Archive for the ‘apps’ category

Nissan Rogue

August 22, 2018

So I have had my new Nissan Rogue for about a month now. Time to write about the things I like about the car and the things that are not so great.

2018-07-14 11.44.46

First, here are the things that I really like.

File Aug 22, 1 08 08 PMBlind spot detection. There’s a little light in front of each side view mirror. So when you are driving down the highway, the light comes on when there is a car in your blind spot. One has to get used to checking for the light before you change lanes. You can’t see it very well in the picture. I would need to be moving to get it to light up. That wouldn’t be very safe.

Automatic Seat Adjustment When you start the car up, the driver’s seat moves forward to your preselected spot. When you shut it down, the seat moves all the way back and down. Makes it easier to get in and out. There are two saved seat selections. So Paula can have her selection and I have mine.

Adaptive Cruise Control So I’m cruising down the highway on cruise control. The car detects that you have a car or truck moving slower in front of you. The cruise control detects the car in front of you and eases off on the gas. Pull out to pass and cruise control steps on the gas.

File Aug 22, 1 06 03 PM

\

Automatic Unlock Push the black button on the door once, driver’s door unlock’s. Push it again, all doors unlock. All you need is to have the key fob in your pocket or purse. Getting out of the car, push the button, doors lock. There is a corresponding black button on the right front passenger door.

Color I love the color. I was getting really tired of choice of white or black. It seems to me that most cars these days are either black, white or silver. Boring.

2018-08-05 12.13.15Gas Mileage The car is a hybrid. Right now I am getting about 30 mpg. Much better than the Jeep. Not dropping $70 a fill-up at the gas station. It feels a bit weird to have the car shut off at a traffic light. Remember in CA, gas is running at about $3.75 /gallon for regular. It’s also taking a little getting used to having the filler pipe on the right side.

Rear View Camera Put the car in reverse and the rear view camera is turned on. Gives you a nice wide angle view of the space behind you. Has guidelines on the view to give you an idea about the path you will take. Great for getting out of tight spaces.

Here are things that I don’t care for.

Navigation I’d rather use Waze on my iPhone. So I am heading up to Hollywood. The route is to take I-110 north to Rte 101. Then head towards Hollywood. The GPS will warn me to make a left turn in 5 miles on the 110. Well, there is no left turn after 5 miles. What it is really telling me is to stay on the 110 and not take the I-405 exit. Confusing to say the least. So it is telling me to turn left when it really means keep going straight and not take the exit.

One nice thing is that it shows you the lanes you should be in before the turn or exit.

Nissan Connect App The free app is very clunky and not very intuitive on how to use. You can download a destination to the car or remotely unlock or start the car. Nissan gives you the service for free for the first six months, then they charge $8 or $9 a month. It does what it is supposed to do, but a struggle to figure out how to make it happen. Needs work. I doubt if Nissan will do it though. Next winter I will need to decide whether to keep the service.

Control Panel. Hard to see. I can’t make it bright enough. If I wear my sunglasses, the panel is impossible to see. Also, the buttons on the steering wheel are kind of small. Also, hard to see. I suppose eventually I will know them by feel. Muscle memory, etc.

One more thing. Last week my permanent license plates arrived. So I removed the dealer temporary plate and frames with the dealer’s name on it and threw them in the trash. I replaced them with my new Red Sox frames. I don’t feel that I need to give free advertising to the dealer.

 

1 Second Every Day – January 2018

February 1, 2018

Okay, this past month I started using a new app call “1 Second Everyday“. Click here for the pointer in the Apple App Store. And here’s the Android version. I upload 1 or 2 pictures every day and it produces a mashup video displaying each picture for about second. It is sort of a video diary, kinda sorta.

So every day, I push myself to take one or two pictures every day. I took pictures of people we met and places that we went. I took pictures of the baristas at Starbucks. I took picture in the supermarket. I have family pictures including our very cute grand kids.

Sometimes, I have to push myself to take a picture. I try to answer the question, “What did I do today?”.

It feels like monthly is the right size for the video (both in time and file size. Maybe in December I will do a whopper of a lookback.

Here is the video for January 2018. So sit back and enjoy.

 

 

1 Second Everyday

January 11, 2018

So I discovered a new app (new to me) a few days ago. It’s called “1SecondEveryday“. It’s an app for putting together a photographic timeline of whatever you have been doing. The app is available for both iPhone and Android. Here’s the link to Apple’s app store. Here’s the link for Android.

Where did I go and what did I do. The idea is that you take a couple of pictures every day and add them to the app. So that after a period of time (a week, a year or whatever) you can produce a video of the series of pictures with each one presented for 1 or 2 seconds. This becomes a video diary.

So I’ve started taking pictures of the people and places that I interact with every day from the barista at Starbuck’s to Pastor Jacques at church. So every day I intend to take a couple of pictures and add them to the app. Then from time to time, I will then post on FB a video.

COIN V2

August 26, 2015

IMG_2281Well COIN pushed an update to their app on iOS today. Part of the update was to add a feature to add a nickname to each credit card stored on the Coin device. Okay, to refresh your memory, Coin is a device that allows one to store up to six credit cards on the device. It has the same form factor as a typical credit or debit card. The deal is that you can reduce the thickness of your wallet from six credit cards to one.

The problem was that one had to remember the last four digits of each credit card so that one could select the one that you wanted to use. So for example, now you could assign a nickname like WF for a Wells Fargo card or BA for Bank of America. A feature that would be welcome and useful.

They also announced that would be a V2 version of the device. Current owners/users could upgrade for free. Well that’s nice. The V1 device seems to have some issues around acceptability at some merchants. ie. not everybody accepts it. That’s a big problem because it means that you have to have a real backup credit card in case the store can’t read the COIN.

The V2 COIN is also supposed to support NFC (Near Field Communication). This allows one just to wave the card on top of the POS terminal. This is the same feature that is used by ApplePay or GooglePay. If stores start supporting NFC, why would I need a card? I could just use my iPhone, Most stores aren’t anywhere close to accepting NFC,

Here’s the main problem. The V2 COIN won’t start shipping until Q1 2016. What they mean by that is the end of Q1 2016. Corporations often have a weird way of telling time. If I told my wife that I would be home by 9 pm and I walked in the door  at 9:55 she might be justifiably be upset. I said I would be home by 9. It’s still 9 o’clock. Time to duck. That’s seven months from now by my math.

Anyways, back to the update. I installed the update. I registered for the update. no problem. I am now aware of their method of keeping time. I managed to set one nickname. But I was unable to set another. At the same time my COIN seems frozen. No sync, Won’t turn on. I can’t prove that the update screwed up my COIN but it seems likely that it’s the culprit.

Time for another email to COIN support. They say to repeatedly push the on button until it unfreezes or let it sit for 24-48 hours. Sigh. My COIN is real close to being thrown in the back of the drawer with all of my other electronic gadgets that promised to change the world but didn’t.

If you’re thinking of buying one of these gadgets. Don’t.

COIN

July 5, 2015

  About 18 months ago, I paid $50 to join a crowd source funding for a new product called “COIN”. COIN is supposed to be a credit card replacement that could dynamically change the data on the credit card magnetic stripe. One would be able to store a total of 8 different credit cards on the device. The idea is/was to reduce one’s credit card bloat in your wallet.

It seemed like a good idea to me. I typically have about 6-7 credit cards including ATM cards, credit cards and the like. The developer was promising delivery during the summer of 2014. I guess the early beta didn’t go as well as they hoped. So last summer they scheduled a second expanded beta with expanded beta units going to those who signed on early in the funding process.

Everyone else would have to wait until full production ramped up this summer. Those who didn’t want to wait could get a refund. So a couple of weeks ago I finally received my unit. Better late than never.

Here’s how it works, You need to install the COIN app on your smart phone (in my case an iPhone 6 plus). The COIN comes with a plug in credit card reader. First you have to pair your phone with the COIN. The COIN uses Blue-Tooth to communicate with the app.

One loads the credit cards into the app by swiping the card on the card reader. Then the app prompts you to add the security code on the back of the card. Once you are finished loading credit cards onto the app you then sync the credit cards with the COIN, So far so good. Works as advertised.

The COIN is the exact same size as a credit card. It has a small display that shows the card type (AMEX, Visa, etc) and last four digits of the card number. You can load credit/debit cards, gift cards and some id cards that have a magnetic stripe (though I can’t see how much use that would be.) There is button that you press to wake up the card and select the card that one wants to use.

Supposedly the COIN is compatible with most credit card readers and ATM’s. Here is where the rubber hits the road (or not). I haven’t tried it on any ATM’s yet. I don’t need to go to ATM’s very much. I usually get cash back while I am at the supermarket.

I have tried to use the device about a half dozen time. This is certainly a very limited sample size to be sure. I have attempted and been rejected at two different restaurants. I have successfully used it at a grocery store and the Starbucks at the grocery store.

It does have some neat security features though. The COIN won’t work if you lose connection to your phone. And the app will warn you that your COIN has gone away. It shuts off after about seven minutes and you will need a pass code to turn it back on or be paired with your phone.

So I wouldn’t use at it the regular Starbucks. They have an iPhone App for that and it works quite well.

Much of my shopping is done online and this device is of no use for that type of shopping.

My end goal is to have Apple-Pay become more widely accepted. Then I could ditch the credit cards all together. As it stands right now, I have only seen Apple-Pay in use at one merchant establishment (Panera Restaurant).

If you are interested in learning more about the device from the developer’s web site, Go to onlycoin.com. As for me, I’m not quite ready to leave my credit cards at home (at least not yet.) The support pages has a list of merchants that accept COIN and a list that have been reported as rejecting it.

Fake Music

April 4, 2015

pianoOnce upon a time, a friend was visiting me and we were talking about music. You see I play the piano and once in a while I play an organ. About a dozen years or so ago, I became our Lodge musician in my Masonic Lodge in Massachusetts. Now I am the musician for LA Harbor Lodge and San Pedro Chapter OES.

How does one become the organist or pianist for such an organization. First, you have to be able to play the piano. You don’t have to be an Rubenstein or Van Cliburn. You just have to like to play the piano or organ and competent enough to play some simple and straight forward tunes. Typically, I need to be able to play the “Star Spangled Banner” and other patriotic tunes, some bit of sacred music for opening and closing of the Bible and a variety of march music when the members are perambulating around the lodge room.

Second, the lodge or OES chapter has to have a need for a musician. I got the job because the guy who did it before me died. Sometimes the previous appointee had moved or lost interest in doing the job.

So my friend had seen some of my music books that I had at the time. One such tome was a book titles “Hymn Fake Book“. He asked me what a “Fake” Hymn was. I said no, not a fake hymn but hymn fake book. A fake book is a music book with the sheet music with only the music for your right hand. You have to improvise the accompaniment. So in addition to the hymn fake book there are fake books for Broadway, Show tunes, folk music, etc.

Lucky for me that I had learned this skill as a young lad from a music teacher that I worked with while I was in high school. He taught me how to play chords and to improvise an accompaniment. At the time, I didn’t think this skill would be particularly useful. Or that one day I would become a lodge organist.

So i have at least a dozen or so fake books covering a wide range of genres. They were a getting a bit heavy to carry to lodge for the evening’s meeting. I would eventually Xerox the particular music and add to my loose leaf notebooks. Even that began to get unwieldy.

Enter Apple. in 2010, Apple announced the iPad. I said to myself, I have to have one of these. So i drove up to the local Apple store in Nashua, NH and got an iPad 1. So I began the process of scanning my music pages and loading them on my Dropbox account in the Cloud. At first, it was a bit crude. I had files organized into folders according to genre, eg. hymns, patriotic, broadway, pop, etc.

People would look at the iPad and ask can you read music on that thing? In fact, I can and do. Although there is rumblings that Apple is working on a new iPad with a 12.5″ screen (current iPad has a 9″ screen, measured diagonally). I would buy one in a heartbeat if Apple came out with such a device.

As it stands right now, I am working on my third iPad. I had the iPad 1, then an iPad 3 and now an iPad Air.

My system of filing my music on Dropbox was getting cumbersome. So I got an app called “Forscore” that is designed for organizing sheet music. This app is absolutely worth the $9.99 I paid for it. I now have close to a 1000 different scores on my iPad. The music is organized by genre and keywords. New music is imported as PDF files from my Dropbox account.

I also buy music from Musicnotes.com which is a web site that sells sheet music. They have an extensive library of tunes from classical to pop to country. They also have a wide range of arrangements. I typically prefer to buy “Lead sheets” (which is the content of a fake book) because they are shorter and I don’t usually have to turn pages. Some of the arrangements come in multiple keys which is handy when you are working with a soloist.

When purchasing from Musicnotes, you download the music for printing. You get one chance to print it. But I have a printer driver that “Prints” to a PDF file that then can be uploaded onto my iPad. Musicnotes also has a free iPad app, but it is not nearly as capable as Forscore.
“”

Amazon Unlimited

July 25, 2014

So last week, Amazon announced a new product called “Amazon Unlimited” whereby for the monthly price of $9.95 one could down load Kindle books for free. If you read a lot (as I do), you might say “wow, pretty good deal”? Well, not so fast bucko. As always, the devil is in the details.

This announcement comes a couple of months after a similar product called “Oyster” appeared on the Internet. Same price, $9.95 a month, unlimited down loads.

One major difference between Oyster and Kindle Unlimited is that Oyster has it’s own app. Where Kindle Unlimited is integrated with existing Kindle apps and devices. So if you have a real Kindle, Oyster won’t work for you.

I tried Oyster for the four week trial period and then cancelled. The content was just not worth the money. No “A-List” or even “B-List” authors. There is no app for reading on PC or MAC.

So Kindle Unlimited works nicely with the existing Kindle devices and apps. No need to load an additional app.

So what about content. It’s a little tricky to find the titles that classified as “Kindle Unlimited”. Certainly, none of the A-List authors or books on the various best seller lists are available for Kindle Unlimited. Perhaps that might change, but I kind of doubt it.

So to look at it another way, if a book is selling north of $10, it is unlikely to appear on Kindle Unlimited. It’s seems that many of the books on Kindle Unlimited are by unknown authors. Here is search results for “Kindle Unlimited Books“. There seems to be a few bestsellers from years gone by. (eg. Life of Pi, or Water for Elephants). In looking at the list there is a lot of junk. Books that aren’t likely to sell for $3 or less.

Some current best sellers are on Kindle Unlimited, but it’s tough to tell from the Best Seller screen. Here is a screen shot of the best seller list:

ku

Two books in the top six are on Kindle Unlimited. You can’t tell without clicking through to the book info. A clue is that the price is under $5.

It is not clear what publishers are participating in Kindle Unlimited. Perhaps more will get on board. My brother Richard Bowker (the author) has books on Kindle but his publisher is not doing Kindle Unlimited (yet). Okay, shameless plug: Go check out Richard’s books on Amazon. All good stuff. Most of his books are in the $3-$5 range.

So as time goes by, I expect that Amazon will sign up more publishers to participate in Amazon Unlimited. Time will tell. I am board for now.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad