Posts filed under 'General'

August Contest Results

The month of August is over and it is time for our usual monthly wrap-up when we look back at what happened during the past month, announce our contest winners, and also give you a heads up at what is coming.

Monthly Contest Results

CouponNut is the winner of this month’s contest followed by anand and djhciskoski in the second and third place. Congratulations guys! Here is the complete list of this month’s winners and prizes:

1. CouponNut (674 Points): $70
2. anand (641 Points): $50
3. djhciskoski (632 Points): $50
4. onkarkulkarni (616 Points): $35
5. clover (614 Points): $35
6. siggy38 (563 Points): $35
7. laaya (504 Points): $35
8. Version (480 Points): $25
9. 2kidsnuts (471 Points): $25
10. mdshopper1 (458 Points): $25
11. midget (440 Points): $25
12. lootango (431 Points): $10
13. mommy25 (425 Points): $10
14. psplove (417 Points): $10
15. sandyshore (213 Points): $10


Here are the remaining top 20 winners:

16. edithem (162 Points)
17. dealhunter11 (135 Points)
18. roxytang (125 Points)
19. ramadass (66 Points)
20. gabyperu (40 Points)

Thanks to all of our contributing members! No one gets our swag this month since we only mail it once to each monthly winner and everyone above by now has already received a Buxr coffee mug and mouse pad. If any of you haven’t then please do let us know.

Friends Contest Update

We don’t have a friends contest winner this month. Remember, you only need to refer 5 friends to qualify for the prize and we award up to 3 members each month! Help Buxr grow, tell your friends about our little community and win $50 next month. Click here to find more about how this contest works and how you can refer your friends to Buxr.

Add comment September 2nd, 2014

Is New Amazon Prime Music Worth It?

Amazon_Prime_MusicSince 2012, the music streaming market has been growing at the expense of digital downloads. The Neilsens Soundscan annual report noted a 32% increase in music streaming last year while downloads of albums, singles, music videos and digital tracks declined 6.3%. Now the streaming market is the future of music, and Amazon is the latest company to announce their entry into the crowded field.

Their selection is small and lacks current hits, but that may not matter. For existing Amazon Prime members, the music service is a completely free benefit that enhances the value of their $99 Amazon Prime Service, which already provides them free 2-day shipping, Prime Instant Video, and a Kindle e-book lending library. They can stream the ad-free service on the web, listen on the go, or download music to enjoy offline.  U.S.-based members can try it out at this link; or non-members can sign up for a free 30-day trial here, but must cancel to avoid an automatic charge for annual membership. Amazon’s music library has only about a million songs and hundreds of playlists. This is a lot less than the selection offered by Spotify, for instance, which has more than 20 million songs and adds 20,000 more each day. So how does it compare, and is it worth a look? Here’s our review of Amazon versus the most popular services.

  • Amazon Prime Music includes music from Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and independent labels, but has not reached a licensing agreement with Universal Music Group. So there are no titles from performers like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga or Kanye West (read more about that here); and a search revealed that the choices they do offer are all older than 6 months. It’s possible they could come to an agreement and add Universal later; you can still buy tracks from those artists. While it’s compatible with many devices, you can only stream to one at a time. You can combine the playlists with your own music library, and offline tracks can be stored on a maximum of four devices simultaneously. Connecting at least once every 30 days is required in order to keep Prime Music active, and they will be adding new music every month. An update to the Kindle Fire HDX/HD will add a music section. You can access Prime Music on the web right from Amazon’s home page or new iOS and Android apps. You can add the free tracks and any music you’ve bought to your own digital library all together in the cloud.

  • Spotify has the largest and most comprehensive selection that runs best on Macs, PCs, and tablets, with diminished quality for mobile apps.  Unlimited ad-supported streams are free for 6 months; for $4.99 per month the ads are removed, and the $9.99 monthly subscription offers better quality and the ability to download songs for offline play. They have 40 million active users with 10 million paid subscribers, and offer exclusives like Led Zeppelin.

  • Google Play All Music Access lets you link up to 10 devices and stream ad-free music simultaneously to all of them. Try it free for 30-days; at $9.99 per month, it’s great for families with multiple devices. There are curated playlists, and the ability to start a radio station from any song is a nice feature. Add your iTunes library of songs and playlists to Google Play for free, and access it from any device without synching.

  • Rhapsody doubled its playlist by acquiring Napster, and Android users can stream their favorite music on any of 70 compatible devices, including throughout their homes with Google Chromecast. The ad-free unRadio plan for $4.99 per month allows access to music on 1 mobile device, while the $9.99 per month Premier plan gives access on up to 3 mobile devices. Both plans have a 14-day free trial and include the online and desktop interface, but only one person can listen at a time. New releases are added every Tuesday.

  • Pandora lacks depth and offline playback, but runs on most media streaming devices, including Roku, and even in select cars. Most hit songs are available, but very few indie tracks are included. There are 500 genre stations, with access to full song lyrics and artist biographies. The premium ad-free version is now $4.99 per month, but most of their 250 million registered users choose the ad-supported free version. Sound quality is the poorest of the services listed here, with only 192 Kbps bitrate even with a paid subscription.

  • Beats Music analyzes your musical tastes and tracks your listening habits to make recommendations, a feature that some feel is excessive. The service for one person with up to 3 devices is $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year with a 14-day free trial. A family plan for up to 5 people and 10 devices is available through AT&T for $14.99. Beats is the only service to offer the new Jay Z Remix, and everything you listen to will stream at a 320 Kbps bitrate, the highest audio quality possible.

  • Rdio has a catalog of classics to hits available on the web for free with ads. Get full ad-free access, including mobile, for $9.99 per month, with a 14-day free trial. There are 25 million songs available in a simple interface, with links to social media for following friends or artists. Listen on your computer, phone, iPad, or tablet; play throughout the house with Roku, Sonos, wireless speakers, or Chromecast.

A final word

For the purpose of comparison, the cost of Amazon Prime Music and number of selections are really irrelevant, because it’s unlikely anyone would become a Prime member just for the music. In fact, they may listen to multiple music services. It’s really a free benefit for those Amazon shoppers who already have Prime or those who want to sign up for the free shipping.

Now there’s another way to try out Prime Music – for a limited time, Amazon’s new “Fire” smartphone announced last week in 32GB and 64GB models will come with a year of Amazon Prime included for both new and existing members, as well as unlimited cloud storage. It’s definitely worth a look, even as an additional source for those who already use another music service.

Do you have Amazon Prime? Have you tried the new music streaming service? Please share your experience in the comments to this discussion in our forum.

Add comment June 23rd, 2014

Don’t Leave Home Without These 12 Travel Apps

TravelAppsIf you’re planning to travel this summer, your best resource can be your smartphone. With the right apps you can locate a hotel, store travel documents, tabulate expenses, and much more. Used together, a good set of apps can be the “Swiss army knife” of travel tools. No matter where you go, you’ll have a wealth of information right at your fingertips. Here are our choices for the most useful and reliable travel apps available for both iPhone and Android devices. And best of all, they’re free!

Planning ahead

  • Wunderlist – You’ll never forget an essential item again because you can make a packing list and share it with others, so they can add items as they think of them. Or use it for your to-do list, personal information for gifts, or anything you need to get organized. You can even send emails to the app and access your lists from many devices, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, Android, Kindle Fire or the Web.
  • Groupon App – Check other cities a few weeks or months before you go there and grab any good Groupon deals for restaurants or hotels that you can use on your trip, redeeming them right off your phone when you arrive.
  • Priceline App – This is a simple way to book hotels and rental cars when you’re on the go. Use their Tonight-Only Deal for extra savings on same day hotel reservations or access the Name Your Own Price section to get the best deals. Priceline gives you the flexibility to NOT plan ahead and still get great deals on hotels.
  • Tripit App – You can plan every detail of your trip with this app, from car rental to lodging to restaurants. Forward all the email confirmations of your flight, rental car, train tickets, and hotels to plans@tripit.com and TripIt will build a shareable itinerary for you.

If you fly

  • SeatGuru App – This app provides seating details that the flight booking apps never mention. Developed by TripAdvisor, it tells you everything from seat pitch to the proximity to the toilet to the likeliness to be bumped. Search flights for a color-coded seating plan that shows green is a good seat and red is bad. As each seat is clicked, a pop-up box provides seating advice and amenity information.
  • GateGuru App – This app helps find the hidden gems in your flight arrival and departure locations. Upload your itinerary and the app lists food options, shops and other services like ATMs, along with where to find them in the terminals and ratings from other fliers. The app also provides estimated wait times for security lines and last-minute deals on rental cars.

If you drive

  • GasBuddy App – Find the cheapest gas wherever you go. In one click, locate gas stations nearby and see their current gas prices.
  • iExit App – See what’s at upcoming exits in real-time when traveling on any major highway in the U.S. If you get hungry in the middle of nowhere, you can display restaurants, gas stations, hotels, and more by exit. Then you can call them, view their website, get directions, or see the surrounding area on Google Streetview.
  • Trapster App – This app will alert you to speed traps, red light and speed cameras, accidents and other road hazards. The locations of school zones and EV charging stations are also available.

When you arrive

  • Yelp App – Find places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play. All the entries have reviews from an active community of local residents to help you choose the best ones.
  • Favado App – If you like to save by doing a little grocery shopping for snacks or small meals when you travel, this app is perfect for you. No matter where you are in the country, Favado can compare prices and find the best deals at whatever grocery or drug stores are near you by zip code.
  • Scout App – Get up-to-date listings of recommended concerts, sporting events and other timely entertainment options so you’ll always know what’s happening.

Add comment June 9th, 2014

May Contest Results

The month of May is over and it is time for our usual monthly wrap-up when we look back at what happened during the past month, announce our contest winners, and also give you a heads up at what is coming.

Monthly Contest Results

onkarkulkarni is the winner of this month’s contest followed by CouponNut and anand in the second and third place. Congratulations guys! Here is the complete list of this month’s winners and prizes:

1. onkarkulkarni (852 Points): $70
2. CouponNut (844 Points): $50
3. anand (823 Points): $50
4. laaya (797 Points): $35
5. clover (786 Points): $35
6. midget (767 Points): $35
7. Version (767 Points): $35
8. sandyshore (757 Points): $25
9. djhciskoski (751 Points): $25
10. siggy38 (730 Points): $25
11. roxytang (680 Points): $25
12. mommy25 (674 Points): $10
13. psplove (667 Points): $10
14. Supermom (626 Points): $10
15. supergirl (593 Points): $10


Here are the remaining top 20 winners:

16. 2kidsnuts (587 Points)
17. bemicmom (577 Points)
18. mdshopper1 (487 Points)
19. lootango (433 Points)
20. gabyperu (350 Points)

Thanks to all of our contributing members! No one gets our swag this month since we only mail it once to each monthly winner and everyone above by now has already received a Buxr coffee mug and mouse pad. If any of you haven’t then please do let us know.

Friends Contest Update

We don’t have a friends contest winner this month. Remember, you only need to refer 5 friends to qualify for the prize and we award up to 3 members each month! Help Buxr grow, tell your friends about our little community and win $50 next month. Click here to find more about how this contest works and how you can refer your friends to Buxr.

Add comment June 2nd, 2014

Using Online Medical Resources Wisely

search_online_150x150As medical costs and insurance deductibles continue to rise, most people would welcome help to save on medical expenses. Thankfully, there’s a wealth of information available online to guide us in making decisions about when to see a doctor and what we can do ourselves at home. Granted, it is not likely you will be the next one saving someone’s life by Googling their symptoms online, however if used wisely, these sites can be a tremendous help.

I saw recently on the news that a man went to a medical emergency care facility in a shopping center for a minor cut, and was shocked to see how high his bill was. He didn’t realize that the location he chose away from the main hospital campus offered the same level of care as the hospital emergency room, with treatment by physicians using expensive testing equipment. He could have visited a CVS MinuteClinic Walgreens TakeCareClinic, or Target Clinic instead, where family nurse practitioners and physician assistants provide care at a lower cost, and all of these clinics do accept insurance. Or, better yet, perhaps he could have looked online for instructions to clean and bandage the wound at home.

The best online resources

A 2012 Neilsen survey found that 60 percent of all patients consulted the Internet before calling their doctor about any condition. Most of them found the information useful to assess the severity of their symptoms, educate themselves, and develop questions to ask their doctors. But finding a reliable source is important, because there are many questionable sites that should be avoided. These five sites differ in their focus of information, but are all recommended for their reliability and accuracy.

  1. WebMD is, in my opinion, the very best source of medical information that I use. Their Symptom Checker helps me find a list of possible conditions to match the symptoms I’m looking up, and provides details about what to expect, any self-treatment I can administer, how common the condition is, and when to see a doctor. In addition, the site also has proactive recommendations and health news articles. You can join WebMD for free to save your Symptom Checker history, manage your family’s vaccinations, or track weight loss.
  2. Everyday Health also has a symptom checker, and can provide links to specialists in your area that treat the specific conditions you are researching. The site also includes reliable information about drugs, health issues, and fitness.
  3. The Mayo Clinic site’s Health Information section lets you easily search alphabetically for information about symptoms, diseases and conditions, drugs and supplements, or tests and procedures. There are tools and information for healthy living, as well as outstanding first aid information to help you during a medical emergency.
  4. The CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site posts information like news about virus outbreaks, necessary traveler’s vaccinations, and weather-related and aging issues. The subtle alphabetical index in the blue bar near the top of the page links you to the conditions and topics described on the site.  The section on Life Stages includes good information for parents about safety and possible diseases and conditions at every stage of a child’s development, while the Milestones and Schedules include immunization recommendations and health screening topics.
  5. MedlinePlus is a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health and features health topics, drug information, and an online medical dictionary.  While the information is reliable, I didn’t find the site as easy to use as the others. You have to look up everything alphabetically or by browsing the list of topics. There’s a very good tutorial here to help you identify trusted sites providing medical information.

Pet care resources

Any pet owner will tell you that pet care is expensive and the cost of pet insurance prohibitive. Most people don’t realize that veterinarians are as highly trained as their doctors of human medicine counterparts in specialized areas of treatment, while they don’t earn nearly the same salary. With advances in pet care, many of them have to invest in costly equipment. Internet resources can help you care for your pets, too, and save some money on unnecessary veterinary bills.

Both of these two sites offer helpful information that is approved by veterinarians, and are worth checking out before you rush your pet to the vet’s office or emergency care. Proactively checking their ears, trimming their nails, and observing their behavior can greatly reduce the number of office visits. I recently learned that cleaning a scratch or wound with peroxide will delay the healing process, and I should use alcohol and antibiotic cream instead.

  1. Web Vet’s information covers dogs, cats, birds, and other small animals. The site posts blogs and free downloadable PDF “Pet-Pod” topics. You can search for a specific symptom or read comprehensive guides by breed. Articles cover general health, holistic care, travel, and training.
  2. Pet Health Network offers tips for owners of dogs and cats about behavioral problems and proactive care. It provides a list of what to expect for your pet by age.

Remember that online information is not a substitute for medical care. Consult the sites you can trust to educate and help you decide when a condition can be managed with self-care or will require a doctor’s attention. The greatest value of Internet resources is to learn the basics, and know when to let healthcare professionals do the hard work.

Add comment January 28th, 2013

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