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I don’t like coupons. First you have to cut them out. Then you have to remember to take them with you. After that you have to remember to actually USE them when you are paying for your groceries. And you’d better hope that they haven’t expired. There has to be a better way.
Enter Checkout 51, a cash-back alternative to coupon clipping that has been around for a couple years, and somehow flew under my radar until 3 weeks ago. I was looking at recommended apps on my iPhone, and noticed Checkout 51 with hundreds of reviews, and a near perfect 5 star rating. When I read the description, it seemed almost too good to be true. Sign up for free. Receive a list of offers on products that I would have a good chance of buying anyway. Upload a picture of the receipt using the camera on my phone. Have money added to my account within minutes. And be able to request a cheque after only $20? Yeah right.
Well after 3 weeks I now have $15.25 in my account, and will probably hit the coveted $20 amount next week. I’ve talked to a few people who have received cheques in the mail, so I’m pretty confident that I’m next! Just waiting for payday, and my next grocery list. It’s incredibly easy, and kinda fun too! Although after 3 weeks, I think my kids might be getting tired of Mini-Wheats, but hey… I saved $0.75 on every box. Way better than the Fruit Loops that I refuse to buy!
Apple had their big conference earlier this week. Despite all sorts of speculation that a new iPhone was going to be announced, the event concluded without any such revelation. I am probably one of the few Apple lovers who was actually happy about the lack of a new iPhone. Seeing as I just bought my iPhone 5 last month, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing it become obsolete so soon. At least now I can cling to the illusion non-obsolescence a little longer!
I do have to say that I love my iPhone 5. I upgraded from a 3GS, which has been a fantastic phone, but was beginning to show its age. The iPhone 5 is so much faster, and with 64GB of storage, I don’t have to worry about filling it up yet. It’s considerably smaller than the 3GS, but my decision to purchase an OtterBox case dramatically adds to its size. The OtterBox is a virtual fortress of protection, but makes the iPhone 5 rather clunky.. not unlike a 3GS! I’m quite used to its size, but I keep joking that if I ever do take it out of the OtterBox for some reason, I’m not going to want to put it back in there. It’s just such a sleek form factor.
This phone should do me quite well for the next few years!
I recently had the displeasure of trying to figure out how to get Sympatico email configured properly on a new iPhone 4S. I’ll state the obvious to get it out of the way up front… WHY anyone would want to do this is beyond me. Short of some sentimental attachment to an existing email address, I can think of no reason why someone would want to use an email service that appears to run on POP only. POP is a dinosaur, and really needs to be taken on a one-way trip out to the pasture. At the very least you could set your Sympatico email to forward to GMail, Yahoo, Hotmail or whatever other reliable (and IMAP) email service you want to use.
But that wasn’t an option. Neither was failure. I had hyped my technical skills to the point of saying “No one else can get it working? Let me take a look at it… *I* can get it working…”
Bell’s technical support page recommends that you access your email through a mobile browser. Makes sense. No configuration necessary. Doesn’t help when trying to set up an email client, though! So I hit the net, trying to find someone who may have the answer.
[UPDATE 8 Apr 12: The blog that I discovered the instructions on no longer seems to be active, which is a shame. I’m glad that I found it when I did, because it was a huge help to me, and hopefully to others. I have decided to keep the links to that blog within this post in the event that it comes back online in the future.]
I found a lot of conflicting information. And then I found Trevor Watkinson’s blog. His post Smart Phone Email Server Settings For Sympatico And Bell Aliant Emailwas very clearly laid out, and contained almost everything that I needed. I say “almost” because I don’t see any mention of SSL settings in his post, and I was unable to get the iPhone to move past the VERIFYING stage until I removed the check-marks in SSL for incoming and outgoing mail.I’ve copied these settings from Trevor’s post. He also has settings for other Atlantic provinces, so if you are from outside NB you can find those settings here.Settings in italics are the ones that I needed to get the iPhone 4S working with NB Sympatico.
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Incoming Mail Server Name: pop.bellaliant.net
Incoming Mail Server Port: 110
Outgoing Mail Server Name: smtp.bellaliant.net
Outgoing Mail Server Name For Android: mail.1xbell.ca
Outgoing Mail Server Port: 25
Mail Server Username:
And as I discovered… try turning SSL off if you are still unable to send/receive email.
Hopefully this helps anyone who runs into this problem… but really… do yourself a favour… Sign up for a GMail account. If you want to keep your Sympatico email address because you’ve had it since the beginning of time and you’re not ready to part with it yet (like say… an old sweater… or ROOTS hat) then set it up to forward your mail to GMail or another service, and install THAT service on your smartphone. You’ll still get all your Sympatico email, and won’t have to change your email address, yet you won’t run into the headaches like this.
POP is dead.
If you’ve found this information helpful please consider dropping a coin into my virtual piggy bank… I use the money to pay for hosting services… Every little bit helps! Thank you very much. 🙂
A couple of days ago I wrote a post about the perceived lack of enthusiasm over Apple’s latest iPhone, the 4S. From everything that I had seen and read it sure didn’t seem like people were jumping up and down about a new phone that looked exactly like the existing one, albeit faster and with some new software features. Boy was I wrong! And to help ease my battered ego, thankfully I was not alone. Many others had come to the same wrong conclusion about the iPhone 4S. So what happened to throw egg on all our faces?
Apple announced that they pre-sold over a million units in the first 24 hours, outpacing any Apple product ever.
Well then… hmm… So much for the yawn factor…
For my part, I called Bell and asked about the early hardware upgrade I had been told about at the beginning of the summer. At that time I was told that it was still too early, but to try back in the fall. Well, this time the agent told me that I was not eligible until November of 1012. Huh? So call back in the fall didn’t mean this year? Not impressed at all. I have no plans on forking out $700 for a new phone. Screw that.
I looked on Kijiji and found a local guy who told me that he could replace the home button on my broken 3GS for $50. Really? Why didn’t I go that route to begin with? I also told him that I needed it wrapped in 6 inches of bubble wrap because apparently I was the most clumsy iPhone user. Now all I need to do is get my hands on that phone again. I had lent it out to someone because technically it DID work, so that person could play Hanging With Friends with me over her WiFi network. Well… she hasn’t played it in ages, and it’s time to get that back, throw down $50 and see if I can’t get my iPhone working again. 3GS or not… it’s still 300x better than that piece of junk that I’m using… (Motorola Q) [Side note: I told the girl at Bell that I wanted a hardware upgrade because I hate my current phone and want to throw it against the wall as hard as I can. She laughed. I think she thought I was joking. I wasn’t.]
I wish that phones weren’t so damn expensive.
That was a little anti-climatic, wasn’t it? No iPhone 5. No great leaps in technology to propel Apple through to the next great frontier. Ah well… Doesn’t matter to me too much. In my case, I still need a new phone so I will be getting one. It was just a matter of which one. The price of the iPhone 4 will be slashed to make room for the iPhone 4S. So do I want one of those? Or do I want to spend the money and get the newer one? Either will be a considerable upgrade to what I’m currently using.
Yeah… I can go for that… as long as my phone doesn’t start talking back to me…
Goes on sale here October 14. I won’t bother trying to get to the front of the line. Those people are stupid. I’ve waited long enough. I can wait a little longer.
Update: The phone starts at $649?? That’s for the 8GB model? Wow… Maybe I’ll just be ordering a new 3GS for $375 instead. I’ll go take a look at the Android phones, but I don’t think that the good ones are really much cheaper than the iPhones… but I may be wrong about that.
Today is the day that Apple is expected to announce the new iPhone… or, as I like to call it… “The phone that I am going to run out and buy Day 1, before I smash this other piece of shit Motorola Q against a brick wall“… Whether they decide to call it iPhone 4GS, or iPhone 5… I don’t care. I want one. Hell, I need one! Yes, it truly is a need. Maslow would agree. Sitting right up there at the top of his Hierarchy of Needs sits the new iPhone. Wrapped in bubble wrap…
Cuz bubble wrap is what I’m going to have to encase around this thing to stop me from dropping it and crying like a big baby again. (twice!)
I finish work around 7am… and then sleep as long as I can… so I am going to miss the announcement, but rest assured… when I wake up, I will check my RSS reader for information on what’s coming out! Analysts expect that the units will ship before the end of this month… and I will be on the phone with Bell trying to find out what kind of hardware upgrade credit (if any) I am eligible for.
Cross your fingers!
[Update 9 Apr 12: Zynga has come a long way with stabilizing Hanging With Friends, and the issues mentioned in this post are largely a thing of the past. The game is still highly addictive though!]
Have you tried Zynga‘s latest online game yet? It’s called Hanging With Friends, and comes from the same family of games as Chess With Friends, and Words With Friends. Haven’t tried it yet? What’s wrong with you?!
Hanging With Friends is a new take on the old Hangman game. It’s a turn-based game designed for iOS users, so if you’re using Android, you’re outta luck (for the time being… maybe in the future that will change). The idea behind the game is a simple one… using the letters you are given, create a word that your opponent will then have to guess. The number of guesses that your opponent has for that word will depend on the length of the word you create. Longer words allow for fewer guesses, presumably because it’s easier to figure out longer words because there are fewer combinations. The minimum word length is 4, and it’s amazing how many combinations of 4 letter words you can come up with!
Oh, did I mentioned that while you’re doing this, your avatar is floating above hot lava with helium filled balloons? No pressure! You can watch as his/her face changes with each successful or unsuccessful guess. If your opponent does not guess a word, one of their balloons pops. When the last balloon pops, it’s into the lava they go! Yeah.. it’s fun!
Luckily for those of us with poor guessing skills, there are lifelines that you can use to help you. These can be one of three forms:
You can play against your friends, or set up a random opponent. There’s no shortage of people out there to play against, so I’ve never had a problem finding an opponent. And despite how easy it would be to cheat in this game, I have only once resigned against an opponent I was convinced was not coming up with words on his own.
So if Hanging With Friends sounds too good to be true… it just might be. The game is buggy as hell, and feels very much like a product still in beta development. I can accept that software will always have glitches that need to be ironed out, but Hanging With Friends is full of problems.
So why am I still playing? Well… if the game wasn’t as fun as it is, I would have removed it from my iPad a long time ago. I’m hoping that Zynga continues to work through the issues, and release updates that address these problems. So far the game has been getting better, but it’s still a long way from where it needs to be before I consider it to be stable.
Hanging With Friends comes in 2 versions: ad-supported, and paid. I found the ads to be annoying, so I shelled out the $2.99 for an ad-free experience. Was it worth it? Reluctantly, yes. Even with the laundry list of things that need improvement, I still like the game enough to play it without the interruption of advertisements. Would I recommend that you run out and buy this app? Hmmm… no. Try the free version, though! Give it an honest shake, and then decide whether you want to part with your hard-earned cash.
And don’t forget to look me up online. I go by the username “Dunnik” and am always looking for worthy opponents to drop into the lava![Update 9 Apr 12]
On a related note, I have noticed a real lack of resources and strategies for Hanging With Friends. Sure you can find an article here or there, but nothing comprehensive. I’ve decided to take it upon myself to change that! I am getting close to unveiling my ultimate Hanging With Friends membership site, and offering people the chance now to sign up for instant notification when this goes live. A few quick notes about the membership site:
It’s now July. I’ve been without my beloved iPhone since dropping it in May. For the last couple of months I’ve been using my old Motorola Q phone, and I’m about to smash it against a brick wall. This is ridiculous. So what’s taking so long? Well…
I finally got the LCD replaced, and the phone turns on now… but the home button doesn’t work! I did some digging online, and discovered that it could be either a hardware or a software problem. Gee, that’s helpful. I tried resetting it back to factory conditions and that didn’t seem to change anything. I opened the phone up again and ensure that all of the connections were good. They look fine, but who knows for sure?
There is one possibility that I haven’t explored yet. The wire from the home button may need to be re-soldered. If that’s the case, it’s not going to be me who does it. I’ve never soldered anything in my life, and I don’t really want to start with the inside of my iPhone. Then again, it’s not like I can use it for anything now. I can turn it on and launch an application, but if I want to switch apps, I need to turn the phone off, and then back on again. Yeah… THAT’S not too annoying, is it?
I’ll tell you one thing… the next iPhone I get is going to have the Applecare warranty put on it!
If you do any amount of remote troubleshooting at all, chances are you may have already heard of a great little service called LogMeIn. LogMeIn is a free remote connection tool that allows you to connect to any computer to see what that user is seeing, and troubleshoot from the comfort of your own home or office. They do offer a Pro version of their software, but I’ve found the free version to be quite capable for my needs. I have a few family members’ computers loaded with LogMeIn, which makes it easy to help them from home if they have a problem. I can also login to my Mac at home if I’m at work, and have it run programs or download for me. It’s a great tool, and totally free!
Well they also offer an app for the iPhone/iPad that does cost $29.99 that I’ve been wondering about for awhile. That is quite a bit more than any other app that I’ve purchased, and I was a little wary that they don’t offer a trial version, especially at that price. But I love LogMeIn so much that I decided to go for it… and I have no regrets at all!
LogMeIn Ignition (as the app is called) allows you to remote control any computer with a really slick interface. I was curious how it would work since you don’t have a mouse to point and click with, but they’ve solved that by super-imposing a little virtual mouse on the screen that you move around with your finger. Through that you can click, right click, double click, as seamlessly as if you were using a mouse. You can zoom in to get a better look, or zoom out to see the entire desktop. The app works in both iPhone and iPad resolution, and you only have to purchase it once. I have not tried it on my iPhone yet (as it is still broken) so I can’t comment on how well it works there, but it’s definitely great on the iPad.
Another neat feature of LogMeIn Ignition is the ability to copy files between your linked computers, making it even easier to troubleshoot.
So far I haven’t run across any issue too big not to be resolved through LogMeIn. Whether you just need to see what the other person is seeing (we all know how hard it is sometimes to get a good grasp of what the user is trying to explain) or you need to take control and fix something in a few clicks… LogMeIn is great. You don’t need to spend $29.99 on the iPhone/iPad app, but if you do, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
If anyone else has used LogMeIn or any other software you think would be great to share with the blog, please leave a comment. As usual, all comments are appreciated, and I do my best to reply to them, so feel free!
I never thought I’d see the day that I wrote another post about my old cellphone, the Motorola Q… otherwise known as the Piece of Shit that I Used to Use Before I Entered the Realm of Real Smartphones and Got an iPhone… But after dropping my iPhone again just before going on vacation, the LCD screen broke… that’s the part that I didn’t break the last time I dropped it, and was so thankful because it’s more expensive to fix, and a little more complicated. *sigh*
Well I ordered my replacement LCD from Amazon, and went to do the repair the other day… only to discover that I stripped the microscopic screws that hold the iPhone together the last time that I opened it! So I can’t get past step one… 1. Remove the two tiny screws at the bottom of your iPhone. Wonderful.
I contacted Bell to see whether I was eligible for a hardware credit. Nope! Of course not! I’ve had the phone for 15 months, and I’m short 3 months for a possible early hardware update. And even if I did get the credit, it probably wouldn’t be very much. So I walked down to the Bell store in the mall and asked the guy what my options were. I got the answer I was expecting… buy a new phone. Sure, they’re only around $700 for the iPhone… the Android phones are a little less, but not much. I’m still looking at $500 or more for those. Chump change! I’ll take two! Yeah.. not gonna happen.
The other option (aside from cancelling outright, with a $400 penalty) was using an old cellphone. Oh no… don’t say that! Not that #$%^&*( Motorola Q again!?!? Yup!
I went back to see the guy from Bell, and handed him my Q. That’s the phone that I had said that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy (except one). It’s an old Windows Mobile phone, and it is crap. It locks up regularly, and the only way to unlock it is to take the battery out and then put it back in… something that tended to happen on a daily basis before I got fed up and bought my iPhone. The guy looked at it in amazement. He’d never seen that phone before. Bell doesn’t even list it in their system as a phone.. they have it listed as a PDA! I told him that it was a POS, not a PDA.
Things haven’t improved since it was taken out of service. Now the battery is old and not holding a charge. My txts aren’t being sent/received reliably. A few of the buttons on the QWERTY keyboard are stiff and don’t always display the proper characters. It’s a real mess. I don’t know how long I’m going to be able to use it before I smash it with a hammer. And I’m not joking. It wouldn’t be the first piece of electronics to die a violent death at the hands of a heavy hammer.