My New HTC One V for Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I got a brand new cell phone for Christmas thanks to IZEA paying me to blog and tweet.  I just love blogging and tweeting for money.  It’s not a very good living, but at least I get some cool things out of it.

It just so happened that when I got my new HTC One V from Virgin Mobile, my partner decided that he wanted to set his computer up and naturally his mouse and keyboard weren’t working, so I gave him mine which meant that I lost my computer.  So I’ve been using my new phone as a computer for a few days now.  I’m not used to using such a small screen so it takes getting used to.  I have my Chromebook, but the WiFi crashes after typing a few words.  I reset it to factory settings, but it still does it.  Resetting it helped make it faster because even clearing the cache and browsing history wasn’t speeding it up, but the WiFi problem still happens, which meant my phone is now my only means of being online.  I’m “borrowing” my keyboard and mouse for this lol.

So after a few days of using it, here are my impressions.  I read a few reviews and watched a dozen video reviews on YouTube before I committed to buying this phone just to make sure it was what I wanted.  Of course, I wanted a better one, but this was what I could afford that I could get before Christmas day.

I was under the impression that it had 4GB onboard, but when I went to install the Sims free play, it said I didn’t have enough room which told me that I only had 1GB available.  I figured I’d be okay until I could buy a MicroSD card, but apparently not.  I am using a 2GB MicroSD card from my previous phone, so that is working for now until I get my new 32GB MicroSD card.

I am very impressed with the performance compared to some of the reviews that I watched.  It’s not slow at all.  I mean, sometimes I have to wait for a page to load or a game to load, but I’m not spoiled with a faster cell phone since this is my very first smart phone so maybe I just don’t know the difference yet.  It is slow however when I am not at home on my WiFi.  We were at the movies yesterday and it took forever for Foursquare to load so I could check in.  It finally checked in by the time we got home.  So the 3G isn’t great so far, but it’s wonderful on our WiFi.  I will have to see how frustrated I am the next time we have a doctor’s appointment lol.

iphone folder screenshot The OS is pretty impressive, well to me anyway.  It has the big clock with the weather, then room for 8 icons underneath.  There are 2 screens to the left and 2 screens to the right.  I decided that I didn’t want a bunch of icons, so I downloaded the iPhone Style Folder app.  I tried another one that allows me to put the icons in folders, but it only allowed me to have one folder, which is not what I was looking for.  This is perfect for me.

Oh and by the way, I downloaded an app to take screenshots and it was nice enough to tell me that my phone already has a way of taking screenshots by simply pressing the power button and then the home button.  So that’s one less app that I have to worry about taking up room or putting a watermark on my screenshot.  The background image is of our Christmas tree btw.

Before I got the phone, I typed out a post about how to make money using your phone.  I installed those apps (as you can see from the folder in the image above) and here are my impressions so far.

1. iPinion was a pain to sign up on because it insisted that my email address was currently being used, but when I tried to get the password, it said that email address wasn’t even in their system lol.  I had to use another email address to sign up with and even then they didn’t have any surveys for me to fill out.  I’m not giving up on it just yet.

2. IconZoomer wants me to take pictures of things like what my fridge, coffee maker, my form of entertainment etc.  But they haven’t paid me in credits for any of the pictures I have taken.  They each say they have so many days left, so maybe when the question expires I might get credit.  If not, delete…

3. CheckPoints wants me to scan barcodes of products at the grocery store, but I am broke so there isn’t a reason for me to go to the grocery store.  I’ll do it when I get some money.  I don’t want to look suspicious if I go in, scan barcodes then leave LOL.

4. ShopKick wants me to go to the mall and walk into specific shops for points, that would be fine if I went to the mall all the time, but I don’t and I don’t think I would be willing to walk around just for this because of my back pain issues.  It’s fine for some people, but not everyone.

5. Cash King wants me to download apps, watch videos and fill out surveys.  I only get 1 video a day to watch so that’s not what I thought it would be.  I downloaded 1 app which is a game which I actually enjoy and it connects to Facebook and is a game people have been wanting me to play anyway.  They don’t have any surveys yet.

6. Viggle is a wonderful app.  All you do is turn on the TV and let Viggle hear what you are watching and you get points which you can use to buy stuff.  They mostly want me to watch college football games on ESPN so I turn it to ESPN and let it hear the game then I just wait for the next one.  They will give you credits for everything you watch, but specific shows they give you bonus points for.  I have almost 2,000 points after just 2 days.  It’s not going to take long to get some decide rewards if I continue to check in and watch videos everyday.

7. Staree is from IZEA and I will never question them, but… what the heck is this app for?  I have taken a few pictures and haven’t gotten any credits lol.  Maybe they will ask you to take pictures… who knows.

One of my favorite features of this phone is how it takes pictures and video.  This doesn’t do 4:3 like most cameras do, it does 16:9.  In fact, I have it set so it takes pictures that are 1280×768 which is the resolution of the wallpaper on my desktop computer.  Videos are 1280×720 which is the same resolution as my HDTV.  Also I am loving the flash lol.  I know it’s funny to hear but every digital camera I have ever had was missing one thing, the flash, so I am in heaven.  It also uses the light from the flash for video which is pretty cool.  My camcorder doesn’t have a light so now when I need to take video at night, I’ll be able to.  Not that I will have a reason, but you never know.

Here are some pictures I have taken with the camera on my new HTC One V.

So I think I will have a lot of fun with this new phone.  It is so much better than my other one and I love that I can post pictures directly to Facebook and Twitter and I can email pictures to myself instead of having to move them to the MicroSD card, then putting it in my printer to copy to the computer.  It sure takes out so many steps.  I also love the voice recognition.  I don’t mind typing, but I make tons of mistakes with the on screen keyboard.  Although, the voice recognition isn’t perfect, but it’s still better than typing.  Yep, this is going to be a beautiful friendship.

Oh and I gave my other phone to someone who really needed a cell phone so that makes me feel really good.

How to make money with your cell phone – 7 apps

AndroidMoney

I have been getting paid to blog for many years using various IZEA websites, such as PayPerPost, SocialSpark and Sponsored Tweets, which by the way is the only reason I was able to buy myself a brand new Android phone for Christmas.

Since I have a new HTC ONE V from Virgin Mobile coming, I figured I would see if I could use that to my advantage to make more money.  The blogging for money is fine, but it has taken a few months worth of blogging and tweeting just to make $80 to buy my new Android phone.  It’s good pay, but it doesn’t come by very easily.

Naturally the first thing I did was go to Google and typed “Make money with android phone” and I found a bunch of things.  IZEA used to have a cell phone app called WeRewards which rewarded you every time you checked in at a store like Target, Walmart, Subway etc. as long as you took a picture of yourself, your receipt, the product and/or the store sign while in the store or in the parking lot.  They closed that down so there is one less thing to talk about, but they did replace it with Staree.

Ok so here are the things I have found.

ipinion 1. iPinion and iPinion+

iPinion is the most sophisticated survey app ever built for smart phones. It has exciting survey questions including several image interaction types. Users can take surveys on the go and earn rewards.  iPinion is non-intrusive, fun to participate and professional.

They have 2 apps and they each got good ratings and reviews, but iPinion+ doesn’t have as many as the other.

iconzoomer 2. IconZoomer

Become Trendspotter at Iconzoomer and receive cash for your photos.

Shoot it – Send it – Earn it

Each week you’ll receive assignments of basic topics such as: “Show us what you are eating for dinner?” or “Show the shoes are you wearing today?”

Pretty straight forward.  They ask you to take a picture, you do and you get paid for it.  That seems pretty good and the ratings and reviews are very good.

checkpoints 3. CheckPoints

Scan barcodes for products like Coca-Cola, Dreyer’s and more in any store for instant rewards! As seen in the Washington Post, NY Times, USA Today and CNN, CheckPoints is the “App That Pays You Back” with free rewards, no matter where you are!

You are going to the store anyway, why not open this app while you are there and scanning barcodes for rewards?  It seems really easy.  This app got a lot of good ratings and reviews.

shopkick 4. ShopKick

This holiday shopping season, join the more than 4 million shopkick users who get rewarded for the shopping they already do. It’s like a rewards program—only better. You get rewarded just for walking into stores like Target, Macy’s, Best Buy, Old Navy, American Eagle and Crate & Barrel. Get even more kicks when you scan items and make purchases. Forget sales and coupons. You can find great discounts and deals in the app. It’s a magical experience, and it’s free.

This is very similar to CheckPoints in the sense that you get rewarded for scanning barcodes, but you also get rewarded merely for walking into a store without doing anything.  So you could basically just go to the mall and walk around with this app loaded and go into the stores that they have listed in the app and start window shopping and scanning barcodes.  They got some good ratings and some reviews.

SwagBucks5. SwagBucks Search Swidget & SwagBucks TV Mobile

The official app from Swagbucks. Earn rewards & prizes by searching on your Android device.

I haven’t had much experience with SwagBucks Search Swidget because when I have tried it, it hasn’t really given me too many rewards.  I think the only way to get your SwagBucks with that is by making a purchase from whatever website you are searching for.  Like if you search for Target and you make a purchase, you get SwagBucks for every dollar that you spend.

SwagBucks TV Mobile on the other hand is a bit different.  You load the app and you choose which type of videos you want to watch and you just sit there and watch videos for however long of a time you have to sit there watching videos I guess.  There are music videos and movie trailers.  It’s a novelty that does wear off and you don’t get that many SwagBucks, but it still counts.  You can’t just load the app and have it run all day and all night because you have to tap the X in the top right of the screen in between videos.

Note that 100 swag bucks is basically $1 so it is a good idea.

Added 8-14-2013

viggle 6. Viggle

Viggle. Check into your favorite shows and get rewarded. Viggle makes TV better.

Watch TV. Get Rewards. Check into your favorite TV shows with Viggle and you’ll get real rewards from brands like Best Buy, Burger King, Fandango, Old Navy and more.

Viggle can automatically identify the show you’re watching. You get Viggle points for every show you watch which you can redeem for real rewards or convert into charitable donations.

Some people are saying bad things about this, like the app doesn’t recognize the show they are watching so they have to type it in manually, and others are saying it doesn’t give you money, you get coupons.  I would say to check it out and if you only get $5 gift cards for Amazon, then at least you are getting something.  I mean who cares if you are getting coupons, it’s the same as cash when you go to use it and you end up saving money on things you already want to buy.  Also, if you feel generous you could give the money to charity.

Update: I can tell you that this is good and you do get real rewards because I got a $25 gift card for Barnes & Noble to buy ebooks.  I used it to buy the Hunger Games ebooks for my Nook.

staree 7. Staree

Use the Staree app to upload photos and videos to your Staree.com profile.

To request a Staree account, please visit our website at http://www.staree.com!

I am loyal to IZEA so I am only adding this because they are an awesome company that always pays you.  They are 100% legit.  I have signed up for Staree and have uploaded a couple of photos, but I don’t know how it really works yet.  But it’s still worth giving a shot.  I really wish they would bring WeReward back though.

erewards icon8. e-Rewards

e-Rewards Mobile is now available for Android- now you can answer surveys and earn Rewards on the go!

I have used e-Rewards for many years and I can say that it is a good tool for making money, although you don’t actually make money so much as you get rewarded for your surveys with gift cards.  Some rewards are better than others, but the only reward that I am interested in is $25 Game Stop gift cards.  They have changed their reward system since the last time I got a $25 gift card for Game Stop.  It used to be that I would have to do $50 worth of surveys to cash in for the $25 gift card, but now you have to do $75 worth, so they are basically charging you $50 to cash in on $25.  I feel that is a huge rip off, but it’s still a reward.

It would be nice if they offered better rewards.  Most of their rewards are for hotels or airline rewards or magazines.  I don’t travel or read magazines, so those rewards are useless.  It would be nice if they had Amazon and Barnes & Noble rewards.

Added 8-14-2013

So these are all of the apps that I plan on installing when I get my new HTC One V from Virgin Mobile.  If you know of any more or better apps for making money please let me know in the comments and I will add them.  These were just all I could find from doing my own research, but I am sure there are better apps out there.

Thank you to IZEA for allowing me to blog for products and websites and paying me for it.  Now I will hopefully be able to make more money from my phone so that I can afford the monthly fee and/or to buy some accessories for it lol.

My New Virgin Mobile Cell Phone

Well I finally did it, I bought a new Android based cell phone from Virgin Mobile.  Well, I bought it from Amazon, but it is a Virgin Mobile phone.

We were at the mall today and they have a Best Buy mobile store where you can buy cell phones from all the different mobile companies, and they had the Virgin Mobile phones, but they were more than they are at the Virgin Mobile website.

Like take this phone, the HTC One V that I just bought on Amazon for example.  At the Best Buy store they were selling it for $149.99.  It’s on the Virgin Mobile website on sale for $99.99 and I told the clerk that.  He scanned the barcodes and he said nope, it’s $149.99.  I told him to check the Virgin Mobile website and he said it’s $149.99.  I knew it was a bad investment to buy it from there because I could have saved $50 by buying it online.  When we came home I checked and sure enough I was right, it was on sale for $99.99.

Before I made the commitment to buy it, I wanted to check with Amazon first to make sure I could get a better deal and it was on sale for $93.41.  So not only did I save money by buying it at home, but I saved nearly $60.  That’s good because I still have to buy the phone card to activate it which is another $35.

This isn’t the phone that I wanted, but it was the phone that I could afford to buy and sometimes we have to make sacrifices like this.  The reason I didn’t want this one was because it doesn’t have a front facing camera which means I can never video chat with it, but that’s why I have a webcam on my Netbook and my Desktop computer.  But it would have been nice to have the front facing camera for those times when I don’t have a mirror and I need to check to make sure I don’t have food on my face when I’m eating.  I know, I’m strange, but that does come in handy lol.  I’m sure the front facing camera wouldn’t be great for taking self pictures anyway since it is probably a 1MP camera and the regular camera on it is a 5MP.

Besides the front facing camera issue, I did like this phone in the reviews that I saw.  It doesn’t perform as great as the most expensive phones, but it does perform well, from what I’ve seen.  I will have to find out for myself.

I didn’t opt for the 1-day shipping for $18, instead I got the 2-day shipping for $10 which means I will get it on Monday, December 24th which means I will get it just in time for Christmas lol.  If I had gotten the free 5-day shipping, I’d have to wait until the end of next week.  I guess that would be ok to wait, but I don’t want to wait lol.

So yay, welcome to the year 2012/13 lol.  I have been using an old type of phone for such a long time that I won’t know what to do with myself.  I’ve never had an android phone so I’ve never known the joys of apps like the rest of the world does.

I will be giving my phone away to someone who needs it which means I will be getting a new phone number.  That kinda sucks but I wasn’t married to the one I have now anyway, I still don’t remember what the number is lol.

So until Monday…

Could the Star Trek comm badge become a reality?

tng comm badges

I saw a picture on Facebook today of the Starship Enterprise from the original series, but it was all made of Christmas lights.  That got me thinking about comm badges.  I consider myself to be a nerd, but I don’t have a Star Trek uniform or a comm badge, so perhaps I should either buy one, or turn in my nerd membership card.

As I was browsing Google, it came to me.  I wonder if they make a Bluetooth enabled comm badge that looks exactly like the Star Trek comm badge that actually works with your phone.  Most phones now have voice recognition right?  So I wonder if they have made a comm badge that when you tap it, you can say “Call Aunt Louise” and it places the call.

comm badge

Guess what… I found it!  It’s not exactly what I had in mind, but it is a step in the right direction.  This is called “CommBadge” and it works with your iPhone and Android phone using BlueTooth technology.  It isn’t in the shape I was hoping, but how can I expect them to legally use that licensed design without incurring lawsuits?

This is a start up company, so they don’t actually sell these yet, but if they can get their funding with Indie GoGo, then they will be able to make and sell these and perhaps every person in the world will have one.  They have 10 days as of this posting and have only raised $18k of $100k, so unless people help them out, we will probably never see this awesome design.

May I convince you?  They have several different models.  One without anything that just has the regular features, then they have others that have a badge holder for work and one that has the retractable badge holder for perhaps those who need to swipe their badge.  It all does the same thing whether you have the badge holder or not and that is almost exactly what you think the Star Trek comm badge would do.

You press the button (the speaker) and you hear that iPhone Siri ding ding sound and you tell it what you want and it responds without you ever having to take your phone out of your pocket.  Android has something similar to Siri, but they don’t show that in the video (below).  You can tap the CommBadge and say “Call Sally” and it will dial her number and you and everyone else around you can hear Sally answer the phone and talk and you can talk back to her.  I assume when the conversation is over you hang up by pressing the button again.

What is more exciting is that you can chat with your phone just like you normally do.  Like my partner likes to talk to his iPhone to text people.  He will say “Text Mike” and then he will say what he wants to tell me and the words spell out on the screen.  I assume it would do the same thing, without you having to look at it.  Of course Siri’s voice recognition software isn’t exact every time so there might be some confusion when I receive the actual text, but I won’t know until this thing ever comes out.

I am also assuming that you can get directions too, but I don’t think Siri will tell you to go here and turn there and get you to your destination just by using the CommBadge.  I have tried it by looking at the phone and there weren’t any turn by turn directions from Siri, I had to actually look at the screen.  But that would be cool if she gave you a heads up while you were driving without looking.

Anyway, here’s the video, perhaps if you like it you might want to help their cause to get this thing started.  I’m sure whatever you donate, you will get that product if and when they launch it.  I think it’s awesome and I would help if I had the money, but it’s Christmas.  How do they expect people to have money this month?  I mean seriously lol.

Tell me what you think.  Would you use this?  If I had an android phone, I certainly would.

A New Phone for (a belated) Christmas

I wrote about how I wanted to buy myself a new cell phone from Virgin Mobile for Christmas, but I can’t seem to settle on which phone I want and I keep changing the phone in that post.  I said I am not getting it for games, but here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter if I play games on it or not, if it can’t play games well, then what hope do I have for it running apps?  So I want a phone that is capable of running apps as well as well as it runs games because I don’t want to be in an app and suddenly the phone freezes up.

The phone I wanted in the beginning was on sale for $49, but after seeing a video review on YouTube for it, I decided that it wasn’t what I wanted.  They always say you get what you pay for, and for $50 you are probably getting a piece of crap.  The phone is normally $100, but still, if they show a game freezing in the review then that’s enough for me to say no.

I have been watching other reviews for other phones and even though they are good phones, none of them compare to the quality you get with the most expensive Android phone that they have.

The HTC EVO V 4G is on sale for $189 and takes 3D pictures and video, which is nice and all, but where else am I going to see those besides the phone?  I can’t print the 3D images and I can’t watch the videos on my 2D TV, so what’s the point?  Plus it only takes 5MP pictures.  The most expensive one takes 8MP pictures and it doesn’t have 3D.  So I would say screw the 3D, I don’t need it.

The HTC One V and the Samsung Galaxy Reverb are both good phones, the HTC One V is on sale for $100 and the Samsung Galaxy Reverb is on sale for $150, but again, not as good as the most expensive one which I now see is no longer as cheap as it was yesterday.  It is the Samsung Galaxy S II 4G.  I can’t afford that for a phone.  So my 2 choices are now down to the HTC One V and the Samsung Galaxy Reverb.

I still can’t afford anything until next month.  I have already set aside $40 and I will have more than $100 coming to me next month for blogging and tweeting which is at least 6 months worth, so it’s not a lot lol.  Whatever amount I have will determine which phone I get.  I want the HTC One V because it seems like a much better phone, even though it’s cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy Reverb.  Of course, neither of them are as good as the Galaxy S II, but if that is all I can afford, then that’s all I can afford.  I will probably most likely have to pay separately for the plan after I buy the phone, so whatever it is I can add $35 to the price.

The toughest part is that by the time I have the money for the phone, they won’t be on sale anymore so I will end up paying more for the phone.  I’ll probably end up checking Amazon and VirginMobileUSA.com every day to see if they have a sale and which one is worth getting.  Who knows, maybe by the time I have the money saved up, they might have new phones that are better than the 2 I’m torn between.

I don’t really need a new cell phone because I hardly ever use the one I have, so this isn’t a necessity, but I would like to have a new one because I feel like I’m stuck in the dark ages with the one I have, even though I’ve only had it for a year and a half lol.  It’s like having a black and white TV when everyone else has color, or having a Nintendo 64 when everyone else has PlayStation.  This is starting to sound like an Alanis Morissette song.  It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife lol.

My phone never has a good signal, so whenever I call anyone with it, I feel like I’m going to get cut off so that’s why I don’t like to use it.  I know it’s not the phones fault, but how do I know it’s not?  It’s a Samsung T401G from Net10.  I have had trouble downloading games for it because of the bad signal.  I have to wait until we go to a doctor’s appointment or to the mall to get a good enough signal just to download games, and forget about checking email because every time I try to do that, Gmail has to send me a new code which comes in a text so I have to leave the browser and read the text and try to remember the code so I can enter it when I go back to the browser.  It’s just a horrible phone lol.  I want a new phone because I feel if I had a better phone I might use it more.  I may not call people, but I will use the apps.

Another reason I want a smart phone is so that I can use Twitter and Facebook when we’re not home and I can’t get to a computer or I don’t want to be rude enough to take out my Chromebook.  It will be so much easier to pull my phone out and do a quick Facebook update or tweet and then put it back in my pocket.  It will also be so much easier and faster to tweet pictures that I have taken with my phone instead of having to upload pics to Picasa to edit before uploading to Facebook and Twitter.  It will take so many long steps out of the equation.  Also I can read email and respond right away, not that I get a lot of emails anymore since Facebook and Twitter came out, but still.

I will have to wait and see what happens in January before I can make a firm decision on whether I will get a new phone and which one it will be.  I hope it’s a good one and is 100 times better than the one I have.

The Sims 2 Castaway for PSP

sims2castaway-01

I have wanted to play this game for as long as I have had my PSP and I finally bought it today via digital download on the PlayStation Store directly on the PSP.  I love how you can just download games right onto your game system lol.  I mean, I couldn’t do that with my Atari 2600 back when I was a kid, or my Sega Game Gear and Nintendo Game Boy when I was in my early 20’s.  I just think this technology is awesome.  But I digress.

I love The Sims, I don’t know what it is about the series or why I like it so much.  In the  Sims games, you have to do certain things like sleep, eat, use the restroom, socialize, entertain yourself etc.  If you don’t do these things then your Sim will be very unhappy and probably die.  I’ve never let it get to that point so I wouldn’t know for sure that that would happen.

The Sims 2 Castaway, you start out on a boat and you get to add a bunch of characters.  I only added 2 because at the start of a game, I don’t want to have to deal with taking care of a bunch of Sims’ needs.  I can barely handle 1, so I just made 2 so that when the time came to take care of the 2nd guys needs, then I will figure it out.  I have the game forever so I can always either go back in and start over, or I can start a 2nd game.

After I created my Sims, they went sailing and there was a storm and yadda yadda yadda, stranded on a deserted island… castaway lol.  He is alone, so my 2nd sim must be somewhere else.  I haven’t found him yet.

All I seem to do is harvest things and fill my Sims needs.  I have to harvest banana leaves and vines and food and this and that and the other.  I need to harvest in order to eat, but I also have to harvest in order to make things, like clothes, a bed, a hut and whatever sorted things there are to make.  Even though I have to harvest everything, I already know that it doesn’t matter because I’m already addicted to it.  I just looked at the clock and it’s 1:30am.  The last time I checked the clock it was 11:30pm.  So I’ve been staring at my PSP for the last 2 hours like a zombie lol.

HPNX1995

This is my character.  You know, it’s too bad the PSP doesn’t take screenshots, otherwise the image would be so much nicer.  Here he is wearing “Elven Short Shorts” because I didn’t have the ingredients for making anything else.  This outfit took 5 banana leaves and 5 vines.  In order to make something else, I will need more of the same ingredients as well as grass.  Actually, this is the first outfit that I made, the second outfit I made is actually kind of embarrassing.  I wouldn’t want my picture taken with it on and so I am going to respect my Sim by not showing what he is wearing, you know, out of respect for a person that doesn’t exist lol.  He still has pride you know.

EA has only released 3 games for the PSP.  The Sims, The Sims 2: Pets and The Sims 2: Castaway.  I would love it if they would have 1 game with expansions you can buy, or maybe the Sims 3 with or without expansions.  I’d love to play the Sims that you get to play on the Android phones that have vampires in it lol.  Oh well, I will keep dreaming about that Android phone and maybe one day I might get one.  I will keep dreaming.  In the meantime, I have this new game to play and I love it.