Relaxing Puzzle Game: Block x 3

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Sometimes “life” gets in the way of blogging. :shock:

This is one of those times.

and so….

as I take an unexpected blogging break, I leave you with a nice, relaxing puzzle game to keep you busy until my return…..

Block x 3 is FREE in the iTunes store.

No need for advice from me about how to approach this game. As you start from the beginning, they take you slow and easy and you learn as you go.

Be back soon….

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Downloading Books and Audiobooks FREE directly to your iPhone or iPad

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 7.07.12 PMPreviously on this blog, I gushed about borrowing books from your local library for your Kindle. That post was over a year ago, and I still find it wonderfully exciting to sit in my home, browse through library books, and have them magically appear on my Kindle.

Recently, I tried another bit of library borrowing….. and I’m equally thrilled.

With the Overdrive app, you can download AUDIO books from your local library directly to your iPhone or iPad. Then you can take that audio book with you for a walk or to the gym. Wonderful! And all this is FREE.

It is quite easy to do.

First, of course, you must determine whether or not your local library participates with Overdrive. I’m guessing they do …. it seems quite popular. You can call and ask, or go to your library’s website and hunt around a bit. Chances are there will be an “ebooks” section, and you can see if they use the word “overdrive.”

Once you know your library participates, download the app.

You’ll be asked to “add a library.” I typed in my zip code, and my library magically appeared.

Sign in to your local library (probably with your library card number and a pin).

Find the book you want to download, and tap it to start the process.

All done! Your audio book is now on your iPhone and you are good to go.

From Skitch-19

From my experience, it is MUCH easier to browse books from my computer (rather than the phone). Once I’ve made my choice, I just “search” for it on the app on the iPhone, and tap it to download.

And so now…. from my local library, I can get books to read on my Kindle, and books to listen to on my iPhone. It’s a kid-in-a-candy-shop kind of experience to get books like this from the comfort of your own home.

It’s just as easy to download books to read to your iPhone and iPad with this app. I chose an audiobook because I don’t really enjoy reading on the small screen of the phone. (However…my iPhone 6 Plus …when it arrives… may change all that!).

Just to be clear: you can directly download books to read OR to listen to through this app.

Overdrive is free in the iTunes store

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Weekend Distraction: Word Solitaire

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Do you have a favorite chair? A favorite spot to curl up with a good book? I have an enclosed porch with lots and lots of windows, plants, and breezes, and a great big old comfy chair. In the summer I find myself spending probably too much a lot of time in that chair, curled up with a good book. And sometimes I put the Kindle down, and fire up the iPad for a leisurely game of ….. whatever strikes my fancy.

Recently I found a new goodie. A word game that is relaxing and fun. And free. Relaxing, fun and free. A trifecta! :)

Word Solitaire is a klondike-type solitaire game. Each card has a letter, and it’s your job to move them under each other to form words-in-columns.

There is a delightfully clear tutorial for you to use when you first open the app, and I would suggest that you use it. Don’t skip it. Once you complete the tutorial, you’ll be good to go.

Here you can see one of my earliest (winning!) attempts. You turn over cards, just like in Klondike, and put them under other letters to make words.

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There are some expansion packs available to purchase if you want more more more.

It’s just challenging enough to keep you interested….

but relaxing enough for a lazy afternoon in that favorite chair of yours. :) Enjoy!

Word Solitaire is free in the iTunes store for iPhone and iPad

also

Word Solitaire HD is free in the iTunes store for iPad, only

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Learn a Language with Duolingo. FREE and FANTASTIC

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 8.50.01 AMI so admire those who can speak more than one language.

I can’t, and it’s something that I thoroughly regret.

If you are interested in learning a language …… or brushing up on your skills with a language you dabbled in while in school ….. stop reading my blog right now, and download Duolingo!

You can learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English.

It is FREE. No ads. And NO in-app purchases. Choose a language and GO. They give you lessons in little doses. I’ve been working through some lessons and yes, indeed, I am picking up bits and pieces. What an awesome little app!

If you have some background in a language, you can take a “placement” test. I did. But… as you can see, I didn’t do well.

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So I started at the best place to start. The beginning. And I am enjoying every bite-sized lesson.

Duolingo, for your iPhone or iPad, is FREE in the iTunes store.

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Weekend Distraction: Google Maps Trivia

First of all….. I’d like to apologize (in advance) for this week’s Weekend Distraction. It’s so much fun, that you may find yourself returning to it a little too often.

Just saying’ :)

Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 8.29.18 AM The folks at Google have recently released this delightful time-eater-upper. Google Maps Trivia.

And you don’t have to go and get it from the app store. You already have it (if you have Google Maps).

(Even if you don’t have a smart phone, or an iPad, you can also play this on your computer. I’ll provide that link at the end of this post.)

It’s called Google Maps Trivia. Simple and appealing. Google will give you a random clue, and your job is to drop a pin on the correct location.

You start with 1000 miles. Miles are subtracted for any distance “off” the correct mark. When you run out of miles, you’re done. You can choose categories if you would like, or let Google throw them at you randomly.

To find this gem on your device, just open your Google Maps app.

Click on those three lines up in the upper left hand corner. Now look down the menu on the left side, and select “Google Maps Trivia.”

From Skitch-10

The game begins!

Let them give you questions, or select your own category.

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Answer the question, and drop your pin. If you’re wrong, Google will show you how far off you are, and subtract those miles from your 1000. When you run out of miles, you’re done.

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And when you get your answer RIGHT … Google cheers you on!

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You can also play this game directly on your computer. I actually prefer to use it with a larger screen, and I find that I can be more accurate with my pin drops on my Macbook rather than on the smaller devices.

Follow this link to play Google Maps Trivia on your computer:

Google Maps Trivia

Have fun!

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It’s 7 – 11, and that means it’s Free Slurpee Day! More FREE STUFF, all week, with the App

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Stop in today, Friday, 7/11, between the hours of 11 am to 7 pm at your local, participating 7-Eleven to get a free Slurpee. No coupon necessary. This is the 12th year that the chain has given away Slurpees to celebrate its birthday.

And then …..

If you have the 7-Eleven App, you get more freebees all birthday-week long!

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That’s quite a haul of FREE stuff for a FREE app.

7-Eleven App is FREE in the iTunes store

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Turn on your Lights from anywhere in the World

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This ability to remotely control lights in your home has been around for a while, but it’s been pricey….. until now.

General Electric has recently announced that it will be selling a new line of LED lightbulbs that will work with an app on your smartphone. You will be able, through your phone, to adjust the brightness of these lightbulbs and to turn them on and off from anywhere. Pretty handy for a vacation, or a late night out.

These lightbulbs will sell for $15 (or less!) and will be available at Home Depot sometime this fall.

A hub will be required, and this will cost in the neighborhood of $49, which includes the hub AND two lightbulbs. (Previous set-ups ran closer to $200)

This is a very “busy” area of new technology. Apple is also developing “home kit” and wants to make your house smarter.

I don’t see where all this smart-house stuff is going, but then again, I’ve never been particularly insightful. When my son first showed me how his Commodore 64 could “call” another computer and leave a message on a “bulletin board” (the beginnings of the internet) I remember being less than enthusiastic.

But, gadget lover that I am, I’m liking the idea of this light bulb that I can control from my phone. I’m sure that I’ll be installing a few of these lightbulbs around my house. I don’t know if it will make my house smarter, but I do know it will be fun. :) And of course I’ll share my experiences here.

GE to sell Link LED lightbulbs controlled by Wink iPhone app

GE announces line of “link” Smart LED Lightbulbs starting at $15

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Misbehaving app?

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Sometimes, apps misbehave. They might freeze. Or act wonky. :shock:

If you are finding that an app on your iPhone or iPad isn’t working properly, try this easy fix:

Tap your home button to leave the app.

Double click your home button.

Put your finger on the troublesome app and slide UP. It disappears.

From Skitch-2

Tap the home button again.

Now re-open your app. It should now (hopefully) act properly.

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Do you have Amazon Prime? If so, you also now have FREE music!

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 11.36.28 AMThis was a surprise! Announced last week, Amazon has added a new perk for Prime members.

If you are a Prime member, you’ll want to download this free app: Amazon Music with Prime Music

And then? Listen to Music, FREE. Lots and lots of music.

With NO ADS.

I enjoy Pandora, and use it quite a bit. However, the ads can be annoying, and to purchase it without ads has gotten rather pricey.

But now … enter Amazon Music.

From their description:

“Your music collection just got a lot bigger. Amazon Music now includes Prime Music. Amazon Prime members can listen to or download over a million songs and hundreds of expert-programmed playlists with Prime Music.”

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As soon as I learned of this new way to listen to Music, I downloaded the app immediately. I’ve been experimenting with it ever since. They have provided a large group of playlists, from “50 Great Epic Classic Rock Songs” to “80’s Dance Floor Fillers” to “Feel Good Country” to “Indie workout” to “Hipster Hits”….. you get the idea. Many, many, MANY prepared playlists for you to enjoy.

If you are a Prime member, just download the app, sign in with your Amazon password, and select “Prime Playlists”. Tap your choice and away you go. Streaming music. Turn up the sound and enjoy. With NO ads.

You can also select “Prime Music” and enjoy tons more. Oodles of music is available for you to download (for free) and then enjoy when you are not in your wireless streaming environment.

I’m still learning my way around this app. Since I’ve used Pandora for so long, there is a bit of a learning curve. (Especially the ‘saving to library’ part)

BUT … “PRIME MUSIC” and “PRIME PLAYLISTS” are clearly marked and easily found. Once you download the app, you can select a playlist and be listening to music within minutes.

I’m delighted with this Pandora alternative and kudos to Amazon for giving this additional perk, FREE, to Prime members.

Amazon Music with Prime Music is available for FREE in the iTunes store for your iPhone and iPad.

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Weekend Distraction: 7 Sevens for your iPhone and iPad

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 7.20.32 AMYou’re Welcome!!! (Yes, it’s THAT good!)

I enjoy gentle games. Just at the distraction level. Something I can do without giving it my entire focus.

I am delighted to have found 7 Sevens.

This is one of those games that you can do while you are waiting in a doctor’s office, or you can do while you are sitting in front of the TV. In other words, it doesn’t need ALL of your attention. Just a bit. As far as I’m concerned …. just the perfect amount.

It’s easy to learn, and as you play, you will discover that there is a bit of strategy involved. You’ll get better as you play.

7 Sevens opens with a grid that is 7 squares wide and 7 squares tall.

Dropping from the top will be numbers, from 1 to 7. And an occasional gray, solid square.

Your job is to decide the column where you want the square to drop. If two 2’s touch, they disappear. Or three 3’s, or four 4’s, and so on. Your goal is to group those numbers so that they disappear, freeing up room on the board.

On the screenshot of my game, below, you can see that I must have recently cleared a group of 6’s because there are none on the board. I’m about to drop a new 6, so I have to decide where I want it to go. I will probably NOT put it in that empty column, because I want to leave that alone to add 4’s.

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The gray squares get in the way. You won’t want to see those. But happily, when a group of numbers disappears, any adjacent gray squares will disappear, also.

Your goal is to try to keep the board as clear as possible so that you can continue on. As you move up in levels, a random few numbers (and gray squares) will drop, messing up your perfectly planned strategy. Argh! The challenge is to work around those new obstacles.

There are a few bells and whistles (modes, etc), but the basic game is a pick-up-and-play.

7 Sevens is 99¢ in the iTunes store and is designed for both your iPhone and iPad

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