Electric or Gas?

Do you think about getting an electric car as your next car purchase? I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. Especially after the gas prices were over a dollar a litre (which I realize was a while ago). But it really started to hurt when it was averaging or exceeding $1.25 per litre. As much as I love my car for it versatility for traveling, moving and chauffeuring the kid (and dogs) around, it has a 50 litre tank (Honda 2005 Element) and it’s not the most fuel efficient (no aerodynamic). It can cost me well over C$60 to fill the tank.

I don’t profess myself an expert about cars. I’m just a person who needs one and drives one. As far as I know, Hybrids, are the more common ‘electric’ cars on the market. Almos all car brands have at least one model that is a Hybrid. Chevy, has this [not so new] Volt, and electric car that has the option of gas. It’s like the duel fuel stove … no! It’s nothing like that…

Anyhow, GM was kind enough to let me test drive their Volt for a week. I happen to get it the week that I was headed up to Ottawa for Social Capital Conference May 31-June 1st with a detour to Montreal.

volt8

As you can imagine, with any new car, it drives quiet smoothly. I’d like to tell you that you can go from 0 to 60 km/hr in X-amount of seconds, but what this car teaches you is that if you ease your startup and braking, you don’t use much power/gas, therefore you’re being energy efficient. With an elaborate dashboard panel advising you of what is happening in the car plus your surroundings, you can keep informed while you drive.

volt5

A fully charged car, it can travel about 60km, which is good for your daily commute to work. It’s most efficient running exclusively on electric as long as you’re driving under 80 km/hr. Once you’re on the highway, you’d need to put the battery on ‘hold’ and it will run on the gas engine, which is a 30 litre tank.

volt2
volt3

With this charger, it plugs right into a regular household 110 volt plug. It can take up to 8 hrs to charge it fully from empty. There’s also options to set the car to time of day (so that you can charge during low peak time). If you install a 220 volt plug at your home, it will take less time to complete the charge.

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volt7

All in all, I really liked the car and I’d strongly consider it as top of my list of next car to buy.

Pros:

• Total [Premium] gas purchase: $60 = 1 week’s worth of driving around Toronto, to & around Montreal, to & around Ottawa, and back to Toronto again.

• Taught me that I have a heavy foot when driving, and I learnt quickly how to be more gas/energy efficient.

• Roomy trunk considering it’s a sports car

Cons:
• Little leg room in the back seat. Only enough for my kid to sit comfortably in the back

• Shape of the back window was difficult to look out of through the rear view mirror

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These are a few of my favourite…Apps

I’m dedicating this post to my favourite apps that I have for my iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad. [None of these are sponsored by the developer. I had bought and tried all of them]

iPhone/iPod Touch Apps: (some of these require 4G iPod Touch and/or running iOS4)

Momento $2.99 It’s been years since I have written in a Diary or Journal. Momento is a great solution to log almost everything that I post online. From my blog posts to my tweets. All this and it’s password protected.

Nike + GPS $1.99 In light of my goal to get fit and be healthier, my trainer asked me to commit to walking a minimum of 3 times a week. I wanted to track my distance so I first used the free Nike+ that comes with all iPods and iPhone. But that requires the transponder that you put in/on your shoe (an extra $15). This app doesn’t require any special transponder. Just put it in your pocket or attached it on yourself and off you go. It maps my route, log the distance, time etc and tells me how much calories I burned. It rocks. And just recently, they did add a heart rate monitor that you can buy $69.95 and it will really tell you your stats.

ZipList Free No matter how many cookbooks I own (and I have a lot) and apps from Jamie Oliver or Martha Stewart, I will still hop on my computer and do a quick search online. ZipList helps me keep all those recipes in one place and it will automatically create shopping lists for me for FREE. You can also share your recipe box with family and friends. So if you want your significant other to pick up some items, you can get them to look up your list thought this app. Free to register an account on their website.

Skype Free If you have access to Wifi you can make calls from both your iPhone or iPod Touch. It’s works great. I’ve called from Starbucks to my family in Hong Kong at no extra charge!

BudPhone Free Make long distance calls as long as you calling from and to the cities listed on their website (more cities are being added). Your number still appears on the call display at the other end. This is operated by FreePhoneLine.ca They also have a desktop app where you can register for a dedicated and permanent number. With this, you have a free follow-me number with voicemail (that emails you the messages). So, until Google Voice comes to Canada, this is a great free way to make calls. {also available on Android and Blackberry phones}

Trip Journal $2.99 (and they have a free version of Trip Journal) It is exactly as it’s called, a travel journal. It will map out where you’re going. You can add points of interest with notes and photos. Then at the end of your trip you can share it all through Facebook, with their free TripJournal Facebook App. {also available on Android and Symbian phones}

iPad only Apps: The UI and design of the below apps is the eye candy that makes me love having my iPad

Lifelike Craig $1.99 A different way to browse Craigslist ads. Set up like a newspaper, you can mark your favourite posts with a red marker like circle.

Lifelike Cards $1.99 It’s like browsing postcards at a tourist shoppe while on vacation. This app gets the images from Flickr. You can have it pull random images, or by category. You can send these “postcards” to family and friends.

Early Edition $4.99 Takes the RSS feeds, and displays in newspaper style. Easily to organize with folders and easy to share to Twitter, Delicious, Facebook, or email it.

The Feed Free Unlike Early Edition, it takes its feed from your Google Reader only.

Flipboard Free First to come out with a visual way to see your Twitter feeds. It takes the websites, photos etc and puts it on the page with the tweet so that you don’t need to click to a website.

TweetMag $4.99 Another way to appreciate your Twitter feeds

Made for iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch:

Zinio Free Just in time for the de-cluttering of my home, I had subscribed to 80% of print magazine through their desktop app. Prices for annual subscriptions are same or less than subscribing to the print version. Then came their iPhone/iPad app. I can keep all my magazines with me or download them with any WiFi connection. You can read them like a magazine, or just the text only. Some magazines, like MarieClaire (US) have interactive bonus. Just check out the December 2010 issue with Emma Watson – she’s moving on the cover (like they do in The Daily Prophet in the Harry Potter series).

BlogPress $2.99 For posting to my blogs on Blogger and here on WordPress. You can also post to MSN Live Spaces, MovableType, TypePad, Live Journal, Drupal, Joomla, Tumblr, SquareSpace and My Opera.

Delivery Status Touch, a package tracker $2.99 with a free Desktop Widget. I use this app on all my devices (as well as my laptop) to track the parcels being sent to my clients from my overseas office and back again.
1Password by Agile Wed Solutions They have a Pro version for $14.99 which is for both your iPhone/iPod + iPad. If you only have one or the other mobile devices, there is 1Password for iPhone or 1Password for iPad at $9.99 each. The 1Password3 Desktop version is $39.99 for a single licence and $59.95 for  Family licence (up to 5). Originally, I had purchased the desktop software to help me remember everything I have in my wallet. With all the points cards available (and obviously I have) and the multiple passwords that I need to remember, it was the best solution. Now they have the App for the mobile devices (which also includes Android), you can carry all the info with you. You can also sync all your devices via WiFi or through the free Dropbox service. It will also help you create passwords if you need to make it more difficult than your child’s birthday or your sweetheart’s nickname.

PDFReaderPro $0.99 This is a great app for downloading, saving and reading PDF files. For example, after misplacing the manual for the new Food Processor that I got, I was able to find it online, download it, and read it on my iPad, while flipping to the recipe at the same time

Kobo Free An eBook reader app with many titles to purchase. But the bonus is that you can also borrow eBooks from the library (in this case I’m making the link to the Toronto Public Library, since I’m in Toronto).

Kindle Free {also available on Android and Blackberry phones} Obviously the same as Kobo, there can be more titles available through Kindle Store. Also there are times where I find that the price is significantly less than other eBook Store.

I hope that you find these quick summary and reviews helpful. These are the apps that I use regularly. Maybe I’ll post the game apps next time.

*I will write a separate post for Photo and Video Apps.

[Update – I should add that I have only Apple computers at home. I try to provide links for all platforms that are available, but sometime it might be Mac centric – sorry*]

Favourite Photo/Video Apps

{This is NOT a sponsored post. I paid and tried all these apps, and I would give them all 5 stars}

Being a trained photographer (but I don’t do it professionally anymore), I thought that I’d dedicate this post to my absolute favorite Photo/Video Apps.

Photo Apps:

Instagram Free (iPhone only) Already very popular, but right now only available for iPhone/iPod Touch. You can take photos with your camera or grab saved photos from your Photo Library. You can add filters before posting or leave it as it. After uploaded, you can share to many other services like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr to name a few.

Diptic Free with $1.99 upgrade (designed for both iPhone and iPad) This app allows you to put together your photos with preset frames.

Phoster $1.99 (designed for both iPhone and iPad) Create posters to print or share. Already preset with great graphic design. All you have to add is your images and the text. There are also different finishing effects (like a creased poster)

Swanko Lab $1.99 (designed for iPhone) Extra formulas $1.99 It’s like I’m back in school and in the darkroom experimenting. This app allows you to take photos from you library and add effects with different formulas.

ShakeItPhoto $0.99 I miss my polaroid cameras (and I had quite a few different models). This was a great way to simulate taking a polaroid shot. You even shake it to help develop.

CameraBag $1.99 one of the first photography apps on the market, this one has preset finishes to apply on your photos in your library or one that you want to take. Also available CameraBag for iPad $2.99 CameraBag Desktop $19.00

Hipstamatic $1.99 The Hipstamatic comes with the John S Lens, the Jimmy Lens, the Kaimal Mark II Lens, the Standard Flash, the Dreampop Flash, Ina’s 1969 Film, and Kodot Verichrome Film.

Extra packages are Williamsburg HipstaPak (Helga Viking Lens, Pistil Film and Primary Gel pack); The Portland HistaPak (Lucifer IV Lens, and BlacKeys B+W film); Shibuya HipstaPak (Roboto Glitter Lens, Berry Pop Flash, and Float Film); Camden HipstaPak (Alfred Infrared Film and BlacKeys SuperGrain B+W film); The Mission HipstaPak (Bettie XL Lens, Ina’s 1935 Film, and Eggshell White Case); and Limited edition packages: Dali Museum GoodPak (Salvador 84 Lens, DreamCanvas Film, and Dali Dreamscape Case).

They even have a Field Guide to help coach you to take better photos.

QuadCamera Multishot $1.99 It can take sets of 4 or 8 photos in time intervals (that you can adjust). From there, you can have the photo be a multishot or you can turn it into an animated GIF to post on your blog or website.

ToonPaint $1.99 The best app to take a photos and give you a drawing or sketch of the photo.Very easy to use and you can colour it right in the app.

PhotoShake $1.99 Similar to Diptic, it’s a fun way to create photo collages. Select photos then Shake!

AutoStitch $1.99 One of the first photo apps that I bought. It was a great way to create wide or panoramic photos.

Infinicam $0.99 Brought to you by the developers of CameraBag, its similar to it’s sister app, but instead you can choose the combination of filters and frames

Incredibooth $0.99 Just some old fashion fun in the photobooth. You can try to see how many friends that you can squeeze together to get in to shot on your iPhone

Video Apps:

ReelDirector $1.99 (designed for both iPhone and iPad) Before iMovie App $4.99 was available, there was ReelDirector. Not only does it cost less, it’s designed for both iPhone and iPad, whereas iMovie App is only for iPhone

8mm Vintage Camera $1.99 My family had a Super8 camera and filmed their vacations. I love the look and feel of them, so I found that this was the best app for the price.

CinemaFX for Video $2.99 Same developer as 8mm Vintage Camera, but has 55 different filters. Really makes shooting video with your iPhone fun to do and post on YouTube.