Archive for September, 2010

iPod Touch Reviews

iPod Touch Reviews I bought my first iPod in March 2010. Ok, I know I am a little late getting on the bandwagon, however I really have been a PC type for all of my computer lifetime.  I bought it for $300 in the spring of 2010, and have really fell for this little piece of technology, and I haven’t bought a CD since as well.

This Generation iPod cost $300 and was the size of a half a deck deck of cards or perhaps even thinner. I purchased the 32 G model and have a huge amount of space for a lot of apps as well as pictures and music. It also apparently has a faster processor than some of the older models.

iPod Touch Reviews

IOS8.01 and iPad

The biggest complaint that many iPod owners have is that they cannot upgrade to IOS 8.1 because they do not have sufficient memory. They have to erase material from their iPad to allow for the upgrade. The other complaint is that older models just cannot handle the new software and are slower as a result. Time to upgrade to a more powerful model.

IOS7.0 and iPod

My version of this device also runs IOS 4.1 and has all of the same features as the iPhone except for the camera and of course the phone.  Apple has sold more than 260 million iPods, and its latest iterations look less like a deck of cards and more like a hand of poker. Since we purchased this iPod, apple is now releasing IOS 7 and  although Apple indicates that our iPod will run IOS 7, we are not planning to upgrade it since it is an older slower machine compared to the devices now being sold. it would be just too much headache due to slowness and unsupported apps in our view.

I really like this little machine. I read most of my email at coffee shops that offer free WiFi, read the news, check on the weather, listen to my favorite radio station, check my Facebook status, even keep up on my banking. This is a really great little device and as long as there is WiFi around, I can connect and be live on the internet. I can even make phone calls over Skype! When I call other people on computers including smart phones running Skype it is a free call. No data plan and no minutes! Utterly fantastic.

Now the company’s newest generation of music players is set to be released into the wild, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the new model.

If you own the last version of the iPod touch, the design of the latest version shouldn’t come as a major surprise. Instead of aping the iPhone’s new glass-sandwich looks, the new touch hews close to its roots with a super thin profile made up of one part glass screen and one part all-metal back. The device still bears the smudge inviting chrome rear panel, and continues the trend of shrinking the thickness as far down as possible. We thought the iPhone 4 was crazy thin, but the new touch looks like a toothpick by comparison.

We especially like the latest iPods, specifically enjoying the front-facing camera of the iPod Touch, but was “less enthusiastic about Ping, Apple’s first attempt at social networking, because it didn’t do well enough with the socializing aspect. With the camera front and back, we can take pictures, take videos and hold video conference calls with our family all from the iPod Touch!

Ping’s other socially awkward characteristics include its inability to notify you when other people comment on or like something you’ve posted or commented on. Apple says these will appear in the Recent Activity page within a week — but not as easy-to-see notifications at the top of the page.

Some changes to the iPod in the past, which is updated each year, have seemed forced, but that this year’s updates are welcome. There are thousands of app’s available that cover just about any situation you can think of. More are being added everyday and the older ones are being updated to utilize 4G speeds. This is truly a great winner for Apple.

iPod Touch Reviews  – Time to Upgrade

There are no design missteps this year, though, at least none as egregious. The 2010 iPod crop takes some design risks and, in some cases, subtracts some longstanding features. But in general, the trade offs are worth it. I cannot wait to get my hands on the new iPod model and put it through its paces. Now that IOS 7 is out and we are several versions behind on the iPod I think it is time to upgrade and purchase a new device.

If you have one, feel free to add your comments here so other readers can find out more about Apple’s latest creation. Please note that spam comments will be deleted. For more details, click here.

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Swimming Pool Closing for the Winter

In our last post we said we would provide more detail about closing your swimming pool for the season. Here it is. Please note that we are going to assume that the weather during the winter will below freezing and therefore you need to take special Swimming Pool Closing for the Winterprecautions when closing your pool. These instructions are also for an in ground swimming pool, however for above ground pools you can follow many of the same steps.

We have added a some details to the steps in our previous post. If they do not apply, just ignore them. Of course we cannot be responsible for your pool, since every installation is a bit different. Above all use these instructions along with the detailed instructions you received from the pool company you deal with.

Swimming Pool Closing for the Winter

  • Clean the pool and make sure that the water is clear, that there is no debris or dirt in the pool
  • Bask wash your filter in the usual manner to make sure it is also clean
  • Using the attachments that come with the pool, lower the water level below the return lines
  • Once the water is below the return lines, shut the pump off and disconnect the hoses you used to lower the water
  • If you have a main drain, plug the line coming from the main drain in your pool. Usually you place an 18 inch long foam rod into the line at the skimmer and screw in the plug
  • Make sure you use plumbers tape on the plug so that it provides a water tight seal
  • Blow the lines using a shop vac to get all of the water out of the lines
  • Make sure every drop of water is removed from the lines to the pump and the lines back to the pool.
  • Plug the lines so water cannot get back in and freeze using the plugs provided and plumbers tape
  • Drain all water out of the pump and the filter
  • Remove all plugs from the pump and the filter, the pressure gauge and the glass water observer attached to the filter
  • Place the filter control in the winter position
  • Cover the pump and filter to protect them from the elements if they are not enclosed in a shed
  • Place styrofoam in the skimmer to absorb the expansion of the ice and in the pool around the skimmer
  • Place chlorine and algacide  in the water to prevent build up of algae
  • Remove ladders, diving board and any other attachments and store them for the winter
  • Cover the pool to protect the liner from UV rays, dirt and leaves
  • Fill your water bags and place them around the pool on the cover to hold it in place
  • Shut the power off to the pump to avoid it accidentally being turned on

Summary

This is a pretty good list for most pools. However if you have heaters such as a gas heater or a solar heater, you will need to ensure that they are also drained properly and prepared for winter storage.

It is really important that all of these steps are completed properly. The most important of course is to ensure that all of the water is drained from the lines, the filter and the pump to avoid freezing and cracking of any of these things. Also you want to make sure that water cannot get into the lines during the winter. This will be equally bad and cause you a major headache next spring when you try to open your pool.

Doing this work yourself can save you a lot of money. This is the point of this blog. However if you are unsure or uncomfortable with closing your swimming pool, hire a professional and book early since everyone wants their pool closed at the same time. No one wants to keep operating their pool when it is cold waiting for the pool guy to show up!

We welcome comments and hints about closing pools for the winter. Spam comments will be deleted. For more information about seasonal money saving ideas, click here.

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Closing Swimming Pools

I just closed my swimming pool for the season. For some readers this may seem early, however I live in eastern Ontario, Canada and the season ends pretty quickly Closing Swimming Poolsaround the beginning of Sept. The weather is still nice, but really it is not fun swimming when the air temperature is starting to cool off. Some people seem to enjoy swimming when the air is cold and the water is warm and heated by a pool heater. However we do not enjoy this and besides it is a huge waste of energy. If you live in the southern US or even in Southern Ontario, you can get another month of swimming in.

Closing Swimming Pools – Do It Yourself

Consumers can save a lot of money if they maintain their own swimming pools and open & close the pool each season. However it is important to do it right. If you don’t a lot of damage can be done to your pool over the winter months. If you are going to do it, close your pool properly. Even if this means hiring a pool company the first year to watch and learn how they do it will save you money in the long run. Make notes if you need to and follow instructions from the pool company.

Closing the pool is a sad day, since it means winter is coming with cold and snow. We still have a few months before that happens and we must enjoy the fall as much as we can. I am digressing here so back to the main point about closing your pool.

In our next post, we will explain in detail how to close a pool. However there are a few points we want to emphasize here to ensure that your pool is not damaged during the winter. If the temperature never gets below freezing then you really do not have to be as concerned. With temperatures well below freezing in Canada during the winter, we have to take extra care in closing the pool.

Here is our list.

  • Lower the water level below the return lines
  • Blow the lines to get all of the water out of the lines
  • Plug the lines so water cannot get back in and freeze
  • Drain all water out of the skimmer, the pump and the filter
  • Place Styrofoam in the skimmer to absorb the expansion of the ice
  • Cover the pool to protect the liner from UV rays(your liner will last for many years longer if it is protected from the suns rays when it is closed for the year)
  • Place chlorine and algacide  in the water to prevent build up of algae
  • Shut the power off

More Details

This is a basic list, however if you plan to do all of this yourself to save money there is a more detailed list. After all this is what this web side is all about, check for our next post for a detailed list of steps to follow in closing your pool! Some readers would rather hire a professional company to close and open their pools. This saves them a great deal of work and they also know that the pool is closed properly.

Many readers will keep their pools open until mid October. They use a gas or electric heater to keep the pool water hot enough to swim in. Some people find swimming in cold weather very exhilarating. We are not part of that group. We end up closing our pool earlier than some of our neighbors, but that is just fine with us. My family would not use it anyway. After September 1 the water is just too cool for us along with the weather. I guess we are fair weather swimmers.

Comments are welcome and appreciated as long as they benefit our readers. Spam comments will be deleted. For more seasonal related projects around the home, click here.

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RVs – Do They Save Money

My wife and I have talked about getting an RV to travel across the country, stopping wherever and whenever we wish, spending time sight seeing and just plain enjoying ourselves.  The question is – RVs – Do They Save Money? This web site is about saving money and we have concluded this is a big time saver to talk about. RV’s can be enjoyable, however it is not in our opinion a way to save money. Traveling in an RV is more of a life style decision than anything else. Read on.

A lot of people every year do this and seem to have a great time. In fact if you pass RVs - Do They Save Moneyby many RV parks, you may see thousands of them congregated in one park. Not to my taste with not much room etc, and having to pay $50 or $60 a night for hook up fees. There are ways around hook up fees, however they are equally unpleasant.

Other times they will be in Walmart parking lots RV’s Parked at a Walmart RVs - Do They Save Money for the night and many are finding that the Casinos offer free parking with no services for people to park their RV rigs for the night. The casinos of course really want you to come and spend your money at the casino or perhaps in one of the many restaurants that they will have.
We have concluded that it is really about the lifestyle that you want to lead while vacationing and really not about the money you may spend or save while owning or renting one of these big RV units. If you are thinking that you will save money forget it. Owning an RV will NOT save you money at all both in carrying costs to own the RV, operating costs and then parking and utility hookup costs.

RVs – Do They Save Money

Our feeling is that you can go on a relative inexpensive vacation , staying at motels that provide free parking, free breakfast in the mornings and always having clean sheets every night.

We would like to get your comments and thoughts about owning an RV and whether an RV vacation is more expensive than a hotel vacation. The following are a few more comments about owning and operating an RV!

Drawbacks to RV’s

There are other drawbacks as well about RV’s. They take a lot of gas, you cannot just park them anywhere and what do you do with it when you are not using your RV. Most municipalities do not allow parking in your driveway for any length of time and besides your neighbors probably would not talk to you if you did. Many people need to have a special garage built for them so they can store their vehicle in the winter months or off season months when they are not in use. Unless you are retired, you cannot travel around all of the time. While it would be nice if you could head out in your RV for the entire summer, the reality is most people only get to use their units now and then during camping season.

In addition to providing  storage, you also must make sure you have proper insurance for both off season as well as during your travel time.

If your RV is going to be left in storage, it’s important it is properly insured. Check with your insurance company or find someone who insures RV’s. YOu will likely get a better deal, however it always pays to comparison shop for RV insurance.

Maintenance is or can be a major issue for many people. You have your house on wheels and have everything you need with your for an extended stay somewhere. This is still a vehicle and like a car needs maintenance. At the very lease oil changes, battery checkups, brakes, the usual mechanical things that a vehicle needs. There are other items that need attention.

Batteries

For example, the batteries which provide emergency power need to be maintained. Cleaning and emptying waste tanks is something most people do not think about. General maintenance of your RV, removing all fluids if the temperature falls below freezing and so on are just a few of the things to consider.

Even the water you use can be an issue. Water from a city source is treated and has had all of the bugs etc eliminated. Campground water is quite another thing. Empty your tanks on a regular basis  and check before filling to make sure it is good clean water.

Like a home, your RV needs to be aired out once and awhile. You cannot keep it shut up for a long time and not expect it to smell. Never leave food inside it with everything shut for any length of time or you may pay the price of smelling that odor for a long time. Damp environments need to be dried out as well from time to time.

For more vacation ideas, click here.

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New Ipod Touch From Apple

Smart Phone SecurityThe latest iPod touch is almost here with the announcement from Apple that they are updating the popular iPod touch. I have been using one for the past 6 months and I must say it is the best investment I have made in terms of tools and gadgets. The 4th generation of the iPod touch promises to be even better!

We will list the features that Apple has added in just a moment, however we want to emphasize something first. For those of you who want everything that the iPhone has to offer the iPod touch may be the answer with out the proverbial contract that is tied to all iPhone systems. As long as you have a WiFi connection you can do pretty much everything the iPhone can do without the data charges on an expensive contract.

Using Skype

Using an application such as Skype, you can make and receive phone calls on your iPod, and there are multiple applications that also allow you to send and receive sms messages as well. The only drawback is that you do need a WiFi connection. In my personal experience, I have found so many places to connect that I would never even consider moving to a data contract of some sort with the major carriers.

Ipod Touch Features

However I am digressing. Here is a summary list of the major feature improvements of the new iPod touch as release from Apple, which is scheduled to ship in Sept 2010.

  • Same stainless steel back, with about 15 % shaved off the thickness of the device
  • Same rounded corners, lighter than the original and certainly from the iPhone
  • Improved screen with more vibrant colors and crystal clear display
  • Addition of two cameras, front and back
  • HD video recording capability
  • Video calling with Apples Face time video calling app
  • No Contract
  • 3.5 inch, 960 by 640 pixel resolution retina display

Now you can take pictures and videos and send them to your contacts via email, conduct video chats with family and friends and stay in touch with all of your contacts. As long as you do not need to have emergency phone service you can use your iPod touch for much of your communication with everyone.

Note that we think it does not replace a traditional cell phone, which many of us need to stay in touch, conduct work activities and in general stay in touch with the world by voice. However you can purchase an inexpensive voice plan for your cell phone and use the iPod touch for all of your data needs, surfing, downloading videos and music and much more.

Apple has done it again! This could be another one of those game changers that shakes the industry and continues to put pressure on the telephone and wireless carriers. They still get to carry the traffic, since they feed the WiFi connections, they just do not get to charge the high rates for a data connection. There may be a revenue impact as more and more companies offer data service through Wifi service. Just visit almost any coffee shop and you can get free service!

More details about the iPod Touch from Apple can be found here.

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