PS Vita for Christmas

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Most normal people exchange Christmas gifts on or before Christmas day. We’re not normal lol.

My partner bought me a brand new PlayStation Vita Borderlands 2 bundle at GameStop last week, and it arrived yesterday. It arrived at the house at 1:43pm, but there was nothing on the doorstep. I thought he got it, but hid it from me to give to me on Christmas, so later that night when Dominos rang the doorbell, I asked if it was UPS and he said it wasn’t. Long story short, our driver hid the package from us and it took calling them to file a stolen package report for them to reveal to us the location of the box. They’ve never done that before. Grrr! The note on the tracking said it was left on the front door, but it was behind our hose.
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So back to the PS Vita. I thought it would be much smaller from what I’ve seen in videos, but it seems to be thicker and it feels heavier than my PSP Slim. It does feel good in my hands, but I find myself punching characters out and accidentally tossing grenades when I don’t mean to because of the back of the device. I like that it gives you more options, but it’s too sensitive.

Games that are meant for the PSVita play great with the front and back touch screens as well as the 2 analog sticks. I actually like that I’m touching the correct tool or block on the front screen in Minecraft even though I can use the directional buttons. It just seems faster to touch the screen.

Some of my older PSP games don’t access these newer features. Like you can only use the left analog stick to move your character around. I think using 2 analog sticks is easier. My old PSP is temperamental though, so I’ll be running to the right, and my character is either running to the left or in circles. That’s why I love having 2 analog sticks because the one on the left is propelling you forward or backward, and the one on the right is allowing you to run in many directions. I also love that they made the R button your trigger as opposed to the X button to allow you to continue running while shooting.

The guy at Game Stop told us the 8gb memory card that comes with the bundle will be completely used by the game that comes with the PSVITA. Borderlands 2 comes with 6 add-ons and yes it does use most of your card, but you’ll still have a few gigs to add more games.

Anyway, I did buy a 32gb card on Amazon that night when we came home. It’s actually a pain in the ass to have to completely shut the PSVita down when I want to switch from the 8gb card to the 32gb card or vice versa. Why can’t they just give you more than 8gb knowing it will use most of the card? Or why not just sell the hard copy of the game instead of a download?

I was watching someone play the Vita version of Minecraft on YouTube, and there were moments when the game seemed to lag. I haven’t had that issue, but there was a moment when the game froze and I had to close it and I lost all my progress.

One of the reasons I wanted a PSVita was because of the remote play feature. I have a PS4 in my bedroom, but I spend a huge chunk of the morning and afternoon in the living room. I was looking for ways to play Destiny and Star Wars Battlefront in the living room. That feature is only available on Sony phones and PSVita. That was the huge selling point for me. I mentioned earlier that you accidentally throw grenades, I was referring to Star Wars Battlefront. No one said anything, but I kept doing it and I quit playing because of it. I don’t have an issue with Destiny. In fact, I actually love playing Destiny using remote play.

I think if you have a PSP and you bought this as an upgrade for the new games, go ahead and keep your old PSP and the old games. Don’t install your old games on the new system. Just switch back and forth I guess.

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I took 2 pictures of my PSP Slim with the new PSVita, and you can see that they are pretty much the same size, and I looked and they seem to be about the same thickness. The PSP Slim screen is much smaller at 480×272 pixels and 3.8 inch screen, and the PSVita has 960×544 pixels and a 5 inch screen.

The PSN membership gives you 2 free games every month. 2 free PSVita games, 2 PS3 and 2 PS4 games. So if you have all 3 consoles, congratulations, because you get 6 free games. Some of the games work on all 3 consoles. In fact, some of the games I bought for my PS4 have PSVita games, which is how I managed to get these on the Vita. I’m really enjoying the PSVita version of Minecraft and Terraria. This is an awesome gift and thank you to my partner for buying it for me, and thank you even more because I’m able to play with it during my broken leg downtime.
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‘Tis the Season

christmas coupon

Every month I try to make a coupon for my Etsy shop to give people a reason to buy my craft items, on top of my already low prices. I am always adding new items, like this month I am creating packs of 4 pairs of studs for $8. I currently have several of those already listed and more to come. Of course I still have the single pair of studs with your choice of color 1 and color 2 for the new low price of $2 a pair.

My Etsy shop items make great stockings stuffers. The friendship bracelets are a nice gift to give to someone, the studs are super cute, if I do say so myself. I wear mine every day. The coasters are adorable and they last for years. I am still using the same coasters I made more than 10 years ago. My keychains are a nice addition to your keys. They help you identify which key ring has which keys.

I am still in the stage where my sales have not paid for my materials, so it would be awesome if people would buy my stuff so I can make a profit so I can buy Christmas presents this month. I don’t want to have to just give away my craft items, I would love to be able to pay off my credit card so I can buy presents. So you buying something to give as a gift, or keep for yourself, helps me give gifts and pay for my materials. It’s a win-win situation.

PlayStation 3 for Christmas

ps3 hobbit

I had my heart set on getting a brand new PlayStation 4 for Christmas, then my heart was broken at the realization that it just wasn’t realistic for me to buy with no money and not enough credit. I considered a PlayStation 3, but figured why go backwards? I know they still make/sell games for PS3, but it’s an older model and the newer one has way better graphics. For example, I watched a video that compared the graphics from the same game with PS3 and PS4. The rocks were flat in the PS3, but they were round and bumpy in PS4. But you know what? I’m not that freaking spoiled lol.

What made me decide that perhaps a PS3 is a better idea? The very fact that I was going through the PlayStation store looking for games for my PSP and realized that some of the games that I have already bought are also playable on the PS3. Not all, but some. The PS4 and the PS Vita are basically mates, so that means MY PSP and the PS3 would be mates, and that makes much more sense to buy a PS3. I mean, I don’t have any plans on upgrading to a PS Vita any time in the near present or future, so why buy a PS4 that my games won’t even work on?

The PlayStation 3 on Amazon bundled with The Hobbit is $280.00 with free shipping. I currently have $197 on my credit card, so I have $303 credit available. I am working on a $150 order on Etsy, so if that works out and I get that money, I will use that towards my credit card, plus I will add another $47 and then I will have $500 credit available. So why not then charge this PS3 bundle? Of course, by the time I get that $150, who knows if the price will still be the same. It might be higher, it might be lower, who knows. I don’t want to charge it until it is a done deal.

Another bonus of buying the PlayStation 3 is that they have a bigger selection and the games are cheaper because they are for the older system. I removed all of the games from my PS4 wish list and changed it to PS3 and added PS3 games.

So, my hopes are back up that I will get a brand spanking new PlayStation 3 system bundled with Lego Hobbit and 500GB storage. That would be so awesome! Keeping my eyes crossed!

Nook HD+ from Barnes & Noble

Nook HD+ from Barnes & Noble

I love my Nook HD+.  I have been having so much fun with it since I got it for Christmas, actually the week before Christmas.  Yeah we don’t conform to the traditions of opening your presents on Christmas day, or even on birthdays.  We open presents the day we get them.  Screw tradition lol.

My Nook HD+ has a 9” screen, so it’s bigger than the Nook HD in the sense that it has 2 more inches, but I’m telling you that because there are certain apps that work with 7 inches, but don’t work with 9 inches.  Like The Sims FreePlay and Viggle for example.  The Sims FreePlay is downloadable, you just can’t play it because you get this warning when you try.

The Sims FreePlay

I am not sure if The Sims FreePlay will even work with a Nook HD 7” tablet.  I know it works with the Kindle Fire because I’ve seen people taking pictures and video of it on that device.  I’m pretty sure it was the 7”, so if it runs on the Kindle Fire 7”, then it probably runs on the Nook HD 7”.  If so or not, please let me know.

Viggle on the other hand doesn’t even show up in the Google Play Store, so they don’t even give you the option.  I know it works on 7” tablets because I installed it on my partner’s tablet to see if I could do trivia when trivia wasn’t giving me any points with my phone.  It installed and looked great too, but the trivia was not working on his tablet any better than it was on my phone.  Although, just because it installed on his tablet doesn’t mean I know if it will install on a Nook HD 7” tablet.

Facebook isn’t great on the Nook HD+ when you use the app.  Using the browser is so much better because you get the full website that you get on the computer, but the only problem I have is when I use another tab to visit another website, or even if I use an app, like if I go check my email, when I come back to the Facebook tab, it goes straight to the mobile version.  If I wanted to use Facebook mobile, I would just use the Facebook app.

The Twitter app that comes with the Nook HD+ from the Nook store isn’t updated, so it’s better to let Google Play update it.  It’s easy to use and if you have multiple twitter accounts, you can switch back and forth very easily.  It’s actually better on the Nook HD+ than it is on my phone.  When I am using @xanapus on my phone, then try to switch over to another twitter name, for some odd reason it switches me back to @xanapus.  It doesn’t do that on my Nook HD+.

I didn’t like the Google+ app on my phone and I rarely ever use it on my computer, but it is great on the Nook HD+.  That’s one of the social media websites that I wanted to start using more often.  It has a much better look than Facebook does in my opinion.  Google+ doesn’t force you to look at ads or suggested posts.

One annoying thing that I noticed is that when I am in my library, I scroll down to My Files and see there are 564 files.  How the heck am I supposed to weed through all of those files to get to the ebooks I have downloaded?  Well, I discovered that if you click the words My Files, it brings up a new window which shows folders.  They are in the Download folder.  I have 6 ebooks that I downloaded from the EverQuest Next website that are fiction based books based on EverQuest the game, but they are all in PDF format.  Ebooks that I’ve downloaded in ePub format will show up with my Nook books, but the PDF files don’t.  I did download an app called File Manager HD which allowed me to create a new folder in my download folder so I could keep the EQN ebooks in there to keep that folder more organized.

PicsArt Photo Studio is a good app that I use on my phone to add stickers and frames and text to my pictures, but it’s such a small screen that sometimes it’s difficult to see what I’m doing.  My Nook HD+ doesn’t have a camera, but I can use Google Drive to retrieve my files.  What I really like most is that I can write on the screen with this.  I can do that on my phone, but it’s too small.

Happy New Year 2014

Okay, so my handwriting isn’t the best, it’s even worse on paper lol.

ChromecastSome useful apps that come with the Nook HD+ include Netflix and Hulu+ and if you have a Google Chromecast, you can watch them on your TV.  You don’t even need to have the Google Chromecast app installed to use it.  I know this because I bought it for my partner and I couldn’t get it to connect to his tablet.  I connected it with my CR-48 aka Chromebook, then was able to connect it to his tablet.  I don’t have the app installed on my Nook HD+ or my phone, but the icon is visible on YouTube, Netflix and Hulu+.  I guess any Android or Apple device that is connected to my network will have that ability.

Of course, other good uses for the Nook HD+ is actually reading a book lol.  You aren’t limited to Nook books either, you can read your Kindle books plus your Google Play books.  In fact, if there is a service that sells ebooks, you can read the books you bought from them, including pdf files and ebooks.  Some writers only publish their ebook with Amazon KDP Select because they get more advertising, and if they chose KDP Select, they can only publish with Amazon for 3 months.  That’s why it’s good to use the Kindle on my Nook, because some ebooks aren’t available on the Nook.

One of the features that I do like is the Nook app “Your Highlights and Notes.”  If you do a lot of highlighting and like to add notes, this is a good thing.  It had all the highlights from the Nook for PC when I got it, but it didn’t show any text.  When I add new highlights, it shows the page number and the first couple of sentences that I highlighted, and if I left a note, it shows my note.  That makes it so much easier to find every highlight and every note on every ebook you own whether it’s downloaded or in the cloud.  Highlighting and leaving notes on my Nook WiFi was so difficult and as soon as I started reading another ebook, all of the highlights and notes disappeared, which was very frustrating.

There is also a Nook app called “Your Lookups” that shows you every word you ever had to find the definition for.  That does come in handy if you ever want to find that specific word again.  The list of words you looked up are on the left, and the word, the book you found it in, the page and the date and time you looked it up are on the right along with the definition of the word.  WOW!  Now you have a record of the date and time you learned a new word.

Anyway, these are some of my thoughts on the Nook HD+.  I like it a lot and I will get a ton of use out of it.  I still have my Nook WiFi and I don’t think I will use it as often for reading ebooks, but if the occasion ever arises when I go outside to read, I will be able to use it.

Nook HD+ for Christmas

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I was totally not expecting this, but my partner bought me a Nook HD+ 32GB for Christmas. I was saving money to buy an Amazon Kindle Fire because I thought it was better than a Nook tablet. I had no idea that the Nook tablet had the Google play store now. So I changed my mind, but was still saving the money and was expecting that I would finally have the money saved by my birthday in June. I told my partner what I was planning, and I think he took that as a hint. It wasn’t, but hey, I’m not complaining lol.

I have a Nook WiFi, which is still very nice to have for when I want to read a book in the sunlight. That doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen. You can’t see a tablet screen in sunlight which is what makes a e-ink screen superior than a tablet in that sense.

I was saving up for the 7″ screen with only 8GB, but when we were at the Barnes & Noble store he saw the two screens next to each other and decided for me that the 9″ screen was better, and that 32GB would also be way better than only 8GB which I highly agree with. The price however was a huge difference. The 7″ tablet was only $129 and the 9″ was $179. I agree that the one he bought me is better though, and I probably would have regretted not getting the bigger one.

library portrait There was a problem with my new Nook though. The first day was okay, but the second day wasn’t. The screen started freaking out on me. It would move side to side on its own and it would drop app icons onto the desktop from the carousel at the top. It also went into my library and started downloading books and magazines from the cloud. I saw it in the Nook store and freaked out that it would start making executive decisions on what it thought I should start reading.

I called the store and tried to explain to them what was happening, but the tech didn’t get it right away. She eventually understood and walked me through resetting it to factory and told me if I had any more problems to bring it in for another one. It did, and so we went in the very next day. It was a good thing too because they were on sale, so they gave my partner the difference, which was $32. Not bad eh? Instead of being $179, it was only $149.

So yeah, the Nook HD+ 32GB was a very good thing. I’ve been putting my computer in sleep mode while I use the Nook as a computer. No sense in using electricity if I’m going to use a tablet instead of a computer. I am disappointed that I can’t play the Sims FreePlay on it though. I’ve been playing that on my cell phone for a year now and it gets frustrating when it crashes constantly. I would love to free up some space on my phone and play it on a bigger screen.

landscape book

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to read books on the screen because I much prefer either paper or e-ink, but it’s actually not that bad to read from. I’ve been reading in landscape mode and it reads just like a book, it even looks like a book when you turn the page. The reason I’m reading in landscape mode is because of the case I have. It’s much easier for me to read with the Nook sitting on my desk than it is to hold it on my hand.

I am very happy with my gift. I’m even happier that I didn’t have to save the money for it because I can’t save money very easily because it always goes into the groceries. I’m even happier that the replacement didn’t freak out like the first one lol.

We didn’t buy the case in the store because I thought they would be expensive, so I bought it on Amazon for $11 with free shipping.  Not a bad price.  I found out that the cases they have in the store are only $15, but I am very happy with the case that I have because it rotates so it can stand in portrait or landscape mode.

We don’t conform to the rules of opening your Christmas presents ON Christmas day.  Screw that noise lol.  We will open our presents when we gosh darn well please thank you very much.  The present I bought for him wasn’t quite as expensive though, it was the Google Chromecast for $35.  He can use it to watch Netflix or YouTube directly from his tablet.  My second gift for him was Netflix itself, which we both can enjoy from our tablets and the Blu-ray player.

Since when did saying “Happy Holidays” become offensive?

Christmas 2007-1

I have been saying “Happy Holidays” my entire life.  There have always been cards sold in stores that say “Happy Holidays” and nobody was ever offended before.  Now all of a sudden saying “Happy Holidays” seems to be more offensive because people believe there is a war on Christmas and that Atheists are trying to remove “Christ” from Christmas, so if I don’t say “Merry Christmas”, but say “Happy Holidays” instead, then I am part of the problem and get lectured by some religious person who is very upset.

This is how I see it.  I have friends who celebrate Hanukkah and friends who celebrate Christmas.  I also have friends and family who celebrate Christmas, but not specifically for religious reasons because they are Atheists.  So why can’t I say “Happy Holidays” to them without someone yelling at me for not saying “Merry Christmas”?  I wouldn’t say “Merry Christmas” to my Jewish friends and I wouldn’t say “Happy Hanukkah” to my Christian friends.  Happy Holidays is a happy medium.  It’s a way of saying, well, Happy Holidays lol.  It’s just words, so why is it so upsetting?  I don’t understand.

I am an Atheist and I have celebrated Christmas since I was a baby.  I wasn’t always an Atheist, I was baptized when I was a baby and I considered myself to be a Christian when I was growing up.  My parents took us to church when we were very young, and I have memories of that, but then they stopped and there is a very funny story of why.

My mother and step father went to my mother’s church which happened to be the Mormon church.  The first time he ever went there with her, they asked him to stand up and say his name.  He was afraid to say his own last name out of fear of her getting kicked out of the church because they were living together, but they weren’t married.  They knew her last name was McDonald, so he used her last name without really thinking it through.  The problem with that was, his first name was Ronald.  He was so beyond embarrassed when people laughed at him for proudly proclaiming to be Ronald McDonald that we never went to church again as a family.

I went with neighbors to the Salvation Army church when I was in the 6th and 7th grade.  I even went to the Salvation Army band camp the summer before I was in the 7th grade.  When we lived in Reseda when I was in the 9th grade we rejoined the Mormon Church because they helped us with food bank, but I don’t recall going to church every Sunday, but I do remember going to teen functions, one specific function stands out, it was a dance for the teenagers.

Anyway, I was very religious up until I came out of the closet at 17, well, I was pushed out, then kicked out.  People started quoting the bible to let me know I was going to hell for being gay and over the course of a year or two, I became an Atheist.  But I never stopped celebrating Christmas because I enjoy decorating the Christmas tree and looking at the lights and having a stocking hung by the fireplace.  I enjoy all of the Christmas movies and I love it when my favorite shows have a Christmas episode.

Just because I am an atheist and do not celebrate Christmas for “Christ” doesn’t mean I want Christ to be removed from Christmas.  I honestly don’t care what it’s called, I just want to have a happy holiday without being told that I am a part of the war on Christmas just because I am not religious.

So Happy Holidays to you all.  Deal with me saying Happy Holidays because it’s just words.  If me saying Happy Holidays offends you, get over it!

BTW, the cat in the picture above is our late cat Shanaynay.  She passed away in 2009.

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.