Rivet and Other Cool Children Apps

I'm always looking for new, child friendly apps for the iPad / iPhone or even maybe Amazon's newly updated Amazon Kindle Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet specifically when it comes to reading or math. Granted, I'm pretty sure that my children do not spend more than 20 minutes on any device per week when I'm home as I have a strict no screen time during the week and only VERY limited time on the weekend. Anyways, that's a whole different batttle these days as the Wall Street Journal points out.

Out today is Google's new Rivet app from their incubator team Area 120 called Rivet on Apple App Store or Google Play. It's a speech processing app that has over 200 books availble for children to read and learn. I played with it yesterday with my son for just over 3 minutes and it was awesome. I've also done the Apple Coding App for children called Swift Playground on the iPad but of course, Google has their own app as well, by the same group called Grasshopper. I encourage you to check them all out. Pretty intuitive and interactive stuff!

The iPhone X Reviews and My Thoughts

iPhone X envy is in full effect! I literally forgot to preorder the device last Thursday/Friday at midnight and truth be told, I reminded myself and the wife at 11:30pm but got caught up watching Grey's Anatomy with her. She loves the show and I indulge only with her. Next thing you know, it's 12:30am, I check twitter and the iOS Apple Store and it's listed at 4-6 weeks. I gave up that night but maybe, just maybe, you might find me in line this upcoming Friday.

Onto the reviews (if I get a unit, I will post a review just for you):

Matthew Panzarino for Techcrunch was lucky enough to be one of the few who got a test unit for a week and took his iPhone X to Disneyland.

It works so quickly and seamlessly that after a while, you forget it’s unlocking the device — you just raise and swipe. Every once in a while you’ll catch the Face ID animation as it unlocks. Most of the time, though, it just goes. This, coupled with the new “all swipe” interface, makes using the phone and apps feel smooth and interconnected.

And, more importantly, it enables a whole new set of use cases and behaviors that feel organic, natural and just plain cool.

This is one thing that I am most excited about. When I had my iPhone 5 for two years skipping TouchID in the iPhone 5S, I was envious because typing in a passcode every time sucked.

Nicole Nguyen from Buzzfeed also reiterated my thoughts:

For a normal human who isn’t aware of the 30,000 invisible dots being projected on their face or the 3D map of their head encrypted somewhere deep inside their phone, there’s nothing “futuristic” about these interactions. Using Face ID is what life without a passcode — life before we all became paranoid technofreaks — felt like.

We live in a post-passcode world and, in this world, your passcode is your face.

This everyone is the future and Apple is paving the way once again. Here's Lance Ulanoff from Mashable reiterating my point:

Apple’s iPhone X is the beginning of something new. Even if you don’t want an iPhone X, I encourage you to pay attention. Everything the iPhone X is serves as a roadmap for future iPhones.

A Small-Screen iPod, an Internet Communicator and a Phone

This comparison is apt: the Watch is effectively stealing usage from the iPhone. At first it took alerts, timekeeping, and basic messaging away. Now it’s taking basic phone calls and music and maybe maps.

It’s fitting therefore to remember how the iPhone was launched; as a tentpole troika: A wide-screen iPod, an Internet Communicator and a Phone. Today the new Watch is a small-screen iPod, an Internet Communicator and a Phone.

Succinct point. Have I bought in? Yes but only on the Apple Watch Series 2. 

If Super Mario Run Was Free

Mario now only has a certain amount of energy, and the poor lad gets tuckered out whenever you play a level. If you run out of energy you'll have to pay up, wait around, or bother your social media pals to keep playing.

If Nintendo charged $9.99 up front instead of making a portion of it free, they would have less complaints. It's already an awesome free game but "unlocking" it works for me. Think of the hours that were put into development of this game. It's wonderful and enjoyable and the more I play it, the more fun I'm having. Looking forward to see what other games Nintendo has up their sleeves in 2017 and onward.

Does Your iPhone 6/6 Plus Exhibit 'Touch Disease'

Turns out, Jessa’s not alone. Lots of repair pros are experiencing the same influx of faulty iPhones—most with flickering gray bars and all with glitchy touch functionality. Rami Odeh, a repair tech from New Orleans, sees up to 100 iPhone 6 and 6 Pluses a month that don’t respond well to touch. About half of the repairs sent to Michael Huie—the specialist behind Microsoldering.com—show symptoms of the same problem.

Of course, there’s no way to tell exactly how many phones are afflicted with what we’re calling Touch Disease, but every repair tech we spoke to told us that the problem is incredibly common.

“This issue is widespread enough that I feel like almost every iPhone 6/6+ has a touch of it (no pun intended) and are like ticking bombs just waiting to act up,” says Jason Villmer, owner of STS Telecom—a board repair shop in Missouri. He sees phones like this several times a week.

It's just a matter of time, that Apple will address it as a full recall. This news comes just in time as my wife's iPhone 6 Plus is nearing the end of her Apple Care. Time to bring it in.

My Solution to "UnPlugging"

I have compiled a small list of "what to get" for those wanting to "unPlug." It can seem daunting at first, but in order to stay connected to television and disconnected from the absorbently high cable bill, it's going to take a tad.

When I say tad, I mean just around $50 - $75 (more for aesthetics) for the antenna. It's going to cost a bit more if you actually want to record shows OTA (over the air) and then a little bit more in order to download them and watch them on your iPhone (which is actually pretty awesome.)

Here is the list and as always, you could help out elijahnicolas.com but using the links provided below or in my amazon store. Thanks! If anything, go with the either antenna and the Tivo Roamio first. You can get the Tivo Stream later or even if that's important at all to you.

The Tivo Roamio, Moku HD Antenna, Amazon Basic HD Antenna, & Tivo Stream are also in my Amazon Store. This makes it easier to check out all the individual links in one space. Enjoy!

Are you getting an Apple Watch?

After Apple's ridiculous earnings call today, ahem $74.6 billion, Tim Cook released a small tidbit about their latest project: Apple Watch. He advised that it's on time for an April debut so get your wallets ready.

[Tim] Cook, however, did make it clear that he loves the thing. “I can’t live without it,” he said. via Yahoo

I don't know why that gets me excited but it does! Are you going to get one? And if you cared to know, I'm really drawn to the Milanese Loop. It's just so freaking beautiful! (that's the 3rd one pictured below)

T-Mobile Unleashed Is NOT So Cheap

At this time, my Early Termination Fees (ETFs) with AT&T are $155 for a line thats due in September of this year. Thats a prorated amount down from $350 in case you're wondering. Let me back up. If you've been following me on twitter, I've been fed up with AT&T's false advertising that sold me a few years ago for a service that CLEARLY said "Unlimited Data" for $30. I use FaceTime quite a bit,1 stream my baby monitor from hundreds of miles away, and sometimes just soak up youtube so yea, I'll easily go over 5GBs a month and trust me, hotel WiFi is horrific! I hate that they expect me to use it in place of a service that I pay for! So back to the story.

If I sell my Apple iPhone 5 64GB White to T-Mobile for $300 and they pay my ETF at $155, that's "$455" in my pocket. The only way they will "Unleash" you is if you trade in your phone, no exceptions. Then I have to buy a FULL priced mobile phone, desirably an iPhone 5s 64GB, for $799. That means, I still have to shell out $344 so that's not that bad of a deal right? That's actually incorrect. Let me explain. I'd be shelling out $499 for my new phone after the trade-in credit followed by a Mastercard Gift Card in the credit amount of $155 in approximately 8 weeks. So I'm out half a grand to "unleash."

tmobile unleash

If I can wait, and probably will, for just six more months, I can unlock my iPhone 5, sell it on the market for maybe $400 or more, then buy a full priced iPhone 6. So yes, I'm still out $399 but, here's where I could save. I could then bring it along with me to T-Mobile, and pay nothing leaving me with just the $70 Unlimited 4G Everything Plan plus a $10 SIM kit. When it comes down to it, I'll be out money obviously later in the year with me upgrading my phone but ideally, I'd rather T-Mobile just pay my ETF now and I bring my current iPhone 5 with me. That's what the deal should have been in the first place.

disclaimer: I signed a 2 year contract with AT&T for a subsidized iPhone 5 so ultimately, with the "Unleash" deal, you still end up paying full price for the device. I could save a bunch of money and purchase Google's Nexus 5 for $349 unlocked online instead but that's a whole other story of iOS vs. Android, etc. I'm not going to go there just yet.

And yes, it's pretty awesome that with the unlimited 4G Data you get an additional 2.5GB of tethering capability.


  1. I use FaceTime about 1-5 minutes almost every couple of hours for a total of 30-60 minutes a day. Sometimes, I'm on for 20 minutes in a row.