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Android Nexus 5X Review by a Die Hard Apple Fan

Nexus 5x in boxWhen Steve and I planned our great adventure to South America, we knew we needed a data plan for our phones. We decided to use Project Fi from Google for $10/GB. I’ve written up the experience in a couple of blog posts and talked about it on the show (…. Project Fi gave us inexpensive and fast Internet access on our trip, but I had to buy an Android phone in order to initialize our Project Fi SIM cards. For most people that would be kind of a drag, but it gave me an excuse to play with my first Android phone. I bought a Google Nexus 7 tablet many years ago but haven’t played with Android since.

The phone I chose to buy was the lowest cost model you could get and still use it to set up Google’s Project Fi. I bought an unlocked, European LG Nexus 5X. I paid $300 for it on Amazon directly from LG.

If you’ve been reading or listening for any length of time, you know I have an EVER so slight Apple bias. For that reason, you should not take my review of this phone as a definitive and unbiased review. But I have a spoiler for you, I kinda like this phone!

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Photos from South America – Galápagos Islands and Machu Picchu

Steve and I just got back from a nearly three week vacation to South America. We had two major destinations, the Galápagos Islands and to hike Machu Picchu in Peru. Thought you might like to peruse our photos of the trip.

Galápagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands trip started with a day tour of Quito, Ecuador and then we flew the nearly 600 miles East into the Pacific Ocean to land on the island of San Cristóbal, They only allow small boats to tour the islands, so our boat only had 20 passengers. We toured for a full 7 days.

The trip was almost hectic. We were awakened at 7am, breakfast at 7:30, into the Pangas (small inflatable rafts, often called Zodiacs) by 8:30. On most days we had FOUR excursions a day, two walking tours on the islands and two snorkel trips. That’s my kind of trip!

The photos you’ll see in this album show how incredibly close we were able to get to the animals. They have no natural predators so they don’t mind you walking within feet of them.

Galápagos Islands Favorite Photos

Marine iguana

Peru – Machu Picchu

Our tour of Peru was in some ways less hectic but also more strenuous. We spent a lot of time in Cusco, which was the primary city of the Incas. Cusco is at 11,000 feet, so the high elevation made walking (and breathing) difficult.

We spent time there hiking the area (downhill) in order to acclimate us for the next part of the trip. We hiked the last 7.5 miles of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. That part of the trail has a segment early on that’s 2000 feet of elevation gain in only 2 miles!

It’s impossible to capture the beauty and expanse of Machu Picchu (and of Wiñay Wayna along the way), but we gave it our best shot. The people you see in the photos are our guide Nick who was with us for the week and his fabulous fiancé, Alexandra.


Peru Favorite Photos

Orchid machu picchu

Transform Your Photos with Primitive – Guest Post by Allister Jenks


Hello Allison and NosillaCastaways. Allister here from New Zealand, once again, with a review of one of those apps you don’t need but which you might just fall in love with.

A year ago, I subscribed to the then brand new Club MacStories newsletter. I love the information it brings me every week. Amongst the great content is always a crop of noteworthy apps and app updates. While these are predominantly iOS apps, Mac apps do appear and it is one of these that took my fancy recently and I’d like to introduce to you now.

Primitive, by Michael Fogleman is a creative graphics app that uses a simple premise to turn photos (or in fact, any image) into a form of more abstract art by “recreating” the image using primitive shapes – hence the name.

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How Much Better is the iPhone 7 Plus Wide-Angle Camera Than the iPhone 6?

Busybee 2x 7+There’s a lot of reasons we use to justify how much money we spend on our technology. One of my personal favorites is how we justify new phones. “My contract is up”, “It’s been 2 years” and “It’s my turn” are amongst the more popular versions of this silliness.

Well, it’s my turn to get a new phone this year. Steve is on the s track and I’m on the non-s track for the iPhone. We pay full price for our iPhones now so there’s no logic whatsoever to this, but at least it keeps us from each buying a new phone we don’t need every year. I mentioned earlier that I decided it was time to upgrade to the big girl iPhone, so I opted for the iPhone 7 Plus. My decision was made easier by the new dual cameras. Continue reading “How Much Better is the iPhone 7 Plus Wide-Angle Camera Than the iPhone 6?”

Dumb Question – How to Figure Out What Photos Aren’t in Any Album

Smart album not in any albumLately I’ve been getting questions from people who don’t listen to the podcast and don’t read the blog but were simply searching for answers online and found This week Melissa asked me a perfect “dumb question”. She explained that she recently switched from iPhoto to Photos, and wanted to know how to identify photos that haven’t been moved into Albums.

If she’d asked me that question a week earlier, I wouldn’t have known the answer.

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NC #590 AmazonBasics Tripod, Liberate Your Activity Data, Bandwidth Tests, Emojify your Contacts, Metal vs Glass Prints

Update your iOS devices to 9.3.5 without delay to protect yourself from a really nasty exploit in the wild. Steven Goetz does a guest review of the AmazonBasics 62” Aluminum Ball Head Tripod. I’ll walk you through how to liberate your Activity data so that you can see it in other apps like Activity++ and Pedometer++ from Steve and I performed an exhaustive network test comparing the Apple Airport Extreme against the Netgear Nighthawk X8 (spoiler alert, it is definitely worth the price differential!) Lindsay gives us a fun tip to make our Contacts more interesting. Fantastic metal prints from

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Metal vs. Glass Prints

PoppiesBefore I met Mark Pouley, I was content with taking photos, editing them on the computer and displaying them online. But Mark started encouraging me to get some of them printed in large format. He’s trying to drag me into his madness (his house is FULL of large prints of his photos). It did sound like fun.

A few years ago I successfully captured the beauty of some California Poppies during a trip to Santa Barbara County. If you haven’t seen these, they’re gorgeous bright orange flowers that adorn our local area in the spring each year. Mark kept nagging me to get it printed.

This particular photo stands out because of the exquisite light coming through the blooms. I was proud of this photo because I actually crawled under these little blossoms just to catch that light. In thinking about how to print a photo where light is so important, I decided to try printing on glass. Continue reading “Metal vs. Glass Prints”

NC #587 Extracting Images from Live Photos, Free Diagramming with, Security Bits

In Chit Chat Across the Pond Bart and I actually did a video episode where he showed his screen while he solved some of the JavaScript challenges he gave us in Programming By Stealth. Check that out at…. We’ve got a “Dumb Question” from Dorothy asking how to extract images from Live Photos, and I’ll tell you about an amazing, free online diagramming and flowchart tool from Germany is winning in the Amazon Affiliate Links game so find your country’s link at Bart Busschots is back with another edition of Security Bits.

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Dumb Question – How to Extract a Different Image From a Live Photo

This week’s Dumb Question comes from Dorothy, AKA maclurker in the live chat room. You haven’t heard from her in forever because she’s been traveling in Alaska and Canada on her boat for the last few months. With total disregard for how lonely I am at the gym this summer, she seems to be having a splendid time watching bears and such.

She rarely has enough Internet to check in, but this week she sent in a question:

Live Photo showing in“Yesterday we went to the Anan Bear Observatory and got to see bears catching salmon in a waterfall and bear cubs and even some bear drama. Some of the action was pretty fast. Marc was using his iPhone SE to take pictures. The iPhone is new enough to do that creepy-wiggly thing where it takes 5 or 6 snaps in a row for every picture you take.

(I think she means Live Photos)

If the image taken at the instant you click the shutter is Image 0, then the ones immediately before could be labeled Image -1, Image -2, etc. And the ones immediately after could be Image 1, Image 2, etc.

If you say save this photo to the Photos app, it just copies Image 0, without giving you any choice. But what if Image 1 or Image -2 is better and that’s the one you want to use. How do you get to it?”

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Get Better Image Control with ProShot for iOS, Android & Windows Phone

Proshot logoI was chatting with my daughter Lindsay the other night about a photo she took using Snapchat. She said she took the photo with Snapchat because it has a built-in low light mode that works much better than the built-in camera on the iPhone. You know I enjoy photography as a hobby with my mirrorless camera, and I like to use the more advanced features, so I thought it was time we took a look at one of the 3rd-party camera apps that brings advanced features to your iOS device.

The app I’d like to tell you about is called ProShot from…. It’s free with in-app purchase. The in-app purchase is really cool but I’m going to save it till the end. I should mention that ProShot is available for Android and Windows Phone as well as iOS. Continue reading “Get Better Image Control with ProShot for iOS, Android & Windows Phone”

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