Friday, September 14, 2012

Cool Android Apps

I've recently upgraded my phone and got my first smart phone! The phone itself isn't anything fancy, still fairly basic when it comes to smart phones I suppose, but considering that this is my first smart phone, I decided it might be useful for others to know what apps I use... so what I consider the best, is:

E-book reader: Amazon Kindle  - this is an obvious choice for ebook readers as so many people use kindles and it can be placed on so many different devices.

Antivirus: avast! Mobile Security - Smart phones are being a prime target for virus now because they can contain so much personal data, tied to so many accounts, and usually the security is minimal on them. Also, Avast! has the benefit of tracking your phone too.

Tracking your phone: Prey - Prey is an amazing tracking program, I've used Prey in the past and really love and trust the program. It's free up to 3 devices and have it installed on my laptop and my phone.

Games: Chess Free, 100 rooms, Super Sudoku

Storage: (Google) Drive, Dropbox 

What is this?  Images: Goggles  - This is an awesome program! It allows you to take a picture of, lets say a piece of artwork, then it scans it and returns the results. I scanned a piece of artwork by Salvador Dali, and it returned the artworks name (Die Drei Sphinx Von Bikini), the price of a poster of it and where to buy it (, etc), similar images, and even a book that used the artwork on it's cover (Qualitative Research in Health: An Introduction by Carol Grbich)

                       Audio: SoundHound - Also an awesome program, have you ever listened to the radio or have the humm of a song stuck in your head? This program will tell you the name of the song, show the lyrics, option to buy, bookmark, share, search for it on youtube, similar artists, songs appearances!  That's more than I can think of regarding one song! It's incredible!

Knowledge dump: TED - TED is a great source of knowledge in short audio/video clips. Everything from medical & transportation to science and engineering, from kids to the elderly talking, sharing, exposing, experiencing, training. It's a very humbling experience

Looking at the stars: Google sky map

Freeing up space: History Eraser

Saving battery life:  JuiceDefender - This program has given my phone an extra day of life, just by installing it, I've seen no changes in my usage, just an extra day. And one day may not seem like much, but when I go from 2 days to 3 days charging it's nice, especially since my old phone used to go a week between charges

Personal finance:

Checking prices: (Amazon) PriceCheck

Scanner: CamScanner - cool program to scan documents with your phone, and it really looks like it was scanned! From there you can email, fax, share, absolutely wonderful!

Are there any apps out there that you can't live without?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Net Debt - September 2012

Student loans: -$78,607.60 (+$37.23)
Car loan: $0
Revolving Credit card debt: $0.
Mortgage: -$135,606.08
Total Debt: -$214,213.68 (+248.61)

I'm not quite sure how or why the student loan has only gone down $37 this month while last month it went down $63 with the same $100, but at least it is going down. :-)  The mortgage supposedly went down over $3000, so I think I may not have updated it last time around. I'll take the blame for that, but I double checked by looking at the total debt, and since that only changed by around 250 dollars, highly likely I didn't update it correctly last month for what ever reason. Sorry guys!

There have been some unexpected expenses with the new kitty joining the family and the expensive medical bills that came with him, but things are still getting paid down. My wife and I now have a big plan of trying to pay off all of the interest in my student loans within the next two years (while it's on deferment) and trying to tackle my federal student loans before repayment starts. We're doing this because they are sitting at 6% interest and it'll make retirement that much harder if we have to pay that type of interest for the next 10-20 years.

Just like last month, I'm still saving for a new garage door opener and we now have $136.38 ($106.38 from CC rewards and $30 from surveys). Passed the half way mark and still going. We have had a rash of car break-in's where we live, so we may end up purchasing it earlier than expected. Regarding the surveys, they  haven't brought in any more money primarily because I've been super lazy and haven't done any in a long time. But we'll see and I'll try to do some more when I have free time.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day everyone! As the summer comes to an end, I hope you'll enjoy all of the great labor day sales (second only to Thanksgiving black friday sales) that are out there. Soon there will be Halloween, Thanksgiving, and holiday decorations up! Let the festivities begin.  :-)

I find it nice to know what exactly the holiday is for, so ...
Labor day was created in 1887 to celebrate all of the contributions that the average worker, along with worker unions, has given back to us. Things like the weekend (thank you very much guys for this!), the 8 hour work day, minimum wage, sick days, safer work conditions & child labor laws were some of the things that labor unions have given us. So thank you everyone for all of your effort, hard work, and hard labor.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I broke my leg and all I got was a family that loves me - Rover update

Today was an important day for little Rover, the stray kitten that unexpectedly moved in with us because he broke his leg. Today he had another appointment with his vet for more shots and an x-ray to see how his leg was doing.

Sleepy Rover

Rover's broken leg, x-ray taken 5 days after the injury
Before I get into the vet visit, let me show you what I saw on August 6th. From the picture you can see how bad the break looked. It still nauseates me. The vet who took the x-ray suggested surgery, amputation, or euthanasia. Another vet in the same office suggested to wait. Bear in mind that little Rover was only 3 months old and not even 3 pounds. We decided to wait and got him his shots instead of a costly surgery. The vet that suggested waiting later told us that the chances of a successful surgery were slim because the bones had rotated, which complicated the situation. We took Rover home and set up a room for him: no furniture, only food/water, a bed for him, toys, litter box and a turbo scratcher. A protected environment with little to no chance of re-injuring the leg. The first few days, all Rover did was eat, sleep and play with a small stuffed mouse. Then he started to use his injured leg more and more, first for playing with his mouse, then for walking. First he limped a lot, then the limp became less and less noticeable. And now almost one month after his injury he walks, runs, plays, climbs and scratches like nothing was ever wrong with his leg. We (and the vet) were very curious to see how he was recovering and so the vet took another x-ray today free of charge. And this is what it looks like:

Rover's leg, almost a month after his injury.
It's remarkable and both we and the vet were astounded by how well it is healing and we could not be happier (except of course if our little Feather would finally get over the fact that she has a little brother now and that he is not going anywhere). In 3.5 weeks Rover's leg is almost completely healed and he has gained 1 pound (he eats so much, you have no idea, he eats twice as much as Feather who is a 7 pound adult cat). We are very happy and so is Rover. He is developing great and we both love him.
In two weeks we have another appointment with the vet, this time to get those furry balls taken care of. Yay for neuter surgery!