Monday, July 30, 2012

Latest iPhone 5 Photos and Launch Date

With the iPhone 5 probably getting close to full production, some new photos were posted by iLab Factory before being picked up by 9to5 Mac and finally they're shown here below.  They appear to be pretty close to what we can expect on release day, which is still believed to be October.

If you click the pictures to enlarge them, you'll notice the new smaller connector that is rumored to be replacing their current proprietary connector on the bottom.  You can also see what looks like a headphone jack, which is why they supposedly needed to make the connector smaller.

What do you think?  It's not radically different, but it looks nice.  I like it.  I was hoping for a little more of a streamlined look, similar to those shown in my prior post, but this would work fine.

And just today I saw another article from iMore that said this:  "iMore has learned that Apple is planning to debut the new iPhone at a special event on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, with the release date to follow 9 days later on Friday, September 21. This information comes from sources who have proven accurate in the past."

That's very cool, looks like the wait will soon be over. 

I'm curious, what do you think about the latest news?  Any plans to order right away or will you wait a bit?  What do you think about the headphone jack being on the bottom?  I'm used to having it on the top of my current phone, but I could see that if you use it with any sort of car dock it would probably be better to have it on the bottom. Let me know your thoughts!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Big Brother 14 - Willie Hantz Drama and More!

I reserved judgement on the new season of Big Brother until after I saw few episodes and am glad I did.  The first episode left me feeling a bit indifferent.  I wasn't a big fan of the 4 coaches from prior seasons being brought in.

I figured that would completely mess with the traditional alliances and throw the whole game off.  But after watching for 2 weeks now, I'm cool with the changes.  Having the coaches compete in their own competition, with the winner being able to keep one player safe or swap a player adds an interesting twist.

Spoiler Alert:  If you have not seen all of the episodes up to now, be aware the rest of this post may contain spoilers.
Willie Hantz and Joe
Willie Hantz, the brother of the famous Survivor player Russell, is now gone due to his confrontation with Joe, which I think is good for the house overall, but bad for ratings probably.  He certainly hasn't gone away quietly.  He apparently got into a battle of words with former player Evel Dick on Twitter...

When a fan tells Dick that she’d love to see a future “Big Brother” that pitted Dick against Willie (“Big Brother 15: Season of the Phallic Names?”), Evel Dick wasn’t up for the challenge.

“Willie sucked... handed HOH and self evicted before even POV was played... why would I bother?” wrote Dick.

Dick tweeted that comment to Willie, who then responded with his own insult.

“[Dick] quit cause of withdrawals. I got kicked off for checking a punk. So stop with the comparisons. Thanks”

“Go choke on a fat **** willie,” tweeted Dick. “You couldn't hang when Janelle made you her b**** and fed you dog food … When the going get tough the p****** self evict,” added Dick.

Willie also got into a Twitter fight with Alex Stein (who?) from the Glass House show, but that was most likely just to draw attention to that show since no one is watching.

Willie Hantz mug shot
And as I was typing this, I got an email from one of my sisters with a link to Willie getting arrested last night and being charged with Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI).  No shortage of drama surrounding him. 

Shane and Frank
As far as the remaining players in the game, I definitely think Frank is one of the strongest players both competition wise and personality wise, but he does have a bit of a target on his back being on Mike Boogie's team. 

Shane is also a very strong competitor and I like his game play.  He is playing both sides, trying to align with Frank, while also keeping that info from his coach and the rest of his team.  I think as long as none of that comes to light, he's making good strategic moves.

Ashley and Jenn
I think the stealth, under the radar players are Jenn and Ashley.  Jenn does not get a lot of TV time, so that's probably why I say that.  I don't think anyone has mentioned her name and she really hasn't created any waves in the house.  She may be one that makes it pretty far in the game without much effort.  Ashley is the bubble head that is terrible at competitions, so I think she will fly under the radar for a while as well. 

If I had to pick someone that I WANT to win the game it would be Frank, but I have a feeling it might be Shane that beats him out.  The under the radar player that I think will make it the longest will be Jenn.  The coach that I think will make it to the end is Janelle.

Now after watching Thursday night's episode, we get to vote on if we want to let the coaches compete with the players.  Hmm...that potentially changes everything once again.  I don't think that is fair to the players, but I think America will say yes.   I will be voting no.  FYI, you can vote up to 10 times per person.  Just keep clicking your vote until it says you've hit 10.  

What are your thoughts?  What do you think of the game so far and who do you want to win?  Who do you think will fly under the radar the longest?  Will you vote yes or no to let the coaches enter the game with the players?  Drop a comment below and let me know!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, July 23, 2012

Verizon vs ATT - Shared Data Plan Showdown

I talked about the Verizon shared data plan back in June.  Now we have the details on the AT&T plan to compare. The Verizon shared plan is available now, the ATT plan will be available in August.

My quick bottom line impression is that both plans are similarly priced.  Both plans include unlimited minutes / unlimited texting and shared data. 

The ATT plan is a bit more confusing since the price per phone varies depending on the amount of shared data chosen.  Also, ATT decided to go right from 1GB to 4GB, skipping 2GB altogether, as well as jumping to higher increments in the 10+ range.  Verizon goes from 1GB to 2GB and then adds 2GB at each step up, providing more options.

Check out the chart below, courtesy of  Droid Life.  You'll see that Verizon charges a flat rate of $40 per phone for each smartphone and the price only goes up as the shared data increases.  The ATT plan starts out at $45 per smartphone and the price per phone goes down as your data rate/price goes up.  So you'll need to truly plug in the numbers to compare prices between the carriers.

As an example, if you went with 2 smartphones and 1GB of shared data, ATT would be $45x2 + $40=$130 and Verizon would be $40x2 + $50=$130. 

If you had two smart phones and went with 4GB of shared date, then it would be $40x2 for the smartphones on both plans and then $70 for 4GB of shared data for a total of $150 plus taxes with either carrier.

So you can see, even with the different pricing models, the cost is the same at least at the 1GB and 4GB levels.  Things vary slightly at other data points.   

The bottom line is that, as expected, both plans are pretty comparable.  ATT has had over a month to take a look at what Verizon is offering and of course wouldn't want to put out plan offerings that differ all too much from their main competitor. 

There is no real reason to switch carriers based on differences in their shared data plans, unless perhaps you REALLY wanted to go with a 2GB shared plan on ATT and didn't want to pay a little extra to have 4GB instead, since 2GB isn't currently offered.

Of course you do NOT have to switch to a shared data plan with either carrier.  If you are a heavy user of minutes and text, the shared data plans probably make good sense.

For our two smartphone plan, we predominantly utilize data and hardly ever use minutes or out of network texts, so it would be about a $15 increase to convert over to shared data.  For that reason we will remain with a traditional plan.  Check out the numbers for yourself and see what you find.

Are you thinking about converting over to a shared plan?  Are you finding that you may end up saving $ doing so or are the unlimited talk/texts more a driving factor?  Let me know your thoughts!

Friday, July 20, 2012

And the winner is....

Jen W!  Congrats Jen the email gift card is on the way!  

The RaffleCopter app is pretty cool.  It captured all the entries and then when the contest was done, I just clicked a button and it randomly picked a winner.  It worked very well and I'd definitely recommend using the program if you'd like to do a giveaway on your own site!

Thank you to everyone that entered and I appreciate all the new readers/subscribers!  I plan to do more giveaways in the future, so stay tuned! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Last Chance - Amazon $20 Gift Card Giveaway!

You have up until tomorrow (Thursday) at midnight to enter to win a $20 gift card!  Your odds are VERY good, at last check there were only 23 entries!

And don't forget, there is one entry where you don't have to do a thing other than click a button to enter!  Of course you can increase your odds by subscribing to blog updates via email, subscribing via RSS feed, becoming a follower, adding this blog to your blogroll or liking us on Facebook.

Thanks again for your continued support and good luck to everyone that enters!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 16, 2012

Saving Money On Internet Access

The wife and I are preparing for an upcoming move and as part of that, we setup a transfer of service for the condo over the weekend.  More on the move later, but the bottom line is that I figured out an easy way to save some $ on internet access.

We utilize Comcast and I found out they charge $7 a month for the cable modem rental each month.  I was aware that they charge for modem rental, but wasn't aware how high the price is since your bill only shows the main rate, the rental is not shown separately.

You can avoid that rental charge altogether by purchasing your own cable modem.  That is something I should have done a long time ago, but better late than never.  If you are a Comcast customer you can check their list of internet approved devices.

I checked my bill to see what internet package that I have and it is referred to as 'Performance'.  I then clicked to show only Docsis 3.0 modems, which are the latest and greatest and will offer the best speed/performance and did a bunch of research on a few of them. 

I decided on the Motorola SB6120.  There is a newer version called the SB6121, but the reviews are mixed on that one.  The SB6120 seems to be the preferred one to go with on some related forums and based on reviews on Amazon as well. 

You can either go new on Amazon, or you can find them used on eBay, which is what I did.  I purchased one for $65 used on eBay and there is no tax and free expedited shipping.  For that price, it will pay for itself in just over 9 months and in month 10 and beyond, you'll be ahead of the game.  And on top of the savings, my current modem was a Docsis 2.0, the new one is 3.0, so that should result in increased speed as well.  Definitely well worth the effort in my opinion.

If you have ATT uVerse or another provider, do some online searches for supported cable modems for your service and I imagine there should be similar options.  Be sure to check with your provider for specifics. 

When I was on the phone with the Comcast rep I made sure that it was ok to swap out the rental modem with my own and she said yes, just call to switch things over to the new modem when you get it and bring the old one in and they'll take the $7/mo rental fee off your bill.

Good deal!  Also, if you haven't called to ask about current deals for your existing service, it's probably worth your while to do that.  I was able to get a good deal on an internet/HD DVR bundle, resulting in a savings of $40 a month for the first year and it would be $20 a month cheaper after that.  Good luck!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cow Appreciation Day!

Today, Friday the 13th of July is Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A!  Dress up in a full or partial cow costume and get free food today.  My little nephew Max was quite excited, even though he isn't old enough to enjoy some Chick-Fil-A just yet!  Please vote for him to win, how can you not, he's so darn cute!  :o)

P.S.  Don't forget to enter the $20 Amazon Gift card giveaway!  Less then a week left and don't forget I added an additional super easy way to get another entry just by clicking a button!  Right now you have a 1 in 17 chance of winning!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Google Plus Hangout - Nephew Max

Here is a fun picture of my nephew Max from a Google Hangout Video Chat last evening. Arrrrrr...this homemade baby food is terrrrrific!

He is just too cute and if you haven't ever tried the Google Hangout feature of Google Plus, you really need to!  It is so convenient and easy for group chats.

As a family, we have used it for multiple special occasions.  My sister Jen utilized it for her baby gender reveal party as shown below.

Me on the big screen on Google Hangout
We had 7 people/locations in total
To start your own hangout with friends or family, just follow the few easy steps here

It's super easy and everyone can hear and see everyone else in real time and you can click an individual person to have them be in the main window or you can let the software do it for you based on who is talking.  I like to manually pick the focus window, I find that having it change based on who is talking gets a bit hectic. 

The pirate hat and mustache on Max are part of the Google Effects tab you'll see along the top of the screen, it's pretty fun and there are lots of accessories and options to choose from. The software recognizes where your face is and the items remain on your face/head as you move around the screen.

You can also share your screen or certain application windows with others as well. 

I don't currently utilize Google + for the Facebook like features, but we definitely enjoy utilizing Google Hangout and I wanted to let you know about that in case you weren't aware!  The only current limitation is a max of 10 people at a time. 

They appear to be adding new features and functionality to it all the time and I just noticed that you can even broadcast and record your Google Hangout sessions with a feature called On-Air.  Pretty cool! 

Check out the video below to see highlights of a recorded Google Plus Hangout session with Conan O'Brien. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Guest Posts

If you are at all interested in guest posting on my blog, I'm definitely open to the idea.  There are certainly times when I don't have a lot to say and it would be helpful to have contributions from others to fill-in the gaps.

If I know you personally, I'd love to have you take over the blog for a day or be a regular contributor if interested.  Even if you'd just like to promote your own site or a particular product that you sell, definitely hit me up.  I'd be glad to help out!  Actually, I just thought of two Facebook friends that might like to promote their products.  I will reach out to them and see if they'd like to do a post. 

Oh and don't forget to enter to win the $20 Amazon Email Gift Card that I'm giving away!  I just added a freebie entry.  All you have to do is click the button and you'll be entered to win!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

I've been planning to do a giveaway for a while and today is the day to kick things off!  One lucky winner will receive a $20 Amazon email GiftCard!  Exciting right?! 

I truly appreciate everyone that stops by my blog.  I also greatly appreciate anyone that goes the extra mile to subscribe to blog updates via email, subscribe via RSS feed, become a follower, add this blog to their blogroll or like us on Facebook.

So here is how it's going to work...

The giveaway will be open today thru Thursday, July 19th at midnight and I will pick a winner two weeks from today.  My wife and I are excluded, but everyone else is eligible to win!

Each person will receive 1 entry for each of the 5 items in bold that I mentioned above.  I also added a bonus free entry which you can claim just by clicking a button.  So the maximum total entries per person is 6.  I will be utilizing Rafflecopter to help organize the entries and to choose a winner. 

Many of you have already done several of the items I mentioned, thanks!  If so, just mark them as such in Rafflecopter and you're good to go.   Click on as many of the items as you'd like, the more entries you have, the better your odds of winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you have any questions, please comment below or send me an email to chris "@"  Good luck to all and thanks for your continued support!

P.S.  If this happens to be your first visit here, welcome!  Take a look around.  This blog has been active for a little over a year and a half, so there are a lot of posts out there on a variety of different topics.  My posts tend to fall into a few main categories listed above, with Travel, Smartphones and Product Reviews being most active lately.

You can also check out some of the most popular posts by page views in the right hand column and can browse through archived posts sorted by date in the lower right.  Thanks for stopping by and if you have any comments or suggestions, please leave me a comment or send me an email!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fireworks Display On Your Screen

 Happy 4th of July! 

 Check out a fireworks display right on your screen.  You can launch your own display at places like Las Vegas, NYC and Washington DC.  You'll have to sit through about 10 seconds of whatever ad comes up, but after that you're good to go.  It is pretty cool!   Turn the sound up and enjoy!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Eliminating Comment Spam

Lately I've had an email inbox full of spam related comments from my blogs and I decided to take some action to solve that problem and wanted to pass along the details.  Check out the full post on my tool site. 

Here, the only difference you will notice is that you will now have to enter the verification text shown in the comment box prior to submitting.  I regret having to enable that, but hopefully it won't be too much of an inconvenience. 

As always, thanks for reading and I hope you found the full post helpful!

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