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Joseph Abboud Brown Elastic Front Pocket Wallet

For years I have used a leather wallet with a zipper around it.  To be honest I hate dropping my wallet and cards going everywhere.  This wallet works fine for it and lasts about five years before it needs replacing.  Lately Jeff and Sean have been going on and on about their Umbra Bungee Wallets which look cool but I have never liked carrying.  They have been going on and on about how slim they are which is something that is kind of important.  No one wants to have George Costanza wallet.

George costanza wallet

Last week I lost my wallet.  I am 99% sure it is in our house but I fear that it was tossed out by Oliver or Mark while cleaning.  I was going to swallow my pride and get one of those Umbra wallets but that would mean that I value Jeff and Sean’s opinions on accessorizing.  The next you know I’ll be taking council’s advice on how many bridge lanes the city needs.  It’s a slippery slope.  I was seriously thinking of getting a Bellroy Wallet but $60 for a wallet is more than I wanted to pay.  

Instead I looked around and found a Joseph Abboud Front Pocket Wallet which as you can see, is extremely thin and compact and minimizes the bulk of most wallets.  I bought it for $8.  In case you are thinking that I have lost it and have gone off the deep end, Walmart has a large selection of front pocket wallets, which I don’t know if that helps my point or destroys it.

Joseph Aboud front pocket leather wallet

Of course it is extremely thin now as all I have in it is my temporary drivers licence and my BMO Debit Card.  I hate losing wallets.  

In case you want to slim down your wallet, Bellroy has some excellent tips but I also discovered Stocard which really what Apple’s Passport should have been.  It scans and keeps track of all of my reward cards in one place.  Here is the screenshot of what it holds (and you now know what reward programs that I belong to)

Photo

Once you enter in your member number (or let it scan in your card’s barcode) all I have to do is fire up the app and let the store scanner scan the barcode (or if that doesn’t work, touch the screen and your member number comes up right away).  Like most of you, I always have my phone on me so there is no point in carrying it and a wallet full of reward cards).  It’s free and you can get the app for iOS and Android.   I can’t recommend it enough.  That and it’s not an Umbra cardholder so we all win.

CSR Racing

I am not much of a gamer but I have been playing CSR Racing on my Mac lately.  It’s a simple drag racing game where you have beat “crews” to move up.  To do that you need to win some races where you win cash and then you have to upgrade your car.  Most cars need four levels of upgrades to win and there is a bit of skill involves in it as well.

The fun part of the game is that you can only race as long as you have gas and you can easily run out of gas.  To get more gas, you can pay but I am too cheap to do that or you can wait an hour to two hours for your tank can fill.  The game is free and they depend on people more impatient than cheap but for me it is great as I can play it for 10 minutes, be done and then pick it up later.  It’s like gaming designed for those of us with short attention spans.

As you can see, I started the game with a Mini Cooper S, moved to a Mustang GT, then a BMW M3 Coupe, and now a Corvette ZR1 (which is underpowered compared to the other cars in the tier and getting beat a lot).  And yes I seem to like the colour red.

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It’s a fun game to play and it’s free to try (and keep playing).  If you have a iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad, you can play it on each either one of those devices.

A Perfect Storm for Microsoft?

From Business Insider

Almost one year ago today, we laid out the nightmare scenario for Microsoft (MSFT) that could lead to its business collapsing. After laying it all out, we concluded, “Fortunately for Microsoft, none of this is going to happen.”

We were wrong.

A lot changed in the last year. Microsoft’s nightmare scenario is actually starting to take hold. We’re revisiting our slideshow from last year to see how things have played out.

Each number that follows has one piece of the nightmare scenario for Microsoft and an explanation of where Microsoft stands in comparison to that hypothetical situation.

While it’s going to take a while, Microsoft isn’t the business it used to be. (as I write this from my MacBook Pro)

Google Contacts

At work I needed a database to store contact information at The Lighthouse.  I originally went into Libre Office Base (and thought about purchasing Filemaker) and planned to design a database myself.  I then realized that I had better things to do and DeeAnn would need to use it as well.  Both her and I work on our desktops and laptops and I use my iPad quite a bit at work as well so a cloud solution seemed to be in order.  A bunch of the options I looked at seemed far more expensive than what I thought I should be paying for in a small institution.  While I was looking around, several people recommended I try Google Contacts.

Google ContactsI am a pretty big fan of Google Contacts personally as it allows me to keep my address book on my iPhone sync’d up with my address book in Gmail.  After checking it out, I looked at it and saw that as a stand alone now which is exactly what I wanted.  It is customizable enough and exports data easily enough that I can get it out anytime I need it.  I set it up with a new account and started to input data.  Of course I wanted to be able to sort the names and it allows me to create groups.  We have groups for service providers, politicians, vendors, and other groups and of course with it you have integration with email when you need it.  As for accessing it, all it takes is a bookmark and a password.

I know there are a lot of options out there but Google Contacts is free, accessible from anywhere, sync’s with our iOS/Blackberry/Android users.  Being a Google shop, it also is easy to export out parts of the database for staff who need the contacts.  Going back to my time at Lakeview Church, I have wanted an easy to use contact database.  We had database designers, consultants, and all sorts of people say they would be a part of the project but it never did anything because in the end, I think they conceived as too complicated.  In the end Google Contacts takes the project to it’s most basic level and does a pretty good job of executing it.

If you are looking for a database for your organization and you don’t have time to design it yourself, check out Google Contacts.  It has more under the hood than you would think.

Samsung Galaxy Ace

My Blackberry Curve was my first smartphone and I really liked it.  I was planning to upgrade it this year to a new Blackberry Curve while RIM was making better hardware, they seemed to drop the ball on getting their new software out.  As I have written on Twitter, I had planned to go out and buy a Blackberry Playbook when the price dropped but RIM then delayed the new version of it’s operating system and then raised the price back up to $500 again.  It also doesn’t have Skype, native email, or even a Twitter app.  It’s just a web browser with a camera that can’t be used to communicate with other systems.  It doesn’t even have BBM unless your Blackberry is close by.  With more and more app makers dropping support for RIM, it didn’t make a bunch of sense to pay $300 for a new Blackberry Curve, no matter how much I liked it.  It’s kind of like buying a Nokia smartphone running Symbian or a Windows Phone 7 for that matter.  This letter to RIM senior management from a top level executive kind of sums it all up.

Samsung Galaxy AceDuring this time I went out and bought Wendy an entry level Android phone.  The Samsung Galaxy 550 isn’t spectacular but as much as I hated to admit it, it was better than my Blackberry.  When I saw that Koodo had the Samsung Galaxy Ace I decided to go out and get one.  Earlier this year Koodo had given me a $50 upgrade credit which made a good deal a better deal.

It came with a 4gb Compact SD card which is nice but not that great and after a couple of minutes it was full of Twitter, Foursquare and most of my favourite apps.  While the Google Sync app for the Blackberry was nice, it isn’t being extended with many of the new features.  I appreciate the native integration with Google Apps and again, a nice feature is up-to-date apps and an operating system that is actually being developed and unlike RIM, is shipping.

While the hardware isn’t nearly as beautiful as the Apple iPhone, software wise Android is comparable to iOS.  I know some Apple partisans out there will be flipping out on that suggestions but it was Apple fan boys that talked me into switching to Android.  It’s that good.

Another horrible strategic move by Nokia

Since launching Windows Phone 7, it’s marketshare has dropped 38% which means that by the time that Nokia introduces Windows Phone 7 devices, the OS may be about as popular as the Symbian OS it dropped in support of Windows 7.

The question is for how much longer handset makers and carriers will consider it worth supporting Windows Phone 7. Microsoft’s mobile market share has been declining at a compound rate of about 5% per month for the past six months. At that pace, its overall share may be be hovering around just 4% by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, rival Google is on track to dominate smartphones. Android devices held 40% of the market as of the end of June, according to Comscore. Apple’s share came in at 26.6%, while RIM’s share, also in decline, fell to 23.4%.

i don’t know of a single user of Windows Phone 7 now that I think about it.  No one I know even talks about it.