Ford Fusion Hybrid, rating: 6/10

It’s sort of like a Camry Hybrid, which I have never driven, but I’m guessing… Doesn’t really get exceptional mileage like the Prius, but it is higher powered and smoother. On the other hand, the instrument panel is overly busy and has too many buttons in my opinion.


Canon Powershot S95, rating: 8/10

Good: Bigger lens, bigger sensor vs typical point and shoot resulting in seemingly clearer more detailed photos as well as very good low light performance.  Also, it has more background blur capability for near subjects.*  Numerous scene modes help deal with problematic focusing situations (such as those with glass) or fast moving subjects.  Fits in your pocket.  Currently less expensive than its replacement the S100.

Bad: Arguably still not as good as ‘real’ dSLR (sensor and lens still much smaller). Only 3.8x optical zoom.

* “A shallower depth of field may be desirable for portraits because it improves background blur, whereas a larger depth of field is desirable for landscape photography. This is why compact cameras struggle to produce significant background blur in portraits, while large format cameras struggle to produce adequate depth of field in landscapes.” — Cambridge in Colour

Picasa 3.9, rating: 9/10

Good: A bunch of new photo editing/enhancement methods.  My new favorites: Lomo, Boost, Vignette.  Face recognition seems improved.  Side-by-side photo viewing for original versus edited comparison.

Bad: Although admittedly a rare occurrence, I wish there was a way to create two separate photo edits from a single original without making a copy of the original.  I.e. somehow one managed to get two good subjects in focus in one photo and one wants to create separate photos from them.

Google Music

Good: A number of free tracks, good selection of purchaseable tracks, can be downloaded to your computer or streamed from the cloud, neat auto-playlist based on a particular favorite track.

Bad: Nothing so far

X Construction (Android)

A very diverting game for engineer types.  Good for burning a few hours at least.  There are 15 levels.  Full version was free for a day on Amazon.

Soundhound Infinity

Was free on Amazon Appstore.  Identifies music usually within 10 secs.

Weather Bug Elite

Was free on Amazon Appstore for a day.  Easily readable multiday and current weather conditions.  Only works when connected.  Cannot see previously downloaded forecasts without data connection.

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