great on the iPhone 6 Plus and the game play is quick and super fun.

Here's what it says on their site for a quick description of the game:

"Get ready to meet Bud and A.J., two intergalactic serial entrepreneurs on a mission to rid the world from this dreadful infestation. Using an arsenal of the latest advancements in zombie-catching technology, they plan to round up the zombies, with a juicy scheme in mind... Who said the zombie apocalypse couldn't be a lucrative business opportunity?"

Check out the trailer...


Way cool, definitely a fun game, try it out!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Halloween Weekend Fun

Over the Halloween weekend, we went up to Atlanta to hang with the family, take in some of the fall leaves and cooler temps and watch the little ones trick or treat.

Unfortunately everyone either had been sick just before, was sick during or got sick after, but that didn't stop us from having fun.

Here are some highlight pics, good times!
Great smile on Hadley!
Max has some interesting faces!
Fun with pumpkins and kiddos
Max, Hadley and Colette ready to go trick or treating
Wifey and I at Tallulah Gorge State Park
Falls and colorful leaves at Tallulah George State Park
Horse dressed up like a Zebra for Halloween in Helen GA
Colette is a very smiley baby!
Big family photo of everyone that lives there or was there visiting!
Another interesting face from Max!
The kiddos were very cute together, at times.  ;)
Maddie snuggled up all the time
Max and Molly
Our roommate Bella
Colette just hanging out
We hit up George Pierce Park on the way out real quick, nice colors/reflection
Great fall colors!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New iPhone 6 Plus - First Impressions
















At long last, we finally have our new iPhone 6 Plus phones!  I have to say I really like the larger size and I definitely think we chose the best iPhone 6 Plus cases and screen protectors as well. More on those towards the bottom of this post.

New iPhone 6 Plus Phones Received (Finally)

My wife and I each ordered the 64GB iPhone 6 Plus in Silver (White) on the release date, from our local Verizon store and received them yesterday.  That was about a week and a half past our estimated arrival date.

A few people came in wanting to get new iPhones while we were there and Verizon still does not have any 6 or 6 Pluses in inventory, other than those arriving for customers that pre-ordered.   

Verizon had a trade-in deal at the time that we pre-ordered, giving us $200 for each of our iPhone 5 phones, but due to overwhelming demand, the company that was paying that much for the phones ran out of funds, so we have to do things slightly different.

Verizon is still honoring the $200 if you signed up during the special promo, but if you wanted, you could instead trade them in at the Verizon store for I think $120 or something through that original company.  No thanks.  So we will be sent a prepaid mailer and we just have to drop the phones in the mailer and in 2 weeks, Verizon provides a $200 Visa gift card for each phone. That'll work. 

Having had the new iPhones in our hands since last evening, I have to say I really do like the larger size!  It is crazy how small our old phones look next to them.

The iPhone 6 is a great size as well, I checked out the 6 that my mom/sister have over the weekend and they are definitely bigger than the 5, but for us, we figured if we were going to spend the $ on the upgrade, we wanted something completely different.

Favorite part so far, is a combo of the larger screen/type, making everything so much more clear and easier to see/read and the thumbprint for unlocking and doing other things like authorizing app downloads in the App Store.  I really like not having to type in my iTunes password every time I want to download a new app.

As far as one handed operations go, I am able to utilize the phone with one hand for surfing the web and using apps like Flipboard and other news related apps.  When it comes to typing emails, I definitely use two hands, but I did before as well.  It is certainly easier to utilize two hands in most cases, but this is not as much of an issue as I expected it to be, so I'm pleasantly surprised here.

Another thing I really like is watching YouTube videos that were recorded in HD, in landscape mode. The videos that take up the full screen really look so much larger and crisp, compared to the iPhone 5.  I'm definitely looking forward to exploring there a bit more, possibly trying out some streaming TV shows or some full HD movies. 

So far in the limited time we've had the phones, the only downside is the fact that since it is so new, I do find that I'm very conscious and careful with it, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. 

Best iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Cases and Screen Protectors

Along those same lines, before we ventured out into the real world with our phones, we both wanted to make sure our shiny new phones were protected.

We both ordered cases and I ordered screen protectors as well, prior to receiving the phones.  As such, we were hoping they would fit well and meet out expectations and I have to say they far exceeded our expectations and we're quite impressed!















The wifey keeps hers in her purse quite often and she is a bit more prone to banging it around, so she went with the i-Blason Armorbox iPhone 6 Plus case, in pink of course.  It is kinda like the Otterbox, with a much smaller and lighter form factor.  She had the Otterbox on her iPhone 5 and prefers the overall look and feel on the i-Blason much better.


















I went with the Spigen Crystal Clear iPhone 6 Plus case.  It is very minimalist and it really shows off the great looks of the phone, while still providing great protection.

What I really like is that it compliments and actually enhances the phone so well. The camera on both of the new iPhone 6 models protrudes from the back of the phone a bit.  This case adds just enough of a lip that the camera is now slightly sunken in so that if you set your phone on it's back, it will lie flat and the camera glass is no longer in danger of getting scratched.

The switch for the sound on/off, headphone jack, lightning cable and speaker are exposed, while the power button and the volume up/down buttons are concealed behind plastic.  It is designed really well though, because when you press the power button or the up/down volume buttons, they click slightly and it just feels nice.  You do not have to exert a lot of pressure at all.

One quick thing to note, with the Spigen case, the case comes with protective film on BOTH sides of the plastic case to protect the case from scratches during shipping.  You need to remove that film from both sides, after taking the case out of the package.

It is very difficult to see that the film is on there and it takes either a sharp fingernail or what I ended up doing was carefully using one of the blades from some tiny scissors to peel it off, being careful not to scratch the case. After removing the protective film, the case was crystal clear, without a scratch as you would expect to see.
 



















Both the i-Blason and the Spigen cases come in a large variety of color combinations as well.



















The wife's case comes with a built-in screen protector, so she didn't need a separate one, but I purchased the iSmooth iPhone 6 Plus HD - Ultra Clear Screen Protectors. I used the iSmooth screen protectors for our iPhone 5 devices over the last two years.  The company rocks, they provide a lifetime guarantee and when I scratched one a year or so ago, they sent me out a new pack right away!

They are great.  I am SUPER particular about not having ANY bubbles on my screen.  I want it to look 100% like there isn't even a screen protector on there and following their quick install video, I was able to accomplish that without ruining a single one.  Each pack comes with 3 screen protectors, just in case.  Here is the install video for the 6, it's the same process for the 6 Plus.



We were visiting family over the weekend and I had them order these screen protectors before we got there, so I could install them on their new iPhones as well.  They were shocked how great they looked and not a single bubble.

I always do what the company recommends in the video, which is to install the screen protectors in a bathroom with the shower running.  The reason for that is the moisture takes most of the dirt out of the air, so be sure to allow the water to run for a minute or two before installing the screen protector.  I like to run the water very warm, but not hot enough to cause condensation to form on the screen/protectors themselves.

Inside the packages there are dust removal stickers as well.  I had no idea what these were for, until watching the video last weekend.  It is a super simple way to get out any dust particles and that is what allowed me to get the screen protectors on 3 iPhone 6 devices and 2 iPhone 6 Plus devices without ruining a single one.

Prior to knowing what the dust removal stickers were for, I would always get a few dust bubbles or hairs in there and just toss it and use another.  Now, there is no need to do that!  I got high fives all around for how great they went on, without a single bubble on any of the devices.  I even got a text from my brother-in-law the next day, saying how impressed he was with the results.

So if you're put off by the idea of using a screen protector because you don't want any bubbles or anything to distract from the look of your screen, there is no need to worry.  You won't even know the screen protector is there, it doesn't modify the look of your home screen at all, it is 100% clear and you honestly won't even know it is there.

One thing to note is that the screen protector doesn't go all the way to the edge of the device, because as you get closer to the edge, the corners of the new phones are rounded.  But it does cover the full screen area on the face of the phone and goes as close to the edges as possible.

If you have any questions at all about the i-Blason Armorbox iPhone 6 Plus case, Spigen iPhone 6 Plus case, Spigen iPhone 6 case or the iSmooth iPhone 6 and 6 Plus screen protectors, let me know.  Between myself, my wife and immediate family, 6 of us have either the 6 or the 6 Plus phones and we all utilize those cases and screen protectors and as Tony the Tiger says...they'errrrrrr grrrrrrrrrrrreat!

Conclusion

All in all, we have no regret at all getting the larger iPhone 6 Plus models so far and we're really looking forward to learning how to take full advantage of what the phones have to offer! 

An added bonus, this time around there is already a jailbreak available for iOS 8.1!  When we got the iPhone 5 it was more than 6 months before a jailbreak was available for iOS 6, so if you're into that sort of thing, definitely check out that link for full details.  The only downside is that it sounds like the next iOS update, 8.1.1, will plug holes that allow the jailbreak to work.  So if you want to jailbreak, stay on iOS 8.1.

Did you upgrade to the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus?  What are your favorite features?  Any tips/tricks to share?  Please drop a comment below and let us know!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy National Kitty Day!

Today is National Kitty Day, which is great because I happen to be working from home today, so I get to hang out with my boys!  Here are some recent pictures of our fuzzy kids.

Buddy LOVES to watch bird videos on the tablet
Best friends
Monkey likes to sit on my lap on work from home days
These two always like to be touching when they sleep
Chillin' Al Bundy style
Monkey!

Friday, September 19, 2014

iPhone 6 / 6 Plus - First Day Excitement!

 
 
Ok, I have to admit, I got a bit wrapped up in the iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus excitement today!

My wife and I both have the iPhone 5 and we pre-ordered those two years ago and got them on the day of release, which is today for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

We did not do any pre-ordering for the iPhone 6 because we wanted to get our hands on the new devices first, to really see with our own eyes just how much larger they are than our existing phones and we weren't even sure if we would upgrade right now.

The thing was that through Verizon, we could trade-in our existing devices for $200 each and they were also offering an additional 1GB of data for free for each phone, when upgrading to a new device.  So that was constantly in the back of my mind, since that wasn't guaranteed to last longer than a few weeks.

I had no plans to really do anything iPhone related today, other than keep an eye on the hype for fun, but that changed around 9am.

I got to talking to my sisters back and forth via email and one had pre-ordered the 6, the other the 6 Plus and my mom got a 6.  The 6 Plus is the bigger one and it is backordered by a few weeks.

I suddenly really wanted to get them in my hands to check them out and really wanted to see them both side by side.  The hard part would be finding an elusive 6 Plus.

I started out the day hitting the local Verizon store about a mile down the road.  There was no line and no waiting, good sign.  Walked right in and was helped right away.  Unfortunately, they did not have any display models to check out, but they did have a few of the regular 6 with the larger 64GB/128GB storage.

I gotta admit, I was tempted.  I emailed the wifey at her work email and usually she gets back to me right away, but nada after 5 mins or so.  I decided to check out Staples, since online it said they will have them, but no dice at my local store, they said they don't carry smartphones. So I went back home.

At lunch time, the wifey said she never got the specific email on the topic of the iPhone 6, but had received the other messages I sent before and after.  Very weird, that hasn't happened before, so I guess that happened for a reason, I wasn't meant to get the 6.

At lunch time I decided to head to the Apple store and whew, the line was about 100 people deep snaking around the inside of the store and half way around the block.  Luckily, we were there yesterday to get the wifey's battery replaced for free under a recent recall type thing and the guy said if you just want to check them out tomorrow, avoid any lines and just come on in, so I did.



They had a ton of both the 6 and 6 Plus on display to touch and feel, which was way cool.  You could compare them side by side and they even had a long enough security cable that I could drop em in my pocket, which I did. The 6 is on the left and 6 Plus on the right, it's a bit easier to see the difference in the comparison pic at the top. 

Much to my surprise, the iPhone 6 Plus dropped right in my shorts pocket, which isn't as deep as my pocket would be in khaki pants or jeans.  That was pretty much the deciding factor for me.  I really liked the bigger screen, since like TVs, bigger is always better, but what I thought would feel too big and bulky was not.

Of course a 3 minute hands on evaluation is by no means an exhaustive, scientific test, but it was enough for me to do an about face and want to pull the trigger.

I'm sure the device will end up being bigger than expected in some situations and will take a bit of getting used to and there will be times when I say it is a bit too big, but just in the few minutes I had it in my hand, it seemed like the right choice.  When I went back to my phone to post some pictures of the new devices, my phone seemed so tiny in comparison.

Unfortunately, there were no 6 Plus devices available, as I assumed. Best Buy was on the way home, so I stopped there and they had 1 Plus on display and I had a bit more fun and talked to a few of the guys checking it out, but none available.  I asked them if it was possible to order one there and get the Verizon trade-in deal when it arrives, but they said no.

I decided to stop back at Verizon on the way home, to see if it was possible to do an order now/trade-in later deal through them directly and after a phone call or two, he said yes.  We can order the Plus phones now, lock in the $200 trade-in price and get the additional 1GB of data per line.  Sweet...done deal. 

So they are now on order, 2 - iPhone 6 Plus phones in Silver with 64GB of storage.  Only downside is the arrival date isn't until a month from now.  Oct 24th to be exact, but he said it could be sooner if they ramp up production. That gives some time for the iOS 8 kinks to get worked out and some time for the anticipation and excitement to build!

I've already helped my mom pick out a great, inexpensive case for the iPhone 6 and have some screen protectors and a case for the 6 Plus in my cart! The wifey said she is probably going to go with this one, of course it's pink.

The good thing is that all existing cables and chargers will still work and the car mount that we both have (and love) will still work great as well! 

Can't wait!  Did you end up pre-ordering?  Get your new device today?  If so how is it so far?  If not, excited, frustrated?  Drop me a comment below and best of luck with your new device, for all those early adopters out there!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

iPhone 6, 6 Plus, Apple Pay and Apple Watch












It was quite the busy day of announcements at Apple's live event today!

As expected, they released details and naming for the new iPhone 6 devices and the new built in payment processing system, Apple Pay.

They also released lots of details about the new wearable, which is now called the Apple Watch.

iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus Details

The new iPhone 6 has a larger, 4.7 inch screen.  In comparison the iPhone 5 models are 4 inches.  The price will be $199 for the 16GB version, $299 for 64GB and $399 for 128GB.

Thanks to Jen S for the comment below about the possibility of free upgrades for prior iPhone devices to the iPhone 6.  This is with a new 2 year contract for those eligible on Verizon, but it looks like other carriers are trying to match or beat that deal as well.  Check out this CNet article for some further details.

The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5 inch screen. The price will be $299 for 16GB, $399 for 64GB and $499 for the 128GB version.

Both phones will be available for pre-order this Friday, September 12th and will be released on Friday, September 19th.

Both come in Silver, Gold and Space Gray.  

Apple also dropped the prices on its older iPhone models, the iPhone 5S is now $99 and the 8GB 5C is free. All prices above require a new two-year customer agreement.

Existing iPhone Device Comparison
Official iPhone 6 Page

Apple Pay

Apple Pay was announced at the event, which utilizes NFC technology built into the phone, to allow proximity payment using TouchID. Leave your wallet and credit cards at home and pay by phone.

Official Apple Pay Page

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch will be available in early 2015, for a starting price of $349.  It was marketed as a lifestyle improving device and it comes in many shapes, sizes and colors.  It contains a built in heart rate monitor and full fitness tracking capabilities.  It will require an iPhone to operate.

Official Apple Watch Page

iOS 8

The new iPhones will come pre-installed with iOS 8.  I haven't yet had a chance to dig in and see what all that encompasses, but here is a full iOS 8 breakdown.

iOS 8 requires an iPhone 4S or newer device and it will be available September 17th for download.

iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus Comparison to Samsung / LG

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will probably be the phone that most folks compare the iPhone 6 to, so here is a full detailed comparison.

Here is a comparison of the "phablet" class of phones, since the iPhone 6 Plus at 5.5 inches falls directly in that category.  That article compares the iPhone 6 Plus, Galaxy Note 4 and LG G3.

Apple September 9th Keynote Presentation Replay

Here is the full keynote presentation replay.

Conclusion

I joined the live presentation a bit late today, so I only got to see the Apple Watch portion. There are already a lot of wearables that function similarly, but no one call sell a device like Apple, it was a great presentation.

I think big fans of Apple products will buy the Apple Watch.  Since it requires an iPhone and starts at $349, I think it will be a tough sell to most folks just looking for a cool fitness tracker.

Personally, it was much cooler than I thought it would be, but I just don't see the need to spend that much when you have the phone in your pocket and you can add a great fitness tracker like the FitBit for $99.  And I'm not a big watch person either.

I think Apple did the smart thing and released the new iPhone 6 with 16GB at the same $199 price that most everyone is used to for a new iPhone.  In that aspect, it is a no-brainer for anyone in need of updating that just wants the latest version with more horsepower and larger screen.

The main question I see is what size.  Without having the device in our hands, it's easy to say go big!  But I think the 5.5 screen size may be a bit large for a pocket.  I have a friend who's wife went with one of the Galaxy Note phablets of that size and she returned it within a week.  It was just to big and bulky to utilize as a phone.

I was really hoping for a phone more in the 4.8-5.0 range, 4.7 will probably be fine for most people, but I would definitely like to get the iPhone 6 Plus in my hands and in my pocket to get a better feel for the device.

My wife and I have the iPhone 5 and mine was replaced (with some persuasive help from my brother-in law) after about 18 months due to a black blob appearing on all of my pictures, so mine is still pretty new.

My wife's phone is part of the recent free battery replacement program and as such, she will have a new battery in her phone real soon, so we have no urgent need to upgrade. 

However, I know my relatives will probably be jumping in on the iPhone 6 action, so I'm looking forward to hearing their take and seeing how they work.

What are your thoughts an opinions?  Gonna jump on in head first, or give it some time for the dust to settle? Drop me a comment and let me know!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Andre Reed - Inducted Into the Hall of Fame



As a life-long Buffalo Bills fan, I wanted to give a huge shout-out to my man, number 83 Andre Reed for FINALLY making it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame over the weekend!  Congratulations!


It was a long time coming, but we all knew it was just a matter of time.

You are one of my favorite players of all time and I still have my original #83 jersey from way back in the day and wear it proudly on game day!


It was great to see you catch the ball from Jim, for old times sake, on stage at the HOF ceremony. Hope it provides a spark to the team kicking off the season tonight in the Hall of Fame game and for the rest of the season!

Let's Go Buffalo...The Bills make me wanna SHOUT! 


Monday, June 30, 2014

Dr Elsey Precious Cat Ultra - Free Shipping













This is a quick update for anyone that utilizes Dr Elsey Precious Cat Ultra Litter, that I mentioned in this post previously and in my YouTube video here.

Amazon now offers the litter for the same price that you can get locally at places like PetSmart and it ships free for orders over $35 or free two day shipping for anyone with Amazon Prime!

That is an awesome deal, especially since the bag weighs 40 lbs.  That is a complete no brainer.  And if you are lucky enough to be in a state with no sales tax on Amazon purchases, it is an even better deal!

It is the #1 Best Selling product in Pet Supplies on Amazon for a reason.  That stuff works great.  There is hardly any litter dust (99.9% dust free), it is hypo-allergenic, the litter scoops very well and it does a great job of covering pet waste odor. 

Check out the other awesome reviews on Amazon and be sure to print out the rebate form to get your first purchase of Dr Elsey Precious Cat Ultra absolutely free.

Enjoy!



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Weekend Visit to the ATL

The wifey and I went up to Atlanta to visit the family last Thurs-Sunday and had a great time!

Uncle Chris Pileup!  Aww...
My sister Jen had a new baby girl, Colette (below) on June 7th and we used that as an excellent excuse to take a long weekend getaway.

Very alert for only 2 weeks old!
My sister Michelle and her husband James were also there with niece Hadley and doggie Maddie, so we got to see everyone all at one time, which is always fun!

We went out to dinner at our favorite Italian place close to them (Ippolito's) shortly after we arrived on Thursday evening.

Before
During/after, but nothing the long sleeve bib can't handle!
We then stopped by the Splash park that just across the way...



Friday we did some playing outside and had a party with some more relatives Friday evening.


David mowed the lawn and Max always loves to "help" daddy mow the grass.


Saturday morning Michelle/James/Hadley and dog Maddie headed back home, luckily she had her new airplane toy we got her, cause she wasn't being a happy camper before that, from what we heard. 


Saturday afternoon the wifey and I headed to Chateau Elan Winery for a little mini-getaway within the larger getaway!




We had a gift certificate from our recent 10 year anniversary that the wifey's sister/brother-in-law got us and it was only 20 mins from where my sister lives.

That was a really great place.  We did a winery tour at 5pm with some sampling after, purchased a few bottles to take home and did dinner at their Irish Pub Restaurant and then played some pool and had some more wine in their lounge.

Then on Sunday, we headed back to Jens to hang for a bit more and I was left to watch Max solo for a bit and we had some outdoor water fun.  It might not be normal activity to let Max play on/in his water table with his pajamas on, but that's what fun Uncle Chris is for!  Check out the video at the bottom to see just how much fun he was having!


Be sure to check out the rest of the random pics and videos below. Good times!

Hanging with Hadley in the DSW shoe store
Hadley was doing a funny/weird close her eyes thing while eating
Kiddo-Selfie
Always safety first!
Hadley contemplating life
Watching a movie on the iPad with GiGi
Colette excited to be hanging out solo with Uncle Chris!
Hadley and Max.  Max was playing with the new bubble leaf blower we got him.

Sorry on the small videos, I apparently don't know how to properly upload videos in a larger/zoomed in size on Blogger.  You can click the enlarge button to get a better view. 

video
Super Hero, Save the Day!

video
Being Silly While Eatin'

video
His laugh is just too funny!

 
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