Monthly Archives: January 2014

How Much Do You Know About…Houston?

January 14, 2014
Houston Galleria by Postoak at en.wikipedia

Houston Galleria by Postoak at en.wikipedi

1. Houston was founded by:

A. Daniel Boone.
B. Sam Houston.
C. J.K. Allen & A.C. Allen.
D. Mirabeau Lamar.




2. The namesake of our great city, statesman and general Sam Houston, was born in:

A. Austin.
B. Virginia.
C. New York.
D. Houston.

3. In his life, Sam Houston was also a governor of:

A. Louisiana
B. Tennessee.
C. New York.

4. The Heisman trophy was named for the coach who worked at:

A. University of Houston.
B. San Jacinto High School.
C. Rice University.

5. What Houston hotel was fictionalized as “The Conquistador”  in Edna Ferber’s bestselling novel  “Giant”?

A. The Shamrock Hotel
B.  Hotel Roosevelt.
C.  The Gulf Hotel.


1. C.: In 1836, two New York real estate promoters, John Kirby Allen and Augustus Chapman Allen purchased 6,642 acres of land near Buffalo Bayou to build “a great center of government and commerce.” In 1837, Houston was incorporated as a city.

2. B: Sam Houston was born in Virginia. After being a leader in the Texas Revolution, he was elected as the first and third President of the Republic of Texas, U.S. Senator for Texas after it joined the United States, and finally as a governor of the Texas.

3. B.: Houston’s earlier life included migration to Tennessee from Virginia, time spent with the Cherokee Nation (into which he later was adopted as a citizen and into which he married), military service in the War of 1812, and successful participation in Tennessee politics as governor.

4. C.: Rice University. John William Heisman (October 23, 1869 – October 3, 1936) was an American player and coach of football, basketball, and baseball. He served as the head football coach at Rice University (1924–1927).

5. A. The Shamrock Hotel. Edna Ferber transformed the Shamrock into the “Conquistador” in her popular novel Giant (1952). The fictionalized hotel was also featured in the film version in 1956.

Ten Top Smartphone Apps for Your Car

January 16, 2014

The January 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas featured all manner of apps and gadgets, including an remote app that will parallel-park your car. The future may promise “driverless”cars, but for now, Liz Weiman (in advance of her February “Apps Galore” class) lists 10 apps that promise to make life at the steering wheel a lot easier!

1. Google Maps is the app of choice for drivers, surpassing Apple’s native map app and others. This free app uses GPS and voice guidance to direct you from your location to an address you enter. It’s easy-to-use interface shows your progress on the map, and also allows you to see the entire route in advance. You can also use Google search to find places to eat, drink, and shop nearby and see reviews of these places. Live traffic information is available for select cities. (IOS, Android).

 2. Gas Buddy lets you find up-to-the-minute, cheapest gas prices in your area and beyond using the free Gasbuddy app (also available online at, with listed prices for all grades of gas. (IOS, Android, Blackberry).


3. Waze, the free app recently bought by Google for more than a billion dollars, is a community-driven, traffic avoidance program, which receives user data to pinpoint traffic jams, accidents. Among its many other features, Waze offers detours when heavy delays are encountered. (IOS, Android). Also, check out Inriix, another popular app, with an extremely large traffic intelligence network. (IOS/Android)

 4. Repair Pal is a free app that gives you accurate repair estimates for your area after you input your car and the type of repair needed. The web site is also available. (IOS, Android)


5. Trapster: This free app allows you to check any area for any known speed traps, red light & speed cameras, accidents, road hazards, plus more!. As you drive, new speed traps pop up. (IOS/Android/Windows Phone/Blackberry)


6. Carrr Matey: This free app makes finding your car and knowing how much time you have left on the meter a game. With it’s simple interface and pirate-theme, it makes its easy to remember where you parked. There are many other parking apps to try besides this one (listed below) but Carrr Matey has received consistently good reviews. (IOS, Android) 

Other find your car apps include Honk (.99 cents, IOS),  iCarPark  (iOS, $0.99), Take Me To My Car (IOS free), Where is my car (Windows Phone, free), iFind My Car (.99 cents, IOS)


7. Sit or Squat:  Charmin owns this free app, which allows you to find a bathroom near you on a road trip or in town. It also allows you to figure out toilets for a long road trip. It lets you know whether you should sit or squat (hence the name) in terms of bathroom cleanliness, and often lists bathrooms with diaper-changing stations.  (IOS/Android). Where to Wee (IOS) is another very popular bathroom finder, along with Bathroom Scout Pro (Android).


8. PlugShare - This free app finds nearby hybrid or EV  charging stations, and letting you know which ones are available or in use and more. You can filter your results and add or delete stations. You can also access the site. (IOS/Android).


 9. Car Minder Plus - This $2.99 application lets you manage your car maintenance needs, keep a list of repairs, log oil changes, track your miles and fuel economy.(IOS)


10. Parkopedia logs more than 20 million parking spaces in 25 countries. It includes information for Houston and searches from your current location or the address you input. It will check for availability, and display information on rates and more. It can also give you information for parking spots on the street. (IOS/Android)

Liz Weiman’s 4-week class, “Apps Galore: Harnessing the Power of your Smartphone/Tablet”, starts on February 3rd, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.