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.

Doctor’s Appointment

doctor who

We went to the doctor’s office today, and no, the doctor’s office wasn’t in a TARDIS lol.  Doctor Who fans will get that, anyone else will be like what is he talking about?

We had our regular appointment that we made last month and it’s very convenient that I was sick at this particular time of the month because I needed to see a doctor.  I have chest congestion, nasal congestion, a sore throat and my saliva gland is swollen causing a lot of pain there and tooth pain.  Of course, he can’t do anything about the toothache, but the tooth is only hurting because of my saliva gland, I’m assuming.

He gave me a prescription for Bactrim which is an antibiotic for my saliva gland.  That happens to me a lot with my saliva gland.  I think it happens two or three times per year and it usually goes down by the time we see the doctor so I never bring it up.  One time it was happening around the same time we saw the doctor and I was prescribed an antibiotic and I don’t remember if it helped, but I do know that this is not a normal thing to happen.  He told me to come back in 5 days and if it’s still swollen then he will send me to get a cat scan and I might need surgery.  When we came home I looked in my mouth and saw a black spot on the inside of my cheek which is probably what is causing the blockage in the saliva gland.

drawing-of-spine-deformities-scoliosis-and-kyphosis-curvature-of-the-spine-and-hunchback-or-round-ba

Last month I had some x-rays on my back and today he told me that I have a curve in my spine.  He didn’t specify which way it was curved, but he told me I need to sit up straight more so I assume it’s the one on the right in the image to the left.  So I need to learn to sit up straight because I have a tendency to slouch.  When I’m sitting on the bed, the couch, my desk chair, my bike and anywhere else, and even while I’m standing, I’m always slouching.  It’s mainly because I’m always trying to be as relaxed as I can because of the back pain.  Perhaps what I need is a brace to force me to sit or stand up straight.  I would totally wear that if that would help.

I try to take good care of my body but I guess I’m not doing as good of a job as I should if I am having all these health issues.  I have no one to blame but myself.

I mentioned that I haven’t lost any weight this month and he said that it’s okay because I have been riding my bike and he said you shouldn’t expect to lose any weight since you are building muscle, which we all know weighs more than fat.  He said that he likes me at the weight I am right now, so he’s happy with how far I have come.

Left Me at IHOP January 1, 2013 – Right Me at Morro Bay July 25, 2013

What a difference a change in diet makes.  I went from eating whatever crap I wanted, whenever I damn well felt like, to watching what I ate, counting my calories and only eating healthy foods and using the Noom app and I lost 70lbs.  I not only look healthy, but I feel healthy.  I am very happy with my progress.

2009 before I was looking for a specific photo yesterday in an old folder and I found a picture of myself from 2009 and I was even fatter than my before picture.  I looked like a balloon.  I couldn’t believe how fat I was.  I remember taking that picture too.  I was trying to get a good picture that I could use as my profile picture for the blog and all of my social networks like Facebook and Twitter, but I looked too blown up so I didn’t use it, but I didn’t delete it either for some reason.  OMG I can’t believe how fat I was.  Holy cow!  So yeah, I am never going to let that happen again.  As embarrassing as that picture is, I still feel like perhaps it would make a good before picture lol.

So I have to go fill this prescription and I will see the doctor again next week about my swollen saliva gland.  I really hope it goes down because I am sick of always being in pain.

SD card unexpectedly removed…

SD card unexpectedly removed

Has anyone ever seen this issue before?  If you have an Android phone and a SanDisk memory card, you probably have.

So this is my problem today, well, last night anyway.  It was 8 p.m. and I was logging into The Sims FreePlay to send my 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Sims to work.  As it was starting to load, it crashed to the home screen and I see this message “SD card unexpectedly removed.”  What the…?

I rebooted the phone and tried to load the game and got this message again, and again, and again.  I Googled the problem and read in a few forums that my microSD card is most likely no good and that I would need to buy a new one.  Well, I bought this card in January, how could it be bad after only 5 months?

One of my concerns was that I might have lost all of my pictures, because I never backed any of them up.  Some of them have automatically been privately synced onto Facebook, but not all of them, so if I lost all of my other images, I was going to be very disappointed.  I went into the pictures and they all had that triangle with the explanation point.  FRAK!  I rebooted the phone and they were all there, but then they disappeared… they came back and I was able to upload everything album by album onto Google Drive.  WHEW!

So another one of my concerns was that I haven’t backed up the Sims FreePlay in a few days, so all of the work that I have done will disappear and I will have to continue from where I left off the last time I backed it up to the cloud, which backs it up on Facebook.  Fortunately the game loaded last night and I was able to do a backup, but then this morning I got the “SD card unexpectedly removed” issue again, so I knew that I wasn’t out of the woods just yet.

This morning I went into the app management screen and saw that all of the apps on the microSD card were showing their icons, except for The Sims FreePlay.  Knowing that it was backed up on Facebook, I uninstalled the game and tried to reinstall it.  The first attempt wasn’t successful because it told me that it couldn’t install it, but then I tried it again and it worked.  I was able to send my 10 a.m. Sims to work on time.

I really don’t care if I have to buy a new microSD card, that is unimportant, what is most important to me is that I don’t lose my pictures, and I haven’t so I’m okay with it.  I only paid $20 for it which was a good price considering the Best Buy Mobile store at the mall was charging $35 for the PNY 32GB microSD card and $70 for the SanDisk 32GB microSD cards.  That is a lot of money.  Too much for my blood.

Last night after I backed up all of my pictures on Google Drive, I went through my apps and uninstalled a bunch that I never used that were on the microSD card.  I don’t know how many apps I uninstalled, but it was a lot.  I’ve been messing around with it after I reinstalled The Sims FreePlay today, and after rebooting it a couple of times found that one app is showing up weird in the App Management screen, so I uninstalled it.  I moved a lot of apps to the phone so that I don’t lose the data so those are fine.

Everything seems to be okay with The Sims FreePlay now after I have rebooted the phone and tried to go into the game.  I’m sure I don’t even have to buy a new card, but just in case I do, I will be very careful to back everything up.  Like if I take a picture, I will back it up with Google Drive and if I play The Sims FreePlay, I will upload my data to the cloud just to make sure I don’t lose any progress.  If I have to buy a new microSD card then no problem, but for now I don’t think I have to worry about it.

Have you had these same issues?  If so, what was your solution?  Enquiring minds want to know!

My 50lb Weight Loss – Before and After Pictures

weight loss before and after 50lbs

So yesterday was what I consider to be a milestone.  I weighed in at 212.6lbs which brings my weight loss total down to 50.4lbs lost since January 5th 2013.  So yeah, I feel like bragging lol.

Last night we went to a local event where a woman named Erin Davies is driving cross-country to show her documentary called FagBug and talk about her experiences with vandalism and homophobia and to raise awareness on the subject with her car called the “fagbug.”  When I heard she was coming, I knew I had to go because I wanted to see the car and have my picture taken with it.  And since it would be the first picture of me with 50lbs weight loss, I thought it would work as a great sort of after picture, even though I’m not finished with my journey.

Anyway, so let me give you a rundown of the images you see above.  Top left was from Christmas 2004.  I am actually not positive what my weight was back then, but I’m pretty sure it was 230 give or take.

The second picture on the top is a picture that was taken at Hearst Castle in Colorado in 2005.  It is also the picture that I used as my author picture since it was the best picture I have ever taken.  I hate taking my picture as a fat guy, but love pictures when I’m skinny so perhaps I will be taking a lot more photos when I am finally down in weight.

The bottom left picture was taken last year in May at a PFLAG meeting with Robin Tyler.  I had no idea until after the picture was taken that my stomach was actually that big.  I was beyond mortified, but kept it because I didn’t want to delete the only picture of me with Robin Tyler.  I mean, she’s Robin Tyler!

The bottom right picture is my before picture.  That is the one I took at the IHOP that we went to on New Years Day just before I made the decision to go on this weight loss journey.

Finally, the picture on the right is how I look today.  You can certainly see the difference in my neck and my face.  You probably can’t tell with the black shirt, but believe me, it’s thinner than all those before pictures.  My stomach (waist) was 50” and now it is down to 43”.  So yeah, it’s thinner.  Also my thighs are really skinny now too.  I didn’t think to measure my thighs at the beginning or every week because the Noom app didn’t ask me to, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have still kept a record.  It doesn’t matter because they are thinner now.  Oh and thank you photographer (my partner) for taking the picture with me talking instead of smiling lol.  That was sarcasm of course.

My total weight loss since January 5th is 50.4lbs.  My goal is to lose 63lbs, so I only have 12.6lbs to go.  Although, once I meet my goal I will adjust the Noom app so that I will go down to 170 because 63lbs was just a small goal to get me started, my true goal is much higher than a measly 63lbs.  I was afraid that if I set too high of a goal, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.  I think that I have proven to myself that not only can I meet this goal, but I can keep going until all the fat is gone.

Look out world, here I come!  My next picture will be when I have lost 63lbs when I weigh 200lbs or less (if it’s like 199.8 or something).  See you then…

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.

Christmas Pictures

I am very happy today because a few days ago I found out that the person who had taken photos of Christmas lost his fanny pack which had his camera, wallet and 2 cell phones in it but someone else took pictures too.  She took them on a disposable camera so the quality of the photos isn’t as good as a digital camera but who really cares?  I got photos of me with the kids FINALLY!

On the left is baby Noah, in the middle is Andrew and on the right is Jordan then in the back is well, me…

I was really happy with the look on these kids faces when they found their stockings because even though they were empty, they didn’t care because they have a stocking with their names on them to use every year with a cool picture on them.  That was all that mattered to them.

Andrew was the first to find it.  I was watching him and he was ear-to-ear smiles and he was really excited about it.  Then he was yelling for Jordan to come see his and he was really excited too.

That’s what made it all worth it to me.  The months that I spent making them all boiled down to one thing, how the kids liked them.  It was worth all the numbness and pinching in my hands to see the looks on their faces when they saw them.

I hope they enjoy the stockings for many decades.  Except for Noah because his stocking is a baby stocking hehe.  I’m obviously going to have to find another stocking to make for him.

Additional pictures: