Friday, August 30, 2013

I'm Loving This Samsung GALAXY S 4!

I've been using my U.S Cellular Samsung GALAXY S 4 for several months now, and I still don't know everything this phone is capable of.  I mean - does anybody understand and use all the capabilities of their smartphone?  I have an excuse though because this is the smartest phone I've ever had!  As I said before, I've just fairly recently started using a phone for anything other than making and taking phone calls.  And, yes, the Samsung GALAXY S 4 does make phone calls, and since I'm with U.S. Cellular and all my incoming calls and all calls between U.S. Cellular phones - meaning calls to and from my kids - and all calls on weekends and on evenings after 7pm are FREE, at least half of my calls don't count against our monthly minutes.  Those spam calls are irritating, but at least none of them count against my minutes!  And then I just block the stupid calls anyway.

What's nice about having this Samsung GALAXY S 4 is that it's much more than just a phone.  It seems most phones are nowadays.  I remember saying ages ago - back before there was such a thing as a smartphone, or at least way before I'd ever heard of such a thing - that phones should be able to do multiple things.  Of course I was just thinking of using them to take pictures and play music as well as make phone calls, so we wouldn't have to carry around a phone and a camera and an MP3 player.  It never even entered my mind all the things these phones would be able to do.

One of my favorite parts is still the camera.  The Samsung GALAXY S 4 has a 13MP camera, so it takes some really good pictures.  It also has a front-facing webcam, making it great for making video calls with Skype.  Yes, I have plenty of minutes with my U.S. Cellular plan, but video calls are especially great when talking to a 2-year-old grandson.  It's also easier to get him to smile and hold still for pictures when he can see himself on the screen. The front-facing camera also makes it possible to put yourself into the photo or video, like I did in this post.

I use the Auto Backup feature of the Google+ app so that all my pics are uploaded and stored in a private album.  That way I never have to worry about losing any of the pictures I take.  The phone also came with Dropbox, so I set that up and automatically backup my photos to that too.  (I might just be a tad obsessive)  Both options make it incredibly easy to share and use all my photos.  I especially like that Google+ makes the photos available to use in my blog posts - and combines some of them into fun animations, too.  At least I think they're fun.  Of course, it's very simple to share to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or just share directly with a friend or family member right from the phone.

The hardest part, for me, is actually remembering to take the phone out and take the pictures, or videos.  This Samsung GALAXY S 4 takes great HD videos.  My problem is that I'm usually too busy enjoying whatever is going on and only think to get my phone out when it's about too late.  I suppose I'll get better at that.

On the bright side, I haven't turned into one of those people who just can't leave their phones alone.  Ever.  While my phone does make it easier to share Better Moments with family and friends and to stay connected with the important people in my life, when we're apart, it's very important to be present and share those moments with those special people when we're together - without letting technology constantly get in the way.  If you've ever seen teenagers sit side by side not speaking a word but with their thumbs/fingers going a mile a minute texting each other, you know what I mean.

I do regularly check Facebook on my phone (of course), play Words with Friends, check Gas Buddy to find the best gas prices, and check the Weather app so I know whether I need a sweatshirt when I go walking in the mornings.  For the record, that has not been an issue recently; it has been hot.  And Google Maps.  I would literally be lost without Maps!  I am severely directionally challenged.  Of course, there was the time my treacherous phone took me through Chicago instead of around, but I survived.  And I made it home.

There are many things this phone does that I have not even begun to figure out yet,  I really should read that manual!  The Samsung GALAXY S 4 can even be used to change the channels on your television.  I really need to set that up, just to mess with my husband.  It will be funny at least once.  There's also the ability to control things on the phone just by hovering over it or by a wave of your hand.  How cool is that?  I really must figure that out, too.  Overall, this is definitely the coolest phone I have ever had, and I'm really enjoying it.  If you have your own Samsung GALAXY S 4, I'd love to hear what feature(s) you like the best or which apps you just can't live without.  And if you don't have one yet, be sure to check out the Samsung GALAXY S 4 from U.S. Cellular.  I think you're really gonna love this phone.

Disclosure: I am being compensated for my participation in the U.S. Cellular Better Moments Blogger Brigade as well as receiving a new phone.  My experiences with and opinions of U.S. Cellular are 100% mine.
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Couple Things I Never Thought I'd Have

We've moved.  You probably guessed that from the post with the picture of the big moving truck, right?  We sold our house in Wisconsin, bought a new house, and moved, not necessarily in that order.  Since then, we've been busy unpacking and organizing and getting settled. 

Along with the new house, we'll have a couple things I never thought I'd have or even really wanted.  One is a dishwasher.  When we built our house in Wisconsin, I didn't want to give up the cabinet space to have a dishwasher put in.   Besides, I had two kids to wash dishes.  That didn't exactly work out, but I really never missed having a dishwasher - partly because I really don't mind washing dishes (drying is another thing), and partly because I'd never had a dishwasher, never used one, and therefore couldn't really miss it.  Well, here we have a dishwasher.  We not only got a dishwasher when we bought the house, but we actually bought a brand-new one and had it installed.  We had to buy a refrigerator so we figured while we were at it we'd buy a new stainless dishwasher to go with the rest of the appliances.  We gave the one that came with the house to Beth.  Along with the washer and dryer.

So now I have a brand-new, shiny stainless steel dishwasher.  And I've actually used it.  Twice.  I'm still not convinced.  I suppose it will come in handy when we have company and have lots of dishes to do, but otherwise it just seems ridiculous that it takes over 2 hours to do the same dishes that take me15-20 minutes to just wash.  And then, the next morning, when I want to be able to put all the clean dishes away, I find that I have to dry several of them - or at least that's what happened last time I ran the dishwasher.  I won't know until tomorrow morning how they turned out this time.  Did I mention that I really really don't like to dry dishes?

The other thing I thought I'd never have?  A king-size bed.  We don't actually have that one yet, but the mattress should be delivered Friday.  I hope I don't lose my husband...

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Save $40 on a Kindle Fire HD

I just recently got a Kindle Fire HD 7", and I love it!

Why am I telling you this now?  Because, for a limited time, you can save $40 when you buy one for yourself.  If you've been thinking about it, now is definitely the time.

The Kindle Fire HD is a great little tablet.  It's not just for reading, though it really is great for that.  Paper books are still best, but this is a pretty close second.  It's really nice to be able to get new books - from Amazon or from the library - and start reading them without ever having to leave home.

Besides books, the Kindle Fire HD lets you play games, watch videos, listen to your music, and surf the internet.

Be sure to grab some screen protectors, too - I bought the Tech Armor Anti-Glare & Anti-Fingerprint Screen Protector for mine, and I really like it, so much that I ordered the same ones for my phone.

Note that Amazon will suggest screen protectors and a case when you go to order your Kindle Fire HD, but there are many more available, so be sure to search for others.  You'll get a better choice and a better deal.  I bought this Belkin Classic Case for Kindle Fire HD 7" for mine.  It's really simple, but I like it a lot.  If you want something a bit brighter or different, there are plenty to choose from in lots of different colors.

Anyway, what are you waiting for?  Go order that Kindle Fire HD before this deal is gone!

Friday, August 02, 2013

This Makes Me Laugh

Must be the "Jason Shuffle"