Friday, September 28, 2012

iPhone 5 Cases and Screen Protectors - Update

If you're looking for cases or screen protectors for the iPhone 5, we have some winners for you to check out.  The items shown here have great reviews, work exactly as advertised and are inexpensive as well!

The key is to get a case that will not only protect your phone, but provide a certain amount of grip, will complement the looks of the phone and be inexpensive.  This one fits all of those criteria.

You want a case that protrudes from the front enough that it should actually protect the screen and so that you could also lay the phone down on it's front without fear of scratching.  This one does exactly that.

In addition, as mentioned in the reviews, the case does have a slight rubbery feel to it, but it is not enough to turn your pocket inside out when you pull it out. 

The iPhone 5 is definitely a very smooth/slick phone and it nearly slid off my lap onto the hard tile floor less than 24 hours after we got them, so I would highly recommend making sure you get a case prior to or very shortly after getting your new phone.


We ordered both a frost clear soft case for myself and of course the hot pink case is for the wifey. The clear case does a great job of complementing the look of the white iPhone.  For the black phone I would go with the smoked case. They also have several other colors to choose from.

The cases arrived in just 3 days via regular US mail.  They fit well and are exactly what I was hoping for!

As far as screen protectors go, the iSmooth screen protector got some great reviews as well. The description page says that you get 3 in the package, but they actually send you an email saying they include an extra one just in case you screw up.  If you're like me, you will probably need spares, because I've never gotten a screen protector to go on right the first time and I can't stand bubbles on the screen.  If it's not nearly perfect, I'll try again.

Both are great products and must have items to protect that shiny new iPhone 5!

Here are some pictures of the cases in action on our phones:



Monday, September 24, 2012

iPhone 5 - Newbie Review

At long last, the iPhone 5 has arrived!  We have been planning to switch over to the iPhone 5 for about a year now and I have to say, we're very impressed!

Here are some of the main pros:

Everything is just so smooth and amazingly fast as far as switching from one running app to another, text messaging and taking pictures.  Granted our prior phones were a full 2 years old, ancient in Smartphone terms, but it really is no comparison.

For example, just sending a simple text message would have taken 5 seconds to bring up the app and about 5 seconds to send or receive, now it takes maybe 2 seconds not counting the time to type the message.  And it's more like an instant message conversation in terms of speed, where previously it was definitely a send, wait, wait some more and then respond situation. The Facebook app for iOS 6 is also so much quicker and has a lot of great features like scrolling left/right and posting is instantaneous. 

The speed/quality of the camera is great.  Typically just opening the camera application would have taken me a good 10 seconds.  By the time the camera was ready, many candid moments have already come and gone.  With the iPhone 5, you can literally hit the camera app button and snap a picture in less than 2 seconds.  As a test, I just took 10 pictures and it only took 5 seconds.  I'm not sure if that will slow down the more pictures you take and store, but right now it is refreshingly fast.

The screen size is very good and also very crisp, clear and bright.  It's smaller than the screen on our prior phone by .3 inches, but it's not that much smaller.

The phone looks very slick.  We both got the white version and love it.  I think it looks so much better than the black one.  Big plus here.  Based on how nice it looks I'm hoping to find a clear case so it doesn't detract from the aesthetics.  The phone is also very thin and very light as well.  

Facetime is super cool.  It was very neat to try it out with my sisters over the weekend over WiFi.  I'm guessing it's probably not something we'll use super often, but I can see where it would come in very handy to see our nephew Max and things like that.  It easily switches between front and rear cameras.

iMessage.  I wasn't aware of this until someone told me on Sunday.  Once you setup your iCloud/iTunes account and get that setup, when you send text messages from one iPhone to another they will not count against your carrier's text message limits (if you have limits, and we do).  The way you know if that is working is if the texts show up as blue (iMessage) or green (regular SMS messages).  Pretty neat. 

Siri.  She doesn't quite understand everything, but we enjoyed several things like asking for directions, asking her to text someone with a particular message and asking for sports scores.  For instance, when we were coming home from watching our Buffalo Bills beat the Cleveland Browns, we wanted to know what the score was for other games.  So we asked Siri what the score was for the Jaguars game and she would pull up the box score, showing the overall score and the score for each quarter as well.  And asking her to do something like "tell my wife I will be home in 20 minutes" worked like a charm.  Very cool. 

But to be fair, it is not perfect... 

Here are a few cons:

Speaker location.  The speaker is located directly on the bottom on the right hand side.  When I was playing a drag racing game, I was wondering why I could barely hear anything even though the volume was all the way up.  That is because when you play a game with the phone on it's side, your normal tendency is to wrap your index fingers around either side and play with your thumbs.  Doing so completely blocks the speaker.  Not a huge deal, I will have to adjust how I grip the phone when playing games.  And it looks like that was the same way on the 4S as well, it's just different from the Droid X, which was on the back of the phone.

Battery life.  This is a bit of a disappointment.  Granted I used the phone a bunch on Saturday, but it was mostly surfing the web and downloading/trying some apps/games and all of it was over WiFi.  It was fully charged in the morning and a very rough guess is that it had about 30% left by around 6pm when I charged it up again.

On Sunday though, I used it far less, mostly in the morning to surf and in the afternoon I checked my fantasy football apps and as of 10:30pm it had about 50% battery left.   So, under normal use, it will probably only need charging over night, so really that's not too bad.  And a friend of mine told me to turn off location services (GPS) by going to Settings, Privacy and disabling that to save on battery life, which I just did.  The downside is if you do that you'll lose the ability to track where your phone is if you lose it.

Letterbox apps.  Currently, some apps not specifically built for the iPhone 5 will not take up the full screen, they will have black bars on the sides.  That is only a slight negative short term, because I'm sure app publishers will be updating their apps very soon to take advantage of the bigger screen.  

The letter "s".  This is a weird one, probably only applicable to me.  Whenever I type a word with the letter s in it, it will usually type an "a" instead.   Since I type the letter "s" a bunch, it is a bit annoying.  I will just have to get used to the keyboard being slightly different than what I'm used to. 

We have not yet tried the new 3D maps, but we've read it's not so great.  Someone said to install MapQuest instead, but I can't vouch for that just yet. So that is neither a pro nor a con.  

Summary:  All in all, it is a great phone!  Love the look and feel and the quickness of everything.  There is really nothing that I miss from the old phone at this point, just a few things mentioned above that I need to adjust to so far.  We're still learning how to do things, so I'm sure once we get some more apps installed we'll have more to say at a later time.

A few tips:  I figured out how to access running apps with the double click of the home, then you can hold one of the apps until they wiggle and you can close out apps you won't need for a while by clicking the - sign next to each.  I also figured out how to create a folder on the home screen by dragging one app onto another to help organize things.   That's about it for tips/tricks so far. 

Do you have any tips/trips to share to save battery life, or just neat things to know about?   Any must have apps?  What is your impression thus far?  Considering an iPhone 5 and have any questions?  Definitely let us know in the comments below!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

iPhone 5 Won't Do Voice and Data Simultaneously on Verizon/Sprint

Just as the subject line says, unfortunately the iPhone 5 will not do voice and data at the same time, so you cannot be on a call and switch over to look up something online. 

I thought this was a given with anything on 4G/LTE, but apparently that is not the case.  I just wanted to let anyone know about that in case they were not aware, like I was not. 

Here are the technical details in case you are interested.  

I love Verizon's network, customer service and everything else, but had I known about that I may have considered switching over to AT&T. 

Fortunately, that is not something I've ever had the ability to do before, so I won't miss it, but it was something I was looking forward to having the ability to do. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Nap Time on Your Next Layover (or Delay)

I was traveling to visit family/friends on Labor Day weekend and I had a 3 hour layover in Atlanta and I was a bit tired.  When I got to ATL, I posted on Facebook saying something along the lines of "How come they don't have nap pods in the airport yet?!"

Then I said to myself, I should do a quick search to make sure that statement is correct and much to my surprise, it was not correct.  There was in fact a place to take a nap and it was only one concourse over from where I was.  I had to go check it out!

I have always thought airports and lots of other places should offer nap/relaxation rooms.  And the odd thing is that I am not really a nap person.  I can't sleep on demand, especially if I know I'm under a time constraint, but I love the concept and it's something I have been thinking about for years. 

There are two such places at US airports.  One is in the Atlanta airport, the other is at the Philadelphia airport.  In ATL, just head towards gate B15.  In Philadelphia, head towards the terminal A-B link. 

I was at Concourse C in ATL and I immediately headed down the escalator to hit the walkway over to Concourse B toward gate B15.  When I arrived I was pretty excited.  It was like seeing my vision become a reality right before my eyes! 

Minute Suites in the Atlanta Airport
I took a few pictures sitting down across from the Minute Suites and debated on actually booking a room.  Online it says the room was $30/hr, which I thought was a bit steep, but since this was like my own little creation taking form, I was really feeling that I needed to at least try it.  I don't travel all that often, so I wanted to check it out while I had the chance.  I figured I would regret it if I didn't. 

The price is actually $32/hr, plus tax, which brings it to just under $35.  Again, more than I was envisioning.  In my mind I was thinking $20/hr was the sweet spot.  They offer discounts for staying multiple hours.  I decided to bite the bullet and try it out. 

Inside the room there is a day bed, TV w/DirecTV, WiFi and it comes complete with your own climate control and overhead white noise control knob.  It does get pretty dark in there and the white noise machine does block out most of the noise, but if you really want to sleep I recommend bringing a pair of earplugs with you. 

Daybed with alarm clock

Work desk and flat screen TV with DirecTV

With the white noise on full blast and earplugs, you shouldn't hear much of anything.  That is, except for when the little carts come by that drive people to their gates with the BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP noise.  If you really want complete quiet, I'd recommend asking for a room towards the back. 

But like I said, I can't sleep on demand, so after trying to sleep for 1/2 the time, I then watched some TV and utilized the WiFi with my laptop the rest of the time. 

It really is pretty cool.  It's like your own little sanctuary right smack dab in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of one of the busiest airports in the nation.  It would be great for someone wanting to relax or someone needing a quiet place to get some work done as well. 

If you're looking for a quick escape on your next layover or delay, check it out!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Apple iPhone 5 Live Event - Update

Today is the day we find out about the iPhone 5!

The show begins at 1pm Eastern Time....

Check out the latest info live from any of the following sites.  Let's do this!

iPhone 5 Pre Order Details

Here are some key points from the live feed...It will be a 4" screen, it will be 4G/LTE and it will have iOS6 with the turn-by-turn navigation and updated Siri. It is also supposed to be available in both black and white as shown in the pic below. 

Pricing is $199 for the 16GB version.  Pre orders start this Friday, Sept 14th at 3:01AM Eastern time online at Verizon, AT&T and Sprint as well as the Apple site.  The phone will ship/be available in stores next Friday, Sept 21st. 

It is faster, lighter, thinner, has a better camera, etc. etc. 

Here is another article with the technical specifications.  Here are the details from Apple.

My main questions are regarding pre order.  Should you go through your carrier or Apple directly?  I was assuming I need to upgrade through Verizon because I receive an additional credit of $30 when I upgrade through them.  How do you add the AppleCare if you order through your carrier, etc.  And also, do we go Black or White?  I actually like the White one in the pictures because it looks more like silver/metal from a distance. 

Lots of questions...what do you think now that the info is out?  What particular features are causing you to upgrade now or hold off?  Where are you planning to upgrade through?  Let me know.  Thanks and good luck!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11/2001

Each year I remember it like it was yesterday.  Please take a moment to reflect back for all of those who needlessly lost their lives or were injured or affected by the terrible tragedy that unfolded 11 years ago today.

A special thanks goes out to all those that heroically gave their lives to save others and for all those who stood up to the terrorists on that day!

Thank you as well to all that have served and continue to serve our great country!

You are never promised tomorrow, make the most of today!

God bless the USA!

Monday, September 10, 2012

iPhone 5 Pre-Order and Release Info

It's almost time!  According to most published reports online the Apple iPhone 5 information release will be this Wednesday, Sept 12th, after which you should be able to pre-order through your respective cell phone provider. 

In addition, the iPhone 5 is supposed to arrive in store Friday, Sept 21st. 

Fed-Ex sent an internal memo indicating they expect a large increase in volume of deliveries Sept 21st-24th, most likely related to the iPhone 5 shipping. 

Everything seems to be lining up as planned, now we just have to wait a little bit longer to see what the details are as far as exactly when you can click the button to pre-order if that's the way you're going to go, or perhaps you'll want to camp outside the store on release day.

Either way, the end of the wait is near!

Since I've never done a pre-order before, I'm not sure exactly how this will go. 

I expect this will be the biggest pre-order yet, since so many were expecting an iPhone 5 launch when the 4S came out.  There will be a lot of folks like us that have been waiting for the expected larger screen, 4G/LTE, integrated navigation, etc.  So we plan to pre-order whenever that option is available.

If I find out further specifics on exact timing, I will do a new post to keep everyone informed.

Have you pre-ordered an iPhone before?  Did it arrive on the day that it was released in stores?  Any problem getting it activated on arrival day due to the insane number of people activating on the same day?   Is it worth it to get the extended AppleCare warranty?  Drop me a comment and let me know.

Good luck to everyone!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Market Samurai - Half Off

I wanted to let you know that the Market Samurai Keyword Research and SEO tool is currently being offered for HALF OFF for a limited time.  That means that you can get it for $75, rather than paying the full retail price of $149.  That deal expires at midnight on Friday, September 14th, 2012.

If you're reading this post after the expiration date, you can still get Market Samurai at 35% off regular prices.  All you need to do is sign up for the 14 day free trial here and during that 14 day period you will receive an email for a 35% off discount. 


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Labor Day Weekend Recap

I had a good weekend trip up to Rochester, NY to visit with family and friends.  It was a short trip, but we packed a bunch of stuff in.

Of course food was a big part of the trip.  As expected, I fit in my favorite pizza, Pontillo's!  That was the highlight of the trip food wise and I brought back almost two large pizza in an insulated bag and managed to fit in a combo red/white Zweigles Hot Dog package as well for the wifey.  In addition I brought home 4 loaves of Wegmans Cinnamon Swirl bread in my checked bag.  Mmmm...We also had a Charlie Riedel's Cheeseburger/Fries and some Sticky Lips BBQ.

Pontillo's Pizza was soooo good!
I wasn't a big fan of Sticky Lips.  I'd prefer Dinosaur BBQ locally there in Rochester.  It was ok and the place is obviously a favorite with the locals as it was super busy, but the pulled pork I had wasn't anything special. 

As far as activities, I got to see several friends from high school/college at Carmine's 5th Birthday.  He is the son of my friend Mike/Colleen and it was held at Bernie's Bouncers Indoor Play Center.  Mike even convinced me to get in the bounce house and go down the big slide, but not without also trying to tip over the bounce house.
As far as family activities go, it was great to see everyone, especially baby Max!  He has grown quite a bit and it's so neat to see him developing.  He sits up on his own and is so talkative and so much more alert and aware than last time we saw him several months ago.  He is also such a happy and playful little boy, miss the little buddo!

Michelle and Max
Hanging with Max in the grass, happy boy!
Groucho kitty at my Gma's house
Levi hiding under my Gma's bed
Max hanging with my Gma
My Dad figuring out how to do Facetime on his iPad
Max playing with a new friend only 2 weeks different in age
Jen with Max in his little pouch thingy, can't remember what it's called  ;)
Nice grip there Max, Daddy's little beer holder!

I had to fly back before Michelle's baby shower, but I hear it went very well with lots of people, great food and lots of gifts for baby Hadley. 

All in all it was a fun / quick trip, with lots of things packed in and I was pretty worn out by the time I got home.  Luckily Tuesday was a work from home day to ease back into things and I'm glad it is a shortened week!

My sister Jen and Jen S will probably do up a blog post or two about the trip once they get back and settled in and I'll try to link to those posts here when they go live.

Hope you had a great Labor Day weekend! 

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