Apps for Cats.

My cats have always been fascinated by my cell phone. When there’s music playing from it or it’s ringing, they think it’s their mission in life to find the source of the noise and destroy it. If I’m playing Tetris or writing a blog post instead of paying attention to them, they also think it’s their mission in life to destroy the thing taking away mommy’s attention. They’re a little spoiled.

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Not too long ago, as an experiment, I searched “cat app” in the App Store. The first one that popped up was “Cat Fishing 2” by Purina. It’s a free app that has fish moving around on screen and bubble noises to attract your cat’s attention. The fish start off slow, but your cat can “level up” and the fish will move faster.

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Sorry for the bad pictures, but the lighting in our house is from the fifties and doesn’t seem to work well for cat photography. Anyway, this is one of our kittens, Echo. Echo is obsessed with the little fish on the cell phone screen.

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In fact, he’s decided that he doesn’t have to wait for me to actually turn the app on. If my cell phone is out, he will pick it up by the case and drag it around until I get it away from him and turn on Cat Fishing.

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Not all of my cats are interested in the app, but 3 out of 5 love it. For cats, that’s a pretty good ratio, especially since one of our cats has no interest in anything that she can’t eat.

For a free app, it offers everything my cats and I could wish for, and hours of fun. I definitely recommend at least trying it out if you have kitties- but buy a screen protector first.

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Friday Five!

Is it that time of the week again? The end of the week, and the end of August- time seems to be flying this year!

As with every Friday, it’s time to share the things I loved this week. So here’s the best of the best of the week!

1. My Keurig Mini

I was impressed with my Keurig. I wrote about it before. But then I ordered a variety pack of tea, cider, and other speciality drinks for it. Now? This is the best invention ever!

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I’m really digging herbal teas, as too much caffeine seems to be irritating a bunch of symptoms that aren’t really blog appropriate. However, these hot cocoas and the cappuccino flavors rock!

2. Aviary Photo-editing App

This free app offers in-app purchases to beef up the already impressive editing capabilities. I’ve purchased a few extra sticker packs and borders to play with, just for fun, but even without them, this is the editing app I keep returning to. It’s easy to use and has some cool effects.

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Be careful though, it’s easy to get caught up in what you can do and over edit your photos.

3. Pur Minerals Lip Gloss Sticks

I found one of these in my makeup drawer, completely unused. It was in a pretty coral color that matched what I was wearing, so I figured I would give it a try. The result? Loving it! A touch of color and completely non-drying. Perfect for my summer sunburnt lips!

4. The Sporty Look

So, I finally figured out how to style my Joggers. For a summer-to-fall transition look, I’m loving joggers with fun sneakers and a classic tee. For errands or just to look a little more fancy, I’m pairing peplum with my Joggers for a really neat look. But as much as I love the peplum+joggers? I just keep coming back to the sporty look.

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5. Beets

I thought I hated beets, I really did. But after trying a local best salad from Grocery Bar, I’m a convert. They’re earthy, they’re pretty, and they’re perfect with goat cheese. Plus they’re inexpensive and readily available. Really, what more can you ask for in a root vegetable?

So what are you loving this week?

App Showdown: Oyster vs. Scribd

I read all the time. Although there’s nothing like a hardback in my hands while I lay in my hammock, my wrists don’t always let me hold up a novel, and it’s much easier to carry around an ereader or tablet than it is to lug around a stack of books. So, to be honest,  I do most of my reading on my tablet these days.

Since I can’t shop at the used bookstore for ebooks, and since my library sadly doesn’t allow you to check out ebooks yet, this left me spending a lot of money on books. Even more money than I spend on makeup and cute sweatpants, which is saying something. So, when I saw that Oyster and Scribd let me try a free month of unlimited books, I had to check it out. For science.

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Here’s a shot of my app shortcuts on my tablet. The logos are pretty basic, a stylized oyster for Oyster and a giant S for Scribd. No one is really getting any points for logo creativity.

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Okay, next we have the Scribd home page. There are a lot of popular books here. Navigation is a little difficult, and the way the genres are divided made it hard for me to find books I wanted to read. Do I check under fantasy or fairy tales in YA? Hmm, maybe it’s under Myth?

I wasn’t really a fan of the layout of Scribd. However, they had a great selection of popular and lesser known books in many genres. Search was fairly easy to use, which was good when I knew a specific book I was looking for.

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Here’s the Oyster layout. Oyster was originally developed for ios, and you can really tell. I liked that it was simple to make a reading list, and that my reading progress was displayed at the top of the screen.  I also found that the layout was easier to browse. Search was also easy to use, although it brought up some pretty weird results when I made a misspelling.

Readability was equal on both apps, with swipe to turn pages and the ability to highlight specific words or passages. You could also zoom in or out on both apps, which wasn’t particularly helpful to me, but is a nice touch.

At the end of the month, I wound up keeping Oyster. It not only has more titles, but I found it more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. It is a dollar more per month, if cost is an issue. Scribd Unlimited is $8.99 a month, versus Oyster’s $9.99 a month.

If you’re looking for an alternative to buying ebooks, and you read a variety of genres, Oyster and Scribd are both worth looking into. I have my eye on Kindle Unlimited, but right now the selection on it is paltry. When they add more publishers,  I plan to review it as well.

Book Blogging:

I read pretty much constantly. It’s one of the few things I can do even when I’m bedbound, and it’s been one of my favorite hobbies since I was a child. Both fortunately and unfortunately,  I am a bit of a speedreader. Ever since I learned to read, a lot of my money has gone into buying books.

I’ve been wishing for years that there was a sort of netflix for books, other than the library. Because of joint issues, holding a bulky book for a long period of time- like, more than ten minutes- isn’t an option anymore. I do a lot of ebook reading, and my library is way behind the times. We don’t have the capability to check out ebooks yet! Awful, right? Practically the stone age over here.

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Well, guess what’s happened lately? Not one, but TWO major ebook subscription services have popped up. For the interest of science, I’ve decided to try the free trial of both. In a month, I’ll pick between the two: Oyster and Scribd.

Right now, I’m leaning towards Oyster, pictured, for sheer usability. I love the interface, and there are a ton of books I’ve been dying to read. Scribd, on the other hand, has even more books I want to read, but I’m less impressed with the user interface. They’re both well developed so far, and constantly adding new books.

At the end of the month, I’ll report back with which one I ended up keeping and why! However, I’ve heard that Amazon is thinking of starting an ebook subscription service, and I love my Kindle, so if they do…well, the answer may be neither.

Have you tried an ebook subscription service yet? Did you like it?