October 19, 2016

Who Should I Vote For?

The 2016 election season is almost over.  Finally!  It seems like it has gone on for years!  But, now the final debate was tonight, and election day is in just under three weeks.

This year more than ever, I have talked to and read about party loyalists, on both sides, being unhappy with their candidate.  Also more prevalent this year, closet third party supporters are coming out in droves.  I'm not going to share my political views, that's not the purpose of this post.  Frankly, I don't fit neatly into one category.  On some issues I lean one way, on some I lean the other, and on some I either seem to be right in the middle or out in left field with my beliefs.  

Whether you are typically loyal to one party, or all over the map like me, sometimes it hard to know whom to choose.  Media reports are often biased.  Reading candidate websites can be time consuming and tedious, not to mention the stated platform seems to contradict the actions of the candidates regularly.  Never fear, I have a resource for you!

I Side With created an online political quiz to help match voters up with candidates.  Answer a few or as many questions as you wish, rate how important each topic is to you, then they compare your answers to their database of candidates' platforms, speeches, debate answers, etc. to see with whom you most closely align.

The quiz starts with a base of 32 questions, but can be expanded to a total of 91 questions.  Click see more questions at the end of each topic section to expand the topic.  Topics include social, environmental, economic, domestic policy, healthcare, electoral, education, foreign policy, criminal, immigration, and science.  Be sure to rate the importance of each question for a better match.

At the end you will receive a summary of how much you agree with each candidate in the form of a percentage.  It will also tell you on which topics you agree with the candidate.  I have recommended this to several friends. Some have commented that it was so nice to have the candidates' names removed from the decision and just look at the issues.  Others stated that they knew they didn't want to vote for their closest match  (for non-political reasons), but didn't know who would be the next best choice (politically speaking).  Either way, this seems to be a concise, non-biased decision making tool.

I hope it helps any of you who are still on the fence.  Don't forget to share with your friends and family.  Speaking of help; do you have any tips or tools to share with me?  Post them in the comments below.


July 15, 2016

My 5 Favorite Apps (For Tweens)

It's been quite a while since I've stopped to think about my favorite apps.  Previously, I listed my overall favorites and my top math apps.  This list contains my five favorite apps for my tween.  Just to be clear, these are not my tween's favorite apps; these are apps on my phone that I use in relation to her.  Her list is a little different.  Remember, the list links are to Android apps, links to the iPhone versions are in the description.  And as always, all of these apps are free - just as the good life should be!

1.  Fandango - Fandango is a movie ticket app.  It's summer time and, let's face it, there are some great movies out this year.  Between Warcraft, Marvel, and Ghostbusters we are going to the movies more than ever.  Fandango makes it easy to watch trailers, check show times, and even purchase tickets.  We can even choose seats for any theater with assigned seating.  Best of all, we can use the app as a digital ticket, bypassing the ticket line and walking right in!  Get Fandango for iPhone here.


2.  Good Reads - My daughter is a big reader.  However, sometimes it is hard to find new stories for her to read.  Other times, she has so many books she wants to read that she can't get them all at once and we forget what they are by the time she finishes the first batch.  Enter Good Reads.  This app keeps track of books you want to read, books you are currently reading, and books you have already read.  You can even rate books after reading them.  When she has an abundance of books that she wants to read, I simply scan the barcode on the book to add it to her "want to read" shelf.  When she is out of books and "there is nothing to read", Good Reads can suggest titles based on what you have read and which genres you prefer.  Checking out reviews and summaries makes it a lot easier to take a chance on an unknown title or author.  Here is Good Reads for iPhone.

3.  Pitch Lab Pro - My Bitter Princess is continuing her guitar class this summer.  Pitch Lab Pro is a no frills, easy to use guitar tuner.  Simply open the app and pluck a string on the guitar.  The app recognizes the string and shows whether it is sharp or flat.  It also activity reacts as you twist the guitar's tuner heads, showing when the string is in tune.  We only have guitars, however the app claims to work with violins, mandolins, and banjos as well.  Click here for Pitch Lab for iPhone.

4.  The Metronome by Soundbrenner - Another app we use when she practices guitar is this metronome app.  It is very intuitive, but still has some neat features.  She can choose the time signature, which note gets one count, and the specific beats per minute.  She can also tap the tempo on the phone if she doesn't know the beats per minute.  There are many advanced features that we have just begun to explore.  Some include changing the beat sound (high hat, rim shot, clap, etc.), silencing the beat and using a flashing light instead, even customizing and saving rhythms for specific songs.  Here is The Metronome for iPhone.

5. Period Tracker, My Calendar - As much as we hate to admit it, little girls don't stay little forever.  It seems that girls are reaching womanhood earlier and earlier. I'm not going to tell you whether or not we actually need this at my house yet, but it is always best to be prepared and have a plan in advance. Teaching her to take charge of her body and health is important, but can be uncomfortable for both of you.  My Calendar is a period tracker.  It can tell your young lady when to expect her next period so she is not caught unprepared.  It can also track symptoms to help her see patterns and connections between her cycle and various emotions and other physical symptoms.  Knowledge is power, and giving her power over her period makes it much less intimidating.  Perhaps most importantly, the icon for the app is very discreet, it is a pink appointment book titled My Calendar.  Note that there are features to track activities such as intercourse and fertility as well, but those can be turned off if you wish.  Go to Period Tracker -My Calendar for iPhone.

Which apps do you use for your tweens?