iPhonin’

Wading in the Wearable Tech Waters

I like to think of myself as an early-ish adopter of technology, but I’ve been dragging my feet when it comes to wearable tech.

I’ve been eyeballing various Fitbit offerings for a while, and there’s always one thing or another that I don’t like. It usually comes back to the fact that I wear an actual watch (not a smart watch), and I don’t want a bulky tracker on my wrist. That also means I won’t be wearing a smart watch, because who wants to wear two watches? Not me!

So, I stumbled upon a wearable fitness tracker that’s a RING! It tracks my activity, steps, heart rate, sleep, and syncs with an app, just like Fitbit. It will basically give me a snapshot at my day and that’s really what I want from a tracker. I don’t need instant updates or the community/social aspect that a network as large as Fitbit has. I’m not going to get into competition with anyone, and frankly, I don’t need to. I’m working on me!

This ring is called the Motiv Ring. And it sounds and looks super dope.

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Is Viggle Worth Your Time? Suz Says: “Skip It!”

viggle

So, a few months ago, I said I’d give Viggle a go. It seemed simple enough. Open the app, and use its mic to check into programs that were airing on my TV. And for certain shows, there are Viggle Live quiz opportunities to earn bonus points. Sounds easy, right? Well, it is, but it’s not a very rewarding use of my time.

I wrote that initial post back in mid-October. And since then, I’ve managed to accumulate 35,000 points. Sounds like a lot, right? On SwagBucks, 35k is $350! On Shopkick, it’s $140! So we’re talking big money!

On Viggle, I think 35k points translates to about $14. My math is a little rusty and I originally wrote this post at about 2AM. A few days ago I checked the Gift Card section and saw that there were $5 Fandango Gift Cards for 15k. Yup. That was it for me. So I redeemed some of my points to get one. I tried to do another one immediately afterwards, but the app told me I’d already gotten one. (I forgot that one can only redeem one gift card brand per day) So then I was stuck with 20k points. The only available reward that I could afford was a 1-day Redbox Movie Rental. Yippee?

Now, I wasn’t a die hard Viggler during these past 5 months, but I did check in almost every day. To have only really earned enough for two $5 gift cards really isn’t a good use of my time. Especially when I can spend just an hour or two per day on SwagBucks and acquire a $5 gift card, to my retailer of choice, every 5 days! You read that correctly. I earn enough on SwagBucks to, on average, cash in for a $5 gift card every week. Every. Week!

So 5 months? No thanks!

And let’s talk about how most gift cards aren’t even in stock at any given time on Viggle. They don’t have Best Buy, Amazon, Target, Sephora, Starbucks, or any of those retailer cards readily available. Every so often, a desirable $25 gift card will appear in the app (and for something like 60k points), but if you aren’t quick — as in taking action within the first few minutes — it’ll go out of stock and you’re SOL. Like, I said, not very rewarding to me. I don’t know many people who have the patience to, after they earn a bunch of points, continually open and refresh an app in hopes that a Gift Card reward will appear.

I just now redeemed another 15k of my points for a second $5 Fandango code. That leaves me with about 5k in points. I’m not trying for more rewards on this app. 5k is negligible. So, I’m just going to delete it.

I hear that back before Viggle got really big, it used to be easier to get rewards; more on par with how SwagBucks and Shopkick are for me now. The OGs all over the Internet and social media are constantly posting about it. It’s a shame, too. It’s a great idea that would probably be a lot more popular if it weren’t so hard to earn rewards.

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Not Impressed with Barnes & Noble’s Pre-Order Process

McKayla Maroney is not impressed with Nook

I got an assist from Olympic gymnast, McKayla Maroney for this post. As I’ve stated before, I’m not the biggest fan of how pre-orders go down in today’s marketplace. That was reinforced Monday night, as I had to wait over 9 hours for my pre-ordered book to finally download onto my Nook Color.

When books from Cassie Clare or Veronica Roth are released (at midnight), I immediately download them and start reading. My tradition is that I don’t even go to sleep those nights. I just keep reading until I finish and then I crash. Yes, I am a binge reader.

So a wrench was thrown into my plans when midnight came and went, Tuesday, and I didn’t have Allegiant on my Nook Color. I refreshed. I logged out. I turned my device off and back on. I did everything I could think of, but the book would not download.

After an hour, I was desperate. I was able to start reading it on my desktop computer, which is so unnatural. I want to be wrapped up in blankets, in my bed, so I can get lost in the story. But noooooooo!

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Trying Out Viggle App

viggle

As I’ve shared quite frequently, I am absolutely in love with the Shopkick app. Getting points that I can redeem for gift cards just for doing what I was already going to do, shopping, is a no-brainer for me.

So, along comes Viggle where I can get points just for watching the TV programs I was already watching. Get out of town!

How the app (which is available for iOS and Android) works is that you check-in using your phone’s microphone, while watching TV. It’ll use the audio signal from your TV to identify what you’re watching and award you points — typically 1 point per minute — after the show goes off. You don’t have to leave your app open, either. Just check in and go back to whatever you were doing. When you accumulate enough points, you can cash them in for gift cards to popular retailers such as Starbucks, Sephora, iTunes, GAP, Chili’s, Foot Locker, Old Navy, Lowe’s, Papa John’s, CVS, and more! With the holiday’s coming up, might not be a bad way to get some extra funds to shop for gifts.

There are opportunities for bonus points through promos (DirecTV subscribers get a ton), viewing ads, and live trivia through the app. I’m told that if I casually use the app, I should earn a gift card after about a month or so. That’s pretty good. And, like I said, I’d be earning that freebie just for doing what I already was. When I’m on my computer in the evenings, my TV is always on, even if I’m not watching it directly. Still counts! I’m gonna play with this app for a while and see what’s up. It definitely speaks to my lazy side as I don’t have to leave my house to use it like with Shopkick.

It seems that, in the past year, the company has altered their strategy a little. Apparently after a huge launch, where gift cards were easy to earn, it’s now much more difficult. I can see where that’d be frustrating for early adopters, but it can’t be as bad as CheckPoints, can it?

I’ll check back in, with another post, after I’ve earned a reward. Does anyone else use Viggle?

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Ohio Stadium Needs To Improve Their “Improved” Cellular Connectivity

Wifi

Now, I know I said I was going to take some time off before I started blogging again, but dangit, I’ve got something to say!

I attended the opener of Ohio State’s 2013 season, on Saturday. There’s just something about sitting in 90 degree heat and 80% humidity, with 105,000 of my closest friends, that makes me look forward to this time of year. Nah, I’m a college football addict. I’d sit through just about anything to see my Buckeyes play!

And while I enjoyed myself at the game, I did come away with one huge gripe, and it wasn’t related to the weather or the team’s performance. It was how I had absolutely NO CELLULAR SIGNAL for the majority of the game! That’s simply unacceptable! And especially on the heels of Ohio State promoting their efforts to improve connectivity within and around the stadium. FAIL!

Now, most of the talk was around improvements provided by Verizon for their users. They set up 300 antennas, around the Horseshoe, that were the equivalent of eight cellular towers. However, the Verizon subscriber I was sitting next to, and another one I spoke with after the game, said they couldn’t even send text messages! If that’s what passes for improvement, I’d hate to see an announced setback! Ohio State should immediately demand a refund.

I didn’t expect my connection troubles to magically disappear for the first game. But I also didn’t expect expect things to be markedly worse than last year! Seriously, Verizon, get it together! How is Ohio State going to request fans, inside the stadium, tag tweets and Instagram photos with #TheShow (so they can show up on the big video board) if we can’t even connect to the Internet?

I understand that infrastructure adjustments take time, but don’t promote instant improvement if there indeed isn’t any. That’s all I’m saying. Do better.

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Heard of IFTTT? You Should Check It Out!

IFTTT

I don’t think I’ve pimped one of my favorite new services, IFTTT, on here yet. So now’s the time!

IFTTT stands for “If This Then That.” There are various news and social media “triggers” you can choose from, when, if your desired action happens, then another event (of your choice) will happen.

For example, if you post a tweet with a specific hashtag you determine, it will also post to Tumblr. Or, if your favorite blog posts an update, you will receive a text message. Those are just examples, but the amount of cross-posting productivity you can get done is limitless! I love playing with IFTTT, and as someone who manages a lot of fan pages, its invaluable.

But thinking outside of the social media realm, it can be very helpful in your day-to-day life. Check out the following “recipe:”

IFTTT Recipe: Send me an e-mail if there will be rain tomorrow

IFTTT can help send weather updates right to your phone!

But they’ve also integrated with services like Up by Jawbone, Withings, Belkin’s WeMo, and Philips hue. You can have your Philips Hue light automatically turn on at sunset.

IFTTT Recipe: Living room Light on at sunset

And then, if motion is detected in a room equipped with WeMo, it can send you a text alert.

IFTTT Recipe: Text me if sensor detect motion!

There are so many triggers and actions available to you. I end up finding a new recipe all the time! But here’s one that I recommend for all iDevice users who may or may not take a ton of pictures with their phones. If you don’t want to make a conscious effort to regularly back up your photos, activate the iOS Photos channels and automatically back up to DropBox, Box, Skydrive, Google Drive, and Flickr, among other choices.

Since Dropbox is my cloud service of choice, this is what I’d use:

IFTTT Recipe: iPhone Photos to Dropbox

And you can specify certain albums, whether or not it’s a screenshot, or if you used the front camera (AKA selfie mode). Pretty cool, right?

I just scratched the surface of what IFTTT can do. Check it out and see if it can help make your life a little easier!

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