I never imagined I would own a smart watch. I have always bought the cheapest Casio or Timex watches I can find and they have served me well. Recently, though, I read an article written by a fellow who is hard of hearing and he said he rarely missed a call on his cell phone because of his smart watch. That intrigued me because I am hard of hearing. I have a Samsung Note 4 which I keep in my pants pocket (it has never bent) and I probably miss 80% of my calls because I don’t hear the phone or feel the vibration. I decided to buy the highly rated Pebble Watch for under $100 from Amazon and it’s made a huge difference for me. I never miss the vibration on my wrist whenever I receive a call, email, or notification. The watch has a crisp epaper display and even with my poor eyesight I can easily read caller information, calendar reminders, etc. The Pebble Smartwatch has been a great watch for me and I wear it all the time.
When I bought my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phone I switched carriers from Sprint to T-Mobile. I really like T-Mobile – the 4G LTE coverage in my area is better than Sprint and the wi-fi calling feature is great. Recently, though, I noticed the ads for metroPCS, a prepaid wireless service owned by T-Mobile that uses the T-Mobile network nationwide for talk, text, and data services. metroPCS plans cost less and provide greater data allowances than the plans offered by T-Mobile. I figured there must be a catch so last week I visited a metroPCS corporate store and spoke with the manager. As he described the service I couldn’t see any problem and metroPCS allows you to bring your own phone. I purchased a metroPCS SIM card for $10.00 and switched my phone from T-Mobile to metroPCS. I now have twice the monthly data allowance for less money and the service seems great so far. Data speed seems to be the same as it was with T-Mobile and wi-fi calling functions just as it did with T-Mobile. If I run into any problems I’ll let you know.
Recently I needed to forward my cellphone calls to another number. metroPCS charges $5.00 per month for a “Value Bundle” that includes forwarding, and I think forwarding should be included with the basic plan. I’ve also learned that metroPCS offers no online support, although their website says that e-mail support is “coming soon.” I’ve decided to try Cricket. I’ll let you know how that goes.
I’m an Android junkie. I’ve had several Android phones (my current phone is a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which I love) and a variety of Android tablets, including the Motorola XOOM (my first tablet), a couple of ASUS Transformers, several Samsung tablets (including the Tab S 8.4 which I liked but returned due to overheating problems), the original Nexus 7, and a 2013 Nexus 7 which I rooted and ran CM11, then returned to stock to get the Lollipop update. Until now, however, none of my Android devices have used an Intel processor, although Intel processors are used in most Windows computers and newer Apple computers. Therefore, when I read that the new Dell Venue 8 7840 was an all-Intel Android tablet that had won the “Best of Innovation” award at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show I quickly placed my order.
As I write this I’ve had the Dell Venue 8 7840 for a little over two weeks and I think it’s the best tablet I’ve owned. I can’t comment on the camera because I think tablets are too large to make good cameras so I use the camera on my Note 4 phone. For me a tablet is primarily a media consumption device; I browse the Web, read books, news and magazines, listen to music, view videos, etc. I’m an older guy with impaired vision and hearing and the 8.4″ 2560 x 1600 OLED display and front-facing stereo speakers and MaxxAudio® by Waves make it easy to see the display and hear the audio without using hearing aids or headphones. Battery life seems good and the battery charges quickly. For those who want to store a lot of music, photos, videos, etc., the tablet can use up to a 512GB micro SD card, although I don’t think a micro SD card that large has yet been developed. I think this is the first Intel-based Android tablet and I expected some glitches; however, my apps have run without problems, although the YouTube app needs to be updated to provide a resolution greater than 720p, and I’m sure the engineers at Dell and Intel are working to get Android Lollipop ready for the Venue 8.
The Dell Venue 8 7840 is a great tablet. Try it, you’ll like it.
I’ve been developing websites since before the turn of the century, both as a hobby and as a small business. For many years I used Adobe Dreamweaver to build sites with HTML and CSS, but then I discovered that the development process is faster, easier, and much less costly using WordPress. I’ve tried a number of frameworks and themes with WordPress and my personal preference is the Genesis Framework and Dynamik Website Builder. I developed a website to provide a brief introduction to the combination of WordPress, Genesis Framework and Dynamik Website Builder. I invite you to visit the site at http://pittwebsites.com/wptest/.
Based on what I have read, the OnePlus One (OPO) is a very good smartphone at an unbelievably low price ($299 for 16GB or $349 for 64GB). The OPO has many of the same features as the flagship phones from other companies, and it comes with CyanogenMod (CM) installed. I’m a big fan of CM. I have a rooted 2013 Nexus 7 with CM11 installed and I run nightly builds. However, while the OPO may be a “Flagship Killer”, it’s not going to kill many flagships if people can’t buy it. Since its introduction the only way to get an OPO has been through a rather strange “invite” system (the company has said it may launch a pre-order system in late October).
I have been reading the OPO forums and reviewers’ comments for months – thinking about buying the OP – and then Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 4. I have had a Note II for almost two years and I like the size and the features. One of our sons-in-law has a Galaxy S5 and I’ve been very impressed with his phone. The Note 4 appears to be a larger and improved version of the S5 with some new features added. Unfortunately, the cost of the Note 4 is about $750, although you can opt to pay T-Mobile in 24 monthly installments with no interest. Also, Samsung is offering a $200 trade-in allowance for pre-orders. Still, the Note 4 is $200 to $400 more than the 64GB OnePlus One. Could I justify that additional expense?
After giving the matter a great deal of thought I pre-ordered the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 from T-Mobile. Why, you ask, am I willing to spend the extra money? Here are some of my reasons:
- Ability to pre-order and have a reliable delivery date.
- After sale support.
- Expandable memory.
- Fast charging and replaceable battery.
- Wi-fi calling.
- Better rear camera with OIS.
I’ll give you my impressions after I receive the phone (sometime after October 17th).
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Updated 04/30/2014 – According to a company forum post, the much-anticipated OnePlus One smartphone will reach general availability in June. You can read the CNET article here.
According to the specs and a hands-on review from Engadget, the OnePlus One, due in late May, is a top-tier smartphone at a bargain basement price. The retail price for the phone will be $299US for the 16GB model and $349US for the 64GB model. Keep those prices in mind when you review the following specs:
- Qualcomm’s latest SoC, the Snapdragon 801 with a quad-core 2.5GHz CPU
- Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM.
- JDI’s 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD panel protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
- Built-in 3,100mAh battery.
- A speedy 13-megapixel f/2.0 camera (Sony Exmor IMX214 sensor with a 6-lens module and dual LED; 4K video; 720p slow-motion at 120 fps).
- A 5-megapixel wide-angle selfie cam.
- Loud stereo speakers (tuned by JBL) and tri-microphone with noise cancellation.
- NFC, dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 plus GPS radios.
- Support for LTE bands 1/3/4/7/17/38/40, as well as WCDMA bands 1/2/4/5/8.
The phone is powered by the popular CyanogenMod 11, based on Android 4.4.
About the only features lacking are microSD expansion and USB 3.0. The phone should work with most US carriers except Sprint and Verizon.
You can expect the phone to be hard to get, at least for a while. It won’t be sold through carriers but only direct from OnePlus using the OnePlus Invite System. According to a post on the OnePlus forum:
With an invite, you can be 100% sure that you’ll actually be able to buy it, and it ships within a few days. In contrast to staying up in the middle of the night trying to buy one along with 20,000 other people. So in the true spirit of the OnePlus name, a good product gets spread by word of mouth, shared among friends for that extra personalized touch.
So how do you get an invite? Invites will also be made available through friends, contests, and on this forum (you have not been forgotten). We value thoughtful contributions from active fans. Once you’ve bought a OnePlus One, you’ll also become eligible to invite your friends in the future.
As soon as we can get our hands on a OnePlus One we’ll give you our complete evaluation. In the meantime, go to the OnePlus One website for more information and sign up for an invitation.
I saw the following post on a web development forum:
1. People who think that CSS should be used for everything. If something cannot be done with CSS than it should never be done.
2. People who understand the limitations of CSS and incompatibilities between different browsers and decide to use the best tool for the job. CSS when it works. Tables when it’s make more sense.
I am not a CSS purist. Several years ago I switched from tables to CSS layouts, but I must admit that there are times when I find it quicker and easier to use a table. Recently, for example, I needed to place two image links on a page, centered horizontally. I used a table formatted with the following CSS:
I’ve used the free version of NextGEN Gallery on several websites but I’ve never been completely comfortable with the plugin because it uses its own gallery instead of the standard WP gallery. This morning I downloaded all the photos from the NextGEN galleries on this website and deleted the NextGEN plugin. I then uploaded the photos and created WP galleries. Next, I decided I wanted a better slideshow so I used the “Enable [ gallery ] replacement – show [ gallery ] as slider” feature of the ATW Show Sliders plugin to display the WP galleries as slideshows. You can view the slideshows using the submenus under “Photos.”
We are convinced that the combination of WordPress and Weaver II Pro is the best way to develop websites. Weaver also offers WordPress themes and plugins through Aspen Themeworks, and they have just released two new plugins, ATW Show Posts and ATW Show Sliders.
We have tried both plugins and we think they are the best way to add image or post sliders to a site. The “Site News” slider on the home page was developed using these plugins, as was the image slider on our business site. Check out the free Show Posts and Show Sliders plugins. There is also a Pro version of Show Sliders available from Aspen Themeworks.