Apr 17

Reasons I Hate Firefox

Firefox has worked fine with my computer and Android devices for the past couple of years, until…

I got a great deal on my computer last September and had everything working, but didn’t use Firefox that much as I prefer using Chrome. Certain websites don’t work on Chrome like Healthcare.gov. One particular website didn’t work on Chrome, but requires Adobe Flash to be installed which I have not done on the new computer because it was already in Chrome and Internet Explorer.
1- Adobe Flash should be included.

So I thought I was downloading Adobe Flash from Adobe when I noticed that it was trying to install a toolbar. Before I know it, not only was a Conduit toolbar installed, but my homepage was changed on all 3 browsers. My default search engine was also changed on all 3 browsers also. I can’t stand when something tries to change my homepage.
2- Do not allow junk toolbars to be installed automatically. A verification message should be shown with the risks.

I was so frustrated with Firefox and how slow it was running that after I uninstalled that toolbar, I decided to uninstall Firefox and reinstall it. Then the sync madness began. Both my computer and my Android devices offer a code to sync them to each other, then it asked you to setup a new Firefox account or login with your existing account. When I tried to login with my existing login I am requested to enter a verification code from my other device. The Android devices do not give an option to get the verification code.
3- Make the sync process easier by email address and password.

I like the ability to have addons with my mobile device to view pdf files inside the browser. Unfortunately that is about it. I can accomplish this task with Dolphin browser if I don’t mind it running in the background.
Please visit my webpage for more information and other great offers at: www.savingwithmarcus.com

Dec 08

Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition

I had originally bought the first Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. I liked it a lot, but there were things that I did not like. For example, I did not like that Samsung had a special cable adapter and it didn’t use a micro USB cord. I was not particularly fond of the placement of the S Pen at the bottom right of the tablet either. The placement of the S Pen kept me from using it as much as I could have because when you have the tablet tilted on a stand, you must lift the bottom of the tablet up to get access to the S Pen.

 

The movement of the S Pen and the use of a standard micro USB cable were huge factors in my decision to sell the old and purchase the new as soon as I could do it feasibly. The 2014 edition of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 has the S Pen moved to the top right corner of the tablet. It does make it quite easier to get access as long as you have a case that is specially designed for the Samsung Note 10.1 2014 Edition. Best Buy’s own Rocketfish has a nice leather case for it, but there is no cut out for the camera. Obviously that is a fail.

 

Belkin fared better than the Rocketfish as the company makes 2 different portfolio leather cases for the special tablet. I ended up purchasing the more expensive of the 2 for the face that it stood up easier. The difference was only $10, but the choice of color is as limited as the Best Buy’s inventory of the Samsung Book Cover, only in black. Black is fine, but I did purchase a white tablet to match my white Samsung Galaxy S4. Samsung does sell a white book cover for the newer Note online for $59, which by the way is $20 less than what Best Buy sells the same one in black in the store. I really liked the Garnet Red book cover I purchased for the original Samsung Note 10.1. I would like another color for the new one as well, but know the importance of protection and utilization and is the reason why I purchased the Belkin cover.

 

The Belkin cover does have a perfect cut out for the micro USB plug which can be used to connect to your computer and/or charging when the cover closed over the face of the tablet. I was really happy that the opening was big enough for a chunky micro USB plug I purchased on EBay. So both of my major gripes about the original one were fixed with the 2014 Edition of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 so let move on to features.

 

The new expanded features of the 2014 Edition were great, but not a complete selling feature for the tablet for me. I was very happy that you can have the same app opened in 2 different windows side by side… as long as they were a Samsung specific app like the factory browser. It doesn’t work to have 2 Chrome windows open side by side. This feature gets me closer to wanting to ditch my Windows based computer, but not perfect yet. The new and improved S Pen is near perfect with the different functions to add a note directly to your contacts and to open a small window with a task in the middle of what you are doing.

 

Besides the S Pen and multitask options being improved, you will receive $50 of Samsung Hub credit and $25 of Google Play credit when registering your tablet with your Samsung account. I quickly utilized the credit to rent some movies to watch through Chromecast, but the Samsung Hub would not allow me to save the movies to watch later without using up precious system memory. I thought a 16GB device would be fine and I will just add a big card to the external memory. Chromecast doesn’t use your system memory to watch movies, but the Samsung Hub will run you out of memory very quickly.

 

To free up memory, I found myself clearing out the Samsung Hub data from the system memory after watching a movie so my device didn’t slow down for other things. The Samsung Hub was even more difficult to use to watch a movie on your TV if you do not own a Samsung Smart TV or Blu Ray player.

 

Without a Samsung smart device, you have 2 choices left on how to watch the movie. Watching the movie on the tablet wasn’t too bad because the sound from the on board speakers is really good. Unfortunately there were moments of lag which were probably due to the limited system memory. If you still would rather watch it on your HDTV, you just need to get a Samsung HDMI adapter, which requires a micro USB plugged in while in use, and by the way it only costs $42.

 

Add another $25 to that $42 and you can purchase a Samsung Smart Blu Ray player and just broadcast the picture wireless to your HDTV. I chose this route because I did not want to have to drag a cable into the family room and connect it just to watch a movie through the Samsung Hub. We are not messing with the family VCR from the 80′s. WTF!

 

I thought I had everything the way I wanted it until I discovered some cool, new, free games through Google Play. As soon as I had a free minute at home I started to download Asphalt 8 and then Injustice. Injustice would not download because I was out of memory. I have a 64GB micro SD card in the external slot so I thought I would just move some of the applications over to it. That didn’t free enough to be able to do anything good. I removed the Dark Knight game, but was not going to remove Madden 25 because I just installed it recently and wanted to try to play it.

 

It is like having a limit of how many games you can have like when you were a kid asking for a quarter from your mother for a piece of bubble gum. Heaven forbid I decide to use the Samsung Hub to watch another movie. This was the last straw. I did have a problem with the tablet restarting itself over and over before it had its first update. I was about to take it back then but I found something online that said it was being caused the GPS location, so I disabled it. Thankfully the problem appeared to work itself out so it left me still with the problem of lack of system memory.

 

Being short on memory felt unfair like receiving a brand new Ferrari that doesn’t have 5th or 6st gear. This table is top of the line, but lack of system memory felt like a restricted plate on the race car. I decided that I should have spent another $50 and got the 32GB tablet rather than trying to make due with this 16GB one. I am within my return period, so it is going back tomorrow. Best Buy doesn’t carry the 32GB in the store, so I will wait for the right time and order it online.

 

Maybe I can wait another month or two for the next Nexus 10.1 tablet?

 

Oct 03

The Truth is a Joke Sometimes!

CNET: T-Mobile launches new no-money-down promotion. http://google.com/producer/s/CBIw4Y7kpgM

It sounds great to get a brand new top of the line Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but you will be stuck paying for it for 2 years. And you will be stuck with T-Mobile slow 4G last to become LTE. Oops, I might have slipped as Sprint is in the running for last to LTE.

Wait! T-Mobile Nexus devices are always first to get the latest version of Android. What good is a Ferrari driving through sand dunes?

This might be harsh for you die hard T-Mobile customers. Try Verizon for 2 weeks and two thirds of you won’t go back!

You can do a similar plan with Verizon and AT&T now too. OMG!

Samsung Galaxy S 4 White Frost 32GB for Verizon Wireless

Samsung Galaxy S 4 White Frost 32GB for Verizon Wireless

The Samsung Galaxy S 4 for Verizon is an incredibly-wide, full HD Super AMOLED touchscreen, Android smartphone that fits perfectly in your hand, your pocket, and your life. Call a friend, answer the phone, preview emails, and control videos without even touching this intelligent phone. Capture all the fun with the Samsung Galaxy S 4's amazing camera, which can simultaneously shoot video with the front and rear cameras. With 32GB of on-board memory, there is plenty of room for all your music, photos, videos, and files. When you connect your Samsung Galaxy S 4 to your home entertainment system, it suggests different programs based on your preferences, displays program schedules, and does the channel surfing.






Oct 01

Is 40″ Big

Last year I went to Best Buy to purchase a Samsung 40″ LED TV. When I pulled my car up to the door, the girl in the front said “you have the small TV?”

This TV was to replace the 32″ Samsung LCD in my office. It is still big for my little office in the house. Back in the 80′s, a 25″ console TV in the family room was a big deal. I was at Walmart yesterday and saw a 46″ Samsung LED TV for under $600. That might look better in my office next to my new 29″ Samsung AIO computer that I bought last week for half the retail price.

I am not going to buy another TV, but how I see it, I may never need glasses as long as my TV, computer and cell phone (Samsung Galaxy S4) keeps getting bigger.

Jul 14

Windows 8 Tablet with Android Jelly Bean 4.2

Samsung announce 3 weeks ago that they are coming out with 2 new Windows 8 tablets, Ativ Q and Ativ Tab 3. The Ativ Tab 3 is a little confusing since it will ony run Windows 8 and Samsung just released the Galaxy Tab 3 that is running the latest version of Android. The Ativ is even more confusing since it was announce with the Ativ Q which is a dual boot Windows 8 and Android Jelly Bean running flawlessly from what it apears with an Intel i5 Haswell processor. The Ativ Q has an attached keyboard/stand that can fold flat thinner than an ultra book. Since the Q and the Tab 3 were announced together, I assumed at first that the Tab 3 was a dual boot tablet also, but it is not.

I wanted to get more information about these new devices so I went to Best Buy to talk to the Samsung representatives. It was disappointing that they did not know what I was talking about. When you step back and think about it, Apple representatives don’t have a problem knowing their product line because they don’t deviate very much. It is either a iPod, iPhone which is also an iPod, iPad which is a big iPod, or it is a Mac computer. They all run the same operating system. On the other hand, Samsung devices range from TVs to home appliance to phones to computers and tablets. I am sure the representatives for Samsung are happy when a device like the Galaxy S4 is released for all carriers so they don’t have to learn 4 different phones for each cell phone company. I was able to show the reps the information that I had found and they were excited about it also and were able to point out some features that I was not aware of.

The Ativ Q is not the first dual boot tablet, but it shapes up to be the thinnest and most powerful one of them all. I loved the idea and thought that it would be worth waiting for. The biggest drawback for me was it will only have a front facing camera and not a back facing camera. The seond drawback was the high pricetag everything has that is associated with Microsoft Windows 8 and with an Intel processor. I would expect this device to cost over $1500 when released. I don’t want to purchase something that expensive to carry around with me.

With that being said, I decided to purchase an open box Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 because I got it for a big discount at $359, it has a quad core processor with 2GB of RAM which is a huge improvement over my Motorola Xoom. I don’t miss anything from Windows 8 and certainly won’t miss Microsoft Office as it would need to be purchased with the Ativ Q but the Note comes with Polaris Office. I would not be surprised if Samsung will sell a newer version of the Samsung Note 10.1 by October, but I did not buy it on a contract with Verizon like I did with my Motorola Xoom so I can resell it and get a newer device if and when I want to.

Jun 29

Google+ vs iPhone

Funny when there is a new feature in Google+ and someone tells me that Facebook has that too. Google+ started the circle for sharing before Facebook. People resist change, but they want Gmail, Google Maps and speech to text on their iPhone. Why not Google+?

Google+ is very smooth and works with minimal lag…Unlike Facebook! Why is it important that Facebook improve their application on every device?

Because Facebook is equally slow on Android as iPhone. So will it make sense to have a Facebook phone if they cannot get their app running smooth on any platform?

I would recommend everyone switching to Google+ and ditch Facebook.

Jun 20

Verizon Ending Unlimited Data

There is a lot of fuss about Verizon eliminating their unlimited data plans soon. In fact if you currently have a phone with an unlimited data plan and wish to upgrade to a new discounted phone with a new 2 year contract, you will have to give up your unlimited data plan. This may not be a bad thing though.

The new Verizon Wireless plans have many changes to them. Friends and Family is going away also. I actually did not hear that but assume as the new plans will have unlimited minutes and text. So instead of paying for texting, you will save by getting it for free.

And I don’t know anyone legally tethering their phone to share Internet access because Verizon charges $20 a month for it. From what I read today it will be included. This makes sense if they would like to make more money through data charges.

This news is very interesting as I have used Google Voice for making free calls and text messages since I got my first Android phone. I have blocked text messages on my phone so I don’t get charged for them. There are more changes though.

Instead of having a base plan and having additional lines for $10 a month plus a data plan for smart phones, it will now cost $40 a month for a smart phone and $30 for non-smart phone. This will encourage more people to get smart phones that don’t already have one like my mom. Lol

Another area that I believe will be better is my Motorola Xoom tablet will only cost $10 a month to share the data versus the current $30 a month for 2GB in which I only use a little over 1GB a month. On the same note, hotspot service will only cost $30 a month versus the current requirement of getting a data plan for 5GB for $50 a month. This also makes sense for Verizon to encourage people to pay more for data plans.

Another significant difference will be the number of devices on one plan will increase from 5 to 10. This is great for those who share their plan with their parents and don’t have an additional device allowed for their children should they be old enough to get a phone.

Overall I see the new changes Verizon Wireless is making to their plans as a good thing. My only fear would be using to much data in a few month. According to My Verizon I have used close to 7GB of data in this current billing period. The next closest would be me again with my tablet using a little over 1GB. I hope my wife doesn’t read this or she might kick me off the plan. Lol

During the past month I have not used Wifi very much. I also downloaded different ROM updates for my rooted Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I also tried out a couple of Motorola Droid Razr’s this month that had factory updates and I downloaded them without wifi also.

Since visiting my local Verizon Wireless store, I have attempted to use my Wifi at home more. And I realized today for the first time since using a 3G phone, my home internet is faster than Verizon Wireless.

I find it funny that my wife has an upgrade available after using her’s for my Samsung Galaxy Nexus In January and I have an update available in July. Verizon Wireless is trying to entice us to make the change. After what I have seen so far, I think we will be happy to make the change. Of course the information I have written is my interpretation of the changes and is definitely not fact. We will find out everything the closer we get to June 28th. The changes will happen before the release of the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Motorola Razr HD. The new HTC Incredible should be out before, but not certain.

May 28

Cyanogenmod 9 on my Samsung Galaxy Nexus

I have really enjoyed my Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0, since I have had it in January. We all complain more about the bad than praise the good, so why change now. I have written blogs about the ease of the ICS for turning off apps that are running in the background. Having all of my bookmarks synced to my computer’s Chrome browser is very great too. The bad is the slow to no updates through Verizon.
Verizon did keep me from the frustration the owners of the Galaxy Nexus were having with their data not working. I did download and update my phone myself over a month ago to 4.0.4 which solved my issues with the calendar not showing all of the information for an appointment. It also ran a little smoother. I understand that the update disappeared for a couple of weeks and is now back again on Google’s Developer website. And it still is not pushed over the air.
The Motorola Xoom WiFi edition was pushed Ice Cream Sandwich in February. The Verizon model still is waiting for the update although Motorola claims they are still testing it. I have been running Cyanogenmod 9 for a few weeks now and love it. I love that they update it almost everyday to be better. I even installed Cyanogenmod 9 on a couple of Samsung Fascinates and a Motorola Razr. Each install was working great, but is it really necessary for my Samsung Galaxy Nexus?
Each home screen on my Nexus has a Power Control Bar so I may turn off WiFi or Bluetooth quickly and easily. This is needed because the factory versions of ICS do not included those options in the Notification Bar like my past Thunderbolt. Cyanogenmod 9 includes the Power Controls in the Notification Bar area and you can customize your phone to display the ones you want. There are a number of options, but the ones showed in this picture show my favorite. These controls are extremely helpful when using Bluetooth to stream music in my car.
The other cool part of Ice Cream Sandwich is the unlock screen as you can go directly to your camera when unlocking your phone. Opening the camera was very slow in the first versions of ICS, but is much smoother with the new 4.0.4. With Cyanogenmod 9, you can customize the unlock screen to go directly to different apps as you see in the picture below. I just set it up and hope I will use the shortcuts.
What is great is that my phone works the best it has worked since I bought it. I believe the power consumption will be better too. I will let you know.

May 08

1000 Emails on a Touchscreen Phone


This commercial even makes fun of some of BlackBerry’s more popular devices that are touchscreen like the Storm. Apparently she has never used a touchscreen phone with SwiftKey X keyboard. I have enjoyed using the SwiftKey X keyboard on my phone for over a year and a half. I installed the tablet version the first day I purchased my tablet. There is no keyboard that comes close to the instinctive nature of SwiftKey.

I found this commercial completely stupid about using a BlackBerry to write a thousand emails a day. First off, nobody writes a thousand individual emails a day even from a computer. And if you used a BlackBerry Bold to do it, your fingers would be sore. This commercial is as foolish as those who said they would always use a typewriter and never write on a computer.

I use SwiftKey as my primary keyboard because it predicts the next word before I hit a letter many times. Therefore when it doesn’t, it does by the first letter. My wife was very resistant to trying something new, but really liked the speed of SwiftKey once she tried it. My father doesn’t like to purchase anything that he doesn’t have to, but enjoyed the SwiftKey X keyboard so much he bought it also after the free trial.

A thousand emails still doesn’t make sense, but I believe that it could be accomplished much easier with the SwiftKey keyboard than with physical keys.

May 04

What a Joke! IPhone is still not good enough.

CNET: Apple still exploring haptic touch for iPhones, iPads http://goo.gl/mag/k9xyC

This stopped me reading my other articles today. I have had haptic touch on every Android phone I have owned. At least they finally got speech to text. Lol

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