Archive of ‘Tech Toys’ category

Buzztime Trivia

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Buzztime Trivia has been around for as long as I can remember, but I never really had any interest because I didn’t have any serious contenders. Recently though, a couple of friends invited me to join them for Wednesday Trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings North. (Two birds in one, the grilled chicken salad with buffalo wing sauce is great dinner.) I’m been coming up every week for about a month now.

I know I get overly competitive, but this is basically face to face “Trivia Crack”. They have a ton of participating locations and your scores get ranked based off the other scores in the same location, and then against the nation.

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Once you sit down at one of the locations, you can ask for a touch screen portable console, or you can also download the app and run it through your phone. I suggest the console though if there is enough for the place because who wants to run out of cell phone battery in the middle of the night.

Pictures to follow show question examples, like I said it’s fairly similar to Trivia Crack so there are multiple subjects they go through. Also, your scores get ranked against the people in the location you’re at and the nation. Like I said, I get overly competitive, so I do end up yelling and smack talking. I also got some jeers for only taking screenshots of the games I do win. This happens rarely since I ended up with some very Trivia savvy folks.

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Feel free to join us sometime.

Autodesk Pixlr

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This is by far the best photo editing app I have found. It has been very fun to use and very easy to learn to use. I downloaded the app on my phone and even on my laptop. I’m not sure if this is available for iPhone, however, I haven’t asked anyone.

It does the usual crop, rotate, stuff plus red-eye reduction, overlay, double-exposure… There’s really a lot more effects that are available. I’ve used other photo editing apps in the past and this has become my current favorite.

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It also creates collages, and you can download stickers to add to your images, so it took the place of other apps on my phone. I was glad to uninstall them and free up some memory space.

Highly recommend giving this a spin. My first day I was on a photo editing spree.

My fun little images below:

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Trivia Crack

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Trivia Crack App…It really is! I posted Sunday that I would be playing Trivia Crack all day, and OMG that people that jumped in to play. From the Rank list based off my “Friends” everyone and their mother has been playing. Late joining the game, I was determined to climb the leader board. My top competition, my sister. She must have played the whole time she was home sick. I started at being number 80 or something. By yesterday I was in the top 10. It’s based off how many answers you get right, so basically the more people you play, the higher your odds are. (I like Math.) It’s pretty easy to play free. I still haven’t gotten the hang of using all those free spins and other cheats, but I’m sure I’ll get there.

Categories are Art, History, Geography, Science, Sport and Entertainment. You would think Sport would be my worst subject, instead it’s Art. And this game is not nice about telling you how much you fail either. “This is your worse subject, 52% accuracy.” “Shut your mouth!”

Also, my friend Gorden has been playing against me, the mental anguish of seeing him hit every subject while I’m still spinning is beyond frustrating. I hate him right now.

But as most games go, I’m sure I will tire of this too. Once I either hit the top, or people stop playing against me. How long until that happens is the real question.

Crack kills!

Sony Xperia Z1S aka Queen Anne

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For the longest I had suffered with my old phone. It was nearly dying, battery barely held a charge, but I couldn’t find a good phone to upgrade to. By good, I mean, there were no phones out there with a feature that I didn’t already have either with my current phone or with my other gadgets.

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Then came Sony and the waterproof phone. Now, there is water resistant and then there’s waterproof. Big difference. I was very skeptical. Now, why do I need a waterproof phone? I don’t plan on constantly submerging my phone underwater, but it would be cool to have one or two underwater videos, yeah? Also, this would make taking pictures at the pool, or during a float trip easier. No more worrying about getting your camera/phone splashed with water, or accidentally dropping it. So I took the bait and I upgraded.

For the techies, here are the specs:

Weight 162 grams (5.71 ounces)
Dimensions 145.7×73.9×8.55mm (5.74×2.91×0.34in)
Primary camera 20.7 megapixel; Secondary camera 2 megapixel
Display 5.0inch full HD 1920×1080 pixels
Battery Talk time up to 15 hours; Standby time up to 600 hours; Music listening time up to 40 hours; Video playback time up to 6.75 hours

*Covers must be shut. Only in fresh water up to 1.5m for 30 min.

The battery is non-removable, which to some people is a no go, but to me, not so much. So far, in the past 4 months, I’ve never had the phone die on me, and I run my apps constantly. My phone is my email, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Netflix, Banking, etc. I’ve actually had to try to drain the battery myself because I always like completely killing it and giving it a full charge at least every other week. (That’s just me though.)

So, for the personal review. I heart it. The display is crisp, the OS is fast. The camera, not so much. Shutter speed is meh. And the front facing camera leaves a lot to be desired. Thank goodness I’m not a selfie pro. That and my real camera, Luigi, has a front display so I already owned that feature anyway.

Best fave. I actually submerged it in a sink and took a video the whole time. Now, I don’t recommend anyone else doing this, unless you’re prepared for a mishap and an expensive replacement, but I tested it because that was the feature that sold it to me. That was two weeks ago, and my phone is still tip top. Prior to that though, I had already rinsed my phone off a couple of times. Also, a handy feature. The shatter proof glass is easily smudged, and it was nice being able to just run it under water and wipe it off. I did break down and finally placed a face protector on it though, because the smudging was messing up my game (Dots).

Even with a huge display the phone was still slim enough to fit in my back pocket without being bulky. The phone speaker also amplifies well enough that I can easily play music in one room and walk around the apartment. I wouldn’t use it as a music player for a party though, duh.

All in all, I love my phone. And Tmobile added a Hotspot feature so I can use my phone to connect my laptop or TV and not hassle with signing up with an Internet provider.

Now, just waiting for Lollipop to see if this gets even better.

Jawbone UP

My job, combines my passion for pointing out what’s wrong, with my endurance for sitting in front of a machine. Needless to say, I wake up quite early to work more hours than I should. Now, it’s not unnecessary work, there’s always something wrong 😉 But the problem lies in that I wake up 3am or 4 am, without the use of an alarm. Not a healthy habit, really. So, I started eyeing these fitness trackers. (Mislabeled, I suppose.) They track your movement and…ta da…you’re sleeping pattern. Perfect!

First, I was fascinated with the FitBits. Mostly because I saw a pink  one that matched my phone case, to be honest. But I could never justify spending $100 or more on a problem that could easily remedy itself if I just, I don’t know, stayed in bed longer ??? Well, I guess, I didn’t know WAS the problem. Either way, I put buying it off, and just researched it more. (That’s my version of “purchase procrastination”. Then I saw Brian wearing one, a different brand, and he advised me he had been testing different models and brands for a study at WSU. He went on and on, and advised me that if I was just using it to track my sleep, I can easily get a phone app.

My first objection on a sleep tracking phone app was that no matter how sensitive the movement tracker is on my phone, it would never suffice. My bed, after all these years, feels and looks immaculate and untouched for the simple fact that it does not recognize me. I am too little and too light, therefore, having a phone laying beside me does nothing. I can toss and turn all night, and it would never move. Regardless, I browsed the app store trying to give it a shot. The second obsession became, most of the apps (from what a remember, less than a dozen) are free and came with BAD reviews i.e. crashed phones, did not work, and a bazillion ads and the ones that cost still had bad reviews, just not as many. I’m sure because, like myself, people just realized it wasn’t worth shelling out money for something sure to fail. I “purchase procrastinated” on that as well.

Then Thanksgiving came, and we had an early dinner at Ching and Brian’s. Got home about 4pm-ish and turkey’coma’d until 7pm-ish and decided to go to Kohl’s to grab some pillows. (The search for a good night’s rest is never ending.) Now, imagine me standing there holding two pillows, in line, with families holding an entire aisle of stuff.  It was shopper envy. So, I stood, waited, spanning the surrouding for something interesting, and BOOM! Jawbone UP Reg. $129.99 Sale $59.99 and me holding a 15% coupon (image in my phone.) Awesomeness!

 

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So, now I’ve been walking around with this handy dandy companion, yet to be named. It really does need to be named though, because it feels like I can talk to it, almost. Well, actually, sometimes I do.

 

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So far, it does as I expected. Track my movement. When I sync it to my phone I get a report of hours slept and I get a chart of “sound sleep” vs “light sleep”. The chart also includes the times I “woke up”. Now, if you’re really into data, which I am, you can set a time of when you want to be asleep, and when you want to be awake. So, now, the chart tells you what time you fell asleep (before or after your set time) and when you woke up (before or after your set time). Now I have a pattern to look at. Also, waking hours are charted based on how many steps you took and the sunrise and sunset are marked as well as the times, to I can easily say that when it gets dark out, I move less. Now, everyone knows more movement, (we’ll venture into exercise when I have more time,) promotes better sleep so this is a good chart too.

Here’s the extra part. So I set my sleeping time to be up to 40 mins prior to 10pm, so I could try to wake up later. Which means, if my device thinks I might as well sleep up to 40 mins from 10pm, say it knows I already laid down, or I’m moving less, it’ll give me a continuous vibration. Or, if it’s 10pm, and it knows I’m still active, I get the continuous vibration. Fair. Now, I set my wake up for up to 40 mins prios to 5am. So, if I’m already tossing and turning and I might as well get up, my wrist buzzes, or if I need to get up, my wrist buzzes. Awesome. The Jawbone UP is also water resistant. I showered with it on a couple of times (I forgot I was wearing it, another plus) and it still functions properly. The not so good extra part is when I don’t want to listen to it. I bought it during a holiday, which means no work. I got up Friday morning, ate breakfast and lounged, and the idle reminder, buzzed me to say, “I know you’re not asleep, so start moving.” I shake it, hoping that registers something somehow. No, it really doesn’t. When I laid down to take a nap, same thing, so I put it in “Power Nap” mode, which I forgot I had limited to 45 minutes. User error, much? I tossed it that time. Also, I have found since I got back to work that I have resorted to shushing it, audibly. Obviously, if shaking my wrist doesn’t register as “activity” neither does typing. And since I can basically sit for prolonged periods without needing to get up, I constantly get buzzed. I’ve had a couple colleagues ask if I was talking to them. Must get a grip.

Now, for what it’s worth, still have not gotten any results for my search of rest, although, I have not set forth a good plan to get that. I’ve been too busy at work to even try and risk an off-balance scenario. But it has definitely been a very informative and fun experiment. The app also lets you log what you eat, and though I’m not so thorough about it, I have learned that I probably don’t get my daily dose of fiber. So much to try to pretend I never learned.

This is a very long detailed overview, but hopefully I can get back to my weekly Zumba soon and get some really good use of this.

*Any names suggestions, comment below.