Wednesday, October 09, 2013

MoBill Android App Review

This app has great graphics!  I really like the interface, choice of button shapes, colors, etc.  A lot of thought went into the designing of the GUI portion of the software. I give this part of the program Five Stars.

Another excellent feature of this app is that it has a real embedded help menu. Most apps with a help button simply link it to a function that opens a web browser, opening the developer's home page. It's nice to have an embedded help list, so I really like this feature. Five Stars.

Embedded Calculator Feature, Available As Stand-Alone Function or Available in Sub Menus: Five Stars! (I can't speak highly enough about this one. Some apps link to an on-device, secondary calculator, which is cumbersome in a financial app where numerical calculation is desired at the record-creation entry point. The addition of an embedded calculator like this one fills this gap beautifully!)

The last thing I will review is the way in which the developer has chosen to add additional functionality to the app: AdFree. This doesn't work for me in many ways, either from a practical viewpoint or a philosophical one.

The Practical: Having to register with an ad service provider for extra functions is cumbersome. Mosts developers simply don't require this. Also, this particular app has the ad glaring at you at the very top of the app when it launches, drawing your attention, nay, "sucking you into" the advertisement at warp speed!

Some of the ads displayed have button-like, shaped graphics which are easily confused with app function buttons. I found this de-enhancing to proper app navigation, making the app somewhat unintuitive to someone new to the app.

The Philosophical:  This is more of a pet peeve of mine than anything else. I simply do not like advertising in phone applications like this one.

This a budgeting app, designed to help one keep tabs on their expenses.  It's not a game or a social app where advertisements might be expected.

Also, and this is the most glaring flaw as I see it: To enable advanced features, one has to register with a third party ad-provider, AdFree.

I don't agree with this kind of application development. Android is rife with advertisers, and others, that want people to believe that profit can't be made without a glaring, flashing banner adorning the various pages of phone apps.

I also don't buy into the "App Subscription Model" for an application whose primary purpose should not require it. A registration fee for additional dev support and feature enabling is fine. This is how most devs float, and makes sense, practically and philosophically.

However, combining both with as heavy a dependency on an ad service like AdFree, does not.

App Ad Factors: One Star

Final Total: Four Stars

Summary and Suggestions:  Get rid of AdFree! Re-write the code to more uniform standards of marketing, such as the "free app with advertising and limited features/paid app with all features and no advertising" model.

Also, ditch the ad-subscription marketing model. It's outdated and annoying as hell! Most users aren't going to pay a yearly subscription unless you're a magazine publisher offering original content or some type of professional service.

Keep the excellent graphics! This dev has an obvious talent for GUI design that captures the user. It caused me to download it and give it a try, merely from looking at at the app icon in the Play Store.

Thank you for the opportunity to review this app. I appreciate and pay for excellent quality software. I believe that the suggestions made in my review can, and will, help this app to become a winner in the market.

Best of Success,
--Stephen

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Response to DEVILS_ADVOCATE at New York Daily News Comments Section:

Heh!  Sometimes one needs a few "devils" to help keep one honest.  Thanks.  I appreciate the element.

I've read and re-read your reply, and you bring up some very salient points.

Perhaps I was a bit gruff.  It's just that I grow so tired of the "same ol' same ol'" when it comes to what I shall term "conservative religious ethics," which, by their implementation, tend to "hold back" people to the point of becoming stagnant.  Especially those that become so immersed in a religion that they are no longer capable of rational, coherent thought, and, in the worst cases, refuse to, or are no longer capable (the ultra-worst?) of "Thinking Critically."  (This means that we accept reality for what it is, don't make any bones about it, and deal with it intelligently and effectively.  That's my definition, at any rate.)

I grew up Episcopalian.  It was fun and interesting when I was young.  I stopped "going to church" when I started using the pew as a second bed.  Zzzzzzz.  Not really, but that was the effect.  My mind was starting to go numb from the constancy.  No change.  No Difference.  Nothing New Here.  Move Along.  Move Along.  Etc.

I stopped going when I turned sixteen or so.  Probably the result of all that hot tea in the undercroft (basement kitchen/after-church snack area), introduced to me by the genteel old ladies of the church.  Well, as much as a Northern-Lower Michigan grandmarm can possibly be "genteel."  I am definitely not from The Deep South.

Getting on with this:  I realize not everyone will agree with my view on this subject.  Also, I can not advise from a Master's Level, only from a layman's perspective.  So I shall endeavor to be a bit more selective and less cutting in my vocal patterns, and also try to be a bit more...Ahem!...Ed-U-Ma-Ca-Ted! ;-)

I don't hate religion.  I have engaged in a smattering of religious paths from time to time throughout my life.  Everything from the aforementioned Episcopal church of my formative years, to USA-bred-and-induced "born again" Christian fund(y)mentalism (I was a "holy terror" to my friends in those years, and I'm lucky I still have most of them after that debacle in my young-adulthood, primarily my late teens and early twenties!)

I've also appreciated and participated in various of the "neo pagan" revivalist religious faiths, especially modern Wicca/Witchcraft, which I still respect, greatly, although I am not active in any type of specific activities, anymore.  I've found my own path based on very personal, internally-modulated experiences.

Call them mentally-/emotionally-/dreamtime-/subconsciously-contructed-/non-physically-/ImmersiveRealityInformedByPureThought-based, call-it-what-you-will.  These experiences, coupled with an out-of-body motif of expanded consciousness that has to be experienced-to-be-understood (words can not convey the, Ahem!  "Inherent Meaning"), and I find most, if not all, religion, "merely folly" at this point.

I'm simply growing tired of everyone "being so concerned for the Afterlife," that they forget the Life In Front of Them!  Also, isn't this a major problem, everywhere, in every place on Earth?  People not really believing that the Now Is Where They Should Be Because They Are?  If we can't change the past, and the future isn't here yet, then what do we have?  Seriously!

Relative to the one issue you brought forth:  I have an issue with the aspect of "tolerating the intolerable," as it's a dichotomy for me.  I mean, yes, it exists.  Intolerance, that is.  To be "intolerant of intolerance," has the aspect of "shooting one's self in one's own foot," I suppose; ie, "Not Much Progress Can Be Made Here At All" type of thing.  I trust that's to what you're referring?

I mean, the aspect of, say, "trying to kill intolerance" is the same as "trying to hunt down Love."  The emotive states are inherent ones, and can't be "captured, destroyed, folded, spindled, or mutilated."  (Unlike the iconic "IBM Card" of computatational ages past.)

Well, I hope this is, at least, a better response.  I'm not a scholar, nor do I play one on TeeVee. ;-)  I wish to Love Everyone, althought this task is daunting, and I'm Still Learning.  However, on that case, are not we all?

Here's to Learning To Love Everyone.

Sincerely,
The One With A Condo On The Outskirts Of Purgatory,
--Firefishe

P.S.  Not All Intolerance Is Tolerable
P.P.S.  Not All Tolerance Is Tolerable
R.S.V.P.  Can You Tolerate It?! ;->

Friday, March 15, 2013

FLASH! UFO's Scared Off By Welsh Rarebit-On-The-Hoof! Nephilim Flee Planet In Fear! Film At Eleven!

Review - Netflix Watch Instantly Movies - "A UFO Conspiracy"




This documentary is part "UFO Phenomenon Recap" and "UFO's-as-demonology," the latter of which really takes away from the first 75% of the film, which was really quite good.

I've watched other such documentaries before, and I've found all of them interesting.  Who wouldn't, given the subject matter.  However, this one left me wanting at the end, and sorely disappointed.

Let's look at the film more closely.

The last hundred years or so of sighting information was presented accurately, and without any type of implications being imparted to the viewer--save for the obvious element of We On Planet Earth possibly having been visited by extra terrestrial beings at one time or another.  *That* is, of course, the entire point of this film's study.

Stated another way, the first three quarters of the documentary didn't dive off the deep end into scare tactics, essentially letting the viewer decide for themselves.

Things broke down at the 75% mark, however, with an almost immediate segue (pronounced",seg-way") into the mentioning of Abrahamic viewpoints about "Satan", "demons", and "fallen angels"  Can anyone say "Nephilim"?  (I mean, what type of project would this be if it didn't delve into the "fallen angels mating with the 'daughters of men'" mythology?

Following the first mentioning of the creatures, the viewer is treated to a wonderful flash-frame-forward viewing of a series of demonic-like images, replete with the usual "Goat Horned 'Devil'" type of pctures.  Historically, images such as these took the place of the pre-medieval "Pagan Gods," such as Pan, Cernunnos, and the rest of the various Pantheons that existed before Christianity took hold of Europe in ages past, essentially being used by the early European Churches as "substitute imagery" for the "heathen folk" (read: Country Dwellers), who had very little influence upon the more powerful factions of the day.

The last 25% of the documentary is a cautionary tale, and we are "warned very sternly" by--get this!--A "Welsh Baptist" pastor from California!  What the heck?  A Californian, Baptist pastor of Welsh decent, complete with accent.  This guy took up TEN WHOLE MINUTES, and was the LAST PART OF THE MOVIE!

"Ouch!"  In a word.

So just what is this telling us?  That Baptists seem to know all there is to know about so-called demons, devils, and fallen angels and their semi-human offspring (from the 'courting' of early history's young ladies, so it would appear.)?

This reviewer thinks otherwise.

Summarizing, I found "A UFO Conspiracy" rather enjoyable for the first three quarters of the show, but ended up rolling my eyes at the end.  The addition of a "California-based 'Welsh' Baptist Preacher" ending the film just didn't cut the mustard with this reviewer.

There wasn't enough information presented before the segue into the last quarter of the movie; if more supportive information had been given to support the latter part of the film, I believe it would have made it more enjoyable, as well as supported the (assumed) opinions of the film's producers.  However, as it stands, it just didn't do that very well, as I see it.

The first 3/4 was informative and interesting.  The last 25% was somewhat less satisfying, meant more to provide a fear-response in the viewer, of the "believe in Christ or Go Straight To Hell" type of response.  At that point, I had, indeed, had enough.

I'm just glad that Welsh Baptist isn't served with Welsh Rarebit.  To me, the two would just clash too much! ;->

Be Well Everyone, and Thanks For Reading!  --Firefishe

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Withdrawn From Kaplan

Summary Update



  1. Kaplan University = $33K for an Associate's, 66K for a Bachelor's.
  2. Loan debt of $31K+ already incurred, ergo, NO MORE LOANS!
  3. Working on a smaller Missouri Technical College where I can use ONLY GRANT MONEY!
  4. Above being held up due to Financial Aid Verification issues related to taxes.
  5. Waiting on 2011 W2 from USA Truck so I can file my 2011 return.
  6. Wishing I Had Money!
  7. Wishing I Had Talent To Earn Money
  8. Tired Of Being Held Back By Every Circumstance.
  9. Wanting Relief From Disabilities.
  10. Desiring New Path and Experiences To Get Me To Where I Want To Be.
 --THF

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kaplan University

Hello Everyone, The Humble Fishe here, back from another long hiatus.

Summer's come and gone, and a lot has happened in the world.  In my corner of our planet, I've had a nice Holiday season and New Year.  So, with a new season of life upon me, I figured it was time to continue my educational pursuits.

You see, I made a promise to myself a few years ago wherein I promised myself that I would earn a college degree by the time I'm 50!  That promise remains, as yet, unfulfilled.  So I'm trying again.

I've chosen  Kaplan University's Online Information Technology Associate Degree program (to start), and their Bachelor Degree program to round out my first--and probably last--college educational endeavor.  I may or not need to get a Master's, but Graduate degrees are another matter, have different dynamics than the undergraduate programs, and have their own inherent nuances, challenges, and politics.

Better to leave the Graduate degrees alone for the time being and concentrate on the more immediate need of obtaining my Associate Degree.   And what an Associate Degree it is!  At $33K, it's quite the two-year.  The thing is, I  haven't found any way to be reasonably successful with local colleges, and I'm online all the time, anyway, so I figured that "it's time to just go private!"

Private schools are more expensive than their public counterparts, but they also often provide more personalized service than their public counterparts.  Online education is different from in-person education.  I believe that online teaching should take advantage of the medium, and not try to be a "mere copy" of an in-person classroom experience.  If I wanted that, I have a plethora of local choices from which to choose.

Well, I choose Online, instead!

I'm more comfortable in the privacy of my own home, where I can concentrate.  Since I have ADHD and other "cognitive learning disabilities" to begin with, this makes more sense from a "quiet and central place to work and plan" point of view.

It does present the challenge of all the adherence to the attendance of live, online seminars (of which many of Kaplan's online courses are made up of), and navigating the online environment's homework portals, library, and other such matters, but to a person who's used to working with Arch Linux, I don't see this as being much of a problem, let alone, a challenge.

Point-and-click to the correct item on the web page, hit the Submit button, and you're there!  Homework 101's done for the week!  (At least, that's the simplified version ;->.  There are almost always exceptions.  Still, I deal with these things pretty decently for most, if not all, items.)

I'm still in the preliminary stages of the application process, and won't know more until tomorrow, Friday.  I need to get through the Financial Aid process, and this will either make or break my ability to participate at Kaplan.  I can be only hopeful that a positive attitude will get me through the process, and onto the more important elements of class participation.

I look forward to keeping everyone updated.  I shall add more as time progresses.

Best Regards,
The Humble Fishe

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Buggies, Buggies, Everywhere!!!

There is a name for a boxspring when it is infested with cockroaches and other insects:  G-A-R-B-A-G-E!

Alas, that is what I had to do to our current boxspring--a piece of furniture that has been broken for over a year now and needed replacing aeons ago:  THROW IT OUT!

AND I DID!

Into the dumpster it went, and now resides, awaiting the morning trash truck to come and take it away, and crush it's little buggy innards out of existence!

The wife and I are now, by proxy, going to need a new bed.

I'm sticking to my guns on this one and buying quality!  Queen minimum, wood frame, with heavy duty wood slats.  My wife and I are not small people, and we both add a bit of...errr...'gravity' that necessitates a firm foundation, with a boxspring and mattress that won't fall apart!

The first bed was free, kindly given to us by Very Very Good Friends' parents when we first moved into our apartment.  We were extremely grateful to get that frame, boxspring, and mattress when we did, but it has worn out, and the time has come to purchase a new sleeping system.

ONE MAIN PROBLEM:  BUGS!

The entire apartment is a breeding ground for cockroaches and water bugs--at least, that's what they look like to me.  They're a little black, pear-shaped insect with a red mark on it's back.  (And no, folks!  It's *not* a black widow spider. Spiders are larger and have eight legs, not six! ;-)  Just thought I'd mention that!

And right now, I'm Tired, Buggy, and just washed my face, shaved, and am sipping on a nice 'Mountain Holler,' Save-A-Lot's version of Mountain Dew.  It's not bad at all!  It's not Cherry Coke, but it's still not bad! :-) 

I'm happy this is done for a while.  I need to complete this over the weekend, but for now, I'm taking a break!

I'll be back later with more stories from Bugville!

Warm (and Buggy) Regards,
--Stephen 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Geocache: Deciding Against

This one started out as a late-evening cache hike, but turned into a bit of an adventure for the Firefishe.

My tagline reads Caching in On The Journey, and boy did the Journey kick my butt!

I got to the historical marker in about twenty minutes, and, thankfully, the sun was still up.  I had a backpack on with two LED 2-D-Cell Maglight flashlights with freshly charged batteries, drinks, and money, of course, so I was prepared in advance.

My Garmin Dakota 20 is always loaded with the latest updated caches, ala GSAK's GC.com API interface, so I'm always up to date.  I also recently updated my free maps from garmin.openstreetmap.nl, as well as the usual 24K topo maps from the gpsfiledepot.com.

(Author's Note:  If no one has heard, there are a ton of free, highly detailed and up-to-date maps available for the Garmin Colorado, Oregon, and Dakota series of GPS receivers.  All legal.  All Free!  All from public-domain information!  I'm waiting to buy an Oregon, so I can use 3D maps, a bigger display, geotagging camera and voice recorder, but for $230 plus a Garmin Chirp geocache beacon, the Dakota 20 package I bought worked out beautifully for my budget, and still gave me a great system!  I'm loving it!)

Back to the hike.

I solved the puzzle easily enough, and was going to just walk the streets to where I needed to be ( had been there before, but didn't log my first DNF earlier this summer when I tried this the first time.)when I came across something I had never seen before:  A New Bike/Walking Path!  Apparently, this is part of the Jefferson City Greenway, which is a paved biking and walking trail within the general city limits of Jefferson City.

I recalled that I was out on an adventure that evening, so I didn't hesitate when I was across from the Jefferson City High School and the new (to me) bike trail just seemed to beckon me to 'take a chance.'  Well, that 'chance' led me up and down so many hills, that my legs were like toast at the end of the evening.  The hike took me, ultimately, to the bottom of a hill where lay a little community park I never knew existed.  Aurora Community Park or something like that.

Since the new trail ended there, I had no choice but to go up the street--anything to break the monotony of the trail--and follow it a bit, but where I ended up was news to me!  I ended up in a part of town I'd driven in a few times, but never thought I'd ever end up hiking in, it's just not 'that kind of neighborhood, if you know what I mean.  Not really dangerous, mind you, just more given over to vehicle traffic than foot traffic.  The sides of the roads don't always have sidewalks, and one has to step over to the curb to let cars by now and again.  Not really pedestrian friendly, but what can you do?

I was glad to see the Jefferson Street Break Time convenience store, and bought a huge Landshire microwave-ready burger, the big one that's nearly six inches in diameter!  That burger and a one-liter lemonade hit the spot!  I was ready to go again after about a half-hour rest period, most of it spent sitting outside on the curb near the car wash in the rear of the building.  It was good to see lots of people after almost two hours of trekking in unfamiliar streets!

Well, to wrap it up, I made my way via more familiar streets, to the part of the Greenway trail I knew went directly to the cache area from the opposite end of where one usually parks to get to this cache.  Good thing, too, as there was a car that seemed to be going back and forth along the street next to the sidewalk I was on; when he went out of sight, I did a quick jog to the Greenway trail, went down a hill, and was glad when I was below eye-level view.

So I make my way to where the cache is supposed to be, and my GPS takes me up a slope (I won't say which one, and there are many!) to within 3 feet of Ground Zero, but alas, no cache!  Not even in mega-bright-white LED lighting from my mag light.  So, and because I had forgotten my red lenses for the lights, I decided to wait until a daylight excursion can be made, preferably on a Sunday afternoon when things are quiet and not many people are about.  I do try to protect the integrity of the caches I hunt, and have been doing so since 2002! :-)

Well, that's it!  I'm writing this on 20 OCT 2012 on an early Saturday morning.  I'm hoping to get out later today, weather permitting--and in possession of the family car--and get this one logged!  My 46-year-old body is not as peppy as I'd like, and regular visits to my gym are in order, so I can do more like this, but man!  What a rush!  I felt better, albeit achey, after three-and-a-half hours of pure exercise I haven't done in months!  I Love Geocaching!

Thanks for a Grand Adventure R-L-P!  I'll be back to log this one soon!

Warm Regards From,

Firefishe
Caching In On The Journey