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Friday, June 29, 2012

Mobile App Review: Official eBay Android App , Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy Tablet, Android)

Normally, I close my Ebay shop when I go on vacation, but now that I own a tablet I decided to keep the shop going. I needed to monitor auctions, respond to question, start new listings (i.e. everything other than generate shipping labels).

Ebay app works well on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2. I had no technical problems. The app scales to my screen size, but is not aware that my screen is larger and does not make use of the width as well as at could. I have a lot of white space in the middle and the information is bunched up on the sides which makes it harder to read.

I found that the functionality for sellers does not have all the features I need to run my Ebay store while on the road. I was able to monitor active auctions, but found that I can scroll through information faster if I use the non-mobile version of Ebay web site using a browser. To see the same information I see in MyEbay I use the advanced search to display info by seller name (my own) and then customize the columns of the search results to show me the exact information I am interested in (removing some defaults and adding the useful to me info).

Another feature that I used a 'relist' button since I wanted to avoid a lot of typing and start new auctions as fast as possible. Mobile Ebay displays unsold items, however the 'relist' button is not available on that page. Mobile Ebay has a section from which you can relist, but on that page you can see just the items (title and image) without the dates when the items were listed in the past. I use the dates to help me to determine which items to relist. I found that using a non-mobile version of Ebay made my job easier.

My plan was to use Ebay mobile app on this trip, but I found that it was missing enough small features that using the non-mobile Ebay site made my job faster and easier.

You can find eBay on Amazon app by following this link


Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mobile App Review: Sketch , Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy Tablet, Android)

The application looks nice, it has a well designed and nice looking interface.  However, the results of the "sketch" are disappointing.

The application takes your photo, applies a black and white filter, and adds a texture that makes the photo look like it was done with a pencil.  If you have Photoshop or any similar photo-editing software those package have similar filters that manipulate photos in a similar way (but with better results).



The first photo I tried was taken from a gallery  and the face in the photo became unrecognizable. I decided that perhaps the resolution of the photo was too small. Several other attempts of loading a larger photo from gallery caused application to terminate.


My second attempt was using my tablet's front camera and taking my own photo. Taking the photo and manipulating it is well integrated into the app. I was able to take a photo, crop it and apply one of several options for the filter. Results were acceptable, but not great. The effects did not look nearly as nice a demo photos included with the app. The pencil hash-marks that extended beyond my head made me look like a mad scientist, I could recognize myself, not sure if other people would have.

My third attempt was making a sketch of a famous person. The gallery upload for this photo did not work even though I tried several different photos. Finally, I displayed the photo on my PC screen and took a photo of it with my tablet. The original and the sketch are attached to this review. This was the best result of the three attempts. The original was 466 pixels by 576 pixels with high contrast. I think high contrast was the reason for why the result looked better than the first two attempts.

I really liked the application itself - the layout, the navigation, the integration with the camera and cropping, and the general look and feel. I just did not like the results. I hope the developers will keep working on this app to make it better and fixing the problem with gallery upload of photos.

This app works well on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2. I had no technical problems and the app scales to my screen size very nicely.

This app is from Amazon Android Store and
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

You can find reviews of other mobile apps I use under Blog Label "Galaxy 7.7 Tablet" on the left navigation pane of the blog.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Product review: Pedifix Visco-Gel Little Toe Sleeves

My small toe rubs again the forth toe and gives me painful blisters. These toe sleeves did not work for me. They slipped off the toe, they were not comfortable. After trying it for about a week I threw them out.

However, I found a better solution that works for me. I now use BodyGlide Advanced Technical Formula between my toes. They now glide against it each other rather than rub, and I don't have any blisters.

This saved me a lot of pain, I wish I knew of it earlier. I hope this solution will help someone else with a similar problem.

You can find "Bodyglide" on Amazon by following this link



Ali Julia review ★☆☆☆☆

Monday, June 25, 2012

Product review: Griot's Garage 11049 Glass Cleaning Clay

I have been using paint clay on my car for a number of years, but only recently bought glass clay for the first time. It worked very well. I am attaching a collage of 5 photos which I will be referencing in this review.

1) The stock photo is somewhat deceiving as it makes you think the clay fills the nice container it is shipped in. Photo #1 shows the clay in the plastic rap is it arrived, and photo #2 a clay ball after I worked with it. The amount of clay is sufficient to work with, I am not complaining about that, just the photo makes you think you get a lot more. The container itself is very nice for storage. The paint clay I used before is Mother's clay - love the product - but I had to come up with a plastic container of my own. A tip on storage: before storing the clay ball in the container wet the outside of the clay ball with Griot's Speed Shine or any other detailing spray. This makes the clay easier to take out the next time as it sticks less to the container.

2) Photos #4 and #5 show the windshield glass before and after. As you can see the difference is significant, and it was fairly easy to get it that clean. All glass surfaces took no more than 20 minutes and that included taking photos for this review. The clay removed water stains as well as some non-bird droppings (I think dragonfly or some other insect) which are hard to remove with just soap and water.

3) Photo #3 shows the trick that allows me to reach the glass that it too far away for me to reach by hand. I am fairly short so reaching the middle of the sunroof and the middle of my windshield is not possible for me without a stepping stool. I found that it was a lot easier to to put the clay ball under a triangle-shaped Glass Reach and Clean Tool and use it to rub the clay ball on the glass that I could not reach.

The clay worked well to remove debris, but it was fairly sticky and my hands were slightly blue when I finished. I was able to remove the residue from my hands using Griot's Speed Shine followed by a vigorous washing with soap.

You can find "Griot's Garage Glass Cleaning Clay " on Amazon by following this link


You can find "Reach and Clean Tool" tool on Amazon by following this link


Thumbs up overall!

Ali Julia review ★★★★★



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Amazon Customer Assistance & Customer Service

Some problem resolutions require reaching customer assistance. Sometimes finding how to contact customer service on Amazon.com is not obvious, so I wanted to share this information.



 

 

Chat

On several occasions I found 'chat' feature for a specific item helpful. 

To find it:

1. Select Help link at the bottom of the page
2. "Contact Us" yellow button on the right hand side
3. You will have three tabs "An order I placed", "Kindle", "Something else"
4. Select a product about which you want to talk to the customer service and a topic which relates to the issue.
5. Once you make the selections the following three buttons will become active: e-mail, phone, chat.
6.  If you select chat you will get a chat window.

I used this method and the issue was resolved fairly quickly.  I had to wait for the Amazon associate to start chatting for a short period.

Amazon calls you

Sometimes it is easier to talk to a person rather than type into chat.


To find this option:

1. Select Help link at the bottom of the page
2. "Contact Us" yellow button on the right hand side
3. You will have three tabs "An order I placed", "Kindle", "Something else"
4. Select a product about which you want to talk to the customer service and a topic which relates to the issue.

5. Once you make the selections the following three buttons will become active: e-mail, phone, chat.
6.  If you select phone, you will asked to enter your phone number and Amazon representative will call you (you can select to receive an immediate call or a call in 5 minutes).  This connects you to a representative directly and they will know who you are (you account information is shown to the representative when you call).

I used this method and the issue was resolved the issue I called about.  I did not have to wait to talk to a person.

You call Amazon

Amazon toll-free number for automated assistance, 1-866-216-1072. International customers can reach Amazon at 1-206-266-2992.
Phone toll-free in the US and Canada: (800) 201-7575

Snail mail to Amazon

Amazon.com, Inc.
Customer Service
PO Box 81226
Seattle, WA 98108-1226



Amazon.com Headquarters
1200 12th Ave., Ste. 1200
Seattle, WA 98144
Phone: (206) 266-1000
Fax: (206) 622-2405

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mobile App Review: US Yellow Pages , Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy Tablet, Android)

This application is well integrated with Google maps. You can search for business either relative to your current position (which is the default) or by specifying any location you want. When you enter a type of a business you are looking for it displays the stores that match and the distance to get them from your position. It also contains the rating, the street address, and the phone number in the display. If you select the store you are interested in it will give more information about the business and several buttons: maps (which will give you Google street view, navigator, or just verbal Google directions), website (which will take you to the business website), add (which will add it to your list of favorite), or share. A store that does not have a website, does not show a website button.

I am attaching a screen shot under Customer photos which shows my tablet has a nice three pain view: summary of all stores on the left, details about my selection in the middle, and Google maps location in the right pane. The display is nice and legible on my 7.7 Galaxy tablet. The app remembered my previous searches when I restarted it, so to search for the same thing was easy.

Overall the app worked well, I did experience some minor glitches:
(1) It seemed to keep showing me the first street view even when I switched to another search. When I restarted the application it gave the right street view.
(2) When I selected navigation the application invoked a browser. When I wanted to go back to the application I restarted it from the desktop. This caused it to crash, but after the crash it restarted cleanly.

Overall, I find it to be a useful application and it works well on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2.

This app is free from Amazon Android Store and
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

You can find reviews of other mobile apps I use under Blog Label "Galaxy 7.7 Tablet" on the left navigation pane of the blog.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Product review: Triangular shaped Invisible Glass Reach and Clean Tool

This tool is unique due it its triangular shape and slightly con-caved form to follow the windshield slope. The triangular shape allows the tool to get into low sloping areas where the windshield is near the dashboard. How well it cleans depends on the material used on the tool (microfiber is best for no streak clean). It does require a couple of swipes to get the glass totally clean, but it does not require a lot of effort.


I found this tool so convenient to use that expanded its use from the inside of the windshield to the outside of the windshield and the sunroof. I am fairly shot and cannot reach the sunroof as well as some windshield portion of the outside glass of my SUV without the aid of a step stool. I found using this everywhere really speeds up the cleaning.

The tool comes with two covers: a mesh one (good for removing bugs) and a micro-fiber (no streak cleaning). Because I use it everywhere I added a couple additional microfiber sleeves of my own.
I purchased high quality microfiber towels and using my sewing machine attached strings (I actually used shoe laces cut in half) to all four corners of the micro towel. This allows me to tie the "sleeve" to the head of the tool (see attached photo under customer photos).

This weekend I found yet another use for this tool. I purchased Griot's garage glass clay [[ASIN:B004UQQT0A Griot's Garage 11049 Glass Cleaning Clay]] which removes deposits from the glass. I was able to use this tool to rub clay against the glass where I could not reach the glass by hand. This tool worked well because it is not totally flat but con-caved to follow the slightly sloped glass of the windshield, so it worked very well to hold the clay ball.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Thumbs up for this tool!

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mobile App Review: BestParking - Compare Parking Rates, Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy Tablet, Android)

We used this app on a recent trip and found it very useful. You start it by specifying a city and a time period that you are interested in. It shows you a map of the city which includes street names, bus stops, metro stops, attractions. On top of this good map of the city you are shown parking areas along with their prices. The few we used were accurate.

It covers a number of metropolitan areas. I checked it for Boston and we also used it on our trip to Montreal, Canada.

Some relatively minor things did not work perfectly:
- It seem to identify our position incorrectly, we had to scroll the map to where we were manually ignoring the red star that marked our position.
- Auto rotate is not supported, the display is always in vertical orientation
- The map display is a tad slow to repaint, but it does have a lot of info so it is understandable.


This app works well on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2. I had no technical problems and the app scales to my screen size very nicely.

Overall we found it to be useful and we will use it again.



This app is free from Amazon Android Store and
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆


You can find reviews of other mobile apps I use under Blog Label "Galaxy 7.7 Tablet" on the left navigation pane of the blog.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Food review: Fruitfield Little Chip Lemon Marmalade

I love lemon marmalade. They are hard to find, and in the last few years I could not find any in the stores so I decided to buy this Lemon marmalade without being able to look at it closely. I am attaching a couple of pictures so you can see the content not just the label.

I was looking forward to getting it so much. When the box arrived I opened it and tried the marmalade right away... but it was a huge disappointment. First, it is no a true marmalade it is a jelly. I am attaching two pictures where you can see maybe a couple of lemon zest strips in the entire 454 gram (16 oz). Second the jelly is soooo very sweet. There is not enough tartness I expected from a lemon marmalade. Third it had a weird texture, it left what I would describe as an oily feel in my mouth unlike any other jelly I have tried.

List of ingredients:
Sugar 62g per 100g
Glucose-fructose syrup
Lemons
Gelling Agent: Pectin, Citric Acid
Acidity Regulator:Sodium Citrate
Flavoring: Lemon Oil
Color:Caramel E150C

Price with shipping slightly over $11.


I eat a lot of different jams. I like having jam with my tea. I will not be able to eat this jelly with my tea because I really did not like so many things about it. I will try cooking with it, maybe it will work on a chicken as a sauce. I am so disappointed!


Normally I would not comment on a specific seller on a product review, but I think in this case it is relevant.
Enclosed with the marmalade was FoodIreland 100% satisfaction guarantee flyer with a contact email. I contacted them over the weekend letting them know I was disappointed in the product. On Monday I received a notification of a full refund. So if you like jellies the stellar customer service removes the risk of giving it a try.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★☆☆☆

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mobile App Review: Battery, Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy, Android)

A battery app was among the first 5 apps I installed on my new tablet. This is a key app for a moble device and I look for three features

1. I want to know what the battery charge is now, I want it to be easy to read (big font)
2. I want to see the status if the battery is charging or not
3. I want information in as few clicks as possible

This is app provides me all the information I want, but the user interface is not exactly what I was looking for.
I want the battery charge level to be display on the icon itslef, this application displays it on the status bar which is crowded already and hard for me to see due to small font.
All the information I want is available but I need to click twice to see it. First to select the app, and then to select 'Advanced' button.

I found two other apps which in combination give me what I want... but not in once place. I am still looking for a perfect battery app.

The first battery app shows me the charge level as part of its icon on my home screen, but that app does not show me whether the battery is charging or not. I just bought a new recharger and could not tell if it was working, as there was no screen to show me if it was charging or not. I had to install another app to help verify that my new charger is working.

This second battery app shows me all the info (including charging status) with one click in a pop-up, but does not show me the charge on the icon, only in tiny letters in the status bar.

This app was the third battery app I installed for evaluation, and provided me more information than either of the first two (for example it told me the source of the charge - AC or USB), but had the UI shortcomings I described earlier. It also kept asking me to give it 5 stars every time I exit it. Since I was doing comparisons of several apps for this review, I was not ready to do it or select 'never' so it was a bit annoying.

This app works well on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2. I had no technical problems and the app scales to my screen size very nicely.

I am still in search of my ideal battery app that combines all the behaviors I am looking for in one place.

This app is free from Amazon Android Store and
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

You can find reviews of other mobile apps I use under Blog Label "Galaxy 7.7 Tablet" on the left navigation pane of the blog.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Product Review: Korky 528 Korky Quiet Fill Toilet Fill Valve / Hunter Fill Toilet Fill Valve

I heard you are supposed to replace toilet tank fill valves every 5 years... but I had mine for 12 years with no problems.

I was motivated to write a review because I thought I would need to replace it... but I managed to fix it... and I think it is going to last a lot longer.

I wanted to share the fix, so if this happens to others they can also get a bit of extra life out of their valves as well.

As I mentioned earlier the valve worked well for many years and I never paid attention to it. However a few days ago my toilet tank began to run continuously. My normal fix for this is to replace the flapper which I did, but I what I did not realize is that I bumped the toilet fill valve while doing it and it rose slightly, which made the toilet fill higher than overflow pipe. So the problem got worse rather than better.

Since I never had to mess with the valve it was not clear to me how to lower the water level and my handy house repair manual did not address this type of a valve.

Turns out to adjust the water level you need to simply turn the upper half of valve counter-clockwise to unlock and move up and down as needed, then turn back to lock. In my case I needed to lower the valve to lower the water level, and then turn clockwise till valve snaps into locked position. It moves smoothly and easily which surprised me after 12 years of sitting in my very hard well water.

It is back working like a champ! I am very impressed.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

P.S. If you have a Hunter toilet tank fill valve (my second even slightly older valve is Hunter) -- Hunter Plumbing Products were purchased by Korky in 2000, and the Hunter valves were re-branded as the Korky QuietFill. So the instructions are the same for both of these valves.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mobile App Review: Medscape, Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy, Android)

I was surprised by how "serious" this application is. It over exceeded my expectations.

It has the following sections:

1. Medical News Alerts
The first screen contains up-to-date medical alerts. Today's alert (June 2, 2012) is that FDA announces safety label changes to Finasteride.

2. Medical News
The latest new published today (June 2, 2012) is "Revacozumab Boosts Outcomes in Resistant Ovarian cancer"

3. Medical Reference
This section is divided into Drugs, Diseases, Procedures, Drug interactions, health phone directory (physician search, pharmacy search, hospital search), Medline.
I was able to look up my medicines and see the information about interactions. Very useful!

4. Education/Training
This section contains a lot of information, including the latest updates for various medical conditions.
The latest update is a day old from June 1, 2012 "Can Bishphonate Use Lead to Atypical Femoral Fractures?"

You have two options for perusing the information. Either by clicking on the icons on the first page for perusing most recent first, or by searching on keywords.

I published some of the titles so you can see that this is a serious medical reference aimed at practitioners in the medical field. I think it is also useful for people outside the medical profession but probably some information is going to be too "technical". But better to have too much information than too little!

This application is very large and took quite a long time to install. This app works well on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2. I had no technical problems and the app scales to my screen size very nicely.

I was very impressed with this app and recommend it.


This app is free from Amazon Android Store and
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

You can find reviews of other mobile apps I use under Blog Label "Galaxy 7.7 Tablet" on the left navigation pane of the blog.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Product review: Folding deck table from Adams Manufacturing 8500-23-3700 Quick-Fold Side Table, Desert Clay

I purchased this folding table for my small deck, where I wanted to have a table but space is at a premium because I have a patio garden. This table works quite well as it is easy to fold up and store in the corner of the deck when I don't need it. The only negative is that if you want to move the table when it is in the open position it should not have anything on it. The table folds in the middle during any movement (see attached photo). This is a bit inconvenient when I use it on the deck to put down a cup of coffee or a lunch plate. It would have been better if the table had a latch on the side to stabilize the top when it is in the open position.

I am attaching a collage of 3 photos under customers photos to aid in this review.

Photo #1 shows the table next to a ruler, the table top is at 20" from the ground. The table comes in a nice clay color. I put a piece of white paper on top of the table, so you can judge the color better.

Photo #2 demonstrates the folding flaw I mentioned earlier. I just grabbed a side of the table to move it, and you see how it folds in the middle causing anything on top of it to slide or fall.

Photo #3 shows how the table opens from the folded position: first lift the two side of the top and then slide them together. As they slide the legs automatically extend.

This table works well when space is limited, and I have enjoyed using on my deck. If had a latch to stabilize the open top position it would have been perfect. As it stands now it gets a 4 star rating: good but not perfect.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mobile App Review: Accuweather, Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy, Android)

I regularly use two weather apps: The Weather Channel and Accuweather.I like The Weather Channel better as a mobile app, but the two apps often give slightly different forecasts and I find it helpful to have both pieces of information. The Weather Channel tends to be more optimistic, Accuweather is more likely to forecast rain. The Weather Channel app is a well designed app that scales to the screen size of your device (I use 7.7 Galaxy tablet), where as Accuweather is designed for a smaller screen of the phone. It does not scale and does not respond to zoom gestures. Thus the font (grey on black) is hard to read. The icon for 10 day forecast is not descriptive, located by itself, and was so hard to find that I was about to give up when I accidentally stumbled onto it.

I used it on 7.7 Samsung Galaxy Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android Honeycomb with no technical problems.

Overall, I like The Weather Channel app a lot more, but when it really matters I check both Accuweather and The Weather Channel.

Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

You can find reviews of other mobile apps I use under Blog Label "Galaxy 7.7 Tablet" on the left navigation pane of the blog.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mobile App Review: Temple Run, Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy, Android)

Beautiful graphics, fun action.  The main character of the game is on the run, your job is to keep him running over the obstacles. You control the game by swiping in different directions to turn, tapping the screen to jump, swiping down to slide, and so forth. The game starts with a tutorial which is pretty good teaching you the available actions. As you run you collect coins and buy power-ups. I am enjoying this game. 

Warming to parents: This app lets you purchase additional content using actual money.  This can be disallowed using parental controls to require Amazon account password for any in-app purchases before the purchase is completed.

This app works well on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2. I had no technical problems and the app scales to my screen size very nicely.

This app is free from Amazon Android Store and
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

You can find reviews of other mobile apps I use under Blog Label "Galaxy 7.7 Tablet" on the left navigation pane of the blog.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Product review: Arrow Hanger AH12/R Instahanger Clothes Hanging System Outdoor Indoor Cloth Hanger

I like drying some delicates outdoors, drying outdoors makes them smell so nice! Before I purchased this hanger I would need to get my drying rack onto the deck and then put it away when things were dry. With this hanger it is much easier and just as effective for my purposes.

I am attaching a collage of 5 pictures.

Photo#1 shows a close up of the hanger extended with the hanger on it. It is sturdy and easily supports several cloth hangers.
Photo#2 shows a closed hanger when it is not in use. It is slim and practically invisible.

I was very impressed with the assembly instructions that came with the hanger. Not only were they clear about small details, they also included a paper template which allows you to mark the screw positions very easily.

Photo#2 Shows the assembly of the hanger. The two parts come apart easily when the metal support is slid out of the notch. You can see the notch in photo #1, which shows the hanger open. It is towards the top, on the right hand side of the main slid.

Photo#4 has a ruler next to metal support and shows that the metal support arm is 13.5" long.

Photo#5 has a ruler next to hanger when it is closed and shows that it is 17.5" long. It is 2.5" wide.

For easy mounting I separated the two parts of the hanger. Then I found the stud, marked screw locations with the paper template, and drilled the pilot holes for the screws. Then I drilled in the screws half way working only with the bottom part of the hanger. When I had about 1/4 of inch clearance left, I snapped in the second half of the hanger and tightened the top screw. Then I tightened the bottom screw. After that I slid the metal back through the notch. I am not the handiest person around yet this whole process took about 10 minutes (most of it was measuring and making sure the hanger was in the comfortable position to reach).

To dry things outside I use a nifty hanger that automatically locks after you hang it, so the wind has no change of blowing off the hanger. You can find this nifty hanger on Amazon by following this link.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


I have been using the hanger for several weeks and I am very pleased with it. It is well designed, unobtrusive and does exactly what I needed it for.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mobile App Review: MeTetris, Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy, Android)

Tetris is one of my favorites on a computer so when I got my tablet I began looking for a Tetris-like game for my tablet.

MeTetris is one of the apps I evaluated. It starts by display a black and white grid. You can flip the falling blocks by tapping on the screen and move them left and right by swiping the screen.
However MeTetris is missing one critical feature: there is no way to drop the brick when it is in the orientation you want it to be. Thus it takes much longer to play in the early parts of the game when the game is simple. It takes a long time to get through the simple stages of the game and I found I am too impatient to play it.

This app works fine on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2. I had no technical problems and the app scales to my screen size very nicely.

I did not stick with MeTetris in the long run. I settled on Tetriblox. This game has sleek graphics, fine controls, and you can drop blocks to speed through the easy rounds.

Tetriblox is a free app from Amazon Android Store.

Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

You can find reviews of mobile apps I use under Blog Label "Galaxy 7.7 Tablet" on the left navigation pane of the blog.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mobile App Review: Simple Calculator, Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy, Android)

If you are looking for a simple calculator with easy to use interface this one is for you. This application is beautiful in its simplicity.

The interface is simple buttons just like you see in the stock photo. There are no other screens or options. You can subtract, add, multiply and divide.
The display font and buttons are big and clear. The only exception is the divide operator looks more like a comma, it is much smaller than a multiply operator located next to it. But once you know this, it is not a big deal.

This app works well on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2. I had no technical problems and the app scales to my screen size very nicely..

When I need to do some simple calculations, this is the calculator I use!

This app is free from Amazon Android Store and
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

You can find reviews of other mobile apps I use under Blog Label "Galaxy 7.7 Tablet" on the left navigation pane of the blog.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Product review: Olfa Rotary Blade Refill, Ritate Blade resharpening

I had my Olfa rotary blade for over 10 years. I use it practically every week, so it gets a lot of work.  I use my rotary cutter for quilting fabric, cutting photographic paper, cutting regular paper. My blades do a lot of work!

I use a rotary blade sharpener to prolong the life of each blade for a long time. I have re-sharpened each blade at least 10 times each. I see improved cutting (for example, on fabric you stop getting a few threads that did not get cut on the first stroke).

These blades are very high quality, they take many re-sharpening and continue to work as new!

For most part of the 10 years I have re-sharpened my Olfa rotary blade, I used a rotary blade sharpener like this one Rotary Blade Sharpener For 45mm Blades on Amazon.
To sharpen the blade, you to disassemble the rotary cutter, which has a number of pieces including the blade. Then you place the the blade between two round circles the sharpener. Each side facing the blade has sand paper, that polishes out the nicks in the blade. You sharpen the blade by rotating the two pieces of the sharper against each other. After the sharpening you have to move the blade back to the rotary cutter, and then reassemble the rotary cutter correctly (one has to remember how pieces fit together exactly).

Recently I discovered a sharpener that works without having to remove the blade from the cutter. It works by using the same motion as you cut, by moving the cutter in the sharpener itself. Not having to remove the blade from the sharpener is a *huge* advantage. It is faster, less chance of cutting yourself, and no chance of assembling the rotary cutter the wrong way (been there, done that). It is called "TrueCut" TrueCut Rotary Blade Sharpener

Both rotary cutters work well and prolong the life your blades, and thus save you money.

So I highly recommend this blade refill and its usage with the blade sharpener.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mobile App Review: TuneIn Radio, Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy, Android)

I like listening to the talk shows and news on the radio. Many of the shows I like are located on the AM band and not available on some devices. And if you listening in the car you may drive out of range for good reception. TuneIn Radio to the rescue!

This application is very well organized, easy to use, the sound is great, no buffering delays.

When the app comes up you get a list of choices:
- Local radio
- Recents
- Recommended
- Music
- News
- Sports
- Talk
- By location
- By language
- Podcasts

If you select Talk shows you get further refinements:
- Business
- Comedy
- Conservative
- Entertainment
- Ideas
- News
- Progressive
- Public
- Religious
- Specialty Talk

Then if you select, say, Public Radio then you get a list of NPR stations from  all over USA so you have more choices of times for the specific program you like.

This app works well on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2. I had no technical problems and the app scales to my screen size very nicely.

This is a terrific app: Huge amount of choices for radio shows, great reception, excellent interface.  I highly recommend.

This app is free from Amazon Android Store and
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

You can find reviews of other mobile apps I use under Blog Label "Galaxy 7.7 Tablet" on the left navigation pane of the blog.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Product Review: Black & Decker NST2118 12-Inch 18-Volt Ni-Cd Cordless Electric GrassHog String Trimmer/Edger

I am very pleased with Black & Decker GrassHog.  I have a lot of back problems, but GrassHog trimmer is easy to use even for someone who gets pain in the back easily.


1. It cuts the grass easily and cleanly, I don't have to do the same area several times as I did with my old grass trimmer. It takes me about 10 minutes to do what I need, I am able to do it on one battery charge. In one month of use so far I never wished I had more power.
2. The guard on the trimmer really works. After cutting the grass with my old trimmer I would need to brush my jeans and shoes as they were covered with grass. After using GrassHog you can't tell I just cut the grass.
3. At 6.4 pounds it is not too heavy for me to operate. I had several back surgeries and many things make it hurt, but 10 minutes with GrassHog do not bother me.
4. The ergonomics of the GrassHog are very good. You can adjust the total height of the handle as well as the angle of the black support handle. GrassHog has good overall balance.
5. GrassHog comes with two batteries and I have not experienced a situation when I did not have enough power to finish the job.  It takes me about 10 minutes to cut all the grass I need to trim.
6. I usually keep one battery charging, and the other one in the trimmer. After I cut the grass I swap them. The charger shuts off automatically and provides trickle charge to keep the battery at full charge when the charger is plugged in.

The only problem I had with the trimmer is putting it together.  The instructions are missing some key steps.  I am attaching my comments along with a collage of 7 photos.

1. Photo#1 shows all the parts as they were taken out of the box.
The trimmer itself, the handle, the guard, the recharger and two batteries.

2. Photos#2, #3, #4 show the battery and the recharger. Each battery comes with an orange cover for contacts. The cover needs to be removed when you recharge it and when the battery is inserted into the trimmer.

3. Photo#5 shows the battery on the digital scale. Each battery is about 2 pounds (1 pound 15.1 oz to be exact).

4. The recharger cord is 5 feet.

5. To charge an empty battery takes 8 hours.

6. Assembling the trimmer tip #1:
   The first thing you need to do is to put the black handle on the trimmer by retracting and holding two button on the trimmer while pushing the handle onto the trimmer. The picture in the instructions shows the handle perpendicular to the trimmer.  I encountered two problems: (1) first, my hands are not large enough to get around the girth of the trimmer to push both buttons with one hand. (2) in perpendicular position the opening of the handle would not open wide enough to go over the buttons.
I was able to do it this way: I pushed one button against the kitchen counter, pushed the other one with my left hand, and pushed the handle over the buttons from the top with  my right hand. The top part of the trimmer is more narrow and it was much easier to get the handle on this way.

7. Assembling the trimmer tip #2:
The next step in assembly is to put the black guard around the trimmer head. The instruction do not mention that in order for the guard to go on, you need to remove the screw and then re-insert after the guard is in the right position.  There are two holes where the screw could be inserted, and the picture does not show clearly which hole should be used. Photo #6 shows a close of the screwdriver as I screw down the screw into the smaller hole.

8. Assembling the trimmer tip #3:
The guard was very difficult to slide on, I was afraid of breaking it as it was flexing. I would up using a mallet to tap it in. Photo #7 shows the correct position of the guard. The last 1/4 inch would not budge until I used the mallet for the final push.

9.  Assembling the trimmer tip #4:
There are no instructions on how to release the battery once it is inserted into the trimmer.  To release you need to push the round button on the battery end down, towards the black part of battery.

10. The angle of the black handle can be changed until you find a comfortable position. I found 45 angle felt best for me.

11. Trim mode puts the trimmer's head parallel to the ground. Edge mode puts the trimmer's head perpendicular to the ground.

Overall, I am very pleased with GrassHog Trimmer. I really like the freedom of not having a cord (my previous trimmer was electric trimmer with a cord).  The job gets done faster and easier with GrassHog.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Product review: Facial hair remover Panasonic ES2113PC Pivoting Head Facial Trimmer

This trimmer works very well. I have used it for one year and really like how it works. I recommend it.


What I liked:

1. It cuts well, both the "fuzz" and thicker hairs.
2. It is very discrete. It looks like a pen. I am attaching a couple of photos of the trimmer next to a pen, so you can see for yourself.
3. It is easy to control. By that I mean that that the profile of the tip is small, and you can treat very small areas, such as between your eyebrows.
4. I am using a single rechargeable AAA battery in it. I've been using it for a few weeks before writing this review, and the battery is still going strong.
5. The battery is very easy to replace, the battery door slides nicely.
6. The package includes an extra heads (which allow to trim eyebrows, i.e. they leave hair with a certain length)
7. The package includes a small brush for cleaning the head (you are supposed to clean it dry, not wet)
8. The product feels solid, well designed, and well made.

What I did not like (very minor, stating for completeness of the review)

1. The description mentioned a pouch, but it was not included in the package
I found a cute little bag from jewelry beads which fit the extra heads and the brush to keep them all together.

Ordering refill blades:
The fine hair blade (the long one that is installed when the trimmer arrives) has a part number WES2113P3708.
The cost of the replacement blade is $6.64 plus shipping if you buy it directly from Panasonic web site.
You can find them by searching on the part number. I noticed that other vendors sell the refill for the cost that is almost equal a whole new trimmer on Amazon, so in that case a new trimmer would be a better bet.

It now has been one year since I began using it, and though it still works well I decided it was time to change the blade, and it turned out to be a little tricky, so I am attaching a photo
which shows how the trimmer comes apart, and how the blade fits.


To change the blade you need to pull down on the tab on the base part of the trimmer's head (visible and marked on the photo). Then if you push on the head you can open the head. When it opens up the blade is attached to the half of the head that can be removed. To replace the blade you replace the entire half of the trimmer's head. The white stem visible in the photo need to line up with a hole on the blade, this is what holds the blade in the right position. Once two parts are lined up together you need to slide the tab back up.
It actually works very well, and it is nice that you don't need to touch the "naked" blade directly.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, June 4, 2012

Product review: Car charger for 7.7 Samsung Galaxy Tablet, Android

I bought this charger for Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet. ECA-P10CBEGSTA Samsung charger is a 2A charger and is specifically designed for Samsung tablets. Amazon description does not specify the amps, but I looked up the specs for the model number on the Samsung web site before purchasing this recharger.

Before I purchased this charger I tried using a non-Samsung generic USB charger which worked fine to charge my husband's Samsung Galaxy Nexus Phone. He was able to recharge the phone even while we used Google maps on the phone to navigate. However when I had my tablet plugged into that non-EOM charger and used Google maps on the tablet for navigation the charger could barely keep up with the use but could not re-charge at the same time. When I switched to this new Samsung charger, I was able to both use the tablet to navigate and recharge my tablet.

The charger comes with a detachable 30 Pin to USB data cable (the identical cable to the one that comes with the tablet for the AC charger) and the car plug. So when I travel I need to take just one cable and two plugs (AC and car). Anything that decreases the number of things I need to bring when I travel is a good thing!

The only small negative is that this cable is the same length as the original cable that came with the tablet - 38 inches. I wish it was a bit longer. This cable just barely reaches the power plug when the tablet is on the table right above it.

I am attaching two photos of the charger I received in this order: the genuine Samsung car adapter and charging cable, you can see the Samsung logo stamped on both pieces. Since there are so many different chargers sold with various claims I included a close-up of the genuine parts for comparison.

I am glad to have a charger that can keep up with my needs!
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mobile App Review: Angry Birds, Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy, Android)

I only recently got my first mobile device capable of playing this game. I heard so much about Angry Birds that it was among the first dozen applications  I got on my tablet.

I have to say that I was rather disappointed.  The graphics are pretty, but the game itself could not keep me interested for more than a few minutes. It did not seem to require much skill or thought.  In general I do like games, so it surprised me that I did not like this one at all.

On the positive side this app works well on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2. I had no technical problems and the app scales to my screen size very nicely.

This app is free from Amazon Android Store and
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

You can find reviews of other mobile apps I use under Blog Label "Galaxy 7.7 Tablet" on the left navigation pane of the blog.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mobile App Review: Wi-Fi Analyzer, Free App (7.7 Samsung Galaxy, Android)

I found several good uses for this application: at home and while traveling.

The application has several screens that provide different information. My favorite view is the third screen (left most in the image below), the one with the bar display. This is my default view, once you choose this view the next time you start an app it will come up displaying that view.

In this view the length of the bar indicates the strength of the signal. The icon on the left shows you whether the channel is open or secured. My tablet is WiFi only, so when I travel it is very handy to quickly see if there are any open WiFi networks and which one of them is the strongest.  In the image below the last network in the image has the strongest signal.

Another piece of information that is useful is the channel. This is the setting that is useful at home where you can control which channel you are using. If you see that you are sharing the same channel with several other people you can switch which channel your router is using to broadcast WiFi and get a stronger signal. To figure out what is the best option use View #4 (details below).



 The other views that I use less often are:

The first view is the graph chart that shows you the strength of all WiFi signals.  The second image on the photo above.
The second view shows you a meter that shows your the strength of your network.
The third one (my favorite) is described above in detail. The first image on the photo above.
The forth one shows the channel in your area with stars indicating the best reception. This view is useful if view 3 shows you that you are sharing the channel with many people and you decide to switch. This screen will help you to choose the best alternative.
View 5 shows color coded chart of activity for all local to you WiFi networks. At the top you see a legend for the color-coding. What you want to see that your WiFi line does not cross any other lines, as this would indicate no noise from your neighbor's networks. This graph is shown in the third photo above.  You see that green and red channels have some cross-chat.

This app works well on my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (my Galaxy 7.7 review) running Android HoneyComb 3.2. I had no technical problems and the app scales to my screen size very nicely.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

You can find reviews of other mobile apps I use under Blog Label "Galaxy 7.7 Tablet" on the left navigation pane of the blog.