Xanapus on WordPress

wordpress

It’s official! If you type my domain http://www.xanapus.com, my WordPress.com blog will load. I had my website hosted with the same company, although they went through many name changes, for 13 years. I have been blogging with WordPress for 8 years on my hosted website. Thanks to the help from the awesome people at WordPress, all of my blog posts over the last 8 years are on my WordPress.com blog and you can now come here using my domain name.

My blog will have more of an audience since people who blog using WordPress.com can see other blogs as they are published. My blog on my self hosted website barely had any visitors unless they came from Google or Bing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s also not a good thing.

My worst fear was that if my self hosted blog disappeared, all those search engine results, Facebook and Twitter links and links on other blogs would result in a dead link, but, I am so happy to say that is not the case. If you click any old link, it will automatically load those articles here. So that sure is a relief.

The best thing about this move is that I can blog directly from my cell phone when I’m not home. If I have to get something off my chest and 140 characters just won’t do, I can get on the WordPress Android app and just vent to my hearts content. I can even take a picture and add it to the blog post.

I’ve been working on the design of my blog and I’m not quite sure I have it, but I will look at some other themes and maybe something will catch my eye. Let me know what you think in the comments and perhaps if you have some advice, I’m open to anything.

Anyway, I don’t want to talk your ear (or eye?) off. I’m just excited that I am finally saving some money lol.

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.

Google Chromecast

Chromecast

I didn’t know what to get my partner for Christmas because he doesn’t seem to show any interest to anything.  Everyone has a hobby of some sorts, but not him, so buying presents is difficult.  Last month he bought a new tablet from Verizon and I remember seeing the ads for Chromecast, so I figured this would make the perfect gift for him so he could watch Netflix and YouTube on his HDTV.

Chromecast Icon CircledOf course when it came, I couldn’t get it working.  I thought the setup would be easy, but it was anything but.  His tablet recognized it, but wouldn’t connect with it.  I decided that he could use my CR-48 (Chromebook) to watch Netflix, so I installed the extension and it recognized the Chromecast and connected instantly.  I went back to his tablet to the Chromecast app and it was already connected there too.  Despite the fact that I never even installed the Chromecast app on my Nook HD+, I see the Chromecast connect icon on Netflix and YouTube.

When I bought the Chromecast through the Google Play Store, I read the reviews and saw a couple of people bitching about the fact that you cannot watch home videos or pictures you have taken with your phone or tablet, but I found that to be false.  If you own a Chromecast, when you go to the Google Play Store on your device you will see a category with apps made specifically for Chromecast.  There is an app called avia which says you can share your personal photos, videos and music on the big screen.  The app is free, but it might be limited because it says “In-app purchase of $2.99  gives you Chromecast support, casting to DLNA enabled devices, access to Dropbox, support for themes and removes all ads.”  As with everything in life, read the reviews and decide for yourself.  There is only one app that will allow you to share your personal photos and videos… for now.

Loading the Chromecast is simple.  When you want to watch something, just click the Chromecast icon so it streams to your TV, then hit the play button and it will automatically switch to the Chromecast.  When you are done, you will have to get the remote control that came with your TV to switch the input back to the cable.  It’s actually very easy.

It’s a great device for those who don’t have an internet streaming device like the Apple TV, Roku or a Blu-ray player, it’s also cheaper at only $35.

Here are a couple of screenshots of YouTube and Netflix with the Chromecast icon.

Chromecast YouTube Chromecast Netflix

Nook HD+ for Christmas

desktop landscape

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.

Cycling again… FINALLY!

noom cycling 2013-07-20_09-51-23

Today was the first time in a very long time that I have been able to ride a bicycle for exercise.  Of course I used the Noom app on my Android cell phone.

This is the map, but the statistics are wrong.  The app froze at a few points and I was not given credit for 3.5 miles.  I mapped it out on Google Maps and the roundtrip ride was 11.8 miles, but I was able to add what I missed manually so I got credit for it.

The reason it froze is not the apps fault, I believe it’s that the music was causing it to freeze.  I wasn’t using the built-in music player, so I think that with the Noom app running and other apps running caused my phone to freeze up.  I also kept getting phone calls from home and I got a notification from Facebook and from eBay and from my emails, so I feel that everything was causing my phone to become slow.  So I don’t blame anyone but my phone itself for that happening.  Whatever the app doesn’t record, I can add in manually so I’m not worried.

It’s been a very long time since I was able to ride my bike.  In January I was 264lbs and I was worried about riding my bike because it says in the manual for the bike that it has a weight limit of 250lbs and at that heavy weight, I was afraid I would break something, so I just didn’t ride it.  I waited until I was 245 to ride it again and every time I tried to ride it, the back tire would go flat.  I lost more weight and bought a Bell No Mor Flats tire from Wal-Mart (it was the only place I could buy it) which was a huge mistake because installing it ruined not just the rim which was practically brand spanking new, but it also ruined the tire.  I tried using a tube and I don’t know if it was the scratches in the rim or the wires sticking out of the tire that popped it, but the tube wouldn’t stay inflated.  I was saving money for a new bike because I couldn’t see myself spending $30 – $35 for a new rim and $20 – $25 for a new tire.  My bike was originally only worth $60.

Fortunately we found a thrift store nearby that had a used rim and a used tire and they sold it to me for… wait for it… give me a drum roll please…  $5.  That’s it.  I saved $50 or $60 and saved myself from having to buy a new bike.  Check it out.

bike 1 july 20 2013 bike 2 july 20 2013

I wore my Black Nashbar Bib Shorts with my black Noom shirt and I put my wallet, my phone and my keys in my Noom backpack and set off with only my Noom water bottle to quench my thirst.  I actually didn’t think I would be riding more than I did, so I didn’t bring my Camelbak.  Next time I go out, I will load my Camelbak in my Noom backpack and put my keys, wallet and phone in the front pocket.  Although, I may put my keys in with the camelbak so they don’t scratch up my phone.

When I came home from my walk I was pleased to see that my Nintendo 64 had sold on eBay for $28 plus $21 shipping, so I took a walk to the post office to pick up a Priority box (if it fits it ships), so naturally I did a walking workout, so my total calories burned today was 736 with that extra 3.5 miles added that the Noom app missed on my bike ride.  I normally get a 1400 calorie allowance for my meals, but with the amount of calories that I burned today, I can eat 1770 calories.  Not that I will eat that many, but I know that if I feel hungry for an extra snack, I won’t feel guilty about it.

Today was also weigh-in day and naturally I didn’t lose any weight this week, which is disappointing, but now that I’m exercising again, perhaps this will kick my weight loss back in gear.  I hope so.

noom cycling bike store 2013-07-20_11-34-43 Oh and one more thing.  The spot that I stopped and rested at on the bike trail just so happened to be near a bicycle shop.  That’s the place where I bought my beach cruiser handlebars many years ago.  The store is called Finish Line.  You can’t see their sign or logo in the map, but that’s what they are called.  There is a seat right there on the bike trail which is where I took a break and that’s where I turned around to come back home.  There is a bridge right there too, so if I ever need to, I can cross the bridge and park my bicycle somewhere and go in and buy whatever it is that I need.  Not that I will need to mind you, because I usually buy all of my cycling supplies from Nashbar or Amazon.  I probably won’t need to go in there, but it’s nice to know they are there in case I do need to.

You have no idea how happy I am to be able to ride my bike again.  I really want to finish losing the rest of this weight, of which there is really only 23lbs.  I feel that if I could lose 70lbs with diet alone, I can certainly lose 23 more pounds easily with diet and exercise.  I’m so psyched!

Google Keyboard

google keyboard

I hate to type with my tiny android phone. The keyboard is literally too small for my fat fingers. Naturally it can take me a long time to type out a simple email which I hate because if it takes too long to type something, you forget what you wanted to say in the first place. That’s why I much prefer to type with my computer, but what if I’m not at home and I need to send a text or write an email to someone? In screwed, right?

So I got an email the other day from Google telling me about Google Keyboard for android. I had seen the swiping keyboard before, but it didn’t come with my phone so I forgot about it. I immediately downloaded the Google keyboard and started using it and I actually love it.

Okay, this is what I love about it… If you are typing and your finger doesn’t go on the right letters, for some reason, it already knows what you wanted to type, so the word comes up anyway. If it’s not the right word, there are choices you can choose from. If you didn’t see that you made a mistake, you just tap the wrong word and you can choose the correct word from the list. It’s literally that easy.

I am typing this out with my android phone right now.

Last night I typed out another post called Patriotic keychains and flag lanyard and it literally only took me like 10 minutes to type it out with Google keyboard.

When I need to type something with my phone, I usually use voice recognition, but then people hear me which makes saying what I have to say more difficult because I don’t want everyone knowing my business. This is actually faster than voice, but you still have that option if you need it. I don’t think I will need that anymore.

Just to clarify, they are not paying me to write this post. I just love Google keyboard that much lol.

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!