Fine Tip–Tip Calculator

Buy in the iTunes App Store – $0.99

I’m delighted to announce that the Apple App Store accepted my first iPhone app, Fine Tip – Tip Calculator, on my first try. You can use Fine Tip to quickly calculate your next restaurant bill’s tip and grand total. It’s fast and easy to use. Take a look at the demo/tutorial:

Fine Tip, Tip Calculator Tutorial


  • image_thumb5Fast, Elegant, Accurate, Full-Featured, Yet Easy to Use
  • All Controls on One Screen
  • Calculate Tip Based on Subtotal or Total: Calculate the appropriate tip on either the pre-tax subtotal amount (shown in image on right) or the after tax bill total.
  • Easily Adjust Tip Amount: As you slide the ‘Tip %’ slider up and down, the tip and grand total amounts adjust on the fly.
  • Round the Tip: Make it easy for the server to receive their tip. Use the + / – buttons to successively round the tip amount up or down in 25 cent increments (eg: to $12,00, $12.25, $12.50 etc.). The grand total (Total + Tip) amount and effective tip rate indicator adjust on the fly.
  • Round the Grand Total: Alternatively round the grand total (Total + Tip) amount up or down in 25 cent increments. In the example to the right, down to $100.00 even or, say, up to $101.00 even). The tip amount and effective tip rate indicator adjust on the fly.
  • Split the Bill: Use the ‘Split’ slider to split the bill between multiple parties and the applicable per person tip and grand total (Total + Tip) amounts will be shown.
  • Personalized Multi-party Tipping: Pass Fine Tip around to other people in your party so they can bump their personal tip or grand total amounts up or down as they choose.
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    Large Teen Pregnancy Declines in Canada vs. United States

    Canadian and U.S. teen preganancy rates - 2.79% compared to 6.12%

    According to a CBC News report that aired on “The National’” on Wednesday May 26, the teen pregnancy rate in Canada has declined 37% in the last 10 years. The report cites improved sex education and access by teens to contraceptives as the primary reasons for this large decline.

    Canada now has less than half the teen pregnancy rate of the United States – 2.79% of Canadian teenaged girls 15 to 19 compared to 6.12% of teenage girls in the United States.

    There is no better proof that the Bush-era policies of ‘just say no’, abstinence only programs and restricted access to birth control for teens have failed American teens.

    Source: The CBC’s source was the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.

    Brooklyn Decker Cheers for Andy Roddick at Wimbledon 2009

    brooklyn decker 2 - watching andy roddick - wimbledon 2009Since my post about Brooklyn Decker being engaged to Andy Roddick drew such a huge number of visitors to The Daleisphere, I snapped these pictures of Brooklyn cheering her new husband, Andy Roddick, on at Wimbledon 2009.

    As always, click the images for larger views.


    Brooklyn During Semi Final Against Andy Murray

    brooklyn decker 4 - watching andy roddick - fixing hair 2 - wimbledon 2009 brooklyn decker 1 - watching andy roddick - wimbledon 2009 brooklyn decker 3 - watching andy roddick - fixing hair 1 - wimbledon 2009 


    Andy Relieved After Tough Set in Andy Murray Semi Final

    andy roddick relieved after tough andy murray semi-final set 2   andy roddick relieved after tough andy murray semi-final set 1

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    Where Do You Diverge from the Pop Culture Consensus?

    From time to time I find myself swimming against the current of accepted wisdom. Below are just some of places where I diverge from the pop culture consensus. I’ll add to this list as items occur to me.

    Where do you diverge from the pop culture consensus?

    —- MOVIES —-

    jar jar binksJar Jar Binks

    I liked Jar Jar Binks. What else is there to say. I thought he was an amusing character. I was happy to see him return in Attack of the Clones and the Clone Wars.


    gigli movie poster  Gigli

    I didn’t think Gigli sucked. It was far from great. It would probably rate 2 out of 5 Dale-heads if I were to review it formally. But it doesn’t deserve to be the butt of all jokes and one of the most lambasted movies of all time.



    the english patient movie poster The English Patient

    If there ever was a more boring, self-indulgent, overly-hyped movie, than The English Patient, I don’t know  what it is. It was cathartic to see the fictional Seinfeld character Elaine Benes hate on the movie in the English Patient episode! :)  This is probably the only thing I ever agreed with the Elaine character on.

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    How to Preserve Opened Bottles of Wine

    save wine with argon gas

    In a previous post I wrote about how to use marbles and the vacu vin pump to preserve open wine.  In a terrific Globe & Mail video (shown above but now removed) Beppi Crosariol demonstrates the following additional approaches:

    • image Using the Inert Argon Gas: I had used the inert argon gas method in the past with mixed results. Until I watched the video, I didn’t fully understand how to use it or why/how it worked. I didn’t understand, for example, that argon is heavier than air. It doesn’t fill the bottle. Rather it covers the wine like a blanket. Because it sinks down to the wine, you don’t need to worry about it leaking out of the top as you re-cork the bottle. Place the straw against the inside neck of the bottle. Spray for one second followed by a few short bursts. Reseal with any cork. This should keep the wine for up to three weeks. These argon bottles cost between $12-$15 ($8ish in the U.S.) and can be found at most liquor stores (click here to purchase argon gas on Note: To keep the ‘blanket of argon’ over the wine (and away from the air in the bottle above the blanket), you’ll want to make sure you don’t shake/bump the wine too much while being stored – so keeping it in the fridge door probably is not a good idea.
    • Small Wine Bottles: Pour the remains of a big bottle of wine into a smaller wine bottle. Then recork. If you fill the smaller bottle, there will be no (or very little) air left in the bottle to react with the wine. The wine will keep indefinitely.

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    Toronto Tamils Protest Dale’s Right to Silence

    Tamil Protest in Toronto

    For most of today there has been a protest below my window (Young and Front – Toronto) driving me crazy, frazzling my nerves and inhibiting my ability to get work done.

    I decided to find out what the heck this was about and typed in “Toronto Protest” into Google News. The FIRST result that came up was this CBC article, ironically containing the picture to the left.

    The picture shows the protest directly below me. The arrow (which I added) points to the building I am typing this from.  I feel like I’m being personally protested.  These guys are insanely loud!

    According to the CBC article linked above, they are protesting the Canada’s adding the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to its official list of terrorist organizations in 2006 for the group’s use of suicide bombers and child soldiers in the conflict.

    Use Glass Marbles to Save Open Bottles of Wine

    marbles as a wine saverLast evening I attended a Spanish wine tasting event at Café Taste (1330 Queen St. Toronto).  I was participating in a single’s event put on by Toronto’s Meet Market Adventures.

    As a single person, I frequently open a bottle of wine and drink just a glass or two. Over the years, I’ve experimented with different ways of saving the wine in open bottles. For the last couple years I’ve used the vacu vin stainless steel wine saver pump to remove air from the imagebottle to store it for another day. Unfortunately this method only keeps the wine for a day or two max. And, the emptier the bottle the less well it works.

    I asked our Café Taste host, Jeremy Day (pictured below), if he had any other suggestions to preserve an open bottle of wine.  He came up with the remarkably sensible suggestion of  putting sterilized marbles into the bottle and then recorking. What a clever idea!

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    Readers of ‘The List’ Deserve Followers of ‘The Professional Bachelor’ and Vice-Versa

    the rules - time tested secrets for capturing the heart of mr. right - by ellen fien and sherrie schneider            The Professional Bachelor by Brett Tate

    The men and women who follow the advice in ‘The Professional Bachelor’ and ‘The Rules’ deserve each other. Someone should put them in a ring and let them fight it out! 🙂

    A friend once recommended I check out ‘The Rules’. Presumably she thought it would help me better understand women. I didn’t think any book reflecting the male’s perspective could be as objectionable as ‘The Rules’ until I recently discovered the ‘The Professional Bachelor’.

    The Rules

    The full title is: ‘The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right’ (click here to read excerpts). A more apt title would be: ‘The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Manipulating Brain-Dead, Money-Pot, Neanderthals  into Marriage’.

    Sex and the City I read it back in 2001, standing in a bookstore while waiting for a long delayed connecting flight. I was appalled. It depicted dating much the way dating is portrayed in ‘Sex & the City’ – with a world full of shallow, self-cantered individuals, intentionally manipulating members of the opposite sex to gain twisted advantage. Do these people really exist en masse? I rarely meet them.

    Continue reading “Readers of ‘The List’ Deserve Followers of ‘The Professional Bachelor’ and Vice-Versa”

    The Ultimate Gadget Recharging Cabinet

    ultimate gadget cabinet front 2Awhile back I watched this Cali Lewis Geekbrief podcast (episode 108) where she created a gadget recharging cabinet from a shoe organizer cabinet. It was OK but I didn’t love it.

    Marc Spagnuolo (pictured in the third image below) was recently a guest on Leo Laporte’s TwitLive webcast. He was inspired by Leo to create TheWoodWhisperer podcast. He built this customized gadget recharging cabinet for Leo as a gift in thanks for  inspiring him to start his own podcast. Leo loved it. I like it.

    [more pics after the jump – click on pics for larger views]

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    Three iPhone Relaxation and Sleep Apps Reviewed

    imageSometimes I have difficulties falling asleep – I can’t seem to shut the mind off. For years I’ve considered purchasing rather high-priced sleep assist devices such as this white noise machine.  The idea is to help you fall asleep by distracting the mind with pleasing, relaxing sounds. But they always seemed too expensive and I was concerned they wouldn’t work.

    I was delighted to see the 99¢ “White Noise” app on the iPhone’s App Store “Top 25 Paid”  list. I thought for 99¢ I couldn’t go wrong. Turns out White Noise wasn’t so useful. So I went on to check out its competitors, Ambiance and aSleep, each of which are also 99¢.

    They  all provide essentially the same functionality – selectable looping sounds that can be set to turn off after a preset amount of time. But they all suffer from the same two problems:

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    Tim Russert – My Issue This Sunday

    Tim Russert - Waves Goodbye Tim Russert (1950 – 2008) believed that “being informed is the first job of being a good citizen”. I do too. For more than a decade I have watched Tim interview his guests each and every Sunday. I rarely missed Meet the Press.

    I was saddened to hear of Tim’s passing last Friday. I’ve been watching the bountiful tributes with misty eyes. I respected his intelligence, preparation, passion for what he did, his omnipresent big smile, good humour and down-home humanity.

    Tim’s relationship with is father, Big Russ, was inspiring. When he announced his book, Wisdom of our Fathers, I purchased a copy to give to my dad on father’s day. I used the page included in the book to write a bit about what my father meant to me. My dad liked that.

    During every U.S. primary, caucus or election night, I would be keenly interested in what Tim had to say. I never found myself disagreeing with him. I don’t remember a partisan moment. If he said it, I took it very seriously.

    It’s Sunday morning as I write this. Tom Brokaw is doing a tribute show for Tim in the background. I have never watched Meet the Press under another moderator. He helped to keep me informed. Sunday morning won’t be the same without him.  His chair will be tough to fill.

    Tim Russer's empty table at Meet the Press

    Click to watch interview with Tim’s son Luke.

    The Obama Fist Bump, Thumbs-Up Moment

    Michelle and Barack Obama Fist Bump on Night Obama Wins Nomination Michelle Gives Barack Thumbs Up on Night Obama Wins Nomination

    As Barack was about to make his Democratic nomination victory speech, Michelle looked at him, fist-bumped, smiled a huge smile and gave him the thumbs up.

    There is something awfully wonderful about this picture. In a flash you see a couple that is truly in love. Truly supportive of each other. Terrific.

    Ouch! I Cut Myself Wokking

    Cut Left Index Finger - 9 stitchesWhile chopping cauliflower in preparation for my nightly wokking, on Thursday, May 15, I broke a cardinal cooking rule that my mother taught me: "never cut towards yourself".

    Shortly thereafter I found myself in the emergency room at Toronto’s Saint Michael’s teaching hospital getting nine stitches. I felt as though I was a patient on the television show ER. The med student that stitched me up did a terrific job with absolutely no pain. My thanks go out to the med student and the supervising doctor for a terrific job.

    The injury has resulted in almost constant sharp pain, has inhibited my ability to use my computer for work or play and prevented me from: 1) completing the GTA IV campaign; 2) continuing my GTA IV diary entries; and 3) blogging as much as I would have liked to. Indeed, it’s astonishing how much I cannot do while attempting to safeguard my left hand as my finger heals.

    On the upside, the injury has resulted in my having a practical need to test and use, on a sustained basis, the Windows Speech Recognition software built into Vista. In fact, I have written this blog post almost entirely through voice dictation. I’m keeping notes and expect to write a future post on my Vista voice recognition experiences. [June 3, 2009 Update: I never did write that post as typing / and controlling Windows by voice is still not practical for the able bodied typist]

    I can’t feel anything above the cut to the tip of my finger on the inside. But both the emergency room doctor and my family doctor believe that the nerves will reconnect themselves within about two months giving me full feeling back.

    Continue reading “Ouch! I Cut Myself Wokking”

    Charlie Rose Questions

    Charlie Rose I admire Charlie Rose.

    I have been watching The Charlie Rose Show for more than a decade (searchable archive here).  He has interviewed everyone – world leaders, dictators, actors, singers, scientists, doctors, architects, authors, journalists, bloggers, judges, lawyers, titans of industry, philosophers, religious leaders – from every walk of life and pursuit.

    He is the most balanced and engaging interviewer I know. His ability to draw out guests and provide a compelling viewing experience is renowned. Over the years, I have jotted down some of the Charlie Rose questions that have yielded compelling answers.

    If you really want to get to know someone, try out some of these questions over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.  I have had hours of interesting conversation with friends and family with these.

    Charlie Rose TableWARNING: Use them sparingly. If you fire them off at an unsuspecting questionee, you may find your friend feeling more like the victim of an inquisition than the participant in an intimate conversation! 🙂

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