Getting started

Where I buy my cubes:

  • – Good prices, reliable, free shipping if you don’t mind waiting a few weeks for your order to arrive from China.
  • – Good service, reliable, and they are in the U.S. I buy all my stickers from them and the occasional cube.

Where I get my information:

My favorite cube:

  • Moyu Hualong – My current favorite
  • Dayan Zhanchi – My previous favorite

Kindle Voyage

I got my new Kindle Voyage a few days ago after returning the Paperwhite model. What a difference!

Higher resolution display
Screen brightness consistent over entire surface
Improved page turn speed
Incredibly easy to read in direct sunlight
Added controls for page turning
Better location for power switch


Due to the nature of e-ink displays, the page turn will never be as good as an iPad. That being said, the page turn speed is much improved and I don’t hesitate to flip back a page to check something on the previous page.

I also found the font more pleasing than I did on the Paperwhite model. I can only attribute that to the higher resolution. (300 vs 220 dpi)

The new page turn controls on the bezels are handy especially when I hold the unit with my left hand because I don’t have to reach across the screen with my thumb to turn the page.

I would definitely recommend the Voyage, it is worth the higher cost.

Don’t believe the battery life claims. I like to keep the brightness control on 20 out of 24 and the battery level is less than half in 4 days.
I will know more after I’ve had the unit for a while. I can live with that because it is such a pleasure to read.

Kindle Paperwhite

I bought my first Kindle a month ago. It was the Paperwhite model and I was less than thrilled with it.

Light weight
Long battery life

Sluggish Page turns
Screen resolution troubled me
Screen brightness not consistent across the page (slight purple haze near bottom of screen).

Let me elaborate. I own an iPad and have been using smartphones since 2007. I’m accustomed to high resolution displays with fast page turns.

With the Kindle Paperwhite I could see the page redraw and it was a distraction. It was slow enough to cause me to hesitate flipping back a page to check something. I also found the font wanting, I was never quite happy with the way it looked.

Anyway, I return the Paperwhite after reading a review of the Voyage model. I bought the Voyage and you can read my review of that unit.

Hint: I liked it!

IOS8 Keyboard Replacement

The very first thing I did after updating my iPad to IOS8 was to install Swype.

It’s like a breath of fresh air to finally be able to glide across the keyboard instead of pecking at it. I’ve been using Swype on my android phone since it first came out.

I do like the fact that you can switch between different keyboard at any time.

There is one very Applesque shortcoming, the new keyboard never really gets full control. There are numerous cases where the Apple keyboard is the only choice for things  like pop up password prompts.

Speed cube impressions

I started cubing about 6 weeks ago with a basic Rubik’s Cube that I bought at a toy store for $10. I then proceeded to look up solutions on the web and I discovered that there was a large selection of speed cubes that could only be found online. After some deliberation I chose a stickerless Dayan Zhanchi for about $12 Plus shipping and it turned out to be an incredible cube. Well now I got bit by the cubing bug. For grins I bought a Shenshou for $6 off Amazon. It is a nice cube, much better than the original Rubik’s cube but it catches when the cubies are slightly misaligned.

Ten days ago I ordered 3 new cubes, a Dayan GuHong stickerless, a Cube4U, and another Dayan Zhanchi but stickered this time.

The order just arrived today and I decided to write down my first impressions.

Cube4U ($10) – It was nice and smooth, pre-lubricated I believe. This cube seems like modern version of the original Rubik’s cube. It has the same problem as the Shenshou and Rubik’s, it hangs on slight misalignments. Otherwise it is a nice cube.

GuHong ($12) – Very fast straight out of the box. Can’t distinguish it visually from my original Zhanchi. It is adjusted quite loose and I don’t feel like it needs any lubing so far.

ZhanChi (55) ($12.50) – I didn’t think any cube could be better than my original ZhanChi until I tried this one. It just blows me away. I don’t know if it the 2 mm size difference but this cube is so fast and accurate it is hard to believe.


Ended up buying an HTC ONE X phone because I like the large screen and it turns out the screen is almost as visible as the iPhone in bright daylight.

Samsung galaxy S3 review

I don’t understand why everybody complains about the galaxy S3 plastic back cover which feels wonderful to me and nobody mentions how hard it is to see anything on the display in daylight.
I just bought the phone and set it up at the store. When I got in my car and tried to use the navigation feature, I cold barely see the map on the screen. I turned off auto brightness and cranked the brightness to max. and it was still hard to see. My iPhone 4 is so much easier to see, there is no comparison. This is a deal breaker for me and I am probably going to return the Galaxy S3 and get the next iPhone.

Update 9/17/2012
I kept the Galaxy S3 for about two weeks and really came to love this smart phone. I like the light weight, the smooth shape, the large screen, and many of the features of the Android OS and the Touchwiz User Interface.
As much as I liked this device I returned it yesterday because of the difficulty in seeing the display in daylight.

Looks like I’ll be getting the new iPhone 5. The primary reason for wanting a new phone at all is to get the faster data speed afforded by the 4G LTE radio.

Zagg Invisible SHIELD Review

The screen protector goes on fairly easily and sticks incredibly well with no air bubbles.
The shield adheres to the screen better than any other shield I have ever used.
Invisible it’s not! The shield has a texture commonly refered to as orange peel and in my opinion makes the iPhone look cheap. The shield also has a tacky feel that I don’t like. The tackiness slows down my finger when I am playing games like Bejeweled. I also tried my stylus on the Zagg shield and the extra drag is definitely noticeable.
The main reason I use a shield is to prevent smudges and in this regard the Zagg Shield does a good job.

Update 8/14/2012

I upgraded to the Zagg Invisible Shield HD for $5.00 more and all my complaints are erased.

It still sticks better than any shield I have tried and it has a nice smooth looking surface without the tacky feel. I’m a happy camper now!

IOS 5 Musings

October 5, 2011

Yesterday Apple announced that IOS 5 will be released on Oct. 12.

Today the Golden Master (GM) can be downloaded from the web by anyone along with iTunes 10.5.

It seems to me that Apple is basically getting a week of free testing by the iPhone power users around the world. They have had 100,000 developers banging on IOS 5 for a while now and there will probably be a few million early adopters by tonight.  Those early adopters will find issues and write about them on their blogs and all Apple has to do is browse the web and identify issues that they deem worthy of fixing. Brilliant!

iPhone 4 Calculator Backspace Function

I just recently discovered that the default iPhone calculator app does have a backspace function. All you have to do is a right to left swipe on the display part of the calculator. Don’t know why that isn’t documented.

You can swipe in either direction to perform the backspace function.